Ask Ja­son

Your tech­ni­cal queries solved, and why the Speed­light SB-900 is a great sec­ond­hand buy

NPhoto - - Contents -

I’ve read that the ‘ex­po­sure de­lay mode’ is use­ful for avoid­ing blurred close-up shots. Why is this and how does it work? Jake Kit­ner, via email

Ja­son says… All re­cent Nikon DSLRs fea­ture an ‘ex­po­sure de­lay mode’, apart from the most ba­sic mod­els like the D3400. This de­lays the open­ing of the shut­ter, typ­i­cally by a cou­ple of sec­onds, after the re­flex mirror flips up prior to tak­ing a shot. The length of de­lay is usu­ally ad­justable in up-mar­ket Nikon DSLRs. This pause gives the cam­era a chance to set­tle, after the jolt and sub­se­quent vi­bra­tions caused by the re­flex mirror flip­ping up. It’s par­tic­u­larly use­ful when shoot­ing ex­treme close-ups with macro lenses, and for long tele­photo shots, be­cause both sce­nar­ios are par­tic­u­larly prone to blur­ring from ‘mirror-bounce’.

Ex­po­sure de­lay mode is usu­ally only used when the cam­era is mounted on a tri­pod, as mirror-bounce is ac­tu­ally ex­ag­ger­ated when you’re not hold­ing the cam­era in a fleshy pair of hands that help to ab­sorb the shock of the re­flex mirror ac­tion.

I’m about to buy a new D750 from Hong Kong to save money, but when I bought my D600 it was su­per­seded just after. How can I be sure this won’t hap­pen again? Rod­ney Collins, via email

Ja­son says… The D750 is a fab­u­lous cam­era. Even if a re­place­ment was launched soon after you bought one, while you wouldn’t have the lat­est model, the flip side is that new cam­eras com­mand a much higher price for at least a few months after launch, whereas older mod­els are more heav­ily dis­counted, so a cam­era that’s been on sale for a while tends to be bet­ter value.

While it’s tempt­ing to buy a cam­era from a dif­fer­ent world re­gion, where the price can be lower, the down­sides of buy­ing ‘grey im­ports’ are that you might be stung for im­port taxes when your cam­era is de­liv­ered, and the of­fi­cial Nikon war­ranty is likely to be in­valid. Some com­pa­nies of­fer their own war­ranties, but you’re re­ly­ing on the seller, rather than on Nikon, to re­solve any is­sues.

I’m try­ing to use my flash­gun in wire­less slave mode, trig­gered by the pop-up flash in my D5100, but sim­ply can’t find any in­struc­tions in the man­ual. Can you help? Roly Carter, via email

Ja­son says… the D5100 doesn’t have a fa­cil­ity to use the pop-up flash as a wire­less master for trig­ger­ing of­f­cam­era flashguns. How­ever, some flashguns in­clude an ‘op­ti­cal’ slave mode, which gen­er­ally works with the pop-up flash and flash­gun in man­ual power mode. For Nikon flashguns, you might need to use the ‘SU-4’ mode, which also works with the SU-4 op­ti­cal slave trig­ger mod­ule.

For off-cam­era flash with the D5100, try us­ing a curly ex­ten­sion ca­ble, like the Nikon SC-28 (£75/$55), or a more sen­si­bly priced third-party equiv­a­lent. This will en­able au­to­matic TTL flash ex­po­sures, rather than re­ly­ing on man­ual power set­tings, and you won’t need to use the cam­era’s pop-up flash as an op­ti­cal trig­ger, so it won’t add to the light­ing in the shot.

Can you rec­om­mend a com­pany for large photo prints, who de­liver top qual­ity at rea­son­able prices? I’ve tried a few, but qual­ity is vari­able. Mike Hall, via email

Ja­son says… For wide-rang­ing op­tions at low prices, Bob Books (www.bob­books.co.uk) is one of our favourite on­line out­fits. For pro-grade qual­ity and ser­vice, we’d up­grade to Lox­ley Colour (www.lox­l­ey­colour.com). Prices are still very rea­son­able for en­large­ments, photo books and other prod­ucts. Print qual­ity is both ex­cel­lent and very con­sis­tent, aided by the in­clu­sion of a ‘free’ colour cor­rec­tion ser­vice.

Lox­ley’s ROES (Re­mote Or­der En­try Sys­tem) is free to down­load and makes it easy to cus­tom­ize your or­der, with al­ter­na­tive styles of fin­ish and mount­ing op­tions. Another pop­u­lar on­line lab that de­liv­ers ex­cel­lent qual­ity at keen prices is Whitewall (www.whitewall. com), who of­fer a par­tic­u­larly wide range of pa­pers. (For a com­plete round-up turn to page 110.)

Es­pe­cially use­ful in close-up ‘macro’ shoot­ing, ex­po­sure de­lay mode avoids blur­ring of im­ages caused by mir­ror­bounce (see page 18 for more on keep­ing shots sharp)

The D750 is our favourite ‘all-round’ DSLR and is great value at £1600/$1900

Off-cam­era flash is of­ten prefer­able, as it gives a more nat­u­ral, three-di­men­sional look­ing ef­fect

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