Our resident expert answers your questions and solves your issues. If nobody else can help, ask Jason!
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 aperture-priority 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.
would What you printer suggest for creating largeformat photo prints at home? Mark Edwards, via email
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.
I’m after a backpack to hold a camera, four lenses, two flashguns and various
gadgets – can you recommend one?
David Frome, via Facebook
Jason says... With the amount of kit you want to carry, 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.
Should I get a lighter tripod or a sturdy monopod for shooting landscapes with a D810? 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.
Using multi-point autofocus for landscapes, you can end up with a super-sharp foreground, but a blurry background