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Understanding Focal Length

Focal length, usually represented in millimeters (mm), is the basic description of a…

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Prime Lenses

What is a prime lens? Well, it's a lens that isn't a zoom. A prime lens has a fixed focal length which means…

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Zooming into a Scene with your Feet

Moose Peterson on using specific lenss for their angles of view

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Zoom Lens Maximum Aperture: Fixed and Variable Apertures

Zoom lenses can have either a fixed maximum aperture or a…

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Using Teleconverters

Teleconverters let you extend your photographic reach

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4.6 Rating
Popular Nikon Lenses for Shooting Video

Primer on popular NIKKOR lenses for HD video shooting

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Using legacy NIKKOR lenses with the Nikon Df

How to set the Df to accept legacy Non-Ai or Ai lenses

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CX Format Image Sensor

Nikon 1 digital cameras utilize the Nikon CX-format super high speed AF CMOS imaging sensor.

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Which NIKKOR Lens Type is Right for Your DSLR?

Learn what the different types of NIKKOR lenses are and which ones will…

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How to Choose Your Next Nikon 1 Lens

Go beyond your Nikon 1 camera's kit lens

Beginner

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The DX and FX Formats

Understand the differences between the formats to determine which is the one for you.

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How to Read Your NIKKOR Lens Barrel

Understanding what all of those markings and designations on your lens really mean.

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4.6 Rating
One Shot: Crop Factor

Carol Freeman field tests the new AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR lens

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Macro Lenses

Reproduce objects up to life size using a Nikon Micro-NIKKOR Lens

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1 NIKKOR Technology: Retractable Lens Barrel

Retractable lens barrel technology offers ultra-compact lens design.

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How to Choose Your Next DSLR Lens

What to look for when choosing your next lens for your DSLR

Beginner

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4.2 Rating
Shooting a Rock Concert

Whether you're taking photos at a major rock concert or at your child's school performance, these…

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Nikon 1 Advanced Camera with Interchangeable Lens System

Revolutionary camera system designed for today’s picture taker.

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4.7 Rating
Extra Added Attraction: How to Boost the Reach of Your Nikon 1

Mark Alberhasky on using the FT-1 and NIKKOR lenses on…

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Chromatic Aberration

Chromatic aberration is a phenomenon in which light rays passing through a lens focus at different…

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Using the D810A DSLR for Deep Space and Nebulae Astrophotography

Photographing Nebulae and other celestial objects with…

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Photographing Sports Indoors and Out

Capturing the action of a sporting event is easy when you follow a few simple…

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Taking Close-up Photos

How do I take close-up photos of flowers and small objects?

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VR Image Stabilization

VR image stabilization technology detects vertical and horizontal movement and offsets it by…

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For Images with Impact, Consider the Positive Role of Negative Space

Randy Ziegler discusses negative space in…

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Photographing the Night Sky

Astrophotography: tips for making great images of the stars, moon and night sky time-lapse

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Bokeh for Beginners

Have your subjects stand apart from the background with this easy technique

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Shooting Abstract Photos that Make the Viewer Guess

Sometimes showing just a hint of your subject can be more compelling…

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Shooting Wirelessly with Nikon Digital Cameras and Wi-Fi Adapters

Enjoy wireless transfer of images with Wi-Fi compatible…

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Creatively Photographing Objects Up Close

The idea that less is more can be applied to the subject matter in your photos.

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Jim Richardson: Why Fast Lenses Make All the Difference

When You’re Constantly on the Move, Fast Glass Makes Tough Shots…

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Comfort Zone

Ryan Brenizer on photographing weddings with prime NIKKORs

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Polarizing Filters Add POW to Pictures

An Easy to Use Accessory, Polarizing Filters Bring out the Color and Definition in…

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You’re the Guest: How to Capture Unique Photos at a Wedding

Abby Liga discusses getting great photos when you're a…

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Photograph the Classic Holiday Light Bokeh Effect

Tips for shooting lights as soft globes of color

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Caring for your Nikon 1 Waterproof Housing

Regular maintenence and care of the WP-N1/WP-N2/WP-N3 will ensure its…

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4.2 Rating
51-Point Autofocus System

The 51-point AF system positions 51 points of focus within the frame to allow photographers to…

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4.7 Rating
COOLPIX Cameras and Cool Lighting with Speedlights

Lucas Gilman shows you how to use Speedlights with COOLPIX cameras

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Capture NX 2: Lesson 9

Find out how to brighten up the dark edges of an image caused by vignetting.

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Subject Tracking

Subject Tracking enhances your shooting experience by automatically adjusting focus as it follows the…

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Jody Dole Photographs Objects that Catch His Eye

See how commercial shooter Jody Dole uses anything and everything to…

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Reaction Time

John Solano says that for him, photographing weddings is a lot like photographing sports.

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Action Photography: Shooting in Extreme Locations

Photographer Beth Wald doesn't just shoot from the sidelines; she's in…

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Preservation and Protection of Wildlife Through Photography

Photographer Moose Peterson's respect for wildlife and the…

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Top Tip: If You Want to Shoot Video, Start by Thinking Video

Photographer Nick Didlick on transitioning from sill to…

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Remotely taking photographs

Flexible wired & wireless remote shooting options expand your photo taking capabilities

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A Nikon Ambassador's Photography in Cuba

Vincent Versace on photographing the culture and people of Cuba

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Extra-low Dispersion Glass

ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass is the result of an alternative glass manufacturing technology…

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Understanding Focal Length

Focal length, usually represented in millimeters (mm), is the basic description of a photographic lens. It is not a measurement of the actual length of a lens, but a calculation of an optical distance from the point where light rays converge to form a sharp image of an object to the digital sensor or 35mm film at the focal plane in the camera. The focal length of a lens is determined when the lens is focused at infinity.

The focal length tells us the angle of view—how much of the scene will be captured—and the magnification—how large individual elements will be. The longer the focal length, the narrower the angle of view and the higher the magnification. The shorter the focal length, the wider the angle of view and the lower the magnification.

Zoom or Prime

There are two types of lenses-prime and zoom. Prime lenses have a fixed focal length and zoom lenses have variable focal lengths. The advantage of the zoom lens is its versatility. They are ideal when you are photographing a variety of subjects such as landscapes and portraits, and you just want one lens for both situations. Using a zoom lens also reduces the number of times you need to change the lens which saves time and limits the possibility of getting dust in the camera's mirror box or on the sensor.

The main advantages of prime or fixed focal length lenses are their size and weight as well as their maximum aperture or f/stop. Prime lenses tend to be more compact and lightweight than zoom lenses.

Prime lenses also tend to have a larger maximum aperture (f/1.4 to f/2.8). This is an advantage when shooting in low light conditions as it will increase the possibility of hand holding the camera and freezing the subject without shake or blur caused by the longer exposures. Photographing using prime lenses with large apertures also means you can get a shallow depth of field which is useful for portraiture where you might want a softer or blurred background (also known as bokeh).

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