Our resident Nikon expert Jason Parnell-Brookes answers your questions and solves your problems. If you’d like Jason to come to the rescue regarding your Nikon-related question, email it to Please note that we reserve the right to edit queries for clarit
Is there any way of making HDR images in Photoshop from a single original exposure?
Jason says... There’s quite a lot of latitude if you shoot in Raw quality mode, and the ‘Raw headroom’ of Nikon DSLRs enables bright highlights to be well preserved, while plentiful shadow detail is also retained. Try creating three exposure-bracketed images of your original shot by processing your Raw files in Photoshop, or Nikon’s own Capture NX-D or ViewNX programs. Adjust the exposure bias for each successive image, so that you have one dark, one mid-range and one bright image. Finally, open all three images in Photoshop, using the File > Automate > Merge to HDR Pro drop-down menu. This will enable you to quickly and easily make a single HDR (High Dynamic Range) image.
How would the performance of a superzoom lens compare with using separate 18-55mm and 55-200mm zooms on my D5500?
Jason says... I’m a big fan of the AF-S DX 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II (£200/$250) and AF-S DX 55-200mm f/4-5.6G ED VR II (£240/$350). Their spacesaving, retractable design makes them a good match for lightweight DSLRs like your D5500. They’re certainly not ‘pro-grade’ though, and face serious competition from some superzooms, which deliver great versatility and similar overall performance.
Our current favourite superzoom is the Tamron 16-300mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD Macro (£430/$550), which goes wider and boasts longer reach than the pair of Nikon lenses above, without the need to swap lenses over when going from wide to long – and in terms of outright image quality and autofocus speed there’s not much in it.
For a full review of the Tamron and other current superzooms, check out the Big Test that we ran in last month’s issue.
What teleconverters would be compatible with my D7100 and Sigma 150-600mm | S and Sigma 105mm Macro lenses?
Jason says... For compatibility, it’s always best to stick with the same brand of teleconverter as the lenses that you’re using. Even so, teleconverters can only be used with some lenses, and not with others. For Sigma’s 150-600mm Contemporary and Sport lenses, you’ll need the Sigma TC-1401 (1.4x, £250/$350) or TC-2001 (2.0x, £300/$400) converters. These have fully compatible electronics but, even so, autofocus with the 1.4x teleconverter is only available for cameras in which the AF points can work at f/8. For your D7100, that means you’d be limited to just the central AF point with the 1.4x converter; and with the 2.0x teleconverter, you’d need to focus manually.
For your 105mm, you’d need the older Sigma 1.4x (£200/$250) or 2.0x APO EX DG converters (£250/$300). Only manual focus is available at close focus distances, but this isn’t an issue with macro. Sigma’s new-generation teleconverters are required for ‘global vision’ telephoto lenses, including the 120-300mm | S and 150-600mm | S/C zooms, and the 500mm f/4 | S prime
Do all pro photographers shoot in Raw mode, or do some shoot in JPEG quality mode?
Jason says... You can’t beat shooting in Raw quality mode for flexibility at the editing stage, with full control over parameters like exposure bias, white balance and picture control settings. Pros therefore tend to shoot in Raw so that they can fine-tune the results for optimum image quality. However, it’s not always the case.
Press photographers, especially those shooting news and sport, often need to rush images through to clients on the fly, and will typically shoot in JPEG mode for speed. The same is true for ‘event’ photographers who might sell digital copies or prints to people while the event is still in progress. There’s also a lot to be said for ‘getting everything right in-camera’, and shooting in JPEG mode for holiday or travel shots, where you might take hundreds of pictures.
With Photoshop’s HDR tool, you can combine exposure-bracketed images to reduce brightness in highlight areas while boosting dark shadows
The phenomenal 18.75x zoom range of the Tamron 16-300mm makes it the most powerful superzoom on the market
To cover all eventualities, it’s often a good idea to shoot in Raw+JPEG mode, which saves your shots in both formats