From time to time, as photographers many of us face issues with the equipment that we have purchased. It could be a problem with a camera, lens, various types of studio equipment, or with camera accessories. How a manufacturer and the selling dealer address the issue and bring it to resolution, or not…can have a significant impact on our continued patronage of that brand of equipment, and the dealer that sells it.
We are continuing our in-depth evaluation of the sRAW format and this time we want to compare noise performance of sRAW when compared to down-sampling / resizing of images in post-processing software. Since Adobe’s Camera RAW processes high ISO RAW images and especially the sRAW format quite poorly, I used Nikon’s Capture NX-D software instead. The results are quite interesting, showing pretty decent implementation of in-camera resizing and noise reduction. For this study, I only exported high ISO images above ISO 800.
With the introduction of the Nikon D4S and the D810, Nikon introduced the new sRAW format for saving images. While we have already explained the format in detail in our sRAW format explained article, there were many follow-up questions from our readers, some of whom asked us to provide some image samples from RAW, sRAW and JPEG formats to compare things like white balance recovery and highlight / shadow recovery. In this article, we will explore the sRAW format in detail and show sample images from both controlled lab and outdoor environments, demonstrating what sRAW is capable of delivering when compared to the regular RAW format.
First, let’s take a look at how capable the sRAW format is at recovering white balance. For the first test, we photographed a color chart with the D810 in proper white balance, then changed the WB setting to 2500K (cool) and 10000K (warm). The below comparisons demonstrate the results in both sRAW and JPEG formats to show their differences compared to regular RAW files.
sRAW White Balance Recovery: Controlled Environment
Here is a crop from a color chart shot with correct white balance:
One of the tests that we will be including in our upcoming Nikon D810 review is a dynamic range comparison between the D810 and the D800E. Instead of making our readers wait for this comparison, we decided to publish it in a separate article. Whether one shoots landscapes or portraits, dynamic range is important, because it allows recovering of both shadow and highlight details in RAW images. With the release of the Nikon D810, one might wonder if it is any better than the D800 / D800E cameras in dynamic range performance. Since the D810 has a base ISO of 64, we decided to provide ISO 64 and ISO 100 samples to see if there is any discernible difference between the two. We also provided ISO 3200 samples to show differences in dynamic range at high ISOs between these cameras.
Our perception of any piece of technology is greatly influenced by it’s ease of use and overall user experience. For example, when I bought my first DSLR, my decision came down to Canon vs Nikon. I tried Sony, Pentax and Olympus and didn’t like them for one reason or another, but I knew that I could be happy shooting with either Canon or Nikon. How did I finally end up making my decision? The menu system. I preferred Nikon’s menus and navigation over Canon’s, so I bought a D40. Now, eight years and tens of thousands of dollars later, I’m still a Nikon guy, all because of the difference in menu design.
In this article, I’m going to share a few simple tricks that I’ve picked up over the years that make using my Nikon a little bit easier. To some of you, these might be completely obvious and old news, but to others they might very well change the way you view and use your camera!
All images shown are from the D800 menu. Your menu may look a little different.
1) Formatting Memory Cards
If your camera has two memory card slots, you’ll usually want to format both memory cards before you start shooting. Back in the days before I learned this trick, here’s how I used to format my memory cards: format my primary memory card, turn off the camera, take it out, turn the camera back on, format my secondary memory card, turn off the camera, put my primary back in, turn the camera on and then start shooting. Do you format your memory cards this way, too? Well, time to stop it! Here’s a much faster and easier way to format both memory cards without ever having to turn your camera off:
- Hold down the two buttons marked as “Format” in red to format your card.
- Notice that on the control panel (top screen), one card is flashing. This is the card that you are about to format.
- Go ahead and format that card by pressing the two buttons again.
- Now, hold down the two buttons to format your card. Notice the same (primary) card is still flashing.
- Turn the command dial (rear wheel) one click. Notice that the card that’s flashing has changed to your secondary card?
- Go ahead and format that card.
- That’s it! Now both of your cards have been formatted in about half the time as the old way.
A well-known editorial photographer Zack Arias recently touched a very sensitive subject, one that always spawns heated debates. In his entertaining video, he expressed his opinion on the full-frame vs APS-C sensor debate and we must say he made a lot of good points. Zack openly states on his website that he is not paid or sponsored by Fuji to advertise their cameras, and yet you might get the impression that this particular video is in fact an advertisement. Ignore that feeling, whether Zack is working for Fujifilm or not does not matter in this case. He talks about Fuji because it’s his system of choice (the X-T1 in particular), but the simple truth is every mirrorless camera with an APS-C sensor – any camera with APS-C sensor, in fact – is good enough for great many projects.
Adobe rolled out a bunch of updates today to its Creative Cloud platform, including updates to Adobe Photoshop CC, CC 2014, Bridge, Lightroom and Camera RAW. Lightroom has been updated to stable 5.6 version, along with Adobe Camera RAW 5.6. These updates include a number of bugfixes, along with RAW support for the new Nikon D810, Panasonic Lumix AG-GH4 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000 cameras. A number of lenses have also been added to this release, including the new Canon EF-S 10-18mm IS and EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM lenses and a number of Sony Alpha lenses.
While I do a fair amount of still photography, the majority of my client work is shooting video with my DSLR and mirrorless cameras. When buying tripods and heads I need to consider their functionality from both perspectives. As I recently added a camera jib to my video equipment arsenal, I started seriously considering a heavier capacity tripod and head. My current tripods, which are capacity rated to 17.6 lbs. (8.8 Kg), were falling a bit short in terms of providing the degree of stability that I need when shooting video. And, my existing fluid video head wasn’t quite able to provide the stability I needed when using my slider kit loaded with my D800 and a heavy FX lens. I also felt that a taller tripod would allow me to get the most out of my camera jib by capturing higher, more dramatic video scenes.
Even though this topic has been touched on numerous occasions, I still get asked this one question rather often – which camera to buy? For someone who’s into photography, it is a very vague question. Almost impossible to answer without additional context as it spawns a number of followup questions – what are you planning to photograph? Are you going to invest more into the system? What lenses would you like to own? Are you planning to take up photography professionally? And for a beginner to be able to answer all these questions in return requires a certain amount of research. Truth is, not everyone is looking to take up photography professionally or even invest into more than one additional lens to accompany the kit zoom. A lot of people really only want a camera for family pictures – something a bit more capable than your average compact, something that would work in darker environments and be able to defocus the background a bit more, too, because it makes images look prettier. And the answer to the first question is usually very simple – everything.
At a time when the digital photography world was buzzing with new gear announcements, I managed to fall in love with some of Nikon’s very old and cheap lenses, the E Series lenses. My experience with these lenses taught me a great lesson: it is really not about the gear. It is rather about being creative with what gear we already have, despite how limited and incapable we might think of it. This was a great inspiration to me, especially with my nagging habit of lusting after the latest and greatest gear announcements. The fact that I’m writing this article goes to show that I still struggle with GAS (gear acquisition syndrome), but for a change, this is a case about some of the cheapest lenses available.
This guest post was contributed by Samer Rizk. See more of Samer’s work at his 500px page.