If you can adjust your image to deliver the quality you want, does it matter what software you use?
If you’ve followed my or my photography over the years, you probably know that I’m a huge fan of Nikon cameras and also Capture NX2 editing software. You’ve probably also noticed that I’ve been experimenting with Lightroom 4 recently, and I started teaching classes on it.
I made the move to digital photography from film in 2005. At that time, there were raging battles between Nikon and Adobe over things like “encrypted White Balance” and such. At that time, converting NEFs (Nikon RAW format) images with software other than Nikon Capture 4 (or later, Capture NX) was potentially risky. Early versions of Adobe Camera RAW and other programs sometimes created artifacts and rendered colors differently than what Nikon’s converter did.
The beauty of processing RAW files is that every setting is plastic and reversible. However, the initial conversion parameters set the baseline for exposure, contrast, and color rendition and differ with each RAW converter application. One thing that Nikon photographers point out is that they like their default (starting point) conversion to match the “as-shot” look (as viewed on the back of their camera) as closely as possible. This makes sense. If you like the look of Nikon’s Picture Control “Standard,” then it’s very convenient to see the initial image rendered this way when you open the RAW file. After that initial conversion, you can do whatever you want to process your image. Continue reading
The Nikon 800mm f/5.6 FL ED VR lens is big and sharp, with a price tag that requires a bank loan. (Image courtesy of Nikon.com)
Back in July of 2012, Nikon announced they were developing a monster 800mm f/5.6 AFS VR lens. Today, they announced that this lens is being released and is available for pre-order.
The first question that comes to my mind is “why would anyone want this lens, when you can use a 600mm + 1.4x teleconverter and effectively have an 840mm f/5.6 lens?” Well, I suppose there are a couple of things at play here. First of all, Nikon has quietly implied that only FX-format cameras are their top-end. The D300s, the only “pro” Nikon DX camera, was released in 2009, and other than adding video, it’s the same sensor as the D300 which was released in 2007. Nikon is basically saying, “if you want an action camera, you need a D4.” The only cameras in Nikon’s current lineup that can shoot over 6fps are the D300/s (with grip), D700 (with grip) and the D3s/D4 flagships. Which means if you are a wildlife or extreme sports photographer who wants to take advantage of a modern sensor, you need a long lens to pair with your FX format body. Secondly, sometimes a company needs to produce something this impressive just to demonstrate their engineering excellence. This new lens definitely does that. Continue reading
Joshua Trees and the Milky Way, Death Valley, California (click for a larger view)
When you have an opportunity to get out to somewhere where it’s dark; and I mean dark, astrophotography is really quite fun. I shot this image with a Nikon D800e camera and 16-35mm f/4 AFS G VRII zoom Nikkor lens. I processed the RAW (NEF) image in Lightroom 4 and then used Viveza 2 and Color Efex Pro 4 to polish it off in post.
30″ exposure at f/4.0; ISO 1600