Ask Rod

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

NPhoto - - Contents -

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

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