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FREE GIFT! Dx0 soFTwaRE woRTh $199 Issue 67 • January 2017 • £5.49 www.digitalcameraworld.com

GEaR oF ThE YEaR

shoot the night sky! Capture star trails, moonrises and auroras with our step-by-step guide

LIGhTBoX spEcIaL The year’s best US landscapes

ThE BIG TEsT The best budget telephoto zooms for Nikon revealed

Go wild in

Iceland

My favourite lens is probably the 35mm wide-angle. There haven’t been many wildlife photographers in the past who have said that David Yarrow, fine-art wildlife photographer p94

Lightsabers Feel the Force with our fun project p42

cute cats

Shoot pet portraits like the pros p44

Master your Nikon with our winter wildlife Apprentice

New series!

The 13 paths to creative photography p78


From the editor

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About the cover

Welcome to issue 67 There are a lot of things in this issue that have got me excited: the awe-inspiring images from the USA Landscape Photographer of the Year competition on page 8; turning my kids into Jedi Knights on page 42 (the Force is strong with those ones); the skill required to capture a young Icelandic gull on the wing on page 60; and the inspirational talent of our two featured readers on pages 64 and 66. Oh, and of course the infectious enthusiasm of the irrepressible Joe McNally on page 130. But perhaps the feature that has excited me most, and that I think will be of most benefit to any of us striving to improve our own photography, is the first instalment of Michael Freeman’s superb new series exploring his tried and tested paths to more creative photography. Using real-world examples, he takes us step-by-step through the myriad, split-second decisions that go into composing a successful image. If we were all able to apply just a fraction of Michael’s insightful advice to our own photography, it would improve overnight. And speaking of improving your photography overnight, don’t miss your chance to download your free copy of DxO OpticsPro 9, which is as brilliant as it is easy to use. In the meantime, Happy Holidays, and here’s to a creative 2017!

LeArn how this shot wAs tAken on p23

Title Rift Star Trails Photographer Aaron Priest Camera Nikon D700 Lens 14-24mm f/2.8 Exposure 32 secs, f/2.8, ISO2500 (multiple images) Web https://500px.com/aaronpriest

the new wAy to subscribe

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Subscribe today and get a Lowepro Traveler bag worth £49, a copy of Outdoor Landscape and Nature Photography worth £9.99, bonus eBooks, video tutorials, Club discounts and more! Turn to p28…

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Paul Grogan, Editor paul.grogan@futurenet.com

VIDEO TRAINING IS LIVE!

Learn online with our expert courses Our new e-Learning website has hundreds of videos that will help you improve your SLR skills and image-editing techniques. With courses on getting to grips with your first Nikon D-SLR through to mastering Lightroom and Photoshop, there is something for everyone. You can subscribe to video access alone, or subscribe to N-Photo as a Member Plus to get video access thrown in (see page 28). Check out the site at www.digitalcameraworld.com

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videos!

January 2017

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Contents

Cover feature

Peek behind the scenes of a winter wildlife shoot in Iceland

Nikon Skills

34

16

 take your best shot

  With the festive grog flowing freely   over the holiday season, there’s no better   time to shoot a seasonal still-life

36 Get started with studio lights 38 Give your photos the edge 40 apply a vignette   Master a basic two-light set-up with   our beginner’s guide to using studio flash 

  Discover how to add a slice of dramatic  side-lighting to portraits using off-camera flash

Learn how to darken the corners   of a moody landscape in Lightroom to   help add impact and drama

42

Cover feature

44

Purrfect portraits

Treat your pet to its very own studio shoot  with our step-by-step guide – just be prepared to  shoot lots of photos!

4

A shot in the dark

Get started in night-sky photography with our illuminating step-by-step guide

January 2017

78

Follow the first of Michael Freeman’s creative paths...

Nikopedia

Essentials

78 84 Nikon software 86  ask Jason 88 Head to head

Lightbox 08 53 over to you apprentice 54 64 Photo stories 93 My big break Interview 94 130 the final word

  Cover feature Creative paths

  In a new series, Michael Freeman explores   13 paths to more creative photography   Fix perspective distortion, tilted   horizons and sensor spots in Capture NX-D

Jason addresses your queries, such as  whether VR should be used for monopod shooting 

  Which is the best flash for portraits and still  lifes? We pit a studio flash against a Speedlight

feel the force

Create your own lightsaber using a bit of  Photoshop magic. The results are impressive –  most impressive…

Cover feature

Cover feature

94

Cover feature

Wide-angle with wildlife

54

NeW SerIeS!

Cover feature

Stunning Nikon images from the USA  Landscape Photographer of the Year Awards   Your photos, plus our favourite shots   from our Photographer of the Year competition

Cover feature

Join this month’s lucky Apprentice   on a winter wildlife shoot in Iceland   Learn what it takes to be the best   wire-wool spinning photographer in the UK

  Ross Harvey reveals the shot that helped  launch his career as an award-winning wedding pro  

Cover feature

  David Yarrow discusses what he thinks  makes his close-up wildlife shots so successful Joe McNally has fun with a few  Speedlights he had kicking around the garage

www.digitalcameraworld.com


08

coNTENTS

Cover feature

Award-winning USA landscape photos shot on a Nikon

Master your Nikon with our expert videos 01

Gear Zone

106 

Cover feature

Capture a stylish still life  starring your favourite tipple!

112 N-Photo awards

  Discover the big winners in our  annual round-up of the best cameras,   lenses and photographic accessories!

02

Master the basics of studio  lights with our simple guide

03

Give your portraits the edge  using off-camera flash 

04

Learn how to apply a subtle  vignette in Lightroom

05

Turn your kids into Jedi  Knights in Photoshop

06

Watch the birdie! How to  shoot purrfect pet portraits 

07

Fix perspective problems   in Nikon’s Capture NX-D

112 D5600 Preview

  We take a closer look at   the latest offering in Nikon’s   enthusiast-level line-up

114 Big test

 After a lens with a bit more   reach? We put eight budget telephoto   zooms through their paces

ThE NEw way To SubScribE

SEE paGE

28

114

GEAR of thE 106 YEAR

Watch all our videos online! bit.ly/NPhoto67 Turn To page 6 To meeT The Team

January 2017

5


Contributors Print 21,730 Digital 6,697

The ABC combined print, digital and digital publication circulation for Jan-Dec 2015 is

This issue’s special contributors...

28,427

A member of the Audited Bureau of Circulations N-Photo Magazine, Future Publishing Quay House, The Ambury, Bath, UK, BA1 1UA Editorial mail@nphotomag.com +44 (0)1225 442244 Subscriptions and back issues (UK) 0844 848 2852 (overseas) +44 (0)1604 251045 Subscriptions nphoto@myfavouritemagazines.co.uk Or go to www.myfavouritemagazines.co.uk/nphoto Paul Grogan Editor Emma Swift Art Editor Ella Taylor Production Editor Jason Parnell-Brookes Staff Writer Rod Lawton Head of Testing Ben Andrews Imaging Lab Manager Video production Pete Gray Producer Adam Lee & Gareth Jones Videographers

Chris Rutter

Einar Gudmann

Michael Freeman

PAGE 16

PAGE 54

PAGE 78

In this month’s main feature, regular N-Photo contributor Chris shares his expert tips for shooting amazing nightscapes.

Photographer, author and native Icelander, Einar helps this issue’s Apprentice photograph the wildlife of his home country.

Michael kicks off his new 13-part series on creative paths, starting with some tricks for developing your eye for composition.

Advertising Clare Dove Commercial Sales Director Amanda Burns Senior Advertising Manager amanda.burns@futurenet.com, 01225 687286 Matt Downs Director of Agency Sales Clare Jonik Head of Strategic Partnerships Matt Bailey Account Director matt.bailey@futurenet.com, 01225 687511 Claire Harris Account Manager Marketing & circulation Sascha Kimmel Marketing Director Charlotte Lloyd-Williams Campaign Manager Michelle Brock Trade Marketing Manager 0207 429 3683

Print & production Vivienne Calvert Production Controller Mark Constance Production Manager International & licensing Matt Ellis Head of International Licensing matt.ellis@futurenet.com, +44 (0)1225 442244

Ross Harvey

David Yarrow

Joe McNally

PAGE 93

PAGE 94

PAGE 130

A graphic designer by trade, Ross reveals how a Christmas present enabled him to change his career – and his life.

The former City trader turned fine-art wildlife photographer explains why he’s so particular about his choice of subject.

Joe enthuses about how Nikon’s radio-controlled TTL Speedlight system makes his photography faster and more fun.

The N-Photo team on... The night shift

Management Aaron Asadi Creative Director, Magazines Matthew Pierce Editorial Director, Games, Photography, Creative & Design Chris George Group Editor-in-Chief Rodney Dive Group Art Director

Chief executive Zillah Byng-Thorne Non-executive chairman Peter Allen Chief financial officer Penny Ladkin-Brand Tel +44 (0)207 042 4000 (London) Tel +44 (0)1225 442 244 (Bath)

Printed in the UK by William Gibbons and Sons Ltd, on behalf of Future. Distributed by Marketforce (UK), 2nd Floor, 5 Churchill Place, Canary Wharf, London E14 5HU

N-Photo is an independent publication and is not in any way authorised, affiliated, nor sponsored by Nikon. All the opinions expressed herein are those of the magazine and not that of Nikon. Nikon, NIKKOR and all associated trademarks are the property of Nikon Corporation. © Future Publishing Limited 2016. All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be used or reproduced without the written permission of the publisher. Future Publishing Limited (company number 2008885) is registered in England and Wales. Registered office: Registered office: Quay House, The Ambury, Bath, BA1 1UA. All information contained in this publication is for information only and is, as far as we are aware, correct at the time of going to press. Future cannot accept any responsibility for errors or inaccuracies in such information. You are advised to contact manufacturers and retailers directly with regard to the price and other details of products or services referred to in this publication. Apps and websites mentioned in this publication are not under our control. We are not responsible for their contents or any changes or updates to them.

Paul Grogan

Jason Parnell-Brookes

Ben Andrews

Rod Lawton

One of the great things about night photography is that you don’t need lots of expensive kit – every Nikon camera has all the features you need .

I’m a sucker for shots of star trails where the photographer has added their own creative spin, such as Aaron Priest’s striking image on our cover .

Never leave home without a good app! There’s a wealth of free and paid-for ones available that really do make night photography easier.

You’ll need a lens of at least 300mm (see page 114) to record the moon at a decent size – and even then you’ll need to be prepared to crop the shot.

paul.grogan@futurenet.com

jason.parnell-brookes@futurenet.com

ben.andrews@futurenet.com

rod.lawton@futurenet.com

Editor

6

Staff Writer

January 2017

Lab Manager

If you submit unsolicited material to us, you automatically grant Future a licence to publish your submission in whole or in part in all editions of the magazine, including licensed editions worldwide and in any physical or digital format throughout the world. Any material you submit is sent at your risk and, although every care is taken, neither Future nor its employees, agents or subcontractors shall be liable for loss or damage.

Head of Testing

We are committed to only using magazine paper which is derived from well managed, certified forestry and chlorine-free manufacture. Future Publishing and its paper suppliers have been independently certified in accordance with the rules of the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council).

www.digitalcameraworld.com


n itio pe t c om Yea r he of t h er r ap t og P ho pe sca an d AL US he mt fro ge s ima tN iko n be s T he USA Landscape Photographer of the Year was founded in 2013 by internationallyacclaimed landscape photographer Charlie Waite. This year’s contest comprised five categories and two Special Awards. Here’s our pick of the winning and commended images shot on Nikon overall adult winner

Volcanic Autumn

alex noriega, washington Mount Rainier dominates the surrounding landscape. I’d been intrigued by the more glaciated side of it for some time, but hadn’t found a composition that put it in context. Eventually I found a spot, high above Upper Tipsoo Lake, where the trees seemed to cradle the mountain, while showcasing the autumn foliage and allowing for atmospherics between the mid-ground and the mountain. Nikon D600, Nikon 16-35mm f/4 VR, Shutter speed not known, f/11, ISO100

8

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January 2017

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lightbox

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January 2017

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lightbox

winner, Black & white (Youth)

runner up, Black & white

highlY coMMended, Black & white

John Morris, california

Michael ryan, california

Matt anderson, wisconsin

Sunset Light Show

Waimea Bay Beast

Winter Tree

It was the end of the day on a backpacking trip and I was hiking around our campsite finding spots to photograph when I came across this amazing area. I wasn’t initially looking to take mono images, but the contrast in the scene made for some amazing opportunities for shooting without colour.

When I came across this stunning oak tree during a hike in my hometown of Petaluma, California, I imagined how this scene would look under the influence of early morning fog. I waited two months for optimal conditions and, to my delight, the end result far exceeded my expectations.

I had passed this location for years. It’s in a rural area that doesn’t get much traffic. During the fall months I pruned away some stray shrubs and distracting elements in the foreground – not the first time I’ve pruned away chaotic elements in a rural setting – in anticipation of a majestic winter shot.

Nikon D800, Nikon 12-14mm f/2.8, 1/250 sec, f/9, ISO160

Nikon D800, Nikon 16-35mm, 2 secs, f/16, ISO100, Hoya UV filter

Nikon D800E, Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8, 1/400 sec, f/5.6, ISO100

www.digitalcameraworld.com

January 2017

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lightbox

highlY coMMended, MY uSa

highlY coMMended, claSSic view

runner up, dpreview Special award

alex noriega, california

alessandro carboni, alaska

Sapna reddy, Marin county

The Two Towers

In early 2015, the water levels at Mono Lake, California were very low, making many previous compositions unavailable. I had to search for something to dynamically separate a foreground from the towers I wanted as the main subject, so I stuck my camera in just about every little hole I could find, looking for a frame. Nikon D600, Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8, 0.4 sec, f/22, ISO100

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January 2017

Autumn Blizzard

During the fall of 2015, the first snow rests on the autumn colours in Denali National Park, Alaska. Winter and autumn come together during a blizzard in an unforgettable moment. Nikon D90, Nikon 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6, 1/640 sec, f/6.3, ISO400

Escape the Ordinary

This image was shot on one of the smaller roads that interlace Mt. Tamalpais State Park. On summer days it’s quite common to see the fog, lovingly nicknamed “Karl” by the locals, roll in from the coast and hug the hills at the base of the mountain. A hike on the mountain places you above the clouds, lending an ethereal, dreamy feel to the entire scene. Nikon D800E, Nikon 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6, 1/40 sec, ƒ/11, ISO100

www.digitalcameraworld.com


lightbox

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highlY coMMended, claSSic view

Supercell Over Farmland richard powell, kansas

Arriving in the early afternoon in Leoti, Kansas, this supercell storm remained almost still for two hours while I was on the edge of a field, feeling the strong wind rush past. Nikon D810, Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8, 2 secs, f/8, ISO100

runner up, future Special award

Autumn Fog Over Grand Teton ashish varma, wyoming

Lingering fog revealed occasional glimpses of the mountains, so timing was critical in capturing the best combination of mid-ground fog and distant peaks. The fence was included to add depth and perspective. Nikon D800E, Nikon 28-70mm lens, 1/10 sec, f/8, ISO100

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USA Landscape Photographer of the Year is the brainchild of British landscape photographer Charlie Waite. The competition exists to ‘celebrate all that is great about the American landscape’ and is open to photographers from all around the world. This year saw the introduction of a Special Award from Future, the publishers of N-Photo. Entries were received from more than 40 countries, but California-based photographer Alex Noriega scooped the top prize of $15,000 in the adult category, with Raiatea Arcuri from Hawaii being named Young Landscape Photographer of the Year. To see all the winning images, and for more details, visit www.usalpoty.com

www.digitalcameraworld.com


Your ultimate guide to

Night & astro photography Discover how to capture stunning star trails, frame-filling moonrises, amazing auroras and the Milky Way. Chris Rutter is your guide…

Jasmine_K/Shutterstock

P 16

hotography may be all about capturing light through your camera lens, but that doesn’t mean you can only take pictures during the day. There’s a whole new world of images to be shot long after the sun has disappeared beneath the horizon and the sky has become dark. Night-time skies reveal some of the most amazing and photogenic subjects you will ever find, such as the stars, the moon, the Milky Way and even galaxies far, far away. It’s always been possible to get shots after dark, but improvements to the quality of images taken at high ISO settings and longer exposures over the last few years mean that capturing the drama and beauty of low light and night-time subjects is now easier than ever. To give night photography a go you’ll need to know where to look and what settings to use, so we’ve put together a handy guide to the subjects you can shoot at night, and the

January 2017

techniques you’ll need to master to get the best possible results. From shooting simple subjects such as the moon, to capturing the most amazing auroras, there’s something for everyone, no matter what experience or gear you have. You’ll learn everything from the basic settings to use, to when and where to find the best subjects. With its shorter days, winter really is the best time to start exploring the hidden world of the night sky through your Nikon lens. There’s no need to be afraid of the dark, but be warned – capturing these images can be seriously addictive. You have to be prepared to lose a bit of sleep if you do catch the night-sky bug...


feature NX Xi gX hX tX &

astro photography

g e t S ta r t e d …

Night shoot basics Familiarise yourself with the fundamentals of night photography before heading out

W

hile there are specific skills and gear needed for the different subjects you can shoot at night – as we will explain over the coming pages – many of them rely on the same basic gear, techniques and planning. Here are four things you should consider before you set out on any night photography trip.

1

be pRepaRed foR the Cold

The temperature at night can drop dramatically, even during the summer months. During a shoot, you’re also likely to find yourself standing in one location for quite some time, so always take along some warm clothes, even if it’s balmy and bright when you set out. Naturally a hat, gloves and an insulated coat are going to be essential, but also make sure that your shoes or boots are warm, waterproof and well insulated from the damp and cold. It’s also worth taking a flask of coffee or tea to help lift your spirits.

2

WatCh out foR CoNdeNSatIoN

As the temperature starts to drop during the night, you’ll often find that any moisture in the air will condense on any gear you have out in the open. With your tripod, bag or even the outside of your camera this doesn’t matter too much, but when it forms on the lens, viewfinder and rear screen it can be a real problem. You can minimise condensation by giving your gear some time to gradually acclimatise, rather than taking it straight out of a warm car or house into the cold air. But on many evenings you’ll still find condensation will form, so take along plenty of camera cloths and a cleaning kit. Another option is to use a dew heater, which is an electric blanket that keeps the lens warm, and so keeps condensation at bay.

3

avoId lIGht pollutIoN

The glow from houses and street lights can make it almost impossible to see the stars clearly, so for many night photography techniques you’ll need to get away from large towns and cities. When shooting wide views of the stars you’ll find that urban glow will still be visible several miles away from nearby towns, and even small villages. You can incorporate this glow into your images, but for completely dark skies you’ll need to venture out to extremely remote locations.

ESSENTIAL EQUIPMENT FOR A NIGHT SHOOT NIKoN d-SlR All Nikon D-SLRs allow you to take the long exposures of 30 seconds or longer that night photography typically requires, but make sure you pack an extra, fully-charged battery or two. faSt leNS ‘Fast’ lenses (those with large maximum apertures in the region of f/1.4 to f/2.8) are preferable, as you won’t have to push the ISO as high as you would with a slower lens. A wide-angle zoom will let you to capture a starscape in a single frame, while a long lens

18

January 2017

in the region of 300-600mm will give you the reach you need to shoot the moon. SolId tRIpod Even the shortest exposures will be several seconds, so a sturdy tripod is vital. Set it up on solid ground and check that the legs and head are firmly locked down. Remote ReleaSe With the camera on a tripod you don’t want to nudge it by pressing the shutter release. A remote release – either a plug-in cord, a wireless version or one of

Nikon’s dedicated smartphone apps – will ensure sharpness. bRIGht toRCh If you use a normal torch the bright light can affect your night vision after you switch off the torch – using a red filter over the light will remedy this. SmaRtphoNe From plotting the moon’s path with PhotoPills to triggering a compatible camera with SnapBridge, photography apps make a night shoot so much easier.

www.digitalcameraworld.com


Night shoot basics

Four ways to improve night shots Get these settings right and you’re halfway there foCuSING Autofocus systems don’t work as well at night, so you’ll need to switch to manual focus. Even then, with so little light around it can be difficult to see a suitable subject, let alone focus on it. Using Live View and magnifying any areas of visible light in the frame can be easier than using the viewfinder to focus, and setting a high ISO of 6400 or more can also help (see below). To focus on subjects close to the camera, use a torch to illuminate them as you turn the focus ring.

4

Stay Safe!

Going out to most locations at night isn’t much more dangerous than it would be during the day, but it pays to take a few precautions, particularly if you’re venturing off the beaten track. If possible, take someone else with you, or at least tell someone where you are going and when you’ll be back. Make sure that you’re familiar with any potential dangers in your location, such as uneven ground, water and even cliff edges. It’s easy to miss these when you’re working in the dark, so make sure that you arrive in daylight so that you can suss out the area.

t rY t HiS …

A torch is essential for a night shoot, not just for finding your way and making it easier to adjust camera settings, but for illuminating objects to focus on and for light-painting parts of the scenery (see page 25)

SeNSItIvIty As with focusing, framing your shots through the viewfinder can be almost impossible at night. Setting up when there’s still some daylight will allow you sort out your composition beforehand, but Live View is the way to go when it’s black. Setting a very high ISO can allow you to see more on the screen, but remember to change the ISO back to the one that you need for your shot, or you’ll get an over-exposed and extremely noisy result.

expoSuRe You won’t be able to use your camera’s exposure meter during a night shoot, so setting the exposure requires a mix of educated guesswork and reviewing the image to check its brightness. You’ll need to switch to Manual exposure mode for exposures lasting up to 30 seconds, but for some effects you’ll need to use even longer shutter speeds. In this case, use Bulb exposure mode, also known as B – to access this, scroll beyond 30 seconds in the shutter speed readout. In this mode the shutter will stay open for as long as you hold down the button on your remote release. WhIte balaNCe The night sky doesn’t match any of Nikon’s ‘normal’ white balance pre-sets, so getting colours correct can be tricky. Try the Incandescent preset if you’re close to a town, or the Daylight preset if you’re in a darker area. Shooting in RAW rather than JPEG will allow you to fine-tune the white balance at the processing stage.

Locate the stars and planets Find your way around the night sky The art of finding stars and predicting where they (and the moon) would be in the night sky used to take lots of research and time using paper maps and charts. These days you can find all sorts of apps and websites that will give you this information at the touch of a button. At the planning stage, we’d suggest taking a look at websites such as www.timeanddate.com or www.in-the-sky.org, where you’ll be able to predict the position of the stars and moon for specific dates, times and locations. For finding stars in the night sky on location, try apps such as Star Chart or SkyView. You simply point your phone or tablet at the sky, and the stars will be displayed. Smartphone apps like Star Chart and SkyView can help you pick your spot on location

SKymapoNlINe.Net

IN-the-SKy.oRG

January 2017

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s E c t i o N Nhi Eg ah Dt feature

Chris Rutter

& astro photography

HoW to SHoot…

the magnificent moon Get started with your night photography by capturing frame-filling shots of our nearest neighbour in all its glory

KIT LIST: MOON PHOTOGRAPHY You will need... l Telephoto lens l Sturdy tripod l Remote release Suggested settings l Shutter speed: 1/250 sec l Aperture: f/5.6 l ISO: 800

You’ll need a long lens, such as this Sigma 500mm f/4.5

a

s the brightest and largest object in the night sky, the moon is a great subject to use as an introduction to astrophotography. It’s so large that you can easily shoot it with a normal telephoto lens, and it is bright enough that you can use a shutter speed fast enough to avoid needing a tracking mount. But even though the moon is relatively easy to shoot, you still need to use the right techniques to get a good shot. Here are our four suggestions…

1

fINd a date

Start by finding out when and where the moon will be visible in the night sky, and also how much of it will be lit by the sun (the area known as the phase). You can readily find plenty of information about the times and positions of the moon’s ascension and descent, along with its phases, on many meteorological websites, or use an app such as The Photographer’s Ephemeris or PhotoPills.

2

Stay ShaRp

Once you’ve decided on a suitable time to shoot the moon, the technique is actually pretty straightforward. You’ll need a lens of 300mm or longer to get it at a reasonable size in the frame. Fix the camera to a solid tripod, use a remote release and also select mirror lock-up mode, if your camera has this facility. The best way to focus is to use Live View, zoom in and carefully manually focus.

3

expeRImeNt WIth expoSuRe

Your exact exposure will vary according to the conditions, but in Manual exposure mode start with ISO800, a shutter speed of 1/250 sec and an aperture of f/5.6. Adjust the ISO or aperture until you can see detail clearly in the surface of the moon. Avoid reducing the shutter speed as you tweak the settings: this will result in the moon becoming blurred.

4

fIll the fRame

When you’re deciding when to shoot the moon, it’s also worth remembering that it isn’t always the same distance from the earth. Its orbit is elliptical, so its distance varies at different times. When there’s a full moon that’s closer than around 220,000 miles (360,000km) from the earth, this is known as a super moon. The difference in size and brightness between a super and a micro moon isn’t huge, but even a small change can make a difference to your shots. For detailed information about the moon in your area visit www.timeanddate.com/moon. Once you’ve filled in your location, you’ll be able to discover all sorts of useful information to help plan your shoot. You can also find out about a much rarer event: lunar eclipses. These can be a stunning sight, as during a full lunar eclipse the moon takes on a reddish hue. It won’t be as bright as when it’s illuminated by the sun, though, so you’ll need to set a higher ISO or wider aperture – or both – to ensure a correct exposure.

www.digitalcameraworld.com


thE magNificENt mooN

STEP BY STEP: Shoot the moon

Illustration: Andy McLaughlin

Take perfect moon pictures with these three simple steps 1 Go loNG Once you have discovered when the moon will be visible and waited for a clear night, the moon is one of the easiest subjects to shoot in the night sky. For a close-up of the moon, use at least a 300mm lens on a DX-format Nikon, or a 500mm lens on a full-frame one. 2 Get Set up With your Nikon on a tripod, you need to frame up the moon. Select Manual exposure and set ISO800, f/5.6 and 1/250 sec. In Manual Focus mode, switch to Live View and zoom in on the moon using the magnify button on the back of your Nikon. Then carefully focus on the craters.

3 adjuSt aS Needed Take a test shot, and adjust the ISO until the surface of the moon is correctly exposed. Remember that the moon will move quickly, so you may have to re-frame your shot.

t rY t HiS … Create a moonstack Capture the passage of time

Jason Parnell-Brookes

If your lens isn’t long enough to get a frame-filling shot of the moon, try shooting a moonstack. You’ll need to take a number of frames of the moon as it moves through the sky and then combine these in Photoshop. You’ll also have to take an additional picture where you’ve exposed for the landscape rather than the moon; this will provide your final composite image with a well-exposed backdrop. The trick with a moonstack is to work out the interval between shots, and then to keep it consistent by using a stopwatch.

Instead of using a stopwatch, you can automate the process with a built-in or external intervalometer, such as Triggertrap Mobile

www.digitalcameraworld.com

January 2017

21


feature N i g h t

& astro photography

HoW to SHoot…

spectacular star trails KIT LIST: STAR TRAIL PHOTOGRAPHY You will need... l Camera capable of a 30-second shutter speed in Manual mode l Remote release with a lock l Tripod Suggested settings l Shutter speed: 30 seconds l Aperture: f/5.6 l ISO: 400

Use these straightforward techniques to record the movement of the stars across the night sky

t

raditionally, shooting star trails with film-based cameras relied on shutter speeds of minutes or even hours to capture the movement of the stars across the night sky. But these exposure times will produce too much noise on digital cameras. As such, it’s better to shoot a sequence of images using a much shorter shutter speed and then combine them later. The other big advantage with this technique is that unlike many other creative options for shooting the stars, you can get great star trails images even when there is some light pollution.

1

taKe pole poSItIoN

Fix the camera in position, focused on the stars – and ideally pointed close to the pole star (see Step by step). You can either use continuous drive mode and just lock the shutter release on your remote, or you can use an intervalometer to take a sequence of images.

2

CaptuRe the tRaIlS

To capture significant trails with a wide-angle lens, you’ll need to keep shooting for at least 15 minutes, which works out at 30 exposures of 30 seconds each. The longer you shoot for, and the more exposures you take, the longer the star trails will be in your final image. Once you’ve completed your sequence of star trail images, you also need to take a final ‘dark frame’. This is a shot taken using exactly the same shutter speed, ISO and aperture as your main images, but with the lens cap in place. This dark frame is used when you come to combine the shots in software; it will help to reduce noise and the visibility of any ‘hot pixels’, which appear as white dots in long-exposure images. For this to work successfully, the dark frame needs to be taken immediately after you’ve shot the final image in your star trail sequence.

John A Davies/Shutterstock

Look for a stationary foreground detail, such as this rock formation in Arches National Park, USA, to add interest and drama


spectacular star trails

t rY t HiS … Create a star trail vortex

SergeyVidyulin/Shutterstock

Not all shots of star trails have to conform to the traditional circular spin, and a technique that’s steadily been growing in popularity is the idea of adding a spiral or vortex twist to the trails. This can be done by zooming the lens and rotating the camera using a custom-built device or (much easier) adding the zoom effect in photo-editing software, Some photographers have taken this to the next level. Take this month’s cover shot of the Northern Lights over Moosehead Lake in Maine, captured on a D700 by Aaron Priest. Aaron was looking for a fresh approach and hit upon the idea of illustrating a rift in time. He began playing around with some Photoshop scripts for creative star trails, which can be downloaded from http://liketheocean.com. The end result is a stack of hundreds of images: 243 frames for the lake and 125 frames from a single star field shot for the rift star trails.

3

Aaron Priest

Give your night sky shots an added twist

CombINe the ImaGeS

Once you’ve taken your sequence of images, plus a dark frame, you need to combine them. Load each star shot as a separate layer in Photoshop (or your preferred photo-editing software), then change the blending mode of all layers, apart from the bottom one, to Lighten. Load the dark frame on top of the Layer stack, and change its blending mode to Difference. This process is fine for a few images, but if you’ve taken 30 or more shots it’s a bit slow. The easiest way to combine lots of shots is to use software to automate the process. A popular option is Startrails for Windows, available to download in the Software section at www.startrails.de. Alternatively there’s StarStaX, which is available for both Windows and Mac OS X via the Software section at www.markus-enzweiler.de.

Here’s how to shoot circular star trails

1 fRame aNd foCuS If you’re shooting in the northern hemisphere, point your camera at the North Star if you want to capture circular star trails. In the southern hemisphere you will need to locate the Southern Cross. The easiest way to compose and focus is to set a very high ISO and switch to Live View. 2 Set the expoSuRe Once you’re happy with the framing of your shot, you will need to drop the ISO back down to 400, and set Manual exposure mode. Choose a shutter speed of 30 seconds and an aperture of f/5.6, and take a test shot to check that the stars are visible. If they’re not, increase the ISO until you can just see the stars.

A wide-angle zoom like this Sigma 10-20mm is ideal for star trail exposures

3 Shoot youR SeQueNCe If you’re using a remote release, set the camera to continuous shooting, then press and lock the remote. With an intervalometer, set the interval to 30 seconds. Finally, shoot a dark frame with the same settings.

January 2017

Illustration: Andy McLaughlin

STEP BY STEP: Get in a spin

23


feature N i g h t

& astro photography

HoW to SHoot…

stunning starscapes Discover the tips and techniques you need to capture awesome images of the Milky Way

t

he arc of the Milky Way is one of the most dramatic and striking sights visible in the night sky at any latitude. But if you live in a town, city, or anywhere affected by light pollution, the first challenge is finding a spot where the sky’s dark enough to see it clearly...

1 2

Go SomeWheRe daRK!

This will mean getting at least an hour or so away from any major town or city. The more remote the location, the more clearly you’ll be able to see the stars. fRame youR Shot

Next you need the sky to be clear – and you also need to check the position of the Milky Way itself, as this varies depending on the date and the location. You can find this information using a star map app, and finding the Sagittarius constellation, which is positioned in the middle of the Milky Way. Once you’ve found the correct area, you need to frame and focus on the stars. As always, using Live View and setting a very high ISO can help, but even then it will be difficult in any dark sky site. The most reliable method is to arrive at the location before dark, set the focus on the most distant object, and decide on your composition before the light goes. You’ll have to wait until at least an hour or two after sunset to start taking your images.

John A Davies/Shutterstock

3

24

folloW the 600 Rule

When shooting starscapes and the Milky Way, you need to choose a shutter speed fast enough to avoid recording too much of the movement of the stars in your shot. This will vary according to the focal length of the lens and camera that you are using. Many astrophotographers use ‘the 600 rule’ as a rough guide to work out the shutter speed you can get away with. All you do is divide 600 by the focal length of the lens – so if you’re using a 20mm lens, 600/20 is 30 seconds. I find that using this figure produces some star trails, so I’d suggest using a figure of 300, giving a shutter speed of 15 seconds with the same lens. There will still be some movement visible at 100 per cent magnification, but not enough to worry about.

January 2017

Remote locations make it easier to see and shoot the Milky Way and other stars

KIT LIST: STARSCAPES You will need... l Camera capable of clean results at ISO3200 l Fast wide-angle l Sturdy tripod l Remote release Suggested settings l Shutter speed: 10 seconds l Aperture: f/2.8 l ISO: 3200

4

StaCK ’em up

While you can get good results from a single starscape exposure, you can reveal even more detail by shooting four or five different exposures and then – as with the star trails technique – manually combining them as different layers in Photoshop. The stars will have moved over the course of these separate exposures, so you will have to carefully align the images so that the stars in each line up. Next, halve the Opacity of each layer compared with the layer below it: so on the first layer above the background layer set Opacity to 50 per cent, on the second layer to 25 per cent, on the third to 12 per cent, and so on. If your shots include any foreground or land, these areas will now be misaligned. To solve this, you will need to add a mask to each layer, and carefully paint over the areas of the mask using a black brush where these areas appear in the layers above. This way, only the landscape in the background layer will be visible in the final composite image. As a finishing touch, combine your stacked starscape with an image where you’ve set the exposure for the landscape or foreground. Add this as a layer on the top of the layer stack, add a mask and carefully paint out the areas of sky using a black brush.

www.digitalcameraworld.com


stuNNiNg starscapEs

STEP BY STEP: Expansive starscapes Master the art of Milky Way photography with these key settings and techniques

t rY t HiS …

Illustration: Andy McLaughlin

1 Get Set up Find a dark sky location where the Milky Way will be visible in the night sky; use an online star map or app to help with this. Once you’re on location, you should look for a simple, graphic subject to use as a focal point in the foreground of your shot (see main image). 2 expeRImeNt WIth expoSuRe In Manual exposure mode, set the ISO to 3200, and select the widest aperture available on your lens, such as f/2.8 or f/1.8. Start by setting a shutter speed of 10 seconds, which will avoid recording too much movement in the stars when using a wide-angle lens. 3 lIGht up the foReGRouNd If you want to capture detail in the foreground, you will need to use a longer shutter speed – maybe 30 seconds in a dark location – or use a torch to paint it with light (see below).

Produce a light painting Use a torch to add impact to night shots

Using a powerful torch to illuminate derelict buildings, trees or even parts of the landscape can help bring your night sky images to life

www.digitalcameraworld.com

Using flashguns or torches to light up the foreground is a simple way to give your night shots a twist. There are many light-painting techniques, so you’ll need to experiment with your camera settings. Once you’ve fixed your Nikon to a tripod and framed your image, switch to Manual exposure mode and dial in a shutter speed of 30 seconds, an aperture of f/5.6 and ISO200 as a starting exposure, then use your torch or flashgun to ‘paint’ your subject during the exposure. Keep the light moving, and avoid illuminating one area for too long, otherwise you run the risk of having hotspots in your image.

The more powerful the torch, the easier it is to light paint a large area


feature NX Xi gX hX tX &

astro photography

HoW to SHoot…

amazing auroras Head out to capture the colours and textures of these spectacular natural light shows

AURORAS You will need... l Ultra-wide angle, wide-aperture zoom lens l Sturdy tripod l Remote release Suggested settings l Shutter speed: 5-10 seconds l Aperture: f/2.8 l ISO: 1600

t 1

WoRK out the expoSuRe

The aim is to record the aurora’s intensity and shifting shape. The sky is obviously the star of the show, so base your exposure on this and don’t expect the foreground to be correctly exposed unless it is lit by artificial light or strong moonlight. As with starscapes, it will prove easier to shoot a foreground image separately and combine this with the correctly exposed sky shot later on. Your camera settings will depend on the prevailing conditions. Long exposures will blur the shifting lights, so limit the shutter speed to around ten seconds to start with, in Manual mode. You’ll also need to set an ISO of 1600 or 3200, and as wide an aperture as possible.

2

t rY t HiS … Forecast the lights Discover the best time to head out Auroras are visible close to the north and south poles, but predicting when and where they will occur and be visible is difficult. You can find forecasts from sites such as www.aurora-service.eu, www.aurora-service.net or www.gi.alaska.edu, which will give you an overview of their expected strength and visibility.

looK foR RefleCtIoNS

John A Davies/Shutterstock

Although you may lose some detail in the land, it’s worth scouting for a location that has a reflective surface in the foreground, whether that’s a lake, a river or ice. This will allow you to fill the frame with colour and interest, rather than the action being restricted to the top half of the frame.

3

CheCK (aNd ReCheCK) ShaRpNeSS

Shooting an aurora is a one-in-a-lifetime opportunity for many photographers, so it pays to keep checking that you’re capturing sharp images; this will give you an opportunity to correct things if you’re not. For instance, it’s easy to inadvertently nudge the focus ring when you’re zooming the lens to capture the changing light patterns and surroundings, ruining of all your remaining exposures. Make sure that the locks on your tripod legs and your ball head are fully tightened up (a ball head is better than a three-way head for this type of photography as it makes it easier to point the camera towards the sky and re-adjust its position quickly). Manually focus at infinity, take a test shot, then magnify the image on the rear screen to check that the stars are sharp.

4

eNjoy the ShoW!

As with the other types of night sky photography we’ve looked at, a remote release is an essential bit of kit. Not only does it allow you to take a sequence of exposures without touching the camera, it leaves you free to take in the light show as it unfolds above.

26

January 2017

www.digitalcameraworld.com

Miguel Moreno/Shutterstock

KIT LIST:

he Aurora Borealis (or the Northern Lights) and its southern hemisphere counterpart, the Aurora Australis (Southern Lights) are night sky spectacles that rank high on the bucket lists of many landscape photographers. Happily, Nikon’s sensor technology is now so good that it’s possible for anyone to capture high-quality images of this incredible light show, as long as you put yourself in the right location at the right time (see tip opposite) and follow these simple guidelines…


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in associaTion wiTh 34

36

ingenious recipes for sTunning shoTs

42

38

44

This monTh’s projecTs… PROJECT ONE / CREATIVE TECHNIQUES

34

Take your best shot

Capture a seasonal still-life without expensive kit

PROJECT FOUR / lIgHTRoom ESSENTIAlS

40 Darken the mood

Learn how to add a subtle vignette to your images in Lightroom

PROJECT TWO / ESSENTIAl gEAR SkIllS

PROJECT FIVE / CREATIVE PHoToSHoP

Master the basics of using a simple home studio kit

Create a lightsaber in seconds with this fun Photoshop project

PROJECT THREE / TEACH yoURSElf flASH

PROJECT SIX / THE BIg PRoJECT

36 Get started with studio lights 42 Feel the Force 38

Give your photos the edge

Try this twist on traditional lighting to capture striking portraits

www.digitalcameraworld.com

44

Try a pet project

Discover how to get pawesome studio shots of your pets

WaTch

The viDeo

Whenever you see this logo, it means there’s a video to accompany the tutorial, taking you through things step-by-step. You can watch all of our photography tutorial videos online – just go to bit.ly/NPhoto67

January 2017

33


NikoN SkillS i n

association with nikon school

Project one / CREATIVE TECHNIQUES

Take your best shot

the mission

● To master still-life

photography

time

It’s time for a festive tipple! In this tutorial, jason Parnell-Brookes demonstrates the essentials of still-life photography. It’s all in the light…

● One hour

Skill level

● Beginner ● Intermediate ● Advanced

E

ver fancied yourself as a product photographer, shooting expensive still-life photos for magazine kit pages or high-end adverts? For product images that really sing, you have to nail the lighting. So here we’re going for the big daddy of problematic subjects to light: glass. Glass provides opportunities for reflections, whether you want them or not, so controlling the light is key. We used a bottle and a glass of whiskey to create a classic still-life shot that radiates timeless style. You’ll be

Kit needed

● Nikon D-SLR ● Standard lens ● Two lights ● Tripod ● Shower curtain ● Gold or silver card ● Scissors

34

January 2017

pleasantly surprised to hear that it’s very easy to set up and shoot images like this at home. You don’t need any special equipment, just a couple of lights (which could even be home desk lamps rather than photography studio lights) and some diffusion (which you can also create and enhance using

affordable household objects). We’ve also used a slate tile as an attractive base to pop our product onto, to make it look even more desirable. We also have one or two tips that other people just won’t tell you about. Read on to find out how to take professional-looking product shots…

Glass provides opportunities for reflections, whether you want them or not watch the video online at bit.ly/nPhoto67


Se aS

WaTch

oN al

ThE vidEo

St ill -li fe

SteP BY SteP / Raise a glass

S

Faking it

1 Dress the scene

2 Use a tripod

If you can’t afford the whiskey, or just don’t want to waste it for one shot, use some weak tea! It looks the same as whiskey in the photograph and it gives you the opportunity to keep the bottle full. We promise we won’t tell anyone if you don’t.

3 Set up the lights

4 Shine a light

Quick tip

Set up your props in an attractive scene. We rested our props on a slate tile to create some texture, but wood would also work. We framed this in front of the wooden bar in an old whiskey shop, but you could use a fireplace, window or even a printed paper backdrop.

We placed two Speedlights (see page 88) in softboxes to the left of the bottle to sidelight the curved edge. They cover a wide area, spreading the light across the whole left-hand side of the bottle. We then hung a white shower curtain in front of the lights for further diffusion.

5 Drag the shutter

We set the light to ¼ power, then dialled in an aperture of f/6.3 on the camera to throw the background out of focus. At ISO100, we went from 1/200 sec shutter speed (sync speed) to 1/30 sec to lighten the backdrop (this is called dragging the shutter).

watch the video online at bit.ly/nPhoto67

So you can keep your hands free to adjust reflectors and fill up or empty the glass with whiskey, put your camera on a tripod. Your lens choice isn’t that important, but an 18-55mm lens will work perfectly for this shot. Our final photo was shot at 55mm.

Now that we have the light set up, we need to get some light bouncing through the bottle. Cut the silver or gold card into the shape of the bottle, with a folded arm to prop it up. Position the card opposite the light at 45 degrees, so that it bounces light back through the glass.

6 Lift the label

Now that the bottle and glass are starting to sing, the label needs a lift too. Cut the leftover gold card into a rectangle a bit bigger than the length of the label and hold it opposite the light. Experiment with the placement until you’re happy

If you want to put ice cubes in the glass, shoot fast. The ice will frost up the glass and it will melt quickly. It might be better to invest in some acrylic ice cubes specifically designed for product photography.

With thankS to: Chris Scullion and all at the Independent Spirit of Bath (www.independent spiritofbath.co.uk)

January 2017

35


NikoN SkillS i n

association with nikon school

ProjecT Two / essential gear skills

Get started with studio lights

Fancy setting up a simple home studio, but not sure where to start? james Paterson is here to help...

The mission

● To get to grips with

studio flash

Time

● One hour

Skill level

● Beginner ● Intermediate ● Advanced

Kit needed

● Nikon D-SLR ● Home studio flash kit

with two heads and softboxes or umbrellas

T

here’s a certain clarity and crispness that you get with studio flash which simply can’t be achieved any other way – look at the detail in the model’s amazing tattoos here. For those getting started, things can seem a little daunting. But studio flash is no black art, just a combination of basic lighting principles and camera skills. You don’t necessarily need a studio – any fairly large room will do – so the best place to start is with a home studio flash kit. A kit like this offer a range of benefits. First, it gives you control over the exposure. The high flash power means that you can use lower ISOs and consequently produce images with less noise. Second, a studio flash kit effectively give you control over depth of field, as increasing or decreasing the power lets you open or close your aperture. The biggest advantage, however, is the control that studio flash gives you over the quality of light. You can choose whether it’s diffuse or harsh, spread wide or in a narrow beam, and you can choose to have it emitting from any angle.

36

January 2017


ho me

WaTch

St ud

The video

io eS Se

STeP BY STeP / Master the basics

Nt iA

1 Get set up

2 Adjust the power

3 Attach a modifier

4 Experiment with exposure

A typical home studio kit includes two heads, stands and modifiers. The flash is triggered either with a sync cable or wireless triggers. Once the heads are on their stands, attach the sync cable to one light and set the other to Slave so that it goes off when it detects the first flash.

To control the quality and spread of the light, studio lights can be fitted with a variety of modifiers and accessories, such as the softbox and umbrella that you can see here. The modelling light – a constant bulb next to the flash bulb – will give you an idea of the effects of each modifier.

Most studio heads have a control that lets you increase or decrease the power. On this Elinchrom head it runs from 2 to 6. Each numeral is a stop difference. You can also change the distance between light and subject – halving the distance quadruples the strength of light.

lS

softboxes or umbrellas? Both of these modifiers will diffuse and soften the beam from a studio light, which is usually good for portraits. But there are subtle differences. in the shots below, see how the shadows change between the umbrella (left) and softbox (right). the shadow on the umbrella shot isn’t as deep as the one created by the softbox. the reason for this is that umbrellas throw light everywhere, and it bounces off nearby surfaces. Portrait photographers tend to prefer softboxes as the spread is narrower and there’s more control over the shadows. they also produce attractive square catchlights in the eyes.

In manual mode, set the ISO to 100, the aperture to f/8 and the shutter speed to the fastest flash sync speed (usually 1/200 sec). Take a test shot. If it’s too light, either lower the flash power, increase the f-number or move the light further away. If it’s too dark, do the opposite.

Quick tip

5 Strike a balance

With two lights, it’s all about the ratio between them. Turn on one light – we used a softbox from above – and expose for it. This is your Key. Now turn it off and turn on the other light – an umbrella from below, here. Aim for one or two stops of underexposure. This is your Fill.

watch the video online at bit.ly/nPhoto67

6 Blow the highlights

We can get a fresh high-key look with just two lights. Here one softbox lights the face, while an umbrella is angled at the background. The umbrella is fired at a higher power than the softbox, so it blows out the backdrop. A little reflected light creates a nice highlight along the cheek.

For close-ups like our main shot, bring your lights in tight so that they’re just outside the frame. This increases their size in relation to the face and fills out the shadows.

January 2017

37


NikoN SkillS i n

association with nikon school

ProjecT Three / teach yourself flash

Give your photos the edge

Teach Yourself Flash

jason Parnell-Brookes reveals how to add drama to your portraits using off-camera flash

The mission

● To create dramatic

side-lighting with flash

Time

● 30 minutes

Skill level

● Beginner ● Intermediate ● Advanced

Kit needed

● Nikon D-SLR ● Flashgun and wireless

flash trigger ● Diffuser ● Black card

M

ost of us have probably used side-lighting in our photography before, even if we didn’t necessarily do so intentionally. We get someone to stand near a window and look at the camera, and the light falls across their face. Or we put a flashgun up to one side so only half their face is lit, and the other is in shadow. With this month’s Teach Yourself Flash technique, we’re keeping the same concept but tweaking the position for a more dramatic result. We’ll position our model so that they’re a few feet away from the light source and closer to the camera, resulting in a more shadowy face and a harder edge to the profile. On this shoot we’re emphasising the wonderful shapes and curves that are created with this pleasing mix of side-lighting and backlighting. It’s simple once you get set up, so let’s take a look at where we need to position everything…

38

January 2017

Part 8


Dr am

WaTch

at ic

The video

SiD e-l ig

STeP BY STeP / Take sides

ht iN g

shoot from behind If you’re happy with shooting into the light, try shooting from behind the model. It’ll be tricky to get right, but you’ll have a strong backlit shot, with some flaring of the light in the background.

1 Set up the flash

2 Remain in the dark

3 Position your model

4 Add a flag

Place your light a few feet away from the camera, aimed towards the right of the frame. It doesn’t matter what kind of light source you use; we’re using a single Speedlight which is being fired into a silver umbrella for diffuse lighting. We set our Speedlight to ¼ power.

Ask your model to stand directly in front of the light, looking into it. To get that side-lit effect, have them take a step or two towards the camera. We got Jennifer to move approximately three feet from the softbox to harden the light on the profile of her face.

5 Work in manual

With the model in place, set the camera to manual mode, dial in the flash sync speed (1/200sec in our case) and an ISO of 100. We also set an aperture of f/5.6, which ensured crisp focus from the model’s nose to the back of her head with our 70-200mm lens.

watch the video online at bit.ly/nPhoto67

The background needs to be dark to make the model’s face stand out. Putting our model, Jennifer, in front of a white wooden backdrop would reduce the effect of the white highlights around the edge of her face when posing. We’ve used a black fabric backdrop, instead.

To stop the light from spilling onto our background, we’re using a flag set up between the light and the backdrop. A simple piece of black card is sufficient to block the light from the camera, just make sure it’s not reflective on the other side or it may throw light onto the backdrop.

take it further Inspired by Jason’s lighting technique? then Nikon school’s ‘the art of film Noir Portraits’ workshop might be the perfect next step for you. for full details of this speedlight course in london, plus a full list of other workshop dates, visit www. nikon.co.uk/training

6 Wrap the light

You can now vary the quality of the light without having to change a thing. Move your model back towards the light and you’ll notice the light wraps around more of their face. By moving the model towards the camera, away from the light, you’ll get a harder edge to the profile.

January 2017

39


NikoN SkillS i n

association with nikon school Project four / TEACH YOURSELF LIGHTROOM

the mission ● To add a subtle

vignette to a moody landscape

time

Apply a vignette

WAtch

the video

Add drama to an image by darkening its corners, with George cairns

● Five minutes

Skill level

● Beginner ● Intermediate ● Advanced

Kit needed

● Lightroom 5 or later

F 

ollowing on from our ‘Add a subtle tone’ tutorial in issue 65 (November 2016), we’ll work from our split-toned image. If you didn’t follow that lesson, download the split-toned start file ‘Vignette start.jpg’. Our landscape looks quite interesting with the split-tone effect and contrast, but the sky lacks impact due to bland clouds. To help, we can add a vignette.

Vignettes occur naturally as less light enters the edge of a lens and causes the corners of the photo to look a little darker. By deliberately darkening the edges in Lightroom we can give the sky’s flat white highlights more tonal variety. Darker details at the top of the frame will help to give the landscape more balance, because they’ll echo the darker tones of the ground. A vignette

will also help to add a touch of atmosphere to our bleak-looking landscape image. Once you’ve added a vignette, you may decide to crop the photo to change its composition. In some applications this would crop out your vignetted edges. As its name suggests, Lightroom’s Post-Crop Vignette tool is clever enough to reapply the vignette effect to your recomposed photo.

SteP BY SteP / Darken the mood

1 Add a vignette

2 Refine the vignette

3 Crop the photo

4 Re-evaluate the vignette

In the Develop module, click the Effects panel, then click the PostCrop Vignette tool. Leave the Style set to Highlight Priority. Drag Amount to -35. This darkens the corners and some of the edges. Increase Midpoint to 59 to push the effect nearer the frame edge.

Click the Crop Overlay icon in the toolbar below the histogram. The crop overlay will appear over the entire photo. Click Original and choose a new aspect ratio of 1x1. This changes the crop to a square shape. Drag inside the crop overlay to include all of the branches.

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By default, a Roundness of 0 creates an oval shape that suits the photo’s landscape shape. Drag Roundness left to get a rectangular shape. Drag it right to +35 to create a more oval-shaped vignette that darkens the vertical edges a bit more. Leave Feather on 50.

Click Done to apply the crop and create a square version of the landscape. This loses the bland edges of the frame and makes the tree more prominent. The vignette effect we created earlier will reappear in the new corners of the cropped photo.

Download the start image(s) at bit.ly/start-67


Su bt le Vi gN et

be

fo

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Af

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tiN

By deliberately darkening the edges in Lightroom we can give the sky’s flat white highlights more tonal variety watch the video online at bit.ly/nPhoto67

January 2017

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NikoN SkillS i n be

fo

association with nikon school Project five / CREATIVE PHOTOSHOP

re

Feel the Force

jason Parnell-Brookes shows you how to create your own lightsaber armed with nothing more than Photoshop. These are the tips you’ve been looking for

af te r

the mission

● To make a lightsaber

in Photoshop

time

● 15 minutes

Skill level

● Beginner ● Intermediate ● Advanced

Kit needed ● Photoshop

W

hich will you choose, the dark side or the light side? With this quick Photoshop tutorial you can choose either. Take a photo of someone mid-pose with a toy lightsaber and learn how to add the perfect glow effect with the Brush tool and a few layers and filters. It’s not just the weapon that we’re going to recreate here, we need to think about how that light will react with the rest of the scene. Having an idea of how the the light will contour the ’saber holder’s face and hands is important; we’d recommend holding a light in your hands while looking in the mirror, so that you can see where the light falls. With some simple planning you can create a weapon fit for the likes of Obi-Wan. So let’s grab our Photoshop wand and make some movie magic…

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Download the start image(s) at bit.ly/start-67


Ma

Watch

ki NG al

the video

iG Ht Sa

SteP BY SteP / Glow for it!

2 Make it glow

3 Add a colour

4 Light the face

5 Sharpen it up

6 Tweak the colours

Make a new layer (Cmd/Ctrl + Shift + N). Select the Brush (B), go to Window>Brush and make Spacing 1% for a solid line when you paint. Choose a white foreground colour. Click the base of the handle, hold Shift and click the end of the ’saber. Use a mask to remove the glow on the handle.

Click the top glow layer, hold Shift, click the bottom one, then press Cmd/Ctrl+G. With the Group selected, add a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer, tick Colorize, lower Lightness and boost Saturation. With your cursor halfway between this layer and the Group, hold Alt and click.

To get that gritty, cinematic look, we’re going to use the High Pass filter to accentuate the edges in the shot. Use Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+N for a new layer, then Cmd/ Ctrl+Alt+Shift+E to merge the visible layers. Finally go to Filter>Other>High pass and choose about 80 pixels.

watch the video online at bit.ly/nPhoto67

Duplicate the new layer, right-click on the mask and click Apply Layer Mask. Go to Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur and set 75 pixels. Duplicate this layer several times to boost the glow. Now drag the original layer (with the lightsaber in it) to the top of the Layers palette.

r

1 Paint the ’saber

be

try adding a vignette

First, choose the Elliptical Marquee tool (left-click and hold on the Marquee tool to see this option). Drag a circle around your subject, right-click and select Refine Edge. Set Feather to 300 pixels and click OK. Use Shift+Cmd/Ctrl+I to invert the selection, pick the Paint Bucket tool (G) with black as the foreground colour (D) and click in the selection. Reduce the layer opacity to 30%.

Make a new layer and choose the Brush tool. Set the glow colour, right-click on the image and set the brush Hardness to 20%. Set Soft Light blending mode, then paint in the glow. Mask out bits that spill onto the scenery. Blur the light with Filter>Blur>Guassian Blur at 30 pixels.

One final suggested adjustment is to colour balance the image a little. Make a new Adjustment Layer and choose Colour Balance. Click on Tone and give the Shadows a positive boost on the blue and cyan channels, and turn the Highlights orange (by boosting yellow and red).

WiTh ThAnkS To: Tom and Lexi Grogan for the excellent posing!

January 2017

43


NikoN SkillS T H E

BIG PROJECT

Project Six / The big projecT the mission ● Tophotograph

studioportraits ofpets

time

● Twohours

Skill level

● Beginner ● Intermediate ● Advanced

Kit needed

● NikonD-SLR ●Twostudiolightsor

flashguns(seepage 88forourstudio lightingkitvs Speedlight headtohead) ● Twolightstands ● Paperbackdrop

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January 2017

Try a pet project jason Parnell-Brookes cuddles some kittens and shows you how to get pawesome shots of your pets

W

hen a cute cat casually walks into the room, it’s almost impossible to resist picking up your Nikon to start snapping. But often you might find that other people manage to get good shots on their smartphones, while you struggle to compose the right shot in the dark settings of the living room, with your legs curled around the coffee table. Don’t worry, with just a little planning and forethought you can dramatically improve your results.

With a couple of lights and some paper, you can get sweet, playful studio-looking shots anywhere, whether you’re at home or at your local animal rescue centre. Having some catnip and treats handy can help coerce your furry friends into posing for you. While there are no guarantees – especially as they may take a while to get used to the set-up – once they’re happy with you and your gear, you’ll get great images in no time. Here’s how to get furry good shots…


PE TP or Tr ai TS

January 2017

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NikoN SkillS T H E

BIG PROJECT

2

1

4

3

on location / Key pieces for this kitty puzzle 1

Plain backdrop

A plain backdrop helps us to control the light, and makes our shots look uncluttered and considered as we’re drawn to the cat and its behaviour.

Black cats Black cats can be tricky to expose for because left to its own devices, your Nikon will try to render them a mid-tone (in the same way that it will try to render snow mid-grey, as on page 60). If in doubt, use Manual mode to make quick adjustments to get the exposure right every time.

2

Two lights

Two lights provide a good spread of light to ensure both the backdrop and the cat are evenly exposed (see page 36 for more on using studio lights).

3

String and toys

Have some toys or some string to hand. Cats can make really interesting shapes with their bodies as they jump and twist to play with the toys.

Adorable cat

To get a good shot, you need to have a good subject. Luckily, cats are all inherently beautiful, and they have the added benefit of being cute, too.

KeY conSiDerationS / pamper your puss

1 Know their needs

If you’re encouraging the cats with treats, be aware of their diet – especially when photographing other people’s pets. Some cats also have illnesses, so be sensitive to their limits; having flashguns around cats with epilepsy is of course a no-go…

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January 2017

2 Take regular breaks

You can’t shoot for six hours straight with animals. Be aware of their stress levels and attentiveness, as what must always come first is their welfare, not the photograph. Take breaks to cuddle the cats, to let them explore their environment stress-free, and to rest.

Watch the video online at bit.ly/NPhoto67


PE

WaTch

TP or

The video

Tr ai TS

SteP BY SteP / The cat’s whiskers

Paws for thought

1 Set burst mode

2 Go long

3 Position your lights

4 Set your exposure

5 Get down low

6 Shoot different poses

The cats will move around the entire time while you’re shooting, so use continuous high burst mode and ensure that it’s set to the maximum frame rate. This is usually on a dial on the top of your Nikon body, but if you can’t find it, check your camera’s manual.

To get the best spread of light, simply use two lights set camera-left and right, pointing at a 45-degree angle towards the cat and the backdrop. Choose ¼ power for shorter recycle times than full power (again, see page 36 for our beginner’s guide to using studio lights).

Crouching is fine if you’re using a longer lens, but to go wider you need to get down to the cat’s eye level. Getting at their level helps viewers to identify with the cat. Many people take pictures looking down from standing height, so be different and get down low.

Watch the video online at bit.ly/NPhoto67

Wide-angle lenses and getting in close to the cat create cute pictures where the cat appears to have a big head and a small body, like a kitten. But some cats will run away if fussed over, so you’ll need a longer lens. Try a telephoto lens to step further back from the animal.

Rather than tackle the whole cat, spend some time focusing on the details. Fill the frame with their eyes, paws, claws, whiskers and any striking patterns on the cat. If the cat has a particularly beautiful pattern, get in close to make that the only thing you can see through the viewfinder.

There’s no ambient light in these set-ups, so use the maximum flash sync speed of your camera – ours was 1/200 sec. To keep the entire cat in focus we used f/8 while at ISO200, to give the photo a little exposure lift without introducing too much noise.

Sitting and begging poses will make everyone go ‘awww’, while cats getting ready to pounce or jumping after string with their teeth and claws bared look impressive. But ultimately, shoot whatever pose the cat strikes for you. Just try to avoid bum shots!

January 2017

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NikoN SkillS t h e

big project

SteP BY SteP / processing

1 Crop in

Select your Crop tool in Photoshop (C) and drag a shape around the cat. Use the handles at the edges to resize the crop. Leave some space around the cat, and avoid cropping over fur, unless it’s for creative purposes. Now duplicate the layer (Ctrl/Cmd+J) for the next step.

2 Clean up

There’s a filter that works like the Healing Brush tool. Go to Filter>Noise>Dust & Scratches. Set your Radius to 10 pixels and your Threshold to 5. Press OK and use a vector mask to paint over the cat with the Brush (B). Voila! A clean background and a sharp cat.

Learn more at Nikon School

get the most from your camera with Nikon’s comprehensive training programme

N

ikon School photography workshops cater for every level of photographic ability, whether you are new to taking photographs, a keen amateur or a professional. Nikon School offers a wide range of workshops suited to individuals wanting to learn more about photography or expand their creative horizons. Courses will help you improve your skills, develop your eye for a photo and learn to take control of your camera. Workshops are a mix of easy-to-understand theory and practical assignments. They’re attended by small groups of up to 12 delegates to ensure that everyone can benefit from the expert knowledge of tutors.

From understanding your Nikon D-SLR and lenses to image editing; from street shots to inspiring landscapes; the school’s workshops cover a variety of skills and subjects. Workshops take place at either the Nikon Centre of Excellence in London, or on location as stated. Nikon School can also provide bespoke training and consultancy services on the use of Nikon and other imaging products to companies and groups. For details, contact training.uk@nikon.com or telephone 0330 123 0934. ■ For more on Nikon school and all of its courses, just visit www.nikon.co.uk/training

Forthcoming workshops © chris gomersall

Here are just some of the workshops that Nikon School has got coming up in the next few months

3 Stay sharp

48

Make a new layer and merge all of the layers underneath to the new layer (Ctrl/Cmd+Alt+Shift+E). Go to Filter> Smart Sharpen with a Radius of 1px and an Amount of 120%. You can reduce the opacity on the layer later if you change your mind.

28 January, London

18 February, Scotland

20 February, Devon

Shoot stylish urban wedding photos

capture winter wildlife in the cairngorms

Shoot steam trains by day and night

WiTh ThANKS To: Bath Cats & Dogs Home, which rescues, rehabilitates and rehomes over 1,300 animals every year (www.bcdh.org.uk, RSPCA Bath & District Branch, Registered Charity Number: 205594).

9 March, Surrey

10 March, Andover

20 April, Yorkshire

get up close to native british animals

photograph over 150 birds of prey

capture some striking Dales waterfalls

January 2017

www.nikon.co.uk/training


fr ee dx o so ft wa re

DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE SOFTWARE WORTH £159 PC & MAC

DxO pROMOTION / your FrEE soFtwarE

DxO OpticsPro 9 Elite

Find out how to download your free photo-editing software, and what you need to do to activate its features beyond the 30-day trial period

D

xO OpticsPro 9 is unique as far as imaging-editing software goes: it analyses your images and applies adjustments automatically, based on the content of the pictures and the camera equipment that was used to capture it. The results can be dramatic, and are made possible by DxO’s background in benchmarking: DxO tests every new camera and lens released, so they know a thing or two about image quality. In fact, they’re the outfit behind the software that we use for our own camera reviews. OpticsPro’s presets are a big part of the program, and they’re a great place to get started when you’re enhancing your images. The preset styles are very good, but it’s only when you begin to adapt them and use your own settings that you get to see the full power and quality of the software.

STep By STep / Get started with opticsPro

1 Apply corrections

2 Try a preset

3 Fine-tune it

4 Save preset

Select an image in the Organise section, then click Customise. OpticsPro will automatically apply corrections. Click the Apply Preset button in the top-right, and a large preview of your image will appear.

Select Portrait and Landscape, then scroll through the options to Polarised Postcard. You need to select it then click Apply. Now you can take a look at the available options on the right of the screen.

IMpORTANT! Register your copy of OpticsPro 9 To activate your copy of DxO OpticsPro 9 Elite, please visit www.dxo.com/n-photo and enter your email address. Registration is free. You will then be emailed details of how you can download the software, plus the activation code that you need in order to unlock its features permanently. You will need to have registered your email address by 28 February 2017.

www.digitalcameraworld.com

A blue switch displayed next to any of the sections, such as White Balance shown here, indicates that one of the parameters within that section has been adjusted. Use any of the sliders to fine-tune.

Once you’ve finished making your adjustments, return to the left column: just below the preset list, you will see three small icons. Click the one nearest the edge of the screen to save the preset.

January 2017

49


NikoN skills D x O

PROmOtiOn

ReADeR OFFeR Get £40 off DxO OpticsPro 11 Elite

DxO pROMOTION / uPGraDE oFFEr

Discover DxO OpticsPro 11 Elite

Alastair Jennings takes a look at how the latest features of Dxo opticsPro can dramatically improve your photographs DxO OpticsPro is a photo-editing package aimed at photographers who want to get the best from their images quickly, without sacrificing the flexibility of precise control and accurate adjustment. This handy software is compatible with both JPEGs and RAW files and is all about getting the best print-ready pictures from your camera. The latest version, DxO OpticsPro 11 Elite, is a big step forward when it comes to image enhancement, though core features remain: as with OpticsPro 9, it intelligently tailors image adjustments based not only on the content of a picture, but also on the camera that was used to take it. OpticsPro’s noise reduction is one of its stand-out features. The latest version of

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DxO’s PRIME (Probabilistic Raw IMage Enhancement) noise reduction is perfectly suited to tackling noise in RAW files. The impressive ClearView adjustment, which draws out hidden detail from hazy images, is another highlight, as is the improved Selective tone tool, which enables you to pinpoint regions for Curves-like tonal adjustments. Other notable features include Smart Lighting Spot Weighted mode (see right) and automatic red-eye removal, which uses face recognition.

To help you get even more from your photos in 2017, DxO is offering N-Photo readers €50 (approx. £40/$50) off the full price of DxO OpticsPro 11 Elite. To take advantage of this offer, just visit www.dxo.com between 1 January and 28 February 2017 and under Shop, select Photo Software, then DxO OpticsPro. On the following screen, you need to click ‘Buy’ for the Elite edition then, on the first page of the shopping cart, you need to enter promotional code NPHT2017. Please ensure that the £40 discount has been applied before you continue to make your payment. If you haven’t purchased a DxO product before, you’ll need to create a customer account during purchase.

As with OpticsPro 9, the software intelligently tailors image adjustments based on not only the content of a picture, but also on the camera that was used to take it www.digitalcameraworld.com


dx o re ad

GUIDeD TOUR / Dxo opticsPro 11 Elite highlights

er of fe

dxO CLeARView Haze can be a problem when you’re shooting landscapes, as it reduces contrast and detail; smog can have the same effect in a city shot. ClearView is designed to cut through these atmospheric conditions, automatically boosting your scenics by extracting underlying detail.

ReSPOnSiVe SLideRS Most manual adjustments made within OpticsPro use the sliders under each setting header. The sliders have been refined from the previous version of the software, and are far more responsive when you’re applying effects.

RATing And FiLTeRing Reviewing and rating your images is good practice, and enables you to quickly filter the number of shots that you have available to work on. The Image Preview bar, which is located at the base of the interface, enables you to quickly rate, reject and filter your images.

dxO SMART LighTing This is a quick way to reveal details in shadows and highlights. Both Uniform and Spot Weighted options enable you to alter the intensity of the effect, but Spot Weighted uses face-recognition to improve contrast across the whole image while optimising the illumination on people.

AuTO MiCROCOnTRAST Adjusting Microcontrast is a great way to boost fine image detail. To do this, activate Contrast in the Essential Tools panel. Click the Magic Wand to apply Microcontrast automatically, then fine-tune the result with the slider.

iMPROVed SeLeCTiVe TOnAL AdjuSTMenTS While Curves is a powerful way to make tonal adjustments to your pictures, it’s notoriously unintuitive to use. OpticsPro 11’s Selective tone tool enables a similar level of control, but through the use of sliders. These enable you to quickly brighten shadows and pull back highlights, as well as boost blacks and midtones.

www.digitalcameraworld.com

r

dxO PRiMe DxO’s PRIME noise reduction technology reduces visual noise while preserving other detail. It can be found in the right-hand column under the Detail tab and then Noise Reduction. Once it’s selected, you can use either the HQ (Fast) or Prime settings; whichever you choose, zoom in to 100% to view the effect.

Red-eye ReMOVAL Located under the Detail tab, Red-Eye enables you to quickly eradicate any unwanted red-eye automatically. The feature uses automatic face-detection to work its magic, or you can remove the red-eye manually if you prefer.

FuLL-SCReen diSPLAy MOde Working big is the best way to see the full extent of your adjustments. OpticsPro 11 has several quick-access viewing modes that can be selected at the top of the screen. Full screen clears the tool palettes, and you can press C on the keyboard for side-by-side before and after versions, allowing you to see the improvements.

January 2017

51


OVER TO YOU... Your Photos, Your stories, Your let ters

71 N-Photo Photographer of the Year

54 The Apprentice

It’s a winter wildlife special, as we return to Iceland with professional photographer Einar Gudmann

photos 64 Your

review 66 Portfolio

Discover the extraordinary lengths that one reader is prepared to go to in order to capture the UK’s best wire-wool spinning shot

We hear the stories behind some truly stunning night sky images, and take an in-depth look at what makes them so good. Prepare to be wowed!

N-Photo Magazine, Future Publishing, Quay House, The Ambury, Bath, UK, BA1 1UA mail@nphotomag.com

www.digitalcameraworld.com

January 2017

53


Help me go wild in Iceland! For this issue’s Apprentice, N-Photo reader Sigurjón Einarsson and nature pro Einar Gudmann teamed up for a cold and wintry wildlife shoot in their stunning home country

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WI NT ER WI ld

Name Einar Gudmann Camera Nikon D4s

lIf E

Einar is a full-time professional photographer and author who specialises in the wild animals and scenery of Iceland. His work with Iceland’s Environment Agency has helped inform his knowledge of the country’s landscapes, and regular readers will recognise him as The Pro from our Iceland landscapes Apprentice in issue 57. To see more of Einar’s amazing work go to http://photos.gudmann.is

Name Sigurjón Einarsson Camera Nikon D810 Sigurjón took up photography at the age of 39, and after five years of using entry-level gear he upgraded to a D800. He longed to shoot wildlife, but first he had to learn how to find the animals he wanted to photograph – something that’s not always easy in Iceland’s unforgiving landscape. He has a good selection of lenses and loves his telephotos, but that’s not all Sigurjón used for this shoot…

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OVER TO YOU T H E

ApprENTIcE

Introduction Driving through southwestern Iceland in winter is hard to do at the best of times, but both Sigurjón and Einar had to lug around enormous lenses while searching for some of Iceland’s most beautiful wildlife. In winter there isn’t an abundance to choose from, but Einar soon found some photogenic species for them to train their lenses on.

Technique assessment ConTInUoUS AUToFoCUS Einar says... Continuous AF (AF-C) and Continuous drive mode are essential when shooting wildlife, even if it’s not moving that quickly. AF-C ensures that your Nikon will adjust the focus automatically if your subject moves even a few millimetres closer or further away, while firing off a burst of shots in Continuous drive mode will increase your chances that at least one of them will be pin-sharp. FoCUS poInT wrAp-AroUnd Einar says... Moving the AF point around at speed can make the difference between a sharp shot and a soft one, so I suggested that Sigurjón turn on Focus point wrap-around. This means that when the active AF point hits the edge of the frame, a click of the multi selector will push it to the opposite side. This is useful when you want to move the AF point quickly from one side of the frame to the other. IMAGE rESolUTIon Einar says... Shoot fast, shoot easy, shoot a lot. Sigurjón had his D810 set up to record at full resolution, which is 36.3MP; shooting in RAW, this results in file sizes of around 56MB. Firing off bursts of images at that size will eventually slow the camera down, even with the fastest memory cards inside. By shooting at a slightly lower resolution, Sigurjón will be able to shoot more frames in a continuous burst, and to fit more shots on his card.

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HOT SHOT #1

EXPOSURE 1/800 sec, f/5.6, ISO800 LENS Nikon 500mm f/4

Our Apprentice says… Driving along the coast, Einar and I spotted a few shags in a harbour. We walked down onto the jetty to look for them, but found three or four eider ducks in a better position. However, the jetty was bobbing up and down, so it was difficult to ensure a stable shooting position. Einar suggested that I use a fast shutter speed to freeze the movement of the jetty. In the end I went for 1/800 sec at f/5.6 in manual mode, which meant that I had to up the ISO to 800 to ensure a correct exposure.

www.digitalcameraworld.com


WI NT ER WI ld lIf E

Maintain eye contact It’s often said that the eyes are the window to the soul, and when those eyes are wild and looking straight down the barrel of the lens, as was the case with this shag, you can end up with a wonderfully intimate portrait. In situations like this, keep an active AF point trained on the bird’s eye. Left to its own devices, your Nikon may focus on the closest part – the tip of the bill – which can leave the eyes looking soft.

www.digitalcameraworld.com

Take time to reflect Taking pictures of wildfowl usually means shooting across bodies of water. When the surface is calm you can use reflections creatively. Here, Sigurjón is lying flat to photograph the eider duck; not only does this enable him to throw both the foreground and the background out of focus, it also means he can include the duck’s reflection in the shot.

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Our Apprentice says… A flock of redpoll flew in while we were taking a break. As soon as I heard them coming, I pulled my D810 out of its bag and was poised, ready to shoot. Einar gave me some salient advice: “Choose one perch where the background isn’t too busy and then get ready to photograph whatever lands on it.” There were dozens of birds and they hopped between branches quickly. I aimed at a sapling which was starting to bud and waited. Eventually, a bird flew onto the branch; I focused quickly and took the shot. The colourful markings make this bird stand out against the plain backdrop.

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Expert insight pre-focus Einar says... A lot of the day was spent configuring AF settings, and while this is vital when photographing wildlife on the move, static shots like this are much simpler. Faced with an abundance of a species you can afford to pick the most photogenic spot and wait for an animal to come to it. I advised Sigurjón to focus on the branch and wait for a redpoll to land – at which point he could quickly re-focus if needed, and fire off a few shots.

www.digitalcameraworld.com


WI NT ER

Einar says… Putting your expensive lens down just anywhere isn’t usually a great option, as you’ll risk scratching and damaging it. This is the reason why I always bring my camouflage beanbag with me. It’s light and easy to carry, and is an invaluable addition to my kit bag. I can prop my longer lenses on it to reduce arm strain and to keep my gear dry, and sometimes I pop it on the door of my vehicle when I spot a potential picture from the road.

E

Pro’s killer kit Beanbag

lIf

You can assign a frequently used control or camera function to the Fn button, which is found on the front of many Nikon D-SLRs. To do this, navigate to the Custom Setting menu and select option f4. From here, you can choose from a number of functions, including My Menu, which takes you to your chosen custom bank of preset functions. This is an extremely handy option for photographers on the go, as you can quickly switch between a few useful settings depending on the shooting situation.

ld

EXPOSURE 1/2000 sec, f/4, ISO1100 LENS Nikon 500mm f/4

customise your Nikon

WI

HOT SHOT #2

Pro Portfolio Cold-timer

hERE ARE jUSt A fEw Of EiNAR’S imAgES (thE tiP Of thE icEbERg, yOU might SAy)

SEA EAGlE lAndInG Capturing a photo of a sea eagle feeding its chicks was always a dream of mine. In an average year, only 20-30 pairs of these incredible birds raise chicks in Iceland, and a licence is required to photograph them. Since most of the nests are in remote locations, usually only one or two sites are accessible to photographers.

ArCTIC FoXES MATInG Arctic foxes are one of my favourite subjects, although they’re hard to find and photograph in Iceland. They are amazing creatures and they have my respect for surviving in the extreme environment. This pair copulated ten meters from my snow hide while staring into the lens, which was both a memorable and an odd moment.

Fill the frame Wildlife usually doesn’t like to be disturbed, which means that wildlife photographers need more reach than most to get frame-filling shots. Super-telephoto lenses provide that essential pulling power. Sigurjón was using a Nikon 500mm f/4 on a full-frame D810, but his camera’s ability to record pictures at smaller image sizes meant that his 500mm lens could also give the effective view of a 600mm lens (in 1.2x Image Area mode) or a 750mm lens (in 1.5x Image Area mode) – albeit at the expense of outright resolution (these modes effectively crop in on the sensor).

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ArCTIC TErn FEEdInG This arctic tern flew the same route many times over this pond on Grimsey, an island off Iceland’s north coast, while fishing for small fry and insects. I was lying in the mud with my 500mm lens on a beanbag. The early sun and the reflection of buttercups on the opposite bank created a nice texture.

January 2017

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OVER TO YOU T H E

ApprENTIcE

Our Apprentice says… Getting a good exposure with all the snow in the frame proved tricky. Einar told me it was because my D810’s metering system was trying to render the bright highlights of the snow as mid-grey. He suggested that I use Spot metering, to meter only the light on the birds as they swirled above our heads. This was easier said than done, but once I’d metered off the mid-grey of the birds’ plumage in manual mode, I was able to fire away without worrying that the metering would darken down the bright sky, and render the birds as silhouettes.

HOT SHOT #3

EXPOSURE 1/800 sec, f/5.6, ISO800 LENS Nikon 500mm f/4

Expert insight Spot the birdie Einar says... Spot metering isn’t as tricky as it sounds. In manual mode, simply set the aperture you want (in this case f/5.6), point the active AF point at a mid-tone (such as the grey feathers of our gull) and then up the ISO until the shutter speed is fast enough to freeze the action. You can of course do this on a static bird, or any other mid-tone, to make it easier!

Use your thumb In addition to setting continuous AF and drive mode when shooting fast-moving wildlife, it’s also a good idea to use back-button focusing. It works a bit like a missile-guidance system: keeping the active AF point trained on your subject, you simply keep your thumb pressed down on the AF-ON button on the rear of the camera to continuously adjust the focus, and then fire off a short burst as your subject fills the frame. Higher-end models feature a dedicated button for this, but with entry-level models it has to be set in the Custom menu (see your camera’s manual for details).

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Stay on track

Brace yourself

Tracking fast-moving birds with a long lens takes a bit of practice. The trick is to pick a single bird and start tracking it when it’s still quite small in the viewfinder – again much like a missile-guidance system! If you keep your active AF point(s) over your subject, and your thumb pressed down on the rear AF button, your Nikon will adjust the focus as the bird gets bigger in the frame. It also helps to set a cluster of AF points, rather than a single AF point, as this will ensure focus is maintained even if your subject strays away from your selected AF point (again, see your Nikon’s manual for how to set this).

A monopod or a tripod will slow you down when shooting wildlife. So you can move around quickly if needed, shoot handheld and try dropping to one knee to stabilise your shot. Lowering your centre of gravity will inherently make you more stable. Prop the elbow of the arm holding the lens on your cocked knee, and pull the other into your body. This technique works well for steadying longer lenses and heavier camera bodies.

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Expert insight Get in close Einar says… A telephoto lens is essential for most wildlife photography, but that doesn’t mean shooting wide doesn’t have its place, as Sigurjón’s Shot of the Day proves. The key with going wide is to get in really close [see left], otherwise you run the risk of your subject appearing very small in the frame. Shooting from down low, or up high, and tilting your camera can also help to add impact and drama. Make sure you pay attention to what’s in the background, too, as this can add a sense of setting and context to your final image.

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WI NT ER WI

If you’d like a chance to be the next N-Photo Apprentice,please email mail@nphotomag.com with Apprentice as the subject line, or fill in this form. Return this form to… The Apprentice, N-Photo Magazine, Quay House, The Ambury, Bath, BA1 1UA, UK Name Address

E

Be our next Apprentice

lIf

EXPOSURE 1/1250 sec, f/7.1, ISO360 LENS Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8

ld

SHOT OF THe DaY

Our Apprentice says… The day was coming to a close and we were both happy with the shots we had already taken, but two friendly ponies trekked up to us and started to investigate. They weren’t shy, and it soon became obvious that a telephoto lenses was going to be too long. I switched to a Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 and managed to frame the scene so that I had both ponies, some sky and the mountains all in one shot – a classic Icelandic view! I deliberately stopped down my aperture to f/7.1 to increase the depth of field, making the ponies sharp from nose to tail.

Our pro’s verdict… Sigurjón proved that he is a capable and enthusiastic wildlife photographer, and he managed to use his experience to get the best out of the limited time we had to capture wildlife photos. Here, he really did well in framing the horses, which provide a great contrast to the snowy landscape. The animals are nicely separated and I really like the way that they’re positioned in relation to the slice of blue sky. The gap between the horses provides a natural leading line to the background, creating a feeling of depth and distance which really makes the shot work.

Next month: home is where the art is!

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Our Apprentice enjoys a masterclass in shooting stunning interiors

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January 2017

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OVER TO YOU y o u r

stories

1

Getting in a spin

Dale Mears uses little more than a stainless steel whisk and some wire wool, plus his trusty D700, to capture his award-winning light spirals

Mission: To capture steel wool

photography in unique locations

Photographer: Dale Mears Age: 32 Location: Nottingham, England Kit: Nikon D7000, Nikon AF-S DX

18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR

Website:

www.facebook.com/ dalemearsphotography www.flickr.com/dalemears

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n interesting article in N-Photo a few years back prompted me to have a go at spinning wire wool. I thought it looked really cool, so I instantly wanted to try it. After picking up a whisk and some steel wool from a local hardware shop, I was excited to try my first spin. Looking back I didn’t have much of an idea of just how involved wire wool spinning could be, but nevertheless I was hooked straight away.

Steel wool spinning involves packing a stainless steel whisk with wire wool, tying a length of string onto the handle, and then setting the wool alight and spinning it around at arm’s length as it burns. You can spin the wire wool vertically, horizontally or while you walk, to ‘paint’ different shapes into the photo. Long exposures ensure that all of the streaks and spurts of light are captured, so you need to keep the camera steady. When sparks spray out it looks

cool, but it’s also a reminder of why you have to wear protective clothing and eyewear at all times. My first wire wool photos were taken in a series of abandoned ice tunnels in the grounds of Wollaton Hall, in Nottingham (the hall has since been used in Batman movie The Dark Knight Rises). The tunnels were ideal for the shoot because they were naturally dark, and after a bit of trial and error I had some reasonable shots. For my next set of shots, my good friend Paul Clark and I had noticed four ex-military helicopters [2] on the site of a cross-country adventure race that we were both at. We didn’t want to pass up the opportunity of photographing some wool trails here, so we spoke to the land owners and they were happy for us to shoot the helicopters. We went to two locations to try to make the

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2

DA lE mE AR s

Dale’s top tips • A sturdy tripod is a must. If you have a GorillaPod you could always clamp your Nikon to a tree • Find a location that looks impressive, as it’s easier to make a good shot in an interesting place • If your shot includes sky, shoot at dusk rather than at night, so there will still be some colour in the sky

sparks look like the rotor blades of the helicopters.

Competitive edge After my photos gained some popularity on Instagram, I was invited to take part in a UK wire wool spinning photography competition called Battle of the Underdogs. I decided that this was a great opportunity to push myself and my equipment to grab some new, unique shots. I wanted photos with clarity; I don’t like photos where you can only see the sparks. I like to include the scenery and the backdrop in my photos, as I enjoy finding locations with interesting features or details. There’s a bike pump track near where I live, and I decided a mountain bike would make a cool prop [3]. With the help of some friends, I lit the track with LED strips and used the bike and the rider in front of the light to create a silhouette. The photo went down well and got me through to the next round. For the next round I shot in the Anchor Church caves in Derbyshire [4]. The caves were first mentioned in historical records in 1648, and are now grade II listed. They were carved out of sandstone by the River Trent, and later enlarged to form basic dwellings. They now sit vacant, so I decided to spend a few hours exploring

1 Mam Tor

Nikon D7000, Nikon 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6, 30 secs, f/3.5, ISO100

2 Heli spin

Nikon D7000, Nikon 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6, 25 secs, f/8, ISO500

3 Mountain bike

Nikon D7000, Nikon 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6, 80 secs, f/8, ISO250

4 Anchor Church

3

Nikon D7000, Nikon 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6, 30 secs, f/14, ISO320

them, and capturing some shots showing the scale of the caves. After getting through the final rounds this summer, I ended up winning the competition! Since then I’ve picked up a wide-angle lens, and have been out on a few occasions in the last month or so, taking advantage of the darker nights. Recently I got a shot from the top of Mam Tor in Derbyshire [1], overlooking the road winding through the valley below. This was a hard shot to take – I had to ask my wife to stand at the top of the Tor, and then press the shutter release when I span the whisk. Sometimes you need a hand taking these photos, because shooting and spinning at the same time can be tricky!

I like to include the scenery and the backdrop in my photos, as I enjoy finding locations with interesting features or details

4

To enTer your oWn phoTo sTory send FIVe oF your besT Images To: mail@nphotomag.com

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OVER TO YOU P O R T F O L I O

REVIEW

1

Star trekking your projects critiqued

Brandon Yoshizawa brings a human element to astrophotography in his fantastic night-sky images

A

n impending honeymoon in Australia and New Zealand in 2009 was the reason I finally became serious about photography. I wanted to make sure I would be returning home with memorable pictures. The more I travelled, the more my love for capturing these great moments grew. This sparked a passion, and soon I was looking for new ways to portray the beauty of my local landscapes. It wasn’t until 2013 that I first tried my hand at astrophotography. This allowed me to combine my love for landscapes with my love for the stars; I had always been fascinated with the night sky and would stargaze every time that I went camping. The challenge with this type of photography is that there’s little or no ambient light and this makes composing and focusing more difficult. I had general ideas in my head of what I wanted for these shots, but they never fully materialised until I was able to survey the site and fine-tune the composition.

Want your portfolio revieWed? email your shots to mail@nphotomag.com

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bR An dO n YO Sh iz Aw A

2

The human figure plays a different but meaningful role in each of the photographs. The person standing on the plane shining a light towards the sky [1] not only suggests the story of a survivor signalling for rescue after a crash landing, but also adds scale, showing how big this abandoned B-52 is. A secondary theme is a reference to the Star Wars movies, with the word ‘Force’ on the side of the plane, and the beam from

the torch acting as a lightsaber [see page 42 for how to mimic this in Photoshop]. The figure in the tent [2] tells a story about stargazing out in the desert. An iPhone was used to backlight the subject. Finally, the figure on the Wall Street Mill tracks [3] tells the story of time; the past indicated by the stationary subject shining a light on the gold mill ruins, while looking out towards the rotating stars that represent the future.

I had general ideas in my head for these shots, but they never materialised until I was able to survey the site and fine-tune the composition

www.digitalcameraworld.com

N-Photo says It’s wonderful to see such unique night-time photographs, Brandon. What’s so impressive is not just the way you’ve managed to capture great shots of the stars and the Milky Way, which is tricky to pull off at the best of times, but the purposeful way in which you’ve managed to incorporate the human figures in the landscape. You clearly have an eye for detail, and the lighting and the inclusion of foreground elements are especially effective. The rail tracks in the Wall Street Mill shot, for instance, provide a real sense of place, and instead of wearing a big heavy overcoat, the figure is dressed in something you might expect an inspector of the mill

January 2017

1 SOS Nikon D750, Nikon AF-S 20mm f/2.8G ED, 15 secs, f/2.8, ISO3200 2 Stargazing Nikon D750, Nikon AF-S 14-24mm f/2.8G ED, 15 secs, f/2.8, ISO6400

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They’re holding the torch in a way that’s reminiscent of the way an old paraffin lamp would be carried

A

to wear. They’re holding the torch in a way that’s reminiscent of the way an old paraffin lamp would be carried. Not only have you added interest with all of these elements, but each frame is well composed too, with the rule of thirds and leading lines used to great effect. We especially like your shot of the tent in amongst the Joshua trees. As national parks are inherently devoid of built-up areas, light pollution is minimal 3 here, giving a great Sands of Time view of the stars. Nikon D750, Placing the Milky Nikon AF-S 14-24mm Way right above f/2.8G ED, 15 secs, the tent works well f/2.8, ISO6400 compositionally, and helps add to the stargazing theme. The trees aren’t that noticeable against the ground, but form unmistakable silhouettes against the brighter night sky. We’d love to see this shot recreated with a bit of light painting on the trunks to bring out their distinctive shapes even more. All three photos are as technically proficient as they are creative, with every shot pin-sharp and almost completely noise-free. Keep up the good work, Brandon!

3

technique tips

The N-Photo experts say…

avoid trails Using higher ISO settings enables you to set fast enough shutter speeds to stop stars ‘trailing’, but at the risk of increased noise. If you have a newer Nikon like the D750, you’ll be fine, but if not you may want to rent one for this type of shoot.

go Wide To squeeze in enough stars and foreground detail, you’ll need a wide-angle lens. A zoom lens will prove more flexible than a prime; we’d suggest the Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 for DX bodies, and the Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 Art for FX bodies (see page 108).

taKe tWo If you’re struggling to capture a well-exposed sky and foreground in a single exposure, you may want to combine two shots: take a shot where you’re exposing for the sky and another exposing for the ground. You can then blend these together in Photoshop.

darK sKies Light pollution from nearby cities can make stars much harder to see. Not sure if the sky in your location is dark enough? Just visit http://darksitefinder.com to check. For more great night photography tips, turn to this month’s feature on page 16.

next month: aBstract architecture shots

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HOW TO ENTER Here’s how our photo competition works: n A theme is set each issue by the N-Photo team. We’ll tell you about it in the magazine, but because of the way our deadline falls, the easiest way to see when a new theme is announced is to check our Facebook page, www. facebook.com/nphotomag n Visit www.photocrowd. com/contests to enter.

W

e’re now into the eighth month of our year-long photography contest, which features a different theme each month, with all shortlisted images being put forward for the coveted title of N-Photo Photographer of the Year. The theme we set last issue was ‘cityscapes’, and as you’ll see from the photos on the following pages, we were spoilt for choice. If you feel inspired by these images, our next theme is a tasty one: ‘food and drink’. Enter or vote for your favourite photos at www.photocrowd.com/contests The prize for our monthly competition is a £100 voucher from online printing specialists WhiteWall, while the Crowd Vote winner will receive a bundle of Nikon photography guides. The overall N-Photo Photographer of the Year will win a Nikon D500, and a metre-wide acrylic print of the winning image from WhiteWall (see below).

n Images are judged by the N-Photo team. Your fellow N-Photo readers are also able to vote for their favourite image over on Photocrowd. n The Judges’ Vote winner will receive the WhiteWall voucher, while the Crowd Vote winner will receive a bundle of photography guides. The overall winner will be announced in June.

£100 WhITEWAll VOUchER!

WIN A NIKON D500 AND A METRE-WIDE AcRylIc PRINT! Each issue we judge on a theme, but for our grand prize, the winning image simply has to be the best, and a photo that good deserves a fantastic prize. If you read our full review of the Nikon D500 in issue 60, you’ll know what an amazing camera it is – and we’re delighted to be able to offer one as the grand prize for this year’s contest. The winner will also receive a £300 voucher from WhiteWall – enough to buy a metre-wide print of their winning image mounted under acrylic glass, so they can show it off to friends and family in style. And remember, the more months you enter, the more chance you have of winning. Happy shooting, and good luck!

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WORTh

£1730!

WORTh

£300!

January May 2016 2017

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JuDGes’ VOte wiNNer

01 Gold and Dreams Elena Paraskeva

This stunning shot of the Manhattan skyline captures the essence of the cityscape within

a wider scene. There’s always a risk, when shooting a city from such a distance with a wide-angle lens, that everything ends up looking too small, but this just works.

The movement in the clouds captured during the 30-second exposure really draws the eye in. Had the exposure time been any shorter, more detail would have been recorded in the river,

which could have been distracting – plus the wonderful reflections of the pilings wouldn’t have been as distinct. Nikon D800, 16-35mm f/4, 30 secs, f/16, ISO64

02 New and Old Vienna Marek Kosiba

Using reflections to blend historic buildings and modern architecture in a single frame is a great idea. The stepped structure on the left of the picture naturally directs your attention to the centre of the image, while the rounded buildings to the right add interest. The exposure is spot-on, something which is hard to achieve when there are lots of reflective windows in the frame, and the subtle blue in the glass adds to an otherwise muted colour palette. Nikon D7100, 17-55mm f/2.8, 1/250 sec, f/5.6, ISO100

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03 Newcastle Quayside Stephen Taylor

Rarely do we advocate putting the horizon along the centre-line of a photograph, but this shot of the Gateshead Millennium Bridge really does need it. The symmetry of the bridge and its reflection is superb, while the curves of the iconic Sage Gateshead structure in the background mimic the curves of the archway brilliantly. The purple illumination on the distant building is the cherry on the colourful, photographic cake. Nikon D610, 24-70mm f/2.8, 13 secs, f/13, ISO50

04 urban Matrix Linda Wride

Such a tight, frame-filling crop perhaps pushes the limits of what some would consider a ‘cityscape’, but we think this beautiful shot captures what it feels like to walk through a big city, not just what it looks like. There isn’t an inch of space in this photo that isn’t filled with a building. It’s a photograph that’s been designed to overwhelm us, and overwhelm it certainly does – in a good way. Nikon D300, 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6, 1/250 sec, f/9, ISO500

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05 A City in Focus Ivan Vukelic

A clever take on the cityscape theme lets us literally see the world through a photographer’s eyes – or at least, their glasses. Taking this sort of image requires patience and precise control over exposure and focusing. It would be fairly easy to knock up this type of effect in Photoshop, but you really can’t beat the authenticity of doing it in-camera. Nikon D600, 50mm f/1.4, 30 secs, f/11, ISO200

06 NYCage

Natasha Pszenicki

On paper, an obstructed view of the New York City skyline sounds like it wouldn’t make the top ten of the N-Photo Photographer of the Year Cityscapes category, but in reality this is a perceptive shot. The diagonal latticework and the diamond patterns it creates add a superb dynamic quality. Nikon D3S, 24-120mm f/4, 1/125 sec, f/14, ISO200

07 ir Cityscape Roveliu Buga

A considered and well-executed infrared photograph. The rushes and grass glow with fantastic brightness, while the band of trees and the glassy water add texture and interest. We also like the nearsymmetry of the two midground apartment blocks. Exif data not supplied

www.digitalcameraworld.com


Patrick’s 08 stCathedral, NYC Richard Cartwright

Richard shot this using the wide end of a 14-24mm f/2.8 zoom, squeezing something interesting into all that space. The towers of the cathedral dominate, but the motion in the lower quarter of the frame grounds the image. Nikon D810, 14-24 f/2.8, 13 secs, f/18, ISO100

09 Kuwait City skyline 10 Boston sunrise Muhammad Al Qatam

The rich colours are inviting, as are the stones visible in the water, while the line leading in from the bottom left pulls your eye into the city. Nikon D810, 16-35mm f/4, 1/13 sec, f/4, ISO64

CROWD VOTE WINNER

rio

Simon Wu

Carlos André Viana

The sky and water are both creamy-smooth and there’s just enough colour and texture in the middle of the frame to keep our attention focused there. Exif data not supplied

Carlos created this dramatic panoramic view of Rio de Janeiro from three separate exposures. The lighting and colours are exquisite.

CrOwD VOte wiNNer

Nikon D7100, 11-16mm f/2.8, 20 secs, f/10, ISO100

Next issue we’ll be sharing your best food and drink shots – to enter, just head to www. photocrowd. com/contests


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Issue #12

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gregory crewdson: king of cinematic stills andy gotts on set: he’s shot all the stars diane arbus’ unseen work unearthed the story behind that hendrix album cover magnum’s big winners how to get publicity is a photograph ever worth a million?

A DIGITAL CAMERA SPECIAL CAMERA SHOPPER

PROFessIONAL PHOTOGRAPHY

Issue #12

The Complete

IONARY OF PHOTOGRA PHY

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LENS FLARE ANIMALS BLACK AND WHITE ABSRACTS MACRO SLIDES T ER NV CO NIQUES GROUPS LANDSCAPES his? Then you’ll also love these… PORTRAITS Photoshop Photoshop Elements PROJECTS SUNSETS DISC INSIDE! LENS FLARE VIDEO 10-part guide to image editing with ALS IM AN Nikon’s free Capture NX-D software itemagazines.co.uk/photo for more information BLACK AND WHITE ABSTRACTS ES MACRO IQU W PHOTO TECHN LEARN 30 INCREDIBLE NE

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The only camera manual you’ll ever need NEW SERIES!

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Michael Freeman’s Creative Paths...

Michael explores how to make sense of complex scenes with artful composition

In nIkopedIa thIs month

84 Nikon software

Discover how to straighten verticals and fix a tilted horizon with Capture NX-D’s useful Straighten and Perspective Control panel

www.digitalcameraworld.com

86 Ask Jason

From shooting reflections at night to knowing when to switch off Vibration Reduction, Jason is on hand to answer all of your questions

88 Head to head

Which offers the best blend of power, ease of use and versatility – a mid-range Speedlight or a studio flash kit?

January 2017

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Nik pedia F R E E M A N ’ s

CREAtivE pAths

Our globetrotting Contributor at Large, renowned photographer and prolific author Michael Freeman, presents a new month-by-month masterclass that’s exclusive to N-Photo, in which he explores his tried and tested paths to more creative photography. Michael has published dozens of books on photography, including the bestselling Perfect Exposure.

NEW SERIES!

Freeman’s creative paths

MAKE IT fIT In his new 13-part series, Nikon ace Micheal Freeman will be looking at ways to get more creative with your photography. First up: treating composition like a high-speed jigsaw...

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ere’s a different way of looking at photography, and it’s my attempt to answer one of the most heartfelt questions I get asked at talks, seminars and workshops: ‘How can I be creative?’, with the variation ‘How can I develop a style?’ Not an easy one by any means, and there’s a body of opinion out there that holds it to be pointless – you either have it or you don’t. Period. Well, if you subscribe to the genius theory of creativity, that would be true, but in photography, as in painting, writing and poetry, there are degrees of being creative. If you feel the need, that’s a big start. The next step, to make it actually happen, has to be practical. It’s too easy to waffle and theorise, but the idea this year at N-Photo is to show you some specific paths that each lead to a creative injection. A way to make photographs more interesting, engaging and entertaining. You can mix and match, as some of them work in combination, but for now let’s go one by one.

Composition is king If you enjoy this article and want to learn more, there are 50 more paths to be discovered in Michael’s new book Fifty Paths to Creative Photography (NB: all 50 are different from those that will be featured here in the magazine).

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There’s a fair case to make that composition is the prime skill in photography. It doesn’t depend on the quality of light, or the colours, or even how compelling the subject is. It’s all within you. Your eye, your judgment, and of course what you do with the camera and lens to make it all work. There are endless recipes in composition, but try the following suggestion, which is

more a way of thinking about composing than adopting a particular style. It goes straight to the core of what composition A torn flag flapping is about, and that’s creating in the wind offered a flickering window to a some sort of order out of the group of Tibetan men. chaos of visual life. What we The unpredictability of usually see in the front of the the movement meant it camera is a bit messy, even a lot took 35 frames over messy. Disorganised. There’s no eight minutes to pin reason to expect otherwise, and down what I wanted. that’s why casual photographs, taken without much thought, also tend to look messy and undistinguished. Bringing order to a scene means thinking about how all the visual elements are going to fit together in your rectangular frame.

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ma ki Ng th iN gs fit

The way to do this is to stop thinking about the subjects in front of you as real, and treat them as graphic shapes, whether defined by outline, brightness or colour. These are the visual elements that the world gets converted to in a photograph, and if you can treat them as flat blocks that you can slide around inside the frame, you should find it easier to perform this fitting together. Why bother? Because it makes an image clear and skilful rather than confused and sloppy – and above all it makes it yours. Imagine, for instance, that you have a street scene with several people all doing different things. If you can manage to get each of them in their own space in the

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frame, separated from each other, you’ll have instantly organised the photograph. There are three basic things you can do to make this jigsaw work for you: change the focal length of the lens, use your feet, and/or simply wait. Altering the focal length from wide to telephoto cuts out some of the visual elements; going from telephoto to wide adds more. Changing your viewpoint by moving puts things in different relationships with each other. And waiting for the moment when one thing just fits inside or next to another completes the scheme. Often, you’ll need to do two or even all three together. Not everyone does this, or cares about it. It’s just one path. But it certainly works.

Stop thinking about the subjects in front of you as real and treat them as graphic shapes

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CREAtivE pAths

shift your viewpoint Here’s a classic case of bringing order to a complex scene by shifting the viewpoint, and then waiting...

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t was the complexity of this sharply lit and highly colourful entrance gate to a Tibetan monastery that attracted my eye, and this made it natural to want to fill the frame with what seemed like a multi-hued mosaic. This became the whole point of the picture, but it also demanded some effort to give it some structure. Busy images like this usually need more work to find a composition that holds them together. In this case, an obvious way to fill the frame was to step back and use a longer lens for its compressing effect – 170mm on a 70-200mm zoom – but it also called for a sideways shift in viewpoint so that the four visual parts of the structure made sense in the way that they fitted together: the ornately roofed piece in the foreground, the low wall in front of that, the background and the doorway. As the illustration shows, moving the camera position shifts the pieces by parallax. The lynchpin, however, is the figure at the bottom. He’s in silhouette, which will be better defined if I can get the moment in profile. As it’s such a busy frame, he also needs to be outlined against a clear bright part of the scene. There are never any guarantees with this kind of situation – the figure may or may not move into a position that’s useful for your composition – but waiting is important to give it a chance.

Although the mosaic of colours and detail, all sharply focused, confuse the actual physical structures here (partly the point of the image), there are four ‘units’ to consider: the gate behind, the free-standing structure at left, the foreground wall and steps, and the man. Moving around by a couple of metres in any direction controls their arrangement, but the man’s posture was down to chance.

placing action in a chosen space Sometimes you know exactly where you’d like to slot a moving subject within the scene, often because there’s a gap that you’ve spotted. There’s usually some hoping involved, as the universe doesn’t always conform to how we’d like things to look. In this example, I was in a Mandari cattle camp in South Sudan, where young men and boys live with the cattle for part of the year, outside their village. Cattle

play an important economic, as well as cultural, role, and are prized for their horns. There were many good photo opportunities, and at one point I spotted this boy untying a calf. I realised he would lead it somewhere, and my eye went ahead to scout out possibilities. To my left, nearer me, was a bull with a fine pair of horns, though its head was turned to the left and they didn’t yet make a frame.

But maybe it would turn to look at the boy as he passed, in which case they would. So, two kinds of anticipation: of the action itself, and of how the lines and shapes might come together in the frame. I needed to be in position to take advantage of it, so I stepped forward and to the right, adjusted the focal length to 120mm and set an aperture of f/8 to give just enough depth of field.

What I hoped would happen, with the boy walking behind the large horns (top). The actual sequence, with the boy walking as anticipated, and the bull turning its head (bottom). The final shot, with the boy framed by the horns (right).

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Nik pedia F R E E M A N ’ s

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Juggling movement Here’s an example of fitting together different actions to explain the whole

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more fluid kind of situation that calls for a jigsaw-like fitting together is when the ‘units’ are moving independently. The only control you have is using anticipation to help you move your camera position as they move. These shots were taken on a tea plantation in Sri Lanka, at the end of the morning shift, when the workers weigh the sacks of leaves and then transfer these to large sacks that will then go by truck to the factory. In reportage photography, it’s the kind of situation where you’d typically want to cram as much information as possible about the process into a single frame. That way, one shot will do the job, rather than having to run a step-by-step sequence.

Fitting the pieces together Briefly, there are three things going on in this area, The first is that one by one the pickers put their baskets on the weighing hook, which is at that moment held up by two women. In other words, the peak of that action is when the two weighing women raise their arms fully, and that’s the time for shooting. Next, each picker empties her basket onto a pile of leaves, so there’s a peak moment there too, when the leaves tumble out. Finally, the leaves are then scooped up into sacks for loading onto the truck (out of sight). This action doesn’t have such an obvious peak, but there are arm movements and body stances that may look more graphically dynamic than others.

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The aim is to get each of these coinciding in a single frame – not so easy to manage visually as, for a start, the moments of the weighing hook being raised and a woman emptying her basket happen together only occasionally. With all the to-ing and fro-ing in the scene, getting these and the leaf-scooping neatly separated takes some dodging around for the right camera position. This is the fitting-together part of the shooting. An obvious choice was to use a 24mm wide-angle lens from this position so that the three actions were in a sequence from background to foreground – and to use an aperture of f/16 to give enough depth of field to keep everything in focus. If you’re shooting ‘through’ a scene like this, it makes good visual sense to use one or two of the foreground ‘units’ as framing devices – they can be at the left or right edges (or both) cutting into the frame and acting like the projecting wings of a stage. As it happened, there were usually two women at any one time scooping leaves into sacks, which left me with four ‘active units’. A sensitivity setting of ISO500 enabled shutter speeds of between 1/160 sec and 1/200 sec, which was just enough. So, a seemingly ordinary and everyday activity can become, for the camera, quite an intense operation. Ultimately, perfection is unlikely, but to make up for that there will be unexpected little framings and combinations of shapes. In total, I shot 93 frames over the nine minutes that it took for this operation of tea weighing and transferring.

The frame I finally chose had, for me, the best combination of actions. The key was the weighing action in the background, and it had to read clearly. After that, I looked for a good teaemptying action in the middle ground, and two graphically strong figures close to the camera left and right.

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ma ki Ng th iN gs fit

Here shown schematically, there were four individual events happening at the same time, and although they were linked as actions, there was no visual coordination. At times they would merge, or one would obscure another, and shooting meant staying aware of the four ‘units’ and how they moved relatively within the frame.

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Some of us treat framing as a slightly different operation from composing – it really is a personal matter. Equally personal is whether you prefer to enclose all of the elements perfectly within the confines of the frame, or go in tight and crop into bodies and heads, as I did here, so that the viewer feels pushed into the thick of the action.

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CAPTURE NX-D

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Watch

the video

Straighten building shots George Cairns shows you how to fix perspective distortion in Capture NX-D

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 enerally, buildings have  vertical walls. However,  if you shoot a tall building  from a low angle, perhaps because you lack the space to move back far or there are too many people and distracting elements blocking the view if you do so, then its vertical walls will converge towards the top of the frame. This perspective distortion causes the walls to look as if they lean inwards at the top, rather than running parallel with the edge of the frame. Perspective distortion can also occur horizontally.

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In a long row of houses, the horizontal roofs and floors will appear to converge as the houses recede towards the edge of the photo. Perspective distortion isn’t necessarily a problem that must be fixed every time. Converging vertical lines can emphasise the height of a tall building such as a skyscraper, for example. But software such as Lightroom can automatically straighten tilted vertical lines to make buildings look more stable. Capture NX-D sadly lacks this auto correction feature, but thanks to its

Straighten and Perspective Control panel, you can make verticals look more vertical and counteract tilted horizons, too. As our start image also suffers from sensor spots, we’ll squeeze the Retouch tool into this lesson as well. This is an invaluable way to fix these unsightly blemishes caused by dust on the sensor. These can occur in any shooting scenario, but may be especially visible in images shot in bright, sunny conditions, and in image areas with even tones, such as plain walls, clear water and blue sky.

JarGon buster RAW oR JPEG Many of the tools in Capture NX-D (such as Lens Correction profiles) will only work on RAW files. The Perspective Control panel, however, can be used on JPEGs.

Download the start image(s) at bit.ly/start-67


St ra igh te NiN gv

Correct perspective distortion

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Master the Straighten and Perspective Control panel ConvERGinG vERtiCAls When snapping this shot of Smailholm Tower in the Scottish Borders (left), we failed to capture truly vertical lines. As the tower looms above us from its hilly vantage point, the walls appear to lean inwards as they rise. These converging verticals are caused by perspective distortion. The camera was also rotated slightly, creating a tilted horizon. sEnsoR sPots If you swap your lens around often then particles of dust can stick to the sensor, causing unwanted smudged spots to appear in photos. In this shot they’re particularly visible in the sky. An image with sensor spots is likely to be rejected when it’s submitted for sale as stock. Fortunately, Capture NX-D’s Retouch Brush can replace sensor spots with clear patches of sky in just a few clicks (see the walkthrough below). stRAiGhtEn And PERsPECtivE ContRol Click on this icon to summon forth the Straighten and Perspective Control panel. This panel will appear below the Edit panel in a scrollable window. You can click on the fly-out icon at the top-right of the panel to undock it and then drag it anywhere in the workspace.

stRAiGhtEn tool Click here to summon the Straighten tool. You can then click and drag the tool to sit on a tilted line. Like a ruler, this will measure the angle of the tilted line and then rotate the image so that it runs parallel with the edge of the frame. It can straighten tilted vertical lines as well as horizontal ones. stRAiGhtEn slidER Drag this slider left and right to rotate the shot manually. This helps you to straighten tilted horizons or make a vertical wall run parallel with the edge of the frame. When you use the Straighten tool to measure a tilted line, this slider will automatically adjust to counteract the tilt. We used a 1.2 increment, which ensured that the tower’s left wall was perpendicular to the ground. AREAs Without dAtA When you rotate a shot, you also change its composition. If you tick the ‘Include areas without image data’ box, Capture NX-D will add extra areas of black to the edge of a rotated frame to preserve its contents. You can then manually crop out these black edges with the Crop tool. If you leave this box unticked then Capture will automatically crop the shot as it is rotated to lose any black edges.

vERtiCAl CoRRECtion This slider counteracts any vertical perspective distortion. In this case we wanted the walls of the tower to run more parallel with the edge of the frame, giving the architectural structure a more stable and balanced look. hoRizontAl CoRRECtion Use this slider to correct lines that converge horizontally. You’re less likely to need to use this option.

Where to Get caPture nX-d

It’s made for Nikons, and it’s completely free!

Capture NX-D is available as a free download from the Nikon website at http://nikonimglib.com/ncnxd/ As new Nikons are introduced, Capture NX-D should be the first software to support them. Another advantage is that it replicates Picture Controls and other settings.

NIKON KNOW-HOW

Straighten converging verticals Fix perspective distortion and bust some dust

1 CountERACt tilt Browse to distortion_start.jpg in the Folders view to open it. Click the Straighten and Perspective Control icon in the Edit panel. Click on the Straighten tool icon and drag to draw a line that follows the tower’s tilted left wall. The shot will rotate to make the wall vertical.

Watch the video online at bit.ly/NPhoto67

2 CoRRECt distoRtion Drag the Perspective Control’s Vertical slider right to 6.9. This helps to make the top section of the building appear to lean towards the camera, counteracting the converging verticals. This adjustment mimics the effect of a tilt-shift lens. The walls will now appear more vertical.

3 REmovE sEnsoR sPots When correcting distortion, the shot is cropped. This, happily, removes some of the sensor spots at the edges of the frame. Now click on the Retouch Brush icon. Increase the Size of the tip to cover any spots. Spray over a spot and it will be replaced with clear blue sky.

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Nik pediA Q & A

Ask Jason... Our resident Nikon expert Jason Parnell-Brookes answers your questions and solves your problems. If you’d like Jason to come to the rescue regarding your Nikon-related question, email it to mail@nphotomag.com. Please note that we reserve the right to edit queries for clarity or brevity.

I’ve seen some great mirror-image night shots with lighting reflected in water, but I’m struggling to replicate the effect myself. Can you help? Kelly Dawson, via email

Jason says... We’ve got lots of useful tips on improving your night photography in this month’s lead feature. Using the reflections of lighting displays and other brightly lit areas can certainly boost the appeal of night shots, effectively doubling the area of interest and adding colour. It’s

For this shot featuring reflections of low buildings, the camera was placed on the ground at the edge of a pool of wate r, a couple of inches above the surface

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preferable to having large, dark areas in a scene with nothing going on. A pond, lake or river are ideal, but you can also get good reflections from wet roads and pavements, glass surfaces or even a shiny car roof. High ISO settings and reasonably quick shutter speeds can freeze motion in the water and keep reflections sharper, or if the surface is choppy, go for the smoothing effect of a long exposure. Concentrate on the composition, moving your camera to make the most of the reflections, even if it means getting down to ground level.

Tamron’s 70-200mm f/2.8 seems ideal for use with a teleconverter, but the UK distributor can’t recommend a suitable choice

I’ve been told that autofocus is unavailable if using the Nikon-fit Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 VC USD lens with a Kenko teleconverter. Is this really true? Kevin Hatfield, via email

Jason says... We put this to Tamron’s UK distributor, which has confirmed to us that there are no problems when using Canon-fit Tamron lenses and Kenko Teleplus teleconverters. However, Kenko’s teleconverters aren’t fully compatible with Nikon-fit Tamron lenses from the 70-200mm f/2.8 VC USD onwards. This includes all of the recently launched prime lenses such as the 85mm f/1.8 VC USD and the latest 90mm Macro, as well as recent zoom lenses including the 150-600mm VC USD. In all of these cases, autofocus and vibration compensation are disabled. Interestingly, Kenko has just launched new 1.4x and 2.0x Teleplus HD DGX teleconverters, but only in Canon-fit. The release of the Nikon-fit versions has been delayed, which hopefully means Kenko is working on resolving this issue.

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Yo ur Qu eS Ti o NS

Brian Curtis, via email

Jason says... An intermittent electronic connection between the camera body and the lens usually causes this. Visually inspect the contacts on the camera and the lens, to check that they’re clean and shiny, without any build-up of muck. If they’re dirty, wipe them with a clean, lint-free cloth. For contacts that are heavily soiled, try using a can of electronic contact cleaner, which costs about £5/$8. They’re usually supplied as aerosol cans, so it’s important to spray the solution only onto a clean cloth, away from the camera, and never directly onto the lens or into the camera body. If the problem persists, there’s likely to be a more serious fault with the lens that will require professional repair. The electronic contacts on lenses should be clean and shiny, without any build-up of grime that can cause a bad connection

ed

I’ve been given a Nikon DX lens that’s about 10 years old. It’s great when it works, but I often get an error message saying that the lens is not attached to the camera. What’s going on?

er

are more susceptible to Jason says... Recent blurring from camera-shake. Nikon lenses with VR II Even when mounting your stabilisation usually have Nikon on a tripod and using automatic tripod detection, a lens that doesn’t feature which stops the action automatic tripod detection, of stabilisation when it’s only necessary to switch the shooting platform is VR off for really slow shutter sufficiently steady. Some speeds and long exposures. high-end telephoto Nikon This guards against the lenses add a Tripod Mode system compensating for as one of the switchable its own corrections, and VR options. This alters the initiating a feedback loop algorithm to correct for the that can introduce blurring. lower frequency and more subtle vibrations associated with tripod-mounted shooting. It’s a good idea to leave VR switched on when shooting with a monopod, especially if you’re VR and third-party optical stabilisat using telephoto ion can work well with a monopod, especially for telephoto shots lenses, which

SW

Raymond Preston, via email

Secondhand Superstar

AN

I’ve read that Vibration Reduction in a lens should be switched off when using a tripod. Is this true, and what if I’m using a monopod?

I’m after a super-telephoto zoom to use with my D7000 on safari in Africa. Can you recommend a good but inexpensive secondhand buy?

Mike Mayer, via email

Jason says... Smart but sensibly priced new options on the market include Sigma Contemporary and Tamron 150-600mm lenses at around £800/$1,000. Nikon’s AF-S 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR is a touch pricier, at £1180/$1400. For a secondhand bargain, we like the Sigma 150-500mm OS HSM.

Sigma 150-500mm f/5-6.3 APO DG OS HSM We’ve Given this noW obsolete lens a fourstar ratinG and Great value aWards before released: 2008 Price neW: £700/$800 Price used: From £350/$500 For big telephoto reach without a huge price tag, this Sigma is a long-standing favourite. It boasts a much faster, ring-type ultrasonic autofocus system and a more effective optical stabiliser than Nikon’s original AF VR 80-400mm. It also has a longer available focal length, equivalent to a whopping 750mm on the D7000 and other DX bodies. Optical highlights include three Special Low Dispersion (SLD) elements to boost sharpness and contrast while reducing colour fringing, and Sigma’s super multi-layer coatings to minimise ghosting and flare. The lens is also well built, but lacks the weather seals featured in Sigma’s current lenses. At a shade under 1.8kg (3.9lbs), the lens is sufficiently lightweight for short periods of handheld shooting, but comes with a mounting collar to attach it to a tripod or monopod.

Key points

Autofocus system The ring-type ultrasonic AF system moves the small rear elements of the lens, for fast operation and accurate tracking of moving objects. Full-time manual override is available in Single AF mode. Dual-mode OS The optical stabiliser has two modes of operation, available via a switch on the lens barrel. One is for static shooting, the other is for panning. You can also switch it off. Tripod mounting collar Everything feels nicely balanced when the collar is attached to a tripod or monopod. Unusually, the foot is shaped so that it also works effectively as a finger grip for handheld shooting.

specs Elements/groups: 21/15 Aperture range: f/5 to f/22 Autofocus type: Ring-type USM Minimum focus distance: 2.2m Maximum magnification: 0.19x Filter thread: 86mm Dimensions: 95x252mm Weight: 1.78kg

Got a question? email us at mail@nphotomag.com

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Best flash lighting

Sp ee dl ig ht

Like the look of this issue's Big Project, but not sure what lighting system to use? We take an in-depth look at two options that will set you back less than £250

interfit eX150 MKIII two-light kit Max power: Gn 32m (ISO 100) Full power recycle tiMe: 1.5 seconds Variable power: Full to 1/8 colour teMperature: 5600k ready indicator: LED, optional beep trigger Voltage: 5V Head weigHt: 1600g price: £230/$350

Max power: Gn 28m (ISO 100) Full power recycle tiMe: 2.5 seconds Variable power: Full to 1/128 colour teMperature: Not specified ready indicator: LED lamp trigger Voltage: 5V Head weigHt: 360g price: £240/$330

type

This is a complete studio flash kit based on two mains-powered flash heads (with push-button controls and rotary power dials), rated at 150Ws each, and accessories. The maximum light output from each individual head is rather more than from the SB-700.

The SB-700 Speedlight is a moderately powerful, fully dedicated flashgun that supports automatic i-TTL (intelligent Through The Lens) flash metering. It features a bounce and swivel head with motorised zoom, and an intuitive interface with an LCD screen.

In the box

As well as two flash heads, the kit includes a pair of 2.6m (8.5ft) lighting stands, a 60cm (24in) square softbox, a 90cm (36in) translucent umbrella, two reflectors, two modelling lamps, sync cable and power lead. Most kits throw in a radio trigger, too.

It comes with more frills than most flashguns, including a stand, a diffusion dome, two filters for matching tungsten or fluorescent lighting, plus a soft case – though you'll need to buy a flash cable or wireless trigger to use it off camera (see page 38).

ease of use

It takes a while to set up the stands, heads, softbox and umbrella. As with other studio flash heads, you’ll have to shoot in manual exposure mode (see page 36), but adjusting the power of each flash head is easily done, and the kit is simple to use.

The SB-700 is highly effective in i-TTL BL mode, where automatic flash exposures account for ambient light. Switching to manual to adjust the power is easy, too, and the interface makes light work of wireless master/slave operation when using multiple flashguns.

Portability

Nikon SB-700 Speedlight

Unlike many budget and mid-range studio flash kits, this doesn't come with carrying bags, which limits its portability. Lugging a studio flash kit around is inevitably more of a chore than slipping a flashgun into your bag, and you’ll also need mains electricity.

An impressively compact and lightweight package, the SB-700 is a real take-anywhere flashgun. Naturally, it’s much more convenient for outdoor shooting than a studio kit, as it runs on standard AA batteries. Optional Water Guard bases add weather resistance.

Lighting

vs

When used in conjunction with the included softbox and brolly, the two heads can produce wonderfully soft, natural-looking lighting (see pages 36 and 46). Plus, the modelling lamps make it easy to preview the effect when changing the position and power settings.

As the SB-700 provides a much smaller light source than a studio light, the lighting is more direct, and therefore much harder. This can be softened by a softbox, but flashgun softboxes are smaller than studio light softboxes. Also, a single flashgun can be limiting. Next moNth: the D3400 Vs the D5!

VERDICT 88

For setting up a home studio or for shooting indoor portraits and still lifes, the Interfit EX150 wins. The natural, soft light from the dual

January 2017

flash heads, softbox and umbrella can't be matched with a flashgun. You can edge towards similar effects with two Speedlights, but

this doubles the cost. On the other hand, the SB-700 wins for portable convenience for outdoor shoots and adds oomph to natural light.

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Next moNth on sale thursday 19 January 2017 WOODLAND WONDERS Turn a New Year walk into a creative opportunity AWE-INSPIRING LANDScAPES Think you’ve seen it all before? You ain’t seen nothing like this...

James Paterson

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pro Zone Your window onto the work ing LiFe oF Le ading proFessionaLs…

IntervIew

94 David Yarrow

Image © David Yarrow

The Nikon Ambassador and fine-art photographer reveals why he’s happy to take just four good pictures a year

My bIg break

Harvey 93 Ross

Wedding pro Ross explains how a Christmas present and a simple message from his father helped to launch his stellar career

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My big break Ross Harvey

A graphic designer by training, Ross Harvey began his career as a professional wedding photographer in 2010. Since then he’s twice been named Best Wedding Photographer in England in The Wedding Industry Awards. To see more of Ross’s work visit www.rossharvey.com

3 november 2012 • oxford, england, UK • niKon d3

R

oss Harvey’s rise as one of the world’s leading wedding photographers has been meteoric. Just seven years ago, on Christmas Day 2009, he received a present from his father that was to change his life: “He gave me a single gift with a note: ‘Follow your dreams’. I opened the parcel to find a Nikon D700 inside. I can’t explain that moment actually, it was just pure joy. He then went upstairs and came back down with three presents, which were the absolutely brilliant 85mm f/1.4 D lens, along with a 70-200mm and 24-70mm. That day changed my life forever, and if it wasn’t for his generosity I wouldn’t be speaking to you now.” Up to that point Ross had dreams of becoming a fashion photographer, but all that changed when a friend asked him to shoot his wedding. “I shot it with the 24-70mm on my D700 and I absolutely

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fell in love with the process.” There was no turning back, and in 2010 Ross turned professional with the launch of his wedding photography business. He also upgraded his gear, buying a D3 to use with a 50mm f/1.4, along with the D700 and 24-70mm f/2.8 for his wedding assignments.

Mirror image “My big break came with my win in The Wedding Industry Awards, because that put me on the map,” says Ross. “It all happened very quickly – just a few years after getting the D700. “The winning shot was this black-and-white image of a bride having her hair done. I remember wondering how I could layer two images on top of each other – back then double exposure wasn’t really the done thing – so I ended up using a mirror. There was a strong bevel on the side of the glass which enabled me to include the make-up artist’s reflection right next to the bride’s face. It allowed me to produce a really abstract portrait. It’s very beautiful, with the beads and this lovely blurred light – that shot defined everything I was trying to do that year and it proved to be really popular.” To take the shot, Ross fitted a Nikon 85mm f/1.4 on his D3 and used the available light. “I always aim to use the ambient light to do something creative,” he explains. “I think that adds to the challenge. I make a point of only using flash if I can’t use the ambient light, and that’s quite rare.” Ross works mostly in colour, so the choice of black and white for this image was a departure from the formal style of the time. “People loved it,” he says. More importantly, did the bride love it too? “Yes, she did, she did. And she still does.” Keith Wilson

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Profile

● David began his photo career in the 1980s as a sport photographer. ● He recently returned to photography full-time, focusing his camera on endangered wildlife, after a spell working in finance in the City of London. ● David donates the proceeds of his fine art print sales to the conservation charity Tusk, whose patron, the Duke of Cambridge, wrote the foreword to his new book, Wild Encounters.

DaviD yarrow

All images: © David Yarrow

NikoN ambassador david, from GlasGow, scotlaNd, mixes fiNe art with wildlife

Keith Wilson talks to Nikon Ambassador David Yarrow about changing careers, his favourite lens and the importance of choosing the right aftershave for photographing lions…

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Pro ZoNE i n t e r v i e w

w

ednesday morning, and david Yarrow is in an airport departure lounge waiting to board a flight for the next leg of his wild encounters exhibition tour to the major cities of europe. after that he will head to the Us for more showings from coast to coast. hopefully his flight will be delayed so we can chat for a little longer! sorry david…

where are you off to today? I’m off to Amsterdam as I’ve got a big show opening there in two days’ time. I have shows coming up in the next month in Amsterdam, Paris, Zurich, Milan and Stockholm, and then more in December in New York, Los Angeles and Palm Beach. So I’m cramming a lot in! There were 1600 people at the opening at Somerset House in London last week. Some galleries in Australia have expressed an interest too, which my colleague will explore some time in January. how long has wild encounters been in the making? There are some pictures that pre-date the idea for the book by a couple of years. I knew I was going to publish a [wildlife photography] book, but I didn’t really know how the book would pan out. When I changed publisher in January, we thought about all of the other books that had been done and how mine could be different. The idea of doing it in terms of longitude from north to south in the world really came together three months later. My last few photography trips for the book were in May and June of 2016. So, in all, it’s three years’ work. why did you change publishers to rizzoli of New York? Rizzoli’s a fine art, high fashion, luxury book company. I wanted to work with them because the tonal rendition in the book needed to be strong, and I knew that Rizzoli could deliver this.

wild encounters covers all seven continents. were there any particular locations or experiences that stood out from the rest? Well, I tend to go to places that I am very comfortable with. I go to East

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Africa and Alaska a lot, but I’m so familiar with those places that I’m less likely to be surprised by them, and less able to come back from trips feeling they were special experiences. That said, some of the best experiences I’ve had were in Amboseli in Kenya, and at the top of the world in the north of Alaska, working with polar bears. That’s a fairly special place. Some of the trips to places like Greenland have been special to me, too. But I took the picture that changed my career, Mankind [above], in South Sudan. It’s in the book, and it’s a million-dollar picture. It has a biblical enormity and can be looked at for a long time. when did you take that? I took that on the 28th December 2014, in a town called Yirol.

Previous page PRECIOUS, Ongava, namIbIa nikon D3s, 35mm f/1.4, 1/40 sec, f/2.2, ISO2000

have you given up the day job yet? You mean my old life working in the City? That was part-time anyway. I gave all that up five days after I took Mankind. I knew how valuable that picture would be, so I didn’t want people thinking that I was a part-time photographer, because [not being seen as a professional] might have impinged on the value of it. which interest came first: wildlife or photography? Photography. I was a photographer anyway. I shot the football World Cup final in 1986 when I was 20. I didn’t really care about the number of lions or elephants in the world back then, but I enjoyed David Attenborough’s programmes and how he’d go the extra mile to get special content.

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were you working for an agency or a newspaper when you worked as a sport photographer? I did the World Cup final for The Times. I did the Olympics for Allsport, which is now part of Getty, so I worked with a lot of the Getty guys. It was an exciting agency to work for. I travelled the world and covered over 200 international football matches, as well as the World Cup, the Olympics and the Masters. how did your experience as a sport photographer help you with your wildlife photography? Well, for most sport photographers the holy grail is of course image sharpness, and I will reject any picture that I have taken where the eye of the animal isn’t pin-sharp. I was a working sport photographer before cameras

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Only black and white mankInD, YIROl, SOUth SUDan nikon D800, 58mm f/1.4, 1/320 sec, f/14, ISO250

wildlife photoGraphY has a rich heritaGe, maiNlY iN coloUr. Yet david’s books aNd exhibitioNs almost exclUsivelY featUre black aNd white photos. whY the deviatioN? he has his reasoNs… Why are all of your prints in black and white? Black and white is an abstraction, not reality, and I like that. The bestselling pictures are usually black and white as the format is timeless, and involves a blend of perception and reality. Plus I’m not a National Geographic photographer, I’m a fine art photographer. Just imagine a colour portrait of a man wearing red trousers and a green jumper. His colourful clothes would divert attention away from his face and the story. Colour can distract as much as it can inform. No wonder Andy Warhol once famously said that his favourite colour was black and his other favourite colour was white. Matisse said that it took him 40 years to discover that the most brilliant colour is black. Giorgio Armani and Tom Ford would presumably agree.

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had autofocus, so I had to use followfocus, which was damned hard to nail. Sport photography is great training for other disciplines, as you learn precision, plus you get to understand the importance of knowing your subject and the need for stamina. But the cameras are so good now, and with 100 people or more photographing a football match, how can one person get a unique image? That’s why I threw it in back then to pursue a career in finance. But my passion was always photography, and I guess I always knew I would come back to it. I toyed with landscape photography, but landscapes are there for everyone and I didn’t think I could make a career out of that. Then I became obsessed with sharks, and in 2010 I travelled to South Africa. After about ten unsuccessful trips, I finally got a great shot [above] that had a profound impact on me. It was unique to me, and that immediately made it different to a sport image. That was a key moment for me.

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have you always shot with Nikon cameras? Ah, no. I shot in 2003 and 2008 with Hasselblad. But it wasn’t too hard to go from the Hasselblad to the D810. The D810 is the much more robust camera body. which were your first Nikons? I think it was the Nikkormat and the FM2. what gear do you typically use? The opportunity I saw in wildlife photography was that it had all become very boring. If you’re going to photograph a beautiful woman, you photograph her from two feet away with a wide-angle lens, or from three feet away with a standard lens. But people were photographing beautiful lions with a 600mm lens, which dulls things down. It compresses and it flattens your subject, and you lose that sense of intimacy and emotion. I wanted to bring a feeling of proximity to wildlife photography. As Robert

Capa said: “If your photographs aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.” My favourite lens is probably the 35mm wide-angle. There haven’t been many wildlife photographers in the past who have said that.

JaWS, FalSE baY, SOUth aFRICa nikon D3s, 300mm f/4, 1/2500 sec, f/4.5, ISO800

so what then would be your ‘desert island lens’? I think probably the Nikon 58mm f/1.4. Mankind was shot on the 58mm. You use a custom-made protective steel box as an essential part of your kit for remote photography

My favourite lens is probably the 35mm wide-angle. There haven’t been many wildlife photographers in the past who have said that

www.digitalcameraworld.com


david yarrOw

with wide-angle lenses. how effective has it been? It works better with some animals than with others. You don’t have a lot of time to set things up quickly. The danger of doing it is that you lose time, but with polar bears it’s essential. With lions it’s kind of essential, because if they see something that’s got wires on it, they’ll eat it and destroy it. I’ve had quite a lot of cameras eaten by lions and polar bears before, but the box is effective at protecting my gear. For the intimate shots I get, the camera needs to be close to the subject, but I don’t. Over the years I have refined the process and got better at it. can you describe how you have refined the process? I use every trick in the book to play on two of the animals’ senses. I’m playing on their vision and on their sense of smell, so I’ll often scent the box with aftershave, with fish, or with whatever I think will attract that animal towards the box for the photograph.

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so which animal does aftershave work best for? Just lions. really? is it a particular brand? Yep, but I can’t tell everyone that! [It’s already been widely published that David uses Old Spice!] where do you derive your photographic inspiration from? From a lot of my peers. I subscribe to the Ansel Adams quote that: “You don’t make a photograph just with a camera. You bring to the act of photography all of the pictures you have seen.” I’m very unapologetic about the fact that I absorb other people’s pictures, to see what they’ve got right and to see what they’ve got wrong. I mean, it does give you ideas. can you give me an example? I took quite a big picture recently, away from wildlife, of Dortmund’s football ground. The only person who has taken a famous picture of Dortmund’s

football ground is Andreas Gursky, but he did it from the other end of the stadium. and while he’s a big name, I just felt that that was the wrong perspective of it. So, when I took the shot I was informed and influenced very much by his image. But a lot of my other ideas come from just trawling on the internet and finding things that I feel – and I don’t know whether I see things differently – haven’t been shot that well. That goes right back to my experience in sport photography. If you’re on Centre Court photographing Djokovic playing Murray, it’s very difficult to take a picture that nobody else has got.

hEllO, alaSka, USa nikon D810, 58mm f/1.4, 1/400 sec, f/9, ISO640

You say your book captures “the splendour and very soul of what remains wild and free in our world”, but the wwf says that more than half of the world’s wildlife has been lost in the past 40 years. so, what does the future hold? Well, I’m affiliated to Tusk and that’s why Prince William [the charity’s

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patron] wrote the foreword to Wild Encounters. I don’t want to be too extreme about it. Some wildlife situations I’m less worried about than others. I’m not too worried about polar bears; where I was last week there were 60 within a mile of the cabin I was staying in, and they were obviously quite big and well nourished. The elephant situation is not good, though, and neither is the rhino situation. The animal I’m most concerned about is the lion. After the Second World War, I think there were 350,000 lions. I work very closely with a chap known as the

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Lion Whisperer, Kevin Richardson, and Kevin reckons there are probably only about 15,000 left now. so what do you believe wildlife photographers can do to change the situation, beyond creating awareness with their pictures? Ha! That’s a big question. I’m quite frank about things, and the brutally honest answer to that is we can do very little, but that’s the reality. It would be lovely to dress it up and make it cuddly, but how can a wildlife photographer taking a few pictures

lIOn kIng, DInOkEng, SOUth aFRICa nikon D4s, 24mm f/1.4, 1/1600 sec, f/6.3, ISO640

change the behaviour of local tribes people, or the courts in Pretoria? They don’t have the money to do that. The only thing that could really change things is money, and as we know the vast majority of wildlife photographers use a zoom lens to save money, so how on Earth can they change ingrained hunting habits in Africa?

nO nEaRER, ZambEZI natIOnal PaRk, ZambIa nikon D4s, 300mm f/2.8, 1/1250 sec, f/4.5, ISO640

how long have you been working with tusk? For about three or four years. It’s probably the best in class. In New York, it auctions off my pictures every

www.digitalcameraworld.com


david yarrOw

year, and to a good crowd they tend to sell for about $50,000 each [Tusk gets 10% of David’s photography sales]. All of the royalties from the book go back to Tusk. what is your best photographic career moment? I think two weeks ago, when I was asked to give the keynote speech at the inaugural Xposure International Photography Festival in the UAE. There were maybe 18 photographers from around the world speaking there, and two big British ones, Don McCullin and Tom Stoddart, were two of my complete heroes. To get affirmation from my peers – hanging out with the two of them, speaking in front of them and hearing them saying kind words about me – was probably my highlight. So my best moment isn’t a picture, because I think that it’s about a body of work as much as anything else. If I can take four good pictures a year, I’m happy. A mistake that a lot of photographers make is they go

up the Amazon, then come back and put 80 pictures up on their website. I’m sorry, but that’s just crazy. that sounds like ansel adams’ quote: “twelve significant photographs in any one year is a good crop.” Yeah, I agree. what has been your worst or most embarrassing moment? I think I was taking the last official picture of golfer Arnold Palmer at Augusta this year and there were about 400 or 500 people watching. There was him and Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player – the big three. But I had the wrong lens, an 85mm, because I didn’t know I was going to be asked by Augusta to do it. So to make the shot with my 85mm I kept on stepping back and stepping back, until I fell into a hedge. I should stick to wildlife!

see more of david’s work at http://davidyarrow.photography

nO Place fOr lizards wheN it comes to sUbject matter, david is qUite particUlar... David travels all over the world, so the choice of available subjects is potentially endless But the reality is that most of his time is spent focusing on just a handful of species – those animals that are universally recognisable and so have substantial commercial value. Why do you tend to photograph the same species? I prefer to work with big, iconic animals. I have little interest in photographing squirrels in London or sheep in Scotland. I have a commercial mindset, and there is little point spending time and money trying to get new content on animals that we have little emotional connection to or fondness for. Take the Komodo dragon, for instance – if I spent three weeks in Indonesia and got an epic shot of one, who would really want to have a massive lizard picture on their wall anyway? Statistically, my best-selling animal shots are exactly what you’d expect: lions, tigers, elephants, brown bears, polar bears and giraffes.

NEXT moNTh: AmI VITAlIE NEXT moNTh: INTo ThE WIlD WITh NEW NIKoN phoTojouRNAlIST AmBASSADoR RIchARD pETERS

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106 Gear of the Year

We unveil the best cameras, Nikon-fit lenses and accessories of 2016, and reveal our 2017 wish list…

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112

The new D5600

We preview Nikon’s new SnapBridge-enabled D-SLR, an entry-level model that inherits features from the D5 and D500…

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BUYER’S GUIDE

Need a longer lens? We put a range of affordable zooms in the 55-300mm range to the test…

122 Nikon cameras

114

Telephoto zooms

After a new camera? Get the key facts and figures on all current Nikon D-SLRs and the best Nikon 1 models

125 Nikon-fit lenses

From aperture range to weight to street price, we’ve got all the information you need to make your next lens purchase

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cameras

From top-flight pro cameras to entry-level bodies for beginners, there’s something for everyone

Fire up the limo and crack open the bubbly – it’s time to meet and greet the stars oF this year’s camera gear, in the annual n-photo awards

Best FX camera

Nikon d5

■ £5,200/$6,500 ■ www.nikon.com The D5 is an imposing hulk of a camera. While its 21.33MP resolution might seem modest, its burst speed of up to 14 frames per second is phenomenal. Moreover, it can keep firing at this rate for up to 200 shots, even in RAW mode. It’s not just a speed demon, though: the D5 also makes breakthroughs in other areas. Its next-generation AF system boasts an astonishing 153 AF points, no less than 99 of which are cross-type. Plus, major steps forward in sensor design enable superlative picture quality throughout the huge standard sensitivity range of ISO100-102,400, while also enabling ultra-high expanded settings, up to ISO3,280,000. The D5 doesn’t just produce spectacular stills, either: this is Nikon’s first D-SLR that can capture ultra-high definition 4K movies. For us, it’s simply the best digital SLR of all time. BUY if… Money is no object and you simply want the best camera the world has to offer right now.

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The world’s toughest g e a rtests o F ttest h e yteam ear

Best DX camera

Nikon d500 ■ £1,730/$1,800 ■ www.nikon.com We’ve been waiting so long for a DX-format prograde update to the venerated D300s, that we’d started to think it would never happen. More than worth the wait, the D500 shoehorns professionallevel shooting controls into a relatively compact and easily manageable body. Indeed, it also packs most of what makes the D5 so spectacular into a DX-format camera, including the same autofocus and metering systems.

Super speedy for high-octane capture, the D500 has a top frame rate of 10fps, almost rivalling the ‘standard’ 12fps of the D5 (the latter only hits 14fps with the mirror locked up, which precludes continuous focusing or metering). The D500 also has an incredible sensitivity range for a DX-format camera, at ISO100-51,200 in native mode, plus five expanded settings up to an equivalent of ISO1,640,000. And again, the D500 delivers stunning 4K UHD movies. BUY if… You’re after a pro-spec, DX- format body that boasts a spectacular turn of speed, coupled with state-of-the-art autofocus and metering technology.

Best entry-level camera

Nikon d3400

■ £360/$450 ■ www.nikon.com Wouldn’t it be great if a full-blown D-SLR camera could integrate seamlessly with the rest of your digital life? Well, now it can, and that’s the headline attraction of the new D3400. With Bluetooth connectivity working in sync with Nikon’s SnapBridge software, the D3400 can maintain a constant connection to a smartphone or tablet, so you can download images immediately and effortlessly while you’re shooting, and even upload them straight to social media. But it’s not just about connectivity. Inheriting all the best bits of the D3300, the D3400 delivers superb image quality, and is impressively beginner-friendly: a leading attraction for novices is Nikon’s ‘Guide’ shooting mode, which is like having your own personal photography tutor inside your camera. BUY if… You want to take the step up from a smartphone or compact camera, and experience the creative delights of SLR photography combined with hassle-free connectivity.

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leNses Best DX stanDarD zoom

Nikon aF-s dX 16-80mm f/2.8-4e ed Vr

■ £860/$1,070 ■ www.nikon.com With Nikon’s latest DX D-SLRs pushing image resolution ever higher, and omitting anti-alias filters in order to retain superb levels of fine detail, you really need great glass to make the most of the opportunities these advances provide. The new 16-80mm VR is the perfect standard zoom, with all of the versatility you need for a wide range of shooting scenarios. It’s ‘faster’ than most competing lenses, with an f/2.8-4 aperture range; boasts four ED (Extra-low Dispersion) elements; and has an electromagnetically controlled diaphragm for accurate aperture control. As a DX lens for everyday shooting, it’s hard to beat. BUY if… You want the finest DX-format standard zoom lens available.

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The world’s best cameras deserve the finest glassware. Here are our favourite Nikon-fit lenses

Best FX stanDarD zoom

Best DX wiDe zoom

■ £2,000/$2,200 ■ www.nikon.com

■ £330/$450 ■ www.sigma-global.com

Nikon aF-s 2470mm f/2.8e ed Vr

sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 eX dc hsm

When buying a standard zoom, We revisited this lens in issue we’ve too long had to choose 62’s in-depth test of wide-angle between a fast, constant f/2.8 zooms, and fell in love with it all aperture or optical stabilisation. over again. Despite costing half This revamp of Nikon’s previous the price of the competing Nikon 24-70mm for FX D-SLRs has 10-24mm, the Sigma delivers a changed that, giving us the best constant maximum aperture of of both worlds. Like the Nikon DX f/3.5 (which makes it easier to 16-80mm, its new VR system use in Manual mode) and the offers a four-stop advantage, same viewing angle. Unlike as verified by CIPA (Camera & other inexpensive DX-format Imaging Products Association). wide-angle zooms, the Sigma Further highlights shared with boasts fast and quiet ring-type the 16-80mm lens include an ultrasonic autofocus, with fullelectromagnetically controlled time manual override. It’s also diaphragm; Nano Crystal Coat well built, and comes with to banish ghosting and flare; and a lens hood and a soft case. ■ £XXXX ■ www.xxxxx fluorine coatings to repel muck High-grade glass includes ELD and moisture. Its AFXxxxxxx speed is also (Extraordinary Low Dispersion) faster than in Nikon’s previous and SLD (Special Low Dispersion) Upgrade if… Xxxxxx 24-70mm. For a not-so-standard elements, plus four aspherical standard zoom, this lens is as elements. The lens focuses down to 24cm, enabling some good as it gets. incredible perspective effects. BUY if… You want a fast BUY if… You want premium maximum aperture, VR and the image quality from a wide-angle, latest high-tech mod cons, in a without spending over the odds. robust package built for pro use.

XXXXXX

Xxx

Best FX wiDe zoom

sigma 12-24mm f/4 dg hsm | a ■ £1,650/$1,600 ■ www.sigma-global.com Sigma’s 12-24mm ultra-wide zoom has long been the widest lens that you can fit on a Nikon FX body, without going fisheye. Sigma also makes a smaller 8-16mm edition of the lens for DX-format cameras, but our award-winning 12-24mm is actually a new ‘Art’ line lens. The new 12-24mm delivers the same monstrously wide viewing angle as its predecessor, but offers the additional advantages of a constant maximum aperture, impressive build quality, uprated glass and faster autofocus. Levels of distortion are incredibly low for such a wide-angle lens, increasing its effectiveness for landscape and architectural shooting. It’s also impressively sharp towards the edges and corners of the frame. BUY if… You want the widest possible viewing angle from a rectilinear lens, without sacrificing image quality.

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The world’s toughest g e a rtests o F ttest h e yteam ear

Best BuDget telephoto zoom

Nikon aF-s 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6g iF-ed Vr

Best supertelephoto zoom

■ £1,300/$2,000 ■ www.sigma-global.com

There’s a pair of notable new budget telephoto zooms on the market, in the shape of the VR and non-VR editions of the AF-P DX 70-300mm. While they’re cost effective, they only work with a relatively small number of Nikon bodies. We prefer this older 70-300mm, which works a treat with any Nikon D-SLR. For starters, you can use it on FX as well as DX-format cameras, without the need to resort to Crop mode. It also has a fast and quiet ring-type ultrasonic autofocus system that provides great performance on everything from Nikon’s original D1 to the very latest D-SLRs. Image quality and handling are excellent for a ‘budget’ lens, and it gives supertele effective focal lengths of up to 450mm on DX-format camera. BUY if… You want a seriously good telephoto zoom that’s also full-frame compatible.

BUY if… You require epic reach in a sensibly-priced lens that’s built to take a few knocks.

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Best portrait prime

Tamron sp 90mm Tamron 85mm sigma 150-600mm f/2.8 di Vc usd macro f/1.8 Vc f/5-6.3 dg os hsm | s There have been a few desirable super-telephoto zooms launched recently, including Nikon’s own 200-500mm VR, Sigma’s 150600mm ‘Contemporary’ lens, and the brand new G2 edition of Tamron’s 150-600mm. They all offer serious telephoto reach while still being manageable, each weighing in at around 2kg. But in the end we’ve gone for something more heavyweight, in the shape of the almost 3kg Sigma 150-600mm Sport. The Sigma Sport lens delivers the best image quality for this class of zoom, has the sturdiest build, and boasts a dazzling array of high-tech thrills. It’s still great value at the price, though, and is currently available with the latest edition of Sigma’s 1.4x converter. This boosts the maximum focal length to 840mm – effectively 1260mm on a DX camera!

■ £430/$500 ■ www.nikon.com

Best macro lens

■ £580/$650 ■ www.tamron.com

■ £750/$750 ■ www.tamron.com

The latest edition of Tamron’s popular macro lens is a big upgrade over the VC USD variant, following in the footsteps of other recently launched Tamron prime lenses, and featuring the same comfortably large switches and silver ring around the base. As well as an additional XLD (eXtra Low Dispersion) element, the new lens includes dual nanostructure coatings to reduce ghosting and flare, along with a grime-repellent fluorine coating on the front element. The big story, however, is a new VC (Vibration Compensation) system. It’s a hybrid optical stabiliser that counteracts axial movement (both side-to-side and up/down) as well as the usual angular vibration, or wobble. This makes it more effective for closerange handheld shooting.

Nikon portrait photographers have long had the conundrum of whether to buy the reasonably inexpensive own-brand AF-S 85mm f/1.8G lens, or splash out on the top-notch f/1.4 edition, which is two-thirds of an f/stop faster and about three times the price. This new Tamron lens incorporates optical stabilisation that’s lacking in both Nikon lenses, as well as in Sigma’s 85mm prime lens. More importantly, the addition of Vibration Compensation comes without any degradation in image quality. When using wide apertures at typical shooting distances for portraiture, the Tamron delivers pin-sharp detail, along with a wonderfully creamy quality in defocused areas. Build quality is similarly impressive, making the lens a great choice for portraits, and more besides.

BUY if… You’re looking for a full 1.0x magnification macro lens that delivers supreme image quality, and that also works well as a short telephoto for portraits and general shooting.

BUY if… You want superb image quality for portraiture and other short telephoto shooting, with the bonus of optical stabilisation.

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accessories Best Filter system

lee Filters 100mm ■ £229/$320 (starter kit) ■ www.leefilters.com Lee Filters has always impressed us over the years. Its 100mm system is ideally suited to both DX and FX-format photography, with top-notch hardware and premium-quality, handmade

filters. We’re particularly fond of Lee’s graduated neutral density filters, with the choice of soft, medium, hard and very hard transitions. Some other systems are a good substitute, if you’re on a tight budget, including Formatt-Hitech and Cokin Z-Pro, but Lee Filters wins out for durability and for the quality of the components. For compatibility with a growing range of ultra-wide angle lenses that lack a filter attachment thread, it’s worth checking out the Lee Filters SW150 Mark II system. Adaptors are available for the Nikon 14-24mm, Sigma 12-24mm II and Tamron 15-30mm lenses, among others. BUY if… You want to spend more time getting your shots right in-camera, and less time messing around in Photoshop afterwards.

Best Backpack

Here’s our pick of the four added extras that we think you can’t do without

Best Flashgun

Nikon sb-5000 speedlight ■ £500/$600 ■ www.nikon.com The SB-5000 is Nikon’s first ever ‘radio controlled’ Speedlight. It uses RF (Radio Frequency) rather than infrared communication, which means it can maintain its wireless link around corners and through obstacles in its path (see page 130 for a compelling demo of this in action). Another first is Nikon’s new Speedlight cooling system, which enables the SB-5000 to keep going for more than 100 quick-fire shots. With a powerful Gn 34.5 rating, a motorised zoom head range of 24-200mm (FX-format) and full bounce and swivel movement, the SB-5000 is full of tricks. It’s supplied complete with a clip-on diffusion dome, colour-matching filters, a stand and a soft case.

Best tripoD

lowepro whistler bp 350 aw

Benro go plus travel Fgp28a + b1 ballhead

■ £255/$235 ■ www.lowepro.com

■ £260/$310 ■ www.benroeu.com

When is a photo backpack not a photo backpack? The Whistler works equally well for storing your photo kit, or for stashing anything else that you need to take out and about, thanks to a removable camera compartment. Even when this full-length compartment is stuffed to the brim, the Whistler is still comfortable to wear, thanks to its wide shoulder and waist straps, and the clever design of its ‘ActivZone’ harness. It’s stylish yet as tough as old boots, and the semi-rigid frame adds protection even when the camera compartment is removed. Another great touch is the waterproof divider between the main compartment and the expanding front pocket. This includes drain holes, so you

More than just three legs and a clever head, this Benro tripod is a marvel of convenience and versatility. Unlike many ‘travel’ tripods, it’s properly sturdy, with a maximum load rating of 14kg. And while it folds down supersmall, with a carrying length of just 49cm, it has a generous maximum operating height of 1.74m. It’s all down to folding trickery, with the legs swinging up for stowage, and the feet encompassing the head. For macro, ultra-wide angle and low-level shooting, the tripod also

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can stow wet gear without fear of drenching your dry stuff. BUY if… You need a really durable backpack that offers excellent protection for your camera kit, and is suited to exploring the great outdoors.

BUY if… You demand top-end performance from a flashgun, plus ultimate versatility and the flexibility and reach of wireless RF remote triggering.

benefits from a pivoting centre column. Unlike in competing Manfrotto tripods, the pivoting mechanism enables a full 180 degrees of rotation, with many lockable angles available along the way. Build quality is also fabulous. It really is a tripod you’ll want to treasure. BUY if… You want a tripod that’s small enough to take anywhere, yet provides solid support and includes all the features you could wish for.


gear oF the year most wanteD csc

Nikon 2

■ Full-frame compact system camera

the camera gear that we’d like to see arriVe in the neXt 12 months. best get cracking nikon…

There are plenty of cool mirrorless system cameras on the market nowadays, and some of them have real photographic clout, coupled with retro-style controls that are well suited to creative shooting. The Nikon 1 system has come on in leaps and bounds since its inception five years ago, but a limiting factor has always been the physical size of its image sensors, which only have about a quarter of the surface area of a DX-format sensor. At the risk of repeating last year’s wish, we’d like to see a Nikon 2 series, ideally bypassing the DX-format and going direct to a full-frame image sensor. It would make a great camera for street photography, especially if paired with a newly developed wide-angle pancake lens.

most wanteD lens

Nikon aF-p dX 16-60mm f/2.8e Vr ■ constant-aperture standard zoom with Vr There’s a lot to like in Nikon’s AF-S DX 16-80mm f/2.8-4E ED VR standard zoom, but we’d like to see Nikon go further still with a truly fast, constant-aperture standard zoom that can deliver a tight depth of field and maintain

most wanteD FX camera

Nikon d900

■ new high-resolution king! Nikon used to reign supreme in the high-res stakes, the D800 rewriting the 35mm format rulebook with its 36.3MP sensor, but its successor, the D810 didn’t add anything in terms of megapixel count. We’d like to see the announcement of a D900 that uses either a 42.4MP Sony image sensor or a new-generation, higher-res

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fast shutter speeds at the long end of its zoom range. We’d like to keep the same wide-angle potential, but would relax the telephoto reach, to help achieve the fast aperture without the lens having to be too bulky. As with the 24-70mm f/2.8 VR lens for FX-format bodies, we’d want to see the f/2.8 constant aperture combined with Vibration Reduction – something that’s lacking in the now antiquated AF-S DX 17-55mm f/2.8G lens, launched back in 2003.

sensor that sets the benchmark for full-frame cameras. We’d like this teamed with Nikon’s 153-point AF system, not only for increased accuracy, but also for the greater spread of AF points across the image frame. An EXPEED 5 image processor would enable faster throughput of high-res images, perhaps coupled with at least one XQD memory card slot. Another good inheritance from the D5 would be a super-highres LCD screen, preferably with a tilt mechanism, plus 4K or even 8K movie-capture.

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GEAR ZONE n i k o n

D5600 Preview

Specifications Sensor: 24.2MP DX-format CMOS (EXPEED 4) Crop factor: 1.5x Memory: 1x SD/SDHC/SDXC Viewfinder: Eye-level pentamirror viewfinder, 95% coverage Video resolution: Full HD (1920x1080) at 60, 50, 30, 25 or 24p ISO range: 100-25600 Autofocus points: 39 (9 cross-type) Max burst rate: 5fps LCD screen: 3.2-inch, 1,037k-dot LCD with 170-degree viewing angle, touch-sensitive, vari-angle Shutter speeds: 1/4000 sec to 30 secs, Bulb Weight: 465g (with battery and memory card) Dimensions: 124 x 97 x 70 mm Power supply: Li-ion EN-EL14a Battery

Nikon D5600

D-SLR • £800/$TBC (wiTh AF-P 18-55mm VR) • www.nikon.Com

Nikon’s latest D-SLR to sport SnapBridge boasts a pretty feature-packed spec sheet

N

ikon is taking wireless image sharing very seriously. Now that its Bluetooth-enabled SnapBridge transfer tech has made it into the D500 and D3400, it was only natural to include it in the D5500’s successor. This means the D5600 can automatically transfer images to your smart device as though it was wirelessly tethered, making it effortlessly easy to upload a D5600’s shots to social media. Unlike the D3400, though, the D5600 also features Wi-Fi connectivity, so can also be remotely controlled by your smart device. There is one minor drawback, however, and that’s the omission of the infrared remote sensors that were included on the D5500. This means that the D5600 can only be remotely

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controlled via SnapBridge, or Nikon’s MC-DC2 remote cable. Elsewhere, the D5600’s changes are more subtle, but no less useful. It inherits the frame advance bar from the D5 and D500, enabling faster scrolling through images in playback mode using its 3.2-inch touchscreen display. This touchsensitive interface has been further refined with the addition of a feature for in-camera image cropping, and touch control can also be useful during viewfinder shooting: not only can you use the screen to control the autofocus point while you’re looking through the viewfinder (albeit at the risk of changing the AF point with your nose), the D5600 adds a new option for enabling or disabling automatic ISO sensitivity control.

The D5600 shares the same vari-angle touch-screen as its predecessor, but gains the D5’s frame advance bar

Nikon’s Time Lapse Movie feature has also been implemented in the D5600, allowing images captured using the camera’s built-in intervalometer to be automatically compiled into a timelapse .MOV video file. Finally, if you’re worried that Nikon might have downgraded the D5600’s flash power and omitted automatic sensor cleaning, as it did with the D3400, you’ll be relieved to hear that both features are thankfully unchanged from the D5500. In fact, in this and most other respects the D5600 is very similar to its predecessor. Nikon’s venerable 24.2MP DX sensor is retained, and

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Ni kO Nd 56 00 PR EV

Movie Making With Full HD video capture at 60fps, built-in stereo microphones, and full-time servo autofocus in Live View, with minimal focus drive noise from the AF-P kit lens, the D5600 is well equipped for shooting video footage.

Touchy-feely The D5600’s touchsensitive LCD not only makes image reviewing easier with swipe navigation and pinch-tozoom, it can also be used to control many camera settings and the active focus point. a new PersPecTive Not only is the D5600’s screen touch-sensitive, it’s also hinged to flip, tilt and rotate, making high- and low-angle shooting a breeze. It’s also a must-have feature for selfie shooters.

24.2MP DX sensor Nikon’s tried and tested 24.2MP DX sensor makes another appearance here, and it continues to do without an optical low-pass filter so the sensor can resolve maximum detail.

it still lacks an anti-aliasing filter in order to maximise image sharpness. The sensor’s native sensitivity range (ISO100-25600) remains unchanged, and the D5600 also has a 39-point AF system with nine cross-type points. In-camera dual exposure HDR is another feature inherited from the D5500, which also donates its EXPEED 4 image processor, resulting in a 5fps maximum burst rate. If that isn’t fast enough to capture the action, the camera will record Full HD video at up to 60fps, though with the same processing power as the D5500 under

iEW

af-P auTofocus Like the D3400, the D5600 can be bundled with Nikon’s stepping motor AF-P 18-55mm lens for faster, quieter and more precise autofocusing than the AF-S version of the lens offers.

its hood, it’s no surprise that the D5600 can’t record 4K footage.

Build & handling Externally, you’ll have a very tough time telling the D5600 apart from the D5500. Both sport the same 124 x 97 x 70mm all-plastic casing, although the new camera is a whopping 5g lighter, at 465g with a card and battery. Despite the D5600’s relatively shallow overall depth, Nikon has managed to sculpt out a surprisingly deep hand grip, so the camera feels more comfortable in the hand than

The new camera boasts the same proportions as the D5500, but that’s no bad thing – the deep grip continues to inspire confidence

many more conventionally shaped D-SLRs. The D5600 also boasts Nikon’s vari-angle 3.2-inch, 1037k-dot touchscreen display, and everything’s still fuelled by an EN-EL14a rechargeable Li-ion battery that’s capable of the same 820-shots per charge as the D5500. Expect the D5600 to be available as a kit with Nikon’s AF-P 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR lens for an RRP of £800, while speccing it with an AF-S 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR will set you back £990. US availability and pricing are still to be confirmed.

SnapBridge SnapBridge is arguable the biggest addition to the D5600. It’s designed to make image sharing quicker and easier than when using a conventional Wi-Fi link that requires tedious setting up and recurrent pairing. SnapBridge employs a Bluetooth LE (Low Energy) chip that provides a constant connection without severely impacting battery life, enabling images to automatically transfer from the D5600 to a smart device so you can then share them to social media or cloud storage. The catch? In order

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to maintain fast transfer speeds and keep the system sipping rather than gulping power, images are transferred at a downsized resolution. Full-res shots can be transferred manually, albeit via conventional Wi-Fi, and with increased power consumption. This additional Wi-Fi connection also enables remote control of the D5600 over distances of up to 10 metres using a smart device. You also get NFC pairing, so the Wi-Fi link can be established by tapping your smartphone against the camera.

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te le ph ot oz oo ms

telephoto zooms

After a longer lens to go with your standard zoom? Matthew Richards takes the best budget options for a spin

M

ost of us start our Nikon D-SLR habit by buying a kit that includes a standard zoom lens, which stretches from fairly wide-angle to short telephoto in focal length. This is a very versatile combination, until you need a lens with real telephoto reach. A telephoto zoom is the first extra lens that many of us buy – something with a classic

70-300mm zoom range fits the bill nicely. Prices start low, and the 300mm focal length has plenty of pulling power for closing the gap to distant objects. Indeed, 70-300mm lenses originally found favour back in the days of 35mm film photography. Today’s DX format Nikons, with their APS-C image sensors, give this category of lens even greater reach. The 1.5x

Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 DG Macro

£100/$140

Tamron AF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Di LD Macro

£130/$150

Sigma APO 70-300mm f/4-5.6 DG Macro

£150/$200

nikon AF-S DX 55-200mm f/4-5.6G ED VR II

£200/$150

nikon AF-S DX 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR

£280/$395

Tamron SP 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Di VC USD

£300/$450

nikon AF-P DX 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED VR

£325/$400

nikon AF-S 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED VR

£430/$500

Image: Giedriius / Shutterstock

The contenders

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big TesT

crop factor of DX cameras gives a 70-300mm lens an ‘effective’ maximum focal length of 450mm. This is breaking through into super-telephoto territory. It’s equivalent to the reach you get on a whopping super-telephoto zoom on an FX (full-frame) Nikon, but in a considerably more compact, lightweight and affordable package. In some cameras, like the D7200 and D500, you can go even further with an additional 1.3x crop mode. This gives you a mighty 585mm maximum effective focal length from a 70-300mm lens, although your images will naturally have a reduced megapixel count. One drawback to the extended effective reach of telephoto lenses on DX cameras is that camera-shake becomes more of an issue. For consistently sharp

results with handheld shooting, the rule of thumb is that you need a shutter speed that’s as least as fast as the reciprocal of the focal length. Technically, that would mean a shutter speed of at least 1/300 sec at 300mm. However, you need to take the crop factor into account as well, so with an effective focal length of 450mm, you’d need a shutter speed of at least 1/450 sec or, in practical terms, 1/500 sec. The not-so-secret weapon for counteracting camera-shake is optical stabilisation. Nikon calls this VR (Vibration Reduction),

Sigma calls it OS (Optical Stabilization) and for Tamron, it’s VC (Vibration Correction). The science of stabilisation varies between manufacturers but, in all cases, it relies on a microprocessor-controlled system that senses physical movement in the lens and applies a corresponding movement to an internal group of elements to counteract it. For a budget tele-zoom that typically has a relatively ‘slow’ widest aperture of f/5.6 at the long end of its zoom range, optical stabilisation is so beneficial that

It’s equivalent to the reach you get on a whopping super-telephoto zoom on an FX Nikon, but in a more affordable package

you’d think its inclusion would be a no-brainer. And yet, while Sigma used to make a stabilised 70-300mm zoom, the two 70-300mm lenses in its current line-up are non-stabilised. Tamron offers an older, nonstabilised 70-300mm lens and a fairly new, higher-spec stabilised option. And while Nikon has dropped the non-VR edition of its smaller 55-200mm lens, it has just launched a new AF-P DX 70-300mm in both non-stabilised and VR editions. Sigma and Tamron also used to make dedicated DX-format tele-zooms, but they fell by the wayside a few years ago. It’s only Nikon that still makes DX-format budget options exclusively for APS-C format cameras, namely the 55-200mm, 55-300mm and 70-300mm lenses, all of which are included in this test.

What to look for... ExtEnd youR tElEphoto REach without blowing youR budgEt DX Vs fX Apart from the 55-200mm VR II lens, Nikon’s DX-format telephoto zooms aren’t physically smaller than the majority of their full-frame compatible counterparts. Zoom range All lenses on test run to 300mm, again, apart from the compact 55-200mm VR II. At the short end of the zoom range, the difference between 55mm and 70mm is of barely any consequence.

Jargon buster af-p autofocus Compatible with Nikon’s latest cameras, the AF-P (AF-Pulse) system uses a stepping motor for near-silent autofocus, plus electronic ‘fly-by-wire’ manual focusing. 0.5x macro Both Sigmas and the older Tamron on test can reproduce objects at half life size on the image sensor, enabling extreme magnification with smaller subjects.

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aperture One thing you won’t get in a budget telephoto zoom is a ‘fast’ f/2.8 constant aperture. Instead, the widest available aperture typically shrinks from around f/4 to f/5.6 as you zoom in. close-up The minimum focus distance of most 70-300mm lenses is around 1.5m. The older Tamron and both of the Sigma lenses on test have a 0.5x macro facility, with a shorter 95cm minimum focus distance. autofocus Some lenses on test have a basic electric autofocus motor, others have a ring-type or motor-based ultrasonic system, and there’s also Nikon’s new AF-P system (see jargon buster, opposite). optical stabilisation Stabilisation is a hugely helpful feature for handheld photography, and can also be very useful when using a monopod, especially in dull lighting conditions.

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te le ph ot oz oo ms

sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Dg Macro £100, $140

tamron AF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Di LD Macro £130, $150

At only about a quarter of the price of Nikon’s most upmarket lens on test, this Sigma is a direct competitor in that it’s full-frame compatible and has the same zoom range. It also features a ‘macro’ facility that’s available in the 200-300mm part of the zoom range, something which is lacking in the Nikon lens. Selected via a switch on the lens barrel, this enables close-up manual and autofocusing while also limiting the zoom range, and increasing the magnification factor to as much as 0.5x. The same facility is available in the Sigma APO and Tamron AF lenses on test. In other respects, however, it lags a long way behind the pricier Nikon lens. The autofocus system is driven by a basic and fairly noisy electric motor and there’s no optical stabilisation.

Similarities between this and the two Sigmas on test include a 0.5x macro facility that, in the Tamron, is available from 180-300mm. You need to use the closest focus distance of 95cm to hit 0.5x magnification. All three lenses have zoom and focus scales printed on their control rings, but the Tamron lacks a magnification scale, which is found on the extending inner barrel of the Sigma lenses. Yet more similarities include a basic motor for autofocus, a lack of optical stabilisation, and the fact that the front element rotates during focusing. This makes it tricky to use filters like circular polarisers and grads.

it Might bE chEap, but you gEt what you pay foR

Performance Levels of sharpness and contrast are okay overall, but disappoint when combining the longest zoom length with the widest aperture, which you might need to do in order to keep shutter speeds fast, especially in the absence of stabilisation.

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anothER budgEt option that doEsn’t quitE dElivER

Centre sharpness (Higher is better) 2500 2000 1500 1000 500 0 f/4-5

f/5.6

70mm

f/8

f/11

100mm

f/16

f/22

200m

f/29-32

300m

There’s a lack of sharpness at 300mm with the widest aperture of f/5.6.

Edge fringing (f/8) (Lower is better) wide 1.19 Mid 2.15 long 3.28 Levels of colour fringing are average, but no worse than from Sigma’s ‘APO’ lens.

Distortion (Nearer 0 is better)

Performance

W 2.31 M 3.07 l 2.31

-4

-3

-2

-1

0

1

2

3

4

Pincushion distortion is worse than in most other lenses on test.

Verdict Features Build/handling Performance Valueformoney

Overall While it’s certainly cheap, both its features and image quality are a bit lacklustre.

Widest-aperture sharpness at 300mm is better than from Sigma’s cheaper 70-300mm lens, but not quite as good at short to medium zoom settings. In other respects, image quality is similar, although autofocus is slower. With its plastic rather than metal mounting plate, the Tamron is about 100g lighter than the Sigma lenses, but this arguably makes it less able to overcome camera-shake.

Centre sharpness (Higher is better) 2500 2000 1500 1000 500 0 f/4-5

f/5.6

70mm

f/8

f/11

100mm

f/16

f/22

f/29-32

180m

300m

It’s generally sharper than the budget Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 DG Macro.

Edge fringing (f/8) (Lower is better) wide 2 Mid 2.71 long 3.44 Compared with the Sigmas, fringing is slightly worse at shorter focal lengths.

Distortion (Nearer 0 is better) W -0.01 M 2.64 l 2.34

-4

-3

-2

-1

0

1

2

3

4

There’s little distortion at 70mm, and typical pincushion at longer focal lengths.

Verdict Features Build/handling Performance Valueformoney

Overall There’s little to choose between this Tamron lens and the cheaper Sigma.

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sigma APO 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Dg Macro £150, $200

Nikon AF-s DX 55-200mm f/4-5.6g eD VR ii £200/$150

Looking like a go-faster version of Sigma’s other 70-300mm lens on test, this one features a sporty red stripe around the front. But it’s what’s inside that counts: while the more basic edition has a single SLD (Special Low Dispersion) element at the rear, the APO (apochromatic) version includes two large-diameter SLD elements in the front group. When it comes to build quality, handling and features, both Sigma lenses are identical, although the APO version adds a soft case to the included extras. Both lenses have a metal rather than plastic mounting plate, but neither features a weather-seal, as fitted to a couple of the Nikon lenses on test.

We rate this Mk II edition of Nikon’s 55-200mm as a good travel lens, thanks to its collapsing design. It’s a neat telephoto addition to recent Nikon 18-55mm kit lenses, which share the same retracting mechanism to minimise stowage size. Indeed, it’s only about half the physical length of some of the 70-300mm lenses on test, and less than half the weight. The trade-off is that maximum telephoto reach is somewhat limited. The Mk II lens features a new-generation, four-stop optical stabiliser (CIPA tested). The front element neither extends nor rotates during focusing, and autofocus itself is fairly quick and quiet. However, it’s a motor-based system rather than a ring-type ultrasonic one, without full-time manual override. The plastic mounting plate lacks a weather seal.

thE apo Edition aiMs foR EnhancEd iMagE quality

Performance

Centre sharpness (Higher is better) 2500 2000 1500 1000 500 0 f/4-5

f/5.6

70mm

f/8

f/11

100mm

f/16

f/22

200m

f/29-32

300m

Wide-aperture sharpness is disappointing between 70-200mm.

Edge fringing (f/8) (Lower is better) wide 1.32 Mid 2.18 long 3.78 Despite the two extra SLD elements, there’s no real reduction in fringing.

Distortion (Nearer 0 is better) W 0.41 M 3.02 l 2.33

Autofocus performance is the same as in the cheaper Sigma lens, and is a little quicker and noisier than in the Tamron AF lens. Image quality is a mixed bag: the APO lens is a bit sharper than the other Sigma at f/8 to f/11 with short to mid zoom settings, but softer at the widest apertures. Conversely, it’s rather sharper at 300mm when using the widest aperture.

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-4

-3

-2

-1

0

1

2

3

4

In our lab tests, the APO lens had less distortion at 70mm than the basic Sigma.

Verdict Features Build/handling Performance Valueformoney

Overall Its performance isn’t significantly better than in Sigma’s cheaper lens.

Performance Image quality is better than that of typical superzoom lenses, but, in comparison with some of the other lenses on test, sharpness at 200mm could be better, especially at small apertures.

Centre sharpness (Higher is better) 2500 2000 1500 1000 500 0 f/5.6

f/4-5

55mm

f/8

f/11

75mm

f/16

f/22

135m

f/29-32

200m

Sharpness in the 55-135mm range drops off noticeably at 200mm.

Edge fringing (f/8) (Lower is better) wide 4.19 Mid 1.25 long 2.47 Uncorrected, colour fringing is quite noticeable at shorter focal lengths.

Distortion (Nearer 0 is better) W -1.15 M 1.11 l 1.11

-4

-2

-3

-1

0

1

2

3

4

The relative lack of distortion is a bonus when compared with using a superzoom.

Verdict Features Build/handling Performance Valueformoney

Overall It’s certainly a smart travel option, but outright telephoto reach is limited.

www.digitalcameraworld.com


te le ph ot oz oo ms

Nikon AF-s DX 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6g eD VR £280/$395

tamron sP 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Di VC UsD £300, $450

Unlike the more compact Nikon 55-200mm VR II, this lens is the size and weight you’d expect for a budget tele-zoom. Both are DX format lenses, but the nonretracting 55-300mm is 50 per cent longer and much heftier. The latter is due not just to its size, but to the fact that the mounting plate is metal rather than plastic. As with only the AF-S 70-300mm VR in this test, the mount has a weather seal. The VR system is of an older generation than the one in the 55-200mm lens, and has a less effective three-stop rating. Again, the autofocus system is based on an ultrasonic motor but, unlike in the 55-200mm VR II, the inner barrel and front element rotate during focusing. Optical upgrades include two rather than one ED (Extra-low Dispersion) elements, plus the addition of an HRI (High Refractive Index) element.

This high-tech offering is a totally different proposition to the older Tamron 70-300mm on test. Key upgrades include a whisper-quiet and speedy ring-type ultrasonic autofocus system, optical stabilisation, and much sturdier build quality. Handling is more refined, as the manual focus ring doesn’t rotate during autofocus, and the front element neither extends nor rotates. The mounting plate is metal, but has no weather seal. Unlike the three Nikon DX lenses on test, the Tamron is full-frame compatible. It has a focus distance scale beneath a viewing window, whereas the Nikon DX lenses don’t, and the optical path includes an LD (Low Dispersion) and an XLD (eXtra Low Dispersion) element.

biggER and bEttER than nikon’s 55-200MM offERing

Performance Compared with the 55-200mm, its autofocus speed is sluggish, and it’s not quite as sharp at short to mid zoom settings. Sharpness improves from 200mm upwards.

www.digitalcameraworld.com

taMRon’s vc lEns shifts things up a gEaR

Centre sharpness (Higher is better) 2500 2000 1500 1000 500 0 f/4-5

f/5.6

55mm

f/8

f/11

100mm

f/16

f/22

200m

f/29-32

300m

It’s not massively sharp at 55-150mm, but holds up well at longer focal lengths.

Edge fringing (f/8) (Lower is better) wide 0.83 Mid 2.02 long 2.97 There’s less fringing at the short end of the zoom than with the 55-200mm VR II.

Distortion (Nearer 0 is better) 0.7 M 1.89 l 1.38

-4

-3

-2

-1

0

1

2

3

Pincushion distortion is quite well controlled at all focal lengths.

Verdict Features Build/handling Performance Valueformoney

Overall This lens is the best buy of all the Nikon DX format telephoto zooms.

4

Performance Autofocus speed is faster than in the Nikon DX 55-300mm VR, and almost as quick as in Nikon’s AF-S 70-300mm VR lens. There’s no official rating for the VC (Vibration Compensation) system, but we found it to be equivalent to nearly four stops. Image quality is very good throughout the zoom range.

Centre sharpness (Higher is better) 2500 2000 1500 1000 500 0 f/4-5

f/5.6

70mm

f/8

f/11

100mm

f/16

f/22

200m

f/29-32

300m

As is usual in this class of telephoto lens, sharpness drops off a bit at the long end.

Edge fringing (f/8) (Lower is better) wide 1.12 Mid 1.42 long 2.23 Colour fringing is well controlled, from one end of the zoom range to the other.

Distortion (Nearer 0 is better) -0.34 M 2.01 l 1.97

-4

-3

-2

-1

0

1

2

3

4

There’s little barrel distortion at 70mm, and minimal pincushion at longer lengths.

Verdict Features Build/handling Performance Valueformoney

Overall It’s almost as good as the Nikon AF-S 70-300mm VR, and great value too.

January 2017

119


GeAR zoNe T h e

big TesT

Nikon AF-P DX 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3g eD VR £325/$400

Nikon AF-s 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6g iF-eD VR £430, $500

Like the 55-200mm VR II, this new DX format lens is relatively lightweight, though it doesn’t feature a retractable design. You can save some cash by going for the non-stabilised edition, but that’s a false economy if you want sharp handheld shots. Other similarities include a single ED (Extra-low Dispersion) element, a four-stop VR system, and a front element that doesn’t rotate during focusing. The ‘AF-P’ autofocus system, though, is based on a stepping motor rather than a standard electric or ring-type ultrasonic motor. Plus points include near-silent operation and smooth autofocus transitions for movies; a major minus point is that the lens is only fully compatible with the D3300/3400, D5300/5500/ 5600 and D500, some of which will require a firmware upgrade. With older Nikon D-SLRs, the lens simply won’t focus.

Pick up the 70-300mm VR and it immediately feels more solid and better built than any of the other Nikon lenses in the group. Like the 55-300mm VR, it has a metal mounting plate with a weather-seal, but it also adds a distance scale beneath a viewing panel. The focus ring doesn’t rotate during autofocus and is more conveniently placed, at the rear of the lens. It’s the only Nikon on test to boast a ring-type ultrasonic autofocus system, as also featured in the Tamron VC USD lens. The Nikon’s autofocus is a little quicker and even quieter, making it the fastest lens on test. The early-generation VR only has a CIPA rating of 2.5 stops, but it’s surprisingly effective when shooting from an unsteady platform, thanks to its additional ‘Active’ mode.

it’s nEw, but is it iMpRovEd?

Performance With compatible bodies, the AF-P autofocus is nippy for stills and nicely smooth for movies. Image quality is quite good in most respects but it’s not the sharpest tool in Nikon’s box.

120

January 2017

a ‘budgEt’ lEns that oozEs upMaRkEt quality

Centre sharpness (Higher is better) 2500 2000 1500 1000 500 0 f/4-5

f/5.6

70mm

f/8

f/11

135mm

f/16

f/22

200m

f/29-32

300m

Merely mediocre, throughout both the zoom range and the aperture range.

Edge fringing (f/8) (Lower is better) wide 2.7 Mid 4.2 long 5.3 Fringing is the worst of any lens on test at mid to long focal length settings.

Distortion (Nearer 0 is better) W -0.56 M 1.48 l 1.12

-4

-3

-2

-1

0

1

2

3

4

There’s a little barrel distortion at 70mm, and minimal pincushion at long lengths.

Verdict Features Build/handling Performance Valueformoney

Overall It’s not a great buy at the price, and is incompatible with many Nikon D-SLRs.

Performance Two ED elements help to deliver excellent contrast and sharpness throughout the zoom range although, as usual, sharpness does drop off a little at 300mm. Even so, image quality is superb overall, and it’s the best handling lens in the group.

Centre sharpness (Higher is better) 2500 2000 1500 1000 500 0 f/5.6

f/4-5

70mm

f/8

f/11

135mm

f/16

f/22

200m

f/29-32

300m

Superb levels of sharpness only drop off right at the very longest end of the zoom.

Edge fringing (f/8) (Lower is better) wide 1.99 Mid 3.4 long 4.64 Colour fringing in image corners can be noticeable at longer focal lengths.

Distortion (Nearer 0 is better) W -0.81 M 2.38 l 1.79

-4

-2

-3

-1

0

1

2

3

4

Slight distortions switch from barrel to pincushion as you zoom in.

Verdict Features Build/handling Performance Valueformoney

Overall For both DX and FX Nikons, this is the best budget telephoto zoom on the market.

www.digitalcameraworld.com


te le ph ot oz

Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 DG macro www.sigma-global.com

Street price DX/FX Effective zoom (DX) Aperture range

ms

how thE lEnsEs coMpaRE

oo

Comparison table Tamron af 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Di LD macro www.tamron.com

Sigma aPo 70-300mm f/4-5.6 DG macro

nikon af-S DX 55-200mm f/4-5.6G ED Vr ii

www.sigma-global.com

nikon af-S DX 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED Vr

www.nikon.com

Tamron SP 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Di Vc USD

nikon af-P DX 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED Vr

www.tamron.com

nikon af-S 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G if-ED Vr

www.nikon.com

£100, $140

£130, $150

£150, $200

£200, $150

£280, $395

£300, $450

£325, $400

£430, $500

fX

fX

fX

DX

DX

fX

DX

fX

105-450mm

105-450mm

105-450mm

82.5-300mm

82.5-450mm

105-450mm

105-450mm

105-450mm

f/4-5.6 to f/22-32

f/4-5.6 to f/32-45

f/4-5.6 to f/22-32

f/4-5.6 to f/22-32

f/4.5-5.6 to f/22-29

f/4.5-5.6 to f/22-32

f/4.5-5.6 to f/32-40

None

None

None

4-stops (ciPa)

3-stops (ciPa)

4-stops (ciPa)

2.5 stops (ciPa)

Electric

Electric

Electric

Ultrasonic (motor)

Ultrasonic (motor)

f/4-5.6 to f/32-45 Yes (rating unspecified) Ultrasonic (ring-type)

Stepping motor

Ultrasonic (ring-type)

Internal focus

No

No

No

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Front element rotates

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

No

No

No

Min focus distance

0.95mm

0.95mm

0.95mm

1.1m

1.4m

1.5m

1.1m

1.5m

Max magnification

0.5x

0.5x

0.5x

0.23x

0.28x

0.25x

0.22x

0.25x

Lens mount

metal

Plastic

metal

Plastic

metal, weather-sealed

metal

Plastic

metal, weather-sealed

Elements/groups

14/10

13/9

14/10

13/9

17/11

17/12

14/10

17/12

Diaphragm blades

9 blades

9 blades

9 blades

7 blades

9 blades

9 blades

7 blades

9 blades

58mm

62mm

58mm

52mm

58mm

62mm

58mm

67mm

Hood

Hood

Hood, soft case

None

Hood, pouch

Hood

None

Hood, pouch

77x122mm

77x117mm

77x122mm

71x83mm (retracted)

77x123mm

82x143mm

72x125mm

80x144mm

545g

435g

550g

300g

530g

765g

415g

745g

Stabilisation Autofocus type

Filter size Included accessories Diameter x min length Weight fEatUrES BUiLD/HaNDLiNG PErformaNcE VaLUE for moNEY oVEraLL

The winner is...

Runners-up

Nikon AF-s 70-300mm f/4.55.6g iF-eD VR £430, $500

tamron sP 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Di VC UsD £300, $450

What’s good: Great handling characteristics, multi-mode VR, fast autofocus, brilliant image quality. What’s bad: The older-generation VR is less effective than the systems built into the latest Nikon lenses. Our verdict: This is our favourite budget telephoto lens, for both DX and FX format Nikon D-SLRs.

The high-performance Nikon AF-S 70-300mm VR combines a solid build quality and refined handling with fast autofocus, effective stabilisation and impressive image quality. It’s the only full-frame compatible Nikon lens on test, but it’s also the best choice for DX format bodies, in which the sensor only covers the the central region of the len’s image circle, where optical quality is at its best. The Tamron 70-300mm VC USD runs the Nikon a close second, with similarly

www.digitalcameraworld.com

high-end features. The ‘VC’ optical stabiliser is better for static shots, but the Nikon’s VR has the edge for panning and for shooting from an unsteady platform. Nikon’s DX format AF-P 70-300mm VR feels flimsy and basic by comparison to the leading FX format lenses on test, and its lack of compatibility with many cameras can be an issue. We prefer the older 55-300mm VR if you’re after a DX-specific lens, or the retracting 55200mm VR II if you want a space-saver.

What’s good: Similar high-end features to the winning Nikon lens. What’s bad: The optical stabiliser is less effective when panning. Our verdict: A superb budget lens that undercuts the Nikon for price.

Nikon AF-s DX 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6g eD VR £280, $395

What’s good: Good build and image quality and a weather-sealed mount. What’s bad: The focus ring rotates as the lens (slowly) autofocuses. Our verdict: It’s not quite as good as the top Nikon and Tamron lenses here.

NeXT issUe your next nikon: d-slr upgrade options compared

January 2017

121


nikon Cameras

TesTed In IssUe 65 PrIce: £400/$550

NIKON D3400 the D3400 mAkeS Room foR new feAtuReS by DowngRADing otheRS, offering a relatively minor upgrade to the D3300 that includes wireless connectivity. While it’s perfectly capable, recent price cuts to the D3300 mean that it’s still our preferred entry-level Nikon D-SLR.

sensor

24.2Mp, DX (6000x4000)

Processor

EXPEED 4

Viewfinder

Pentamirror, 0.85x, 95%

IsO AF Lcd Max burst (buffer) Memory card

100-25600 11-point (1 cross-type) 3-inch, 170-degree viewing angle 5fps (11 RAW/100 JPEG) SD/SDHC/SDXC

TesTed In IssUe 17 PrIce: £350/$450

NIKON D5200

ENTRY-LEVEL D-SLRS

the D5200 hAS beCome A veRy AffoRDAbLe inteRmeDiAte-LeveL CAmeRA, now that the D5300 and D5500 have hit the market. Originally launched in early 2013, its specifications still look appealing, and the vari-angle LCD makes for easy shooting from tricky angles.

sensor

24.1Mp, DX (6000x4000)

Processor

EXPEED 3

Viewfinder

Pentamirror, 0.78x, 95%

IsO AF Lcd Max burst (buffer) Memory card

100-6400 (25600 expanded) 39-point (9 cross-type) 3-inch vari-angle 5fps (8 RAW/35 JPEG) SD/HC/XC

TesTed In IssUe 53 PrIce: £450/$600

NIKON D5300 A SignifiCAnt upgRADe oveR the D5200, this camera features a newer generation processor, plus built-in Wi-Fi and GPS, all wrapped up in a carbon-fibre-reinforced shell. As with the D3300, the optical low-pass filter is omitted to maximise the potential for image sharpness.

sensor

24.2Mp, DX (6000x4000)

Processor

EXPEED 4

Viewfinder

Pentamirror, 0.82x, 95%

IsO AF Lcd Max burst (buffer) Memory card

100-12800 (25600 expanded) 39-point (9 cross-type) 3.2-inch vari-angle 5fps (13 Raw/100 JPEG) SD/HC/XC

TesTed In IssUe 61 PrIce: £500/$650

NIKON D5500 the SAme pixeL Count AnD pRoCeSSoR AS the pReCeDing D5300, built into the same style of monocoque (one-piece) body shell. The most notable upgrade in the newer D5500 is that its vari-angle LCD is a touchscreen. However, it loses the D5300’s built-in GPS.

sensor

24.2Mp, DX (6000x4000)

Processor

EXPEED 4

Viewfinder

Pentamirror, 0.82x, 95%

IsO AF Lcd Max burst (buffer) Memory card

100-12800 (25600 expanded) 39-point (9 cross-type) 3.2-inch vari-angle touchscreen 5fps (13 RAW/100 JPEG) SD/HC/XC

TesTed In IssUe 19 PrIce: £700/$700

NIKON D7100

ENTHUSIAST D-SLRS

the D7100 getS A notAbLe hike in pixeL Count compared with the preceding D7000, along with the removal of the optical low-pass filter to maximise sharpness. Its autofocus system gets a boost too, and a 1.3x crop facility increases the maximum drive rate to 7fps.

sensor

24.1Mp, DX (6000x4000)

Processor

EXPEED 3

Viewfinder

Pentaprism, 0.94x, 100%

IsO AF Lcd Max burst (buffer) Memory card

100-6400 (25600 expanded) 51-point (15 cross-type) 3.2-inch 6fps, 7fps crop (6-9 RAW/33 JPEG) 2x SD/HC/XC

TesTed In IssUe 61 PrIce: £800/$1000

NIKON D7200 buiLDing on the D7100’S SpeCifiCAtionS, the D7200 boasts better low-light autofocus, a bigger memory buffer, an updated processor, built-in Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity, plus new trick modes for doing light-trail photography and time-lapse movies in-camera.

sensor

24.2Mp, DX (6000x4000)

Processor

EXPEED 4

Viewfinder

Pentaprism, 0.94x, 100%

IsO AF Lcd Max burst (buffer) Memory card

100-25600 (102400 expanded, mono only) 51-point (15 cross-type) 3.2-inch 6fps, 7fps crop (18-27 RAW/100 JPEG) 2x SD/HC/XC

TesTed In IssUe 61 PrIce: £1300/$1500

NIKON D610

SEMI-PRO D-SLRS

fuLL-fRAme photogRAphy StARtS heRe, with the most affordable of Nikon’s FX cameras. It’s no slouch, with a 6fps maximum drive rate and a quiet (but slower) continuous drive option. It also features a weather-sealed body and, compared with the D600, a revised shutter unit.

sensor

24.3Mp, FX (6016x4016)

Processor

EXPEED 3

Viewfinder

Pentaprism, 0.7x, 100%

IsO AF Lcd Max burst (buffer) Memory card

www.digitalcameraworld.com

BUYER’S gUIDE

100-6400 (50-25600 expanded) 39-point (9 cross-type) 3.2-inch 6fps (14-26 RAW/51 JPEG) 2x SD/HC/XC

January 2017

123


BUYER’S gUIDE n i k o n

Cameras

TesTed In IssUe 61 PrIce: £1700/$1900

NIKON D750 the D750 iS eASiLy mAnAgeAbLe foR A Semi-pRo fuLL-fRAme boDy. A relatively recent addition to the line-up, it includes a tilting LCD screen and built-in Wi-Fi. The pixel count strikes a happy balance between the 16.2Mp Df/D4s and the 36.3Mp D810.

sensor

EXPEED 4

Viewfinder

Pentaprism, 0.7x, 100%

IsO AF Lcd Max burst (buffer) Memory card

100-12800 (50-51200 expanded) 51-point (15 cross-type) 3.2-inch tilt 6.5fps (15-33 RAW/87 JPEG)

2x SD/HC/XC

TesTed In IssUe 61 PrIce: £1730/$2000

NIKON D500

SEMI-PRO D-SLRS

sensor

nikon’S Semi-pRo Dx-foRmAt D-SLR is in many respects a dream camera. It boasts a fast, effective AF system, 10fps shooting, a 200-shot RAW buffer and first-rate metering and white balance. For the money, it might just be Nikon’s best DX D-SLR yet.

20.9Mp, DX (5568x3712)

Processor

EXPEED 5

Viewfinder

Pentaprism, 1x, 100%

IsO AF Lcd Max burst (buffer) Memory card

100-51200 (50-1640000 expanded) 153-point (99 cross-type, 15 sensitive to f/8) 3.2-inch tilting touchscreen 10fps (200 RAW/200 JPEG) 1x XQD, 1x SD/HC/XC

TesTed In IssUe 54 PrIce: £2040/$2750

NIKON Df iConiC DeSign meetS high-teCh exCeLLenCe in thiS RetRo beAuty. The Df is amazingly compact for a full-frame body, but direct-access dials and buttons ensure that shooting controls are always within easy reach. The lack of a video shooting capability is a surprise omission, though.

sensor

16.2Mp, FX (4928x3280)

Processor

EXPEED 3

Viewfinder

Pentaprism, 0.7x, 100%

IsO AF Lcd Max burst (buffer) Memory card

100-12800 (50-204800 expanded) 39-point (9 cross-type) 3.2-inch 5.5fps (25-47 RAW/100 JPEG) SD/HC/XC

TesTed In IssUe 11 PrIce: £2000/$2900

NIKON D800e A SpeCiAL eDition of the oRiginAL D800, this one has a modified optical low-pass filter that omits an anti-aliasing feature. It’s therefore better able to capture extraordinary levels of fine detail, maximising the potential of its ultra-highresolution image sensor.

sensor

36.3Mp, FX (7360x4912)

Processor

EXPEED 3

Viewfinder

Pentaprism, 0.7x, 100%

IsO AF Lcd Max burst (buffer) Memory card

100-6400 (50-25600 expanded) 51-point (15 cross-type) 3.2-inch 4fps, 5fps DX crop (16-25 RAW/56 JPEG) 1xCF, 1x SD/HC/XC

TesTed In IssUe 54 PrIce: £2400/$2800

NIKON D810

PRO D-SLRS

the king of the ReSoLution StAkeS, the D810 boasts 36.3 million pixels and, unlike the older D800e, has no optical low-pass filter. It has a later-generation processor and an extended sensitivity range. A specialised D810a edition for astrophotography is available (£2700, $3795).

sensor

36.3Mp, FX (7360x4912)

Processor

EXPEED 4

Viewfinder

Pentaprism, 0.7x, 100%

IsO AF Lcd Max burst (buffer) Memory card

64-12800 (32-51200 expanded) 51-point (15 cross-type) 3.2-inch 5fps, 7fps DX crop (18-58 RAW/100 JPEG) 1xCF, 1x SD/HC/XC

TesTed In IssUe 54 PrIce: £4200/$6000

NIKON D4s the D4s DeLiveRS 11fpS Shooting, and image quality is immaculate, even at ultra-high ISO settings, making it popular with pro sport and wildlife photographers for years, but it has been superseded by Nikon’s newest flagship D-SLR, the D5.

sensor

16.2Mp, FX (4928x3280)

Processor

EXPEED 4

Viewfinder

Pentaprism, 0.7x, 100%

IsO AF Lcd Max burst (buffer) Memory card

100-25600 (50-409600 expanded) 51-point (15 cross-type) 3.2-inch 11fps (36-176 RAW/200 JPEG) 1x CF, 1x XQD

TesTed In IssUe 59 PrIce: £5200/$6500

NIKON D5 CApAbLe of Shooting 12 fRAmeS peR SeConD, and with a buffer capacity of 200 RAW files, Nikon’s flagship D-SLR also boasts 153 AF points – three times more than the D4s. The pixel count has also gone up, to 20.8Mp, as has the maximum ISO, to a staggering 3.3 million.

sensor

January 2017

20.8Mp, FX (5568x3712)

Processor

EXPEED 5

Viewfinder

Pentaprism, 0.72x, 100%

IsO AF Lcd Max burst (buffer) Memory card

124

24.3Mp, FX (6016x4016)

Processor

100-102400 (50-3280000 expanded) 153-point (99 cross-type, 15 sensitive to f/8) 3.2-inch touchscreen 12fps (200 RAW/200 JPEG) 2x XQD (version with 2x CF also available)

www.digitalcameraworld.com


ed ew

Is

Ra

Aw a

Ap

ti n

g

rd

s

vi re e

Fi

su

er

tu

rs

re

ize

bl

io at fic ni M

FX

4.3x

No

Electric

f/4-5.6

550g

0.95m

0.5x

58mm

9

35

£2500/$3400 FX

2.5x

Yes

Ultrasonic

f/2.8

3390g

1.5-2.5m 0.12x

105mm

9

45

Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM | C

£740/$990

FX

4.0x

Yes

Ultrasonic

f/5-6.3

1930g

2.8m

0.2x

95mm

9

63

Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM | S

£1200/$2000

FX

4.0x

Yes

Ultrasonic

f/5-6.3

2860g

2.6m

0.2x

105mm

9

63

Sigma 300-800mm f/5.6 EX DG HSM

£5500/$6800 FX

2.7x

No

Ultrasonic

f/5.6

5880g

6.0m

0.14x

46mm drop-in 9

45

Tamron SP AF 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD

£1100/$1500

FX

2.9x

Yes

Ultrasonic

f/2.8

1470g

1.3m

0.13x

77mm

9

63

Tamron AF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Di LD Macro

£130/$150

FX

4.3x

No

Electric

f/4-5.6

458g

0.95m

0.5x

62mm

9

35

Tamron SP AF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Di VC USD

£300/$450

FX

4.3x

Yes

Ultrasonic

f/4-5.6

765g

1.5m

0.25x

62mm

9

35

Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD

£830/$1000

FX

4.0x

Yes

Ultrasonic

f/5-6.3

1951g

2.7m

0.2x

95mm

9

63

●●● ●●●● ●●●●● ●●●●● ●●● ●●●●● ●●● ●●●● ●●●●

Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2

£1350/$1400

FX

4.0x

Yes

Ultrasonic

f/5-6.3

2010g

2.2m

0.26x

95mm

9

Nikon AF-S DX 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR

£470/$500

DX

7.8x

Yes

Ultrasonic

f/3.5-5.6

490g

0.45m

0.23x

67mm

7

27

Nikon AF-S DX 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR II

£625/$650

DX

11.1x

Yes

Ultrasonic

f/3.5-5.6

565g

0.5m

0.22x

72mm

7

60

Nikon AF-S DX 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3G ED VR

£670/$700

DX

16.7x

Yes

Ultrasonic

f/3.5-6.3

550g

0.48m

0.32x

67mm

7

60

Nikon AF-S DX 18-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR

£850/$1000

DX

16.7x

Yes

Ultrasonic

f/3.5-5.6

830g

0.45m

0.31x

77mm

9

39

Nikon AF-S 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR

£830/$950

FX

10.7x

Yes

Ultrasonic

f/3.5-5.6

800g

0.5m

0.32x

77mm

9

21

Sigma 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 DC Macro OS HSM | C

£250/$400

DX

11.1x

Yes

Ultrasonic

f/3.5-6.3

430g

0.39m

0.33x

62mm

7

60

Sigma 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 DC Macro OS HSM

£280/$350

DX

13.9x

Yes

Ultrasonic

f/3.5-6.3

470g

0.35m

0.34x

62mm

7

39

Sigma 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3 DC Macro OS HSM | C

£350/$500

DX

16.7x

Yes

Ultrasonic

f/3.5-6.3

585g

0.39m

0.33x

72mm

7

60

Tamron 16-300mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD Macro

£430/$550

DX

18.8x

Yes

Ultrasonic

f/3.5-6.3

540g

0.39m

0.34x

67mm

7

60

Tamron AF 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC

£200/$200

DX

11.1x

Yes

Electric

f/3.5-6.3

400g

0.49m

0.25x

62mm

7

Tamron AF 18-270mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD

£300/$450

DX

15.0x

Yes

Ultrasonic

f/3.5-6.3

450g

0.49m

0.26x

62mm

7

39

Tamron 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3 Di VC PZD

£600/$850

FX

10.7x

Yes

Ultrasonic

f/3.5-6.3

540g

0.49m

0.29x

67mm

7

16

●●● ●●●

Nikon AF DX 10.5mm f/2.8G ED Diagonal Fisheye

£585/$775

DX

None

No

Body-driven

f/2.8

305g

0.14m

0.2x

None

7

12

●●●●

Nikon AF 14mm f/2.8D ED

£1390/$1890

FX

None

No

Body-driven

f/2.8

670g

0.2m

0.15x

None

7

Nikon AF 16mm f/2.8D Diagonal Fisheye

£665/$1000

FX

None

No

Body-driven

f/2.8

290g

0.25m

0.1x

None

7

12

●●●●

Nikon PC 19mm f/4E ED (tilt & shift)

£3300/$3400 FX

None

No

None

f/4

885g

0.25m

0.18x

None

9

Nikon AF 20mm f/2.8D

£500/$625

FX

None

No

Body-driven

f/2.8

270g

0.25m

0.12x

62mm

7

Nikon AF-S 20mm f/1.8G ED

£650/$800

FX

None

No

Ultrasonic

f/1.8

355g

0.2m

0.23x

77mm

7

Nikon AF 24mm f/2.8D

£370/$395

FX

None

No

None

f/2.8

270g

0.3m

0.11x

52mm

7

Nikon AF-S 24mm f/1.8G ED

£630/$750

FX

None

No

Ultrasonic

f/1.8

355g

0.23m

0.2x

72mm

7

Nikon AF-S 24mm f/1.4G ED

£1790/$2000

FX

None

No

Ultrasonic

f/1.4

620g

0.25m

0.18x

77mm

9

59

Nikon PC-E 24mm f/3.5D ED (tilt & shift)

£1570/$2200

FX

None

No

None

f/3.5

730g

0.21m

0.37x

77mm

9

25

●●●● ●●●●

Nikon AF 28mm f/2.8D

£245/$290

FX

None

No

Body-driven

f/2.8

205g

0.25m

0.18x

72mm

7

Nikon AF-S 28mm f/1.8G

£495/$700

FX

None

No

Ultrasonic

f/1.8

330g

0.25m

0.22x

67mm

7

25

●●●●

Nikon AF 35mm f/2D

£350/$390

FX

None

No

None

f/2

205g

0.25m

0.24x

52mm

7

Nikon AF-S 35mm f/1.8G ED

£440/$530

FX

None

No

Ultrasonic

f/1.8

305g

0.25m

0.24x

58mm

7

Nikon AF-S 35mm f/1.4G

£1580/$1700

FX

None

No

Ultrasonic

f/1.4

600g

0.3m

0.2x

67mm

9

25

Samyang 8mm f/3.5 IF MC CSII Dh Circular Fisheye

£260/$250

FX

None

No

None

f/3.5

435g

0.3m

N/S

None

6

12

●●●● ●●●●

Samyang 10mm f/2.8 ED AS NCS CS

£380/$420

DX

None

No

None

f/2.8

600g

0.25m

N/S

None

6

Samyang 12mm f/2.8 ED AS NCS Diagonal Fisheye

£380/$420

FX

None

No

None

f/2.8

530g

0.2m

N/S

None

7

Samyang 14mm f/2.8 IF ED UMC

£330/$370

FX

None

No

None

f/2.8

560g

0.28m

N/S

None

6

33

●●●●

Samyang 16mm f/2 ED AS UMC CS

£350/$360

DX

None

No

None

f/2

590g

0.2m

N/S

77mm

8

Samyang 24mm f/1.4 ED AS UMC

£500/$600

FX

None

No

None

f/1.4

680g

0.25m

N/S

77mm

8

Samyang T-S 24mm f/3.5 ED AS UMC (tilt & shift)

£685/$800

FX

None

No

None

f/3.5

680g

0.2m

N/S

82mm

8

25

Samyang 35mm f/1.4 AS UMC AE

£420/$440

FX

None

No

None

f/1.4

660g

0.3m

0.2x

77mm

8

40

Sigma 4.5mm f/2.8 EX DC HSM Circular Fisheye

£600/$900

DX

None

No

Ultrasonic

f/2.8

470g

0.14m

0.17x

None

6

12

Sigma 8mm f/3.5 EX DG Circular Fisheye

£600/$900

FX

None

No

Electric

f/3.5

400g

0.14m

0.22x

None

6

12

Sigma 10mm f/2.8 EX DC HSM Diagonal Fisheye

£500/$520

DX

None

No

Ultrasonic

f/2.8

475g

0.14m

0.11x

None

7

12

Sigma 15mm f/2.8 EX DG Diagonal Fisheye

£500/$610

FX

None

No

Electric

f/2.8

370g

0.15m

0.26x

None

7

12

Sigma 20mm f/1.4 DG HSM | A

£630/$900

FX

None

No

Ultrasonic

f/1.4

950g

0.28m

0.14x

77mm

9

55

●●●● ■ ●●●● ●●●● ●●●● ●●● ●●●● ●●●●● ■

Sigma 24mm f/1.4 DG HSM | A

£600/$900

FX

None

No

Ultrasonic

f/1.4

665g

0.25m

0.19x

77mm

9

Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM | A

£600/$900

FX

None

No

Ultrasonic

f/1.4

665g

0.3m

0.19x

67mm

9

40

●●●●● ■

Tamron SP 35mm f/1.8 VC USD

£600/$600

FX

None

Yes

Ultrasonic

f/1.8

480g

0.2m

0.4x

67mm

9

Zeiss Milvus 15mm f/2.8 ZF.2

£2330/$2700

FX

None

No

None

f/2.8

880g

0.25m

0.11x

95mm

9

Zeiss Distagon T* 18mm f/3.5 ZF.2

£1090/$1400

FX

None

No

None

f/3.5

470g

0.3m

0.08x

82mm

9

Zeiss Milvus 18mm f/2.8 ZF.2

£2000/$2300 FX

None

No

None

f/2.8

675g

0.25m

0.1x

77mm

9

Zeiss Milvus 21mm f/2.8 ZF.2

£1300/$1850

FX

None

No

None

f/2.8

735g

0.22m

0.2x

82mm

9

Zeiss Distagon T* 21mm f/2.8 ZF.2

£1450/$1845

FX

None

No

None

f/2.8

600g

0.22m

0.2x

82mm

9

Zeiss Distagon T* 25mm f/2 ZF.2

£1270/$1700

FX

None

No

None

f/2

570g

0.25m

0.17x

67mm

9

ag

M

£150/$200

Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM | S

in

W ei

l te

s cu fo

t

M

gh

ap

Au

ax

ad

n

re tu er

s cu fo

ili St

to

se

r

om zo

M

ax

DX /

Sigma APO 70-300mm f/4-5.6 DG Macro

ic

telepHoto zooms

Pr

FX

KEY: ■ GREAT VALUE ■ BEST ON TEST AWARD ■ GOLD AWARD e

es

lenses

ab

Buyer’s guide n i k o n - f i t

■ ■■ ■ ■

superzooms

superzooms

●●● ●●●●● ●●●● ●●● ●●●● ●●●● ■ ●●●● ■ ●●●●● ●●●●●

wide-aNgle primes

wide-aNgle primes

126

January 2017

www.digitalcameraworld.com


Buyer’s guide ed

rd Aw a

g ti n

s

vi e

su

No

None

f/2

500g

0.24m

0.21x

58mm

9

None

No

None

f/1.4

1350g

0.3m

0.2x

95mm

9

Zeiss Milvus 35mm f/2 ZF.2

£830/$1120

FX

None

No

None

f/2

650g

0.3m

0.19x

58mm

9

Zeiss Distagon T* 35mm f/1.4 ZF.2

£1450/$1845

FX

None

No

None

f/1.4

830g

0.3m

0.2x

72mm

9

£160/$200 £1460/$2050 £110/$135 £170/$220 £250/$280 £260/$300 £385/$450 £1350/$1600 £310/$390 £300/$500 £580/$950 £600/$600 £950/$1200 £2700/$3990

DX FX FX FX FX FX FX FX FX DX FX FX FX FX

None None None None None None None None None None None None None None

No No No No No No No No No No No Yes No No

Ultrasonic None Body-driven Ultrasonic Ultrasonic Body-driven Ultrasonic Ultrasonic None Ultrasonic Ultrasonic Ultrasonic None None

f/1.8 f/2.8 f/1.8 f/1.8 f/1.8 f/1.4 f/1.4 f/1.4 f/1.4 f/1.4 f/1.4 f/1.8 f/1.4 f/1.4

200g 740g 155g 185g 190g 230g 280g 385g 575g 435g 815g 540g 875g 970g

0.3m 0.25m 0.45m 0.45m 0.45m 0.45m 0.45m 0.58m 0.45m 0.3m 0.4m 0.29m 0.45m 0.5m

0.16x 0.5x 0.15x 0.15x 0.15x 0.15x 0.15x 0.13x N/S 0.15x 0.18x 0.29x 0.15x 0.15x

52mm 77mm 52mm 58mm 58mm 52mm 58mm 72mm 77mm 62mm 77mm 67mm 67mm 77mm

7 9 7 7 7 7 9 9 8 9 9 9 9 9

28 25 7 28

●●● ●●●● ●●●● ●●●●

59 40

●●●● ●●●●

28 52

●●●● ●●●●● ■

Nikon AF-S 85mm f/1.8G

£400/$480

FX

None

No

Ultrasonic

f/1.8

350g

0.8m

0.12x

67mm

7

52

Nikon AF-S 85mm f/1.4G

£1350/$1600

FX

None

No

Ultrasonic

f/1.4

595g

0.85m

0.12x

77mm

9

59

Nikon PC-E Micro 85mm f/2.8D (tilt & shift)

£1350/$1980

FX

None

No

None

f/2.8

635g

0.39m

0.5x

77mm

9

25

●●●● ■ ●●●●● ●●●●

Nikon AF-S 105mm f/1.4E ED

£2050/$2200 FX

None

No

Ultrasonic

f/1.4

985g

1m

0.13x

82mm

9

Nikon AF DC 105mm f/2D (defocus control)

£900/$1200

FX

None

No

Body-driven

f/2

640g

0.9m

0.13x

72mm

9

Nikon AF DC 135mm f/2D (defocus control)

£1100/$1390

FX

None

No

Body-driven

f/2

815g

1.1m

0.14x

72mm

9

14

Nikon AF-S 200mm f/2G ED VR II

£4970/$5700

FX

None

Yes

Ultrasonic

f/2

2930g

1.9m

0.12x

52mm drop-in 9

29

Nikon AF-S 300mm f/4D IF-ED

£1100/$950

FX

None

No

Ultrasonic

f/4

1440g

1.45m

0.27x

77mm

Nikon AF-S 300mm f/4E PF ED VR

£1490/$2000

FX

None

Yes

Ultrasonic

f/4

755g

1.4m

0.24x

77mm

9

63

Nikon AF-S 300mm f/2.8G ED VR II

£4250/$5500

FX

None

Yes

Ultrasonic

f/2.8

2900g

2.3m

0.16x

52mmdrop-in

9

14

Nikon AF-S 400mm f/2.8E FL ED VR

£10400/$11200

FX

None

Yes

Ultrasonic

f/2.8

3800g

2.6m

0.14x

40.5mmdrop-in 9

Nikon AF-S 500mm f/4E FL ED VR

£8450/$10300 FX

None

Yes

Ultrasonic

f/4

3090g

3.6m

0.15x

40.5mmdrop-in 9

50

Nikon AF-S 600mm f/4E FL ED VR

£9730/$12300 FX

None

Yes

Ultrasonic

f/4

3810g

4.4m

0.14x

40.5mmdrop-in 9

50

Nikon AF-S 800mm f/5.6E FL ED VR

£15000/$16300 FX

None

Yes

Ultrasonic

f/5.6

4590g

5.9m

0.15x

52mmdrop-in 9

Samyang 85mm f/1.4 IF MC

£290/$330

FX

None

No

None

f/1.4

539g

1.0m

0.11x

72mm

8

Samyang 135mm f/2 ED UMC

£390/$550

FX

None

No

None

f/2

830g

0.8m

N/S

77mm

9

Sigma 85mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM

£620/$800

FX

None

No

Ultrasonic

f/1.4

725g

0.85m

0.12x

77mm

9

Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG HSM | A

£1200/$1200

FX

None

No

Ultrasonic

f/1.4

TBA

0.85m

0.12x

86mm

9

Sigma APO 300mm f/2.8 EX DG HSM

£2200/$3400 FX

None

No

Ultrasonic

f/2.8

2400g

2.5m

0.13x

46mmdrop-in 9

Sigma APO 500mm f/4.5 EX DG HSM

£3600/$5000 FX

None

No

Ultrasonic

f/4.5

3150g

4.0m

0.13x

46mmdrop-in 9

Sigma 500mm f/4 DG OS HSM | S

£6000/$6000 FX

None

Yes

Ultrasonic

f/4

TBA

3.5m

0.15x

46mmdrop-in 9

Sigma APO 800mm f/5.6 EX DG HSM

£4300/$6600 FX

None

No

Ultrasonic

f/5.6

4900g

7.0m

0.11x

46mmdrop-in 9

Tamron SP 85mm f/1.8 VC USD

£750/$750

FX

None

Yes

Ultrasonic

f/1.8

700g

0.8m

0.14x

67mm

9

Zeiss Planar T* 85mm f/1.4 ZF.2

£990/$1285

FX

None

No

None

f/1.4

570g

1.0m

0.1x

72mm

9

Zeiss Milvus 85mm f/1.4 ZF.2

£1380/$1800

FX

None

No

None

f/1.4

1210g

0.8m

0.13x

77mm

9

Zeiss Otus 85mm f/1.4 ZF.2

£3250/$4390

FX

None

No

None

f/1.4

1140g

0.8m

0.13x

86mm

9

Zeiss Milvus 135mm f/2 ZF.2

£1550/$2200

FX

None

No

None

f/2

1060g

0.8m

0.28x

77mm

9

Zeiss Apo Sonnar T* 135mm f/2 ZF.2

£1600/$2125

FX

None

No

None

f/2

920g

0.8m

0.25x

77mm

9

Nikon AF-S DX 40mm f/2.8G Micro

£240/$280

DX

None

No

Ultrasonic

f/2.8

235g

0.16m

1.0x

52mm

7

Nikon AF 60mm f/2.8D Micro

£400/$520

FX

None

No

Body-driven

f/2.8

440g

0.22m

1.0x

62mm

7

Nikon AF-S 60mm f/2.8G ED Micro

£500/$600

FX

None

No

Ultrasonic

f/2.8

425g

0.19m

1.0x

62mm

Nikon AF-S DX 85mm f/3.5G ED VR Micro

£440/$530

DX

None

Yes

Ultrasonic

f/3.5

355g

0.29m

1.0x

52mm

Nikon AF-S 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED VR Micro

£750/$900

FX

None

Yes

Ultrasonic

f/2.8

750g

0.31m

1.0x

Nikon AF 200mm f/4D IF-ED Micro

£1250/$1790

FX

None

No

Body-driven

f/4

1190g

0.5m

1.0x

Sigma 105mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro

£320/$620

FX

None

Yes

Ultrasonic

f/2.8

725g

0.31m

Sigma APO 150mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro

£650/$1100

FX

None

Yes

Ultrasonic

f/2.8

1150g

0.38m

Sigma APO 180mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro

£1100/$1700

FX

None

Yes

Ultrasonic

f/2.8

1640g

Tamron SP AF 60mm f/2 Di II LD (IF) Macro

£350/$525

DX

None

No

Electric

f/2

350g

Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro

£300/$500

FX

None

No

Electric

f/2.8

Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di VC USD Macro

£580/$750

FX

None

Yes

Ultrasonic

Tamron SP AF 180mm f/3.5 Di Macro

£730/$740

FX

None

No

Tokina AT-X AF 100mm f/2.8 PRO D Macro

£330/$380

FX

None

Zeiss Makro Planar T* 50mm f/2 ZF.2

£940/$1450

FX

Zeiss Milvus Makro Planar 100mm f/2 ZF.2

£1300/$1840

FX

Pr

staNdard primes Nikon AF-S DX 35mm f/1.8G Nikon PC-E Micro 45mm f/2.8D ED (tilt & shift) Nikon AF 50mm f/1.8D

staNdard primes

Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.8G Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.8 NIKKOR (retro) Nikon AF 50mm f/1.4D Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.4G Nikon AF-S 58mm f/1.4G Samyang 50mm f/1.4 AS UMC Sigma 30mm f/1.4 DC HSM | A Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM | A Tamron SP 45mm f/1.8 VC USD Zeiss Milvus 50mm f/1.4 ZF.2 Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4

3

Ra

None

Is

FX

£3630/$5000 FX

Ap

Fi

er

tu

re

re

ize

bl

ew

n rs

fic ni M

ag

M

£980/$1285

Zeiss Otus 28mm f/1.4 ZF.2

wide-aNgle primes

in

W ei

l te

s cu fo

gh

t

ap M

ax

at

io

re tu er

s cu fo Au

to

St

ab

ili

se

r

om zo

ax M

FX

Zeiss Distagon T* 28mm f/2 ZF.2

ic

DX /

e

KEY: ■ GREAT VALUE ■ BEST ON TEST AWARD ■ GOLD AWARD

ad

es

nikon-fit lenses

telepHoto primes

●●●● ●●●●

9

●●●● ●●●●

telepHoto primes

●●●●● ■ ●●●●● ■

40

●●●●

52

●●●●

64

●●●

9

64

9

64

62mm

9

59

●●●● ●●●● ●●●●

62mm

9

1.0x

62mm

9

64

1.0x

72mm

9

20

0.47m

1.0x

86mm

9

14

0.23m

1.0x

55mm

7

34

405g

0.29m

1.0x

55mm

9

34

f/2.8

550g

0.3m

1.0x

58mm

9

64

Electric

f/3.5

985g

0.47m

1.0x

72mm

7

14

No

Body-driven

f/2.8

540g

0.3m

1.0x

55mm

9

64

None

No

None

f/2

500g

0.24m

0.5x

67mm

9

None

No

None

f/2

807g

0.44m

0.5x

67mm

9

macro

macro

www.digitalcameraworld.com

January 2017

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The final word

Joe McNally WWW.JOEMCNALLY.COM

Nikon’s radio-controlled flash technology frees you up to have fun, says Joe…

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Image: Joe McNally

here’s something about an old garage, an even older truck, an oxyacetylene torch-wielding dude and a bunch of tarnished, beaten up junk that makes you want to pull out the camera. I don’t do landscapes

very well. I go to sleep at the tripod. But put me in a garage like this and I’m like a kid in a candy store. I’ve been especially giddy lately, ’cause I’m tackling things that would have been impossible with line-of-sight Speedlight technology. The

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SB-5000 radio TTL system makes this shot, well, not exactly a no-brainer, but something that is fun and challenging to put together, instead of frustrating and painful. In other words, I’m able to freely place and hide flashes wherever I want, and not have to make compromises to accommodate whether a remote flash can see the commander unit. And, I’ve got full TTL or manual control over exposure right at the camera. Let’s take it in steps. Spike the camera. D5 with a 14-24mm on a heavy duty Gitzo. Notice the

IN NEXT ISSUE: morE lIghT-ShapINg advIcE from joE

January 2017

windows at the back. I’m cheating. Means there’s natural light back there and I can dial that up and down as a fill with shutter speed. Light with a purpose, piece by piece. Main light for subject, fill light for subject. Light(s) for engine compartment. Light for front grillwork. Rim light for the left side of vehicle. Red gelled light for simulated tail light. Put light in prop work lamp, and run the work lamp cord up to a boom perched on a high roller. Make sure all these lights are gelled warm. Put in backlight. Blast it at your subject’s backside, but soften it with a blow of smoke. Define the far wall below the windows with flashes washing upwards from a low position. Put a rim

light off the work light, camera right, to give the right side of the photo a bit of lift and separation. I’ve never described a Speedlight as a brassiere before, but there you go. Below is the road map, a sort of Rube Goldberg map, of our day in the field. The lighting is actually remarkably simple, in a way. There are only two light shapers – an EzyBox Hot Shoe Softbox, and a Lastolite Speedlight box. Everything else is just a raw light, some with dome diffusers, others zoomed to control spread. There are gels on virtually every light, mostly CTO. But that’s it. Two light shapers, over and under. The rest of the time I’m just splashing light here and there and seeing how it looks…


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N Photo – January 2017