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FedeoSeptember 12, 2017

Save 50% on a Gold Membership in September

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If you are a member on a Basic or Silver membership in the Nikonians community, you can right now upgrade to a Gold Membership at a 50% discount, giving you a full year of Gold benefits for $37.50 instead of the regular $75 USD.

As a Gold Member, you have access to our NEF skills forum, where you can post your RAW files for help on processing, receive tips and tricks.

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It's a Golden Autumn

Yes, I want to upgrade now. This offer is valid until 30th of Sep 2017. The voucher to use is "GoldenSep2017". Please note, this is only valid for upgrades and reactivations, not renewals on Gold level.

As a Gold member, you also have access to the Premium Critique forum, where other photographers help you with giving you the critique you may need to bring your photography to new heights.

The Nikonians Photographers ID Card and your own, unique @nikonians.org email address are included in the Gold membership as well, to name a few more benefits.

Posted by bgs at 4:29 PM

FedeoSeptember 4, 2017

Fundraising started

We have started our fundraising campaign September 4th, 2017 and its objective is to raise enough funds to further improve the way photographs are being managed and shared in the community.

We need your support and hope that you can contribute, any amount counts.

Here at Nikonians we are all working together to achieve mastery in our photography. We know that only through our continuous dedication, staying strongly focused on learning, we will achieve our goal of mastering the art of photography.

We know that learning is easier and more fun together, letting us inspire each other and share our joy, and sometimes pain.

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A dancer high up in the air. By Pascal Baetens (pbaetens)

With your support, we can improve the learning experience further. Any amount is helpful.

Posted by bgs at 4:32 PM

FedeoSeptember 2, 2017

Issue with accessing us fixed 01-SEP-2017

Nikonians-Racks-FaM-364177-110.jpgWe have had "a bug in the system" resulting in some members and visitors seeing blank pages or "error 500" pages when trying to access certain areas of Nikonians.

This bug was fixed 01-SEP-2017 ca 16:40h UTC+0 (12:40 PM EDT)
It was (obviously inadvertently) introduced 16-AUG-2017 by us.

The buggy result occurred when the visitor/member:


  1. Was not logged in and

  2. Was accessing us from an IP address that we could not look up and

  3. Was accessing the login page, the password retrieval page, the deeper forum pages or galleries. It did not happen on e.g. the homepage, wiki, blog, newsletter subscription or search (NikoScope).

For details, please see the About us forum (login required).

Nikonians-Racks-FaM-364177.jpg
Our former rack system, meanwhile replaced - there is always something to do.

Posted by bgs at 12:52 PM

FedeoAugust 31, 2017

Some members cannot access us

BGS0684-110.jpgWe have recently been notified that some members cannot access us and see an 500 error page or a blank page in their browser, trying to access certain areas of the community.

We believe the problem relates to the infrastructure in use between us and you, since some members are plagued by this no matter which browser they use, but the issue disappears when they use another provider.

We have now made some re-configurations on our side, changes that might be relevant to the issues experienced by some. So, if you have experienced recent problems accessing the community, please try again.

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Posted by bgs at 12:58 PM

FedeoAugust 25, 2017

Get the Nikonians photographer's card

Nikonians-PhotoID-preview-110.jpgHow do you get your own, personalized Nikonians photographer's (ID) card?
Our popular card is available for all members on a Gold or Platinum membership.

Tom-Nikonians.jpg
Tom Boné with some gear and his first generation Nikonians photo card.
Even if Tom has pro credentials, the card is not a legitimate ID.

If you want to be as good looking as Tom Boné (flashdeadline) wearing your very own Nikonians photo card, then just visit "My Profile" and click on the "Membership" tab.

When in the "Membership" tab, click on the link
Go to create your photographer card ID

Fill out the data and hit submit. We are manufacturing the cards every two months, so please be patient :)

Posted by bgs at 2:25 PM

FedeoAugust 22, 2017

Nikonians FAQ: Issues with login?

_BGS9598_1-Los-Cabos-Mexico-110_tonemapped.jpgEvery so often, some members of Nikonians report having issues logging in to the site. This often relates to a few, common problems. Remedies are listed in this blog, but if they did not help, just contact us.

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Waves hitting the beach in Los Cabos, Mexico in the early morning hours. Nikon D300

If you have issues to login to Nikonians, this should help:

1. If you are using Safari as your browser and you see a 500 error after successful login, please enter
nikonians.org
in the browser's address field and press the return key

2. Do not use Microsoft Internet Explorer. Especially older versions are not supported by us. Microsoft Edge is probably a bad idea as well.

3. Stick to one browser you like. e.g. Chrome, Chromium, Opera, Firefox or Safari. This is especially true if you want to keep bookmarks organized and if you care about "remember my password" features.

4. If you are using an additional security/firewall software on your computer, make sure nikonians.org is set as a trusted site or granted similar trust. Security software can easily block parts or all of Nikonians to work properly in your browser.

5. Make sure cookies from Nikonians are stored and kept in your browser (cookies must be enabled in your browser for nikonians.org). Losing/deleting the cookies from us means new login required.

6. Ensure JavaScript is enabled for nikonians.org in your browser/security software. Without JavaScript, you cannot use Nikonians.

7. When you login at nikonians.org, checkmark "Remained logged on when I return later"

8. Once you are logged in, change your password to something you can remember. You do that under "My Profile".

More help can be found in our FAQs

And, enjoy the community! :)

Posted by bgs at 9:05 AM

FedeoNovember 10, 2015

Scheduled maintenance 11 Nov 2015 07:00 AM UTC

We are performing maintenance on our systems and we will have a scheduled downtime of up to 15 minutes starting

11 Nov 2015 02:00 AM EST (07:00 AM UTC)

During this time Nikonians.org and NikoScope.com will not be reachable.

Posted by bgs at 4:59 PM

FedeoAugust 26, 2014

Nikon D810 Service Advisory

D810-CU_125.jpgNikon issued a Service Advisory last week for the brand new Nikon D810.

The advisory warned that the D810 had a problem where, "noise (bright spots) are sometimes noticeable in long exposures, and in some images captured at an Image area setting of 1.2? (30?20)."

The problem is limited to the initial Nikon D810 cameras released worldwide. The problem was discovered and a fix put in place for D810?s released later. Nikon offers a serial number check point to see of your camera is affected by the spot problem.

Some Nikonians members have reported being able to duplicate this white spot problem by shooting at exposures longer than about 20 seconds, where small, white, long-exposure noise spots will appear in the dark areas of their images. Other Nikonians have reported not being able to cause the spots to appear. Below is a sample of the white spot problem in an exposure of 30 seconds and at 100 percent pixel-peeping level:


D810-Noise_450.jpg

While this problem does affect photographers who regularly take long exposures, such as for star trails and certain other time exposures, for the majority of photographers this is not a serious problem. Images with normal exposure times from the Nikon D810 usually do not exhibit any sign of this problem.

Darrell-Young_200.jpgAccording to Nikonian author Darrell Young (DigitalDarrell), "Having long exposure noise is a common problem for all digital cameras, which is why Nikon gives us the Long exposure NR (noise reduction) function. In fact, most members report that once Shooting Menu > Long exposure NR is enabled the problem disappears or is greatly reduced."

If you are concerned that your style of photography will be affected by this problem, it may be a good idea to send your camera in to Nikon, at their expense, to have the image processing system recalibrated. Nikon says the turn-around time for the repair is about 10 to 14 days. If you are currently using your camera heavily and do not have time to send it in immediately, you can wait until a more convenient time. A Nikonian member contacted Nikon and was informed that a service advisory lasts at least as long as the warranty of the camera and often longer. Therefore, during the warranty period of the camera, at the very least, fixing this problem will be a cost free process. If you are not seriously affected by the spot problem you may have some flexibility in choosing the best time for your camera to go in for service.

A general firmware update will not fix this problem because the camera must be connected to a computer at Nikon to recalibrate the image processing system during firmware installation. New firmware is installed as part of the recalibration process, with a firmware number of C 1.01.

Your Nikon D810 may not be affected due to being a camera outside the serial numbers Nikon provides at their checkpoint. Also, if your camera has firmware version C 1.01 installed and has a black dot inside the tripod socket, your D810 has already been recalibrated, even if it is within the serial numbers having the spot problem.

Darrell Young is currently working on his newest book, Mastering the Nikon D810, and he has praise for the quick reaction by Nikon:

"They are to be commended for issuing this service advisory very quickly after the problem was discovered and providing cost free relief for affected Nikon D810 owners."

Posted by flashdeadline at 11:36 PM

FedeoAugust 30, 2012

Exposure - little helpers

sekonic.jpg
OK, now everybody is choosing Manual mode from camera's choices of modes, or at least semi auto. Then you know what metering mode to choose to make your camera worth the money spent. But how can we take the correct exposure to another level? What makes some photographs stand up from the crowd, where many are just grey average, even we exposed the image to what we call correct?


Luckily, there are some cheats and aids on the market which can do exactly this things for us. Well, they won't do it by their self, they help you do it by yourself. Some of them are already built in your camera, or editing software, some of them you can buy and they are really cheap, some of them are more expensive. So let's have a look at them.

18% grey card
Grey card is simple piece of cardboard, paper, cloth or whatever printed in 18% grey shade. It also can be a reflector from one side and grey card from the other, which is quite handy. They come in different sizes and shapes, you just have to pick one which suits you the best.
grey card.jpg
How it works? If light conditions are not what you'd call ideal, let's say you have really bright background, or too dark scene, you just simply point your camera (set to auto or semi auto mode) to the grey card and take the exposure reading. As camera exposure metering works with 18% grey, you'll have correct exposure for every light condition. But be careful, "correct" exposure might not bring you desired result. It is also handy when shooting wedding, where correctly exposed bride's bright white dress is a must and it often can fool your camera's metering system. They are really cheap, some of them are downloadable for free, just ask Mr. Google.

Filters
Filters can really make a difference and make your pictures stand out from the crowd. More about filters can be found in my previous articles here and here.

Light meters
Why the hell you should invest to the light meter if your camera already has one? The answers is, because your camera takes exposure reading of the light reflected by the subject and light meter measures light falling on the subject. Those of us, who paid attention at physics lessons know it might be a significant difference with some materials and colors. For those of you who didn't, simple explanation says that some materials and colors absorb more  light then the others and reflect the rest. Therefore the light meter makes sure that you have always the right exposure. Of course you have to shoot on Manual and set every exposure value by yourself. How it works? You simply set the ISO and desired aperture on the light meter and press the button. Light meter tells you what shutter speed is correct. It has got few modes, usually sunny, cloudy and flash settings, but it vary from model to model.
Thumbnail image for sekonic.jpgSekonic 1.jpg













Light meter is also a must have accessory for die hard manual photographers shooting on film, who haven't got the option check the result on LCD screen. It is also handy think to have for studio photographers for setting lights.

Histogram
Histogram has been briefly explained here. It tells you the truth about tonal distribution through your image where LCD screen can fool you. And don't worry, if you didn't get it right in camera, histogram is also available in every editing software. Don't be scared of graphs, once you learn how to read it and use it, you never look back.

Exposure override
In semi auto modes there is a magic button called "exposure override" available. On scale from -2 for dark image through 0 for correct exposure to + 2 for very bright shot you can tell your camera if you'd like it to make the image darker of brighter. It really does the magic, it is very useful feature.

Exposure bracketing
This feature is also built in your camera (if you have a digital one). Camera takes usually three shots (you can set some cameras to 5 or more) with different exposure values (EV) and then you can decide at home which one is the best. You simply set the exposure bracketing for example to -1EV, 0EV and +1EV, but it also possible to set it in 1/3EV difference. You'll end up with 3 pictures of the same scene, but you'll be sure one of them is nicely exposed. This technique is also used to create HDR images, but you must have your tripod with you.

Posted by pkuzmin at 1:35 PM

FedeoAugust 29, 2012

Exposure - metering modes

exposure metering.jpg
It was easy stuff for cameras before we, photographers, get lazy. They were simple mechanical things which opened shutter curtain for time which photographer said will be good and let the light reach the film with dedicated ISO through the aperture, again, set by the photographer. But then we got lazy and we makes the camera thinks about exposure and pretty much anything. 

You can find out about how good or bad it is and what are the possibilities how camera can makes your life a misery with automatic modes here. Today we'll find out, how camera does the metering for "correct exposure" if you really want to leave it to poor camera.

So, in auto, or semi auto modes camera has to do the job for you. I auto modes completely, in semi auto you tell it what aperture, eventually shutter speed you'd like and camera calculates the rest. Let's not forget, camera calculates "correct exposure" as 18% grey tone average and metering modes are based on this fact and work with mid-tones. To give you a bit more control, how the exposure will be measured, camera offers you a few choices of metering modes. What's the difference then, if all modes work with mid-tones? Why do we need a variety of them? Well, every mode works with mid-tones, but every mode measures it in different pattern.

Spot and partial metering
Most spot meters have a precise metering circle that reads off 3% of the image frame, partial metering is little bit less precise and covers 9% of image frame. What that means? That means on whatever you point your camera, camera will think that is 18% grey mid-tone and will calculate the exposure based on that assumption. That also means you must be careful what you pointing your camera at and you should really point it somewhere where the mid-tones are. If you take the reading from highlight area, camera still assumes that is a 18% grey so the rest of the picture will be underexposed. On the other side, if you take reading from dark area, you'll end up with overexposed picture.

Spot and partial metering are ideal for portraits with back light, where multi-zone metering can be fooled by highlights in background and will underexpose your subject. Spot metering is also ideal for snowy conditions, where you should take reading form shadows to avoid underexposed image if you would do the reading form white snow. Over all in tricky light conditions with plenty of highlights, spot metering is the best choice.

Multi-zone metering
Multi-zone metering is the most sophisticated metering system available. It is reliable and will do correct exposure for vast majority of the scenes. How it works? It takes reading from whole frame, but to make it more precise, the whole frame is divided into zones. Yes, that's why it's multi-zone. It depends on model of your camera how many zones there are. Each zone takes a separate reading of whatever is in front of it, sends it to the processor where, using clever algorithms, camera decides what the correct exposure will be. 

Many times this works perfectly, that's why this metering mode is ideal for most situations without extreme light conditions. You can set it without any worries for most of your shooting and only change it if light conditions will change to something unusual.

Centre-weighted average.
This mode is a predecessor of multi-zone metering. It works on similar principle, it also takes in account the whole frame, but it hasn't got zones and it's most favorite area is center of the frame. Therefore is not as accurate as multi-zone, I'd say it is something between spot and multi-zone metering. 

But it has got it's usage. It's ideal for general portraits, where you can take reading from the face of the subject, what will be the metering's key area, it also consider light conditions in the background, but it won't give it that much attention to ruin your picture.

Next time we'll find out what aids and cheats there are available and you can use to bluff the exposure and create something different.

Posted by pkuzmin at 9:21 AM

FedeoAugust 18, 2012

Exposure

D7000 mode dial.jpg
I am pretty sure it's been mentioned before, but if we want to talk about exposure, we have to start from basics. So what is exposure and how does it works? Exposure is amount of light reaching camera's sensor, or if you like, reaching the film in your camera. There are three main elements which control the exposure - aperture, shutter speed and ISO. That means, in whatever light situation you find yourself, those three elements must be in right ratio to allow exact amount of light reach your sensor and make correctly exposed image.


If for some reason the ratio wasn't right, you'll end up either with overexposed, or underexposed image. This may be good use if that was what you were aiming for, but if you want to manipulate pictures in that way, first you have to understand how to get it right. We are lucky now days with digital cameras and big LCD screens, where you can check the result instantly and make necessary corrections, but it wasn't that easy in film era. But even LCD is not always good reference point, especially in bright sunny day, so if you're not sure, use histogram. It is that scary looking graph of pixels, at the left side you have black and dark tones, right side is assigned to the light tones and white. That means in the middle, there are mid tones of course. The higher the peak in particular area is, the more tones are in that area. Simple as that.

correst exposure.JPG
correct exposure - histogram with mostly mid-tones

overexposed.JPG
overexposed image - histogram with mostly light tones

underexposed.JPG
underexposed image - histogram with mostly dark tones


Don't be scared to look at the histogram, it is good little helper. From images above you should see that correctly exposed image has got histogram with most tones in the middle. Overexposed image is lacking shadows, or dark tones, and of course underexposed image is lacking highlights and white tones. You are aiming for more most tones in the middle, without clipping shadows or highlights.

Controls

On the mode dial of your camera, you have the wide choice of exposure modes. Some are automatic (AUTO, scene modes), some are semi-automatic (A - aperture priority, S - shutter priority, P - program)  and there are few witch allows you to take full control over your exposure (M - manual, U - user defined settings)

AUTO AND SCENE MODES
In AUTO and scene modes, camera does all light measuring by itself. How it works? Clever sensors in camera calculate light situation and decide what aperture, shutter speed and ISO would be the best of use. Basically, metering system assume that area being metered is plain 18% grey, so average of all tones in the picture will correspond to that. Even better explained, if you'll put all dark, light and mid-tones from your histogram into the shaker and shake well, what you'll pour into the glass will be 18% grey color. 

It is similar story with SCENE MODES, but camera tries to adjust settings more suitably to scene, or shall we say type of the scene, you trying to shoot. For example if you set the dial to "PORTRAIT", camera sets small aperture number to create shallow depth of field to blur background. In the other hand, in "LANDSCAPE" mode camera sets aperture to higher value to achieve biggest sharpness through the field. In "SPORT" and "NIGHT" mode, more attention is  given to shutter speed for following reasons. If shooting "SPORT", camera is guessing you don't want to end up with blurry images, so it sets shutter speed as fast as possible and adjust other values accordingly. Of course, with some sports there is panning technique you'd like to use, but for this effect you can't use automatic scene modes. You can find out how to do that in this article. For same reason to avoid blurred images caused by shaky hands, camera sets fast shutter if you tell it you want to do some "NIGHT" shooting, or if you like low light scene, increase the ISO value and sets aperture accordingly.

As you can see, you can't set anything by yourself, so you had better forget your camera has an automatic modes.


SEMI-AUTOMATIC MODES
Even if you are complete beginner and you've just purchase your first DSLR, you should start shooting on semi-automatic modes. This gives you more control over your work, but more importantly you'll understand faster what you doing.

A - Aperture priority mode
This mode is good starting point for everybody and even professionals shoot many pictures using aperture priority mode. Basically, in this mode, you set the aperture you think is most suitable for the job (portrait, nature, macro - low aperture number, landscape, architecture - high aperture number) and camera will do the rest. But don't worry, you have more control. You can also set your ISO and exposure override. That means you have full control how good or badly exposed image you'll end up with. You can choose it on scale mostly from -2 for underexposure going by 1/3 of the step up to +2 for overexposure. 

Now you probably asking, why the hell should I choose underexposed image if I am trying to make correct exposure? Well, because light conditions are rarely perfect, so you need to mess up with the settings to make them as perfect as possible, that's what photographers do. Example: if your background is sky with white clouds, exposure you want is detailed shadows and dark tones at your object on the ground, but you don't want bleached out highlights. So if your exposure override is set to zero - correct exposure, camera depending on metering mode (I will explain in next article) will calculate the exposure and set the shutter speed to achieve 18% average through the tones. It probably will have nice shadows, but clouds will be plain white with clipped highlights. To avoid this, you can adjust exposure override to -1/3 or -2/3 and you'll still have nice shadows, but this time your clouds will have details in them as well.

S - Shutter priority mode
Works the same as A mode, but this time you are choosing your shutter speed. You can adjust your ISO and exposure override, but camera will decide what aperture will be the best. This mode is good in sport photography, or low light conditions, where you'd like to avoid blurry images caused by motion of your camera.

P - Program mode
It is simply more advanced AUTO mode, but here you have control over the ISO and also you can adjust exposure override. This mode is quite good to use if you haven't got time to think about aperture - shutter speed relationship, but you want to control the outcome.

MANUAL AND USER DEFINED MODES

M - manual mode
Most advanced settings, you control everything. You set the aperture, shutter speed and ISO (yes, there is still option for AUTO ISO in every mode, if you'd like to use it). You can check accuracy of you decision on exposure override scale in your viewfinder, where pointer on the scale shows how correct your exposure is. And also you can check your result on LCD and adjust values accordingly.

U - User defined modes
If you shoot particular scene very often, let's say you shoot landscapes in nice sunny day, where exposure settings are often f11, 1/160s, ISO 100, you can set this as user defined setting and every time you turn dial to "U", camera will be set for this exposure, so you don't always need to change it. There are usually two or three of those, so you can preset your camera for various conditions.

Next time we'll talk about metering modes, so we'll understand better how camera does the exposure readings.

Posted by pkuzmin at 6:40 PM

FedeoMay 8, 2012

Ball head maintenance tip

A ball head on a good tripod is a great supporting tool for the photographer. Very flexible and quick to adjust. The better ones you don't even have to loosen when you want to alter them. This can be a boon to the photographer and certainly adds to the precision and ease of handling.

A good ball head is pretty low maintenance; the very tight space between the different moving parts prevent dirt and other stuff to get in. Just wiping the ball head with a clean (lint free) rag after use is enough to keep it going and operating smoothly for ages. Even when you've used it in adverse weather.

Sometimes, however, you'll notice your ball head isn't operating as smoothly as it should.
Continue reading the article...

Posted by hrbaan at 10:09 AM

FedeoJuly 21, 2010

Nikon Posts Possible Light Leak Notice on 24-70mm f2.8 AFS

Nikon USA confirmed today through a notice that a potential light-leak issue could occur with their flagship mid-zoom 24-70mm f2.8 AFS G.

The first indications of this issue were noted on various photographic discussion boards with a post from Nikon Korea.

The Nikon USA post clarifies that there is a possibility of a light leak occuring through the distance panel (the window on the front of the lens showing the focus distance currently in use).

Nikon USA statement on possible AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED distance panel light leak

We have received indications that when extremely bright light strikes the lens while shooting at high sensitivities, light other than that passing through the front of the lens may be reflected. This is not a problem with normal shooting and occurs very rarely under very specific conditions.

We value our customer feedback, and if a user is inconvenienced by this issue, they may request an inspection of their lens. If deemed necessary Nikon will take the appropriate steps to address the issue

If you suspect that your lens is encountering this issue, start by contacting Nikon supprt in your region as the notice states. And feel free to join in with the discussions at Nikonians Forums.

Posted by covey22 at 2:55 PM

FedeoAugust 14, 2009

D5000 Advisory Redux: Twice is not Nice; Affected Camera Pool Grows

In a potential double-whammy, many Nikon D5000 cameras are subject again to "additional and enhanced procedures," despite having just completed the first round of repairs as noted in the July advisory.

Having just received their cameras back from the USA field repair depot in CT, several Nikonians members indicate Nikon has now sent them a second notification (including shipping boxes), urging them to send the unit in again for procedures that "further elevates the D5000's resistance to the power issue identified in the original Advisory." So it appears a stealthy Round Two is underway, but no public notification has been made, other than directly to the affected owners.

Additionally, Nikon has updated the official advisory page, indicating there is now an expansion to the affected serial numbers (as of 12-August). We'll update this story as more details become available.

Posted by covey22 at 4:03 PM | Comments

FedeoJuly 16, 2009

Nikon D5000 Service Advisory

Nikon has issued a service advisory for the D5000 digital SLR camera. Some components related to the power controls have been identified as faulty and may prevent proper operation.

UPDATED - Nikon has provided an applet page where you can enter your camera's Serial Number to see if it is affected.


Indications of this issue include:

  • The camera cannot be operated when the power switch is on, even with a fully-charged battery.
  • The camera cannot be operated with the EH-5a AC Adapter connected through the EP-5 Power Connector and the power switch on.

Nikon is preparing a maintenance process to identify, service, repair and return the affected cameras free of charge to owners. D5000 owners should check the service advisory page again on 23-July to see if their camera serial numbers are identified as being faulty and to obtain instructions on how to ship their cameras for repair by the manufacturer.

Posted by covey22 at 4:07 PM