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February 28, 2017

Members react to Nikon's gloomy financials

NIKON-LOGO-SQ-125.jpgHere are some of the topics and news items we're tracking for our community this week.

Nikon, currently celebrating 100 years as a corporation, is facing financial difficulties. Gold member Gerry Mulligan (Gerry M) from Arizona, USA has started an in-depth discussion on the recent financial news regarding Nikon Corporation:

Nikon-100th_450.jpgHis summary:
Imaging business net sales for 1st to 3rd Q (3/2017) down 29% when compared to 1st to 3rd Q (3/2016). Operating net income for same time period down 18.4%. They issued a notice of an "extraordinary loss" (their terms) for the company.

Our members added thoughtful analysis of the current news, along with predictions and wishes for the future of Nikon's imaging team. Here are a few examples:

• Nikon reminds me of Leica in the 1950's when they stuck with the rangefinders because the SLR's were a "passing fad." The company primarily responsible for bringing the venerable Leica to its knees was none other than Nikon! I would have guessed that Nikon learned from Leica's experience - apparently not.

• It is not just Nikon, it's is the whole industry. Mobile phones are hitting it harder and harder.

• My advice to Nikon's photography segment? Focus on two types of FX pro cameras; merge the DXs into two series, reduce the number of P&S cameras, and provide better service, as Canon seems to be trending to. That's my 2 cents from 55+ years of photography, almost all with Nikon gear.

Care to share your thoughts? Join the discussion.

2- Limited edition Nikon Gear

Nikon-Gun-Metal_325.jpgHardcore Nikon enthusiasts will probably be drooling over a new anniversary edition set of cameras and lenses. Richard Haw (ricoBaby) attended the Camera & Imaging Products Association (CIPA) annual international camera and photo imaging show in Yokohama, Japan last week and he shares images of the limited edition sets in his blog.

He tells us the show (called CP+ 2017) is:
Japan's version of Photokina wherein new products are showed to the public and international brands come to Japan to sell theirs here. There are plenty of newcomers but it usually consists of the usual big boys in the Japanese camera industry.

Thanks Richard for sharing your images of the new gun-metal finish gear (and your overall review of the show).

3- Exclusives for Nikonians

PhotoBert-March-2107.jpgThe world's best lens cleaning solution is used by Leica, Hasselblad, Bausch & Lomb & NASA and PhotoBert has it for you at a special rate.

Observe measurable differences in brightness and clarity with glass or plastic lenses! 2 sizes: 1 & 2 ounce. Now on sale. (US customers only)

Upgrade your Shutter! The most inexpensive upgrade for your camera.

Each package contains 2 shutter upgrades (choose RED or BLACK). Fits all Nikon DSLRs.

Save 20% on our legendary CheatSheets; 10% on Helicon Software and 5% on accessories. Get your discounts on all items mentioned above with this link

4- Password change

Cloudflare_250.jpgNikonians founder Bo Stahlbrandt (bgs) is asking us to change our Nikonians passwords as a precaution following news that a third party system has had a security breach.
There is no known impact on any of our members, but an ounce of safety is worth a pound of cure.

Bo assures us:
We are not using Cloudflare for payment pages. Payment related data thus not affected

Login pages are running through Cloudflare and thus are at potential risk. This issue has also been of concern to such sites as uber and yelp.

5- Advice on shooting dogs
We have a member entering the field of agility dog photography contemplating camera choices.
Gold member Beth Russell (goldogs) from Virginia, USA wants to upgrade:

DogJock_325.jpgI'm less than a year into working as a pro. Its weekend business that I dearly love. Also helps pay a few bills. I photograph what you see--field dogs in motion. I shoot at field trials and hunt tests. A unique specialty but remarkable dogs. I have a D750 and a 70-200 F2.8 as my primary lens. I rent an 80-400 when I need it.

The problem:
I realized after a few big shoots in the summer that I was missing key moments. These retrievers move like lightening. I need a camera with a higher FPS rate. I have sold lots of photos and a few gallery wraps. Nice. However, I see I'm my workflow that I am missing key fractions of a second. For this work, going faster makes sense to me. How to --is the question?

Do I go the financial distance and purchase a D5 or buy a D500? I'd consider buying a used D4S but only from someone I know. I crop a great deal on most shots --focusing in on the dog. I do know about noise with the D500. How substantially do you think it would impact the type of shots I've attached?

I really appreciate any advice  -- Thanks

Responses to her question include some great action shots and the context could easily apply to many forms of fast-action sports photography.

6- Cowboy action
We've already mentioned action dog photography. Now, let's combine fast horses, angry bulls and determined cowboys.

Rodeo_400.jpgSilver member Robert Metheney (bobpilot) from Utah, USA is working on his rodeo action photography and he's looking for critiques:
This morning I looked at some photos in the Sports forum and then looked at the images I planned to post. Mine are not as good. I see the difference. So, what can I do to produce sharp images?
I hope it's all right to post four. I am not asking for a critique on each photo, the same problem exists in each one, although at different levels.
I rented a D500 and used the ruler method to check focus with my 200-400mm lens. The focus point was where it should be, no front focus, no back focus. I checked again the next day. Perhaps I didn't do it right.
1. I need to pan to keep up with the forward movement of the steer and cowboy, this might explain for some of the issues.
2. I use the shutter release button, I don't believe this will produce a soft image at 1/2500

Check out his images and read the responses so far. Perhaps you have another good piece of advice to add to the discussion. Once again, the advice from this sport will be of help for many others.

7- Getting started: Custom Settings
You get a new Nikon DSLR and as you browse through you owner's manual you see hundreds of settings choices. You may be wondering what settings some of your fellow Nikonians have chosen.

D300-Setting_300.jpgP. F. Infante (pfinfante) from New Jersey, USA recently asked:
I just received my D300, had the D100 many years ago. Does anyone have any suggestions for the Custom Settings, like best choice for configuring the AE-l/AF-L button, Qual setting, use of AF-ON button, etc.? Somewhat overwhelmed with all the options. Seems like more than the D100, but then again, I was 10 years younger!

Responses so far show a common theme:
• There is no best practice. You have to choose the settings that work best for you. Based on the subjects you shoot, the ambient conditions you shoot in, your preferences, and your particular shooting style.

• There's no "best practice" per se, since as Marty points out, they are settable for a reason: photographers and their situations are highly variable.

While we have agreement that perfection is elusive based on many factors,  we already have a few "basic" settings being shared in this discussion and we invite you to add yours.  

8- Masking Tips
Your portrait shot will need some masking during post-process but you soon find out this is easier said than done. It gets even harder with strands of hair.

Masking_450.jpgSilver member Allen R. Stewart (cutupguy) from Oregon, USA has posted two sample images and the discussion has led to others sharing their techniques (with their own samples).

Allen asks:
I am trying to swap out the background on these 2 images, but the hair is driving me crazy. I'm beginning to think there just isn't enough contrast or color difference for the selection tools to pick up.
I have used PS(CC) Refine edge brush and painting overlay blend mode on the mask, but no joy.
I have tried Fluid Mask 3, which has some amazing color selection tools but had no success.
I have tried On1 Photo RAW Perfect brush and refine edge brush, same problem.
I have tried mangling the image in black and white with contrast, structure, etc., but still can't get a good mask.
I have tried inverting the colors and then trying the above again, same problem.
If anyone could share a technique that works, I would be eternally indebted.

Look like a challenge? Allen posted images large enough for you to show him your technique. Dive in and give it a shot. And don't forget to describe your work-flow.

9-Laptop Darkroom?

Predator-Laptop_400.jpgCan you work on your image collection with a laptop? Many of our members are doing it right now, and we have a question on best choices for photography work.

Silver member Raymond Lach (Ray701) from Illinois, USA asks:
Hello fellow Nikonians! I've been a member for short time and finally felt it was time to get involved. I just recently got back into photography after a long hiatus.

Not too long ago I purchased my first DSLR, a slightly used D7100. While I am getting familiar with its features and functionality, I am in desperate need of a new computer. I am very partial to laptops and I would like to get some suggestions.

My budget is roughly $1000 to $1200. I would really like to be able to attach to a monitor (does not need to be very large) that could easily be color calibrated if needed in the future. I am strictly an amateur that has never used any photo editing software. My use will be only personal with no intentions of selling any of my photos. Sorry for the long post, and - Thank You for reading.

Any suggestions? - Post your thoughts here.


That's it for this week. Make sure you grab your favorite camera and capture some images to share with family and friends (especially us at Nikonians). -- Tom Boné (flashdeadline)

Posted by flashdeadline at February 28, 2017 7:36 PM