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May 30, 2017

Are you a darkroom "cheater?"


Here are some of the topics and news items we're tracking for our community this week. ---

Members share views on digital darkroom enhancements, Black and White competition winners announced, landscape photography on a budget, rain gear comparisons --- PLUS more....

1 -- Are you a darkroom cheater?

Silver member Dale Williams (Tropidale) from Florida, USA wants to know where our members stand on post processing techniques that may be stretching the "truth" of an image.

The modern digital darkroom allows for endless variations on an original photo, but Dale is thinking there may be a bit of "misrepresentation" involved.  

Here's a very short excerpt from his opening remarks:

Today I researched tutorials on how to get those magnificent milky way shots I have been drooling over for years. Imagine my disappointment to find that the "before" shots appear to be nothing like the edited version, just a fairly starry sky with a slightly lighter area. I was certainly expecting some adjustment, and I am sure that the video didn't do the actual original justice, but the extreme enhancements seemed a lot like 'bait and switch".

I get that photography is art, and you have a right to create whatever you like based on your skill, imagination, and tools. But it kind of bothers me when we, as photographers, misrepresent reality to such a degree that those who choose to visit a place or shoot the same subject based on what they think are representative images, end up feeling cheated when they arrive and see that they do not represent reality for viewing or photographing.

Check his full post for more points before you join this discussion. Plenty of great responses have already been added. 

2 -- Best B&W contest winners

Nikonians Photo Contest Director Dave Summer (dm1dave) has announced the winner of the Best of Nikonians Segment 1 with the theme "Black and White."

Taking top honors in this round is a powerful image by Gold member Isaac Vaisman (ivaisman) from Florida, USA. His shot of a boxer, captured with his Nikon D4, is titled "Boxer's Corner."

Isaac used a Nikkor 24-70 f/2.8 lens maxed at 70mm with a 1/500 second exposure and f/4 aperture taking advantage of his ISO setting of 2000 (with +1 Exposure Compensation).

The B&W conversion was handled with Silver Effex 2.

In addition to our overall winner, we have four members earning an honorable mention. All images will advance to the final rounds of the Best of Nikonians 2017 at the end of the year.

Honorable mentions go to:

San Juan River New Mexico #2 by Adam Perez (Adamgp) from New Mexico, USA

Ghosts in the Ice by Russell Whittemore (rosewood_ltd) from Ohio, USA

Morning Exercise on Exmoor by Geoff Baylis (GBaylis) from England, The United Kingdom

Stairway to Darkness by Jeff Atchley (Graceland) from Tennessee, USA

All five images have been automatically uploaded to the Best of Nikonians 2017 Gallery.

This contest, along with the monthly forum contests, are the preliminary rounds for the Annual Best of Nikonians Photo Contest where you have the opportunity to win prizes and have your images highlighted in the Winners Galleries and published in the eZine.

3 -- Upgrade your Shutter!

This is the most inexpensive upgrade you can make to your camera. It is incredibly simple and useful. You'll be amazed nobody thought of this before!

Each package contains 2 shutter upgrades (choose RED or BLACK). Fits all Nikon DSLRs. Click here to save 5% now.

Upgrade your photography with our legendary CheatSheets. Each of our CheatSheets is a work of art. You'll find them indispensable. We have CheatSheets for ALL of Nikons DSLRs and most Speedlights,

Get infinite Depth of Field with Helicon Software (discounted 10%). Save 20% on our legendary CheatSheets; 10% on Helicon Photo Software and 5% on accessories.

Get the discount with this link 

4 -- Landscape Photography on a budget

Gold member Wayne Lorimer (wjlorimer) from New Zealand has posted an inspirational article for those of us who do not have a massive assortment of specialized gear designed to help capture landscapes.

His premise is simple: Make use of what you already own.

In his article, Wayne contends:

Before you go off and buy that $5000 camera body, or $2000 wide angle lens, let's think about this. What I'm about to say may shock you, it may upset you (sorry about that), or it may even delight you. But it's the truth. And the truth is, a $2000 lens will NOT make you a better landscape photographer. And a $5000 camera will NOT make you a better photographer - period.

The photographers you admire may very well use the latest full frame bodies, and the most expensive ultra-wide lenses that money can buy. But that's not what makes them great photographers either. Trust me, you can take wonderful, amazing, stunning, incredible landscape pictures with an entry level or mid-range camera body and the humble kit lens. Seriously. When it comes to beautiful landscape images, it is most definitely not about the gear.

Can he prove his point? - by the looks of his sample images, it sure seems so. Check it out. 

5 -- Canon kudos anyone?

Silver member Alex Rosen (klrbee25) from Florida, USA is contemplating Canon as a source for his printing needs. Now is the time for all our Canon Printer users to chime in and let him know if he is on the right track.

Here's his wish-list:

I've been shooting for many years and have amassed a collection of digital photos. However, I drifted away from printing my work, mostly due to cost concerns at the time. I'm now drawn to the high-end Canon wide-format printers to renew my enjoyment of past and future work. I've also found that I'm quite reluctant to use print-shops for my work due to the inconvenience of uploading work, waiting for the prints, and then having to repeat the cycle if I want to adjust the results and receive more prints.

I've been considering the Canon Prograf Pro-1000 to print up to 17"x24" and get excellent quality. The missing roll paper support is bummer. I'm drawn to the improvement in print-head technology to minimize clogs which were a real downer when I was using Epson products many years ago.

My thought is I could use the Canon for all my smaller print needs and to make proofs for larger prints that are beyond the printer's capabilities. Considering really large prints need some special mounting for proper presentation, I expect to use a quality print shop for those works regardless. But I'm hoping the Canon will get me back into high quality printing, fill my small print needs and serve as a stepping stone to proofing which prints go for the big presentation with professional production.

Does this make any sense? I'm not making a living with photography and the prints are for me, my family and for display in our home.

If you have experience with Canon printers like the one Alex is asking about--we encourage you to join the discussion. 

6 -- Last chance for Nikon D500, D750 & D810 plus free Nikon Battery Pack Grips

Our friends at Berger Bros. Camera tell us they have never seen Nikon offer bigger Instant Savings.

If you're on the fence, these low prices should push you off! This offer expires on June 3rd.

• D5500
Two lens kit - save $550

• D500
Body Only - Save $200BB-sp_250.jpgw/ kit lens - Save $670
Plus Free MB-D17 Battery Pack

• D750
Body Only - Save $500
w/ kit lens - Save $1100
Plus Free MB-D16 Battery Pack

• D810 Body Only - Save $500
D810 w/ kit lens - Save $1100
Plus Free MB-D12 Battery Pack

You can now pre-order the new D7500 Body at $1,249.99 or the D7500 w/kit lens at $1,749.99. Great Personal service: Brad Berger 516-816-4921 or or

7 -- Rain Gear anyone?

We have a very detailed discussion on rain gear going on in our Camera Carry & Apparel forum. The depth of responses shows many of our more experienced members take water damage seriously. Specific brand names are discussed in-depth.

This is a must read if you have a trip to wet climates and regions in mind. Here are a few examples:

•  It really depends on how much rain and how long. For many photographers, pouring rain is beyond the scope of decent photos so it's really light rain or showers for 15-30 minutes that is the problem. If you must get the shot and are a sports photographer, you need something more. If rather than a shower, you just have nuisance water such as heavy mist, there is still a different solution.

• I would also take a lightweight poncho. A poncho will cover you and your bag and provide temporary shelter for your camera and lens. I have a large size one that becomes a portable shelter and I have it over the tripod and shoot through the hood.

• There's a point at which you have to distinguish rain gear aimed at protecting the camera while shooting, and just protecting the camera (a big garbage bag can do the latter).

How do you protect your valuable investment in great gear? Let us know.  

8 -- Think Tank Photo announces upgraded favorites

Our friends at Think Tank Photo have released a new version of their popular TurnStyle sling bags with an emphasis on stability.

The TurnStyle 5 fits a mirrorless body plus two to four lenses, and an eight-inch tablet.  The TurnStyle 10 fits a standard size DSLR plus one to two lenses, and an eight-inch tablet. 

The TurnStyle 20 fits a standard size DSLR plus one to three lenses, and a 10" tablet.  These new version releases come in the traditional Charcoal and in a new color, Indigo Blue.

Doug Murdoch, Think Tank Photo's CEO and lead designer tells us:

This new version of our popular TurnStyle sling bags reinforces their reputation as the ideal "grab and go" camera bag. One thing we've learned from serving professional photographers for so long is that they always need one, pre-conformed gear kit that gives them access to their core gear.  The TurnStyle is that bag.

If a combination backpack/roller is you favorite Think Tank product, they have you covered with their new version of the StreetWalker® series--  one of the most sought-after products in the photographic world.  

The new StreetWalker Rolling Backpack V2.0, featuring the ability to switch from a backpack to a roller. Also released are upgraded versions of all three classic StreetWalker backpacks.

Photographers get the same comfort and quality as the original series but with new features such as increased depth for modern DSLR systems, and dedicated pockets for both tablets and smartphones.

Editor's note: if you are interested in these bags, make sure you use our links (above)-- our friends at Think Tank have arranged for the links to lead our members to free gear and free shipping with their orders. 

9 -- Real Estate photographers share tips

New member Maris Lubbock (Enidan) from Ontario, Canada took a picture of a home. A realtor liked her work and now she's on the verge of entering the world of real estate photography. It's not as easy as one might think, and she's asking for advice. What would you suggest?

Here's her story:

On a whim, I send some photos of a house - interior & exterior to a real estate agent who is an acquaintance. He loved them. In a note with the photos, I asked if he could would be interested in having me photo a couple of listings. Since I am very new to all this I said I would do it for free for one or two places. They loved my photos &' I'm meeting agents tomorrow afternoon at a large older home. The agent also insists he will pay me. He & some other agents loved my photos.

If things work out, I'm not worried about the business side. I have advice from our insurance agent & accountant. What I need advice on is lighting & everything else. The photos I sent were taken with my crop sensor & my Sigma 10-20. The late afternoon was sunny and the house was beautifully lit with natural light. I know nothing about supplementary lighting, so hoping at this point I don't have to use it. I will be there in the afternoon tomorrow. Hoping it's sunny.

I would love to be able to make some money to support my expensive hobby. I'm retired and have discovered my love for photography late in life when I can least afford it. Any advice would be appreciated.  - Maris

Have you been shooting real estate images? Do you have tips to share?


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 11:20 PM

May 23, 2017

New camera, new book, new questions


Here are some of the topics and news items we're tracking for our community this week. ---

New book coming with member input weighed in, lens storage issues, rip stop nylon for portraits--- PLUS more....

1 -- New camera, new book, new questions

Nikonians author Darrell Young (DigitalDarrell) has opened a virtual Pandora's Box while researching his next book in the Mastering Series

He knew that before he embarked on this new project.  Our members have not been too kind when reading about a new DSLR with apparently more features missing than actually added

The camera is the new Nikon D7500, and although Darrell does not have his in hand yet, he's looking for our input:


I have preordered the new Nikon D7500 (from and have been examining the camera's features on the Nikon site. There are some exciting things and some negative things that I want to talk with you about before I write our upcoming NikoniansPress book Mastering the Nikon D7500. I value your input on the camera. 

What do you see that is positive and/or negative about the D7500? Is there a particular feature you like or dislike? I am looking for positives about the D7500, although I recognize a few negatives. What are your thoughts?

Editor's note: Darrell's research shows he's ready to tackle what may be the most negatively "pre-reviewed" new model since the Nikon DF. He's asking for input because he's noticed our comments so far seem to be missing some goodies. I talked to him at length before posting this, and I can assure you he's not a "fan-boy" looking to ignore negatives in favor of positives, simply to publish a book.  The new book is already in the pre-order pipeline, so if you want it reserved, orders yours today.

2 -- Right side up? - or down?

Silver member Mark Stephan (Mark37814) from Tennessee, USA wants to know how you are storing your lenses. It's not as much the storage location as deciding "which side up?

Here's the question:

I own a bunch of lenses, both AF Nikkors and many 3rd party lenses. I use a set of shelves in my bedroom closet for storage and easy access. Do I need to keep the front lens element facing up or down? 

Currently all of my lenses including heavy primes and zooms are stored with the front element facing up. With my non AF-S lenses should I keep the lens aperture opened all the way (f/1.4, 1.8, 2.0 etc) or closed to the smallest aperture (f/16, 22 or 32) like my G lenses? 

I know this is a silly question but I want to store my lenses in a way that doesn't hurt functionality later on. 

Do you have a preferred method? Let us know, and don't forget to mention why. 

3 -- Ever lose any equipment?  Gear lost forever? - Maybe not!


Each IDmyStuff® label set includes includes 29 labels, in 3 sizes.  Big enough for a 400mm lens to small enough for a filter ring.

3 lines of text on each label, plus a gift or coding message for each set.  Up to 30 characters per line.  Super weatherproof outdoor vinyl with sign grade adhesive, UV resistant colorfast thermal resin printing, laminated with tough polyester. 7 different colors--code your gear by types, storage locations, or application purposes.

Just $9.95, including shipping in USA. (International: $4.95 flat rate shipping per order.)  20% off orders of 3.  30% off orders of 10 sets or more.  Typical turnaround--order to delivery--is one week or less.

4 -- Share your favorite photo storage solution

New member John O'Connell (JBOC) from Virginia, USA needs help deciding on a photo storage sharing site for his club.

Johns asks:
I have been using Dropbox for members to put their monthly theme shots in and if they come up something they like better they can pull back their shot and drop in another.

I would like to have a site where each month's work can be stored for members viewing.

I can't figure out how Flicker can be used by many and any advice would be appreciated.

We've already received comments on sites we've rarely considered. Before you share your advice, don't forget that John's usage is specialized for members of a club, (as opposed to picture sharing with family and friends. 

5 -- Can rip stop nylon improve your portraits?

Have you ever considered using a light panel made of rip stop Nylon?

Portrait photographers have been using light panels made of translucent materials for years.

The versatility factor alone is worth a try.

Silver member Robert Metheney (bobpilot) from Utah, USA has been performing trial runs with the material and he's posted examples.

He has received a few suggestions (mostly about the color of the fabric) and now he's ready for the next step:

Several colors are available. Blue, Black, Charcoal gray, red, hunter green, burnt orange, brown, and a few more that I don't like. My next project, with his mom's approval, is a portrait of a teenager. He wants something modern. He showed me some examples, not of himself, and some had light gray backgrounds, and some had dark backgrounds. We can do both. 

I'm thinking burnt orange then I can light from behind and make it brighter or darker, move it from orange to dark brown.

I am not good at picking background colors. Any help will be appreciated. 

6 -- Don't get p****ed

Silver member Mike McLain (AUMike) from Alabama, USA was first to mention an unusual friend request:

Note to everyone....appears that a scammer has obtained email addresses of members of Nikonians. The body of the email I received from this scumbag references Not good. 

Not good indeed Mike, and you were not alone. When I got mine I briefly pictured Gina Lollobrigida or Sophia Loren but my suspicious nature immediately pointed to a phishing scam.

Silver member Fred Brickenkamp (FredB D3) from Florida, USA went a few steps further and looked into some background. 

He reports: This is both a dating scam and an attempt to get people's money (help me get my father's estate, and I'll share with you). 

Many members have also been targeted, and our founders are planning for enhanced preventive measures. 

7 -- Boundless creativity in digital darkroom

Moderating Team member Dan Wiedbrauk (domer2760) reminds us to check out the current digital artistry competition because it is filling up with some amazing images.

Have a look, and let the current submissions give you inspiration to join the competition. 

The May challenge is-- Lines.

This contest features images that have been significantly manipulated for creative effect. The final output can be realistic, surreal, abstract, or fantastic. 

Show us your digitally manipulated images of lines and objects in lines. Any photographic subject is acceptable so long as it meets the Nikonians terms of use. We want to see wall-worthy line abstracts, objects/people in lines, clothes lines, blurred movement lines, architectural lines, or any liney thing that tickles your fancy. Let your inner artist lead the way. 

This is a digital manipulation contest, so tell us a little something about how you achieved the visual effect. 

Editor's note: the image used to illustrate this item was chosen at random, and does not indicate any favoritism to this entry. I'm not on the judging team. Not much time left to enter this May competition. 

8 -- Pushing for perfection

Silver member Bob Levesque (BOB_LEVESQUE) wants to shoot fast action events under challenging light conditions. He needs a good camera and some good advice. 

He has that camera, but now it's time for some advice.

Here's the question: 

This is my first attempt at shooting boxing (also my first outing with my new D750, Nikon 28-300 3.5/5.6 VR, No flash). 

Settings: AF-C, "Group", Manual 1/1000 sec, f/5.6, ISO Auto, face detection ON, focal length used usually 300, shot from the stands (not ringside). 

Read and followed all the tips in the owner's manual, other publications and local camera expert. 

PROBLEM: Even with Face-detection on, and AF-C/Grp, most of the shots were focused on the Rope around the ring instead of the boxers faces. (see attached shot) 

What did I do wrong?

Help and advice much appreciated as I intend to shoot a lot of low-light, fast action events, (boxing, roller-derby, gymnastics...etc.) which is why I bought the D750 to start with.



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 10:54 PM

May 16, 2017

What do you do with your photographs?


Here are some of the topics and news items we're tracking for our community this week. ---

Members share what they are doing with their photos, two photography specialties worth trying, sensor dust remedies--- PLUS more....

1 -- What do you do with your photographs?
Gold member Steve Castle (AusPhotoMan) from New South Wales, Australia has tons of images collected over the years, and now he's looking to make good use of his efforts. What have you been doing with your "keepers" when you are not sure whether to hit the delete option?

Here is Steve's question:
Hi all,
I have been shooting for many years including some time as a working pro.
These days I struggle to figure out what to do with images I take. I have limited display space at home, but some are on display. I don't have young children or grandchildren to shoot ATM, but do shoot extensively when I travel and make those images into photobooks, but that is generally once every two years.
I enjoy shooting but can't see the point if I am not doing something useful with the images. Decent competitions are expensive to enter multiple images, the main reason I see to enter comps is the prestige of getting an award but I am not one who gets off on receiving awards.
Thoughts please?  -- Regards,  Steve

Responses so far include printing for fun, printing for profit, posting online forums, donating prints and arranging for stock photo reprint options.

If you have a huge stack of great images, you need to follow (and perhaps contribute to) this discussion.


2 -- Drops of water equal art?
Silver member Robert Metheney (bobpilot) from Utah, USA is looking into expanding his photo skills by tackling images of water drops. Yes, drops of water. If you have never seen the unique results from this style, you really need to check out the examples posted in response.

Here's the original question:
Now that I have abandoned sports photography, I want to find a new interest. My studio is ready for use.
Today I did some research on water-drop photography. This seems like something I might like.
Because I have no experience with this type of photography, I don't know if this kit is the way to go, or if there is something better.

Bob specified a certain kit, and from the looks of it--responses so far include many options and techniques. This is not a challenge for those of us with limited patience or resources, but the results are truly amazing. This discussion has turned into a great "how-to" primer for all of us willing to take on the challenges.

Have a look, and if you are a water-drop shooter - make sure you add your best shots.


3 -- Lowest prices ever on Nikon D500, D750 & D810 plus free Nikon Battery Pack Grips
Berger Bros. Camera tells us they have never seen Nikon offer bigger Instant Savings.

• D5500
Two lens kit - save $550
• D500
Body Only - Save $200
w/ kit lens - Save $670 
Plus Free MB-D17 Battery Pack
• D750
Body Only - Save $500
w/ kit lens - Save $1100
Plus Free MB-D16 Battery Pack
• D810 Body Only - Save $500
D810 w/ kit lens - Save $1100
Plus Free MB-D12 Battery Pack

You can now pre-order the new D7500 Body at $1,249.99 or the D7500 w/kit lens at $1,749.99. Great Personal service: Brad Berger 516-816-4921 or or


4 -- Irritated by sensor dust?
Silver member Fay Jordan (TripleSeven) from England, The United Kingdom has been trying to resolve sensor dust issues with her Nikon D750. This is one of the most talked about topics in our forums for all DSLR's and her particular problem is drawing good suggestions.

The original question (and image):
Hi all, I have a D750 I bought at the start of last year and it's riddled with spots. It has been cleaned but, within a day or two of the cleaning the spots were back, and in force. The attached just-for-example photo shows how bad the spots are down the right-hand side of the sensor - no processing has been done, apart from resizing the photo so I could upload it, and equalizing it in Photoshop to highlight the spots (which is why the colours look a bit groovy).

What could be causing all these spots? The lens was only changed once in the time since it was cleaned, in a reasonably clean hotel room and I hadn't been in any dusty environments. My D810, by contrast, is immaculate.

Sensor dust is a fact of life, I get that, but this does seem excessive and more so as the sensor was cleaned immediately prior to the trip I was on. My previous D750 that I sold was the same, more dust than the Sahara. That said, is this dust or could it be oil spots? And, although it's a month out of warranty, would it be worth sending to Nikon UK for servicing and cleaning? Thanks in advance for your responses.

Do you have additional suggestions for her problem? Share them with us.


5 -- What the heck is a "sportrait?"
Silver member Brian Barbash (brianbarbash) from New Jersey, USA has posted a few images of an athlete (his son) while describing it in a relatively new term. His technique has drawn praise.

Brian tells us:
For about a year or so, I've been playing around with "sportraits" and compositing, creating images of my kids and their teammates. Usually I drop them into a stadium or some other kind of setting that mimics big time sports. The kids go bonkers when they see themselves like this and it's a lot of fun.

The shot (attached) is my youngest son Tyler, 8, wearing his NJ State team gymnastics uniform. He qualified to represent New Jersey in a 5-team state meet held at the West Point Military Academy in April. The team took 2nd place. While this shot isn't a composite, I did use compositing techniques to change the background to near black - the original was a dirty white muslin backdrop that just didn't work that well, but was all I had.

Any feedback or suggestions for improvement are greatly appreciated.

Responding members complimented Brian on his technique with a limited number of suggestions.

Moderating Team member Martin Turner told Brian:
Masterful use of rim lighting which is the mark of the modern sportrait. This is superb, and you haven't gone too far (which is easy to do).

Brian added an additional image showing more creativity. If you have been shooting "sportraits" please feel free to add to this discussion. And, make sure you tell us how you did it.


6 -- Comfort plus Theft-Resistance?
Can your strap keep your camera safe when traveling?

This strap, available from PhotoBert, is great for travel as it helps thwart camera thieves and is great for everyday use.
It fits any camera that has a removeable camera strap.

Don't let this strap fool you - it looks (and is) lightweight, but is incredibly strong!

It is 30% lighter than nylon/polyester, 45% lighter than aramid and 15 times stronger than steel.
(Sorry -- PhotoBert can only ship this product to US customers only.)
Nikonians Price: $37.95 
Price is after discount reflected in your cart.


7 -- Mark your tripod. Best method?
Gold member John A. Meiers (Dakotaboy) from North Dakota, USA is asking for suggestions on speeding up his tripod settings. Do you mark pre-sets, and if so, how so you mark the gear?

Here's the original question:
About a year ago I purchased a used Gitzo tripod. When fully extended and a D3 attached to ballhead it is about 2 inches too high. Does anybody have any DIY tricks to marking the tripod legs for quick easy setup according to my height? It would be nice to see a tripod with tape measure type markings on the bottom legs.

We have two responses:
• The simplest solution is to adjust the length of the bottom set of legs to your eye level and then mark one or more of the legs with a sharpie so you know how far to extend them the next time you set up the tripod. You could also just remember to not fully extend the bottom section and guess the height. If you do it often enough you will get very close to eye level without having to put a mark on the leg.  

• I don't recommend marring your tripod legs with tick marks, but Marty has a good suggestion. I usually extend the bottom sections of my tripod less than halfway out. For one that keeps dust and mud out of the telescoping joints, and two I can more easily adjust the top sections to set the height I need. BTW, the middle section(s) get extended out all the way.

How would you mark your favorite tripod settings?


8 -- Camera ban on air travel: updates
It has been nearly two months since Moderating Team member Ned S. Levi started tracking and reporting on recent air travel security measures that could impact our members flying with their gear.  The restrictions apply to electronic devices, but believe it or not -- your Nikon gear may be included.

In a recent update, Ned shows a pessimistic viewpoint:
As to this ban that isn't really a ban, the only people who are adversely affected are law abiding passengers, many of whom who have decided that the government has gone too far and are not traveling. (Emirates Airlines has reported a $1.5 billion drop in profits since the ban that isn't really a ban when into effect. Other affected airlines are reportedly hurting similarly.)
There is no upside.
The ban has no capability to make air travelers more secure. That's not opinion. That's fact. The ban likely makes us less secure according to experts.

The result of these security measures is starting to point towards our air-traveling members investing in costly "check-in" traveling luggage from sources such as Pelican.
How are you dealing with the newest air travel security arrangements?


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 9:50 PM

May 9, 2017

D5 and D500 becoming extinct?


Here are some of the topics and news items we're tracking for our community this week. ---

Members speculate on the future of Nikon, 35mm lens suggestions, blending skin tones PLUS more....

1 -- D5 and D500 becoming extinct?

In an ironic twist, while we are celebrating the 100th Anniversary of our favorite camera company, Silver member Thomas Lawrence (tomlawone) from Idaho, USA is speculating on the inevitable demise of popular Nikon cameras like the D5 and D500. Responding members are countering with a measure of confidence and a glimpse of future generations.

Tom's initial post was a bit on the gloomy side:

Nikon as a camera company is dying. Sony and Fuji and Olympus and Panasonic have mirrorless, the future. The SLR generation was the 50's to 90's. That generation is now old and retired. Today big, fat, full-frame cameras go to professionals and enthusiasts who are young and will carry the weight. DX is the compromise. Does anyone see a day 5 years from now when mirrorless has not done everything the D5 or D500 can do now?

Responses so far include:

• Automotive industry is dying because only Tesla has electric cars.

That said the Sony a9 seems to be a great but also expensive camera. Nikon is not sleeping and it is expected that the D6 will be a new camera as the a9 is today. That will happen within the next 3 or 4 years.

• Truth is that mechanical devices are expensive and unreliable. The camera of the future will have no moving parts and the SLR will become the photographic equivalent of steam locomotives.

• To paraphrase Mark Twain, "The reports of Nikon's death are greatly exaggerated".

I have been hearing these stories for years each time a competitor one ups Nikon. Sure, Nikon is not as big as Canon or Sony, but cameras are also not its only business. That being the case, it is still considered one of the top makers of professional cameras.

• The dead thing is the point and shoot camera, not DSLR cameras. I wouldn't dream of buying a point and shoot; my phone is just as good. But my phone can't touch the quality of a DSLR image, except under the best of circumstances---good light, an appropriate subject for wide angle, and plenty of time to focus.

Where do you stand? Share your opinion.


2 - Which 35mm lens are you using?

Silver member Mark Virgil Stephan (Mark37814) from Tennessee, USA is wondering if he should service a good 35mm lens or perhaps start looking at a replacement

Here's the original question:

My current lens is an old AF NIKKOR 35mm f/2D and the aperture blades are sluggish although I don't see oil on the blades. Before getting it repaired I'd like to find out which 35mm lens you're using? Is it sharp and reliable? I like to use my old 35mm on my D700 or D800.

Both of his listed cameras have full frame sensors, and our members are giving him a number of interesting suggestions:

 • Have been using the Zeiss zf 35/2 for many years on D700 and D800. Very sharp wide open, beautiful colors, good contrast. This is my most used lens.

• One lens everyone raves about is the Sigma 35/1.4 Art.

• There is now a good variety of options available, the AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G ED FX version is excellent and good value, the 1.4 and earlier f2 lenses have nice character but are not my preferred options.

Do you have a favorite 35mm lens that you would recommend? Let Mark know.


3 -- Ever lose any equipment?  Gear lost forever? - Maybe not!

Label ALL your gear... BEFORE you go out to shoot!

Each IDmyStuff® label set includes 29 labels, in 3 sizes.  Big enough for a 400mm lens -- small enough for a filter ring.

Three lines of text per label, plus a gift or coding message for each set.  Up to 30 characters per line.  Super weatherproof outdoor vinyl with sign grade adhesive, UV resistant colorfast thermal resin printing, laminated with tough polyester. 7 different colors -- code gear by types, storage locations, or application purposes.

Just $9.95, including shipping in USA. (International: $4.95 flat rate shipping per order.)  20% off orders of 3.  30% off orders of 10 sets or more.  Typical turnaround (order to delivery) is one week or less.


4 -- Blending skin tones primer

Silver member Peter Conis (PC60) from Iowa, USA asked for advice on fine-tuning a portrait. He provided an original, and our members have made edits to solve some blending issues. Do you think you have a new approach?

Here's the original question:

Here's a photo from a session I conducted involving our nursing instructors.

My concern is the neckline--I can't manage to blend the tan line and reduce the color distinction between the obviously sun exposed portion of her neck and the remainder of her neck visible in this photo.

I tried dodging, cloning, and painting and I was not happy with the results.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Any additional comments would also be welcomed.

Responding members used a variety of methods, and as we all know, there a many ways to solve post processing challenges.

Take a look at Pete's original - and if you can improve on it, share your version and make sure you tell us how it was accomplished.


5 -- Moderately priced gear for panoramas

Gold member Steve Castle (AusPhotoMan) from New South Wales, Australia is interested in expanding his panorama shooting techniques and apparatus. He's already done some stitching and he's ready for the next step. Take a look at his progress so far and let him know if he's on the right track.

Here's the original post:

Hi all,

I am looking to play around with panoramas. I have been successful with hand held and single row horizontal stitches with a standard tripod pan/tilt head, but sometimes those don't blend correctly in PS. I have a Manfrotto tripod with built in level that to me is very inaccurate when check against a builder's level. The inbuilt level case also moves when the center column is set horizontally, so it can't be accurate.

I have carefully set the tripod level to be apparently level, then set the pan/tilt head which also has a level to be level, then rotated the pan/tilt head in azimuth and the level position on the pan/tilt head changed, to me a further indication the tripod level is inaccurate.

Am I doing something wrong here in setting up?

I am planning on using a macro focus rail to set the camera to the pupil entrance point, along with one of the rotating mechanisms you can buy economically from China via Ebay. Also, adding an Arca Swiss style l plate and bracket for vertical operation. I figure I can do this for about $AUD150-$AUD200. Are there any flaws in my approach, if so are there other ways to approach the problem? I simply cannot afford a Nodal Ninja or Novofelx style setup.

Attached is a 3 shot vertical stitch, shot on a tripod, not very carefully levelled and lens not at pupil entrance point, but with no foreground to cause issues. Actually, stitched with MSICE.  Regards, Steve

6 -- Big lens - Big price - Big decision

Silver member Gig Marshall (Giguchan) from New York, USA is contemplating a step up to the AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR Lens. He already has the predecessor. Should he reach for his wallet?

Gig asks: 

Have many of you traded up to the latest version of this lens? I have the previous version and was just wondering if any of you have made the swap to the latest version.

In other words, is the latest that much more sharp?

I was also curious to see if the change of the focus and zoom was that big of a learning curve.

I know that every other lens in the world is "normally" the other way around.


Many members have already answered that they would not be upgrading their 70-200's, but one who has already made her purchase says she's very satisfied:

I had the VRII, and now own the new FL. I preordered and had mine two days after BH had it in stock. The older lens is a great lens, but the latest version is really nice. It's sharper across the whole frame, sharp at 135mm (most zooms are weakest in their mid range), has even faster AF (great for sports), and is a little lighter than it's predecessor. It also doesn't have the focus breathing issue.

Is this lens appealing to your NAS (Nikon Acquisition Syndrome)?


7 -- D5500 Fixes arrive

Nikon has released a firmware upgrade for the D5500.


This week's 1.02 version improves over the previous (1.01) by addressing issues with shutter response under certain conditions and display preferences. Nikon lists the following fixes:

• The camera would stop responding if the multi selector was pressed right with Add items > CUSTOM SETTING MENU > c Timers/AE lock selected in MY MENU.

• The shutter would sometimes not be released in response to live view touch shutter controls if autofocus was used with an SB-800 flash unit attached.

• Optimal exposure would sometimes not be achieved in photographs taken during live view with lenses that support both autofocus and electronic aperture control (type E lenses).

• If image review was enabled during viewfinder photography, the camera would sometimes display shooting information in place of the most recent picture when the user removed their eye from the viewfinder after shooting.

• The camera would sometimes fail to store the option selected for a Autofocus > a3 Built-in AF-assist illuminator in the CUSTOM SETTING MENU after the mode dial was rotated to another setting.


8 -- Fall ANPAT 17 now booking

Nikonians founder J. Ramón Palacios (jrp) has announced the location for our next Fall season Nikonians Annual Photo Adventure Trip (ANPAT).

The Fall ANPAT-17 will be taking our members to Acadia and the Coastal Maine and for a very limited time, we have an early bird discount.  This location is a photography paradise, with rugged coastlines, iconic lighthouses, and warm tones of the northern light.

The dates are: October 7, 2017 (arrival) to October 14, 2017 (departure).

JRP tells us:

October is the best time to be there; exquisite colors abound, not just on the trees, but also on the ground, thanks to the berry plants characteristic of the northern areas. Nikonians Academy Director Eric Bowles (ericbowles) will be our ANPAT Leader.

Check out the 17th ANPAT in the Fall FAQs and the official Nikonians Academy reservations page for more details.


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 9:54 PM

May 3, 2017

Are you ready for the USA blackout?


Here are some of the topics and news items we're tracking for our community this week. ---

USA members plan for August Eclipse, March contest congrats, sensor cleaning update, PLUS more....

1 -- Are you ready for the USA blackout?

Gold member Mark David (tpnaspen) from Illinois, USA reminds us the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse covering a large swath of the USA is coming in three months.

Mark asks:

This coming August I will be within 50 miles of 100% total solar eclipse. I would love to take some photos but concerned with my own safety and my camera. I shoot a Nikon D750.

Is there a particular lens I should use? Some helpful hints would be appreciated.

Our Astrophotography forum members are known for their attention to details, and we must commend Gold member Gerry Mulligan (Gerry M) from Arizona, USA for his response, which includes a treasure chest of significant links covering solar eclipses.

The 2017 eclipse will hit land in on August 21, in western Oregon (Lincoln Beach and Depoe Bay) at 10:15 a.m. local time then proceed across the USA until it exits land over South Carolina at a barrier reef (Cape Romain) just east of McClellanville at 2:49 p.m. local time.  The actual time (ignoring time zones) will be only about an hour and a half, covering 14 States.  

2 -- March Contest Congrats

Nikonians Contest Coordinator David Summers (dm1dave) has posted the results of the March contests. Congratulations to our winners!

Check our winning images legend below and scroll down for the names of the winners. Each photo title serves as a link, which will lead you to explanations behind some of the photographs and an overall look at the competition.

1. -- Wildlife - "In the Beautiful Light at Dusk or Dawn" theme winner Aart Louw (AartPapaya) from South Africa with his image titled Good Bad and Ugly.
2. -- Landscape -  "Dusk or Dawn -Sun Below the Horizon" theme winner Nick Randall (NRandall) from Victoria, Australia with his image titled Daybreak - Addiscott Beach - Great Ocean Road.
3. -- Macro - "Black and White Close-ups in Nature" theme winner Mark Thomas (Danygraig) from Wales, The United Kingdom with his image titled Sagartia anemone.
4. -- Travel  - "Traditional Sports and Pastimes" theme winner Steve Piccolo (pic) from Washington, USA with his image titled Tibetan Tug-of-War.
5. -- Digital Artistry  - " Animal or Plants" theme winner Roberta Davidson (birdied) from Louisiana, USA with her image titled The Swallowtail.
6. -- Online Assignments  - "Old" theme winner William McEwen (Wolfgang55) from Connecticut, USA   with his image titled Bus.

Interested in submitting your photos?
If you want to participate, please be sure to enter one of the monthly competitions listed in David Summers' contest guide.

The Online Photo Assignments category is coordinated by Rob Migliaccio (rmigliaccio) from Rhode Island, USA. You can check his recap of past assignments here.

The current (May) assignment is Street Photography.

Here is Rob's description:
My suggestion is to Google the term "Street Photography" to get a sense of this month's assignment. Wikipedia says, "street photography, also sometimes called candid photography, is photography conducted for art or enquiry that features unmediated chance encounters and random incidents within public places." What do you think street photography is? Post some images to prove your point!

3 -- What is your favorite photography vest?

Silver member Marion Pavan (pqtrths) from California, USA has a birthday coming up and he's thinking of gifting himself with a photographer's vest. Marion's search is uncovering some interesting suggestions.

Here's his list of requirements:

I been thinking about this beforehand to reduce my physical profile especially in tight locations, such as entering WWII bombers, or car shows - with my backpacks, I would first drop the pack and carry it between the cars - where a backpack is a tight fit; to evenly distribute the weight of the equipment; and to provide convenient access for my equipment.

My equipment is listed in my profile. Instead of me trying to carry nearly everything in my 7x backpack, I would use the 7x, and, maybe, the 6x as storage, and selecting from the backpacks what I'd probably need.

Also, I've been using my D3x only - I want to now use my D3x and my D200 again for its crop factor.

What would you suggest? The old Tamrac company had a number of vests that I remember I liked but they're long gone. The vest's build quality and longevity is important. New or lightly used is acceptable. The vest should have attachment rings and pockets, covered or enclosed, of varied size. A fisherman's vest would also work. Questions, comments, and recommendations are appreciated.

Ok folks, if you have a favorite vest that would meet Marion's needs, share your thoughts.

4 -- Lowest prices ever on Nikon D500, D750 & D810 plus free Nikon Battery Pack Grips

Berger Bros. Camera tells us they have never seen Nikon offer bigger Instant Savings.


Two lens kit - save $550

D500 - Body Only - Save $200
w/ kit lens - Save $670 
Plus Free MB-D17 Battery Pack

D750 - Body Only - Save $500
w/ kit lens - Save $1100
Plus Free MB-D16 Battery Pack

D810 Body Only - Save $500
D810 w/ kit lens - Save $1100
Plus Free MB-D12 Battery Pack

You can now pre-order the new D7500 Body at $1,249.99 or the D7500 w/kit lens at $1,749.99. Great Personal service: Brad Berger 516-816-4921 or or 

5 -- Does size matter?

Silver member Larry Mannino (Larry E30) from Oregon, USA is wondering if camera size (as opposed to functionality) is important to our members.

He asks:
I have had a lot of DSLR's (I especially like the jumbo Olympus E-3 with 18-180mm) but I find after using these SMALLER cameras .... I don't want to go back to FULL SIZE - for what I do.

I guess it depends on your needs - I don't have any.

What do you think is important?

Responses so far show preferences based on needs, more than size:

• I'll say what's important is that the camera/lens combo does what I need it to do. I probably shoot almost as many photos with my iPhone as I do with my Nikons but when I go out to Yellowstone I'll take a D5, D500 and a half-ton of glass.

•  I find that my DSLR brick is staying on the shelf more and my smaller camera is going outside more. I am not ready to ditch the brick. When I go out specifically to engage in photography, I will take the brick.

• Depends on the situation for me. In addition to my (all DX) DSLRs, I have an Olympus E-M5 that I use a lot when traveling, and when I want a smaller camera.

• I love large size cameras because to me it feels rock solid to hold a large size camera.

Do you prefer a "hefty feel" while shooting?

6 -- When is a portrait not a portrait? 

Gold member Geoff Baylis (GBaylis) from England, The United Kingdom started a "food for thought" discussion that has evoked a large measure of carefully analysis, and even the Queen of England.

Warning: Don't start reading the discussion until you are in a quiet room with a soothing beverage at your side.

In response to Geoff's observations on a recent photo contest our members said:

• I would agree that the dominant part of a portrait photograph should be the face/expression.

However, I don't know if there is an enforceable international definition that supports my feelings.

But then if portraits can be anything, why have the word portrait?

• Your definition of "portrait" doesn't seem to include any of the painted portraits of the past 800 years or more that include the entire body - not just the head and shoulders - and the floor, chair, bench, stool or throne on which the subject is sitting or standing.

• A portrait, whether close-up or environmental, is a portrait or it is not. Just like a cat is not a horse.

• For my money, as long as an image contains enough detail, particularly facial detail, to enable this sort of "character reading" I can accept and enjoy it as a portrait. Studio close up or street scene, it's the humanity that fascinates.

The above is just the tip of the iceberg on this topic. Join the discussion and give us your thoughts on portraiture.

7 -- Are you cleaning your sensors?

Nikonians Academy Director Eric Bowles (ericbowles) has posted a link to a very informative article regarding a shift in sensor cleaning based on chemistry. If you have been using the Eclipse system, perhaps you need to consider Aero-clipse.

Eric explains:

Essentially some of the newer sensors have replaced glass covers with coated sensor covers to repel dust on the sensor. These coatings are increasingly vulnerable to the formulation of cleaning fluids, so original Eclipse has gone through several iterations. The latest - Aero-clipse - is driven by the coatings on the Sony sensor but will likely be useful for other sensors.

The difference is a reduction in the amount of pure methanol, and the addition of ethanol and isopropanol alcohol to provide gentler cleaning but potentially slower evaporation.

Some of the Sony sensors have had the coatings that specifically require the newer fluids. I don't know if Nikon is using those coatings, but there is little risk of using a less aggressive cleaning product. This also suggests using a light touch with cleaning fluid since evaporation may be slower. Using excess fluid remains a problem that can lead to streaking.

If you have experience cleaning sensors, we invite you to share your opinion.

8 -- Back to the good old days?

Moderating Team member Holger Wahl (Holger) from Switzerland is on a roll -- roll of film that is. Yes, he's gone back to film for a while, and so far, he's liking the results.

Here is a part of his story:

 I started a project now: analog for 6 months (except official tasks), with FM2n (b/w) and F3 (Ektar/Portra), 28mm f/2.8 AIS, 50mm f/1.2 AIS (NEW!!!), 200mm f/4 and a 100-300mm zoom. Plus, some MF and LF gear, once I got started and will have time to spare (optimist....).

Hope it works, the first (very old) Velia I found in a drawer is on the way back from the lab, two HP5 Plus are waiting for me to spare some time in the bathroom, and more good old films are sitting cool and dark in the basement, waiting to get used over the weeks and months to come.

Sure, scanning and de-dusting will take more time than "producing" thousands of digital pictures in LR, but it's like working on an old wooden boat: it's not about quantity, it's about reflection, concentration, creation of unique pictures, not about technical perfection, but about vision and manual work.

Anyone tried to step back, relax and find out about himself (or herself), about the origins of film-based photography, the smell of film when you open the little plastic can, the limitation to 36 or less pictures?

So far, so good. Holger has posted some images and he's getting support from others who have not given up on film.


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 9:01 PM