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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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4.4 Rating
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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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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4.6 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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4.2 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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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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4.4 Rating
Understanding Focal Length

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

Beginner

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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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4.4 Rating
My A of the Day Project

Mike Corrado on shooting a photograph a day with the COOLPIX A

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4.1 Rating
Scene Recognition System and Advanced SRS

Nikon's SRS and Advanced SRS recognize the position, color, tones and…

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3.6 Rating
The Versatile Appeal of the D600

See what makes the D600 an appealing camera

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Benefits of Using Fast Lenses in Low Light

A tip from Nikon Ambassador Lucas Gilman

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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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4.6 Rating
How-To Take Great Photos at the Aquarium

Tips for photographing the fish and creatures that live under water

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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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5.0 Rating
The convenience of Using Save/load Settings—Smart!

Moose Peterson on the convenience of using Nikon's save/load settings…

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4.2 Rating
Photographing Sports Indoors and Out

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

Advanced

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4.0 Rating
One Shot: Purple Haze

Turning an ordinary photo into something special in-camera

Beginner

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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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4.3 Rating
In a New York Minute: Images of a Long Weekend

Lindsay Silverman spends a weekend shooting with only one D-SLR and lens…

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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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Bright Idea: Adding Star Power
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Bright Idea: Adding Star Power

Creating a starburst in your photographs

Beginner

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3.8 Rating
New Tricks

Time to get moving with Lindsay Silverman

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4.4 Rating
Quick Tips for Taking Better Portraits

Suggested Lens choices, exposure settings and focus modes

Beginner

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4.3 Rating
How to Choose Your Next Nikon 1 Lens

Go beyond your Nikon 1 camera's kit lens

Beginner

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4.4 Rating
Tips For Making Tempting Food Photos

Alison Lyons offers simple tips for taking great photos of food & drink

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AF Area Modes
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AF Area Modes

Nikon’s three AF area modes—single point AF, dynamic area AF and auto area AF—are designed to handle any…

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4.2 Rating
Absolutely Free

Creative risk-taking with Lindsay Silverman.

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4.4 Rating
Fast Frames: A Quick Guide to Bird Photography

Matt McRay discusses how to get birds to visit your yard so you can…

Beginner

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4.4 Rating
Bokeh for Beginners

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

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3.7 Rating
CX Format Image Sensor

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

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4.5 Rating
The DX and FX Formats

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

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4.0 Rating
Capture NX 2: Lesson 9

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

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2.9 Rating
Subject Tracking

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

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4.8 Rating
Going Solo: A Two-Wheel Photo Journey Across Asia

Photojournalist Eleanor Moseman documents vanishing cultures

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4.6 Rating
Lighting Techniques: Light Painting

Using the technique of light painting allows you to add depth and dimension to your…

Advanced

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4.2 Rating
Shooting Abstract Photos that Make the Viewer Guess

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

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4.1 Rating
Nikon 1 Advanced Camera with Interchangeable Lens System

Revolutionary camera system designed for today’s picture taker.

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4.9 Rating
Speedlight Tutorial: Day to Night Technique

David Tejada uses Speedlights to create the illusion of a night scene

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4.5 Rating
Take Better Portraits

Tips for taking a good portrait photo

Beginner

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3.5 Rating
VR Image Stabilization

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

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3.7 Rating
Chromatic Aberration

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

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4.6 Rating
5 Easy Composition Guidelines

Follow 5 easy tips for better photo compositions

Beginner

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4.5 Rating
A Basic Look at the Basics of Exposure

The relationship between aperture, shutter speed and ISO is the basis of every…

Advanced

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3.7 Rating
DX NIKKOR Lenses

Nikon Digital SLRs FX and DX sensors

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4.8 Rating
Family Photos—Capturing the Moments

Nikon School's Family Photos—Capturing the Moments is full of tips for taking fun…

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4.3 Rating
Using Variable Neutral Density Filters to Adjust Exposure in DSLR Video

Adjusting exposure with Variable ND filters

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4.3 Rating
Polarizing Filters Add POW to Pictures

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

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Hands On

On the case: the f/5.6 solution

Here’s something I’ll bet you haven’t thought about all that much, if at all: every Nikon digital camera is capable of autofocusing when there’s an AF lens mounted that has an aperture of f/5.6 or wider. Since all AF NIKKORs have f/5.6 or wider apertures, why should this be of interest? Why would I even bring it up? Because it’s not always true; sometimes an AF NIKKOR won’t focus automatically.

Say you’re using a telephoto NIKKOR that has a maximum aperture of f/4—like the 500mm f/4D, or the 600mm f/4D, or the 200-400mm f/4G—and you happen to be using it with the 2x teleconverter TC-20E III or the 1.7x TC-17E II. Do the multiplication, and the math will tell you that you’re effectively shooting with an f/6.3 or f/8 lens, and that means only manual focus is available.

Except when you’re shooting with Nikon's newest HD-SLR cameras, the D4, D800 and D600.

The reason for the f/5.6 AF limit has to do with the transmission of light through the lens and the contrast of the image reaching the AF sensor. But now, in the three newest Nikon HD-SLRs, advanced sensor technology has resolved the issue, providing greater light detection and critical contrast.

This is big news and a big advantage for professional and advanced amateur shooters who use big glass and a teleconverter for whatever reason and subject. Could be a nature photographer in need of extra reach from a safe distance, or a fashion shooter using a 500mm lens and a 2x teleconverter to compress the scene to create a stylish effect. Imagine a wildlife photographer trying to capture an eagle in flight and having to manually focus his lens, or a sports photographer trying to capture a Philadelphia Eagle running down the sideline. With the D4, D800 and D600, AF with any lens and any tele­converter is available to them.

Granted, these examples will be very special circumstances for most of us—that is, until we find ourselves using one of the long lens and teleconverter combinations I mentioned, and we absolutely need the speed and certainty of autofocus.

The development of the technology that makes this autofocusing possible comes from Nikon's ongoing relationships with pro photographers; from asking about what they need in the real world and then going to work in the R&D lab to figure out how to make it happen.

I talk with the R&D folks, and I know that what drives them is expanding the capabilities, going beyond what might have been considered necessary a few years ago and making it possible for all photographers to get the best images under any circumstances.

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