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4.3 Rating
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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4.6 Rating
Extend Your Reach with Nikon 1 Cameras and the FT-1 Mount Adapter

Extend your reach with your favorite NIKKOR lenses on a…

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4.6 Rating
What is a Lens MTF Chart & How Do I Read It?

MTF charts plot the performance and quality of a lens

Advanced

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4.4 Rating
How to Read Your NIKKOR Lens Barrel

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

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4.2 Rating
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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4.3 Rating
Zoom Lens Maximum Aperture: Fixed and Variable Apertures

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

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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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4.4 Rating
Understanding Focal Length

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

Beginner

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4.3 Rating
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
Using Teleconverters

Teleconverters let you extend your photographic reach

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4.2 Rating
My Go-To NIKKOR Lens

Vincent Versace's favorite lens: 28-300mm zoom

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4.1 Rating
Vibration Reduction

Vibration Reduction (VR) is an image stabilization technology that minimizes blur caused by camera…

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4.4 Rating
Video Tutorial Series: Getting Started with your Nikon D3300 DSLR

Series of six videos to help you set-up and shoot and…

Beginner

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4.4 Rating
John Shaw: A Photographer's Vision Simplified

See how one of the foremost nature, outdoor and natural history…

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4.4 Rating
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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4.2 Rating
Top Photography Tips from Nikon School Instructors

Learn photography the easy way, at Nikon School

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4.3 Rating
Understanding Auto ISO

Auto ISO can simplify shooting under changing lighting conditions

Beginner

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Bright Idea: Adding Star Power
4.4 Rating
Bright Idea: Adding Star Power

Creating a starburst in your photographs

Beginner

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4.0 Rating
Photograph Family and Friends During the Holidays

The holidays are prime picture-taking time. Get some great tips on…

Beginner

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4.6 Rating
Photographing the Night Sky

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

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4.6 Rating
Ski Photography 101

Tips and tricks for getting great photos of skiers and snowboarders

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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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4.5 Rating
A Pro's Tips for the Best Children's Photos

Tamara Lackey on taking great pictures of kids

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4.4 Rating
Versatile Views of the World of Wildlife:

Ron Magill field tests the AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR lens

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5.0 Rating
One Shot: The Forest and the Tree

Photographing the same subject different ways

Beginner

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4.1 Rating
Critical Focus: Getting the Most From Your D800

Michael Clark on getting the most out of your D800 HD-SLR

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4.4 Rating
How to Photograph a Solar Eclipse

Learn the techniques needed to shoot solar eclipses from Mr. Eclipse, Fred Espenak

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4.7 Rating
Joe McNally

Commercial photojournalist Joe McNally is a Nikon Ambassador. Learn more about his photography.

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3.4 Rating
How to Film Using Autofocus, Rack Focus and Manual Focus Techniques

Focusing tips for HDSLR video shooting

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3.5 Rating
Mentor Series Worldwide Photo Treks

The Mentor Series Worldwide Photo Treks provide an incredible hands-on learning…

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4.3 Rating
Nikon F-Mount

The Nikon F-mount makes a host of lenses available to photographers.

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4.5 Rating
3D Color Matrix Metering II

This system of evaluating light determines the best possible exposure for a particular…

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4.1 Rating
Nikon Electronic Format (NEF)

Nikon's RAW file format contains all the image information captured by the camera's sensor.

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4.4 Rating
How a Sports Illustrated Photographer Shoots his Kid's Games

What can a Sports Illustrated photographer teach you about…

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4.2 Rating
When to Use Graduated Neutral Density Filters

How to use a graduated neutral density filter to decrease extreme light to…

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4.7 Rating
Outside Shots: Go Long

Tony Sweet on revealing the invisible in images

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3.5 Rating
Have Fun Shooting Selfies (Self-Portrait) Photos

Tips and tricks for taking great Selfies

Beginner

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4.5 Rating
Action and People Photography

For those who want to take better people and action photos

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4.4 Rating
Taking Better Photographs on the Water

Harbors, bays, oceans and rivers all have one thing in common—interesting and…

Beginner

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5.0 Rating
The Power and Beauty of Bears and Other Animals

When the animal in the viewfinder is a bear, this photographer knows…

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4.9 Rating
A New Sharp Shooter

Mike Corrado on shooting with the Nikon D810

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4.6 Rating
Destination Europe: Do a Little Research, Then Go Light on the Gear

Blaine Harrington on travel photography in Europe

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3.8 Rating
Tips and Techniques For High Flying Photos

Tom Bol discusses taking photos from hot air balloons, planes and helicopters

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4.8 Rating
Comfort Zone

Ryan Brenizer on photographing weddings with prime NIKKORs

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4.0 Rating
Making Pictures in the Rain

Just because it's raining doesn't mean there aren't great pictures waiting to be made.

Beginner

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2.7 Rating
iPhone App

Nikon’s new iPhone app gives you anytime, anywhere access to Learn & Explore educational and editorial…

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3.8 Rating
The Importance of Composition When Shooting Nature

Pat O'Hara had to go far from home to really appreciate the…

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4.1 Rating
Taking Better Photographs of the American West

When you get a chance to visit the open prairies, and photograph ranchers…

Beginner

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How-To Take Great Photos at the Aquarium

As a National Training Specialist for Nikon, much of my job is educating photographers and photo enthusiasts how to take great photographs and videos with their Nikon photographic equipment. On a number of occasions, I’ve been asked to lead Photographer’s Night at the Aquarium of the Pacific, in Long Beach, CA. After taking many photographs in this environment, I decided to put together all of the tips that I’d found to be the most helpful when visiting an aquarium with your camera.


Reflections and Refractions

The single biggest challenge to aquarium image creation is dealing with the external reflections. The aquarium is lit so you can find your way around, which can cause issues because the light reflects off of everything! The walls, benches, your clothes, your camera gear, you and the other visitors as well will all be visible as reflections in the glass of the large aquarium tanks.

 In order to even be able to attempt taking worthwhile photos, you need to control the reflections. Blocking them is a start. You could wear all black clothing to block the reflections…but even all black clothing usually has buttons... and then there’s the issue of your face. Yep... it reflects too. I guess you could go dressed in full Ninja gear... But the looks you’re likely to get... May not be the best idea.

So, the solution is to use a lens hood. When pressed against the face of the aquarium tank, a lens hood will form a cone of reflection free darkness.

 Score! Well... almost. 

The problem is that a hard lens hood that’s made of either plastic or in some cases, metal, will still have some issues. They can scratch the front of the tank’s glass or acrylic surface. As photographers, we need to tread lightly and not ruin the experience for the next visitor. Additionally, many lenses now come with scalloped hoods that would still let in light. And don't even get me started on the fact that most modern public aquariums have "upgraded" to curved-face tanks. These curved faced tanks can even gather reflections from around corners!

 Here is where the rubber meets the road... err... fish tank. 

By using a simple generic rubber lens hood, you can create a completely reflection-free cone of darkness.

The rubber lens hood is excellent for bending and adjusting to your body's small movements as you hold the camera against the tank surface and try to compose your image. Nikon offers rubber lens hoods to fit a variety of lenses. Check your lens' manual to make sure you're using the correct one. The rubber will not harm the tank face, and they're inexpensive. They work best on normal to moderate telephoto lenses. When paired with a wide-angle lens, it is easy for the lens to "see" the hood. This causes rounded black cropping of the corners of the picture, so you’ll have to take care when composing your photographs with a wide-angle lens; you may need to crop your final image so the lens hood is not visible. 

You also need to watch out for light refracting through the face of the tank. Many modern aquarium tanks are made of a thick acrylic material. I find that I need to be extra careful when photographing through such a tank face. In this situation, you will need to shoot perpendicular to the tank face, otherwise you’ll likely see a colored (purple) ghost of your subject. This is due to the way light passes through the face of the tank. 

Lens

So what lens works best?

Many fish will swim very close to the face of an aquarium tank—so that they’re swimming mere inches away from the tank material. But, as I mentioned earlier, in order to get a reflection free image, you need to use a rubber lens hood pressed directly against the tank front. That means that the focusing distance can be mere inches, which means you will need to use a macro or Micro-NIKKOR lens.

But not just any macro lens will do. You need to use a lens that will also let you see the entire fish when it is several scant inches from the lens. The 85mm, 105mm and 200mm Micro-NIKKOR lenses will have too narrow a field of view. The AF-S Micro-NIKKOR 60mm f/2.8G ED lens provides a near-perfect field of view for a FX body, (which uses a 24x36mm image sensor); and the AF-S DX Micro-NIKKOR 40mm f/2.8G lens is ideal for use on a DX body, (which uses the smaller 16x24mm image sensor). 

The 40mm can focus down to about 2-inches from the front of the lens. This means that no matter how close the fish is to the other side of the tank face, you can still get a sharply focused image.
The single biggest challenge to aquarium image creation is dealing with the external reflections. The aquarium is lit so you can find your way around, which can cause issues because the light reflects off of everything...In order to even be able to attempt taking worthwhile photos, you need to control the reflections.