Our resident expert answers your questions and solves your issues. If nobody else can help, ask Rod!
Got a Nikon-related problem? Whether it’s a hardware issue or a buying dilemma, Rod is here to help.
I’ve upgraded from a D200 to the D600. Can you tell me what is the widest lens I can use without risking vignetting? Alan Wisberg, via email
Rod says… Vignetting is a reduction of an image’s brightness at the edges of the frame, usually indicated by darkened corners. It can be caused by a number of things, including filters and filter holders when shooting at very wide angles, especially at wider apertures.
With dedicated FX (full-frame) lenses, you shouldn’t have too many problems with vignetting, as these lenses are built for the full-frame sensor format. You’ll only really encounter an issue if you try to use a DX lens on an FX body, because a DX lens is designed for a smaller sensor, and so produces an image that isn’t big enough for an FX sensor. That said, your D600 should compensate automatically for this when an DX lens is attached, by automatically restricting images to the middle of the sensor. The only down side is that resolution will be reduced, as you’re no longer using the whole sensor. The only instance in which you’ll experience vignetting is if you disable this so-called DX crop mode.
Could you recommend a scanner for 35mm slides, negatives and larger format negatives? Edward Laine, via email
Rod says… Unfortunately the last Nikon Coolscan scanner was produced in 2004, thanks to the growth of digital photography and the dwindling interest in film photography.
There are a number of third-party options to choose from, including the range from Plustek, which suits a variety of budgets, and Epson flatbed models. We haven’t tested film scanners in N-Photo, but in our experience dedicated slide and negative scanners are better suited to the task than flatbed models, which require a special holder and other modifications.
You can pay specialist firms to do your scanning. Depending on the amount of negatives you have, this may be cheaper, especially when some of your more unusual sizes are considered.
What is the typical life expectancy of a D60’s shutter? Mine is approaching 10,000 actuations Martin Shaw, via email
Rod says… A Nikon D60 shutter typically has a life expectancy of around 50,000 actuations, although many models go past that figure without issue when taken care of. If your shutter does fail for any reason, there are repair options through Nikon or third parties. Whether the cost of the repair is beyond what you’re willing to pay is another matter, but a dead shutter needn’t mean a dead camera.
I’m looking to sell my D300 and upgrade. How can I check the actuations? David Lloyd, via email
Rod says… How you check the number of shutter actuations depends on your model of camera. On some the information can be found in the menu, while on others you’ll need to look through the EXIF data (and some older models don’t offer the feature at all). In the case of the D300 it’s in the EXIF data, so all that’s required is a recent image and a program capable of reading the EXIF.
Actuations aren’t everything when checking the condition of a D-SLR though; Live View only requires a single actuation, for example, but can be used to shoot reams of video. Check a camera’s physical condition, and check the returns policy, before buying used.
import Why RAW can’t FilesI from my Nikon D750 into Adobe Lightroom or Elements? Barry Tetchner, via email
Rod says… Barry, you need version 8.7 of Camera Raw, and version 5.7 of Lightroom in order to support your D750’s RAW files. Photoshop Elements 13 supports the relevant version of Camera Raw, so if you’re using an older version of the software you’ll need to update via Adobe’s website.
I have decided to upgrade my lens to photograph motorsports and aviation. What would you recommend for low, medium and high budgets? Dave Hewitt, via email
Rod says… The focal length we’d recommend for those subjects is between 70mm and 300mm. The most affordable option within that range is the Nikon AF-S 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED VR, which has Vibration Reduction technology to combat shake and costs around £419 ($639). The Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 APO EX DG OS has a fixed aperture and optical stabilisation, and costs around £739 ($1128). The Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II, which has the second-generation VR technology, is the most expensive option. It costs around £1579 ($2410), and is recommended if you’re taking the step up to a more professional body as well, but either of the other options will be perfect for you.
The different sizes of DX and FX sensors means some lenses will be affected if you move from APS-C to a full-frame D-SLR
A D-SLR shutter is very robust, and will normally have a lifespan extending into the tens of thousands of actuations
The Nikon Coolscan range of scanners was discontinued around 10 years ago
Sigma’s 70-200mm is an excellent option for the aspiring sports photographer