Tiny Robot, Nice Lens

Here’s a toy I picked up recently in New York at the Moma Store:

It’s a little robot you build yourself from cleverly designed rolls of paper. He’s called a Piperoid (he’s apparently called "Jet Jonathan") and is from Piperoid Japan.  In the US, Piperoids seem to be available only from the MOMA Store.

This was a fun toy to build: the build process was logical, didn’t take too long, and required just enough effort to feel satisfying.  No glue is needed.  The joints are movable and we’ve had fun with that.  He’s about 5 inches tall.

This shot also demonstrates another toy, the Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D lens that Danek lent me to try out on my Nikon D40.   This picture was shot in dim incandescent light, although I did add a white LED point source to throw shadows– due to color correction it appears somewhat blue in this picture.  I originally tried to shoot at f/1.8 (wide open, with the shallowest depth of field, and allowing the most light) but the depth of field is really narrow and I couldn’t get enough of him in focus.  Focus was also tough because this lens is manual focus on the D40.  In the end I had to stop down to f/2.0 and settle for a slightly longer exposure time.  I needed to use my gorillapod wrapped over the back of a chair because the exposure was 1/5 sec.  To post-process I simply did an auto-normalize and and auto-white-balance in The Gimp.  For kicks, I tried the same shot on the kit lens (The AF-S DX 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G) that comes with the D40: to get a similar shot I needed about a 1.6 second exposure, and the results weren’t nearly as nice.  For just over $100 USD, the 50mm lens is a good deal, but I sure wish Nikon would bring out some auto-focus prime lenses fully suited to the D40.  Thanks Danek!

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