Your technical queries solved, and why the Speedlight SB-900 is a great secondhand buy
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I’m about to buy a new D750 from Hong Kong to save money, but when I bought my D600 it was superseded just after.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