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4.8 Rating
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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4.3 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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4.4 Rating
Marketplace: One and Only

Nikon 1 AW1 waterproof, shockproof interchangeable lens camera

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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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3.3 Rating
3D Focus Tracking

3D focus tracking automatically shifts the focus point to follow the movement of the subject. With the…

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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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4.5 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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4.8 Rating
Speedlight Tutorial: Day to Night Technique

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

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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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4.5 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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4.2 Rating
Macro Photography Tips: Photographing Insects and Other Small Creatures

A few quick tips on macro photography

Beginner

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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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3.0 Rating
Taking Pictures at Dusk and at Night

How do I take pictures at dusk and at night?

Advanced

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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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4.7 Rating
Photographing the Night Sky

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

Advanced

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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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4.2 Rating
When to Use Graduated Neutral Density Filters

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

Advanced

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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
How a Sports Illustrated Photographer Shoots his Kid's Games

What can a Sports Illustrated photographer teach you about…

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4.6 Rating
Action and People Photography

For those who want to take better people and action photos

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Matthew Jordan Smith

Celebrity and fashion photographer Matthew Jordan Smith is a Nikon Ambassador. Learn more about his…

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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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4.7 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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3.9 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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One Shot: Crop Factor

It was a field test, pure and simple. Carol Freeman's AF VR Zoom-Nikkor 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6D ED was one of her essential lenses for her nature photography, but with an AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR now available, she wondered if it was time to upgrade. The key question: what difference would the new version make? It was, after all, the same focal length and nearly the same f/stop range as the older lens. Sure, it was an AF-S lens (meaning it has a silent wave motor for faster, quieter autofocusing), and it was an internal focusing lens (meaning the internal lens group moves during focusing, with no effect on the external length of the lens), and all of that was good news—but what would it all mean to her photographs?  

To find out, she borrowed an AF-S 80-400mm and took to the trail. Weeks later Carol's comments, and a few JPEGs, reached us. "I'm blown away by this lens!" she wrote. "The quality of the images is incredible. I've attached a few shots (cropped to show detail)." This duck feather photo was one of the images Carol sent.

It took a few moments for the "cropped to show detail" part to sink in, and when it did, we wrote back: "Send the uncropped shot, will you?"

When we got the original, we really got the message Carol was communicating: not only high-quality images, but "crop-in" ability as well.

"I saw it on the monitor when I got the images home," Carol says.

"That lens is giving me a three-dimensionality to the photographs that just wasn't there before, and incredible detail in black and shadowed areas of the photos. I'm stunned at the difference." (Yes, we did ask about the obvious control factor of the test: the older lens was used on the same camera—a D600—as the newer one.)

"This is a tiny feather," Carol says, "maybe two inches long. See the reflection of the feather in the water below it? Pretty amazing."

Another benefit for Carol, who shoots lots of close-ups, was the AF-S lens's shorter close-focusing distance—5.74 feet versus 7.5 feet for the older 80-400mm.

"This lens makes me a better photographer," she says. "I can take better pictures because of it, and I never thought I'd say that about a piece of equipment."

Not only better, but a bit different, too: "I hardly ever used autofocus," she says, "but with this lens the AF is so fast, I'm using it for shots of birds in flight—and even for the feather. And I like that I can go back and forth from AF to manual with just a flick of my thumb on the switch on the lens barrel."  

The test result: When the lens lender calls it home, Carol will be making a purchase.

The image specs: D600, AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR, 1/1000 second, f/8, ISO 1000, aperture priority, Matrix metering.

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