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FrEE! SUpErB photo-EDitiNg SoFtWArE Worth £50 Issue 55 • Feb 2016 www.digitalcameraworld.com

FLASh gUNS! We test eight of the best

The no.1 magazine for

CreaTiVe TeChniQues

NikoN user

BrEAk

s!

thE rULES

The aPPrenTiCe

Night LightS

Capture more creative and original images with our brilliant new ideas

Go behind the scenes of a cityscape masterclass

Core sKiLLs

pErFECt pANorAMAS Learn how to shoot and stitch multiple images in minutes

neW KiT

NikoN’S BESt ZooM EVEr? We put the new 200-500mm

Core sKiLLs

SpEED trAp Michael Freeman reveals his

f/5.6 through its paces

secrets for motion capture

eXPerT aDViCe

I put a monopod down my trouser leg into my sock, I broke down my camera body, I put my 300mm down my sleeve, and the film in my underpants Mike Maloney Press Photographer

MAkE CASh

Learn what it takes to set up your own photographic studio p96

ChiLD’S pLAY

Turn a grown-up into a toddler with some help from Photoshop! p56

priNtiNg

MADE EASY

Get prints that pop with our step-by-step guide

tigEr! tigEr!

Be inspired by a wildlife shoot in India p26


5

Ways to Get even more out of n-PHoto

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aBout tHe cover

title X Photographer Damien Bapst camera nikon D800 lens nikon af-s 14-24mm f/2.8G eD exposure 1/1600 secs, f/2.8, iso100 Description “i had two hours to spend in new york’s financial district (near Wall street) while i was waiting for a helicopter flight over manhattan that i had booked. after walking a few blocks, head tilted up, i found the perfect spot: great silhouettes with a nice X in the sky – exactly what i was looking for! the wide-angle lens helped me to show how small i felt. Website 500px.com/mrdam

e Di t in G softWare! tu rn to page 68

1 Online… Catch up with Nikon news, get inspired & learn new skills

free

■ One of the biggest challenges we all face as photographers is finding a fresh perspective on familiar subjects. Sure, you can nail the banker right off the bat, but what then? Pack up and go home? Or strive for something better? When I was starting out, the best piece of advice I was given was to ask myself the ‘What would…?’ question: what would my friend Steve do in this situation…? What, come to that, would Joe McNally do? Pick someone whose work you like. Heck, just pick someone who’s a better photographer. As long as they make you think, you’ll be half way there. With this in mind, for this issue’s feature (p28) we asked what seasoned shooter James Paterson would do, and he told us. You might not be a fan of all his ideas, and that’s fine. The point is to get you thinking more creatively. But of course, all that creativity counts for nought if we don’t share our shots, so our step-by-step guide to printing (p62) will tell you all you need to know to get prints that pop. Plus, we reveal which flash offers the best pop for your pound in this issue’s Big Test (p118); how to make the most of your flashgun in Gear Skills (p52); and just what a flashgun is capable of in the hands of a lighting master (p138). Happy shooting!

Paul Grogan, Editor paul.grogan@futurenet.com

the Photography show is back! ■ Have you got your tickets to The Photography Show yet? The

four-day show, which takes place at the NEC in Birmingham from 19-22 March 2016, isn’t just an exhibition – it will also feature hundreds of inspirational talks and workshops from some of the biggest names in photography. To find out more and book your tickets just visit www.photographyshow.com – and if you’re a Photo Club member, log into your members-only website for an exclusive discount!


Issue 55

Photo cluB Discover the money-saving benefits of our brand new subscriptions scheme See p40

February 2016

08

28

CovEr fEaturE

Break the rules

Break with convention and improve your photography!

Essentials the apprentice 08 18 Lightbox on assignment 26 40 Photo Club 71 Next month 72 over to You Cash from your Nikon 96 100 My Big Break Interview 102 136 Back issues 138 Joe McNally CovEr fEaturE

Our Apprentice gets a masterclass on urban nightscapes in beautiful Dublin Inspirational images from Nikon photographers around the world

CovEr fEaturE

James Warwick reveals the challenges of photographing Bengal tigers in India

Nikon Skills Broaden your horizons 46 49 Hit the road 50 Set ’em straight 52 Play the bounce card 54 Ditch your lens find your inner child 56 58 Light up the landscape 62 Create great prints at home fix photos fast 68 CovEr fEaturE

Learn how to shoot and stitch together stunning landscape panoramas Shoot light trails from your car

Crop and straighten in Lightroom

Improve your party pictures

Turn your Nikon into a pinhole camera

CovEr fEaturE

Create a fun caricature in Photoshop

Master the art of light painting

Get prints with punch every time

CovEr fEaturE

Get to grips with PhotoDirector 7

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February 2016

Nikopedia Nikon Know-how 86 CovEr fEaturE

Capturing action is a critical part of photography – but what’s the best way to give your shots a sense of motion? Michael Freeman explores the different ways you can capture action with your camera, and the kit and settings needed for each

90

Nikon software

Nikon Capture NX-D is compatible with your camera’s Picture Controls – and that means you can adjust your images with a single click, reducing the time you have to spend it post-production

92 ask Jason

From finding the right backpack for lots of kit, to large-scale printing, to a versatile lens for DX-format cameras, Jason is here to solve your buying dilemmas and sort out any misbehaving kit

94

Head to Head

So, you’re looking for portable lighting – do you opt for a smooth, constant light or a sudden burst of powerful flash? We compare two options

Get N-Photo every month, plus a great gift and brilliant year-round discounts on kit Discover all the great things you can be enjoying in just one month’s time

Your photos, portfolio reviews and our latest photo competition winners

CovEr fEaturE

Things to think about when setting up a studio – and how to make it earn its keep

How photographing the majestic musk ox made Roy Mangersnes’ career

CovEr fEaturE

Press photographer Mike Maloney talks about his amazing career

If you’ve missed a copy of N-Photo, complete your collection now in digital form

The same subject, the same angle, but two completely different images

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expert HaNDs-ON vIDeO guIDes Whenever you see this button, simply use this web link… bit.ly/NPhoto55 to view our online video tutorials

26

118 test team New Gear 114

01

Discover how to shoot and stitch wonderful panoramic landscapes

02

03

Crop and straighten images in Lightroom to improve composition

04

Make use of your flashgun’s bounce card for better results

05

Turn your Nikon into a digital pinhole camera for old-school fun

06

07

08

Take your Nikon for a drive and capture eye-catching light trails

114

CovEr fEaturE

Feast your eyes on two great new lenses from Nikon: an anything-butstandard zoom, and a beefy telephoto

116 Mini test

116

We compare six acrylic prints to find the most fantastic plastic option for your photographs

118

CovEr fEaturE

Big test

We put eight dedicated flashguns through their paces, and discover which have the power and features to meet your needs – and your budget

128

Use Photoshop’s Liquify tools to make a childish caricature

Buyer’s Guide

Don’t buy a new lens or body without having our essential guide to stats and street prices to hand

www.digitalcameraworld.com

128

Paint with light to capture stunning landscapes at night

Adjust colours and tones in a single click using Nikon Capture NX-D

February 2016

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What rules do the team like to break? Or do they always keep? Print 22,708 Digital 7,184 The ABC combined print, digital and digital publication circulation for Jan-Dec 2014 is

29,892

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

Miriam McDonald Operations Editor

Emma Swift Art Editor

■ There’s something magical about shallow depth of field – but who says which bits of an image should be in focus? Moving the focal point can lead to really creative images.

■ I have a terrible tendency to put things in the middle of the frame, which can make my pictures look like snapshots. Placing my subjects offcentre is one rule I should keep!

■ Forget the rule of thirds. Forget all about it. You can see if something works or doesn’t work – though it doesn’t hurt to put things on thirds first, and then vary the composition.

paul.grogan@futurenet.com

miriam.mcdonald@futurenet.com

emma.swift@futurenet.com

Paul Grogan Editor Emma Swift Art Editor Miriam McDonald Operations Editor Jason Parnell-Brookes Staff Writer Angela Nicholson Head of Testing Ali Jennings Imaging Lab Manager Video production Pete Gray Producer Adam Lee Videographer Gareth Jones Videographer Advertising Matt Bailey Senior Sales Executive matt.bailey@futurenet.com, 01225 687511 Claire Harris Account Manager Marketing & circulation Charlotte Lloyd-Williams Direct Marketing Executive Michelle Brock Trade Marketing Manager 0207 429 3683 Print & production Vivienne Calvert Production Controller Mark Constance Production Manager International & licensing Matt Ellis Senior Licensing & Syndication Manager matt.ellis@futurenet.com, +44 (0)1225 442244

Jason Parnell-Brookes Staff Writer

Ali Jennings Lab Manager

Angela Nicholson Head of Testing

■ I love using wide-angle lenses for portraits, and I don’t care if it’s not flattering. In fact, I find the distortion can be really helpful for pictures of animals – fisheyes are even better!

■ Testing in the lab, I have to look for sharpness and use a tripod at all times, so when I get the chance to take pictures for myself, I can’t resist playing with creative blur.

■ Having access to a lot of kit, I’m always tempted to take a truckload of it on a day’s shoot – so that’s why it’s sometimes great to take just one lens out. There is no ‘right’ focal length!

jason.parnell-brookes@futurenet.com

ali.jennings@futurenet.com

Management Nial Ferguson Content and Marketing Director Matthew Pierce Head of Content & Marketing: Photography, Creative & Design Chris George Group Editor-in-Chief Rodney Dive Group Art Director

angela.nicholson@futurenet.com

This issue’s special contributors…

Chief executive Zillah Byng-Maddick 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 Seymour Distribution Ltd, 2 East Poultry Avenue, London EC1A 9PT. Tel 020 7429 4000. Overseas distribution by Seymour International.

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 2015. All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be used or reproduced without the written permission of the publisher.

Joe Houghton

■ The expert responsible for all Nikon’s training for its Irish customers took our Apprentice shooting in Dublin. Page 8

James Warwick

■ James takes us behind the scenes on a trip to capture gorgeous images of wild tigers in India’s National Parks. Page 26

Tom Welsh

■ Tom attaches his Nikon to his car and takes it for a drive to capture light trails with a difference – you can try it too. Page 49

Roy Mangersnes ■ Discover the picture that won Roy a major award – and helped him define his future as a photographer. Page 100

Mike Maloney

■ Britain’s most-awarded photographer talks about a career shooting headlinemaking images. Page 102

Joe McNally

■ How do you shoot the same subject, from the same angle, in two totally different ways? Joe has the answer. Page 138

Our contributors Ben Andrews, Simon Blakesley, Laurie Campbell, Rodney Campbell, Vipul Chejara, Gary Clark, Andy Cottle, Steve Davey, Uros Florjancic, Michael Freeman, Frank Gallogly, Tom Gillespie, Geoff Harris, Conor Hilton, Dale Johnson, Tim Jones, Marek Kosiba, Simon Lees, Grzegorz Lewandowski, Andy McGregor, Mike McNally, Jeff Morgan, Jorge Nogueira, Anna Omiotek-Tott, Graham Parker, James Paterson, Vasilis Ramiotis, Trevor Reeves, Matthew Richards, Chris Rutter, Yevhen Samuchenko, Allard Schager, Tony Sellen, Richard Silver, Ian Snowdon, Jesse Wild, Keith Wilson, Pawel Zygmunt

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February 2016

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. 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.

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).

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THE Name Frank Gallogly Camera Nikon D3300

Name Joe Houghton CameraS Nikon D810, D300 ■ Training is Joe’s passion, and since 2006 he has provided Nikon with all its training for Irish customers and dealers alike. Through his company, Houghton Photography, he’s trained literally thousands of camera users and many businesses at all levels, in everything from basic camera techniques through to professional-standard photography in many genres. Joe is a member of the RPS and the Photographic Society of South Africa, and he also regularly delivers workshops to camera clubs in Ireland and South Africa. For more visit www.joehoughtonphotography.net

■ Frank works for Aer Lingus and, thanks to his work, has been fortunate enough to photograph places all over the world. “Every time I go out and shoot I learn something new,” he says. He began his photography journey eight years ago when he purchased a Nikon D60, and he now uses a D3300. He wants to learn more about shooting Dublin at night, from using long-exposures to improving his compositions. “I love photography,” he says. “It gets me searching the world.”


HELP ME

LigHt uP tHE city This month, prolific pro Joe Houghton met up with reader Frank Gallogly in the city of Dublin, Ireland, to show him how to capture stunning cityscapes at night

www.digitalcameraworld.com

February 2016

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THE

APPRENTICE

OuR APPRENticE sAys… For the Hot Shot below Joe and I went up onto Ha’Penny bridge, and I positioned my camera in the middle of the walkway. It was very busy, and I was worried I wouldn’t be able to get my camera set up in the right position. I found it difficult to level the tripod legs with so many people milling around me, and I felt a little awkward, but Joe showed me how to use the spirit level on the tripod to get it level. This worked well and I’m happy with the final result. If I were to shoot it again, though, I’d decrease my aperture from f/9 to f/16 to give the lights on the bridge more of a star-burst effect.

EXPERt iNsigHt ColD ComForT Joe says… When shooting at night you’ll need to transport your gear, including your tripod. Depending on your location it can get very cold outside. It’s important to stay warm, and in photography, no material gets colder than metal, so make sure you grab the tripod leg by the rubber cover – it’ll keep your hands slightly warmer as you move around town.

Hot SHot #01

eXPoSUre 4 secs, f/9, ISO100 leNS Nikon AF-S DX 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR

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Night-time cityscapes Blur passers-by

Once you’ve set a small aperture (for maximum depth of field) and a low ISO (to minimise noise) your shutter speed will depend how bright the scene is. For Frank’s first Hot Shot, a shutter speed of four seconds gave a good exposure, and was just fast enough to capture passing pedestrians as blurred shapes. Setting a slightly wider aperture would have enabled a faster shutter speed, which would have made the figures in the foreground a bit more distinct.

PRO’s KiLLER Kit #01 HiGH-ViS JaCkeT Joe says… I always take a high-vis jacket out with me when I shoot at night. Not only does it stop people bashing into you, it makes you look more authoritative. This is especially important when shooting in the middle of a bridge with people milling either side of you. If they can see your high-vis jacket, they usually assume you’re an official photographer and give you a slightly wider berth, which stops you and your kit being trampled.

Use live View

Joe normally shoots with Live View, at least initially, since it’s easier to see the composition on the back of the screen than through a dark viewfinder. Live View is especially helpful if your night vision isn’t great, and some Nikons even have a function to boost light sensitivity in Live View, to brighten things up even more. Live View is also useful for checking focus, as you can zoom in to 100% and scroll around the frame to check any detail.

TeCHNiqUe aSSeSSmeNT measure twice, shoot once

Was Frank’s set-up ready for the big city? Joe gave it the once-over to check…

Get to know your kit

Joe says… Frank had mounted his tripod’s footplate back to front, and so confused the footplate screw with the tripod’s tilt screw; when he thought he was tilting his camera, he was actually undoing it! Luckily his camera didn’t slide off, but I advised him to secure the footplate so it was pointing along the lens, to prevent any further confusion. It’s a very easy mistake to make when you’re new to using a tripod, and it can be a costly one.

keep the noise down

Joe says… Frank was using Auto ISO to take his shots, and relying on the camera to adjust the exposure. However, in night-time photography chroma noise appears first in the dark areas of the photo, which is exacerbated by higher ISOs. This is why I told Frank to switch off Auto ISO. He was using a tripod, which kept the camera still enough that he could use a long shutter speed to expose the shot rather than bump up the ISO.

Go manual

Joe says… Frank doesn’t venture into manual mode; shutter-priority is the furthest he’ll go. However, manual mode is the key to maintaining creative control over all your settings. It’s also a good idea to set your lens to manual , so you can control precisely what’s in focus (see Use Live View, left).

PRO’s Kit bAg n Nikon D810 n Nikon D300 n Nikon AF-S 16-35mm f/4G ED VR n Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.8G n Nikon AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8G ED n Nikon AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II n Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD n Manfrotto XPROB tripod n Gimbal head n Hähnel remote releases n 3 Legged Thing tripod n Batteries n Sandisk Extreme SD cards n Nikon SB-910 n 2 x Altura iTTL flashes + wireless triggers

www.digitalcameraworld.com

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Hot SHot #02

eXPoSUre 5 secs, f/14, ISO100 leNS Nikon AF-S DX 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR

OuR APPRENticE sAys… For our next shot, Joe took me to Dublin’s General Post Office building, as 2016 is the centenary year of the Easter Uprising, and the GPO is the iconic symbol of this. To start with I was shooting from eye-level, but the car trails didn’t seem that impressive. Joe suggested I move the camera down lower to get the trails shooting through the whole frame. I noticed a bus approaching, so I waited for it to reach the edge of the frame before releasing the shutter. It filled the frame from left to right and gave me larger, more complex trails than the cars. The way the trails lined up with the structure of the building was the icing on the cake – the lights look like they’re part of the environment.

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February 2016

EXPERt iNsigHt roCk STeaDy Joe says… When shooting from bridges, piers or promenades, ensure you’re shooting from rock, stone or concrete, and not from wooden platforms. Wood can flex and bend, which can result in unwanted camera shake. Stone doesn’t move as easily, or indeed at all, so will result in much sharper images. I found this out the hard way, so it’s worth remembering, especially when photographing in a harbour, on a river or near any deep body of water where you’re not on terra firma!

www.digitalcameraworld.com


Night-time cityscapes Get down low

When photographing light trails, don’t stand too far back like in this shot. Get up close and get down low, so that your camera is level with the headlights or tail-lights of passing vehicles. A wide-angle lens will accentuate the trails and a shutter speed of four to five seconds will keep the trails defined and bright. It’s important to fill the frame though, so try to time the shot so the light trails travel the entire width of the frame.

PRO’s KiLLER Kit #02 NeCk STraP Joe says… A neck strap can save a camera on an awkwardly placed tripod. By wrapping it around the tripod you secure the body. If you need to balance your tripod against a wall by the river, the last thing you want is the camera to splash into the water. On all the walks I’ve given, I’ve never lost a camera, partly due to this neck-strap technique.

PRO PORtfOLiO irelaND aND BeyoND Joe works internationally, but Ireland and the UK feature prominently in his portfolio

The Four Courts, Dublin

Most of Dublin’s bridges are lit up at night, making the river Liffey a wonderful place for photography when night falls. The complexity of the reflected light makes this photograph one of my favourites.

Turn off noise reduction

Turn off long exposure noise reduction to save time when you need to shoot quickly, as it doubles the time it takes to capture an image. Frank was using a low ISO throughout the shoot, so noise wasn’t really an issue in any case, and his exposure times weren’t really long enough to warrant long exposure noise reduction. It simply wasn’t going to make much of a difference to his final images.

St Paul’s from millennium Bridge

A trip to London last year was fertile ground for nightscapes. A six-second exposure turned the pedestrians into ghostly figures, and I loved the way the ultra-modern Millennium Bridge leads the eye to the ancient Saint Paul’s Cathedral.

Buses create higher light trails than cars, so find a shooting location on a bus route for maximum impact

Bus Passing Big Ben

I had gone to London wanting this shot, which I secured on my second attempt on Westminster Bridge. I like the way the light trails and road markings all contribute to the explosion of light leading the eye to Big Ben in the background.

www.digitalcameraworld.com

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tHE

APPRENticE

OuR APPRENticE sAys… I initially framed this shot with the building at the bottom, to make more of the sky, but the ‘blue light’ of dusk had already come and gone, so instead I positioned the building in the middle. The bottom third of the frame holds the eye because of the reflection of the lights in the Liffey. The 15second exposure accentuates the shafts of light on the water, and to me it looks magical. It was hard to see all the detail on the building with the naked eye, but when I zoomed in on the image I could see that my D3300 had captured everything.

Hot SHot #03

EXPERt iNsigHt reVeal THe iNViSiBle Joe says… A 30-second exposure can reveal a scene which you can’t see with the naked eye. Sometimes a night-time cityscape is too dark to really see anything, but a long exposure brightens everything. Even if you can’t make out the shot you want, use your compositional rules and try taking a photo anyway, especially if there’s still some light in the sky. You won’t be able to tell what you have until you’ve captured it. A long exposure will also smooth out any ripples in water, giving it a sheer, glass-like quality.


Night-time cityscapes lean in

When shooting rivers, like the Liffey here, Joe suggests leaning the tripod against a wall. By putting two legs against the wall, you can extend the other to create a stable base against the floor. Sometimes a tripod gets knocked, and you don’t want it falling over and breaking, so brace it as you shoot. Avoid putting your hand at the top of the tripod near the body, though, as this will increase the risk of camera shake. Instead, place a toe on the base of the single extended leg, as this will transmit less vibration to the camera and keep your photos tack-sharp.

eXPoSUre 15 secs, f/14, ISO100 leNS Nikon AF-S DX 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR

Catch a star

An aperture of f/13 or narrower turns bare light bulbs and street lights into so-called starbursts. Depending on the type of lens and size of the aperture you’ll get different shaped starbursts, but it’s best not to go above f/16 as the lens will start to introduce diffraction, which softens the whole image. It’s a trade-off between sharp images on the one hand, and brilliant lights on the other.

PRO’s KiLLER Kit #03 Cowl or BUFF Joe says… I always use a cowl instead of a scarf. You need all your kit to be streamlined, work efficiently and have no faff. Scarves are too messy; you need to wrap them up and they can keep coming undone. The cowl sits snugly around my neck and doesn’t slip loose. It also doubles as a wrap for my lenses to keep them warmer during long night shoots, should I need it.

February 2016

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THE

APPRENTICE

EXPERt iNsigHt THe BlUe momeNT Joe says… The ‘blue moment’ happens every day, weather permitting, about 20 minutes after sunset. Your best bet is to head out 45 minutes before sunset, like we did, and get set up ready for the 20 minutes of shooting time before it’s too dark. That way, you should have ample time to focus, compose and take some test shots to get your settings dialled in before nailing the final shot.

Shot of the day!

Clear the corners

When composing your shots, be aware of small details. The tree overhanging the river here crept into shot and distracts from the building opposite. By moving to the middle of the bridge nearby, Frank was able to get a similar shot without the branches. And, by happy coincidence, he could then include more of the river, and another beautifully lit bridge, in the left side of the frame.

tHE fiNAL AssEssMENt… ■ After several hours making the most of Dublin’s landmarks and the everchanging evening light, Frank and Joe enjoyed a glass of Dublin’s finest and picked out the best of the evening’s shots. This shot of the Four Courts was their choice. Frank wasn’t going to stop there, though – he’s already planning further trips out into the city at night to hone his skills even further!

OuR APPRENticE sAys… After this session with Joe, I’ve learnt how to frame properly, when to use the rule of thirds, and when to get symmetrical with my photos. I also feel more comfortable with the settings, being able to decide on shutter speed and ISO levels given the specific result I want. I knew there were some shots I wanted to get before heading out on the shoot, and Joe knew exactly how to get them. I now feel more confident with using the controls in my camera, and while I don’t feel I’ve yet mastered them, I’m certainly going to give them a go more often.

OuR PRO’s vERdict Frank composed his Shot of the Day really well. The viewer’s eye is moved through the scene by the strong lines of the river, to the horizon line where the wonderful blue-moment tones meet the gold and dark of the bridge further up-river. The dome is on the upper-right third’s intersecting point, providing balance. By selecting a shutter speed of several seconds and waiting for the traffic to move, Frank added extra interest with the bus light trails on the right side of the frame. The f/16 aperture, with the focus set around a third of the way into the scene, ensured optimal sharpness from front to back. It’s a terrific image!

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NEXt MONtH TailS oF THe UNeXPeCTeD

Our Apprentice enjoys the fun and unpredictability of a pet portrait shoot

ON sALE 11 fEbRuARy 2016 www.digitalcameraworld.com


Night-time cityscapes

eXPoSUre 8 secs, f/14, ISO100 leNS Nikon AF-S DX 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR

WOuLd yOu LiKE tO bE OuR NEXt APPRENticE? Do you want to take your photography to the next level and learn first-hand from a top-flight pro? If you’d like a chance of being our next N-Photo Apprentice, let us know what you’d like help shooting and your full contact details. Email mail@nphotomag.com, with ‘Apprentice’ as the subject line, or fill in this form…

Name.............................................................................................................................................................. Address......................................................................................................................................................... Tel no .............................................................................................................................................................. Email .............................................................................................................................................................. Camera ......................................................................................................................................................... I’d like help shooting................................................................................................................................

reTUrN THiS Form To… The Apprentice, N-Photo Magazine, Quay House, The Ambury, Bath, BA1 1UA, UK

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February 2016

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Be inspired by seven pages of superb images from fellow Nikon users


01 EMP, Seattle Dale Johnson, USA

In my home town of Seattle is the Experience Music Project (EMP), a museum designed by Frank Gehry and made from sheet metal in various colours. In front is a sculpture called Grass Blades, which are tall steel structures painted to look like bamboo. I cropped in tight to remove the surroundings, leaving an abstract image of colours and shapes.

www.500px.com/drjhnsn Nikon D300, Nikon AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8G ED, 1/250 sec, f/8, ISO200


02 Tczew Bridge

Grzegorz Lewandowski, Poland This picturesque bridge connects the towns of Tczew and Lisewo on the banks of the Wisla River. I was attracted to the repeating patterns in the metalwork in the morning sunrise, and the silhouetted figures added some nice detail.

www.fotosopot.pl Nikon D700, Nikon AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II, 1/100 sec, f/6.3, ISO400

03 Household Cavalry Trooper Steve Davey, UK

I headed into London in a snowstorm to get some different views of the capital. This poor guardsman outside Horse Guards Parade looked cold and miserable, so I used a wide lens to emphasise his isolation, and the rare absence of crowds of sightseers.

www.stevedavey.com Nikon D3x, Nikon AF-S 14-24mm f/2.8G ED, 1/320 sec, f/5.6, ISO640

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February 2016

www.digitalcameraworld.com


Inspirational images

04 Glass Wave Riders Allard Schager, The Netherlands

05 Pinball

Rodney Campbell, Australia

Maintenance workers on top of the futuristic Liege-Guillemins railway station, designed by Santiago Calatrava, in Belgium. From a distance the roof looks like glass waves, and the tiny workers give a good impression of the scale of the building.

I used a long lens to compress the moon and the Sydney Opera House sails. It’s hard to get a shot in which the moon is nicely exposed, but the sky and the rest of the scene aren’t just black; I shot this just after sunset, when there was still lots of light in the sky.

www.allardschager.com

www.rc.au.net

Nikon D80, Nikon AF-S 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED VR, 1/400 sec, f/5, ISO100

www.digitalcameraworld.com

LIGHTBOX

Nikon D600, Sigma 50-500mm f/4.5-6.3 APO DG OS HSM, 1/6 sec, f/10, ISO100

January 2016

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06 Feeding Waxwing Laurie Campbell, UK

This was one of a flock of around 30 waxwings I spotted feeding on berries in a neighbour’s garden. Waxwings are fleeting winter visitors to the UK, and I had to work quickly to photograph them before they stripped the bush of berries and flew off.

www.lauriecampbell.com Nikon D3, Nikon 500mm f/4G ED VR, 1/400 sec, f/5.6, ISO1000


Inspirational images

LIGHTBOX

07 Fallow Deer at Dawn James Warwick, UK

This was shot at dawn in early autumn, near my home in a pasture that borders Ashdown Forest, which is a favourite area for deer during the rut. I took the shot just after the deer had spotted me stalking them.

www.jameswarwick.co.uk Nikon D800, Nikon AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II, 1/1600 sec, f/4, ISO640

08 Sea of White Anna Omiotek-Tott, UK

I took this photo in my garden, using a shallow depth of field to contrast the blurred background with the small area of sharpness in the central flower. I wanted to make the crocuses look natural, but also elegant and poetic.

www.annatott.com, image courtesy Garden World Images Nikon D800, Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro, 1/200 sec, f/4.5, ISO160

February 2016

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LIGHTBOX

Inspirational images

09 Last Light Gary Clark, UK

I was lucky to witness this winter sunset on the coast near my home in Somerset. I haven’t really followed the rule of thirds, but I quite like the lead-in from the causeway. I used a 179-second exposure, with a Lee Little Stopper six-stop ND and a 0.6 soft ND grad.

www.500px.com/clevedon-clarks Nikon D800, Nikon AF-S 16-35mm f/4G ED VR, 179 secs, f/18, ISO100

10 Hera’s Time

Vasilis Ramiotis, Greece I take Hera for daily walks on this beach. When I saw her playing with this piece of wood I lay down and I started taking test shots to get the right exposure. I found the right settings, and right on cue she looked up and gazed into the distance.

www.500px.com/vasilisramiotis Nikon D3100, Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.8G, 1/800 sec, f/1.8, ISO100

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ON ASSIGNMENT

Tigers in India

ON ASSIGNMENT Your window onto the working life of a professional photographer

BengAl TIgeRS

James Warwick recalls his trips to India, and his quest to photograph these amazing but highly endangered animals

When it comes to photographing tigers, I’ve worked in four National Parks in India: Ranthambhore, Bandhavgarh, Kanha and Kaziranga. All of them are all classed as tiger reserves by the Indian government. As well as providing vital habitat for the Bengal tiger population, the reserves are also home to a vast array of other mammals and birds. The Bengal tiger is the most numerous of all tiger subspecies in India, but all the same, there are fewer than 2500 left in the wild, with poaching to fuel the illegal trade in body parts in Asia being the largest immediate threat to their remaining population. Back in November and December 2014, I travelled out to Ranthambhore, in Rajasthan. I have a good friend there who is a very experienced guide and now runs a hotel, so he’s a mine of information about the local tiger population. In Ranthambhore, I got some particularly nice images of a female going across the lake, and another of a male walking in a meadow surrounded by lovely autumn colours [03]. In April and May 2015, I also went to Bandhavgarh National Park. It’s in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, and gets very

hot – hot as in 42 0C – at that time of year. While Ranthambhore has this amazing old fort and other interesting old historical buildings, making it feel rather like an exotic film set, Bandhavgarh is more like classic Indian jungle.

Cool cats

I knew the tigers were more likely to venture into the water when it got too hot, and the plan worked. The heat would literally flush them

When photographing tigers, I shoot from an open-back jeep, with my D800 supported by a beanbag, which gives me far more freedom than tripods do in this situation. People often ask me if it’s safe to photograph tigers in this way, and it is, although it does make your heart race a bit when a big male walks close to the jeep. Generally, they just aren’t interested in people in vehicles, and although I have heard of one jumping in and out of a jeep once, this is extremely rare, as are fatal attacks – in the parks, at least. Tragically, one experienced park guard was killed in Ranthambhore by an older male tiger just after I left. Sometimes older tigers can really struggle to hunt and they can get desperate and therefore dangerous to people. I have only just started seriously marketing the images from my two trips to India, as I wanted to wait for the whole set to come together first, and so far they have been well received. The World Wide Fund for Nature has expressed an interest, so I hope something comes of it – it’s always satisfying when your pictures are used to help communicate a strong conservation message.

01

I knew the tigers were more likely venture into the water when it got too hot… The heat would literally flush them out

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out, even by eight or nine in the morning [02]. I think my stand-out shot from the Bandhavgarh trip was of a tiger cub in the air, just about to land on its mother’s back [01]. This particular shot came about by chance; I was tracking the mother as she began to head back to the forest after bathing, when one of the cubs leapt exuberantly onto her back. I had my 500mm f/4 lens at the ready, so I managed to capture a sequence of action images. The exposure settings were 1/1600 sec at f/4 and ISO640.

February 2016

To see more of James’s work, visit www.jameswarwick.co.uk

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01 The shot of the trip – a tiger cub in a playful mood 02 Three tigers take respite from the 42-degree heat in Bandhavgarh National Park 03 A male walking through a meadow in Ranthambhore


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AK BRE

THE RULES

Capture more interesting and original images on your very next shoot by breaking with convention and taking an unorthodox approach to your photography

P

hotography is art, and art is all about personal expression. Armed with a camera, you have the freedom to express yourself in whatever way you choose. You can take pictures of anything and, despite what you may have heard from various competitions, judging panels, teachers or social media forums, the idea of what makes a ‘good’ photo is entirely subjective. A photo doesn’t need to be pin-sharp to be good. It doesn’t need to follow the rule of thirds, or be taken

under perfect light, or have the highest number of pixels. All it has to do is to speak to you, to capture something that is beautiful, or important, or that may otherwise have been lost. Conventions and rules are there to be broken. On this the great photographers all seem to be in agreement. Diane Arbus, master of the eccentric portrait, saw it like this: “There’s a kind of rightness and wrongness and sometimes I like rightness and sometimes I like wrongness.” So with that in mind, over the next ten pages we’ll offer a few ideas and suggestions to help you turn convention on its head (or on the case of our opening image, its side). Either think of these suggestions as a springboard for further exploration or – in the spirit of thinking outside the box – disregard them and come up with your own list!

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Special feature

Break the rules…

COMPOSITION Throw all the rules on framing out of the window and compose to suit the subject instead

Tilt your camera A wonky horizon can add extra dynamism to both portraits and landscapes

Centre your subject We’re told never to place the subject in the very centre of the frame, but, as with all rules, there are exceptions…

One thing that often separates the amateur snap from the enthusiast’s composition is the placement of the subject. Non-photographers will often thoughtlessly plonk the subject in the middle of the frame, whereas those of us who have heard of basic compositional rules like the rule of thirds and the golden ratio know better – the subject looks more visually pleasing when placed off-centre on one of the third lines. Or does it? The answer is, it depends what you want to say about a subject. A central subject gives images a directness, and can work well in a symmetrical composition, or for scenes with minimal background detail. It can also create a sense of isolation, as the subject is surrounded by space on all sides. Bill Brandt puts it like this: “A subject placed squarely in the centre of the frame, if attention is not distracted by fussy surroundings, has a simple dignity that makes it all the more impressive.”

I am not interested in rules or conventions. Photography is not a sport Bill Brandt

We go to great lengths to ensure our horizons are straight, using tripodmounted spirit levels or our Nikon’s virtual horizon (top tip: set this up as your front Fn button for a quick horizon check when looking through your viewfinder). We even correct it in processing (see page 50). However, while a slightly wonky horizon is never a good thing, an intentionally tilted frame can be another story. There’s something about diagonal lines in an image that are visually pleasing, and creative tilt can add extra dynamism to your composition. This can work well for portraits, as you can tilt diagonal lines so that they lead the eye through the image towards your subject. But it can also spice up a landscape, particularly with scenes (above right).


Break the rules

5

Rules for composition

You have to know the rules before you can break them...

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Rule of thirds

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Natural frames

3

Leading lines

Divide your scene into three with imaginary horizontal and vertical lines, then place points of interest, like a person or horizon, on these third lines.

Use natural frames in the scene, such as a doorway, a window, or even an array of branches, to surround your subject, drawing attention to it.

Look for lines that run through an image, like a road or a wall, and position your subject so that the lines lead towards it, drawing the viewer’s eye to what’s important.

4

Shoot from the hip Compose without looking through the viewfinder for loose, spontaneous and engaging photos

An excellent piece of advice when composing a frame is to scan the edges of the viewfinder before taking the shot. It’s the edges that go unnoticed, so unwanted distractions can easily creep into the corners of your scene. But when you think about it, the viewfinder can be a different type of distraction. It’s a barrier between you and whatever it is you’re photographing, and it covers up your most important means of communication – your face. So why not take a maverick approach, free yourself from the confines of that rectangular box, and shoot from the hip? This works well for portraits; catch your subject offguard and grab a shot while they think you’re taking a break (left). It can also help if you want to be inconspicuous. Focusing can be an issue, though, so try setting the focus manually and then judging it by distance. It’s an approach that’ll deny you compositional precision, but it’ll give you a fresh perspective on the world, and the people, in front of your lens.

2

Golden triangle

Draw a diagonal line between two corners of your image, then run a third line perpendicular from the line to the other corners. Place the subject on the intersection.

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1

3

Golden ratio

The ratio of 1:1.618 appears throughout nature and art. Make a square, sized one unit, then add on an extra 0.618. Add a square on the long side to create the next rectangle, and repeat to find the sweet spot.

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February 2016

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Special feature

Break the rules…

LANDSCAPES

We’ve all seen photos of well-known beauty spots, many of which draw photographers in large numbers. Breaking the rules will give your shots of familiar locations a fresh feel

Compose with your heart rather than your head Challenge yourself to approach a new scene without preconceptions on how it should be photographed

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February 2016

Here’s a true story: a landscape photographer was running a workshop and one of the attendees mentioned that he didn’t like a certain location because there wasn’t much foreground interest. Now, this was a spectacular spot (Dartmoor in Devon), but rather than attempting to capture the scene in all its unique rugged beauty, the learner concluded that a landscape photo must fit certain criteria to be any good, whether or not those criteria reflect the landscape in front of them. There’s nothing wrong with foreground interest, but it shouldn’t necessarily be the default. The point is, it’s easy to fall into a routine, to begin a shoot with a checklist: sunset – check; foreground interest – check; tripod – check; f/16

and ISO100 – check; and so on. Of course, many of these conventions will lead to great photography (and yes, we hear you scream, photography magazines are just as culpable as anything else for pushing them on us), but if we follow the same routine every time, there’s a danger that all our photos will look very similar, and ultimately not all that original. So next time you’re out shooting, whatever the subject may be, stop for a moment and think of a way to capture it that you haven’t tried before. It might be something as simple as cropping out the sky like in this scene, or shooting it with a different lens, changing your usual settings, or trying an unusual angle. The results may be great and they may be awful, but at the very least, they’ll be unexpected.

www.digitalcameraworld.com


Break the rules Consulting the rules of composition before taking a photograph is like consulting the laws of gravity before going for a walk Edward Weston

Blur on purpose A little camera movement can lead to a creative in-camera effect Modern sensors offer a level of image detail that has never been possible until now. It’s an exciting time, but images are not just made up of pixels, they’re also made of colours and shapes, and there’s something to be said for a complete lack of fine detail. Blurring a scene with camera motion is one way to eliminate detail and reduce it to abstract smudges that give the image a painterly feel. In the shot below, tipping the camera up and down over the course of a quartersecond exposure has led to vertical blur that was more effective than the sharp version of our scene. In some situations you may need to use a lens-mounted ND filter to block some of the light in order to achieve a shutter speed slow enough to allow for a little camera movement (see page 86). But in a shady spot like the woods here, using aperture-priority mode with a low ISO and a small aperture was enough to slow the shutter speed down sufficiently.

www.digitalcameraworld.com

Shoot it shallow Do landscapes always have to boast maximum depth of field? Depth of field is usually at the forefront of our minds when setting up for a landscape shot. It’s why we cart heavy tripods up mountains and down river beds, as they enable us to use slower shutter speeds and narrow apertures for maximum front-to-back sharpness. Some photographers will go to the trouble of working out the hyperfocal distance to achieve the greatest area of sharpness, while others will set their focus point one-third of the way into the scene and hope for the best. The default is often to use an aperture of f/16 (any higher can lead to softening caused by diffraction). But ask yourself this: is the maximum depth of field always absolutely essential? A wider aperture, and consequently a shallow depth of field, is a powerful compositional tool, as it allows you to focus attention on a portion of the scene while de-emphasising other areas in front of, or behind the point of focus. And as an added bonus, you won’t need to use a tripod.

Why not try?

Restrict your gear Steve Jobs only ever wore a black roll-neck top and jeans to work. Why? because he didn’t want to have to dedicate precious time and thought to deciding what to wear every day. The point is, sometimes restricting your choices can lead to greater creativity. Next time you go on a trip, why not forego the bagful of zoom lenses and instead take just one, fixed focal length lens, like a trusty 50mm? By removing the need to make a decision on which lens to go for, you can make the most of what you’ve got and get on with taking the picture. Besides, you already own the best piece of kit for zooming: your legs!

February 2016

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Special feature

Break the rules…

PORTRAITS

Explore methods of photographing people that are as unique and distinctive as your subject

Cut it out Add intrigue and impact to your portraits with a dramatic crop

We’re told that there are certain places in a body that are good ‘crop points’. The list of dos and don’ts is long, and reads like a screenplay for Dexter: don’t cut off feet, crop into the shins (but not the calves); don’t chop off fingers, wrists or knuckles, crop above elbows instead; don’t cut at the crotch, crop above the knees. With close-ups, don’t crop too close

to the eyes, or too tight to the top of the head; instead we should make a definite crop into the forehead. Many of these rules can help, both when framing a portrait in-camera, and when cropping later on. But a daring crop can have just as much impact. It grabs the attention and, by excluding parts of the body, draws extra attention to whatever remains.

Cropping off the mouth here, for example, focuses attention on the subject’s most interesting facial features – the fiery hair and blue eyes. So why not try framing half a face, or trim the tips of someone’s toes, or perhaps forget the face altogether? Hands can tell us almost as much about a person, so why not focus attention on them instead?


Go wide Try using a wide-angle lens for close-ups Lenses with a fixed focal length of around 80-100mm (such as Nikon’s classic 85mm f/1.4D) are often referred to as ‘portrait lenses’. The reason for this has to do with the way different lenses will alter perspective. Longer focal lengths have a compressing effect that makes elements that are far apart seem closer together. Shorter focal lengths, meanwhile, exaggerate the differences in distance instead (if you’ve ever looked through a wide-angle lens at your own feet, you’ll know what we mean). 85mm is a classic lens for portraits because it’s a flattering length that results in a perfectly proportioned face. By contrast, wide-angles distort facial features, making the nose and forehead

loom larger than many subjects would like. However, the distortion can be put to great use to add a sense of humour to your portraits, or to give them more of an in-your-face feel.

Why not try?

Forget the eyes Vary your point of focus and draw attention to different parts of your subject’s face or body It’s one of the most important rules in portraiture: the eyes must be in focus. It doesn’t matter if everything else dissolves into blur, as long as those pupils are pin-sharp (and many of us have experienced the disappointment of shooting a portrait we think looks

great on the camera’s LCD, only to find out later that the eyes are slightly soft). The reason why they need to be sharp is because eyes are a portrait’s most important feature, and with any image, we focus on what is important. But on the other hand, who’s to say what exactly a subject’s most important feature is, apart from the person holding the camera? Why not champion a different facial feature instead? For an off-beat portrait, find an unusual angle and focus on another facial feature – perhaps the nose, the lips, the ears – or draw attention to a character feature like a body piercing, tattoo or scar.

Hide your subject Sometimes the less you show in a photo, the more meaning you can tease out of it. Intentionally hiding something is a provocative move that dares the viewer to look harder for the purpose of the image. It lets you explore themes in your images, rather than specifics. Perhaps you could hide the face, or obscure your subject behind something, or show a person in silhouette, or with their back turned, or maybe just their shadow.

I’ve worked out of a series of nos. No to exquisite light, no to apparent compositions, no to the seduction of poses or narrative. And all these nos force me to the ‘yes’ Richard Avedon

February 2016

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Special feature

Break the rules…

ACTION

Explore different ways to photograph action and events

Slow it all down For beautiful blurry effects, shoot subjects in motion using a long exposure

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February 2016

Fast-moving subjects require an extra-fast shutter speed to freeze the action. A shutter speed of 1/200 sec sounds fast, but if there’s any significant movement in either camera or subject, it’ll usually result in blur. One of 1/2000 sec is more suited to fast-moving subjects like birds. The problem with freezing movement is that we can lose the sense of speed that is so vital to the shot. This is why sports and action photographers will often look for ways to imply the speed, perhaps by including a spray of water, or hair billowing in the wind. Another way to give images a sense of movement is to use a slow shutter speed, so that the moving parts of the image are recorded as blur.

With action shots you can either blur the subject and keep everything else sharp, or try panning with the subject so that they are recorded sharply and everything else comes out as blur. Or there’s a third option: blur everything and rely on the smudgy shapes and colours to tell the story. It’ll result in a complete loss of fine detail, but with the right subject, sometimes the sense of motion trumps the need for detail. (See page 86 for more on ways to capture speed.)

www.digitalcameraworld.com


Break the rules There are no rules and regulations for perfect composition. If there were we would be able to put all the information into a computer and would come out with a masterpiece. You have to compose by the seat of your pants Arnold Newman

Go to extraordinary lengths Pick an ill-suited focal length for great results One way in which you can give your images more impact is to use an unconventional focal length. Sports scenes are usually shot with long zoom lenses, but why not try to find a way to use a wide-angle instead, or even a fish-eye? Wildlife, too, is usually seen through the barrel of a super-telephoto. A different approach can potentially yield more interesting results. For example, wildlife maestro Nick Brandt approaches his African wildlife subjects like fine art, with a medium-format camera and wide-angle lens, resulting in extraordinary images. Similarly, the default for a landscape scene is often to reach for a wide-angle. But why not try a telephoto instead and pick out distant details? The compressing effect of a longer lens can help to simplify busy scenes by flattening out the perspective.

Look behind you Focus on the background at spectacles and events to capture the drama

Sometimes what is going on around the action has the potential to be just as interesting as the action itself, as you can see in this image of spectators at a cycling event. The reactions of those watching, or the little details that could be easily missed, can tell us just as much about the drama of the situation. If a celebrity walks into the room, a footballer scores a goal, the Queen passes by in a motorcade, or any other spectacle occurs, keep one eye on the spectators and you may find a more interesting or original take on the scene.

Why not try?

Point of view If you’re up for a challenge, and don’t mind a bit of trial-anderror, a fun way to get in on the action – quite literally – is to capture something you’re doing from your own point of view, such as mountain biking, skiing, or, in the case of our image on the right, spinning kids around at arm’s length. The trick with this sort of image is to pre-focus at the correct distance, and then attach your Nikon securely to your body using something like an OP/TECH Stabiliser Strap (optechusa.com). You can then set your Nikon to self-timer mode with, say, a 10-second delay; hit the shutter release; start cycling, skiing or spinning; and wait for the camera to take a shot. Try experimenting with shutter speed, too.

www.digitalcameraworld.com

February 2016

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Special feature

Break the rules…

ARCHITECTURE Find an unusual angle or an interesting twist to capture majestic buildings in new ways

Shoot ’em up Aim straight up at buildings and structures to celebrate their bold angular shapes The most successful architecture is usually a perfect marriage of form and function, but with architectural photography we can dispense with the function and celebrate just the form. One way this can be achieved is to reduce the structure to a series of surfaces, textures and shapes. Stripped of context, the structure takes on a more abstract form. Find an unusual angle, such as looking straight up from the base of a tall building, and perhaps use a wide-angle lens to emphasise how the lines recede into the distance. You might want to try a monochrome conversion, as this helps to emphasise patterns and shapes, and can bring out interesting textures, but bold blocks of colour like the blue here can work as well.

I used to think you could learn how to be a photographer by learning the rules of composition and how to use a camera. Now I think just the opposite: if you have to learn rules, then it’s already too late John Rosenthal

Get the low down

Shoot from ground level or from up high for a fresh angle

If you sit at a desk for eight hours a day, it probably feels like the most familiar spot on the planet. But have you ever viewed that same desk while standing on top of it? Or while hanging from the ceiling? Or even through the window from the building across the street? The point is, even the most familiar scenes can look fresh and new if you can find an original angle from which to capture them Varying your camera height can have a big impact here. If you think about it, most of the things and places around us that we think we’re completely familiar with are only ever viewed from a single height – usually eye level. Get down very low, as in our fairground image (right), and you can use the texture and perspective of the ground to add interest; or you can do the opposite and find a way to view your scene from up high for an unique, never-before-seen perspective – from the roof of a building, perhaps, or from a monopod held high overhead.

www.digitalcameraworld.com


Break the rules

Take a sideways look Transform ordinary street scenes into abstract forms with a simple twist Often the beauty in architectural photography, and in the architecture itself, is in the angles, lines and shapes that make up the outline of the building. One of the best ways to draw attention to shape is with contrast, or, if you like, the arrangement of light objects against dark backgrounds, and vice-versa. Think how well the shape of a silhouette stands out against a bright backdrop, or how a white lily contrasts with a dark pool. With architecture, the greatest contrast in the scene is usually between the building and the sky, as skies are invariably much brighter than buildings. When composing your frame, think about how you can use this contrast to your advantage. To the left, a wide angle has been used to capture the jagged, angular shapes of the streets of Ghent. But who says that just because we see the world the right way up, a photo has to do the same? Henri Cartier-Bresson, perhaps the greatest ever composer of a frame, had a good piece of advice for those looking to judge the strength of a particular composition: turn the photo upside down. This helps you to analyse the frame in a detached way, by bringing the arrangement of shapes to the fore while muting the subject matter. If the frame has balance upside-down, it’ll work the right way up too. And if it looks especially striking while upside down, or on its side, as in the image above, why not leave it that way?

Why not try?

Find a niche Great photography often emerges from single-minded dedication over a long period, whether to a location, a subject, or a piece of kit. By exploring a theme over time (six months, a year, a decade, or a lifetime) you can push the boundaries of convention and go beyond what’s been done before. Perhaps you live near a location that you can revisit repeatedly to find the best angle and light. Maybe you’re connected to an profession you could document. Perhaps there’s a certain type of flora or fauna on your doorstep you could spend time capturing. Ask yourself, is it better to be average at many things, or great at one? If you choose the latter, find your niche.

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February 2016

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Ingenious recipes for stunning shots 52

Welcome to NikoN SkillS

54 tHiS moNtH’S projectS… PROJECT ONE | CAMERA TECHNIQUES

46 Broaden your horizons

54 Ditch your lens

PROJECT TwO | SPECIAL EFFECTS

PROJECT SIX | CREATIVE PHOTOSHOP

Discover everything you need to know to shoot stunning panoramas, from essential settings to how to stitch them together

www.digitalcameraworld.com

Try your hand at making a pinhole camera using your ultra-modern Nikon D-SLR. Sticky tape not included!

49 Hit the road

56 Find your inner child

PROJECT THREE | DIgITAL DARkROOM

PROJECT SEVEN | THE BIg PROJECT

Abandon your tripod and take your Nikon for a drive to capture light trails from a moving vehicle

Cl ic k on th is we b link bit.ly/NPh oto55 for you r vi de o in tr od uc t ion to th is mon th’s Ni kon skill s

PROJECT FIVE | TAkE IT FURTHER

50 Set ’em straight

Learn some clever ways to crop and straighten your images in Lightroom

PROJECT FOUR | gEAR SkILLS

52

Play the bounce card

Improve your party pictures – or any portrait for that matter – with our step-bystep guide to bouncing flash

Turn a photo of an adult into a fun caricature of a grumpy child with the help of Photoshop’s Liquify tools

58 Light up the landscape

Capture dramatic nightscapes by using a powerful torch to ‘paint’ a local landmark with light

PROJECT EIgHT | gEAR SkILLS

62 Create great prints at home

We’ve a bonus tutorial this month – your complete guide to home printing

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45


the mission

■ To shoot and stitch together a panoramic landscape image

time needed ■ One hour

skill level

■ Anyone can do it ■ Some tricky aspects ■ Advanced technique

kit needed

■ D-SLR ■ Tripod ■ ND grad filters ■ Photoshop CS5 or above

next issue…

Get ready for some winter action!

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Project one camera techniques

Broaden your horizons Tom Welsh treks to the top of a snow-capped mountain – and back down to his PC – to show you how to create spectacular panoramic images… Panoramas are always a big hit with landscape enthusiasts. They’re the perfect way to capture a sprawling vista without using an ultra-wide lens, or cropping your image (and therefore losing lots of data). In this project we’re going to show you just how easy it is to shoot and create stunning panoramas. To capture a panorama you first need to shoot a sequence of images, moving or rotating the camera slightly between each shot. You’ll need to use a sturdy tripod, and ensure that it’s perfectly level. For the best results

February 2016

you should also shoot in portrait orientation, turning the tripod head a little for each shot and allowing for some overlap between frames. Then, at home, you can merge your images together in post-production, which is actually a straightforward process. We trekked up Helvellyn in the UK’s Lake District for our photo (and of course we took all the necessary safety precautions and equipment needed for hiking in the mountains). However, simply getting up high and capturing an expansive view doesn’t necessarily make for a spectacular

panorama – a broad sweep of very similar-looking mountains in the far distance can easily end up looking boring rather than spectacular. The key is to find a location with interest and detail at different heights, and to ensure that there’s something to look at in the foreground and middle ground, as well as in the distance – keep an eye out for lakes, trees, buildings and anything else that will bring the scene to life. As with shooting standard landscapes, a dramatic sky – as opposed to a clear blue one – will also help.

to watch the video use this web link… bit.ly/nPhoto55


steP By steP capture the big wide world

multi-row Panoramas

Get things right at the shooting stage, and stitching the panorama later will be simple

■ Don’t feel you have to limit yourself to a standard ‘single row’ panorama. Some software enables you to create panoramas from a grid of images, so you can make two or even three passes to capture a panorama with height as well as width.

01 turn heads

To ensure that your images align precisely you’ll need to use a tripod on which the head, and therefore your Nikon, can rotate freely. Attach your camera to the head, and then slightly loosen the head to allow free horizontal rotation, but no angling or tilting (see Step 03).

www.digitalcameraworld.com

02 stand tall

Position your camera in portrait orientation, as this will enable you to capture more detail, and create a taller panorama than if you shoot in landscape orientation (three or four vertical shots side by side, for example, will be taller than three horizontal shots side by side).

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NikoN skills

Ingenious recipes for stunning shots

hiGhs & lows ■ The top of a mountain is ideal for capturing a panorama, as you’ll have a commanding view of the surrounding scenery. However, panoramas can look even more compelling when shot from lower down. Shooting from the ridgeline of Striding Edge, which leads up the east face of Helvellyn, we were able to look up and along the ridge.

exPosure ■ When it comes to the exposure, it’s best to use manual exposure mode, so the settings stay consistent from shot to shot, and to set your exposure for what will be the brightest frame in your panorama (if you just set it for the first frame, any subsequent frames that are much brighter might blow out). If you use apertureor shutter-priority mode, the exposure will change depending on how dark or bright each frame is, and this can result in very harsh transitions between frames in your final panorama.

03 stay level-headed

04 Beat the shakes

05 hold back the sky

06 create an overlap

Check that your tripod is level, as this will ensure that your images align accurately, making them easier to stitch together in Photoshop. If the frames don’t quite line up you’ll have to crop out more of the top and/or bottom when they’re stitched together (see below).

If the sky is much brighter than the landscape, use a graduated ND filter to even things out. An ND grad with a soft transition is best if you’ve got mountain peaks or other objects breaking the horizon. You could bracket, but this will create more work at the editing stage.

To ensure your shots are pin-sharp, disable any Vibration Reduction. VR can actually cause blurring if your Nikon is mounted on a tripod, as it will try to compensate for non-existent motion. Use the two-second timer option, too, or a remote release, to avoid jogging the camera.

Now simply take your shots, allowing your frames to overlap by between a quarter and a third. Too much overlap is better than too little, and it’s better to shoot too many frames than too few. Take care not to nudge the tripod when moving the camera, though.

key skill all for one!

Once you’ve taken your photos, here’s how to merge them using Photoshop CS5 (or above)

01 merge the shots

Go to File>Automate>Photomerge. Select Files from the menu, and navigate to your images. In the dialog, leave Auto selected and tick Blend Images Together.

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02 neaten things up

When your panorama has been created you’ll see blank areas at the edges, so crop to remove these. Right-click on any layer thumbnail in the Layers panel and select Flatten Image.

03 Fill in the gaps

If you have small blank areas at the edges, you can fill these with the Clone Stamp tool if they don’t contain lots of detail. Alt-click to sample pixels, and clone these into the blank areas.

To download the start images for this tutorial, visit bit.ly/start-55


tHe miSSioN

■ To photograph long exposures from a moving car

time Needed

■ 30 minutes

Skill level

■ Anyone can do it ■ Some tricky aspects ■ Advanced technique

kit Needed

■ D-SLR ■ Wide-angle lens ■ Car mount ■ Car

Next iSSue…

the world in motion

project two Special effectS

Hit the road

Tom Welsh sees the city in a new light by shooting light trails on the move Shooting a long exposure from a moving car might sound borderline impossible, but the results can be spectacular. The key is to mount the camera securely to the car first. With the camera attached, the car will remain sharp in the shot no matter how much it moves around on the road, while any

passing lights will blur into stunning light trails. This is great for showing off the bright lights of a big city from a totally new perspective. The easiest way to attach your Nikon to your car is to use a suction mount, such as the Delkin Fat Gecko Triple (£55,$99). This features suckers at one end, and a tripod fitting at the

other. Once the camera is in place, you can shoot as long an exposure as you need to get the degree of motion blur required. It goes without saying that you don’t want to risk damaging your precious kit, so make sure everything is completely secure, and keep a tight hold of your camera strap while you’re shooting, just in case!

Step by Step Get caught in the headlights

Here’s how to mount your Nikon D-SLR to your car to capture spectacular traffic trails

01 Suck it up!

Use the mount to attach your camera to the side of your car. Make sure the surface of the car is clean first, and check that the suction mounts are firmly attached. While shooting, wrap the camera strap around your wrist, just in case anything does come loose.

02 Go wide

Shoot with a wide-angle lens so the car is included in the frame. Drive through busy, brightly lit areas, such as city centres, or along motorways and other long, straight roads. If you haven’t got a suction mount, you can always set up a tripod in the back.

to watch the video use this web link… bit.ly/Nphoto55

03 Go long

You may need to experiment with shutter speed, but 4-8 secs is a good starting point. To allow for the length of the exposure, set a small aperture at ISO100. This will also help to ensure good depth of field, so that everything ‘motionless’ within the image remains sharp.

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NikoN skills

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pRojECT THREE DIGITAL DARKROOM

THE MissioN

■ To crop and straighten images in Lightroom

set ’em straight

TiME NEEdEd

■ Five minutes

skill lEvEl

TEACH YoURsElF liGHTRooM Part 14

George Cairns shows you how to use Lightroom’s Crop Overlay tool

■ Anyone can do it ■ Some tricky aspects ■ Advanced technique

While looking through your Nikon’s viewfinder, you can zoom and pan the lens to compose the photo. You may know what makes a good composition, or you might use an intuitive point-and-shoot approach, but often it’s only when looking at your photos later that you can ascertain which is the best composed. When taking the picture you may not notice a distracting object at the

kiT NEEdEd

■ Lightroom 5

NExT issUE…

Give your monochrome images more impact

edge of the frame. When directing a model in a studio shoot, for example, you’ll be more attentive to his or her pose than to any bits of lighting kit that might stray into the frame. And you may not notice problems such as tilted horizons until after the shoot. With the help of Lightroom’s Crop Overlay tool, however, you can remove distracting objects, straighten any wonky horizons and even turn a

landscape- oriented photo into a portrait-oriented one. Modern Nikon D-SLRs produce very high resolution images, enabling you to crop quite severely (perhaps to make certain features look more prominent in the frame) yet still produce large prints. Cropping RAW files in Lightroom is also non-destructive, so you can always restore the cropped photo’s original composition if you need to.

sTEp bY sTEp Crop rotation

From portraits to landscapes, the Crop Overlay tool can be used to improve all sorts of photos

01 Use a preset crop

02 Choose an overlay

03 Create a landscape crop

04 Create a portrait crop

05 Create a crop Snapshot

06 Straighten an image

Import TYLR33.dng into Lightroom’s Library. In Quick Develop you can use the Crop Ratio menu to apply preset crops. Some of these (such as 5x7) subtly change the photo’s shape. Others (such as 1x1, or square), make a dramatic change.

Click the Crop Overlay icon to reveal the Crop Frame tool’s overlay. Drag the top-left handle up to the right, and the overlay will change to a portrait orientation. Drag the corner handles to create a tighter crop and hide the distractions on the left. Click Done.

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For more control, take the photo into the Develop module. Click on the Crop Overlay icon on the left of the tool panel. You can summon different overlays to help you crop subjects. Go to Tools> Crop Guide Overlay and explore the options.

Go to the Snapshots panel. Click on the + icon. Name the new image and click on Create. It will appear in the Snapshots panel. Click on the Crop Overlay icon. Click on the As Shot dropdown and choose 1x1. Click Done. Create a new Snapshot. You can toggle between the versions.

Make sure the padlock icon is in a locked position so the cropped photo retains its original shape. Drag the top-left handle of the Crop Frame tool to remove the lamp. Drag inside the overlay to show more of the model’s head. Click Done.

Import TYLR24.dng and take it into the Develop module. Click on the Crop Overlay icon. Choose Tools>Crop Guide Overlay>Grid. Click on the Straighten tool icon. Draw a line that follows the tilted horizon. The tool will rotate the overlay to counteract the tilt. Click Done to crop.

To watch the video use this web link… bit.ly/NPhoto55


Cropping and straightening

AFTER

BEFORE

to download the start images for this tutorial, visit bit.ly/start-55

QUICK TIP The Th ird s crop overla y summon s a rule-of-thirds grid tha t helps you to place objec ts in a bal anc ed composi tion

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NikoN skills

Ingenious recipes for creative shots

bounce flash only

with bounce card

Project four Gear SkIllS

Play the bounce card the missioN

Take evenly-lit portraits indoors, and add a catchlight

time Needed

■ 15 minutes

skill level

■ Anyone can do it ■ Some tricky aspects ■ Advanced technique

kit Needed

■ D-SLR ■ Flashgun ■ AA batteries ■ White card ■ Rubber band

Next issue… Get to grips with intervalometers

52

Harsh flash can kill the atmosphere at a party, but using your flashgun’s bounce card can give a more natural look. Tom Welsh explains…

The pull-out bounce card found on most modern flashguns is perfect for achieving bright, flattering shots of people indoors when you need to work quickly. (See this issue’s Big Test on page 118 for more on bounce cards). If you’re shooting in low light you generally have three options: you can use a tripod and a long exposure; increase the ISO to shoot handheld; or add lighting. If you’re taking pictures of party-goers, forget the first option, as your subjects won’t stay still! And while a high ISO can preserve the ambient light, you will have to make do with grainy pictures and the widest aperture and slowest shutter speeds

February 2016

possible. Adding light, by using a flash, is often the most flexible option. You can stay mobile, and you have a greater range of shutter speeds, apertures and ISO settings. The problem with using built-in flash is that the harsh, directional

If you’re shooting in low light, adding light, by using a flash, is often the most flexible option. You can stay mobile, and you have a greater range of shutter speeds, apertures and ISO settings

light kills the atmosphere, adds hotspots to faces, and casts ugly shadows behind the subject. The answer is to slot a flashgun into your hotshoe. Most external flashguns have a bounce facility, and some also enable you to turn and tilt the head, so you can bounce the flash off a ceiling or wall for more diffuse, even lighting. However, even bounced flash can look bland! The light is just too even and eyes lack sparkling ‘catchlights’. Which, of course, is where a bounce card comes in. This tiny white plastic reflector directs some of the light straight at the subject, giving a smidge of direct light and adding mirror-like catchlights.

To watch the video use this web link… bit.ly/NPhoto55


Using bounce cards QUICK TIP The palm of your hand ma ke s a qu ic k an d surp risin glyef fec ti ve lowtech altern a ti ve to usin g a proper bounce ca rd!

steP BY steP Shoot perfect party portraits

Use a white ceiling and a bounce card to turn harsh flash into soft, flattering illumination

01 Control the exposure

02 Bounce the light

03 Pull out the card

04 adjust as needed

Set the flashgun to its i-TTL mode and it will take care of the exposure for you. It’s best to set your Nikon to manual mode, though, setting a shutter speed of around 1/60 sec and a wide aperture to stop the background being too dark. Setting ISO400 or even 800 will also help in this respect.

The secret weapon for making bounce flash portraits look alive, complete with engaging catchlights in your subject’s eyes, is a white plastic bounce card. This slots in above the flash and is pulled out with the wide-angle diffuser. Remove both, then push back the diffuser.

Check the colour of the ceiling as this can add a nasty tint to the shot; white is ideal, but off-white will do. We’re used to things being lit from above, so ceilings provide natural-looking illumination. You can bounce the flash off a white wall too, as this can look like window light.

Look at your results on the back of the camera, checking the histogram for signs of both over- and under-exposure. If the flash isn’t bright enough, or is too bright, use the flash exposure compensation facility to increase or decrease the light level as appropriate.

esseNtiAl kit On the bounce

05 White paper

When it comes to vertical shots, the bounce card will be in the wrong place. Try holding a sheet of white paper or card behind the flash head instead.

Here’s how to ensure your bounce flash works flawlessly every time

01 Fresh batteries

Bounce flash needs around four times more power than direct flash. Use fresh batteries and take spares so that the flashgun recycles quickly.

www.digitalcameraworld.com

03 raW power

02 Increased ISO

Don’t leave the ISO set at 100. To prolong your battery life, project the flash further, and speed up recycle times, boost it to at least ISO400.

Colour balance, contrast and exposure issues are common with flash. Shoot in RAW (or RAW + JPEG) to make it easier to correct problems later on.

04 Do it yourself

Not all flashguns have a built-in bounce card, but you can get exactly the same result by attaching a small rectangle of white card to your flash with a rubber band.

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NikoN skills

Ingenious recipes for creative shots

Project Five Creative teCHNiques

ditch your lens Step back in time – Jason Parnell-Brookes has a cheap and simple DIY camera hack to transform your D-SLR into a traditional pinhole camera the missioN To make a D-SLR pinhole camera

time Needed ■ One hour

skill level

■ Anyone can do it ■ Some tricky aspects ■ Advanced technique

kit Needed

■ D-SLR ■ Tripod ■ Body cap ■ Drinks can ■ Scissors ■ Drill ■ Electrical tape

Next issue…

Not so much a still life as a melting one

Pinhole photography is just what it says: taking a photograph with your camera using a pinhole instead of a lens. The process of photography is so fast now that we’re in the digital age we can review and make adjustments instantly, and that means we’re able to take on one of the oldest forms of photography in just one afternoon. You need minimal camera gear for this project, but plenty of time to experiment. A lens helps to focus and strengthen the beam of light entering your camera, making the image sharper and brighter. However, by replacing the lens that sits in front of the image sensor with a small hole, it’s possible to capture an image. Your D-SLR will become a rudimentary camera obscura. Light passes through the hole and projects on a surface on the opposite side of the hole (the image sensor). The key to this technique is to keep the hole as small and neat as possible, as the larger and more ragged the hole, the more out of focus your final image will be. Obviously this is all part of the charm, but you still want some definition. This means there will be very little light coming through the hole, so a sturdy tripod is essential for capturing a long exposure. Here’s how it’s done...

steP BY steP Hole it in one

You’ll be amazed at the results you can get even without a lens

01 Cut it out

Using scissors, cut out a section of the drinks can (be careful as the edges will be sharp). Make sure it’s small enough to fit into the inside of a body cap. Push a needle through the metal until it just pokes through. The smaller the hole, the better.

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February 2016

02 Drill and stick

Drill a hole in the centre of the body cap. It should be bigger than the pin prick. Tape your pricked metal to the back of the cap, making sure the pinhole lines up with the hole in the body cap. Attach the cap to the camera.

03 Choose a subject

Anything with vibrant colour will make a good subject. The lack of a lens means there’s reduced clarity in your photos, so a subject with a lot of subtle texture probably won’t work very well. Look for simpler shapes and strong contrasts.

to watch the video use this web link… bit.ly/NPhoto55


Digital pinhole camera

Go retro ■ We experimented with monochrome and sepia tones to recreate the look of vintage pinhole photography. By mimicking the types of film and photo-sensitive paper that were available to photographers when pinhole was first introduced, it’s possible to take your photos back in time.

Quick tip Sand wich your me tal be tween two piece s of card as you prick i t for a clean er hole

04 Go long

The pinhole’s aperture should be much smaller than that of any lens you have. This means less light, and less light means longer exposure times, so use a tripod. Use your self-timer or a remote to reduce the risk of camera shake.

www.digitalcameraworld.com

05 Go slow

There is no aperture to control, and the other settings will depend on how large your pinhole is. Shooting outside on a sunny day, set ISO100 and 1.6 sec as a starting point, and increase or decrease the shutter speed as needed.

06 Zoom in

If you want to increase your focal length, use extension tubes. These are designed to sit a lens (or our pinhole) further away from the sensor to extend the focal length; the further the body cap is from the sensor, the longer the focal length.

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NikoN skills

Ingenious recipes for stunning shots

BEFORE

BEFORE

AFTER

the missioN

■ Transform a portrait using Photoshop’s Liquify and Warp tools to turn an adult into a grumpy child!

time Needed

■ 30 minutes

skill level

■ Anyone can do it ■ Some tricky aspects ■ Advanced technique

kit Needed

■ Photoshop CS5 or above

Next issue… create a cubist animal portrait

56

Project six creative photoshop

Find your inner child James Paterson shows you how to transform a person into a childlike caricature using an array of pixel-bending Photoshop tools Photoshop offers a whole bag of tools and tricks that makes pulling portraits into new shapes as simple as dragging your mouse. In this tutorial, we’ve taken inspiration from Cristian Girotto’s surreal series of portraits, which reveal the inner child of fully-grown adults. To reverse the ageing process, it’s worth thinking about the differences between a child’s face and an adult’s face. In general, children have smaller noses, less defined cheeks, chubbier features, bigger eyes and flatter

February 2016

eyebrows than grown-ups. We can make all of these alterations with the amazing Liquify filter, which enables you to push, pull and morph pixels. Once done, we’ll finish off by removing tell-tale signs of age, like wrinkles and blemishes, then add rosy cheeks. We’ve used two portraits, taken moments apart, for this project. For the second shot we moved the camera slightly closer to the subject’s head (the slight change in perspective makes the oversized head look more realistic) but you can still get good

results from a single portrait – if you want to surprise someone by working from an existing photo, for example. Whether you want to create a fun portrait like this, or just make your subject look younger, the way you light the face plays a big part. Large, frontal lighting fills out any shadows, and softens wrinkles, crow’s feet and eye bags, so for our two start images, we positioned a big softbox above the camera, with a reflector held below the chin. A second ‘edge’ light came from behind the subject to the right.

to watch the video use this web link… bit.ly/Nphoto55


Create a caricature

coLour a BacKdrop

steP by steP Kidding around

This fun project will get you using some of Photoshop’s most powerful tools

01 off with his head!

02 Blend the neck

03 change the shape

04 enlarge the eyes

Open face02.jpg, grab the Quick Selection Brush and paint over the head and neck (hold Alt to subtract if you select too much). Click the Refine Edge button at the top. Check Smart Radius, set Radius to about 4, then paint over the gaps in the hair to improve the edges. Hit OK.

Duplicate the ‘background’ layer by hitting Cmd/Ctrl+J, then right-click on the duplicate layer and choose Convert to Smart Object. Next, go to Filter>Liquify. Use the Forward Warp tool and a large brush tip to reshape the body. Slope the shoulders, squash the chest and shrink the arms.

Press Cmd/Ctrl+C, then Ctrl+V to copy and paste the cut-out face onto face01.jpg. Position the head using the Move tool, and press Cmd/Ctrl+T to resize it. Click on Add Mask in the Layers panel. Grab the Brush tool, set it to black, then paint around the edges of the neck to blend it with the layer below.

■ If you shoot a portrait against a simple grey background like this, it’s easy to change the colour in Photoshop. Use the Magic Wand or Quick Selection tool to select the area, and use Refine Edge to improve the selection, then add a Hue/ Saturation adjustment layer. Check ‘Colorize’, then use the Hue and Saturation sliders to choose a colour. If you want to tone the colour down, simply lower the Hue/ Saturation layer’s opacity.

Select the head layer and grab the Lasso tool. Set Feather to 10px, drag a selection around an eye, and hit Cmd/Ctrl+J to copy to a new layer. Press Cmd/Ctrl+T, and then use the bounding box to enlarge it. Right-click inside the box, select Warp, then reshape the eye. Hit Enter. Repeat for other eye.

Quick TiP! Add

05 add rosy cheeks

Make a new layer (Layer>New Layer), grab the Brush tool, choose a large soft brush, set colour to red and dab a large spot on each cheek. Lower the layer opacity until it looks right. Add another new layer. Grab the Spot Healing Brush, check Sample All Layers, then paint over any blemishes.

06 Liquify, warp and pucker!

Press Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+Alt+E to merge all the layers into a new layer, then convert it to a Smart Object (see Step 03). Go to Filter>Liquify and use the Forward Warp and Pucker tools to fine-tune the shape of the face and body. Puff out the cheeks, shrink the nose and lower the hairline.

To download the start images for this tutorial, visit bit.ly/start-55

freckles using the Rough Ink brush from the We t Media se t. Choose a brown colour and pain t on a new layer a t 60% opaci ty

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Ingenious recipes for creative shots

February 2016

www.digitalcameraworld.com


Painting with light

the missioN

■ To shoot a dramatic landscape at night by lighting a landmark with a powerful torch

time Needed

■ 30 minutes

skill level

■ Anyone can do it ■ Some tricky aspects ■ Advanced technique

kit Needed

■ D-SLR ■ Tripod ■ Powerful torch ■ Coloured gels

Next issue…

Create a stunning lunar time lapse

Project seveN THE BIG PROJECT

light up the landscape

Armed with nothing more than a tripod and a powerful torch, Jason Parnell-Brookes captures a dramatic landscape at night When we’re on a landscape shoot, most of us tend to call it a day once the sun has dropped below the horizon, but there is a way to carry on shooting long into the night, and that’s to light up the landscape yourself. The basic idea is to literally paint your subject with a torch during a long exposure so that it stands out against the darker background. Without this extra helping of light, it would either get lost against the background, or it

would just be completely silhouetted. The light also helps pick out texture and detail, especially if you stand off to one side and ‘paint’ from an angle. For our light-painting project we headed down to the south coast of England to photograph Pulpit Rock. We took along a million-candle-power torch to light up the rock stack, and a 14-24mm f/2.8 lens to enable us to fit everything in. We also took along plenty of spare batteries, so that we wouldn’t run out of juice mid-shoot.

To watch the video use this web link… bit.ly/NPhoto55

As with cityscapes (see The Blue Moment on page 16), the best time to paint with light is when there’s still some light in the sky – that way you can expose for the sky and then use your torch to reveal your subject, and balance the exposure. You don’t need to visit Pulpit Rock, of course; you can paint with light on any scene. Rocks, grass, buildings, trees… there really isn’t any limit to the subjects you can illuminate. Read on to find out how it’s done...

February 2016

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NikoN skills

Ingenious recipes for creative shots

03

LEvEL-HEadEd

01

■ Make sure the horizon

is level. Yes, you can straighten it in Photoshop in two seconds – but get it right in-camera and you won’t have to. Plus you’ll get to keep 100 per cent of your lovely photograph. Some camera bodies, like the D750, now have this feature built in.

02

04

ON LOCaTION | Get set up to paint with light

You don’t need masses of specialist equipment to create brilliant light paintings 01

Rock star

A landmark acts as a focal point, and helps to give your shot direction. Make sure your focal point is the brightest thing in the scene.

02

Steady does it

With exposure times of 30 seconds or more, a sturdy tripod is vital for capturing every texture and detail with pin-sharp clarity.

03

On the level

You may need to use a spirit level to ensure a level horizon. To avoid noise, keep your ISO low and extend your shutter speed.

04

Different strokes

Think of your torch – and its beam of light – as a giant brush that you can use to paint detail into the scene (see Step 05).

key skills Perfect your painting

The shoot is straightforward, but you can give things extra polish

quick tip Place the torch behin d a rock to ge t a rim ligh t – this will separate the rock from the background and give i ts edges an at trac tive glow 60

01 Paint with colour

We bought some gels to alter the colour of the light we were painting with. You could buy professional-grade plastic gels, but we used cheaper overhead projector acetate sheets to cover our torch. We found them for only £4 online. We fixed them to the torch with a rubber band.

February 2016

02 Clip ahoy!

Given the imprecise nature of light painting, the settings you use will not be clad in iron, so look at your histogram to check if the shadows or highlights are being clipped. If the graph is stacked up against the walls at either side, then this data is irrecoverable and you’ll want to reshoot.

www.digitalcameraworld.com


Painting Lightwith painting light

steP By steP Let there be light painting!

The technique is simple, but you might need several attempts to get a result you’re happy with

01 full beam ahead

02 Make it quick

03 Lock the focus

04 Slow things down

The most important tool you’ll need for light painting (after your camera) is the torch itself. You’ll need one with a strong beam, able to reach the distant landscape. We used a 1,000,000-candle-power torch, and took extra batteries with us in case the ones in the torch ran out.

Place your camera on your tripod. Autofocus is difficult in low light, and since the AF lamp built into your camera won’t be bright enough to reach the distant landscape, use your torch to light up your subject, autofocus a third of the way into the frame, and then switch to manual to lock it.

quick tip! I f your au tof ocu s is strug gling, swi tch to manu al focus, engage Live View and zoom in on the pa rt of the ima ge you wan t to be in focus. Ad just your focus rin g un til the sce ne is sha rp, then zoom bac k ou t again

To speed things up, turn off long exposure noise reduction (found in the Shooting menu on most camera bodies). Long exposure noise reduction takes a second black frame with the shutter closed to record the noise generated by the image sensor, doubling the time each shot takes.

We set a narrow aperture of f/8 to ensure a decent depth of field, a low ISO (ISO100) to minimise noise and a very slow shutter speed (20 secs) to expose the photo correctly. Use the self-timer to trigger the shutter, to avoid camera shake, and begin painting your subject with the torch.

SHakE IT Off ■ Use the self-timer to give

05 Paint with care

You may need a friend to make sure you paint evenly – it’s easy to leave the torch in one place and get hot spots. Standing back from your subject (up to 40 feet) and using long sweeping movements will help prevent this. Angling the torch to the side helps define the shape of the rocks.

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06 adjust and experiment

Check your shot. If light from your torch is flaring into the lens, put a lens hood on. Adjust your shutter speed if the exposure needs altering. We painted our scene from the left for the duration of our 20-second exposure, but you may not need to paint for that long.

the torch-bearer time to set up and avoid camera shake. You could use a remote release, but travelling light saves space and energy, which is handy if you’re scrambling over rocks to get the shot you want.

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NikoN skills

the missioN

To print lab-quality prints at home

time Needed

■ 30 minutes

skill level

■ Anyone can do it ■ Some tricky aspects ■ Advanced technique

kit Needed

■ Computer ■ Printer

Ingenious recipes for creative shots

ProjeCt eight Gear skills

Create perfect prints at home

Don’t settle for ‘okay’ prints – get the very best results possible Would you like to get professional-looking prints from your home printer that could hang, pride-of-place, in a gallery? Are you confused by the maze of options and printer settings required to get a decent colour print? Do your black-and-white images come out looking like last week’s bath water? Unfortunately, getting great prints out of a photo printer is neither automatic nor easy. Although the underlying printer technology has

improved in leaps and bounds over recent years, we’re still not there yet in terms of ease-of-use. We’re looking forward to the day that you can produce an exhibition-quality print just by pressing the big green button on the printer, but until then you will have to resize your image to the desired dimensions and sharpen it and, if you want to print it on anything other than your printer manufacturer’s own paper and inks, use a dedicated printer profile too.

We’re going to share with you the easiest way to create a quality print… and how to set up your printer with a profile for using fine art papers and specialist inks 62

February 2016

But don’t worry! We’re going to share with you the easiest way to create a quality print with our ultimate guide to preparing your shots for printing – and how to set up your printer with a profile for using fine art papers and specialist inks. Plus we’ve got oodles of hints and tips that guarantee you perfect results every time you print a photo. Work through the following steps (we’ll tell you when you need to skip one, as some steps will depend on your equipment and printing requirements) and you should emerge with your best prints yet. And you’ll keep making them, armed with greater knowledge of the black magic of home printing…

To watch the video use this web link… bit.ly/NPhoto55


Perfect printing

steP By steP How to create the perfect print

From resizing to colour management, we’ll take you through every stage of the process

PriNTer maiNTeNaNce ■ For the best results,

01 set print size

02 cut to fit

03 resample the image

04 Tidy it up

Open printing_start.jpg. Let’s make an 8x10-inch print. Click on Image>Size. Check the Resample Image and Constrain Proportions boxes. Set Resolution to 300 pixels/inch (360 if you have an Epson printer). In the Document Size drop-down, select Inches. Change Width to 10.

Now look at the top line of the box – Pixel Dimensions: 15.4M (was 18.7M). This tells you that your image has been made smaller (see below). In the drop-down menu at the bottom select Bicubic Sharper if you’re making your image smaller, and Bicubic Smoother if you’re making it larger.

Now the Height is only six inches and we wanted an 8x10inch print. You could uncheck Constrain Proportions and set the Height to 8, but this will stretch the image. You could crop some off the length of the image, or go with the reduced height and trim the paper later. We’ll go with 6x10in.

check for printer driver updates and download them. Also, no printer will perform at its best if you don’t test, clean and calibrate it. Before creating an important print, click on File>Print>Print Settings (in Elements, File>Print> Change Settings>Advanced Settings), then choose the Maintenance tab. Put a sheet of cheap copier paper into the printer and do a nozzle check. Take a magnifying glass and make sure every line is complete. If there are any issues, clean the printer heads and try again. After installation, and every time you move the printer, be sure to do a print head alignment.

Now check and prepare the image for printing. Go to Layer> Flatten Image if you have multiple layers. If this is a black and white print, go to Image>Mode>Grayscale for the best neutrality and to avoid colour casts. Some printers will only handle eight bits; if so select Image>Mode>8Bits/Channel.

key skill Understanding image size Be aware of how resolution and resampling affect prints 01

Pixel dimensions

This is the physical number of pixels that make up your image. 02

Document size

The size your image will be when printed, and its resolution in pixels per inch (ppi). Most printers give their best quality at 300ppi. 03

Resample image

Tick this box if the image needs to be resized (or ‘resampled’) from its

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current size (which might be way to big for your paper or frame) to a smaller (or bigger) size for printing. You can then type in the size you want your print to be in the fields above. There’s little loss in quality when printing smaller, but if you want a larger print than you have pixels, this comes at a price of diminished quality, as the missing pixels have to be created (or ‘interpolated’) based on their neighbours. Try not to increase the size by more than 30 per cent.

01

02

03

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NikoN skills

Ingenious recipes for creative shots

Problem PHoTos Try these tips for printing tricky images: ■ If you want to print an image much larger than its Image Size, try resizing your image to the desired size at 300ppi then go to Filter> Noise>Add Noise, set Distribution to Gaussian and tick Monochromatic. You’ll need to experiment with Amount, but two to five per cent usually works quite well. ■ If you have an image with burnt-out highlights, print it on textured fine art paper, which lends its texture to the highlights, creating the illusion of detail. ■ For highly saturated colour prints that ooze impact, use high-gloss photo paper. ■ For images that are so sharp you could cut yourself on them, try the best photo matte paper. Matte paper is also great for prints that need to be handled a lot as it has less of a problem with finger marks or scratching.

05 stay sharp

06 set the Threshold

07 set the amount

08 add a layer mask

09 save a copy

10 Print it!

The last change to make to an image before printing should always be sharpening. This is a destructive step and is only effective at the chosen resolution. Select Layer>Duplicate Layer and click OK. Go to Filter>Sharpen>Unsharp Mask (Enhance>Unsharp Mask in Elements). Set Radius to 1 pixel for printing when you’re at your printer’s native resolution.

Push Amount up to 200 and you’ll notice a halo appears around the lamp post. You need to go down to about 15 to remove it, but the printer is a very blunt instrument, so about 75 will be fine for most printers. You may need to test this with your printer and paper combination because you want the crispest possible edges but without halos. Hit OK.

Your file has been resampled and sharpened specifically for printing at this particular size. For all other purposes the file has been ‘damaged’, so keep the original image as your master file in case you want to reprint it at a different size later. To save the image now, make sure you use File>Save As, set Format to Photoshop, and change the filename.

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February 2016

Threshold determines which pixels/edges will be sharpened; the higher the number, the stronger the edge has to be before it is sharpened. Always have Threshold at 2 or above (a setting of 0 will try to sharpen every pixel – it won’t be pretty!). Set it to 5 for this image. Zoom the window to 100% and drag the thumbnail so you can view a lamp post.

Go to Layer>Layer Mask>Hide All. Select the Brush tool (B) and set Hardness to 0%, Size to 200, Opacity and Flow to 100%, and foreground colour to white. Brush over the pier edges, supports and the shoreline, but not the smooth sky or water, as we don’t want to sharpen them. Pick Layer> Flatten Image and you have an image ready for the printer.

Go to File>Print. There are two ways to handle printer profiles: Printer Manages Colours or Photoshop Manages Colours (in Elements 9, click on More Options first). If you’re using your printer manufacturer’s paper and inks, continue to step 11. Skip to Step 12 if you have an Epson printer, and if you’re using third-party inks or paper, skip to Step 13.

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Perfect printing xxxxxx

11 own brand paper and inks

12 epson printers

13 Third-party paper and inks

14 canon and other drivers

If you’re using your printer manufacturer’s paper and inks, select Printer Manages Colours and choose Print Settings. In the printer driver choose Photo Printing, pick your Paper Type, select High Quality, then Paper Size and Auto Colour. Vivid Photo works well for colourful images. Hit OK, then Print, and you’re done!

Go to File>Print and set the Colour Handling drop-down menu to Photoshop Manages Colours, set Rendering Intent to Relative Colormetric and tick the Black point Compensation box. Select the Printer Profile for your paper and ink in the drop-down box. Hit the Print Settings button to go into the printer driver. Epson users, skip to Step 15.

Select Printer Manages Colours and choose Print Settings. In the printer driver choose Best Photo, select your Paper Type and Paper Size, then select Advanced and set Photo RPM and Auto Colour. Epson Vivid works well for brightly coloured images. Turn off High Speed and Edge Smoothing. Hit OK, then Print.

Quick TiP! Don’t forge t to cal ibrate your mon i tor – if i t’s displa yin g inaccurate colours, your prin ts won’t ma tch wha t you see on screen. I f you’re not sure how to do this on your PC or Mac, just google ‘how to cal ibrate a mon i tor’

Choose Normal Photo Printing, select the Paper Type that your paper manufacturer recommends, select High Quality, pick your Paper Size, and go to the main tab. Click Colour/ Intensity, switch to Manual and hit Set. Under the Matching tab in the Manual Colour Adjustment, select None – this is important! Hit OK, hit OK again, then Print. You’re done.

esseNtiAls 10 printing truths

Essential things to remember if you’re printing at home

1

The only way to achieve a printer’s advertised archival life is to use the printer manufacturer’s inks and paper. The most expensive liquid most photographers will ever buy is printer ink. Cheap ‘compatible’ inks are best avoided, however. The only reliable way to get neutral black-andwhite prints, without colour casts, is to use a photo printer with grey inks.

2

15 epson drivers

Choose Best Photo, your Paper Type and Paper Size, then select Advanced and set Photo RPM. Set Colour Management to ICM and select Off (No Colour Adjustment) – this is very important! Turn off High Speed and Edge Smoothing for utmost quality. Hit OK, then Print. And that’s it, you’re done.

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3

4 5

A high-gloss print will always beat any other paper for impact and quality. If you sell your prints, use pigment inks, not dye inks – they’re more fade-resistant. The only way to get 100% accurate print colours is to install a profile for your printer, your paper, and your ink – all three together! (See following page for details.) A good large print always beats a great small one.

6 7

8

Printer manufacturers expect printers to be used and kept in a humidityand temperature-controlled environment. However, most of us live in the real world! You can’t save either time or money by printing at home. Once you’ve got quality prints from your printer, don’t leave it alone for months! At the very least, do a test print every week to stop it drying out.

9 10

February 2016

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NikoN skills Too maNy drivers

Ingenious recipes for creative shots

esseNtiAls image quality

When you’re after the very best quality, every bit counts

■ Problems with printing

accurate colours can occur when you download the correct profile for the paper and use Photoshop Manages Colours, but don’t tell the print driver not to use its own print profile. In effect you now have two print profiles changing the colours of your image. When you select Photoshop Manages Colours, always make sure your print driver has Colour Management set to Off (see The right profile, opposite).

Images can come out of your camera in two forms: JPEG and RAW. All current Nikon D-SLRs apart from the D3XXX series are capable of shooting 14- and 12-bit RAW files, while the D3XXX series can only shoot 12-bit ones. These different file formats have varying

File FormaT

amounts of colour information, called colour depth. There are three colour channels: red, green and blue, so an eight-bit colour depth gives a total of 16.7 million colours (256x256x256), while a 14-bit RAW file gives 4.4 trillion colours (16,384x16,384x16,384).

biT dePTH

When you have an image open in a program like Photoshop, you have two choices of colour depth: eight bits or 16 bits; the greater your colour depth, the better the quality of your image. If you shoot in RAW, you’ll keep the higher quality by editing images in 16 bits.

sHades oF coloUr iNFormaTioN Per cHaNNel

JPEG

8 bits

256

RAW

12 bits

4096

RAW

14 bits

16,384

key skills The right profile

If you buy specialist photo paper you’ll need to tell your printer how to deal with it in a printer profile Printer manufacturers do a cracking job of making accurate profiles, which are then built into the printer driver – that’s why you can allow the printer to do colour management when you use the manufacturer’s paper and inks. The problem is that they only make them for their own papers and inks, so for other brands you need to select Photoshop Manages Colour when you’re printing and then

select the correct printer profile from those offered. Profiles specify how to change image colours so that the print comes out correctly, based on ink characteristics, distribution and how the paper absorbs or responds to it. If you don’t buy the printer manufacturer’s ink or paper, visit the website of your supplier and look for a profile for your printer, the paper you’re using, and the correct ink. Download and install this profile on your computer, following their instructions.

However, since only one profile can be used at a time, it has to include information for both ink and paper. So if you buy paper from one source and ink from another, you could find yourself in trouble! Also, If you buy the very cheapest ink and paper, it’s possible that there won’t be a profile for you to download and use. To make a profile, a standard image is printed. It is then photo-electronically analysed and a profile generated. This profile is then used to print another standard print and this is analysed again until the copy is perfect. You have three options for creating profiles:

1

Buy a device like a ColorMunki Photo (£289/$440, www.xritephoto. com) and create your own profile – this ensures the very best quality!

2

Download, print and mail a standard colour chart to a specialist company like www.colourprofiles.com, who will make a custom profile for you for around £15.

3

Experiment with all the paper setting options in the print driver to see if one will work well enough for your combination, even though it wasn’t designed for it.

key fACts Printing in black and white If your photo printer has grey ink cartridges, it should be able to produce excellent neutral monochrome prints Canon and others Epson

The addition of ‘grey’ ink tanks in some printers allows for excellent reproduction of monochrome prints

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February 2016

n Make sure the image you’re going to print is set to grayscale: go to Image>Mode>Grayscale. n Click File>Print and make sure Printer Manages Colours is selected. n There is nothing unique to set for printing in monochrome on Canon and most other printer drivers. n Go to Step 11 of our main walkthrough and the printer driver will do the rest for you.

n It doesn’t matter if your image is grayscale or colour, you can print it as monochrome either way. n Click File>Print and make sure that Printer Manages Colours is selected. n In the printer driver, make sure you set Enhanced Black and White; you may also choose Warm or Cool Tone print. n Go to Step 12 of our main walkthrough and the driver will sort out the rest for you.

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NikoN skills

Ingenious recipes for creative shots

A E D

B

C

A

Six modules let you focus on tasks such as organising or printing. The Adjustment module enables you to reveal missing tones, correct colour balance and sharpen your shots. B

Sort your files in the Library module by popping them into custom albums. By assigning keywords on import you can choose to display photos containing specific tags. C

You can edit a virtual copy of your shot so that the details in the original file will always be available. D

Here you can display a large image and a filmstrip of thumbnails, or jump to a thumbnail view. E

The Edit module boasts the Face Swap tool, which solves the problem of family photos that are spoiled by one person blinking.

68

BoNus project digiTal darkroom

sort, fix and share your photos fast

PhotoDirector 7 is a great tool for organising and editing your photos, and as George Cairns explains, it boasts some fantastic new features PhotoDirector 7 helps you streamline your workflow and edit images in a non-destructive way. You can use it to assign flags, ratings and labels to your photos and then use custom filters to search for photos that meet specific criteria. There’s also a unique filter that lets you search for photos that have been

adjusted or not, which helps you easily find files that might need processing to look their best. This is an example of how PhotoDirector 7 goes the extra mile to help you take control of your ever-growing photo collection. PhotoDirector’s Edit module lets you access more advanced retouching tools, such as the Content Aware tool

There’s a new collection of Portrait Beautification tools designed to help you get your portrait subjects looking their best by removing their eye bags and reducing shiny hot spots

February 2016

for removing unwanted objects. You can change the mood of photos with colour filter effects, or fake bokeh using Blur tools. You can also use the editing tools to combine bracketed exposures and create an HDR composite, or stitch a series of panned shots into a panorama. There’s also a new collection of Portrait Beautification tools designed to help you get your portrait subjects looking their best by removing their eye bags and shiny hot spots. Read on to find out what else is new...

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PhotoDirector 7

step BY step key features in Photodirector 7

The latest version of PhotoDirector has some handy features for speeding up your workflow

01 Edit on import

02 Face Swap

03 New portrait enhancements

04 Editing in layers

To save you the hassle of assigning keywords to individual shots, you can add them to a batch as you import them and apply preset effects to process your photos’ colours and tones during the import process. This enables you to spend less time organising and more time shooting.

The new Eyebag Remover automatically locates and reduces puffy areas under the eyes with a quick drag on a slider. The Wrinkle Remover lets you paint over unwanted lines and then manually define a patch of clear skin to clone over them for a smoother look.

This useful and easy-to-use tool enables you to combine different expressions from a batch of family portraits in a few clicks to create a composite shot in which everyone looks their best. The merged faces on our test image were seamless, and we were really impressed with the results!

The new Layers tab enables you to creatively mix multiple photos together. Here we’ve mixed a portrait with a landscape using a Darken blending mode, erased some of the portrait’s edges with a brush and added and positioned text on a separate layer to create a personalised postcard.

dowNload versioN 6 for free! ■ To download your free copy of PhotoDirector 6 Deluxe (Windows only), worth £49.99/$59.99, visit www.cyberlink. com/event/nphoto and follow the instructions.

05 Better background blur

If you’ve yet to master your camera’s aperture setting you can add post-production blur using the new blur filters. This is a great way to hide distracting backgrounds and draw attention to the main subject. You can also add zoom-blur effects to create a more dynamic action shot.

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06 Content aware removal

When prompted, the

This tool helps you select distracting objects or people with a quick stroke. It replaces the selected area with adjacent image content to patch over the targeted object. If it’s not 100 per cent successful you can manually remove traces of the unwanted object using the Smart Patch tool.

code you need to enter is: NPHOTO. The free download expires on 11 February 2016.

February 2016

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- NEXT MONTH -

W I N ! A thre

e-dAy Photo toUr in the LAKeS With LAndSCAPe ACe Joe CorniSh

CORE SKILLS

NIKON CRASH COURSE

Master your camera’s key features and settings in one weekend with our step-by-step guide

PLUS

IT’S A DOG’S LIfE Go behind the scenes of an outdoor pet portrait shoot

fULL MOON RISING

Learn how to shoot a stunning lunar time lapse

STANDARD ZOOMS fOR DX

In the market for a standard zoom to replace your kit lens? We sort the best from the rest

E ID U G & W IE V E R P E fREE! 48-PAG - ON SALE THURSDAY 11 fEbRUARY 2016 -


over to you…

s r e tt le r ou y s, e i r o st r Your pho tos, y ou

get £50 for every photo story we publish!

come on in!

How do you decide exactly which moment to capture with your camera? Richard Silver solves that in the first of this issue’s Photo Stories as he shoots ‘time slices’, putting 36 moments into every finished frame. Pawel Zygmunt, on the other hand, takes a more classical approach with his landscapes, looking for one moment of perfection. Whatever your approach, we’d love to see what moments you felt were camera-worthy – write in!

01 cOLOsseUM, rOMe Nikon D800, Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G ED, shutter speed varies, f/11, ISO200

slices of life

Richard Silver juxtaposes slivers of time to create fascinating images of whole days at famous landmarks project info

iNside Over TO yOU…

72 ............................ Photo stories 76 .......................Portfolio review 81 ...................Photo competition

MissiON To photograph

time slices a t landmarks PHOTOgrAPHer Richard Silver Age 54 LOcATiON New York, USA KiT Nikon D800, Nikon D810, Nikon AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8G ED, Nikon AF-S 14-24mm f/2.8G ED WeB www.richard silverphoto.com

We WANT yOUr sTOries, PicTUres ANd LeTTers! seNd THeM TO: N-Photo Magazine Future Publishing Ltd Quay House The Ambury Bath, UK BA1 1UA Or drop us a line at:

mail@nphotomag.com www.facebook.com/nphotomag www.twitter.com/nphotomag

72

I’ve been shooting for over 25 years, so way before digital. I took some photo classes in High School and over the years I’ve taken many night classes too. Once I moved to digital photography, my first camera was a Nikon – it was a Coolpix. I stuck with Nikon as I really felt comfortable with their bodies and I have since upgraded at least four times; I’m now on a D810. The time slice series started in 2011, in New York, like many of my other series. I would go out about an hour before sunset and photograph iconic NY buildings, with the intention of making a book. The book would have had

pages that fold out and show the changing of light at sunset from day to night. I shot 38 buildings for the book, but when I researched how much this type of book would cost, it was astronomical and that idea was gone. But having all of those photos I came up with the idea of slicing them together. I saw Stephen Wilkes’ series ‘Day to Night’, in which he shoots all day and takes over a thousand shots and blends them into one shot showing the transition from day to night. That series inspired me to try and do something of my own. This series has been very popular on the web, and I did

we want your photo stories! Every Photo Story we feature in the magazine wins £50!

February 2016

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Your stories, your photos, your letters 02 HOUses OF PArLiAMeNT, LONdON Nikon D800, Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G ED, shutter speed varies, f/16, ISO200

P au l’pss…

03 03 NeW yOrK sKyLiNe Nikon D800, Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM, shutter speed varies, f/11, ISO200

see other photographers take it to new levels making round images (using landscapes, not cityscapes like I shoot) and they were fantastic. When I started this series I still had my Nikon D300 and used a Sigma 10-20mm lens. Nowadays I shoot with a Nikon D810 and mostly use my Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 lens. I have a number of different tripods that I use depending on if I’m in New

York or travelling. One of my favourite accessories for these shoots is my wireless remote. I keep my camera a few feet away from me and arbitrarily take shots. I usually take around 50 to 60 photos for a time slice, and edit them down to 36 for the final image. Scouting out my location is really important. Sometimes people think they can walk up and start taking photos

wherever they want, but I find that is far from the truth. I always try to work out the best location to shoot from, and the best angle, and I give myself extra time to set up my tripod, making sure it’s legal to shoot if I’m on private property. On a few occasions I couldn’t shoot where I wanted to because it was considered private property and/or I wasn’t allowed to use a tripod on the premises. The web is the best place to look for iconic buildings before I travel anywhere. I also look in my book of 1000 Buildings to See Before You Die. I research my destinations for their building landmarks before I go. With most big cities it’s easy

top t i

time slices

• When time-slicing, a tripod is a must, as consisten t composi tion makes i t easier to merge images la ter • Se t aperture-priori ty mode to ensure good exposure throughou t • Choose a loca tion tha t has artificial ligh t for added in terest

to choose at least one building to shoot, but in smaller cities there might not be a landmark building, so I sometimes have to think about other shooting structures like bridges.

scouting out my location is really important… i always try to work out the best location to shoot from, and the best angle

To enter your Photo Story, just email a brief synopsis and three of your best JPEG images to mail@nphotomag.com www.digitalcameraworld.com

February 2016

73


over to you…

01 sUNseT Nikon D750, Tokina AT-X 16-28mm f/2.8 Pro FX, 8 secs, f/22, ISO100

project info MissiON To promote

the beau ty of Ireland across the world and have fun wi th photography PHOTOgrAPHer P awel Z ygmun t Age 35 LOcATiON Old town, Coun ty Dublin, Ireland KiT Nikon D750, Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 IF EX DG HSM, Tokina AT-X 16-28mm f/2.8 P ro FX, Lee filters WeB h t tps://500px.com/ P awelZ ygmun t

The emerald isle

Pawel Zygmunt has pursued his passion for photography ever since he moved to Ireland more than 10 years ago I’m a Polish-born amateur photographer currently living in Ireland. I discovered my passion for photography around ten years ago. My journey in photography started when I bought my first camera at, as we called it in Poland, the ‘Russian bazaar’. It was a sort of market place where people from the Soviet Republics sold low-quality gear made in the USSR. My first ‘proper’ camera was a Zenit 12XP. Six years later I bought my first

D-SLR, a Nikon D200, with which I learned most of what I know now.

Take it easy with Nikon

A lot of budding photographers I’d met bemoaned the fact that they had to go into their camera menus every time they want to change something. That’s why I chose a Nikon D200 as my first digital SLR. All of the settings I changed most often were situated on the camera body within easy reach.

The Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 was my first landscape lens. Coupled with a polarising filter and two neutral density filters, it did a fantastic job. I can recommend it for any Nikon DX camera, as it’s an excellent lens. Later on, and already thinking about buying an FX-format camera, I added the Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 to my collection. Recently, I was able to buy my dream FX camera, the Nikon D750. Unfortunately I had to sell old equipment to be able to get my new Tokina

we want your photo stories! Every Photo Story we feature in the magazine wins £50, so get in touch today! 74

February 2016

www.digitalcameraworld.com


Your stories, your photos, your letters

P au l’pss…

02 POrTrANe Tree Nikon D750, Nikon AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8G ED, 0.5 sec, f/8, ISO200

top t i

landscapes

• For smooth, glassy seas, se t a long exposure of 5 secs or more • Work ou t exac tly wha t i t is in a landscape tha t in terests you and then shoot tha t • Use f/11 and above to maximise depth of field 03 seA sTAcK Nikon D750, Tokina AT-X 16-28mm f/2.8 Pro FX, 1.3 sec, f/22, ISO50

16-28mm f/2.8 lens, which I use for landscapes. Photography is still a big challenge for me, but I love it. Every landscape photographer has his or her favourite locations. Mine are along the coastline of western Ireland, especially the counties of Sligo, Kerry and Mayo, as well as Northern Ireland. I really enjoy them because of the varied light conditions, and because these locations have so much to offer:

the golden hour, but I’m not a prisoner of these rules, as photography really gives you so many opportunities. Sometimes I go out planning to shoot the sunset, and instead come back with fantastic twilight images. It doesn’t always work out, but at the end of the day I’m dealing with nature, and I never know how it’s going to surprise me. The main thing is to adjust to the conditions. I usually look for my

These locations have lots to offer: lovely beaches, ship wrecks, mountains… lovely beaches, ship wrecks, odd-looking rock formations, mountains, islands, caves and lakes. Ireland is well known, but still full of mysteries. It’s so friendly, but wild at the same time. Anybody living here for a while (I’ve lived here over 10 years) feels this magical atmosphere – as if from a fairytale. Everybody finds something for themselves here. Irish nature is well protected and respected. I’m trying to follow the rules and shoot photos during

photographic opportunities close to home. As a family man I can’t allow myself a few days to go off on a trip. But sometimes when my wife is feeling generous I go further afield for a couple of days. It’s really worth checking out your home area first, though, as you’ll find a lot of things to photograph close to home, especially when you keep your eyes wide open. Some day I’d like to have my own gallery, but most of all I’d love to travel around the world looking for magical places to photograph.

To enter your Photo Story, just email a brief synopsis and three of your best JPEG images to mail@nphotomag.com www.digitalcameraworld.com

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over to you…

poRTFolIo ReVIeW

If you feel your shots aren’t quite hitting the spot, call on our experts for a portfolio review – just email mail@nphotomag.com You can also post your photos or portfolios to N-Photo Magazine, The Ambury, Bath, UK BA1 1UA

Shooting it all

I think the only way I can improve my photography is to use more expensive/professional camera equipment. Although the kit I already own is amazing, there are still limits to what I can achieve, but for the meantime I will continue to push those limits.

Conor Hilton has only been shooting for 18 months, but is already hooked – so what now?

I started doing photography with a D-SLR roughly a year and a half ago. Before then I was simply using the camera on my ■ Moving on from phone to take his camera phone, photos, but Conor now shoots I wanted to get on a Nikon D3200 serious, so I D-SLR. invested in a Nikon D3200. The first photo here [01] is of a plant in my garden. I looked out and the sun was setting, so I grabbed my Nikon and went outside. I wanted to see what kind of sunset photos I could take just from my garden, and the plant just caught my eye. I feel I shoot most types of subject equally well, but if I had to choose, landscapes and macro photography would have to be my strengths; I struggle to photograph people and creative abstract images more than anything else. The long exposure was taken on Westminster Bridge in London [02]. When the cars came to a stop, I decided just to mess about with a slow shutter speed. I was feeling tired, and as I packed up and headed back to my hotel, I decided to take

pRoFIle

one more shot, and walked along the bridge with shutter of my camera open for eight seconds. It’s difficult to get used to all the features that I didn’t have on my phone camera – like shooting long exposures, and also using manual exposure mode, which I just couldn’t get my head round at first.

N-Photo SayS…

01 oNe droP (beloW) Nikon D3200, Nikon AF-S DX 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II, 1/400 sec, f/8, ISO800

You clearly have a love of photography, Conor. Your images are widely spread across multiple genres, which tells us that you’re interested in everything. This is great when you’re first starting out, as you are, but we quickly find that those new to photography spread themselves too thinly, and often the quality of their

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Your stories, your photos, your letters

images suffers. Sometimes they rush into buying gear when they haven’t mastered what they have already. What you might want to do is focus on one genre of photography at a time. The macro of the water droplet on the leaf looks great – you have nice light (that golden time during sunset is always beautiful) and the focus is spot-on. Maybe focus on macro for a few months and really master depth of field. The owl macro [03] has great colour, and I like the framing of the

eye, but you’ve missed the focus point here. There are lots of ways to focus when you’re shooting macro images, but our favourite method is to switch the lens to manual focus and then physically move the camera forwards and backwards until the focus falls exactly where you want it – then rattle a few shots off in continuous drive mode. If you wanted to try more light painting, you could check out Jason’s tutorial in issue 54 to attempt something a bit different. The long

02 WeStmiNSter bridge (above) Nikon D3200, Nikon AF-S DX 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II, 8 secs, f/11, ISO100 03 oWl (beloW) Nikon D3200, Nikon AF-S DX 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II, 1/10 sec, f/5.6, ISO800

exposure light in your photo looks good, and is clearly produced by moving the camera during a long exposure, as you mention. Putting your camera on a tripod, though, gives an entirely different effect, and so forces you to be more creative with your composition. Overall you have some good skills here and your shots are all well exposed and framed, so keep up the good work, and don’t feel you need to upgrade your kit to improve – you definitely don’t!

eXpeRTs sAY Paul GroGan ■ You’ll be surprised how focusing on one genre of photography impacts on your skills in others. The camera controls are the same, but how you utilise them changes drastically from subject to subject.

Jason ParnellBrookes ■ If you want your photography to improve, ensure you get the focus spoton, and think about lighting. Knowing how to focus accurately and use light will turn you from a beginner into an enthusiast.

anGela nICHolson ■ Try using a tripod for long exposures like the one on the bridge – or, at least, try balancing your camera on a stable surface. You’ll get smoother streaks so your image will be just as dramatic, but more recognisable.

To get your own portfolio reviewed, just email a brief synopsis and five of your best JPEGs to mail@nphotomag.com www.digitalcameraworld.com

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over to you…

01 Who Said god WaS far aWay? Nikon D5100, Nikon AF-S DX 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II, 20 secs, f/10, ISO200

ethereal landscapes

Vipul Chejara uses his D5100 and an infrared filter to shoot his other-worldly images

Photography was first introduced to me after I had to cut back on my favourite hobbies of painting and cooking when I ■ Vipul is taking started a new job stunning scenic four years ago. photographs, but I found taking wants to take it photographs was further, and develop not only relaxing, his own style. but also helped me socialise away from the office, and make new friends. I think I’m able to shoot landscapes quite well, but I’m still learning how to shoot single-subject images, like solitary trees, with deep contrast. I’m currently using a Nikon D5100, mostly with the 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens, in combination with a Hoya R72 Infrared filter. Composition and contrast are what I concentrate on with my black-and-white images. Adding a touch of infrared deepens that contrast in my images. Shadows

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seem to go darker and the lights go lighter. Focusing, however, is the hard part. I have to deal with the very dark infrared filter. How can I get more artistic black-and-white images through infrared with subjects like trees, fields and so on, to make it a signature style for myself?

02 ladakh (toP right) Nikon D5100, 18-55mm, 13 secs, f/8, ISO200 03 Solitude (above) Nikon D5100, Nikon AF-S DX 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II, 30 secs, f/5, ISO100

N-Photo SayS…

Vipul, you’ve done an excellent job of creating some ethereal infrared landscape photos here. We especially like your image above [01]. There’s a lot of space in the frame, and the ominous clouds add interest and drama. You’ve done well to frame the subject in the bottom-right of the frame, too. However, the brighter area of grass and shrubs to the left is a bit distracting, and leads the eye away from the subject. Ideally you want the hilltop to be the only thing that’s brightly lit. This means waiting for the clouds, and hoping that a shaft of light will hit the buildings when everything else is in shadow. Your tree shot [02] is great as well, but the sky is a little flat. This would

make a perfect panoramic shot, and if you’d cropped out the hills on the left, it would have become more minimalistic – a style it looks like you’re almost achieving already. We also really like the simple crop and tight composition of the image above [03]. Keep it up!

eXpeRTs sAY Paul GroGan ■ Think about visual weight in your photos – objects on one side of a frame usually need balancing. If you have nothing to balance a subject, frame it dead centre, but make sure it’s symmetrical.

Jason ParnellBrookes ■ Infrared filters block out most (if not all) of the visible light. This means you’ll have to use a long exposure, so choose a subject that moves, like clouds, to make use of the shutter speed.

CHrIs GeorGe ■ Foliage appears to glow in infrared; take yourself outside and get among the green leaves and bushes. Make sure they’re the focal point, or use them as supplementary subjects in the photograph.

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out now!

Master your Nikon digital SLR today! On sale now at selected branches of WHSmith and Barnes & Noble iPad & iPhone editions are available via the N-Photo app

myfavouritemagazines.co.uk/photo


Last month we asked for photos with a theme of ‘winter landscapes’, and as you’ll see over the next few pages, the standard was impressively high, which made choosing a winner challenging, but rewarding! We choose a new theme every month (see below), so if you haven’t entered our competition before now, you can still have a go. We’ll crown our overall N-Photo Photographer of the Year at The Photography Show 2016. And it isn’t just our judges who choose the winners: you can vote for – and be voted for by – your fellow N-Photo readers over on Photocrowd. The theme for our next competition is ‘sports and action’. To enter, and have a chance at winning the Judges’ Vote prize of a fantastic Manfrotto 3N1-25 Pro Lite camera bag worth £200, or the Crowd Vote prize of a bundle of photography guides, head over to www.photocrowd.com/challenges – and don’t forget to include a title and your metadata!

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competition

n-Photo Photographer of the year jUdges’ voTe winner

01 nikon D7100, nikon 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6g eD-iF VR, 0.6 sec, f/16, iSo100 01 St. tomaž Uroš Florjančič

02 CyCling on the beaCh Tim jones

Two things make this landscape stand out: the pink clouds catch the eye from any distance, while the lone church perched on a foreground hill and backed helpfully by cloud gives the scene a sense of scale when the photo is looked at more closely. The sheer size of mountains can easily be lost when there’s nothing in the frame to compare them to, so that one little feature makes everything behind it all the more awe-inspiring.

The judges loved this shot. The winter sky and snow are present, yet their complete lack of colour and detail makes them seem more like an absence, so when you look at the picture, all that really stands out is the row of huts, plus one sharply-caught cyclist. It also helps that the photographer had the courage to leave plenty of white in the frame, trusting to the colour and detail across the centre to pull in the viewer’s attention.

02 nikon D700, nikon aF-S 50mm f/1.4g, 1/250 sec, f/11, iSo400

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n-Photo Photographer of the year

03 ‘X’ maRkS the SPot Tom gillespie You may think this photo looks familiar – and so you should, as it also made the top 10 in our ‘monochrome’-themed contest back in July, coming in fourth that time. But a good photo is a good photo whichever way you look at it.

The stark shape of the crossroads draws your eye to the corners of the image, and the compact square of the house and trees around it provides an additional geometric element. The resulting image works just as well on a ‘winter landscape’ theme as it did on the ‘monochrome’ theme.

04 yukon WinteR SunSet simon Blakesley

05 houSe oF the RiSing Sun marek kosiBa

The light was what the judges loved about this photo – especially the ‘sun dog’ flare around the sun, which pulls your eye towards the brightest part of the image. Colour shifts in the snow and sky stop those areas looking flat.

This is a classic American desert scene, and would make a great shot at any time of year, but the snow adds an extra element, with the cool tones of the snow and sky complementing the warmth of the sun and the rocks.

03 nikon F3, nikon aF-S DX 55-200mm f/4-5.6 VR, 1/250 sec, f/16, iSo100

05 nikon D300, Sigma 10-20mm f/4, 1/15, 1/30, 1/60 and 1/125 sec, f/9, iSo200

04 nikon D800, nikon aF-S 16-35mm f/4g eD VR, 1/400 sec, f/14, iSo400


competition

n-Photo Photographer of the year

06 nikon D5200, tokina at-X 11-16mm f/2.8 PRo-ii DX, 1/6 sec, f/9, iSo100 06 PainteD WinteR oCean yevhen samUchenko

07 Rolla CReek SunRiSe Trevor reeves

This image is full of texture, from the curve of the snow that draws your eye into the frame, to the icy surface of the water and the dappled clouds – and a low light rakes across it all and brings out the shapes. The sun also adds a blaze of warmth, which contrasts with the snow.

Winter doesn’t always equal heavy snowfall, and that’s the case here, where there’s just a scattering on the shadow-side of the hills. However, lack of snow doesn’t matter, because this shot is all about the way that golden, low winter light hits and defines the landscape.

07 nikon D700, nikon aF-S 70-200mm f/2.8g eD VR ii, 1/15 sec, f/22, iSo200

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n-Photo Photographer of the year 08

09

nikon D700, nikon aF 24-85mm f2.8-f4D, 1/8 sec, f/16, iSo100 nikon D600, nikon aF 14mm f/2.8D eD, 1/500 sec, f/2.8, iSo100 08 le PaRC De Diane jorge nogUeira

09 DRama at SaltbuRn ian snowdon

10 CoPa Summit Tony sellen

This is a clever shot. The dark, leafless branches of the trees against the moody sky are balanced by the reeds against the dark soil. Conversion to monochrome has added to the ‘mirrored’ effect, removing any colour difference that might spoil the illusion.

The judges felt this photo captured the energy of the weather you see on the coast in winter. The strong winds are clear, yet there’s a softness to the spray and rain, which blurs the detail behind and in front of the town, so the buildings stand out.

In this shot, the foreground and the sky behind the tombstonelike peak marker are dark and cold. The foreground is also where the only snow is seen – so your eye moves back to the distant peaks, which are picked out by the warmer winter sun.

crowd voTe winner

nikon D800, nikon aF-S 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5g eD VR, 1/40 sec, f/11, iSo50

10 nikon D7000, nikon aF-S DX 17-55mm f/2.8g eD-iF, 1/40 sec, f/8, iSo250

CRoWD Vote WinneR WinteR WhiteS paUl smiTh The crowd vote went to this serene image. Your attention is first drawn to the vivid rising sun, before moving out to the rest of the frame, which is packed with intricate detail. The lone swan, causing just the faintest ripples on the water, gives the whole picture a sense of peace.

NEXT MONTH: We want your sports and action shots. For more details and to enter, just go to www.photocrowd. com/challenges

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Freeman on… CaPTUrInG sPeed

Fast-moving subjects are the ultimate test of good, reactive camerawork. Michael Freeman talks through the surprisingly wide range of possible techniques available for photographing movement

When most people think of photographing moving subjects, they assume speed is a factor – the kind of velocity that puts demands on both the camera (in terms of the shutter speed) and your ability to use it rapidly. What actually counts as fast depends to a large extent on the subject. Conventionally – and it is just a convention, no more – action that can be caught without blur at 1/125

sec is generally considered average, while speeds of 1/250 sec and above are thought of as ‘fast’. Of course, this isn’t fast for Nikon D-SLRs, which can go up to 1/4000 or even 1/8000 sec; what makes it ‘fast’ is the photographer’s own reaction time, which is something you can improve with practice. Incidentally, using Live View is not a good idea for capturing fast action, as it adds a time-lag to shooting.

And then there’s another, entirely different way of recording speed, by stretching and extending moments, and slowing them down in ways that we can never actually experience or see with our own eyes. At, say, half a second or longer – and sometimes much longer – the movement of the subject becomes soft and vague and streaks into motion blur. We’ve all grown so used to seeing this kind of streaking that we simply accept it as

a part of the photographic language of ‘slowness’, but in reality it doesn’t have any equivalent in our normal way of seeing the world, which is a strong part of its appeal – as you can see in the long-exposure seascape on page 89. The one issue with slow-exposure photography is that if lots of us do it all the time, it starts to lose its novelty value. The key lies in knowing when – and when not – to use it.

Flamingoes taking off at the Rio Lagartos reserve in Yucatan needed 1/500 sec at f/4 and ISO50 with a 600mm lens, even when panning, because of the rapid the leg movements

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N-PHoto’s NIKoN GURU

Our roving Contributor at Large, renowned professional photographer and prolific author Michael Freeman, presents a monthly masterclass that’s exclusive to N-Photo. Michael has published dozens of books on photography, including the bestselling Perfect Exposure.

86-89 Nikon Know-How This month Michael gets in on the action, and explores the best ways to capture a sense of movement with your Nikon, from freezing it to completely blurring it out

90-91 Nikon software

When you’ve got a lot of photos to tweak, editing colours and white balance in postproduction can seem like a laborious business – but, as George Cairns explains, Nikon Capture NX-D is compatible with the Picture Controls in your Nikon, enabling you to alter a whole range of settings in a single click – perfect for the photographer in a hurry!

92-93 Ask Jason

From finding the right backpack to creating extralarge photo prints at home, Jason is on hand to solve your camera-related problems.

94 Head to head

Which is best for your photography, constant lighting or a strong burst of flash? We pit two excellent options against each other

REACTION TIME

speed without warning With some movement, it’s not just the shutter speed you need to consider, but whether you’re able to catch it in time One of the most critical things about speed is its onset: how fast or unexpectedly it comes upon you. Preparedness and anticipation are both key to dealing with this, but you don’t always get plenty of warning. There are some moments that you can anticipate, yet, because of your viewpoint, give no warning for when to shoot. The shot on the right, taken in London’s Chinatown, features one of more than 80 fibreglass telephone boxes, commissioned as part of a citywide art project. In this case, there was a traditional red telephone box next to it, and I wanted to juxtapose the two. The viewpoint I chose gave a frame that was filled with phone boxes, and I felt it needed a passer-by to bring it to life. My vantage point, however, was dictated by the framing I wanted, and I had no way to see when someone might walk between the boxes. Fortunately, I had an assistant with me, and she stood to one side with a view of the gap between the boxes. Just 10 seconds after I had finalised my composition, she told me that someone was approaching, and I was ready to take the shot.

A real telephone box alongside a painted fibreglass version – but the camera position allowed no warning to catch a passer-by walking between them

MID-AIR MOMENTS

The peak of the action – quite literally Things thrown in the air follow an arc, and the top of the arc is both the slowest moment and – quite often – the classic moment

Here, the slowest moment in the arc of the coconut being tossed is when it’s at its highest point, and what helps make the shot is that the two coconuts are aligned

www.digitalcameraworld.com

In last month’s article on capturing the moment we saw a classic moment in photography: a horse with all four of its hooves off the ground. I say classic because it was in 1878 in California that photographer Eadweard Muybridge, commissioned by a wealthy patron, used an early form of high-speed photography to show what the eye had never previously been able to see: this precise, mid-air moment. This frozen in mid-air quality made it special, and things thrown in the air have the same quality. Put almost any photographer in front of a scene where something is being thrown a short distance (so that it stays in the frame), and they’ll try to catch the same mid-air moment, usually the peak of the parabola. There is some logic in doing this, because not only does the thing suspended in mid-air catch the viewer’s attention, it also connects the thrower with the destination. The image shown here was taken for a story on a school in Thailand that trains macaques to pick ripe coconuts. This particular macaque also helped out on the ground. As the shot shows, the key to mid-air moments is a combination of good timing and a clear viewpoint, with whatever is flying through the air clearly visible against the backdrop.

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The only camera manual you’ll ever need

THE FREEZE-BLUR COMBO

Let flash help Rear-curtain flash results in a blend of sharpness and motion blur when you’re shooting in low light Modern camera sensors can now have their sensitivity amplified to almost obscene levels. A D4s, for example, can shoot at a maximum ISO of almost half a million, admittedly at serious cost to image quality. Yet with fast

action in low light, this isn’t quite the solution it may be for slower, or completely, static subjects. The reason is that when the action itself becomes the subject, we want more than ever to be able to see these details cleanly and crisply. This is where flash comes in, even for die-hard flash-phobes like me. Rear-curtain flash (where the flash fires at the end of an exposure rather than at the beginning) is often the way to go if you’re shooting moving subjects in low light, because it works on two levels: by setting a slow shutter speed (to enable a correct exposure in the

low, ambient light), you can blur any motion for the duration of the exposure, and then freeze it with a (very fast) burst of flash at the end. Ordinarily, the flowing movement in the shot below would justify shooting in Continuous mode at its fastest setting. With a good D-SLR you’d get 20-plus frames out of this three-second burst of action. However, an hour after sunset, a shutter speed of 1/30 sec was required for a half-decent exposure at my chosen aperture of f/7, which – without a pop of flash at the end – would have rendered the fisherman as an indistinct blur.

The balance of ambient to flash is key in a shot like this. Here the settings were 1/30 sec and f/7 at ISO400

ANGLE OF APPROACH n When you have a fast-moving subject, one critical issue is your camera position in relation to the movement. Things move slower in the frame if they’re heading towards or away from you, faster if they’re moving at right-angles to you. This falcon is a case in point: in the shot on the left, only the wing tips blur at a modest 1/250 sec with

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the camera steady, but in the diving sequence, it is flying at almost 100 miles per hour, and is only sharp thanks to a combination of downward panning and a shutter speed of 1/500 sec. This may make the head-on shot seem simpler to take, but focusing on a subject that’s coming straight towards you is much more demanding.

Two views of a peregrine falcon, one of the world’s fastest birds. In one, it’s flying almost directly towards the camera, and hardly moves in the frame, while in the other it’s flying at right angles, making a fast shutter speed vital

www.digitalcameraworld.com


The only camera manual you’ll ever need wItHoUt fIlteRs - 1/100 sec

PLAY THE LONG GAME

slow everything down with a strong nd filter Long exposures capture movement in a very different way Very long exposures are just as photographic a way of treating movement as the frozen moment, and they also show us a world that we can never see with our eyes alone. Rolling waves, such as those pictured here on the south coast of Mauritius, become more like a low, ground-hugging fog. The issue here is the sensitivity of the camera’s sensor to light, but not in the way you may think. Sensitivity is usually an issue in low light. If, for example, you want to shoot at 1/125 sec to beat camera shake, and you find your shots are under-exposed even at your lens’s widest aperture, you can simply up the ISO to make the sensor more sensitive – albeit at the risk of increased noise. But sensitivity can also be an issue in bright light, as the image at the top right illustrates. Shot at

midday in the tropics, the scene was bathed in very bright light. Even at my lens’s narrowest aperture (in this case f/20 on a 70-200mm at 200mm) the shutter speed required for a correct exposure at ISO100 was a blistering 1/100 sec – much too fast to blur the movement of the waves. Since I couldn’t lower the ISO (at least not by much) the solution was to attach two neutral density filters to dramatically reduce the amount of light reaching the sensor, and so enable a much longer exposure of 30 seconds (see Long Exposure Essentials, below, for more on this). A milky sea was achieved by shooting a 30-second exposure at f/20 and ISO100. I reduced the light entering the lens by fitting two ND filters: an ND500 (nine-stop reduction) and an ND64 (three-stop reduction). Without filters, the shutter speed was 1/100 sec

wItH fIlteRs - 30 secs

LONG-EXPOSURE ESSENTIALS Really long exposures, in the order of a quarter of a minute up to several minutes, need strong ND filters of several-to-many f-stops. Most filter manufacturers produce filters in a variety of strengths, and a set of three or four will give you flexibility, enabling you to combine two or more as necessary. Here’s what you need for long exposures: n A set of ND filters ranging from around three stops to about nine stops will enable you cope with most daylight situations. n Tripod (needs no further comment). n Always work at your lowest ISO.

ND filters are often available as kits, which can save you money compared to buying them separately

www.digitalcameraworld.com

n So as not to waste time, it helps to have a rough idea of which strength of filter to reach for first. As a rule of thumb you can start with that old-fashioned but still relevant ‘sunny 16’ rule, which says that if it’s sunny, set the aperture to f/16 and the shutter speed to the reciprocal of the ISO – so 1/100 sec at ISO100. In this example, you’d need a seven-stop filter to get you an exposure of a second (1/100>1/60>1/30>1/15>1/8>1/4>1/2>1), and an 11-stop filter to reach a quarter of a minute. Stopping down to f/22, as you can with most lenses, doubles the possible exposure time yet again. n Focus and compose before you fit the filter(s), because once they’re attached you won’t be able to see a thing. Oh, and disable autofocus, too.

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The only camera manual you’ll ever need

01

02

06

10

nikon know-how

EDIT IMAGES IN A clIck!

George Cairns reveals how to use Picture Controls for one-click editing

JARGon BUSTER Key terms explained RAW FORMATS

Different digital camera manufacturers use different formats when capturing an uncompressed (RAW) file. RAW files from all Nikon D-SLRs have a .NEF suffix; RAW files from some Coolpix cameras have an .NRW suffix.

SIDECAR FILE

Any adjustments you make to a photo in Capture NX-D are stored in a separate file. This lives in an NKS_PARAM folder in the same folder as your edited image.

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All Nikon D-SLRs enable you to select so-called Picture Controls, which effectively apply some in-camera processing to your images. The Portrait Picture Control, for example, gives skin a subtly smoother look, while the Landscape Picture Control boosts blues and greens. Landscape also increases contrast to help details stand out. Picture Controls such as Flat produce a photo with less contrast. This is a sensible Picture Control to use as you want to do your own processing on the image. If you shoot in JPEG format then you’ll be forced to accept the look produced by the selected in-camera Picture Control setting, and it will be

February 2016

much harder to adjust the colours, tones and sharpness of the shot in Nikon’s free Capture NX-D app. However, if you shoot images in the RAW (NEF) format, you can then use Capture NX-D to experiment with alternative Picture Controls, or even fine-tune an existing Picture Control to create one of your own. It’s worth noting, though, that the effects of Picture Controls are only visible in Nikon’s own software – other programs, such as Photoshop, can’t read the information.

Post-production tweaks

If you’d prefer to spend more time shooting and less time processing pictures, it’s worth experimenting

with the presets and sliders in Capture NX-D’s Picture Control panel. You can use these Picture Control presets as a springboard to experiment with different looks, and then use the various of sliders to manually fine-tune properties such as colour, sharpness and contrast. You can even use Picture Controls to experiment with different mono looks, to help particular subjects stand out in a black-and-white conversion, as our walkthrough opposite explains. We’ve also put Nikon’s Picture Controls through their paces in our accompanying video lesson, so that you can see this versatile postproduction feature in action.

To watch the video use this web link… bit.ly/NPhoto55


The only camera manual you’ll ever need

how IT workS PICTURE CONTROLS

Adjust a photo’s colours and tones fast using NX-D’s intuitive sliders and presets 01 PIcTurE coNTrol To summon the Picture Control panel with its colour-, tone- and sharpness-tweaking sliders, click on this icon in the Edit palette’s tool list.

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04 05

02 lATEST PIcTurE coNTrol If you have an old camera you can still apply newer Picture Control settings to your photographs (such as Flat) using this pull-down option. To use the same Picture Control settings as your camera, choose Camera Compatible. The newer Picture Control settings are worth a look as they provide you with the versatile Clarity slider.

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08 09

DroP-DowN MENu You can access a range of Picture Control presets from this drop-down menu. There’s also an identical drop-down menu in the Picture Control palette below. It’s worth experimenting with different Picture Control 03

presets until you get a look that you like. As our example shot features a wide range of colours we went for Vivid. The Vivid preset boosts a photo’s weaker colours without over-saturating already vibrant colours (which would print badly). 04 chEck box You can make as many changes to a Picture Control’s attributes as you like, to experiment with different looks. To quickly hide all the changes and see the image as it was captured, simply untick this check box. Tick and untick it to toggle between before and after versions of the image for a direct comparison. 05 QuIck ADjuST This slider provides a quick way to fine-tune the effects of a particular Picture Control preset by allowing you to dial them down by dragging it to the left, or ramp them up by dragging it to the right.

ShArPENING Give your subject more impact by increasing the contrast around edges so that they stand out more and appear sharper. This is especially worth doing if you’re planning to print your processed image. 06

07 AuTo Instead of using the sliders to assign a numerical value, you can tick these boxes to apply an automatic adjustment for various attributes. The adjacent sliders will become greyed out in this instance.

08 clArITy This slider increases midtone contrast, which is an effective way of teasing out texture and detail and creating a print with more punch. 09 coNTrAST Give an image more impact and make shapes stand out by creating blacker blacks and whiter whites with this slider. 10 huE When using colour Picture Control settings, you can subtly adjust the colours with this slider. Here we’ve given the sky a more stylised, warmer-looking Cyan colour.

whERE To GET CAPTURE nX-D

It’s made for Nikons, and it’s completely free to download Capture NX-D is available as a free download from the Nikon website at http://nikonimglib.com/ncnxd/. It’s up to date with support for the latest Nikon D-SLRs, and as new models are introduced Capture NX-D should be the first software to support them. Another key advantage of using Capture NX-D is that it exactly replicates the Picture Controls, white balance and other shooting settings of your Nikon.

nikon know-how

MONOCHROME PICTURE CONTROL

Don’t just convert to black and white – get different mono looks using colour filters and toning presets

Desaturate the photo Set the adjustment palette’s pull-down menu to Latest Picture Control. Change the Standard Picture Control to Monochrome – this discards colour and creates a greyscale conversion. You can now adjust the contrast of various greyscale tones based on the original colours using filters.

Add a filter effect

If you set the Filter Effect drop-down menu to Red, this darkens the tones of the blue sky and lightens up the warm reds of the boat. This helps the boat’s lighter-looking shape stand out more, in contrast to the darker tones of the sky, giving the image more impact.

To download the start images for this tutorial, visit bit.ly/start-55

Apply some toning

To change the mood of your mono conversion you can add washes of colour, courtesy of the Toning pull-down menu. A Sepia setting, for example, helps give our photo a vintage feel. You can produce a more subtle sepia wash by dropping the Toning Saturation slider down to 2.

February 2016

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The only camera manual you’ll ever need

Ask Jason...

Our resident expert answers your questions and solves your issues. If nobody else can help, ask Jason!

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 any queries for clarity or brevity. You can also write to us at N-Photo Magazine, Quay House, The Ambury Bath, UK, BA1 1UA

What printer I’m after a backpack to hold a camera, would you suggest four lenses, two flashguns and various for creating large- gadgets – can you recommend one? format photo prints David Frome, via Facebook Jason says... With the amount of kit you want to carry, at home?

bad

Mark Edwards, via email

good

Using multi-point autofocus for landscapes, you can end up with a super-sharp foreground, but a blurry background

My D7000 sometimes seems to autofocus too close when I take landscapes. How can I avoid this?

Jim Berkley, via email

Jason says... The most likely cause of those blurry backgrounds is that you’re using multi-point autofocus, and the camera is automatically selecting the points that correspond with the closest part(s) of the scene. Try switching to the single, central AF point and focusing on an object that’s about a third of the way into the scene. Next, while maintaining a light press on the shutter release button to keep the focus setting locked, recompose the shot and finally release the shutter. It’s also worth switching to aperturepriority shooting mode and selecting a fairly narrow aperture of around f/11 to f/16, to increase your depth of field. If necessary, increase your ISO setting to avoid a slow shutter speed, or use a tripod.

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Get in touch…

February 2016

Jason says... For glossy colour prints at up to 19x13 inches (A3+), Canon’s PIXMA Pro 100S dye-based printer (£275/$400) is unbeatable. For a mix of colour and mono prints on matte as well as glossy media, the pigmentbased Canon PIXMA Pro 10S A3+ printer (£380/$700) is a better option. For sizes up to A2, the Epson SC-P800 (£900/$1200) is our current favourite. An optional roll feeder enables longer or even panoramic prints (see page 62 for more on getting the best out photo printers). Even so, unless you need to create prints immediately on a regular basis, you’re usually better off using a high-quality online lab, like Loxley Colour or Whitewall, which give you a greater range of larger print sizes to choose from, while also avoiding the expensive initial outlay on hardware.

especially considering that you mention a 70-200mm f/2.8, which is pretty large, you’re better off with a full photo backpack instead of a split photo/daypack. Current top choices of manufacturer include Lowepro, Manfrotto, Tamrac and Vanguard. It’s relatively easy to find a backpack that will hold all your kit, but some may be unwieldy and quite heavy even when empty. It’s a good idea to arrange your kit on a table and figure out what internal dimensions you need, and what pockets you want for gadgets, then look through manufacturers’ websites. Lowepro has a handy ‘bagfinder’ tool to help you choose, at www.lowepro.co.uk/bagfinder. The Lowepro Pro Runner BP 350 AW II is an excellent, conventional photo backpack with plenty of volume for camera kit, and superb build quality

Photoshop CS6 and Lightroom 5 won’t open RAW files from my D810 and D750 unless I convert them to DNG files first. How can I avoid this extra step?

Steven Spoon, via Facebook

Jason says... It can take a while for software manufacturers to update programs to keep pace with the latest kit, but there’s good news for you: Adobe has released Camera Raw 8.7, which is available for Photoshop CS6 as well as Photoshop CC. Version 8.6 included compatibility with the Nikon D810, and 8.7 will handle files from the Nikon D750. In addition, both versions include lens profiles for a number of the latest Nikon-fit lenses. For anyone using versions of Photoshop older than CS6, DNG Converter has also been updated to version 8.7. Visit www.adobe.com/downloads/updates.html to download the update you need for your software.

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The only camera manual you’ll ever need

Should I get a lighter tripod or a sturdy monopod for shooting landscapes with a D810?

Answers in A flAsh!

Jason says... We haven’t yet run a review of the new Sigma 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3 DC Macro OS HSM | C (Contemporary) lens. However, we have put it through our lab and real-world tests and can confirm that it’s currently the best superzoom lens on the market for Nikon DX-format cameras like the D3200. Image quality surpasses that of competing lenses from Nikon and Tamron, and at around £370/$500, it’s great value.

Is there one single Nikon D-SLR that has all the best bits?

John Harrington, via email

Willem Pretorius, via email

Jason says... Switching from aluminium to carbon fibre will usually save you about 25 to 30 per cent in weight. We’d recommend Manfrotto’s MT055CXPRO3 and 498RC2 ball head (around £350), which won our Tripod of the Year award last issue. Compared with metal, there’s also a lot to be said for the comfort of carbon fibre in the cold. We’d recommend a tripod over a monopod for the extra stability and stillness it’ll give you. You’ll need the least movement or vibration possible to maximise the D810’s potential, with its ultra-high resolution sensor. :

What’s the best do-it-all lens for my D3200? You don’t seem to have tested the Sigma 18-300mm

Jonathan Meigh, via Facebook

Jason says... Phase-detection AF points don’t stretch to the very edges and corners of the frame, to avoid inaccurate focusing. The D750’s AF points do cover a wider area than those of the D600 or D610.

With an effective zoom range of 27-450mm and a size and weight of just 79x102mm and 585g, the new Sigma 18-300mm C is the ideal travel lens for DX-format cameras

Released: 2003 Price new: £350, $420

Used price: From £100, $150

NIkoN SB-800 SPeeDLIGHt

SPeCS Power (ISO100, 35mm): Gn 38 Zoom range: 24-105mm Wide-angle adaptor: 14mm Bounce: -7° to 90° Swivel: 180° left, 90° right Dimensions (WxHxD): 71x127x92mm Batteries: 4x or 5x AA Weight (without batteries): 350g

It’s a powerful, professional-grade flashgun with a bit on the side

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Jason says... Different cameras have different strengths. You can’t beat the D810 for resolution, or the D4s for drive speed. For our money, though, the D750 is the best current all-rounder.

Why don’t my D750’s autofocus points cover the whole frame?

seCOnDhAnD sUPersTAr

A breakthrough product when it was originally released, the SB-800 flashgun ushered in Nikon’s current ‘Creative Lighting System’. With ‘intelligent’ i-TTL rather than the older D-TTL system, it’s able to work out flash exposure settings automatically when used in multi-flashgun set-ups. Indeed, it has full wireless master and slave facilities that make it compatible with all subsequent Nikon and third-party flashguns that support the CLS format. The SB-800 also introduced the ‘flash colour

‘Jimi Hendrix’, via email

information communication’ system to improve colour accuracy when using flash in conjunction with the camera’s auto white balance mode. Another innovation was the FV (Flash Value) lock for capturing and locking flash exposure settings. The usual refinements of top-flight flashguns include a motorised zoom head with bounce and swivel, an LCD info display and on-board controls, plus an even greater maximum power than Nikon’s subsequent flashguns (see page 118 for an in-depth round-up of current models). Standard

accessories supplied with the SB-800 included colour filters, a diffusion dome, stand, carrying pouch and an extra AA battery holder that you can clip onto the side, to enable faster recycling.

JAsOn’s view…

keY PoINtS Gn rating

The hefty maximum power rating of Gn 56/184 (ISO100, metres/feet) at 105mm zoom puts later Nikon flashguns like the SB-700, SB-900 and SB-910 in the shade.

the control panel and menu system are clear and intuitive, and I love the way the recycle speed after a full-power flash accelerates from four seconds to just over 2.5 seconds when you fit the extra battery holder. the push-button modelling function is also nice to have

Wireless remote

Full master and slave functions are built in, for multi-flashgun lighting set-ups. The SB-800 can also be used off-camera, triggered from a pop-up flash, so long as a Commander mode is available.

Sync terminals

There are two terminals built into the SB-800. One is for firing the flash off-camera via a cable, the other enables TTL flash with multiple cord-connected flashes.

February 2016

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The only camera manual you’ll ever need

HEAD TO HEAD

The best portable lighting solution Do you opt for smooth, predictable constant lighting, or a powerful burst of flash? There are pros and cons to both bright ideas, depending on your lighting needs

LimELiTE mOsAic sOLO LED LigHT

Vs

NikON sB-700 spEEDLigHT

SpecS Constant light Type Flashgun 745 Lux Maximum output Gn 38 Eight AA batteries Power source Four AA batteries Yes Hotshoe mount Yes Frosted panel Supplied diffuser Diffusion dome Tungsten panel Supplied filters Tungsten + fluorescent 171x75x42mm Dimensions 71x126x105mm 450g Weight 360g £69/$130 Price £230/$325

Constant companion Made by studio lighting specialist Bowens, this compact 171x75mm panel features 72 LEDs with a daylight colour temperature. Supplied accessories include a diffusion panel, tungsten correction filter and a tripod/hotshoe mount. A mains power adaptor is also available. Dim view Even though the Limelite looks bright (see Portraits), if this was your only light you would still need a wide aperture of f/2.2 and a shutter speed of 1/60 sec at ISO100 to correctly expose a subject a metre away. And that’s with the stepless power dial set to max. Affordable extras One way to get more illumination, as well as to enable more creative lighting set-ups, is to use multiple light sources. You can get three Limelite LED panels for the same price as one SB-700, and the power setting for each is very easy to adjust. What you see is what you get For close-ups and still life images, the Limelite provides pleasant, soft lighting. With constant illumination, it’s also easy to view how the effect changes as you move the lamp, altering its height, angle or distance relative to the subject. Under the spotlight Despite its maximum output being relatively modest, the Limelite actually looks very bright when it’s quite close and shining into your eyes. This can narrow the sitter’s pupils at best, and make for uncomfortable, squinty portraits at worst.

VERDICT 94

FEATUREs

pOwER

Flashy performer As reviewed in this month’s Big Test (see page 126), the SB-700 is Nikon’s best-buy flashgun for performance at an affordable price. It includes a bounce and swivel head with motorised zoom and comes with a diffusion dome, plus tungsten and fluorescent correction filters. Bright spark At the same shutter speed (1/60 sec), ISO (100) and subject distance (one metre), the maximum power output of the SB-700 enables an aperture of f/20 to f/32, depending on the zoom setting, so is much more powerful than the Limelite, albeit for a split second.

mULTipLEs

Master and commander It’s very costly to buy two or three flashguns for a multi-flash set-up, even compared with a studio flash kit. On the plus side, the SB-700’s wireless master and slave settings are easy to use and work with automatic i-TTL (intelligent Through The Lens) flash metering.

cLOsE-Ups

Bouncing off the walls With its output power being adjustable down to a level of 1/128th of full power, the SB-700 can be really useful for shooting close-ups and still lifes. However, you often get a better effect by bouncing it off a large white card, wall, or even ceiling (see page 54).

pORTRAiTs

Blink and you’ll miss it In general, the very brief pulse of light generated by a flashgun makes for easier portraiture than constant lighting. However, some people react to the pre-flash pulses for iTTL metering so quickly that they tend to blink during the actual exposure.

For power, versatility and shooting at anything other than very close range, the Nikon SB-700 Speedlight is a clear winner. Even so, the Limelite LED panel is useful for close-ups and still life images, and it’s sufficiently affordable that you might consider buying two or three for multi-lamp set-ups that provide more illumination. Naturally, a constant light is also useful when you’re shooting video, whereas the SB-700 would be completely useless.

February 2016

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make cash with your nikon

Competitions and magazines

make cash with your nikon 10 SET UP A PORTRAIT STUDIO There’s lots to consider when setting up your own portrait studio. Chris Rutter takes you through the essentials

While you can shoot portraits in almost any location, having your own studio can help a photography business appear more professional. It also makes it easier to control the lighting, background and style of your images, enabling you to give your customers the images you and they want. However, a studio will bring extra costs and responsibilities compared to other types of portrait photography.

Home or away The first thing you’ll need to consider is whether you are going to set it up at your home, or rent (or buy) a separate building. There are pros and cons to both approaches. Setting up a studio in your home, whether it’s a spare room, garage or even a dedicated building on your land, can be a cheaper and easier option than doing it at another location, but there are things that you need to bear in mind. The first thing is simply

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do you really have the space at home? The rooms in most houses weren’t designed with the needs of a studio in mind. For individual portraits you’ll need a room with floor space of at least 16x16 feet (5x5 metres), to give you space to position lights and backgrounds and also work at a comfortable shooting distance. But if you’re thinking of shooting groups or families you’ll need more room. You also need to consider the ceiling height: positioning lights above the subject can be useful for shooting portraits, but in

February 2016

It helps to have an idea of your personal style, as that will give you some indication of the lighting, backgrounds and other equipment you will need in your studio

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If you’re photographing families or groups of people, you’ll need much more studio floor space than you would for shooting single-person portraits

many buildings the height of the ceiling won’t allow you to do this. For a studio, the ceiling should be at least four or five feet above head height, so 11 or 12 feet (3.5 metres). Along with the main studio, consider having a reception area, which could double as a sales area where clients can go through their images. You’ll

also need room for a changing room or make-up area, and toilet facilities. Even if you have the space and don’t mind having clients visit your home, having a photo studio in your house isn’t without its problems. You’ll need to make sure that you are allowed to run a studio at home. There are many planning

i did it! Tim SimPSoN ■ Here, Manchester-based portrait and wedding photographer Tim Simpson shares his experiences of setting up his own studio. Tim offers tuition in a wide range of photographic techniques, including studio photography, at £150 per day. You can see more of Tim’s images online at www.wild-heart.photography “In our relatively small studio I have had to make every surface work. There are three-metre backgrounds on each end wall, with vintage wallpaper on one of them, while a third wall is mid-grey – this ‘magic’ background can be lit with gels to be any colour at all. The fourth ‘wall’ is actually windows, as it’s nice to have the option of shooting naturally-lit portraits indoors. I’ve found, though, that it has to be

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and bye-laws that determine what sort of business you can run from your home. This will vary according to where you live, so check with the local authorities – especially as, unlike a still-life or product photography studio, running a portrait business will mean that clients will be arriving at your house on a regular basis. At the very least it will mean that your property is no longer purely residential, so will have to be designated a commercial property for local rates or taxes. Make sure that you have suitable buildings and public liability insurance too, as your normal household policy won’t cover people coming and going for commercial gain. And finally, no matter how nice your home is, it’s not necessarily the best place to run a business from. Unless you have the room to set aside for a reception area, changing room and separate toilet facilities, it won’t appear very professional. It’s also unlikely that you’ll get much passing trade in a residential street.

THe riGHT locaTioN When you are looking for premises for a studio, you

quite sunny (in Manchester!) for this to work, so I often combine natural light and flash to get a natural-looking portrait – and the less flash, the better, for me. “If I were buying my equipment again I wouldn’t buy such powerful flash heads. It’s a struggle to get 500w heads on a low enough power to get a lovely shallow depth of field (f/1.8-2.8) when you’re limited by a 1/250 flash sync speed. I would also spend extra money on a good flash trigger. My Pocket Wizards are great; they work every single time, plus they enable me to use high-speed sync. “If I had any advice, it would be to develop a style of your own. This may happen over time – it did with me. I looked at my images one day and realised that all my fairly recent photos had a similar feel to them. In my area there is nobody doing quirky, high-quality portraits, so that’s the path I’m going down and it seems to be working.”

GoinG Pro: moNTH 10 every month Graham Parker shares what he’s been up to on his journey to going pro. This month, he’s planning for 2016… I am not the type of person to make New Year’s resolutions, perhaps because I wouldn’t like to fail! But in 2016 I would like to expand my photographic business enough to enable me to step back from my other business and make this one full-time. One of my major goals is to make post-processing quicker. That will have to include a new 5K iMac as my 2007 iMac struggles with the software that I use, and can’t deliver the speed I require. I also need to get quicker at editing. On a shoot at a pet shop I can take anything between 800 and 1500 shots, which I cull down to about 250. And 250 edits at three minutes each… that’s 12 and a half hours! I need to reduce that time by at least half. Advertising my services is another area which I need to concentrate on. Word of mouth is a great advertising medium. Other forms of advertising have been very expensive, in my experience. One avenue I haven’t explored yet is Facebook advertising. I know people who use it, and it seems to work, so I will be investigating. Another avenue for expanding my business is charity– not necessarily in the pet world. I recently did a shoot for a small charity called Protect a Pup. I got paid, the charity made money and I sold some extra prints as well. From a business point of view it was a great success, and the whole day had a great atmosphere – with the added benefit that everyone knew they were helping a charity. I’d like to explore some new genres of photography professionally in 2016, too. Hopefully I will be able to tell you about them later in the year when they’re proving successful!


make cash with your nikon

When you’re considering premises, whether at home or elsewhere, don’t forget to check that the ceiling will be high enough to accommodate your lighting Studio-based baby portraits are popular with parents, but you’ll need to think about suitable props for them

need to think carefully about where it’s located. A high street or retail location will mean that there’s a better chance of people seeing your studio, which is good advertising and marketing in itself, and you may even get some trade from passing traffic. But you need to be realistic, as it’s unlikely that many people will ‘drop in’ for a professional portrait sitting. Away from the high street you may be able to find

suitable space for your studio in commercial or industrial developments. These will offer more space for your money and better on-site parking than the high street, but they won’t offer the same ‘shop window’ marketing opportunities as a retail location.

Sell iT! Marketing, promotion and advertising are the keys to

Marketing, promotion and advertising are the keys to making your studio a success. Make sure that your website has a clear pricing and services structure

in the know rUNNiNG a STUDio ■ Professional portrait photographer Barrie Spence, who also runs Pavilion Photographic Studio in West Lothian, shares his top tips for starting and running a successful photo studio. You can see Barrie’s images at www.spencephotography.co.uk or find out about hiring the studio, tuition and workshops at www. pavilionphotographicstudio.co.uk

1

Business ability (especially marketing and sales) is more important than photography skills. If you’re not good at something, get help in that area. Most of us starting out will be one-man-band operations – you’ll be very lucky to use a camera for

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February 2016

making your studio a success. Make sure that your website has a clear pricing and services structure, as most potential customers will want to know how much it will cost and how long it will take. The best way to do this is to set up a structure of portrait packages, from a basic single portrait and family shoot to a longer, more comprehensive service offering a range of different portraits. Teaming up with a make-up artist, hairdresser or beautician will give you the option of also offering makeover or all-in-one portrait sittings. These extra services will allow you to make extra money from each sitting, although it may increase the potential overheads of your studio, as you’ll need to of products then your prices are too low. If 50p is important to you on the profit margin of a sale, your pricing is all wrong. Develop a relationship with suppliers such as your print lab. Make life easy for yourself by having a limited range of products from as few suppliers as possible. Don’t compete on price – you’ll always find someone foolish enough to offer more for less. The money you earn with the camera needs to sustain all the work that isn’t directly billable. It can take a long time (years) to become established and break even – that’s a fact of business. Many businesses fail because they can’t afford to sustain a longerthan-planned start-up period. Don’t buy equipment you don’t need. In the end you’ll value the little things that make life easy (good light stands, reliable radio triggers, casters on equipment you need to move, and so on).

4

20 per cent of your working time. You have to do everything, and that includes the cleaning in the studio. Your marketing/advertising budget almost certainly needs to be more than you currently spend – business rarely lands in your lap from web searches. If you are worrying about saving pennies on the cost price

2

3

5 6 7

have on-site facilities for the makeover part of the service.

overHeaDS aND coSTS Setting up a studio involves many more overheads and one-off costs than most other types of photographic business. Kitting out a studio, and any other areas such as a reception area, will need to be factored into the start-up cost. Then there are ongoing costs such as rent, rates, taxes, maintenance and insurance for the building to take into account. If you are thinking about locating your studio on a high street or anywhere where people may just drop in, there’ll need to be someone there to meet them while the studio is open. You may think that you

9

All the mundane, less artistic work (head shots, pack shots, and the like) pays the bills. Shooting models and being artistic might attract attention, but it doesn’t pay your mortgage. Don’t judge your failure based on others’ apparent success – the business is full of illusionists.

10

8

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Set up a portrait studio

You’ll have the chance to take more creative shots, but don’t overlook the bread-and-butter work like straight headshots

dos and don’ts of settinG uP a Portrait studio

Do

■ Be realistic about the space that you will need for both the studio and other essential areas when choosing a location for your studio. ■ Look at other studios in the area, as there’s no point setting up close to another studio unless you can offer something unique or different to its services. ■ Consider whether the location you are considering is suitable and convenient for both you and potential clients.

DoN’T

■ Set up a studio at home without checking the planning and tax implications of running a business in a residential area. ■ Underestimate how much time it will take to set up a studio. ■ Forget that you may need someone to staff the studio or reception area if customers are likely to drop in on spec.

Don’t overlook backgrounds, and flags – and think about where you’ll store them too

journey, though, as you’ll then need to spend the next few months building your business.

wHaT coUlD yoU earN? A dressing room or makeup area is essential if you’re offering makeover shoots

will be able to deal with this yourself, and that’s fine when you aren’t shooting, but if you aren’t shooting portraits the studio won’t be viable. You’ll need to employ someone as a receptionist or salesperson, which could add a lot to your overheads. Even if you only take online or telephone bookings, you may need to think about how to deal with this while you are shooting.

ProPS aND FUrNiTUre Along with getting the right building, you’ll need to budget for lighting, backgrounds, props and even furniture. When it comes to lighting there are three main options: natural light, studio flash or continuous lights. Natural light from windows can be a good option for some shoots, but you can’t rely on it all year round

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and it’s inconsistent, even in sunny climates. Most studio photographers use flash as their main lighting option, and you’ll need a minimum of two lights for most basic set-ups. You will also need modifiers such as umbrellas, softboxes, snoots and/or barn doors. Reflectors, diffusers and flags are also useful lighting accessories. Continuous lights have become more popular in recent years, as they can be easier to position because you can see the effect of the light easier than with studio flash units. Continuous lighting also gives you the option of shooting video along with stills, unlike flash lighting. But continuous lights that are powerful enough

to provide enough light for fulllength portraits or groups can be expensive, bulky and less convenient than using flash. As well as the lighting, you should consider having a range of backgrounds, using either a stand-alone or wall-mounted support system. You could use plain-coloured walls as a background, but it can be difficult to keep these clean without regular painting.

How loNG will iT Take? Finding a suitable location and setting up your portrait studio could take anything from a few weeks to six months or more, depending on which route you take. This is just the start of the

Finding a suitable location and setting up your portrait studio could take anything from a few weeks to six months or more… This is just the start of the journey, though

The amount that you can charge will depend on many factors (and remember that you will need to cover all the overheads of running the studio). Most studios will charge a basic rate of around £50 to £150 per shoot for the main sitting, which will include a print, and then charge extra for more prints or other photo gifts. For group shoots you may want to set up a scale of charges depending on how many people are involved, as it will take longer to set up, shoot and organise a larger group. Many studios offer studio hire to other photographers, which can help to cover the costs of the studio when you aren’t using it yourself. You’ll need suitable insurance and public liability cover for this, though. Many photographers offer other types of photography services, such as weddings, in addition to their studio work, so you should consider doing this alongside your portraiture.

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-my big break-

ICE AGE GIANT

6 January 2012 Nearly 400 kilometres north of Norway’s capital city of Oslo lies Dovrefjell National Park, a vast and pristine wilderness. This is the domain of the musk ox, a stocky beast with a massive head and thick coat adapted to the worst extremes of the Arctic climate. Four years ago, Roy Mangersnes spent a week in Dovrefjell for the sole purpose of photographing and filming these impressive beasts. “The musk ox is an Ice Age giant,” says Roy. “They used to wander up there alongside the woolly mammoth, 40,000 years ago. The plan was to spend one week in the field to capture the essence of the life of the musk ox. I wanted really rough weather with gale force winds to get that shot.” Working in the first week of January, Roy got the rough

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Dovrefjell National Park, Norway

weather he was seeking as temperatures plunged to -20°C. It wasn’t the first time he had photographed musk oxen, but spending such a prolonged period on location in the harshest part of winter was a new challenge. “It was quite an eye-opener,” Roy admits, “and I learnt more about myself as a photographer.” But there was more to this venture than getting images of musk oxen shaking snow from their shaggy coats. Roy was working with a videographer

February 2016

Roy Mangersnes

Nikon D3S

and an assistant to record a pilot film for a television pitch. “I was the presenter. We wanted to make a series called Behind the Lens, about wildlife photographers and how we go about our work.” Each day began with the three men hauling their gear up the slopes on sleds for two hours to get to the oxen before sunrise, except for one day when they camped overnight on location. Roy had three Nikon D3S bodies with him, but broke one – along with a 70-200mm

Roy Mangersnes is a trained behaviouralist and professional wildlife photographer from Norway. A Nikon ambassador, Roy has published several books, and is a multiple winner in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year, GDT European Wildlife Photographer of the Year and Nature’s Best awards. He is also a partner in WildPhoto Travel, leading photo assignments to the Arctic and Antarctic, as well as the warmer climates of Africa and the Galapagos Islands. To see more of his stunning images visit www.roymangersnes.wordpress.com

zoom lens – when the wind blew his tripod over onto ice.

The breakthrough

Although the team finished their film, the television series wasn’t commissioned. However, Roy still regards this image and the experience surrounding it as a ‘game changer’. He explains: “I knew I loved the Arctic and working in the cold and the snow, but spending so much time with these animals, in this environment, with this weather, made me focus on those conditions even more. In that sense it was a game changer because it took me to the place where I wanted to be.” This experience also had more tangible rewards: thanks to this photograph, Roy was named the overall winner of the 2013 Global Arctic Awards. Keith Wilson

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CLOSE-UP

The N-Photo interview

-CLOSE UP-

MIKE MALONEY

All images: Mike Maloney

For more than 30 years Mike Maloney photographed the rich and famous. He tells Keith Wilson about chatting up the Queen, outsmarting Frank Sinatra, and taking tea with Lady Diana…

B

orn and raised in Lincoln, Mike Maloney says his love of photography began when he received a Kodak 127 camera from his parents for his 10th birthday. In his teens he went to work as a tea boy for The Lincolnshire Chronicle, but it wasn’t long before his enthusiasm for photography gained him more attention than his tea-making… So how did the tea boy become a photographer? The Head of Advertising at The Chronicle said, “I see


Snap! (aBOVE LEFT) Mike was tipped off that the Queen would be on the beach, but got a surprise when she started photographing him! OFF guard (MaIn IMagE) Mike was known for his abaility to capture his subjects off-guard, and at their most human


CLOSE-UP

The N-Photo interview

something very good in you. I think you’d be very good in advertising.” So I went home and told mum and dad. Dad said, “No, no, none of that nonsense. You want an apprenticeship,” because that was the logic in the 1960s. So I went into the print side as a compositor, a linotype operator, which was very fortuitous, because I was still taking pictures at the same time. I was then able to go to an editor and say, “Look at these photographs, what do you think of them?” I learnt very quickly, to the extent that in the end they were commissioning me to take major pictures, instead of their own staff photographers. What was your first proper photography job for The Lincolnshire Chronicle? It was a commission in 1967 to take pictures of the Boy Scouts’ parade at Lincoln Cathedral, and I was paid ten shillings and sixpence for it! It was used as a big picture, four columns by eight inches.

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Was that your mind made up then, that you were going to be a photographer? Absolutely, yes, because I loved it. I loved the whole business about it. How long did you remain at The Chronicle? Well, the editor, who loved my work and was commissioning me, got into trouble with the unions, because I wasn’t NUJ (National Union of Journalists). I was NGA (National Graphical Association). To cut a long story short, I left The Chronicle and joined a magazine that was run by the editor of The Chronicle after he left. It was called Lincolnshire Pride. It was a glossy monthly. So I joined them, but it all went pear-shaped because the guy who put the money in pulled the money out again. I then asked the Managing Director of The Chronicle if I could get a job on the staff as a photographer. He said: “We don’t think you’re up to it, son.” So I left Lincoln in 1971, went to London and joined The Evening News.

pandaS (aBOVE) Mike got exclusive access to the inner areas of Chengdu Breeding Centre in China CrunChIE STunT (TOp rIghT) Mike lashed himself to the wing-walking harness of a third biplane to capture Yves rossy’s act of daring gOOd dOg! (rIghT) The Irish guards’ mascot, Malachy, inspects a soldier aLL aBOard (Far rIghT) Six railway conductors having fun in front of the camera

What was your introduction to royalty? That’s a good question. I worked on The Evening News as a junior photographer, freelance. In those days I used to wear bow ties. On this particular morning there was a staff photographer called Ken Towner in the office. The paper’s editor came in, a wonderful guy called Don Bodie. He said to the picture editor, “We’ve got the rota for the Queen today at the Palace where she is presenting awards to the brave policeman who prevented Princess Anne from being shot.” It was the man who jumped out onto The Mall in front of Princess Anne when she was in a car and started shooting. James Beeton was the officer. The editor said: “Who are you sending?” The picture editor said, “Well, I was going to send Ken Towner.” The editor looked at Ken Towner, who was in jeans and an open-necked shirt, and said: “You’re not sending him. Who’s that guy, smartly dressed with the bow tie? Send him!”

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So a bow tie got you to the Palace. What happened after that? I went down into the Queen’s lounge where the presentation was taking place. James Beeton was there with his wife and children, and his little girl puts her hand up and says, “Excuse me Your Majesty.” Now, you’re not supposed to ask the Queen questions, and she rocked. I was shooting with a Rolleiflex and got one frame where I have captured the Queen rocking, with just the light from the window. A cracking shot. I took it back, and from the reaction, you’d have thought I’d won the Pools. The editor came out: “What a brilliant picture, what a shame we

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PrOfiLE mike maloNey Mike’s outstanding career has left him with enough awards to stock several trophy cabinets Newspapers, turning freelance in 2002.

■ Mike Maloney is Britain’s most decorated press photographer. He’s the winner of more than 100 major press photography prizes, including British Press Photographer of the Year, which he’s won three times.

■ He is a Freeman of the City of London. and in 2012 was made professor of photography at the University of Lincoln.

■ After joining The Evening News in 1971, he rose to become Chief Photographer of Mirror Group

■ In 2005 Mike Maloney was made an OBE by the Queen at Buckingham Palace.

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SavOy ShUffLE Moving from Lincoln to London was something of a culture shock for the young Mike Maloney. His first job at The Evening News was a birthday party at the Savoy. But it wasn’t just any old birthday party… ■ “The highlight of my social calendar in Lincoln was to go to the Guildhall and cover the mayor’s Christmas party for the civic dignitaries. You got a glass of sherry and a mince pie. I went from that to my first job at The Evening News, where the picture editor said to me, “Maloney! We’ve got a job for you at 10 o’clock tonight.” I said, “What, 10pm?” “Yes, why?” “Well, I’m normally in bed by then.” “Well, you won’t be tonight. You’re going to the Savoy. It’s Noël Coward’s birthday party.” I went down, met the great man, shook his hand and said: “Mr Coward, I’m from The Evening News, I’m Mike Maloney. It’s such a great privilege to meet you.” “My dear boy, the pleasure is all mine. Come with me, I’ll introduce you to people.” Every big name was there. I ended the night dancing with Rachel Roberts, who was married to Rex Harrison!”

can’t have it just to ourselves!” The Evening News was part of The Daily Mail and they ran it as a spread. It won my first international award, which was third place in the World Press Photo in Amsterdam. That was my very first royal photograph. Since then, many more awards have come your way. What were the main changes you noticed coming from a local paper to a Fleet Street paper? It was a totally different world. I loved life in Lincoln, and I was taking pictures I really enjoyed. I never wanted to leave, but when I was told I couldn’t join The Chronicle, there weren’t any openings. I had no alternative other than to move to London, which was a big step for a provincial boy. But as soon as I got into the showbiz, I loved it. It was all champagne and caviar in those days.

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What was the kit you were using back then? When I started at The Evening News, the guys were still using plate cameras. This was 1971, and at this time the plate cameras were going out and the Rolleiflexes and Mamiyas were coming in. If you were really top notch, you had a Nikon F, but in those days there was a vast difference between a 2¼-inch negative and a 35mm one. I was known for my quality, so for a presentation at Buckingham Palace or Number 10 I would always bring a Rollei and a flash. Photojournalism would require the Nikon F, so you would preordain the way you were

J pauL gETTY in 1960, the american oil billionaire hosted a party at his Surrey home – 1200 guests were invited, but an estimated 3000 people turned up

as soon as i got into the showbiz, i loved it. it was all champagne and caviar in those days Mike Maloney Press photographer

going to operate according to the given job. How long was it before everyone was using 35mm? I would say two years. It was an amazing transformation. The old boys were still with 5x4, a lot had Rolleis, and they used to say to me when I was off to London, “Listen, son, you can operate your first year at Fleet Street with a Rolleiflex, it will cover everything.” I used to do sport with it. You didn’t have motor drives in the early 1970s, they came in about 1974, but by 1975 everyone was shooting 35mm. What other Nikon cameras did you work with? Well, I did the whole spectrum of Nikon. The evolution of Nikon was amazing, because I went from the Nikon F to the Nikkormat, which was a great camera. The Nikon F

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mike maloney

Clockwise, from top left ELTOn JOhn The daily Mirror wanted photographs of the top of Elton’s head after his hair transplant TOMMY COOpEr The comedian and Mike became friends, and Mike took this photo at Tommy’s home in 1977 TOrVILL and dEan Mike took this shot in 1979, five years before the pair won gold at the 1984 Winter Olympics andrE ChIkaTILO The russian government invited Mike to photograph the notorious mass murderer prior to his execution

was always the workhorse camera, though. You could drop it, bounce it. I remember being in Belfast with mine, diving to the ground to avoid a sniper’s bullet – smashed the head, made a big indentation in the pentaprism. I looked through it and it’d gone all crazy paving, but it still took great pictures. During your film days what was your favourite Nikon? The Nikon F, without a doubt. The Nikon F fitted into my hand like a glove. I still have my Fs. I’ve got three. It was a futuristic camera that produced great results. There was just something about the F and the 50mm f/1.4 Nikkor and the 35mm f/2 that was special. What would you choose as your desert island lens? I’d choose the 300mm f/2.8. It would be followed closely by a

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There was just something about the Nikon F and the 50mm f/1.4 Nikkor and the 35mm f/2 that was special Mike Maloney Press photographer 50mm f/1.4, but the 300mm f/2.8 was groundbreaking. On royal assignments, it was a take-anywhere lens. It was a massive piece of glass. It was so sharp. I think it came out in the 1980s, but the fact you could use 300mm at f/2.8 meant the bokeh was sensational. Why did the 300mm help you so much for royal assignments? Well, invariably for royal assignments you’re not close to a member of the royal family, you’re standing back. This was long before 600mm lenses. If I wanted to do an expression shot in the early days, a 100mm wouldn’t cut the mustard,

but a 300mm would, so you could still get the expression, and because the optics were so great it was pin sharp. I used to like working at f/4. Let’s fast forward: when did you first work digitally? I had the very first digital camera at The Daily Mirror. Nikon were in bed with Kodak at that time and it was one megapixel and it cost a fortune, something like £23,000! It was like the early mobile phones, with one big heavy massive battery with the phone on top. But look at the cameras now, which I love. I collect them all, I must have about a hundred cameras.

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rULE britannia Mike has not only photographed the Queen on numerous occasions, he has also met her formally on many world tours. But the greatest moment of all was in 2005 for the investiture of his OBE… What’s your favourite memory of photographing the Queen? ■ I think the Derby at Epsom, when she was jumping in the air because her horse was out on its own [right]. It will never happen again. Have you ever been able to mention that to her? ■ No, never. When the Queen presented me with an OBE at the Palace, you only get 30 seconds with a member of the Royal Family. She said: “It’s unusual being on this side of the camera, isn’t it?” I said: “It is Ma’am.” She started talking about Britannia, and I had some of my happiest moments with her on Britannia, in New Zealand, Australia, Canada, although I never stayed on it. She started reminiscing, and the next thing I know I’m into two and a half minutes with the Queen instead of 30 seconds. She said: “You know, I do miss it, so much.” I said, “Ma’am, not as much as I miss it.”

Which is your favourite Nikon camera now? My favourite camera is the new Nikon Coolpix 900. I tested it for Nikon and said, “I’ve got the perfect operation for it, I’m going to India for six weeks and I’ll be photographing the Bengal tigers in Ranthambhore, and I’ll be at the Taj Mahal.” Do you remember the 2000mm lens? Yes, it’s a very heavy mirror lens… When it came out there were three in the UK: Nikon had one, the Ministry of Defence had one, and I had one – on loan, of course. It cost more than £20,000. I took the lens to the South of France to photograph Princess Diana. I had it on the beach at St Tropez on a great big tripod and you could see Diana in the distance on a boat – you couldn’t see her with the naked eye. It was perfect for that

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situation, but it wasn’t manoeuvrable – you couldn’t just sling it over your shoulder. Fast forward now to the Coolpix P900 and it’s got a 24-2000mm lens built-in, and it’s retailing at £500 or £600! The quality is so good. Can you recall a favourite moment from a royal assignment? I propose Diana. She was a kindergarten teacher then. The way newspapers operate is that we get tipped-off by the staff at the Palace. The paper in those days paid the staff retainers that were more than their salary. That’s how I got the famous pictures of the Queen on the beach at Holkham in Norfolk with the corgies [see page 102], and all the tourists walking past taking no notice of her. Was that the occasion when she was walking on the beach with the Queen Mother? Correct. Nobody took any notice; I found that staggering. Now, with Diana – we called her Lady Di – the editor was tipped-off one day. I’d come back from photographing her at kindergarten and the editor called me over: “I need a panoramic shot of Coleherne Court”. This was where Diana lived with her flat mates. It was in The Boltons in London, and she was in the first floor flat in the corner room. The editor wanted a

ThE QuEEn’S ExCITEMEnT This photo of the Queen at Epsom won numerous awards, and marked the beginning of a special connection between Mike and the palace

panoramic shot of the whole of this Georgian building. He said: “We’ve been tipped-off that Diana Spencer is going to be the next queen of England, so I’m running it on page one tomorrow, and a spread.” So, I shoot back down to Coleherne Court. It’s now 2.30 or three o’clock in the afternoon. I set up a tripod and did a panoramic, 180 degrees. While I’m taking the pictures a voice behind me said: “Oh, you still here?” It was her? “Oh, hello Lady Di.” I said: “Sorry I’m here, but I tell you what we’re doing: we’re going to run the story tomorrow about you being the next queen of England.” She went scarlet and smiled. She said: “What are you going to say?” I said: “Well, this is what…” and she said, “No, don’t say anything. Would you like a cup of tea?” I said, “I’d love one because I’ve missed my lunch doing this, but I don’t know any cafés around here.” She said, “No, come up to the apartment, but I have to ask you,

Do you remember the 2000mm lens? Nikon had one, the ministry of Defence had one, and i had one – on loan, of course Mike Maloney Press photographer www.digitalcameraworld.com


mike maloney

in the wedding dress. The editor said to me, “Now, I know you know Diana Spencer, Mike. I’m expecting some good quotes from tomorrow morning.” You know what? She never looked at me once the whole morning. Head down all the time. Not a word. Now, she opened up at the Palace. Patrick told me she opened up once the wedding was out of the way. Which celebrities have you most enjoyed working with? Oh gosh, how many hours have you got?! I suppose I would have to say Frank Sinatra. You photographed him quite a few times, didn’t you? Quite a few times. We didn’t have the best of starts together. He had me thrown out of Claridges when he married Barbara Marx and his parting shot to me was, “Get this bum out of here!” But I pulled off the biggest coup of my career at the Royal Albert Hall. The background was that Frank Sinatra had retired, but he decided to make a comeback and he was returning with the Rat Pack, but Frank had fired Dean Martin for being drunk on stage. Dean was never drunk on stage. It was an act. He’d get drunk, but never on stage. So he got rid of Dean Martin and brought on Liza Minnelli. After the ignominious exit from Claridges I said to the editor, “Frank Sinatra is back in town, he’s appearing at the Royal Albert Hall, I’d like to get my own back on him.” What year are we talking? I think it was 1992. Around town posters went up: ‘The Rat Pack are back in town. Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Junior, Liza Minnelli’. There was a big banner with a red line: ‘Strictly no photography’! no pictures and no quotes. I’ll make you some tea and you can talk me through it.” So we had tea and Nice biscuits. I told her what we would be doing. She was fascinated. She obviously knew what was going to happen, although the engagement hadn’t been announced.

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What job were you given on the wedding day? On the day of the wedding in 1981 I was given the wonderful task of being at Clarence House, where she was getting ready for the wedding. Patrick Lichfield was the official photographer. I was the royal rota photographer, but I saw her first

prInCESS dIana Mike was the first press photographer to see Lady diana in her wedding dress – she’d become princess of Wales later that day

There’s a challenge! I said to the editor, I’m going to get pictures. He said, “Well, I don’t hold out much hope, but good luck!” I acquired a box at the Royal Albert Hall and I worked out that from the box to the stage to get a full length shot is 600mm. So I took a 300mm f/2.8 and a 2x converter. I put a monopod down my trouser leg into

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The N-Photo interview

i put a monopod down my trouser leg, i broke down the camera body and i put the film in my underpants Mike Maloney Press photographer my sock, I put the 300mm on my arm with my overcoat over it to hide it, I broke down the camera body, and I put the film in my underpants! So I’m hopping like Long John Silver at the Royal Albert Hall. When I got into the box, I closed the curtains, got undressed, put all the gear together and waited for the orchestra to strike up. When the lights dimmed I pushed the 300mm with the 2x converter through the curtains and started shooting. They were brilliant. What happened was that Frank got pissed on stage. He had a bottle of whisky on the grand piano, and I had these amazing pictures where he’s filled up the tumbler, downed it in one, then straight into ‘Strangers in the Night’. Maybe that’s why he didn’t want photographers there? Precisely. They couldn’t catch me, though, because I was in my box with my gear and the music was drowning out the shutter. Frank took a tumbler of the whisky and addressed the audience: he looked at the tumbler of whisky and said, “You killed my old man but you ain’t getting me!” Then down in one, and straight into ‘New York, New York’. But his legs were starting to go, and my last shot is of Liza Minelli, with her arms underneath his armpits holding him up. I took about 400 pictures, shooting colour, pushed to 1600 ASA, nothing faster than 1/30 sec. I took the films back to the paper and the editor went ballistic: ‘These are wonderful!” They ran them on page one and a spread. I bet that provoked a reaction? It sure did. The next day the office gets a phone call: “I’d like to talk to Mike Maloney.” “Call for you Mike.” I take the call… “Is that Mr Mike Maloney?” “Yes.”

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mike maloney

“We’re associates of Mr Sinatra. We’d like to come and see you.” I put the phone down. I had to alert security because they were after me. They would have given me a kicking! You had a meteoric rise in press photography. What was the secret behind your success? A lot of it was luck, but in press photography I never hunted with the pack. Say you had a photo call with the Prime Minister on location, all the pack would be there, but I’d be away from them. So you’d be looking for a different angle entirely? Entirely. Now if there’s a definitive picture, PA or Reuters will have it, so my paper will get it, they won’t miss out. So if I have something special, I’ll have it on my own.

Frank and LIza (LEFT) a little thing like cameras being banned wasn’t going to stop Mike from photographing Sinatra getting drunk on stage rOBErT MaxWELL (aBOVE) This is the last photo taken of controversial press baron Maxwell, who disappeared in the same location two weeks later TOnY BLaIr (rIghT) When he was prime Minister, Tony Blair had Mike’s photo of him hanging on the wall of 10 downing Street

And therefore a greater chance of getting more exclusives? Correct. When George Best appeared at Marylebone Road Magistrates Court on some misdemeanour, nobody in a million years thought he was going to go down for it. But the judge sent him to prison, so instead of walking out, George was taken down to the Black Maria. A Black Maria is the prison van with cubicles and small high windows, and I knew where George was going to come out. Now this is really lucky. When

in press photography i never hunted with the pack. So if i have something special, i’ll have it on my own Mike Maloney Press photographer www.digitalcameraworld.com

the van came out, the driver’s door was open, and behind the driver’s door was a grille, and George Best just happened to be sat in my eye-line through the grille, over the driver’s shoulder, with the door open. Had the door not been open I wouldn’t have got it. I fired one frame with a flash as the van came out and I didn’t know I had it until I processed the film. There was George illuminated through the grille. A cracking shot, but very lucky. If Mike Maloney were starting out all over again today, do you think there would be anything that he’d do differently? I think that’s a difficult question, for the simple reason that the foreign travel now has gone, the opportunities have gone, even going

to the homes of Hollywood stars. You would have to work for one of the big agencies now: Getty, PA or Reuters. That would be your goal now. In my day the ultimate goal for a press photographer was to work for the Daily Mirror in Britain. I had the three golden decades of the 70s, 80s and 90s. When I joined the Daily Mirror in the early 70s, we were selling five-and-a-half million copies a day. Now, it’s down to 700,000. It’s the way the Internet has completely changed media and the way people use media. You’re 100 per cent correct. Today, everybody is a photographer. • To see more of Mike’s work, visit www.mikemaloney.co.uk

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rated & previewed

New gear expert opinions on all the latest hot kit

NikoN 24-70mm f/2.8e ed vr Bigger, better, faster, more. It’s anything but a standard zoom Standard zoom lens

£1850, $2400

www.nikon.com

■ Nikon’s classic 24-70mm f/2.8 standard zoom has been

replaced by a new model. It’s bigger and heavier, with a better feature set, including the addition of an electromagnetically controlled diaphragm that gives more consistent control in continuous drive mode, plus four-stop VR. Build quality is everything you’d expect from a top-flight Nikon lens. Along with weather seals, the front and rear elements have fluorine coatings to repel moisture and muck. Despite weighing over a kilogram, handling is refined and reasonably well balanced on big bodies like the D810. The lens extends to as much as 178mm when zooming out to 24mm, or 205mm with the hood attached. However, the hood doesn’t rotate when the inner barrel moves back and forth. The revamped AF system snaps to attention with amazing speed. Centre sharpness is spectacular, even at f/2.8, although corner sharpness lags behind. Colour fringing is also evident towards the corners of the frame, but this is automatically corrected in recent cameras, or when using Nikon’s RAW processing software. Barrel distortion is noticeable at 24mm, but of more concern is the fact that vignetting is pronounced at f/2.8 throughout the zoom range. Ghosting and flare can be problematic as well.

specifications

sharpness (higher is better)

Full-frame compatible Yes Focal length 24-70mm (36-105mm equivalent on DX) Image stabiliser Yes Minimum focus distance 0.38-0.41m Max magnification factor 0.28x Manual focus override Full-time Focus limit switch No Internal zoom No Internal focus Yes Filter size 82mm Diaphragm blades Nine Weather seals Yes Supplied accessories Hood, soft case, caps Dimensions (diameter x length) 88x155mm Weight 1070g

114

tHe iNNer Barrel pHySically exteNdS wHeN you’re uSiNg tHe leNS at SHorter zoom SettiNgS, But FocuSiNg iS completely iNterNal

February 2016

fringing at f/8 (lower is better)

centre

Short 5.55 Mid 4.92 Tele 0.71

2500 2000 1500 1000 500

f/2.8

f/4

f/5.6

f/8

f/11

f/16

f/22

Colour fringing towards corners and edges can be very apparent at short to mid zoom settings.

overall

edge 2500

distortion (lower is better)

2000 1500 1000

FeatureS Build/HaNdliNg perFormaNce value For moNey

Short -3.94

500

f/2.8

f/4

f/5.6

Short

f/8

Mid

f/11

f/16

Tele

Sharpness is pretty stellar at the centre of the frame but less impressive towards the corners.

Mid 0.92 Tele 2.12

f/22

-4

-3

-2

-1

0

1

2

3

4

Barrel and pincushion distortion are clearly visible at the short and long ends of the zoom range, respectively.

We say… Image quality is very pleasing overall, but this lens is not as flawless as we’d have hoped Nikon’s new flagship standard zoom would be, especially at the price.

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New gear rated and previewed

SwitcHeS are oN HaNd For m/a a FocuS modeS, aN autoFocuS limiter (Six metreS aNd aBove), vr oN/oFF, vr Normal/ Sport aNd zoom lock

NikoN aF-S 200-500mm f/5.6e ed vr

to an autofocus limiter and normal/sport options for VR. The VR sport mode aims to give optimum stabilisation for fast-moving subjects, as well as avoiding a slow-down in continuous shooting. The autofocus speed isn’t massively quick but it’s very accurate and reliable, while VR (Vibration Reduction) is good for 4.5 stops. Sharpness and contrast are very good, too, and there’s minimal colour fringing, thanks to its three ED (Extra-low Dispersion) elements. Distortions and vignetting are also negligible, and resistance to ghosting and flare is good, despite the absence of Nano Crystal coatings. Overall performance is very impressive, especially considering the down-to-earth price of this lens. Image quality and autofocus speed aren’t quite a match for the Nikon AF-S 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR but, then again, this 200-500mm gives more telephoto reach and costs barely more than half the price.

Big, butch and surprisingly affordable, this lens puts the ‘super’ into super-telephoto Super-telephoto lens

£1180, $1400

www.nikon.com the physical length increases at longer zoom settings. Fit the lens hood and the whole package extends as much as 44cm from the camera body. With its constant-aperture design, the Nikon is one-third of an f-stop faster than the competing Sigma and Tamron lenses. Autofocus therefore remains available even with a 1.4x teleconverter fitted, if your camera has f/8 AF compatibility. Unlike the Sigma 150-600mm S, the Nikon isn’t fully weather sealed, but it does have the usual rubber gasket on its mounting plate to help keep out moisture. Switches give access

■ Current Nikon super-telephoto zooms run up to the 400mm mark, like the 80-400mm VR and top-flight 200-400mm VR II. This new lens pushes this to 500mm, in line with the previous generation of Sigma and Tamron lenses. However, both of these independents are now making super-telephoto lenses that stretch to 600mm, so Nikon is still playing catch up in that sense. In terms of size and weight, the new Nikon falls between the Sigma 150-600mm C (Contemporary) and S (Sport). It’s a handful at 108x268mm and 2.3 kilograms and, unlike many constant-aperture telephoto zooms,

specifications Full-frame compatible Yes Focal length 200-500mm (300-750mm equivalent on DX) Image Stabiliser Yes Minimum focus distance 2.2m Max magnification factor 0.22x Manual focus override Full-time Focus limit switch Yes (6m+) Internal zoom/focus No Internal focus Yes Filter size 95mm Diaphragm blades Nine Weather seals Sealed mount Supplied accessories Hood, soft case, caps Dimensions (diameter x length) 108x268mm Weight 2300g (including tripod collar)

www.digitalcameraworld.com

sharpness (higher is better)

fringing at f/8 (lower is better)

centre

Short 0.3 Mid 0.85 Tele 2.21

2500 2000 1500 1000 500

f/5.

f/8

f/11

f/16

f/22

f/32

edge

Very low throughout most of the zoom range, colour fringing only rises a little at the 500mm end.

distortion (lower is better)

2500 2000 1500

500

f/8

Short

f/11

f/16

Mid

f/22

f/32

Tele

Sharpness remains impressive even when combining the longest zoom setting with the widest aperture.

overall

Short 0.3 Mid 1.07 Tele 2.21

1000

f/5.

FeatureS Build/HaNdliNg perFormaNce value For moNey

-3

-2

-1

0

1

2

There’s practically zero distortion at 200mm, and only a marginal amount of pincushion evident at mid to long focal lengths.

We say… Well worth the wait, this new zoom lens offers mighty telephoto reach alongside very pleasing image quality at a highly attractive price.

February 2016

115


Gear ZoNe

The world’s toughest tests

miNi test

plastic FaNtastic

Acrylic prints have a ‘clear’ advantage over conventional framing methods…

ld-fashioned picture frames are just so passé. By contrast, acrylic prints have a thoroughly modern look. We’re testing acrylic prints from six online labs, all of which offer regular photo printing as well as photo products. Typically, making acrylic prints involves creating a print and then mounting it behind clear acrylic. The result is a durable, sleek image that you can hang directly on the wall. In some cases holes are drilled through the acrylic at each corner, into which posts are inserted to lift the artwork away from the wall and create a floating effect. We’ve chosen a different method for the contenders here, in that the wall fixings are attached to the back of the prints; this enables the print to be lifted away from the wall, but without any visible means of support. We went for 24x16-inch floating acrylic prints. Different labs use different manufacturing processes, but all products on test are based on silver halide prints on photo paper. This differs from the inferior, but cheaper, method, where a six-colour process is applied onto the underside of an acrylic sheet.

o

The photo print is sandwiched between a thin sheet of clear acrylic and a black panel

Loxley Colour £123, $190

www.loxleycolour.com

Loxley Colour is renowned for its high quality and reasonable prices, and offers a wide range of acrylic options. We chose the ‘Acrylic Gallery’ product, which has a depth of 6mm and is available in sizes from 8x8 to 60x40 inches. The clear acrylic is only 2mm thick and the print, which has glossy and metallic finish options, is sandwiched between that and a backing panel. The hanging system, based on a central metal plate and four rubber feet, floats the print 1cm from the wall. Using the free

‘hand correction’ option, our sample had very good accuracy for brightness, colour and contrast.

Pros Lightweight, easy to hang, great image quality Cons Lacking in wow factor compared with thicker acrylics We say It’s a very attractive product at a competitive price

overall

Fill your Glass When ordering your acrylic print, take note of all the options, and make the most of what’s on offer The hanging system looks and feels a bit basic, but that’s in keeping with the budget price

01 Paper trail

Some companies offer glossy, metallic and other paper choices for a range of different effects.

02 Correctional facility

Most labs offer the option of automatic or ‘by hand’ photo corrections to make finished prints look their best.

£93, $145

03 Supersizing

It’s tempting to go for extra-large prints as they look spectacular, but they can get very pricey. For example, Loxley Colour offers a huge 60x40-inch acrylic print, but it costs £420.

04 Aspect ratio

Ensure that you pick the right aspect ratio (where available) to match your image. Typically, the native aspect ratio is 3x2 for Nikon D-SLRs and 4x3 for compact cameras.

05 Shipping costs

All the prices shown in our reviews are for a 24x16-inch acrylic print, including VAT and standard UK delivery. Shipping costs to the USA and other parts of the world may be considerably more.

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Photobox

February 2016

www.photobox.co.uk

Photobox appeals to the mass market, offering photo printing at competitive prices. Its acrylic product is similar in construction to the Peak Imaging one, in that the print is bonded to the rear of a single acrylic sheet. However, the acrylic is only 6mm deep, and the hanging system is more basic, involving two brackets stuck onto the back near the top, plus two spongy feet at the bottom, giving a float of roughly 1cm from the wall. Using the default ‘auto correction’ option, the colour

saturation of our test image was bumped up, giving slightly more vivid results than we expected.

Pros Reasonably thick 6mm

acrylic, relatively inexpensive Cons Slightly over-saturated

colour, hanging system is basic We say Image quality is punchy, and it’s decent value

overall www.digitalcameraworld.com


Acrylic prints

The photo print is mounted behind a 10mm acrylic sheet, revealing the image edges through the sides

The print is sandwiched between a pair of thin and thick acrylic sheets, and appears to float

One Vision £178, $275

Peak Imaging

www.onevisionimaging.com

Compared with Loxley’s offering, the One Vision product is a real slab of a print. Image quality is spectacular, with accurate colour rendition and contrast. The ‘Quartz’ option is a print that sits between a 2mm-thick acrylic sheet at the front and a 12mm-thick acrylic block at the back. The result is stunning, with the print being near the front of the artwork, apparently floating over a transparent backing. The whole thing is also 2cm from the wall, which puts the front face 3.5cm

from the wall. The four hanging posts on the rear of the panel look and feel of industrial strength.

Pros A generous 14mm

thickness of acrylic in total Cons Pricier than competing options, but worth the money We say It’s the most imposing acrylic on test. Fabulous!

overall

Quality is good, but our sample arrived with a foot broken off, which we had to glue back on

The Digital Room £175, $270

£137, $210

www.thedigitalroom.co.uk

Despite being the second most expensive option on test, this is a relatively lightweight affair. It’s based on a single sheet of 5mm acrylic, with the print bonded to the rear. A weightier option, using a 10mm acrylic sheet, is available for £6/$9 more, and is better value. The hanging system uses a second large sheet of material at the rear that incorporates a hook and four stick-on feet. One of the feet had become detached from our review sample in transit, and required gluing back on. Worse

www.digitalcameraworld.com

Pros 10mm-thick acrylic available for a little extra outlay Cons Inaccurate print quality, 5mm product is poor value We say Quality is worse than the cheaper Photobox product

overall

angle. Whether you like the effect is a matter of personal taste. We prefer the One Vision method.

Like the One Vision product, this is a real heavyweight. However, instead of sitting between two sheets of acrylic, the photo print is bonded to the rear of a single 10mm sheet. Behind this, a rectangular rail system forms the hanging support, spacing the rear of the acrylic 1cm from the wall. The superb image quality is virtually identical to that of the One Vision print. However, with the print being at the rear, the edge of the image shows through the side of the acrylic if you view it from an

Pros Superb print quality, acrylic 10mm thick Cons Some might not like seeing the image at the side We say It’s a really upmarket product that looks spectacular

overall

Rounded or diagonally cut corners are available, as well as the right-angles shown here

Whitewall £108, $165

still, print quality was poor, with too much contrast and oversaturated colours.

www.peak-imaging.com

www.whitewall.co.uk

This product is based on a print sandwiched between a 2mm-thick acrylic sheet and a 3mm-thick aluminium ‘Dibond’ backing panel. However, Whitewall spoils you for choice and you can upgrade to 4mm- or 6mm-thick acrylic at the front for an extra £7/£11 or £18/$28 respectively. There’s even a 2mm matte acrylic option, plus a choice of photo papers. You can choose between normal corners, slight/strong rounded corners and slight/strong cut corners. The rectangular rail

hanging system floats the product about 1cm from the wall. Print quality is excellent.

Pros Lovely print quality,

massive range of finish options Cons Slightly lower quality than

One Vision and Peak Imaging We say It’s a thing of beauty

and fantastic value for money

overall February 2016

117


GEAR ZONE

The world’s toughest tests

2

Flashguns

Flashes of inspiration

Dedication is the key to easy yet effective flash photography. Matthew Richards reveals the best Nikon-fit buys ot just there for life’s darker moments, a flashgun can make a massive difference to the quality of lighting, even under the midday sun. Indeed, they’re particularly useful for softening or eliminating unsightly shadows in sunny-day portraits. However, whether you’re shooting against a backdrop of night-time city lights, stepping indoors for some interior shots, or competing with the beaming sun, successful flash photography is all about balance. Trying to work out how much flash power you need in any given situation used to demand some mental (and sometimes maddening) arithmetic. Nowadays, thanks to TTL (Through The Lens) flash metering, your camera can team up with a dedicated

N

118

February 2016

flashgun to strike a great balance between exposing for ambient light, and applying just the right level of flash power. At least, that’s the theory. In practice, you might often want to tweak the camera’s exposure settings as well as the flash exposure compensation for best results. Even so, fully automatic settings tend to get things right much more often than they used to, thanks to the advent of Nikon’s TTL-BL (Balanced fill-flash) flash metering option. Compared with

THE CONTENDERS 1 Gloxy GX-F990 N TTL £130, $200 2 Metz mecablitz 52 AF-1 Digital £180, $320 3 Nikon SB-500 Speedlight £195, $250 4 Nissin Di866 MKII Professional £200, $315 5 Nikon SB-700 Speedlight £230, $325 6 Metz mecablitz 64 AF-1 Digital £300, $480 7 Phottix Mitros+ TTL Transceiver £330, $400 8 Nikon SB-910 Speedlight £340, $545

1


Dedicated flashguns 4

3

5

8

6 7

February 2016

119


GEAR ZONE

The world’s toughest tests

EquipmENT kNOw-HOw On the bounce

FEATuRES TO lOOk FOR…

Get all the power and clever tricks you need for flash photography

A bounce range of between 0 and 90 degrees (horizontal to vertical) is usually available, and some flashguns add a -7 or -9 degree downward-slanting option for close-ups.

Heads up

Many flashguns have a wide-angle diffuser panel to spread coverage when using ultra-wide angle lenses, and a reflector card for directing some light forwards in upright bounce mode (see page 52 for more on this).

Light tube

The flash tube fires a very bright pulse of light for a split second. The maximum available output is quoted as a Guide number (see Jargon Buster, below).

LCD screen Zoom, zoom

The most common motorised zoom range is 24 to 105mm but some stretch a little further. For example, the Nikon SB-910 has a 17 to 200mm zoom facility.

regular TTL flash metering, this takes more account of ambient lighting levels. Indeed, TTL-BL is the default flash mode for most of Nikon’s recent flashguns, and is available in all models in this group apart from the Gloxy and Phottix, which only give the option for regular TTL.

Bounce, swivel, stretch

The most direct flash route is to slide your flashgun into your camera’s hotshoe, point and shoot. This can yield decent results, but images tend to have a two-dimensional ‘snapshot’ look. All the flashguns on test have bounce and swivel heads, enabling you to fire the flash at a wall or ceiling instead of directly at the subject (see page 52). When reflected off a large white surface like a wall, the size

120

February 2016

jARGON buSTER guide number (gn)

■ This is a measurement of flash power, usually quoted in metres at ISO100. Dividing the Gn by the aperture value gives the distance the light will reach and still Illuminate the subject sufficently. At ISO100 a flash with a Gn of 60 will be able to illuminate a subject 15m away at an aperture of f/4 (60÷4=15).

Extension cord

■ To enable TTL flash metering, a flash extension cord needs to be Nikon-dedicated. Examples include the Nikon SC-29.

An illuminated LCD info panel is useful for displaying important flash settings. The Metz flashguns on test go even further, with mono or colour touchscreens.

of the light source effectively becomes very much bigger. This generates a much softer quality of light that’s much more flattering for portraiture. You can also get much better results by using your flashgun off-camera. The traditional way to do this is to use a flash extension cord which links the flashgun to the camera’s hotshoe via a stretchable curly cable. However, most current flashguns have wireless communications built in, so they can operate in master or slave modes for multi-flashgun set-ups. A down side of bounce flash, especially in areas with very high ceilings or distant walls, is that the light from the flash has to travel a lot further. The intensity of light drops off according to the inverse square

Control

On-board controls tend to comprise an array of buttons and dials. With the Nikon SB-500, however, adjustments need to be made via the camera.

law (here comes that maths again), which basically means that if you double the distance you only get a quarter of the light. You can therefore find your flashgun coming up short on available power if you try to bounce the light too far. For direct flash, at least, all the flashguns on test apart from the Nikon SB-500 have the advantage of an automatic, motorised zoom head. This means they narrow the flash beam to keep in step with longer zoom settings or when changing to a lens with a longer focal length, typically over a range of 24-105mm (FX cameras), or 16-70mm (DX). After all, there’s no point wasting power illuminating a wide area if you’re only shooting a narrow area with a telephoto lens.

www.digitalcameraworld.com


Dedicated flashguns

STEp by STEp Bouncing and beyond

Bounce and swivel aren’t the only ways to be more flash

01 straight on

With the flashgun mounted in the camera’s hotshoe and the flash tube aimed straight ahead at the subject, images tend to look rather flat and two-dimensional. There aren’t really any subtle shadows to give modelling, while the shadows behind the flowers are very dark.

02 Bounce mode

Bouncing the flash off the ceiling has produced a much softer and more natural-looking lighting effect. The dark shadows on the wall have been banished, and there are some subtle shadows creeping in under the leaves to give a more three-dimensional look.

10 things we learned…

There are lots of trick modes available in the Nikon flash system, and a few more tricks on the side

1

On the button

2

Red-eye reduction

3

slow sync flash

Not just for raising the pop-up flash, the flash button also enables you to select different flash modes, using either the pop-up flash or an external flashgun. This uses a burst of preflash light to narrow the pupils of your subject, to reduce or eliminate the red-eye effect that can spoil flashlit portraits. With slow sync flash, flash is used at a slow shutter speed to give a better balance between flashlit subjects and dark backgrounds, or to freeze movement in low light.

4

Rear-curtain sync

Select this option and the flash fires at the end of the exposure instead of the beginning. It’s useful when you want to freeze the action at the end of a long exposure (see page 88 for more).

www.digitalcameraworld.com

5

auto FP

6

Repeating flash

7

Diffusion dome

8

Command module

This is a ‘high speed sync’ flash mode, which enables the flashgun to be used at fast shutter speeds, albeit with a lower maximum flash power being available. Available in some flashguns as well as the pop-up flash of some upmarket D-SLRs, this programmable mode gives a stroboscopic effect during long exposures. Some flashguns come with a diffusion dome, or you can buy one separately. They’re great for softening the light and creating a mix of direct and bounced flash. The pop-up flash in most upmarket D-SLRs, such as the D7200, can be used as a wireless commander for triggering compatible remote flashguns in slave mode.

03 Off-camera

For this final shot, we used the flash off-camera, connecting to the hotshoe via a coiled cable. We positioned the flashgun slightly higher and to one side of the flowers, and we added a diffusion dome to give some softened but direct light, while also bouncing light off the ceiling.

HOw wE TESTED

REAl wORlD mEETS lAb

We looked for the distance each flash could cover, as well as how smartly it performed ■ All functions, features and firing modes of the flashguns were tested. To check output power, each flashgun was fired at each setting throughout its entire range of manual settings. This was repeated at zoom settings of 24mm, 50mm and 105mm (FX), where available. A flash meter was used at a distance of one metre, and the resulting light readings were then converted to give a Gn number at ISO100, measured in metres.

9

spot on

10

Faster recycling

To switch from TTL-BL (Balanced Light) to regular TTL mode (which takes less account of ambient lighting conditions), you often need to switch to the camera’s spot metering mode. NiMH (nickel-metal hydride) batteries generally enable faster recycling speeds than alkaline batteries, especially after a high-power flash discharge.

We also checked for flash exposure accuracy, using TTL rather than TTL-BL (Balanced fill-flash) mode. For this, we photographed a neutral grey card, which should produce a spike at the centre of the histogram, and then calculated the amount of over- or under-exposure in +/-EV (Exposure Value) steps. Finally, we measured the recycle speed after a full-power flash, using both alkaline and NiMH batteries.


GEAR ZONE

The world’s toughest tests

gloxy gX-F990 n ttl

metz mecablitz 52 aF-1 Digital

Boasts some clever features at a great price

Features an intuitive and very handy touchscreen

£130, $200

The Gloxy is a disarmingly inexpensive flashgun, yet has an impressive range of advanced features, including an 18mm to 180mm motorised zoom head and programmable repeat mode – the latter being practically unheard of in such a ‘budget’ flashgun. The usual remote mounting stand and pouch are included, but the Gloxy also comes with a diffusion dome and a bonus set of colour filters. The maximum power rating of Gn 54 is pretty good and the control panel is logical and easy to use. Build quality feels good, too. The only real disappointment is that there’s no wireless master or slave mode, so TTL metering isn’t available if the flash is taken off-camera. There is a more basic optical slave mode, which senses the output from a pop-up flash or another flash, and fires the flash at the power that’s been set manually.

£180, $320

POwER OutPut 50 45 40 35 30 25 20 15 10 5 0 Full

1/2

1/4

1/8

24

1/16 1/32 1/64 1/128 1/256

50

105

We only managed a power output of Gn 29 at a 105mm zoom setting.

ttl aCCuRaCy -0.33

-1

-0.5

0

0.5

1

In our tests, TTL flash consistently under-exposed by about a third of a stop.

RECyClE sPEED NiMH Alkaline 0

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

The Gloxy is no slouch, matching some of the fastest guns in the group.

Performance

In our lab tests, recycle speeds proved to be pretty brisk, even after a full-power flash, but the maximum output was a little disappointing compared with the claimed values. We also feel that TTL accuracy could be better as there was slight under-exposure.

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February 2016

FEatuREs BuilD/hanDling PERFORmanCE valuE FOR mOnEy

OvERAll We say… Good features, though it underperformed slightly in our tests.

This Metz flashgun looks pretty basic from the rear, but don’t let that fool you. Instead of featuring lots of buttons that could be hard to use or even to see in the dark, the Metz has a touchscreen. You can therefore simply poke your way around the flashgun’s extensive menu, making it quick and easy to access the settings you want to alter. Upmarket attractions include the usual bounce and swivel head with a 24mm to 105mm motorised zoom, a built-in wide-angle diffuser and a reflector card. As this is a reasonably low-budget option, it lacks the Gloxy’s programmable stroboscopic mode, but it does feature full wireless master and slave functions, which are compatible with Nikon’s Creative Lighting System.

Performance

As with the Gloxy, the maximum power output of the mecablitz 52 fell some way short of its quoted Guide number of 52, and this time TTL metering was a bit on the bright side. We also found recycling speeds were a little pedestrian. Even so, it’s good value, and the touchscreen is perfect for quickly accessing advanced settings.

POwER OutPut 50 45 40 35 30 25 20 15 10 5 0 Full

1/2

1/4

1/8

24

1/16 1/32 1/64 1/128 1/256

50

105

Maximum output at 105mm is the same as from the Nikon SB-700.

ttl aCCuRaCy 0.5 -1

-0.5

0

0.5

1

When it comes to TTL flash metering, it tends to give overly bright results.

RECyClE sPEED NiMH Alkaline 0

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

With NiMH batteries, recycling is among the slowest in the group.

FEatuREs BuilD/hanDling PERFORmanCE valuE FOR mOnEy

OvERAll We say… The touchscreen on the back is a nice feature.

www.digitalcameraworld.com


Dedicated flashguns

nikon sB-500 speedlight

nissin Di866 mKii Professional

Basic, but with the bonus of a constant light

Relatively inexpensive for a ‘pro’ flashgun

£195, $250

Quite a bare-bones affair, the SB-500 is the only flashgun in the group to lack both an LCD info screen and a zoom feature (hence the single line in the graph on the right). It also has a relatively low Gn (24), and runs on just two AA batteries instead of the usual four. Pretty much all adjustments need to be made via the host camera, and compatibility is limited with some older D-SLRs, including D2 and D3 series D-SLRs, the D50, D70, D80 and D200. One positive is that the SB-500 is the only flashgun in the group to feature a constant LED light as well as a flash. This is good news if you spend a lot of time shooting closeup stills and movies. In flash mode, you can use the SB-500 in wireless slave mode (Channel 3 only), or as a wireless commander, but only with Nikon’s latest D5500, D7200, D750 and D810 cameras.

£200, $315

POwER OutPut 50 45 40 35 30 25 20 15 10 5 0 Full

1/2

1/4

1/8

1/16 1/32 1/64 1/128 1/256

24

There’s no zoom feature, but the power output is pretty respectable at 24mm

ttl aCCuRaCy O -1

-0.5

0

0.5

1

Performance is impressive, the SB-500 delivering reliable, consistent exposures.

RECyClE sPEED NiMH Alkaline 0

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

With only two batteries, recycling speed is the slowest in the group.

Performance

Despite its modest power rating, in our tests the SB-500 matched the Nikon SB-700 at its 24mm zoom setting. We also found TTL accuracy was spot on, meaning you won’t need to fuss with exposure compensation, but recycling speed is the outright slowest in the group.

www.digitalcameraworld.com

Professional by name, the Nissin is mostly professional by nature as well. It has a full set of advanced flash modes including programmable repeat; a sync terminal; external battery pack socket; solid build quality; and some smart extras. For example, it’s the only flashgun to match the Metz mecablitz 64 AF-1 in offering a secondary flash tube for adding direct fill flash in bounce mode. There’s a colour LCD screen around the back, and the display rotates automatically depending on whether you’re shooting in landscape or portrait orientation. As you’d expect, the Nissin also supports full wireless master/ slave functions. Compared with other ‘pro’ flashguns, the motorised zoom has a relatively limited range of 24mm to 105mm, but the maximum power rating of Gn 60 looks impressive, at least on paper.

POwER OutPut 50 45 40 35 30 25 20 15 10 5 0 Full

1/2

1/4

1/8

24

1/16 1/32 1/64 1/128 1/256

50

105

Despite its Gn 60 rating, the Nissin is one of the least powerful flashes on test.

ttl aCCuRaCy -0.83 -1

-0.5

0

0.5

1

Under-exposure is the norm for TTL metering, usually by nearly a full stop.

RECyClE sPEED NiMH Alkaline 0

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

With NiMH batteries, it is one of the slowest flashguns on test to recycle.

Performance FEatuREs BuilD/hanDling PERFORmanCE valuE FOR mOnEy

OvERAll We say… Accurate, and surprisingly powerful at short distances too.

In our tests, the maximum power output and TTL flash accuracy were both disappointing, and the recycling speed was sluggish. Ultimately, the upmarket feature set looks amazing at the price, but performance proves to be rather more average.

FEatuREs BuilD/hanDling PERFORmanCE valuE FOR mOnEy

OvERAll We say… The performance doesn’t match the excellent features.

February 2016

123


GEAR ZONE

The world’s toughest tests

nikon sB-700 speedlight

metz mecablitz 64 aF-1 Digital

Feature-packed and keenly priced

Premium build quality, pro-grade power

£230, $325

£300, $480

The SB-700 boasts -7 to POwER OutPut 90-degree bounce, full 50 45 180-degree swivel in both 40 directions, a 24mm to 120mm 35 30 motorised zoom and full wireless 25 20 master and slave modes. The usual 15 wide-angle diffuser and reflector 10 5 card are built into the head, and the 0 flashgun is supplied complete with Full 1/2 1/4 1/8 1/16 1/32 1/64 1/128 1/256 a diffusion dome and colour filters. 24 50 105 Cleverly, the SB-700 is also able to Despite its Gn 38 rating, the SB-700 automatically detect when the competes well against other flashguns. dome or filters are fitted. The maximum power rating ttl aCCuRaCy of Gn 38 is significantly lower 0 than in some other flashguns -1 -0.5 0 0.5 1 on test, but we’ll come back to Excellent accuracy and consistency are delivered by TTL flash metering. that later. Considering the level of sophistication in most areas, RECyClE sPEED it’s surprising that you still need to select the host camera’s spot NiMH Alkaline metering function to enable TTL 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 instead of TTL-BL flash mode. Less Using NiMH batteries, it had the fastest surprising, given the relatively recycle speed of any flashgun on test. inexpensive price tag, is that there’s no ‘repeat’ flash mode.

This is the new flagship flashgun from Metz. It has professional-level enticements including a Gn 60 power rating, 24mm to 200mm motorised zoom range, -9 to 90-degree bounce and all the flash modes you could possibly want, including a programmable repeat mode. Everything’s accessible via an oversized colour touchscreen. Other pro-level features include a sync terminal and a power input socket – the latter for attaching an optional external power pack. Unlike with other flashguns on test, flash output can be adjusted down to 1/256th instead of 1/128th, which can be helpful when using wide apertures at close range. A neat extra feature, matched only by the Nissin, is a secondary flash tube, which is great for adding a little direct flash when you’re using the main flash head in bounce or swivel mode.

Performance

Performance

TTL metering was accurate, and the SB-700 exceeded expectations for its maximum power output, matching the Metz 52 and beating the Nissin. Recycling speed was super-swift as well, especially when using NiMH batteries.

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FEatuREs BuilD/hanDling PERFORmanCE valuE FOR mOnEy

OvERAll We say… Accurate, consistent, and its power exceeds expectations.

Recycling speeds were better than with the lower-powered Metz 52 (at least, when using NiMH batteries) and TTL flash metering was more accurate. Overall performance was excellent, matching the flashgun’s professional-grade aspirations.

POwER OutPut 50 45 40 35 30 25 20 15 10 5 0 Full

1/2

1/4

1/8

24

1/16 1/32 1/64 1/128 1/256

50

105

The Metz 64 beats every other flashgun on test for sheer light intensity.

ttl aCCuRaCy 0.16 -1

-0.5

0

0.5

1

Impressively consistent and reliable, if ever-so-slightly on the bright side.

RECyClE sPEED NiMH 0

1

2

Alkaline 3

4

5

6

7

8

It’s quick with NiMH batteries, but you’re in for a wait if you use alkaline

FEatuREs BuilD/hanDling PERFORmanCE valuE FOR mOnEy

OvERAll We say… Powerful and easy to control, with plenty of flash modes.

www.digitalcameraworld.com


Dedicated flashguns

Phottix mitros+ ttl transceiver

nikon sB-910 speedlight

A solid on- and off-camera flashgun

Nikon’s range-topping pro-spec flashgun

£330, $400

There’s plenty to get excited about in this flashgun, with its high-end features that include a full range of flash modes – programmable repeat among them. Build quality is excellent, pro-grade additions include a sync terminal and external power sockets, and the flashgun comes with a diffusion dome. The 24mm to 105mm zoom range isn’t exactly generous, but bounce and swivel run from -7 to 90 degrees and 180 degrees to both left and right respectively. Wireless connectivity gets a real boost with the inclusion of a built-in RF (Radio Frequency) TTL transceiver. This enables remote triggering of multiple master and slave flashguns without the need for a ‘line of sight’ optical path. The control panel is also easy to use, thanks to a four-way pad that’s particularly intuitive.

£340, $545

POwER OutPut 50 45 40 35 30 25 20 15 10 5 0 Full

1/2

1/4

1/8

24

1/16 1/32 1/64 1/128 1/256

50

105

Beaten by the Metz 64 for maximum output, but level with the Nikon SB-910.

ttl aCCuRaCy 0.83 -1

-0.5

0

0.5

1

Nearly an stop of over-exposure is the norm, so dial in negative compensation.

RECyClE sPEED NiMH 0

1

2

Alkaline 3

4

5

6

7

8

Average when using NiMH batteries; slower than most with alkaline.

Performance

The Phottix is one of the most powerful flashguns in the group but TTL accuracy was poor, with a tendency towards noticeable over-exposure – and there’s no TTL-BL mode. We found it’s best to permanently apply negative flash exposure compensation. Apart from that, performance was very good.

www.digitalcameraworld.com

FEatuREs BuilD/hanDling PERFORmanCE valuE FOR mOnEy

OvERAll We say… Tends to over-expose, but a very good performer otherwise.

Nikon’s top-flight flashgun (until the new SB-5000 launches), the SB-910 includes all of the SB-700’s features, like its three illumination patterns (standard, even and centreweighted), and a visual indicator on the LCD screen for flash tube temperature. It also comes with the same extras, including a diffusion dome and colour filters, and like the SB-700 it can detect when they’re attached to the flashgun. Pro-grade additions include a sync terminal and power input socket for an optional external battery pack, greater output power and a programmable repeat mode. The motorised zoom has a range of 24mm to 200mm. The SB-910 is larger and heavier than the SB-700 but the standard of build quality feels very similar. The control panel uses a set of context-sensitive buttons for intuitive adjustments of modes, including easy switching between TTL and TTL-BL modes.

Performance

The tested maximum output power of the SB-910 was only slightly higher than from the SB-700 and TTL accuracy wasn’t as accurate. Recycling speed was slightly slower. The extra features are nice to have.

POwER OutPut 50 45 40 35 30 25 20 15 10 5 0 Full

1/2

1/4

1/8

24

1/16 1/32 1/64 1/128 1/256

50

105

It’s slightly more powerful than the SB-700, but falls far short of the Metz 64.

ttl aCCuRaCy -0.16 -1

-0.5

0

0.5

1

Our tests found there’s just a hint of under-exposure in TTL flash metering.

RECyClE sPEED NiMH 0

1

2

Alkaline 3

4

5

6

7

8

The recycling speed is quick, but it’s not as fast as in the lower-powered SB-700.

FEatuREs BuilD/hanDling PERFORmanCE valuE FOR mOnEy

OvERAll We say… A great set of features, but performance could be better.

February 2016

125


GEAR ZONE

The world’s toughest tests

COmpARiSON TAblE hOw thE Flashguns COmPaRE namE

gloxy gX-F990 n ttl

metz mecablitz 52 aF-1

nikon speedlight sB-500

nissin Di866 mk ii Professional

nikon speedlight sB-700

metz mecablitz 64 aF-1

Phottix mitros+ ttl transceiver

nikon speedlight sB-910

wEBsitE

www.photo24.co.uk

www.metzflash.co.uk

www.nikon.com

www.nissindigital.com

www.nikon.com

www.metzflash.co.uk

www.phottix.co.uk

www.nikon.com

taRgEt PRiCE

£130, $200

£180, $320

£195, $250

£200, $315

£230, $325

£300, $480

£330, $400

£340, $545

maX gn (mEtREs, isO100)

gn 54

gn 52

gn 24

gn 60

gn 38

gn 64

gn 58

gn 54

BOunCE (DEgREEs)

-7º to 90º

0 to 90º

0 to 90º

0 to 90º

-7 to 90º

-9 to 90º

-7 to 90º

-7 to 90º

swivEl (lEFt/Right)

180 / 180

180 / 120

180 / 180

90 / 180

180 / 180

180 / 120

180 / 180

180 / 180

ZOOm RangE

18-180mm (auto)

24-105mm (auto)

24mm (fixed)

24-105mm (auto)

24-120mm (auto)

24-200mm (auto)

24-105mm (auto)

17-200mm (auto)

DiFFusER / BOunCE CaRD

14mm / yes

12mm / yes

no / no

18mm / yes

12mm / yes

12mm / yes

14mm / yes

14mm / yes

manual POwER sEttings

1/1 to 1/128

1/1 to 1/128

1/1 to 1/128

1/1 to 1/128

1/1 to 1/128

1/1 to 1/256

1/1 to 1/128

1/1 to 1/128

wiRElEss mastER/slavE

Optical slave only

master/slave

master/slave*

master/slave

master/slave

master/slave

master/slave RF

master/slave

ttl Flash EXP ERROR

-0.67Ev

+0.5Ev

0Ev

-0.83Ev

0Ev

+0.16Ev

+0.83Ev

-0.16Ev

Full RECyClE (nimh/alK)

3.1/4.6 seconds

4.1/5.2 seconds

4.6/6.8 seconds

4.3/6.5 seconds

2.7/5.4 seconds

3.4/7.4 seconds

3.5/7.1 seconds

3.0/6.1 seconds

Flash inFO lCD

yes

yes (touchscreen)

no

yes (colour)

yes

yes (col. touchscreen)

yes

yes

suPPliED aCCEssORiEs

Pouch, foot, dome, filters

Pouch, foot

Pouch, foot

Pouch, foot

Pouch, foot, dome, filters

Pouch, foot

Pouch, foot, dome

Pouch, foot, dome, filters

BattERiEs

4x aa

4x aa

2x aa

4x aa

4x aa

4x aa

4x aa

4x aa

DimEnsiOns, wEight

75x148x105mm, 340g

73x134x90mm, 346g

67x115x71mm, 226g

74x139x113mm, 380g

71x126x105mm, 360g

78x148x112mm, 422g

78x147x103mm, 427g

79x145x113mm, 420g

FEatuREs BuilD quality imagE quality valuE FOR mOnEy OvERall

THE wiNNER iS…

top runners-up

metz mecablitz 64 aF-1

nikon sB-910

£300, $480

* D5500/ D700/ D750/ D810 only

German precision engineering and a flair for design make the Metz a winner You’d normally think that if you want top-level accessories for your Nikon D-SLR, you’re best off sticking with Nikon kit. The Nikon SB-910 is undeniably an excellent flashgun, with all the advanced features you could wish for, but the Metz 64 AF-1 beats it for maximum power output, has an excellent colour touchscreen interface and a secondary fill-flash tube for bounce mode, and is less expensive. The Metz is currently our absolute favourite, knocking the SB-910 into second place. A highlight of the Phottix Mitros+ is its excellent built-in Radio Frequency triggering system, and we’re also fans of the featurerich Nissin Di866 Mk II Professional. However, both of them suffer from

126

February 2016

TTL flash exposure inaccuracies. The Nikon SB-700 is less sophisticated, but it’s an excellent performer, easy to use and very good value. On a really tight budget, the Gloxy GX-F990 N TTL comes up trumps. What’s good Very powerful output, secondary fill-flash tube, colour touchscreen. What’s bad Some may prefer traditional buttons and dials to a touchscreen. Our verdict A highly advanced flashgun that’s both feature- and power-packed – and easy to use.

OvERall

What’s good Full range of pro-grade features, build quality. What’s bad Lacks a secondary fill-flash tube, quite expensive. Our verdict It’s the best and most sophisticated of Nikon’s range of flashguns.

nikon sB-700

What’s good Seamless integration with Nikon cameras, intuitive and powerful. What’s bad No ‘repeat’ flash mode, standard TTL mode only available via spot metering. Our verdict A compact yet powerful flashgun that comes complete with a diffusion dome and colour filters.

gloxy gX-F990 n ttl

What’s good Smart range of advanced flash modes including programmable repeat.

What’s bad No wireless master/slave functions, just a basic optical slave.

Our verdict Good performance and a wide range of features at a rock-bottom price.

www.digitalcameraworld.com


GEAR ZONE

The world’s toughest tests

buYER’S guIDE Not sure which Nikon body will be the one for you? Here’s a quick rundown of the current range to help you out

TesTed In IssUe 47 PrIce: £300/$495

NIKON 1 J5, 10-30mm A CSC thAt D-SLR uSeRS wiLL Love, the J5 has the highest resolution of any Nikon 1 camera to date (20.8Mp) and a decent sensitivity range. The top dial now also gives access to semi-automatic and manual exposure modes, plus you can shoot in RAW, which is real bonus.

sensor

20.8Mp, CX (5232x3488)

Processor

EXPEED 5A

Viewfinder

N/A

IsO AF Lcd Max burst Memory card

200-12800 171-area contrast (105-area phase) 3-inch touch-sensitive tilting 60fps microSD/HC/XC

PrIce: £270/$350

NIKON 1 S2, 11-27.5mm SmALL in Size but big on quALity, the svelte Nikon 1 S2 is responsive and speedy. With a 14.2Mp image sensor, and the omission of built-in Wi-Fi or a touchscreen, it’s more basic than the J5, but still a highly capable camera that you can slip into your bag as a lightweight backup.

sensor Processor

EXPEED 4A

Viewfinder

N/A

IsO AF Lcd

NIKON 1 COMPACT SYSTEM CAMERAS

Max burst Memory card

200-12800 135-area contrast (73-area phase) 3-inch 20fps (60fps fixed AF) microSD/HC/XC

TesTed In IssUe 46 PrIce: £550/$700

NIKON 1 AW1, 11-27.5mm veRy muCh the ACtion ADventuReR, the AW1 is shockproof, waterproof to a depth of 15 metres, and freeze-proof down to -10°C. To keep pace with a truly active lifestyle, it also has a built-in compass, altimeter, depth gauge and GPS.

sensor

Sensor 14.2Mp, CX (4608x3072)

Processor

EXPEED 3A

Viewfinder

N/A

IsO AF Lcd Max burst Memory card

160-6400 135-area contrast (73-area phase) 3-inch 15fps (60fps fixed AF) SD/HC/XC

TesTed In IssUe 19 PrIce: £370/$900

NIKON 1 V2, 10-30mm FoR ComFoRt AnD FAmiLiARity, the conventional layout of the V2 includes a sculpted finger grip, electronic viewfinder and shooting mode dial. It’s been largely superseded by the V3 (below), so look out for it at bargain prices.

sensor

14.2Mp, CX (4608x3072)

Processor

EXPEED 3A

Viewfinder

1440k

IsO AF Lcd Max burst Memory card

160-6400 135-area contrast (73-area phase) 3-inch 15fps (60fps fixed AF) SD/HC/XC

TesTed In IssUe 46 PrIce: £750/$1100

NIKON 1 V3, 10-30mm, EVF AND gRIP the FLAgShip nikon 1 CAmeRA adds a vari-angle touchscreen to the comfortable ergonomics of the preceding V2, along with key upgrades to the image sensor, processor and autofocus system, plus built-in Wi-Fi. The electronic viewfinder is optional.

sensor

18.4Mp, CX (5232x3488)

Processor

EXPEED 4A

Viewfinder

Electronic

IsO

160-12800

AF Lcd Max burst Memory card

171-area contrast (105-area phase) 3-inch touch, vari-angle 20fps (60fps fixed AF) SD/HC/XC

ENTRY-LEVEL D-SLRs

TesTed In IssUe 53 PrIce: £230/$330

NIKON D3200 An inStAnt FAvouRite with beginneRS when launched back in 2012, the D3200 eases you into creative photography with a built-in Guide mode that serves up interactive tutorials. There’s impressive picture quality to match, thanks to its 24.2Mp image sensor and EXPEED 3 processor.

sensor

February 2016

24.2Mp, DX (6016x4000)

Processor

EXPEED 3

Viewfinder

Pentamirror, 0.8x, 95%

IsO AF Lcd Max burst (buffer) Memory card

128

14.2Mp, CX (4592x3072)

100-6400 (12800 expanded) 11-point (1 cross-type 3-inch 4fps (18 RAW/80 JPEG) SD/HC/XC

www.digitalcameraworld.com


Buyer’s guide

TesTed In IssUe 53 PrIce: £300/$400

NIKON D3300 ContinueS the D3200’S beginneR-FRienDLy tRADition of an interactive Guide shooting mode, and boosts performance with a later-generation EXPEED 4 processor, faster continuous shooting and greater low-light potential. There’s also a new ‘easy panorama’ mode.

sensor

EXPEED 4

Viewfinder

Pentamirror, 0.85x, 95%

IsO

100-12800 (25600 expanded)

AF

11-point (1 cross-type)

Lcd

11-point (1 cross-type)

Max burst (buffer) Memory card

5fps (11 RAW/100 JPEG) SD/HC/XC

TesTed In IssUe 17 PrIce: £330/$500

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/$650

NIKON D5300 A SigniFiCAnt upgRADe oveR the D5200, this camera features a newer generation processor, plus built-in Wi-Fi and GPS, wrapped up in a carbon-fibre-reinforced body 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 53 PrIce: £500/$700

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 31 PrIce: £580/$535

NIKON D7000 outStRipping the neAR-pRo-LeveL D300s when it wAS LAunCheD in 2010, it nevertheless now lags behind the newer D7100 and D7200, but still offers advanced controls and great handling to suit creative photographers, and at a knockdown price.

sensor

16.2Mp, DX (4928x3264)

Processor

EXPEED 2

Viewfinder

Pentaprism, 0.94x, 100%

IsO AF Lcd Max burst (buffer) Memory card

100-6400 (25600 expanded) 39-point (9 cross-type) 3-inch 6fps (10-15 RAW/31 JPEG) 2x SD/HC/XC

TesTed In IssUe 19 PrIce: £710/$800

ENTHuSIAST D-SLRS

NIKON D7100 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 51 PrIce: £780/$1100

NIKON D7200 buiLDing on the D7100’S SpeCiFiCAtionS, Nikon’s latest and most advanced DX-format camera boasts better low-light autofocus, a bigger memory buffer, an updated processor, built-in Wi-Fi and NFC, plus new trick modes for light-trail photography and time-lapse movies.

sensor

24.2Mp, DX (6000x4000)

Processor

EXPEED 4

Viewfinder

Pentaprism, 0.94x, 100%

IsO AF Lcd Max burst (buffer) Memory card

www.digitalcameraworld.com

24.2Mp, DX (6000x4000)

Processor

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

February 2016

129


GEAR ZONE

The world’s toughest tests

TesTed In IssUe 31 PrIce: £880/$1200

NIKON D300s the veteRAn D300s wAS LAunCheD ALL the wAy bACk in 2009, but is still available if you look hard enough. Image quality is appealing, the maximum drive rate is fast, and its entire body has a magnesium alloy build that’s particularly durable, though its specifications look dated.

sensor

EXPEED

Viewfinder

Pentaprism, 0.94x, 100%

IsO AF Lcd Max burst (buffer) Memory card

200-3200 (100-6400 expanded) 51-point (15 cross-type) 3-inch 7fps, 8fps with grip (18-45 RAW/44 JPEG) 1x CF, 1x SD/HC/XC

TesTed In IssUe 54 PrIce: £1080/$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

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

TesTed In IssUe 54 PrIce: £1500/$1900

NIKON D750 the D750 iS eASiLy mAnAgeAbLe FoR A pRoFeSSionAL FuLL-FRAme boDy. A recent addition to the line-up, it includes a tilting LCD screen and built-in Wi-Fi. The pixel count strikes a happy medium between the 16.2Mp Df/D4s and the 36.3Mp D810.

sensor

24.3Mp, FX (6016x4016)

Processor

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 54 PrIce: £1900/$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.

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: £2250/$2900

NIKON D800e A SpeCiAL eDition oF the oRiginAL D800, this one has a modified optical low-pass filter that omits an anti-alias feature. It’s therefore better able to capture extraordinary levels of fine detail, maximising the potential of its ultra-high-resolution 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: £2350/$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 (£2900, $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: £4450/$6000

NIKON D4s nikon’S SpeeDy FLAgShip pRoFeSSionAL D-SLR DeLiveRS 11FpS Shooting, complete with continuous autofocus and metering. Handling is sublime with duplicated controls for portraitorientation (upright) shooting, and image quality is immaculate, even at ultra-high ISO settings.

sensor

February 2016

16.2Mp, FX (4928x3280)

Processor

EXPEED 4

Viewfinder

Pentaprism, 0.7x, 100%

IsO AF Lcd Max burst (buffer) Memory card

130

12.3Mp, DX (4288x2848)

Processor

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

www.digitalcameraworld.com


Buyer’s guide

buyer’s guide Vital statistics – find the right lens at the right price point

ed

ar

Ra

Nikon AF-S DX 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED

£640/$895

DX

2.4x

No

Ultrasonic

f/3.5-4.5

460g

0.22m

0.2x

77mm

7

47

Nikon AF-S DX 12-24mm f/4G IF-ED

£840/$1150

DX

2.0x

No

Ultrasonic

f/4

465g

0.3m

0.12x

77mm

7

32

Nikon AF-S 14-24mm f/2.8G ED

£1315/$1900

FX

1.7x

No

Ultrasonic

f/2.8

970g

0.28m

0.15x

None

9

47

Nikon AF-S 16-35mm f/4G ED VR

£830/$1260

FX

2.2x

Yes

Ultrasonic

f/4

685g

0.28m

0.25x

77mm

9

47

Nikon AF-S 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5G ED

£520/$750

FX

1.9x

No

Ultrasonic

f/3.5-4.5

385g

0.28m

0.2x

77mm

7

47

HHH HHH HHHHH ● HHHH HHHH ●

Nikon AF-S 17-35mm f/2.8D IF-ED

£1500/$1750

FX

2.1x

No

Ultrasonic

f/2.8

745g

0.28m

0.22x

77mm

9

Sigma 8-16mm f/4.5-5.6 DC HSM

£530/$700

DX

2.0x

No

Ultrasonic

f/4.5-5.6

555g

0.24m

0.13x

None

7

47

Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 EX DC HSM

£385/$450

DX

2.0x

No

Ultrasonic

f/3.5

520g

0.24m

0.15x

82mm

7

47

Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6 EX DC HSM

£350/$400

DX

2.0x

No

Ultrasonic

f/4-5.6

465g

0.24m

0.15x

77mm

6

32

Sigma 12-24mm f/4.5-5.6 II DG HSM

£600/$950

FX

2.0x

No

Ultrasonic

f/4.5-5.6

670g

0.28m

0.16x

None

6

47

Tamron SP AF 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5 Di II LD

£360/$500

DX

2.4x

No

Electric

f/3.5-4.5

406g

0.24m

0.2x

77mm

7

47

Tamron SP 15-30mm f/2.8 Di VC USD

£950/$1200

FX

2.0x

Yes

Ultrasonic

f/2.8

1100g

0.28m

0.2x

None

9

Tokina 10-17mm f/3.5-4.5 AT-X DX Fisheye

£530/$530

DX

1.7x

No

Electric

f/3.5-4.5

350g

0.14m

0.39x

None

6

Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X PRO DX II

£600/$480

DX

1.5x

No

Electric

f/2.8

550g

0.3m

0.09x

77mm

9

32

Tokina 12-28mm f/4 AT-X Pro DX

£530/$450

DX

2.3x

No

Electric

f/4

530g

0.25m

0.2x

77mm

9

32

Tokina 16-28mm f/2.8 AT-X PRO FX

£700/$630

FX

1.8x

No

Electric

f/2.8

950g

0.28m

0.19x

None

9

33

Tokina 17-35mm f/4 AT-X PRO FX

£550/$450

FX

2.1x

No

Electric

f/4

600g

0.28m

0.21x

82mm

9

Nikon AF-S DX 16-80mm f/2.8-4E ED VR

£870/$1070

DX

5x

Yes

Ultrasonic

f/2.8-4

480g

0.35m

0.22x

72mm

7

51

Nikon AF-S DX 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR

£440/$600

DX

5.3x

Yes

Ultrasonic

f/3.5-5.6

485g

0.38m

0.22x

67mm

7

26

Nikon AF-S DX 17-55mm f/2.8G IF-ED

£1000/$1500

DX

3.2x

No

Ultrasonic

f/2.8

755g

0.36m

0.2x

77mm

9

26

HHHH HHHH HHHH

Nikon AF-S DX 18–55mm f/3.5–5.6G VR II

£230/$250

DX

3.1x

Yes

Ultrasonic

f/3.5-5.6

195g

0.28m

0.31x

52mm

7

Nikon AF-S DX 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR

£205/$400

DX

5.8x

Yes

Ultrasonic

f/3.5-5.6

420g

0.45m

0.2x

67mm

7

Nikon AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8G ED

£1200/$1900

FX

2.9x

No

Ultrasonic

f/2.8

900g

0.38m

0.27x

77mm

9

26

HHHHH

Nikon AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VR

£1850/$2400

FX

2.9x

Yes

Ultrasonic

f/2.8

1070g

0.38m

0.27x

82mm

9

HHHH HHHH HHHH HHHH HHH

Aw

Is

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g

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vi

bl

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Ap

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Fi

er

tu

re

re

e iz

ew

n rs

ni ag M

lt e

f ic

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in

W

ei

gh

t

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ax

at

io

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Au

to

St

ab

il i

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ax

DX

/F

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wide-angle zooms

wide-angle zooms

Pr

ic

ad

es

KEY: ● GREAT VALUE ● BEST ON TEST AWARD

● ● ●

HHHH HHHH HHHH

standard zooms

standard zooms

Nikon AF-S 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G ED VR

£400/$597

FX

3.5x

Yes

Ultrasonic

f/3.5-4.5

465g

0.38m

0.22x

72mm

7

21

Nikon AF-S 24-120mm f/4G ED VR

£750/$1300

FX

5.0x

Yes

Ultrasonic

f/4

710g

0.45x

0.24x

77mm

9

21

Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 EX DC OS HSM

£300/$520

DX

2.9x

Yes

Ultrasonic

f/2.8

565g

0.28m

0.2x

77mm

7

26

Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4 DC Macro OS HSM | C

£330/$500

DX

4.1x

Yes

Ultrasonic

f/2.8-4

465g

0.22m

0.36x

72mm

7

26

HHH HHHH HHHH HHHH

Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM | A

£640/$800

DX

1.9x

No

Ultrasonic

f/1.8

810g

0.28m

0.23x

72mm

9

Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 IF EX DG HSM

£595/$900

FX

2.9x

No

Ultrasonic

f/2.8

790g

0.38m

0.19x

82mm

9

26

HHH

Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM | A

£680/$900

FX

4.4x

Yes

Ultrasonic

f/4

885g

0.45m

0.22x

82mm

9

Tamron SP AF 17-50mm f/2.8 XR Di II VC

£350/$650

DX

2.9x

Yes

Electric

f/2.8

570g

0.29m

0.21x

72mm

7

26

Tamron SP AF 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD

£680/$1300

FX

2.9x

Yes

Ultrasonic

f/2.8

825g

0.38m

0.2x

82mm

9

26

Tamron SP AF 28-75mm f/2.8 XR Di

£360/$500

FX

2.7x

No

Electric

f/2.8

510g

0.33m

0.26x

67mm

7

5

Nikon AF-S DX 55-200mm f/4-5.6G IF-ED VR

£230/$250

DX

3.6x

Yes

Ultrasonic

f/4-5.6

335g

1.1m

0.23x

52mm

7

35

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

£280/$350

DX

3.6x

Yes

Ultrasonic

f/4-5.6

300g

1.1m

0.23x

52mm

7

● ●

HHH HHHHH ● HHH

telephoto zooms

telephoto zooms

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

£270/$400

DX

5.5x

Yes

Ultrasonic

f/4.5-5.6

530g

1.4m

0.22x

58mm

9

35

Nikon AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II

£1580/$2100

FX

2.9x

Yes

Ultrasonic

f/2.8

1540g

1.4m

0.12x

77mm

9

52

Nikon AF-S 70-200mm f/4G ED VR

£940/$1400

FX

2.9x

Yes

Ultrasonic

f/4

850g

1.0m

0.27x

67mm

9

29

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

£400/$500

FX

4.3x

Yes

Ultrasonic

f/4.5-5.6

745g

1.5m

0.25x

67mm

9

45

Nikon AF 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6D ED VR

£940/$1850

FX

5.0x

Yes

Body-driven

f/4.5-5.6

1360g

2.3m

0.21x

77mm

9

8

Nikon AF-S 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR

£1800/$2700

FX

5.0x

Yes

Ultrasonic

f/4.5-5.6

1570g

1.5m

0.2x

77mm

9

45

Nikon AF-S 200-400mm f/4G ED VR II

£4900/$7000

FX

2.0x

Yes

Ultrasonic

f/4

3360g

1.95m

0.27x

52mm

9

45

Nikon AF-S 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR

£1180/$1400

FX

2.5x

Yes

Ultrasonic

f/5.6

2300g

2.2m

0.22x

95mm

9

Sigma 50-500mm f4.5-6.3 DG OS HSM

£1000/$1500

FX

10.0x

Yes

Ultrasonic

f/4.5-6.3

1970g

0.5-1.8m 0.32x

95mm

9

45

Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM

£800/$1200

FX

2.9x

Yes

Ultrasonic

f/2.8

1430g

1.4m

0.13x

77mm

9

52

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

£130/$150

FX

4.3x

No

Electric

f/4-5.6

545g

0.95m

0.5x

58mm

9

35

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

£150/$180

FX

4.3x

No

Electric

f/4-5.6

550g

0.95m

0.5x

58mm

9

35

www.digitalcameraworld.com

February 2016

HHH HHHH HHHHH HHHH HHHHH ● HHH HHHH HHHHH ● HHHH HHHH HHH HHH

131


gear zone

The world’s toughest tests

ds ar

£2700/$3600

FX

2.5x

Yes

Ultrasonic

f/2.8

3390g

1.5-2.5m

0.12x

105mm

9

45

Sigma APO 150-500mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM

£700/$870

FX

3.3x

Yes

Ultrasonic

f/5-6.3

1780g

2.2m

0.19x

86mm

9

45

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

£1450/$2000

FX

4.0x

Yes

Ultrasonic

f/5-6.3

2860g

2.6m

0.2x

105mm

9

45

HHHH HHHH HHHH

Sigma 200-500mm f/2.8 EX DG

£12,700/$26,000 FX

2.5x

No

Ultrasonic

f/2.8

15,700g

2.0-5.0m 0.13x

72mm

9 45

HHH HHHH HHH HHHH HHHH

● ●

HHH HHHH HHH HHH HHHH HHHH HHHH

● ●

Sigma 300-800mm f/5.6 EX DG HSM

£5500/$8000

FX

2.7x

No

Ultrasonic

f/5.6

5880g

6.0m

0.14x

46mm

9

Tamron SP AF 70-200mm f/2.8 Di LD (IF) Macro

£500/$770

FX

2.9x

No

Electric

f/2.8

1320g

0.95m

0.32x

77mm

9

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

£930/$1500

FX

2.9x

Yes

Ultrasonic

f/2.8

1470g

1.3m

0.13x

77mm

9

52

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

£290/$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

£870/$1070

FX

4.0x

Yes

Ultrasonic

f/5-6.3

1951g

2.7m

0.2x

95mm

9

45

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

£460/$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

£585/$500

DX

11.1x

Yes

Ultrasonic

f/3.5-5.6

565g

0.5m

0.22x

72mm

7

39

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

£670/$900

DX

16.7x

Yes

Ultrasonic

f/3.5-5.6

830g

0.45m

0.31x

77mm

9

39

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

£599/$897

DX

16.7x

Yes

Ultrasonic

f/3.5-6.3

550g

0.48m

0.32x

67mm

7

39

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

£660/$1050

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

£270/$400

DX

11.1x

Yes

Ultrasonic

f/3.5-6.3

430g

0.39m

0.33x

62mm

7

39

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

£295/$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

£380/$580

DX

16.7x

Yes

Ultrasonic

f/3.5-6.3

585g

0.39m

0.33x

72mm

7

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

£400/$630

DX

18.8x

Yes

Ultrasonic

f/3.5-6.3

540g

0.39m

0.34x

67mm

7

39

Tamron AF 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 XR Di II LD Macro £135/$200

DX

11.1x

No

Electric

f/3.5-6.3

405g

0.45m

0.27x

62mm

7

39

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

£330/$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

£570/$850

FX

10.7x

Yes

Ultrasonic

f/3.5-6.3

540g

0.49m

0.29x

67mm

7

16

Tamron AF 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3 XR Di LD

£330/$400

FX

10.7x

No

Body-driven

f/3.5-6.3

435g

0.49m

0.34x

62mm

9

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

£550/$689

DX

None

No

Body-driven

f/2.8

305g

0.14m

0.2x

None

7

Nikon AF 14mm f/2.8D ED

£1240/$1890

FX

None

No

Body-driven

f/2.8

670g

0.2m

0.15x

None

7

Nikon AF 16mm f/2.8D Diagonal Fisheye

£625/$1000

FX

None

No

Body-driven

f/2.8

290g

0.25m

0.1x

None

7

Nikon AF-S 20mm f/1.8G ED

£680/$800

FX

None

No

Ultrasonic

f/1.8

355g

0.2m

0.23x

77mm

7

Nikon AF 20mm f/2.8D

£465/$625

FX

None

No

Body-driven

f/2.8

270g

0.25m

0.12x

62mm

7

Nikon AF-S 24mm f/1.4G ED

£1465/$2200

FX

None

No

Ultrasonic

f/1.4

620g

0.25m

0.18x

77mm

9

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 24mm f/2.8D

£370/$395

FX

None

No

None

f/2.8

270g

0.3m

0.11x

52mm

7

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

£1465/$2200

FX

None

No

None

f/3.5

730g

0.21m

0.37x

77mm

Nikon AF-S 28mm f/1.8G

£495/$697

FX

None

No

Ultrasonic

f/1.8

330g

0.25m

0.22x

67mm

Aw

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

Ra

Is

t in

g

re

Ap

su

e

tu

Fi

er

ed

vi

bl re

e iz

ew

n rs

ni ag M

lt e

f ic

s cu fo M

in

W

ei

gh

t

er ap M

ax

at

io

re tu

s cu fo

Au

to

St

ab

il i

ze

r

om zo M

ax

X DX

/F

e

telephoto zooms

Pr

ic

ad

es

KEY: ● GREAT VALUE ● BEST ON TEST AWARD

superzooms

superzooms

HHHHH ● HHHH HHH HHH

wide-angle primes

wide-angle primes

132

12

HHHH

12

HHHH

33

HHHHH

9

25

7

25

HHHH HHHH

25

HHHH

12

HHHH

33

HHHH

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 35mm f/1.4G

£1295/$1500

FX

None

No

Ultrasonic

f/1.4

600g

0.3m

0.2x

67mm

9

Nikon AF-S 35mm f/1.8G ED

£430/$597

FX

None

No

Ultrasonic

f/1.8

305g

0.25m

0.24x

58mm

7

Nikon AF 35mm f/2D

£255/$390

FX

None

No

None

f/2

205g

0.25m

0.24x

52mm

7

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

£285/$260

FX

None

No

None

f/3.5

435g

0.3m

N/S

None

6

Samyang 10mm f/2.8 ED AS NCS CS

£410/$385

DX

None

No

None

f/2.8

600g

0.25m

N/S

None

6

Samyang 12mm f/2.8 ED AS NCS Diagonal Fisheye

£480/$350

FX

None

No

None

f/2.8

530g

0.2m

N/S

None

7

Samyang 14 mm f/2.8 IF ED UMC

£320/$320

FX

None

No

None

f/2.8

560g

0.28m

N/S

None

6

Samyang 16mm f/2 ED AS UMC CS

£435/$360

DX

None

No

None

f/2

590g

0.2m

N/S

77mm

8

Samyang 24mm f/1.4 ED AS UMC

£560/$530

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) £900/$700

FX

None

No

None

f/3.5

680g

0.2m

N/S

82mm

8

25

Samyang 35mm f/1.4 AS UMC AE

£440/$450

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/$800

DX

None

No

Ultrasonic

f/2.8

470g

0.14m

0.17x

None

6

12

Sigma 8mm f/3.5 EX DG Circular Fisheye

£620/$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

£480/$600

DX

None

No

Ultrasonic

f/2.8

475g

0.14m

0.11x

None

7

12

Sigma 15mm f/2.8 EX DG Diagonal Fisheye

£475/$600

FX

None

No

Electric

f/2.8

370g

0.15m

0.26x

None

7

12

Sigma 28mm f/1.8 EX DG Asp Macro

£360/$450

FX

None

No

Electric

f/1.8

500g

0.2m

0.34x

77mm

9

7

Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM | A

£650/$900

FX

None

No

Ultrasonic

f/1.4

665g

0.3m

0.19x

67mm

9

40

Voigtlander 20mm f/3.5 Color-Skopar SL II

£500/$550

FX

None

No

None

f/3.5

205g

0.2m

N/S

52mm

9

Voigtlander 28mm f/2.8 Color-Skopar SL II

£400/$530

FX

None

No

None

f/2.8

180g

0.22m

N/S

52mm

9

Voigtlander 40mm f/2 Color-Ultron SL II

£440/$500

FX

None

No

None

f/2

200g

0.38m

N/S

52mm

9

Zeiss Distagon T* 15mm f/2.8 ZF.2

£2250/$2950

FX

None

No

None

f/2.8

730g

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 Distagon T* 21mm f/2.8 ZF.2

£1450/$1845

FX

None

No

None

f/2.8

600g

0.22m

0.2x

82mm

9

February 2016

HHHH ● HHHH HHHH HHHH HHH HHHH HHH HHHHH ●

www.digitalcameraworld.com


ed

No

None

f/2

570g

0.25m

0.17x

67mm

9

None

No

None

f/2

500g

0.24m

0.21x

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

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

£850/$1120

FX

None

No

None

f/2

530g

0.3m

0.19x

58mm

9

£150/$180 £1395/$2050 £275/$420 £275/$480 £110/$135 £150/$220 £350/$470 £1300/$1700 £420/$440 £370/$500 £320/$400 £670/$950 £409/$490 £560/$725 £3170/$3990

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

None 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 No No No No

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

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

200g 740g 230g 280g 155g 185g 190g 385g 575g 435g 520g 815g 320g 330g 970g

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

0.16x 0.5x 0.15x 0.15x 0.15x 0.15x 0.15x 0.13x N/S 0.15x 0.14x 0.18x N/S 0.15x 0.15x

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

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

28 25

HHH HHHH

52 7 28

HHHH HHHH HHHH

40

HHHH

Nikon AF-S 85mm f/1.4G

£1150/$1700

FX

None

No

Ultrasonic

f/1.4

595g

0.85m

0.12x

77mm

9

52

Nikon AF-S 85mm f/1.8G

£340/$500

FX

None

No

Ultrasonic

f/1.8

350g

0.8m

0.12x

67mm

7

52

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

£1300/$1980

FX

None

No

None

f/2.8

635g

0.39m

0.5x

77mm

9

25

standard primes

3

standard primes

28 28 52

Aw

None

FX

ar

g t in

FX

£980/$1285

Ra

£1270/$1700

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

Nikon AF-S DX 35mm f/1.8G Nikon PC-E Micro 45mm f/2.8D ED (tilt & shift) Nikon AF 50mm f/1.4D Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.4G Nikon AF 50mm f/1.8D Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.8G Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.8 NIKKOR (retro) 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 EX DG HSM Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM | A Voigtlander 58mm f/1.4 Color Nokton SL II Zeiss Planar T* 50mm f/1.4 ZF.2 Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4

ds

vi

bl

e su

Ap

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

Is

Fi

er

tu

re

re

e iz

ew

n rs

ni M

ag

M

lt e

f ic

s cu fo

W

in

M

ei

gh

t

er ap ax

at

io

re tu

s cu fo

Au

to

St

ab

il i

ze

r

om zo

X M

ax

DX

/F

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wide-angle primes

ad

es

Buyer’s guide

● ●

HHHH HHHH ● HHHHH ●

telephoto primes HHHH HHHH HHHH

telephoto primes

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

£850/$1200

FX

None

No

Body-driven

f/2

640g

0.9m

0.13x

72mm

9

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

£1030/$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

£4100/$6000

FX

None

Yes

Ultrasonic

f/2

2930g

1.9m

0.12x

52mm (drop-in) 9

29

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

£4000/$5900

FX

None

Yes

Ultrasonic

f/2.8

2900g

2.3m

0.16x

52mm

9

14

HHHH HHHH HHHH

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

£1030/$1490

FX

None

No

Ultrasonic

f/4

1440g

1.45m

0.27x

77mm

9

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

£1640/$2000

FX

None

Yes

Ultrasonic

f/4

755g

1.4m

0.24x

77mm

9

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

£10,400/$12,000 FX

None

Yes

Ultrasonic

f/2.8

3800g

2.6m

0.14x

40.5mm

9

Nikon AF-S 500mm f/4G ED VR

£5850/$8600

FX

None

Yes

Ultrasonic

f/4

3880g

4.0m

0.14x

52mm

9

Nikon AF-S 600mm f/4G ED VR

£7070/$10,300 FX

None

Yes

Ultrasonic

f/4

5060g

5.0m

0.14x

52mm

9

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

£13,995/$17,900 FX

None

Yes

Ultrasonic

f/5.6

4590g

5.9m

0.15x

52mm

9

Samyang 85mm f/1.4 IF MC

£305/$289

FX

None

No

None

f/1.4

539g

1.0m

0.11x

72mm

8

40

HHHH

Samyang 135mm f/2 ED UMC

£420/$600

FX

None

No

None

f/2

830g

0.8m

N/S

77mm

9

Samyang 500mm MC IF f/6.3 Mirror

£125/$150

FX

None

No

None

f/6.3

705g

2.0m

N/S

95mm

0

8

Samyang 500mm MC IF f/8 Mirror

£105/$130

FX

None

No

None

f/8

320g

1.7m

N/S

72mm

0

8

HH HH

0 52

HHHH

34

HHH HHH HHH HHHH

Samyang 800mm MC IF f/8 Mirror

£170/$200

FX

None

No

None

f/8

870g

3.5m

N/S

30mm

Sigma 85mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM

£650/$970

FX

None

No

Ultrasonic

f/1.4

725g

0.85m

0.12x

77mm

9

Sigma APO 300mm f/2.8 EX DG HSM

£2280/$3400

FX

None

No

Ultrasonic

f/2.8

2400g

2.5m

0.13x

46mm

9

Sigma APO 500mm f/4.5 EX DG HSM

£3760/$5000

FX

None

No

Ultrasonic

f/4.5

3150g

4.0m

0.13x

46mm

9

Sigma APO 800mm f/5.6 EX DG HSM

£4320/$8000

FX

None

No

Ultrasonic

f/5.6

4.9kg

7.0m

0.11x

46mm

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 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 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

£185/$250

DX

None

No

Ultrasonic

f/2.8

235g

0.16m

1.0x

52mm

7

Nikon AF 60mm f/2.8D Micro

£370/$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

£370/$600

FX

None

No

Ultrasonic

f/2.8

425g

0.19m

1.0x

62mm

9

34

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

£375/$530

DX

None

Yes

Ultrasonic

f/3.5

355g

0.29m

1.0x

52mm

9

34

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

£630/$880

FX

None

Yes

Ultrasonic

f/2.8

750g

0.31m

1.0x

62mm

9

20

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

£1180/$1790

FX

None

No

Body-driven

f/4

1190g

0.5m

1.0x

62mm

9

Sigma 70mm f/2.8 EX DG Macro

£360/$450

FX

None

No

Body-driven

f/2.8

525g

0.26m

1.0x

62mm

9

20

Sigma 105mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro

£390/$670

FX

None

Yes

Ultrasonic

f/2.8

725g

0.31m

1.0x

62mm

9

34

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

£700/$1100

FX

None

Yes

Ultrasonic

f/2.8

1150g

0.38m

1.0x

72mm

9

20

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

£1200/$1700

FX

None

Yes

Ultrasonic

f/2.8

1640g

0.47m

1.0x

86mm

9

14

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

£330/$525

DX

None

No

Electric

f/2

350g

0.23m

1.0x

55mm

7

34

Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro

£370/$500

FX

None

No

Electric

f/2.8

405g

0.29m

1.0x

55mm

9

34

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

£400/$750

FX

None

Yes

Ultrasonic

f/2.8

550g

0.3m

1.0x

58mm

9

34

Tamron SP AF 180mm f/3.5 Di Macro

£700/$740

FX

None

No

Electric

f/3.5

985g

0.47m

1.0x

72mm

7

14

Tokina 100mm f/2.8 AT-X PRO Macro

£370/$380

FX

None

No

Body-driven

f/2.8

540g

0.3m

1.0x

55mm

9

34

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

£1000/$1450

FX

None

No

None

f/2

500g

0.24m

0.5x

67mm

9

Zeiss Makro Planar 100mm f/2 T* ZF.2

£1450/$1845

FX

None

No

None

f/2

660g

0.44m

0.5x

67mm

9

macro

macro

www.digitalcameraworld.com

February 2016

HH HHHHH ● ● HHHH HHHH HHH HHHH HHHH HHH HHH

133


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-viewpoint-

JOE MCNALLY Same donut shop, shot at different times of day – and that presented Joe with the challenge of two completely different styles of lighting… sugar coma, hoping no one else notices. (Or hoping everybody else also went to Ralph’s.) Regardless, life at Ralph’s starts in the wee hours. So, how do you light up something to convey a sense of darkness? One Speedlight in the street is a potential approach. Street lights are nasty, right? Hard, edgy, off-colour. So, make your light look like that. I put one SB-910 out in the street on a Manfrotto stand. No shaper. Zoomed to 200mm. Hard light, designed to create shadows. Specifically, the shadow of the name of this establishment, cast up on the wall. A hot-shoed master flash fires through the window and triggers the Speedlight outside. Thank goodness there’s no traffic in Cookeville at 3am, ’cause my stand was smack in

Thank goodness there’s no traffic in Cookeville, Tennesse at 3am, ’cause my stand was smack in the middle of the street

Shot on a D810 and 20mm lens, at 1/250 sec, f/5 and ISO800 – plus that all-important flash outside, modified to look warmish, greenish and God knows what else

138

February 2016

Same shop, same angle, same number of Speedlights – but a totally different feel

the middle of the street. You want distance, as the further a light like this is from your subject, the more it behaves like a real, distant street light. I placed two gels, green and warm, vertically arrayed on the flash head. Street light colours are a nasty mix of warmish, greenish, and God knows what else. I literally tried to make my light look off-colour. Splattered with the uneven hardness of a single light beaming through windows, doors, and signs, Thomas Rodriguez, one of the bakers, mops up the store (left). But, later in the day, the store is inflected with the steamy, full, vaporous light of summertime Tennessee. So, I decided to chuck the hard light approach, and make the Speedlights not so much light the scene but blend with it in soft, virtually unnoticeable ways. This approach is not lighting, really. It’s just mixing a couple of hotshoe flashes into the mix of what exists and

letting them clean up the colour and direct the action a bit – the ‘action’ being peerless fiddler Nathan Stoops serenading the obviously enchanted Kiren and Koby (above). I used a Lastolite tri-flash, but populated it with only two flashes. I figured I already had strong light coming from camera left, through the windows. So, again, experiment. Maybe I don’t need that left side flash, and I’ll just have two of them push a little light towards the right and deeper into the shop. The shaper is a Lastolite four-in-one umbrella. Seemed to work okay. First exposure on TTL was the right mix, so I went with it. Kids perched on the counter, working fast. Same angle on the same shop. Couple of Speedlights. Night ’n’ day. • To see more of Joe’s amazing images, visit his website at www.joemcnally.com

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Images: Joe McNally. Profile shot of Joe by Mike Corrado

onut shops wake up early, and Ralph’s, that emporium of deep fried dough in Cookeville, Tennessee, is no exception. We got there one morning this past summer about 3am, which is roughly when the bakers get your apple fritters ready to roll. Oil bubbles, dough gets swirled in big buckets, icing gets spread, and trays of delights make their way to the front counter to brighten the day of working folks who stop by. After a pitstop at Ralph’s, they either hit the workplace with a glazedcruller-fuelled determination accompanied by a frenzied burst of efficiency, or they curl up on a packing blanket under their desk to sleep off a


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