Monday, 21 March 2011

Focus on Imaging 2011

It's been a couple of weeks since I went to this year's Focus on Imaging, and I had such a great time there. It was absolutely exhausting, but I learnt a decent amount of stuff, met people I'd met the year before and got some great new equipment! It was non-stop laughter, and we had lovely weather too as an added bonus.
Taken at the Bowens stand at Focus on Imaging
I was shocked when I heard that Canon had pulled out at the last minute, their only reason being "reconsidering marketing strategy", but thankfully Nikon were still there and I was able to play with two of their lenses. The first one I took a few snaps with was the 70-200mm f2.8. I've been considering getting it in future to compliment my 24-70mm f2.8. It was a really fun lens to play with and very quick, sharp and zoomed a fair distance!

Taken with Nikkor 70-200mm f2.8
I was quite happy with it until I got to the second lens on my list - the 85mm f1.4.

Oh. My. Word.

It was love at first click, basically. I fell in love with it and never wanted to take it off my camera. The way it separated the subject from the background was mind-blowing and the quality, colours and sharpness left me speechless. I liked it so much in fact, I started to almost wish I'd gotten this one instead of my 24-70mm, and I love that lens. My dilemma now however is wondering which to get - a D700, or the 85mm!
Taken with Nikkor 85mm f1.4
Sadly I can't afford either right now, but I did get two things while I was at FOI. I'd been considering a graphics tablet for a few months, and was debating which kind to get. Everything seemed to be pointing towards an Intuos4, and I eventually bit the bullet and bought one. So far, everything is great! I really enjoy using it and I think I even prefer using that to my multi-touch trackpad on the MacBook Pro. I kinda miss the gestures, but ease of use compensates for that. The nibs seem to wear down quickly though, which is a problem I'm trying to resolve. I knew it when I bought it, but after I'd heard friends say they had no trouble, I figured I wouldn't either. Thankfully, the nibs are cheap enough to replace.

The second thing I got was some software called Perfect Photo Suite by OnOne Software. I watched a demonstration of its abilities by chance as I was leaving on the first day, and was blown away at what it could do. I also found out I could get an education discount - more than half price! So after sleeping on it, I decided to get it. I'm incredibly glad I did, as it's so useful, works brilliantly alongside Photoshop and makes everything a lot easier. It makes the bridge between your creative vision and using technology to show it a lot smaller, and just speeds up your entire workflow. It's very powerful (you can remove the background behind things such as veils for example, and then put a new one in) and just a joy to use. I recommend it to anybody who's considering getting it.

PhotoTools v2.6, part of Perfect Photo Suite

As some of you may be aware, I'm now also writing for a great website called Light Stalking. I'll still write posts like this in this blog every now and then until I get my website up (where I'll have a different blog carrying on from this one) but check them out, they have a load of inspiring posts and useful hints and tips for beginners, all the way to professionals!


  1. I was saving for the 85mm f/1.4, too. Then my D80 broke and I had to get a new camera body. I'm happy with my new D7000, and it's time to start saving again. My lens lust list is the 24mm f/1.4, 50 mm f/1.4, 85mm 1.4, 135mm f/2.0DC, and 70-200mm f/2.8.

  2. The two in my post are on my list, along with a 50mm f1.4 (currently have an f1.8) and I'm toying with the idea of a wide angle lens and possibly a lensbaby, for fun :) Doubt I'd need much else lens-wise after that. Course, then there's the D700 I'd like, more speedlights and various light modifiers!