DSLR Autofocus Modes Explained

Most modern digital SLR cameras are equipped with advanced autofocus systems that are often hard to understand. Whether you are shooting with an entry-level or professional DSLR, knowing how to use autofocus system effectively is essential to get sharp images. A badly-focused, blurry image can ruin a photograph and you cannot repair it in post-processing. Some professionals often end up converting their images to black and white, to hide their focusing problems. If you learn how to focus correctly, you do not have to resort to such measures and you can deliver much better results to your clients and family. Simply put, accurate focus translates to sharper images and that is something everyone is looking for in photographs today. I know some photographers will argue with me on this, saying that sometimes image blur yields a “creative” look, but it is one thing when you do it on purpose and another, when you consistently mess up just because you don’t know how to focus well with your camera. Once you learn how to properly focus with your camera, you can then decide whether you want to blur something on purpose.

Blue Heron in Flight

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Nikon Commander Mode

Instead of creating another post, I updated the “How to get the best out of your pop-up flash” article to include plenty of information and a new video on Nikon’s Commander Mode on semi-pro and pro-level Nikon camera bodies. Information on how to set up the built-in pop-up camera flash to be a commander, as well as configuring Nikon speedlights (SB-600, SB-700, SB-800 and SB-900) is also included.

Here is the video on how to use the commander mode + flash communication basics:

Our next upcoming article + video is going to be about Nikon speedlights and how to use them in various configurations indoors. Stay tuned!

Nikon D7000 vs D90

Ever since Nikon released the new Nikon D7000, I have been getting a lot of emails from people who are asking if they should go with the D7000 or with the older Nikon D90 that has been dropping in price. To make it easier for our readers, I decided to post a quick comparison between the two in this “Nikon D7000 vs D90” article.

Nikon D7000

The new Nikon D7000 is a new generation DSLR that sits between D90 and D300s, which can be classified as an “semi-professional DSLR”. It features a brand new sensor from Nikon, which has been specifically engineered for the Nikon D7000 and possibly other upcoming cameras. The Nikon D7000 is the second camera announced this year by Nikon with the new Expeed II processor, allowing faster image and video processing up to 1080p (the previous Expeed processor could not handle more than 720p video).

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Nikon vs Canon vs Sony

I have been getting a lot of questions from our readers about whether they should pick a particular camera from Nikon, Canon, Sony, Pentax or some other manufacturer. These inquiries are only increasing over time, so I decided to post an article on what I think about different camera systems and why you should go with a particular brand versus others. Many of the questions are something like “should I go for Nikon D5000 or Canon 1000D” or similar, with readers asking me to tell them why I would recommend or pick a certain brand/type of a camera over another. When it comes to the question of Nikon vs Canon vs Sony, there are lots of heated debates over the Internet, so I wanted to share my personal thought on this subject matter as well.

As you know, I have been mainly writing about Nikon – simply because pretty much all of my gear is from Nikon and it is the system of choice for me. Why don’t I shoot Canon or Sony? Is Nikon superior than these brands? No, not really. Read on to understand why.

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Nikon D3100 vs D5000

This is a comparison between the new Nikon D3100 and the Nikon D5000 for those who want to know the differences between the two. I get a big number of requests from our readers, asking which one to buy and I hope this quick comparison in this “Nikon D3100 vs D5000” article will make it easier to make the right purchasing decision.

Nikon D3100

The new Nikon D3100 is an update to the existing Nikon D3000 line which was released in 2009 as an upgrade to the Nikon D40/D40x/D60 line. Similar to the D40/D40x/D60/D3100 cameras, the Nikon D3100 is classified as an entry-level, affordable DSLR camera that is targeted towards photo enthusiasts that want to get into the DSLR world. The Nikon D3100 was the first camera announced by Nikon that features the new Expeed II processor, allowing faster image and video processing up to 1080p (the previous Expeed processor could not handle more than 720p video).

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Nikon D7000 vs D300s

Ever since Nikon released the new Nikon D7000, I have been getting a lot of emails from people who are asking if they should go with the D7000 or with the older Nikon D300s. To make it easier for our readers, I decided to post a quick comparison between the two in this “Nikon D7000 vs D300s” article.

Nikon D7000

The new Nikon D7000 is a new generation DSLR that sits between D90 and D300s, which can be classified as an “semi-professional DSLR”. It features a brand new sensor from Nikon, which has been specifically engineered for the Nikon D7000 and possibly other upcoming cameras. The Nikon D7000 is the second camera announced this year by Nikon with the new Expeed II processor, allowing faster image and video processing up to 1080p (the previous Expeed processor could not handle more than 720p video).

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How to Clean DSLR Sensor and Keep Your Camera Gear Clean

This is our first video tutorial that we are posting on our blog about how to clean your DSLR camera sensor and keep your camera gear clean. Please keep in mind that we shot this video last night and I did not have any time to edit the video or add sample images to the video. I will make sure to post pictures of the process along with plenty of text describing it later this week, for those who have low bandwidth Internet or do not understand my English (which is not even my second language, btw). I had to split up the video into three parts, because Youtube does not allow more than 15 minutes in one video.

I hope you find it educational and I hope your questions regarding cleaning the camera sensor are answered. Let me know if you have any questions in the comments section below!

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Nikon D7000 DSLR Announcement

This year was a year of many expectations from Nikon – cameras like Nikon D3000, D90 and D700 were rumored to be updated and while the release history told us the cameras would get minor and major upgrades, many of us understood that the tough economy would certainly affect the normal schedule and could result in extended life for the existing product line. The camera update that many photographers have been waiting for was for the Nikon D90, which has been one of the hottest selling cameras from Nikon ever since it was announced.

Nikon D7000

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How to Find Total Shutter Actuations on Nikon and Canon DSLRs

During the last several weeks, I have received several requests from our readers about finding the total number of shutter actuations on their DSLRs. I decided to write a short article on how you can find the total shutter actuations on both Nikon and Canon DSLRs, in case you are interested in seeing how much you have been using your camera or how close your shutter speed is to the manufacturers’ rated shutter life of 150,000 (on most entry and mid-level cameras) or 300,000 (professional cameras).

1) EXIF Data

The information on the total shutter actuations on your camera is preserved in file headers, known as “metadata” or “EXIF”. If you do not know what EXIF is and what it is used for, check out my “What is EXIF” article that I wrote a while ago. Basically, your camera writes all exposure-related information such as date, time, shutter speed, aperture, ISO and a bunch of other important information into the header of each file. Some camera manufacturers like Nikon and Canon also add unique shutter actuations data fields that are used for seeing the total number of exposures or “shutter actuations” cameras have.

2) Switch to JPEG format

If you are shooting RAW, it is best to switch to JPEG format just for getting the required information from your camera. While the camera native RAW format preserves all of the EXIF information that is coming out of the camera, third party conversion software like Adobe Photoshop Lightroom can strip out some of the proprietary EXIF data, including the number of shutter actuations. Therefore, switching to JPEG will allow you to view EXIF data straight, without having to import the image into Lightroom or Photoshop first. It doesn’t matter what size of JPEG files you choose – even JPEG BASIC works fine. Once selected, take a picture of anything you want.

3) Download EXIF viewer

In order to view the proprietary EXIF information from files, you need to use an image EXIF viewer that does not strip out anything from the file. Unfortunately, almost all current image viewers only display generic EXIF data that most people use and ignore the rest. Instead of properly reading EXIF data from files and then parsing the results, they typically just look for generic EXIF tags within the file and display them when they are available. If something is not available, it stays blank. To reduce the number of blank items to the minimum, they only provide generic information that is more or less standardized across most camera manufacturers.

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Nikon D3100 DSLR Announcement

Today Nikon announced the new Nikon D3100 DSLR camera – an update to the existing Nikon D3000 that was released a year ago. The D3100 is not just a cosmetic update, it comes with a brand new sensor and advanced video recording capabilities that are not yet present in any of the current Nikon DSLR bodies. Specifically, there is now an option to shoot 1080p video, the absence of which has certainly been a disadvantage when compared to Canon’s line of beginner cameras.

Nikon D3100

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