Friday, April 30, 2010

One good way to measure a year: Shutter Actuations

Once I was comfortable with my new D300s, I decided not to keep the old D90 sitting on the shelf as a backup. So, I sold it on Craigslist. A potential buyer asked how many shutter actuations it had, which I initially couldn't answer.

I'd had it just over a year, every day of which I took between 0 (shame, shame) and 4-500 pictures. Probably 30 a day on average, so I guessed 10-15k. But, suddenly I *had* to know the actual figure, and no matter how much I looked, I couldn't find it anywhere in-camera.

Opanda Iexif 2.3 to the rescue! 18,504 shutter releases. (Just open any image from the camera with IExif, and scroll around to find all sorts of cool embedded info.)

Poking around a bit more, I noticed that my Lightroom catalog had grown by only about 6-7k images in that same year.

What did I learn?
  1. I shot approximately 50% more than I thought I did in the past year.
  2. I throw out about two images for every one I keep.
Upon deeper reflection, of those thousands of new images on my drives, I'm pretty sure that only a few hundred are any good. I think I shoot a lot that I shouldn't bother with, and I keep a lot that I really should be tossing. I'm going to look into a better selection process.

Oh, and an image from yesterday's stock shoot:
Just a bit underexposed. Looked fine on the back of the camera, but I should have looked more carefully at the histogram. Not catastrophic, but needed a little brightening, then some noise reduction and smoothing in the darker tones. And then some color correction, which still isn't perfect. I'd switched my shutter speed to 1/250, the flash sync speed of the D300s, but I am wondering if the delays that come from optically triggering the AB-400's (which also sync at 1/250) are moving some of the light outside of my exposure window.

There's three things I can think of trying:
  1. more power
  2. shoot at 1/500, 1/250, and 1/125 with the same strobe settings, and compare exposures
  3. use a sync cable
We'll see how it goes.

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