Nikon D810

An in-depth Nikon D810 review with sample images, high ISO tests and detailed real-life analysis

Nikon D810 and Sigma 50mm f1 (2)

Some of our readers have been asking about the performance of the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 Art lens on the Nikon D810, particularly about its autofocus […]

Nikon D810 Bird Photography (2)

We are continuing our coverage of the Nikon D810 and today we want to talk about the capability of the D810 to photograph wildlife, particularly […]

© Tadas Kazakevičius. Children of Silenai (9)

Talking to Tadas Kazakevičius (in case you are having a hard time spelling that, he’s just as well known as Ted Kozak), a young Lithuanian […]

Enagement Session #23

Engagement sessions are a big hit with couples and photographers. Almost all couples agree for a session before the wedding, so engagement photography has pretty […]

Fuji X-T1

An in-depth review of the Fuji X-T1 mirrorless camera with image samples, specifications and comparisons to other cameras -

D800 to Cause Nikon’s Stock Price to Drop?

D800 Turbo Mode

Nikon executives have been pacing the floor today as they expect a huge drop – perhaps as much as 20-35% – in the company’s share price at the market’s opening bell. Over the weekend, Nikon frantically attempted to reassure some of its largest investors and retail partners there was no reason to panic. What happened? By all respects, Nikon has been on a roll with the D800 and D4 model introductions. Most experts have attributed Nikon with hitting it out of the park. The issue uncovered this weekend, however, is that the D800 is actually much better than originally thought or reported thus far. Surprise, surprise… the D800 is actually capable of an effective resolution of 108MP!

Conveniently left out of the original product marketing material and technical details, was the fact that the D800’s sensor has a substrate capable of capturing additional detail. When combined with sophisticated interpolation software (also not revealed to the public), it is able to triple the camera’s resolution. No doubt this newly discovered feature will lead to increased D800 sales. But the more troubling concern is the potential impact on the sales of Nikon lenses. When a photographer can take pictures with a 24-70mm f/2.8 lens, and is able to obtain high resolution crops similar to what a 105mm macro, 300mm, or 200-400mm lens can produce, why purchase additional lenses?

Turbo Mode

This capability, affectionately known within the Nikon Engineering ranks, as “turbo mode”, was apparently going to be introduced in approximately six to nine months. D800 owners would have been able to activate it after paying an additional $750. This would have marked the first time a camera manufacturer charged a fee for activating a feature after the camera had been shipped from the factory. Nikon customers would have been required to purchase a software key unique to their camera to enable this feature, so as to prevent people from sharing the code. But one of the Nikon engineers accidently stumbled upon a menu and button sequence that enabled this capability, thus bypassing the need for an activation code. In the software industry, such capabilities are often purposely inserted into the code. They are known as “Easter eggs”, since they require a bit of hunting to find. Most of the time, they are rather innocuous and simply result in a humorous message flashing onto the user’s screen. In computer games, Easter eggs may reveal some additional options not available in the menu. Nikon’s Easter egg, however, unlocks a significant capability – one that it was counting on for additional revenue. As with most modern day secrets, once the menu and button sequence was discovered, it went viral on the internet. Although we have yet to see the substrate and interpolation software engineering specifications, we can say that the initial test results are nothing short of jaw-dropping!

Flowers - Wide Angle Shot From D800

D800 Turbo Mode [Read more...]

Mastering Lightroom: How to Use the Tone Curve Panel

Tone Curve Tool - After

In this short tutorial I will show you how to use one of the easiest and most powerful tools found in Lightroom – the Tone Curve. In my previous tutorial about black & white conversions, I briefly showed you how to use the HSL Panel’s Luminance section to control the lightness of separate colors of the image. Using the Tone Curve Panel is very similar as it also allows you to control the lightness and darkness of various parts of a given photograph, however, rather than altering separate colors, the Tone Curve tool controls certain ranges of actual tones in the image.

What Is It?

Tone Curve Explained

The Tone Curve represents all the tones of your image. The bottom axis of the Tone Curve is the Tone axis: the line starts with Shadows at the left-most end and ends with Highlights in the right-most end. In the middle you have Midtones, which are then further split into darker Midtones, called Darks in Lightroom, and brighter Midtones, called Lights. In other words, going left to right, the curve starts with Shadows, Darks, Lights and ends with Highlights. You can also see the corresponding range shown to you by Lightroom once you hover over a specific slider under the Tone Curve, in the Region section of the Panel. The Y axis represents lightness of a given tones. The tones get darker as you move lower and brighter as you move up the axis.

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Nikon D800 Review

Nikon D800

This is an in-depth review of the new Nikon D800 camera, one of the most anticipated DSLRs from Nikon that the photography community has been impatiently waiting for more than a year now. The camera was supposed to be released in the summer of 2011, but due to several natural disasters that heavily impacted Nikon’s capability to produce cameras both in Japan and in its Thailand factories, its launch was delayed until February of 2012. There has been a lot of hype about the D800 and while our team has been posting quite a few articles about this camera, there are still many questions pouring in on a daily basis from our readers about its features, capabilities, limitations and performance, especially when compared to the older cameras like Nikon D700, D3, D3s and the new Nikon D4. In this review, I will not only provide detailed information about the Nikon D800, but will also try to answer the many questions that we have gotten so far on the camera, along with comparisons to other DSLRs. Specifically, the comparison includes sensor ISO performance with the following DSLRs: Nikon D700/D3, D3s, Canon 5D Mark II, 5D Mark III and Fuji X-Pro 1 mirrorless camera.

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Getting Yourself Out There

I have met a lot of great people. Many of them, while being truly brilliant at something, have a hard time understanding their potential. It is sad to see them just drift away wherever life takes them and not take a step of their own. Are you like that? Do you ever stop yourself from going out, meeting people, starting photography or videography projects? While no one can change that but you, I think a little bit of inspiration can go a long way.

This is a short film by three student, who, as they say, did not care about nature, and then decided to do something about it. And they did. While the attention this project received is quite amazing – their website has been visited by over 900 thousand people already – it’s not even the idea that I found most inspiring. This film was made by three students, and while I am quite certain they did not have a million dollar budget, they sure found a way to unleash their creativity, something we all have an unlimited amount of. Do you still think there is something you cannot do?

Get out there. Take your camera and shoot. Make a film. Stop drifting, stop wasting your time. Stop thinking you can’t. Not tomorrow, not in a year – now, whatever it is, whatever you dream about.

There is no better way of doing what you love than simply doing what you love.

Click here for official “WE MISS YOU” project website.

Know Your Rights as a Photographer!

Occupy Movement

Photographers spend a good bit of time, money, and energy on craft and their equipment. This same focus, however, rarely extends to the investment of time necessary to understand their legal rights and obligations. Why? Investigating legal matters can often be less exciting than watching paint dry, eating plain yogurt, or listening to a State of the Union speech! It is far more engaging to have a raucous debate regarding the resolution of the Nikon D800 vs. the Canon 5D MKIII, zoom into the first full size RAW samples from the D4, or dig into the details of some other photography minutia! Well, at least for some…

Know Your Legal Rights as a Photographer

It is important for you to take some time to understand the legal aspects of photography, however, since if you are engaged in the field for any appreciable length of time (particularly in the area of photojournalism), you will eventually encounter a potential legal situation. The purpose of this article is to offer some tips and guidelines that may help you better understand and deal with common issues related to your rights. All of my comments are strictly from the perspective of United States law. Since I am not a lawyer, I cannot offer legal advice (at least not legally!). Should you find yourself in a situation that calls for legal advice, attempt to find a reputable attorney (preferably recommended from a fellow photographer or organization such as the ASMP) that routinely deals with such issues.

1) Lack of Understanding Galore

The main concern is the amount of misunderstanding regarding these issues. This applies equally to photographers, those they take pictures of, police officers and others that enforce the laws, and those that manage content, such as newspapers, magazines, and websites. Even those managing photo contests may not have the necessary depth of knowledge. This can produce quite a bit of confusion, confrontations, and unnecessary strife. 9/11 only aggravated this situation, with some in law enforcement becoming increasingly suspicious of those with professional camera equipment.

2) What Can You Photograph While on Public Land?

Just about anything and anyone, and you don’t need permission. If you are standing on a public sidewalk, and spy Madonna walking into Starbucks, you are free to take her photo. If you shopping in LA, and observe the police busting Alec Baldwin for impersonating an actor, you are free to photograph Baldwin and the police arresting him, assuming you are doing so from public property. If you encounter an accident scene, there are no restrictions to your taking photos of the scene, the people involved, the EMTs, and police officers.


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Stunning Color Photographs From a Century Ago

YB-17 Bombardment Squadron 1942

One thing black & white pictures are good at without any doubt is representing the past. It seems as if it is programmed in our heads that if a movie or a picture is in black and white, that it is old. It simply fits, and not just because photography and movies were in black and white back in the day. It is as if we remember in black & white. And dream in black & white. And past is often quite close to a film noir-like dream. But what happens when you take a look at a picture that is a hundred years old…and in color? Well, here is something special for you.

Self-portrait Prokudin-Gorskii 1910

The photograph you see above was taken in 1910 by the man who is sitting there. His name is Sergey Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorsky and he is the guy who figured out how to take color photographs using black & white photography techniques with red, green and blue filters. And, as we can see, he did, with some support from Tsar Nicholas II of Russia. At first, it seems that there is none of the oldness left, none of that different time or different people. I must admit that, for a while, I thought these people were from a circus. And not a very good one. But then you start to notice things. Details. And it hits you – these photographs are a hundred years old. A hundred!

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Mastering Lightroom: Branding and Customization

How Does it Look - Graphical

Lightroom is an amazing program with a myriad of great features to improve the look of your photographs. In addition to all the image editing and cataloging tools, Lightroom also has some cool built-in features to make it a little more personal. In this short tutorial, I will show you how to brand and customize your favorite RAW converter. A little :)

1) Identity Plate

You can brand your copy of Lightroom for your photography business by inserting your logo to the top left corner of the software through the “Identity Plate” setup. You can get to the “Identity Plate Setup” by clicking on Edit -> Identity Plate Editor. Make sure to check the “Enable Identity Plate” checkbox, otherwise you will see the default Lightroom logo at the top left of the window. In the editor, you can either use a stylized text Identity Plate, or a graphical Identity Plate.

How Does It Look - Text Stylized text Identity Plate allows you to input any text you want to show at the left side of your Modules Panel. Use the drop-down menus to set the font, style, size and color of any text (or a part of it). Using text makes it very easy and quick to change the Identity Plate at any time.

How Does it Look - Graphical Using Graphical Identity Plate allows for more flexibility – you can turn any image into an Identity Plate. Using PNG instead of JPEG format offers transparency, which, again, helps you make your logo blend in better with the graphical interface of Lightroom. One thing you need to be aware of is the height of the image you want to use – keep it at about 50-60 px, otherwise Lightroom will not fit it in the narrow Modules Panel.

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Great Mirrorless Camera Concepts

Canon AE-D

We have been seeing some great unofficial mirrorless camera concepts floating around the Internet lately. One that received a great deal of attention was the Canon AE-D mirrorless camera concept. While many of us are still waiting for Canon to release its own version of a mirrorless camera, David Riesenberg, the author of the design, apparently got tired of waiting and showed his own take at what the camera should look like and what its specs should be. Full-frame sensor, fast lenses to go with it, compact, elegant design – what a camera that would be!

Canon AE-D

Unfortunately, major manufacturers don’t have a reputation of listening to such ideas (except for the folks at Fujifilm – they seem to have given their fans just the camera they wanted with the Fuji X-Pro 1 after the wonderful success of the Fuji X100). Still, we can hope for a full-frame alternative to the super expensive Leica M9-P.

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Please Welcome our New Team!

The Mansurovs - New Team

During the last 3 weeks, you might have already seen their great articles, you may have already exchanged comments with them or even visited their websites and portfolios. Today, I would like to officially welcome our new team members that will be contributing to the growth and success of our site. From the day we became “The Mansurovs” back in 2009 and since we started posting photography-related content, our site has grown from nothing to over 1.5 million monthly visitors today. While we are excited about this kind of rapid growth, Lola and I realized that we want to take the website to a whole new level and make it a much bigger and friendlier place for photographers of all levels. We also realized that it would be impossible to do all this by ourselves, so we invited a couple of our friends and readers to become a part of the Mansurovs team. Please welcome Bob Vishneski, Tom Redd and Romanas Naryškin!

The Mansurovs - New Team

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Impact Background Support System Review

Impact Background Support System

This is a review of the Impact Background Support System, along with the Impact Muslin Background, used in a studio environment or in remote locations for portrait and product photography. When taking pictures of people or products, it is often desirable to have a smooth background with a certain color. While you can accomplish this with a “Do It Yourself” (DYI) setup using a white sheet secured on a large wall, sometimes it is either impossible (in a tight space) or inconvenient to do that. Other times, some people are not either uncomfortable with potentially damaging their walls with nails in order to secure a white sheet, or want a setup they can travel with. For those situations, a collapsible and lightweight background support system can be invaluable. The good news is that you can get a good background system without breaking the bank, and the Impact Background Support System is no exception.

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