Ask Ja­son

NPhoto - - Contents -

This month, Ja­son helps read­ers find the right lens up­grade, looks at sync­ing flash­guns, and ex­plains a pos­si­ble cause of blurry shots. Why not ask him to solve any cam­era prob­lems you’re hav­ing?

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

What su­per­zoom lens would you rec­om­mend to use with a D7200 body? I al­ready have a Nikon 18-200mm VR but it’s about seven years old An­drew Cook, via email

Ja­son says... We al­ways used to rate the Nikon 18-200mm VR highly, but it’s been over­taken by newer com­peti­tors, es­pe­cially for out­right zoom range. Th­ese in­clude two Nikon 18-300mm VR lenses, but we think the in­de­pen­dents have stolen a lead in cur­rent de­signs. For im­age qual­ity and over­all per­for­mance, the Sigma 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3 DC Macro OS HSM | C is our first choice, at around £380/$580. The Tam­ron 16-300mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD runs a very close sec­ond, and is sim­i­larly priced at £400/$630. In our tests, the Tam­ron wasn’t quite as sharp, but its ex­tra wide-an­gle cov­er­age can swing the bal­ance.

If I buy a flash­gun with a high-speed sync mode, will I be able to use it with fast shut­ter speeds in my D5200? Ian John­ston, via email

Ja­son says... Un­for­tu­nately, even though high-speed sync (or FP – Fo­cal Plane – sync, as Nikon calls it) is avail­able on most ex­ter­nal flash­guns, the fea­ture isn’t sup­ported in cam­eras like the D3000 and D5000, and later mod­els down the line. If you were to up­grade to a D7XXX-se­ries cam­era you’d find that Auto FP sync is avail­able at all shut­ter speeds right up to 1/8000 sec. The catch is that to sync the flash­gun with very high shut­ter speeds, the du­ra­tion of the flash has to be ex­tremely short, so only low power out­puts are avail­able for rel­a­tively short-range cov­er­age.

Should I up­grade my Nikon AF 80400mm VR to the new AF-S version or buy a Sigma 150-600mm? I don’t want to spend over $3000 Ge­orge Stubbs, via email

Ja­son says... We’re fea­tur­ing the Nikon AF 80-400mm as our Sec­ond­hand Su­per­star (see right), so hope­fully that’ll boost your sell­ing price! The new AF-S 80-400mm VR is a com­plete re­design and a much more high-tech lens, and it’s much pricier at around £1800/$2700. It’s a firm favourite of wildlife pro Greg du Toit, in­ter­viewed in this is­sue (see page 106). How­ever, we’d go for the Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM | S (Sport) at £1450/$2000. Sigma has also launched a 150-600mm C (Con­tem­po­rary) lens which is smaller, lighter and lit­tle more than half the price, but the S edi­tion is the top choice for qual­ity and per­for­mance.

What’s the dif­fer­ence be­tween DX- and FX-for­mat lenses, if a crop fac­tor needs to be ap­plied to both when they are used on a DX cam­era body? Alan Louie, via email

sen­sor. The im­age cir­cle pro­duced by a DX lens there­fore only needs to big enough to cover the whole sen­sor. Both for­mats of lens are spec­i­fied with their ac­tual rather than ef­fec­tive fo­cal length, which is why you have to ap­ply the 1.5x crop fac­tor when us­ing them on a DX body. It’s also why you need to use DX crop mode when us­ing a DX-for­mat lens on an FX body, oth­er­wise the small im­age cir­cle will cause ex­treme vi­gnetting (dark­ened im­age cor­ners).

I re­cently bought a tri­pod and re­mote release to help me get sharper im­ages but some are even more blurred than be­fore, es­pe­cially close-ups or pho­tos taken us­ing a tele­photo lens Dan Fran­cis, via email

Ja­son says... The most likely cul­prit is ‘mir­ror bounce’. All D-SLRs have a re­flex mir­ror, which di­rects the im­age from the lens up into the viewfinder. Im­me­di­ately prior to a shot be­ing taken, the mir­ror flips up out of the way so that the im­age is pro­jected to­wards the shut­ter and the im­age sen­sor be­hind it. The jar­ring ac­tion can un­set­tle the cam­era more no­tice­ably when us­ing a tri­pod, with­out fleshy hands to cush­ion the vi­bra­tion. Most re­cent Nikon D-SLRs (apart from the D3000-D3300) have an ex­po­sure de­lay mode in the Cus­tom Set­tings menu. This au­to­mat­i­cally de­lays the shut­ter from open­ing for a sec­ond or more af­ter the mir­ror flips up, giv­ing the cam­era a chance to set­tle.

The Sigma 150-600mm S matches the Nikon 80-400mm for all-round per­for­mance and gives much greater tele­photo reach, with im­pres­sive long-range sharp­ness

Ja­son says... The phys­i­cal size of a DX-for­mat (or APS-C) im­age sen­sor is rather smaller than an FX (or full-frame)

Ideal for a walk­a­bout or travel lens, an 18-300mm su­per­zoom lens gives you in­cred­i­ble range in one con­ve­nient pack­age

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