D90 junior riding session

Good things. Not so good things. Little great things (or none). That’s what the D90 and Sig50-150 did today, in a reasonably well lit walled arena today.

Has13Juin14-01Let’s get the lens out of the way first. Obviously it is capable of crisp detail and buttery bokeh, and it’s AF motor is fast, smooth, and silent. For those who wonder, this is a detail of the 8m rope I use to walk my crazy Beagle partbred, Google. It hangs on the outside wall, near the house’s front door

Has13Juin14-02And it you turn ever so slightly to your right, from the same standing point, you face this pretty flower tree

Has13Juin14-03But let’s not beat around the bush

Has13Juin14-04Cast of characters : Marla, Ambre and Dune, riding respectively Pirouette, Polhaar and Kinder. Coach : Gwen. Photog’ and adviso r : Mom (me)

Has13Juin14-05First the kids walk their ponies around a bit to allow them to “deflate” (horses intentionally “inflate” when being cinched, and need a short walk until the girth can be fitted properly

Has13Juin14-06Probably because most people want to knock the air out of their horses and cinch them crazy tight on the first go. I favor a more progressive approach, and Pirouette doesn’t fear it much

Has13Juin14-07Here I’m just adjusting reins length (new hairdo, to, eh eh…)

Has13Juin14-08Because she’s the only one to get help (no other parent ventures *inside* the arena with Gwen, Marla’s always first in the saddle

Has13Juin14-09My pony really needs another bath !



Has13Juin14-12Givers her extra warm up time !

Has13Juin14-13And, finally ready to go

Has13Juin14-15Af first Marla was sandwiched between the two other girls… until Pirouette kicked Polhaar for following a little too close

Has13Juin14-16After that, she went last


Has13Juin14-19My main concern with using the D90 is twofold. One, being a DSLR, it’s equipped with an OVF. Meaning, no exposure preview at any time (well, there is a Live View mode, but focus is so slow I could catch a sleeping snail). Hence, I need to rely on the camera meter. Which is not to bad per se, but easily fooled by tricky contrasty conditions. And two, sporting a SIX year old sensor, it doesn’t handle noise too well above ISO 400…

Has13Juin14-20Don’t get me wrong, the 50-150 being F2.8 across the zoom range, I never had to use any crazy ISO value, and globally speaking IQ is quite adequate. Adequate, but nothing to write home about either

Has13Juin14-21And of course, backlighting is a bitch to deal with

Has13Juin14-22Here, with a NEX camera, I can just use Manual mode and decide in real time what shutter speed to use to slighty underexpose my subject while letting the background highlights burn, but to acceptable levels. I meter “with my eyes”, flick the shutter dial with my thumb, and hit the shutter. It all takes less than a second, I use the whole scope of the camera’s excellent DR, and I’m happy

Has13Juin14-23No such thing with the D90. I have to anticipate how the camera’s gonna behave and what it’ll chose to expose, and compensate accordingly. And it can VERY easily change its mind, as the focus point moves across the arena

Has13Juin14-24I have Active D-Lighting (Nikon’s equivalent to Sony’s DRO) set to Auto, which does a fairly good job of pulling shadows, but I still have to massage the files back to acceptability in Photoshop later. And yes, I doubled everything in RAW files. And didn’t touche a single one. I hate fiddling with RAW. And for the love of God, please don’t mention it 😉


Has13Juin14-26Pirouette was super nice. Marla hadn’t ridden her in two weeks (and the pony’s been sick in the meantime, landing a spicy vet bill in my mailbox), but she was calm and behaved. Turns out she was hot, and not back to full health (I’m praying I don’t have to call the vet again, or else I’ll to start thinking about what organ to give up…)

Has13Juin14-27Then the girls went over bars on the ground, individually this time

Has13Juin14-28I had the ponies coming straight at me at a pretty moderate pace, but the camera badly struggled. Most shots are OOF

Has13Juin14-29Marla watching one of the other girls go


Has13Juin14-31That shot is technically medicocre but I love the expression, so I thought I’d salvage it

Has13Juin14-32When the lesson is done Gwen lets the girl walk all over the arena, as they please. Marla chose to go over more bars

Has13Juin14-33My D7100 has escaladated to a Paypal dispute. Let’s hope it’s ruled in my favor, so I can consider upgrading my D90 to the D7000. And if I could persuade the owner of my loaner unit to part with it, that’d be just perfect !!


About marla2008

Shutterbug. Shallow DOF nut. Mother of Child. Student of the Horse.
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6 Responses to D90 junior riding session

  1. There’s just something about the Nikon’s that sing to me vs the N7. Not knocking the NEX at all, purely subjective. 😉

  2. drpankajshukla says:

    “My D7100 has escaladated to a Paypal dispute”
    Y so ?
    I mean a dissatisfied purchaser can ask for return and refund …right ? or am I missing sonething …?

    • marla2008 says:

      It’s a little more complex than that. If the camera had failed to be delivered, of if it’d been DOA, or badly bruised, for instance, it’d be a clearcut case. Here we have a unit that has over FOUR times as many actuations as advertised. This is HUGE for us camera geeks, but for a Paypal rep ?? Probably not a big deal…

  3. MJWC1 says:

    Ah, Claire, again your advice has guided me and served me well.

    My wife and I went to a local electronic store today to buy a DVD for our younger kid’s birthday. They had an end of financial year sale on, but no particularly dramatic specials. We picked up some other bits and pieces (cables and so on as well). The sales guy asked if we wanted anything else. I jokingly said ‘a D7000’. I could have said a D7100, but it was 50% more and I don’t know that I would choose it over the D7000 anyway.

    Anyway, I have a birthday coming up (in July) and to my complete surprise my wife was feeling generous. The sales guy knocked $100 off and I ended up walking out of the shop with a brand new D7000. I could have had an A6000 with kit lens for the same price and I gave it a passing thought, but I am happy with the NEX-5 for legacy lenses and can immediately put the D7000 into its soccer dad role with the lenses I have – the A6000 would have meant more money to be able to use its AF capabilities.

    I’ve only shot a handful of frames around the house tonight, with the 55-200 kit zoom I happened to have handy. Handling is great, AF in dismal light is very impressive, auto exposure and auto white balance are spot on and high ISO performance is terrific.

    p.s. The new haircut looks good. More pictures please!

    • marla2008 says:

      Woo hoo !!!! Amazing !! Your wife deserves one big hug !! The D7000, when landing a good unitn is a terrific camera. I strongly consider trying to buy the loaner I had, myself. I’m so thrilled for you !!! My good friendnt Pablo sent me two of his Nikkor lenses to list and sell (he’s bad at this) and I’ve been playing with them. Though I knew both models, I’m extremely impressed 🙂

      • MJWC1 says:

        It was seriously unexpected and I am still gobsmacked. I’ll make sure to get some D7000 goodness onto the blog soon. Nikkor lenses are typically very good (I’ve found) and the D7000 gives me the chance to AF with a greater range of lenses than the D5000 (which is a good camera, but just not comparable, particularly in its lack of external controls).

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