Ask Ja­son...

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

NPhoto - - Nikopedia - Phil Mait­land, via email Jenny Tins­dale, via email


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

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