The journey of getting a camera, ok… and lenses too…

Cable car in San Francisco, shot with 24mm at 1.4 on D90

I seems that I had never talked about technical stuffs behind the photos, because I had no gears worth bla until just recent, lol… This is the rare ones that I write about cameras and lenses since I am in the thickness of it, and since the journey that I am about to tell has been such a roller coaster ride for me that I couldn’t help screaming.

San Francisco street at night, shot with 24mm at 1.4 on D90

I have been keeping my eyes on the DSLR camera evolutions since last year. First, it was the Nikon D800 coming out around February with a bunch of insane specs and a “pretty” price tag that makes me feel jittery like when I was on low blood sugar. I wish Nikon would invent something between D700 and D800 to target customers like me.. Then later in October, the Nikon D600 came down like a savior from the camera god (that’s how I felt for it initially). But we all know nowadays with the marketing champions and competitions, you better stand still when something newly emerged. I knew that so I held in, but obviously I didn’t hold on long enough to discover that there could be an issue with the D600 causing dust accumulation on its sensor. Ironically, the news and tests exploded on the internet the exact next day I placed my order. I was so excited of the birth of D600 and that I had made a wise decision of getting that instead of the D800 until that moment. There is nothing else I could do at that point except waiting to test out my copy and see how bad it really was. A week later I received the camera, the first thing I did was to test out sensor dust. The initial couple shots came out clean…humm..very good (start to speculate that I got lucky with this copy…).. However, as the shutter count increased, the little black dots popped on my screen… just like everyone on the internet was talking about… The rest of the shots just got worse and worse…until I finally convinced myself that it is not rumor and mine is not an exception.

The truth is I wish I had not subscribed the news and I had not read about this issue at all. Who on the earth would pay such attention to sensor dusts on a brand new camera? Had I not read all that stuff about D600, I would still be a happy kid with her first fancy camera.  But now since I knew the dust existence, I couldn’t let it go…

To me the issue itself is not such a big bummer (except cloning out the annoying dots from the top left corner of each frame shot at/above F8). I love D600 in anyways and I really don’t want to opt for any other  options, because the sensor dust has nothing to do with the performance of the camera and the quality of the pictures. I took it everywhere to shoot (bright beaches, dark theatres, night streets…) and it worked flawlessly with no hiccups. The dynamic range is exceptional and the color renders so rich and smooth like a baby’s bottom (of course lens counts for it as well). The question then became: whether I return it and wait for Nikon to solve this issue or clean the sensor more often to live with that. Since my purchase was still within 30 days and I cannot look at sensor dusts flying around like this: (click on the image to enlarge, the white and black spots are dusts.)

D600 sensor dust

I decided to give both me and Nikon a couple month to think about it so I shipped back the camera. While I kept checking updates on this issue, one of my hubby’s coworker generously lend us his D90 as a temporary home for my remaining newly acquired lenses…

Speaking of lenses, the verdicts were reached much earlier than the whole D600 story. From my earliest days of taking photos with that all-in-1 Fujifilm camera, I knew then I would be a fast glass junkie. When I finally figured out what can do what and all that pros and cons, I ditched out the idea of a 24-70mm zoom and got a 50mm and a legendary 24mm prime instead… I simply want the extra stops, the depth of fields and the sharpness, and I enjoy the extra workouts with a prime. Life at 1.4 wasn’t that easy for me at first and I almost panicked I have got a soft copy. Really? What odds? Another bad copy? After returning D600, I suddenly lost all the enthusiasm for some moments. So I went down to the local camera store, talked to the guys and compared my lens and their lens. Here is the good news, the problem was me not the lens…… I wasn’t aware I was working with such a thin focal plane. In the rest of the days, I exclusively shot all my pictures at 1.4 (I am crazy……). It was me not the lens that I am trying to fix…… These random night street photos in this post are all shot handheld with 24mm @1.4 on a D90 body.

One man performer, shot with 24mm at 1.4 on D90

snook room, shot with 24mm at 1.4 on D90

Street artist, shot with 24mm at 1.4 on D90

In the meantime over the internet, a lot of people had been communicating with Nikon on this problem and one person even did a series of time-lapse shooting tests that recorded the process of how D600 sensor accumulates dusts. What a relief, the video showed that after 3000 shutter counts the dusts appear to stop accumulating vigorously. Ironically, the camera I shipped back had just hit 2688 shutter counts, 300 more for the dusts to settle down?… Oh, I miss my D600… Nikon, stop pushing people to the edge and do something about it!

The Christmas traveling plan is getting close, I am feeling itchy of getting D600 back and really enjoy the 24mm wide angle which I only had on D600 for a few days. No matter how stubborn, silly, and lack of creativeness I am, I just ordered the D600 again…



  1. I love my D500! Enjoy Your D600 again – Good Luck!

  2. Good luck with all the camera stuff. I am still on my canon point and shoot. I am scared to step into the world of DSLR..knowing there is point of no return ;)

  3. amiloo

    I love my Canon Rebel. There is something about having a SLR, with all it’s options, you just have so much more you can do creatively.

  4. Congratulations on your new camera and lens! I’m sure you will love them.

  5. amnesiaclinic

    These are lovely, Erica. It is vey interesting to hear your journey as well! Lack of creativity – nonsense! You’re pictures are wonderfully creative. You have inspired me to get going as well!

    A joy!


  6. Your method of describing everything in this post is really
    pleasant, all be able to simply know it, Thanks a lot.

  7. staceylbm

    I hope your D600 is fixed and working properly now!! I’ve heard it’s a great camera! I have the 700 and adore it.

    • Hi Stacy. Thank you for visiting my blog. I was the girl asking you questions about lenses on flickr last year, if you recall. :)
      and I know about you through Tracey Morris, who I met in person in an art show and I have been following her blog since last year.
      I love your ways of conveying lights in photos and congratulations on the new website!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: