Review: EN-EL3 Battery from 7Dayshop

I recently shopped round for a couple of spare batteries for my Nikon D50. In the end I decided to chance the superb deal from 7dayshop.com – EN-EL3a at £6.49 each. The genuine cell goes for £50 in some places. I also ordered a new cell for my Dads Olympus Mju Digital, a mini tripod and a BL-5C battery for my Nokia. This lot cost £3.95 to be delivered and turned up 2 days after I ordered, which is pretty fast (I ordered out of business hours).

The build quality of the cells is fine, and they charged up on the Nikon Charger without issue. So far I have only popped one in and tested it with some indoor flash shots, but the flash cycled fast and the cell showed no signs of discharge. I will update this review when I have had chance to use the camera for a thousand shots or so.

The BL-5c I bought for my phone has held up fine for 2 days so far and is still showing full charge. That was £3.60!
Have a look at the EN-EL3a from 7Dayshop here.

Nikon D50 First Impressions

I have had my Nikon D50 for around a month now, and I have taken over 1000 photos already!

These are my first impressions (still working towards a big review) and most are based on the differences between the DSLR and a prosumer or bridge digicam – like my Kodak DX6490….

Size:

Its big! Not to the point of being a real pain, but obviously its not pocket sized. However, I have yet to see a prosumer cam thats pocket sized so I can cope with carrying this. It weighs 870g with the Kit Lens, Strap, Battery and SD card. I purchased a LowePro TLZ Mini case for it, which is a perfect fit for the kit outfit – but will not take a bigger lens – eg a 70-300. I think the 55-200 would just fit.

Ergonomics:

The camera is a pleasure to hold and use. It feels the right size (Canon 350d feels light, small and plasticky to me) and it seems very well built. It sits in the hand much better than any prosumer model – again this is down to its larger size. Only niggle is its possible to open the SD card cover when you pull the camera out.

The controls are well laid out and within easy reach. I dont shoot full manual, so I dont miss the second command dial. The only thing missing is a back light on the upper display and I think it really should display current ISO somwhere – its easy to leave it set high after shooting indoors and forget – its pretty good at ISO 1600, but ISO 200 is the best quality and should be used wherever possible.

Shooting

The huge difference that you will find with any DSLR over most consumer camereas is speed. The D50 starts up in 0.2s – and has a very fast autofocus system, almost no shutter lag and is capable of shooting at 2.5fps for the entire card (as long as you dont shoot RAW). The lens is zoomed manually via a ring so zoom has no lag – many cameras take their time going from wide to tele. The display in the viewfinder is bright and clear, with f-stop, shutter speed, exposure compensation and remaining frames all clearly visible.

The battery lasted 400+ frames at a recent wedding without showing any loss of charge – which is very impressive. I was using the flash quite a bit as well! The D50 is rated for 2,000 shots no flash and 400 shots with full power flash every other shot, but this will vary with things like the AF assist lamp being used. The flash by the way is much more powerful than most small cameras and recharges quickly – within a second if it didnt fire at full power. I still want a SB-600 though!

Lens:

I bought the D50 with the Nikon AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 18 – 55mm f/3.5 – 5.6G ED kit lens, plus a Tamron 70-300mm zoom. I ended up retrning the Tamron, as I found I could get a 70-300 Nikon lens for less than the Tamron, and the Tamrons macro capacity didnt bother me. The kit lens is proving to be very good – its quiet, has a nice wide angle (27mm on a 35mm camera, compare with the 35-38mm thats standard on most digicams) and has a reasonable reach of 80mm (35mm equivalent) at the tele end. I dont really understand the discussions that go on and the criticism that this lens sometimes receives – most people who complain about it are comparing it to lenses which cost more than my camera and lens put together! When I feel limited by it, I will upgrade.

Accessories:

So far I have bought 2*1GB SD cards (£12 from ebuyer) and a LowePro TLZ Mini case. I already own a light weight tripod for travelling, and a Slik 88 tripod for when stability matters more than weight.

I intend to buy the following:

  • Nikon 50mm F1.8D lens
  • Nikon 70-300mm G Lens
  • Nikon Remote Control ML-L3
  • Nikon EN-EL3e Battery

But that will hve to wait until a forthcoming trip to Hong Kong :-) . Both the lenses I suggest are Around £50-65 in HK or the US and £100 odd here! I will post more about these in later articles.

Photoshop Video Tutorials

I have recently discovered www.photowalkthrough.com – a site which offers free video tutorials for photoshop.

The quality of these tutorials is excellent. The most recent ones are available in  800*600 mov files or 320*240 ipod optimised files. They are clear, easy to understand and well narrated. All in all a very good resource, backed up with an active Flickr group.

I reccomend anyone with an interest in photo manipulation checks this site out.

How to automatically copyright your images with the Nikon D50

The D50 (and other Nikons) is capable of placing a comment in the EXIF data on all images that it takes. This can easily be used to place a basic copyright notice on all your photos.

To use this feature, switch the camera on and enter the menu.

Go to the Spanner Icon

Find the menu item titled “Image Comment”

Enter this sub menu

Select “Input Comment”

Enter your comment – the copyright symbol is not available, so I used (c). Press enter to save the comment.

Finally Ensure the “Attach Comment” checkbox is ticked.

Thats it! All your images will now feature the comment within the EXIF data.

Southport Pier

Southport Pier
Originally uploaded by markc123.

Sunset shot (can you see a theme here :-) ) of Southport Pier. The pier now features a rather ugly modern coffee shop at the bottom rather than its old Victoran era buildings which were burnt down. Looks preety good from this distance though..

Taken with a Nikon D50, 1.6 sec at f/4.2 and the camera was rested on a handy concrete wall due to a lack of tripod.