Category Archives: Op-Ed

Upgrading to Photoshop CS6 while you still can (video)

Adobe rolled out the new Creative Cloud (CC) service today. If you are a long-time Photoshop user, as I am, this new service eliminates a perpetual-use license for Photoshop. I purchased Adobe Creative Suite CS6 last year and I plan on using it for at least another year. If you have Photoshop CS5, you can still get the $199 upgrade price to a full version of Photoshop CS6 for a short time.

To do this, you need to go to Adobe’s website, as authorized resellers are not able to offer the upgrade pricing. However, Adobe has hidden the upgrade pricing (probably to entice you over to the CC product), so I made a quick video showing just how you can get CS6 at the upgrade price:

[youtube_sc url=”http://youtu.be/nmg2K3ZlxUw” title=”Upgrading%20to%20Photoshop%20CS6″ modestbranding=”1″ autohide=”1″ fs=”1″]

The reason I’m sticking with CS6 (for now) is simple. I already paid for it. While I’m sure there are many nice things in Photoshop CC, I really don’t need them. I’m using Lightroom 5 (which I strongly recommend at $149 full / $79 upgrade) as a perpetual-use license. That gives me ACR 8.1 (also updated to work in Photoshop CS6). Frankly, the number of new features in Photoshop just doesn’t appeal to me right now. I use Photoshop for layer blending, textures, and smart objects for my Nik Collection plug-ins. Even at the introductory price, buying into the Creative Cloud model today means I’m stuck in it forever… stop paying and your software deactivates. I’ll reconsider this decision next year and save for now. Even though CS6 users get the first year of software for $19.99 per month, that’s $239 I can spend on other things this year. Hopefully, Adobe will offer different pricing plans in the future that better fit the needs of Photographers.

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Slowing it Down for Better Photographs

By slowing yourself down, you can learn to see things differently and get better results.
By slowing yourself down, you can learn to see things differently and get better results.

Photography is more accessible than it is ever been. Advances in technology have given us wonderful equipment at fairly inexpensive prices. One of the greatest assets of digital photography is that it allows us to shoot high-volumes of images at relatively low cost. The ease of clicking the shutter on a digital camera means that quite often will end up with hundreds if not thousands of images. But how many of those images are really good? If you find yourself shooting quantity over quality then maybe it’s time to slow things down and take a slightly different approach to your photography. It’s so easy to shoot with digital that sometimes it can be hard to control yourself! Here are some simple techniques that can help you slow yourself down and potentially achieve better results. Continue reading Slowing it Down for Better Photographs

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Quick Thoughts: 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 AFS G VRII Nikkor lens

It only took 13 years, but we finally have a new 80-400mm AFS G VRII Nikkor. Is it right for you? (Image courtesy Nikon USA)
It only took 13 years, but we finally have a new 80-400mm AFS G VRII Nikkor. Is it right for you? (Image courtesy Nikon USA)

Yesterday, Nikon announced a long-awaited (overdue?) replacement to its 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 VR lens. The the original 80–400mm VR has been around since 2000, and for as long as I can remember, enthusiasts have cried out for and AFS replacement. Why? Despite very good optics and excellent zoom range, the AF-D model of the 80-400mm was  slow to focus and as such sub-par for many action and wildlife photographers. Despite its limitations it remained popular lens because it was the least expensive Nikkor with a focal length of 400mm. On a DX-format DSLR body, that translates to an effective field of view of 600mm, making the 80-400 the enthusiast’s choice for wildlife photography. The relatively compact size of this lens made it an ideal option for travel photographers or people wanting to have extra reach on a reasonable budget. Continue reading Quick Thoughts: 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 AFS G VRII Nikkor lens

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The Nikon D7100 DSLR: DX-Format Flagship?

The Nikon D7100 is described as the DX-format "Flagship."  Image courtesy Nikon USA.
The Nikon D7100 is described as the DX-format “Flagship.” Image courtesy Nikon USA.

Last night, Nikon announced the long-awaited D7000 replacement, the new D7100 DSLR. You can pre-order a D7100 here so that you have one in your hands the minute they come out.

The D7000, to me, has always been a “close but not quite” camera. By all accounts, its sensor is really good. However, the smaller form factor and diminished performance (AF, frame rate, bracketing limitations) dissuaded me from getting one as a D300s replacement. The biggest surprise to me when I read Nikon’s announcement was the subheadline:

“Nikon’s DX-format Flagship Provides Agility, Amazing Image Quality and Wireless Connectivity

You read that right; the DX-format Flagship. In my opinion, this means what I’ve been hearing (and thinking) for some time. DX is for enthusiasts, FX is for pros. Continue reading The Nikon D7100 DSLR: DX-Format Flagship?

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The Bigger Reason Why Megapixels Matter for Photo Enthusiasts

Bull Elk, Rocky Mountain National Park, CO. Nikon D800e at ISO 3200.
Bull Elk, Rocky Mountain National Park, CO.
Captured with a Nikon D800e DSLR at ISO 3200. 

A few years ago, just about every Nikon DSLR captured images at around 12 megapixel resolution. The main differences between camera models, then, involved features (speed, AF) and sensor size (FX vs. DX). The biggest advantage of the FX sensor cameras at that time was sheer low-light performance. For the most part, my colleagues and I agreed, the megapixel race seemed over, or at least, diminished as an important feature.

Over the last year, Nikon has been steadily upgrading their entire camera line to 24+ megapixels. Even the low-end Nikon D3200 has a 24MP sensor. In fact, there are only three cameras in Nikon’s current line-up that don’t offer at least 24MP: the D300s (12MP), D7000 (16MP) and D4 (16MP). This had me scratching my head a little, as I certainly know from experience that a 12-16MP camera easily delivers the goods in most situations. Continue reading The Bigger Reason Why Megapixels Matter for Photo Enthusiasts

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