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4.1 Rating
Getting Started: How to Hold Your D-SLR Camera

Getting sharper, more in-focus pictures can be as simple as learning how…

Beginner

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4.2 Rating
Photograph the Classic Holiday Light Bokeh Effect

Tips for shooting lights as soft globes of color

Beginner

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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
Marketplace: One and Only

Nikon 1 AW1 waterproof, shockproof interchangeable lens camera

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3.4 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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4.3 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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4.5 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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4.9 Rating
Speedlight Tutorial: Day to Night Technique

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

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4.4 Rating
Quick Tips for Taking Better Portraits

Suggested Lens choices, exposure settings and focus modes

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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4.3 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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4.3 Rating
One Shot: After Image

Jack Dyking on seeing in color and thinking in B&W

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4.4 Rating
For Memorable Family Vacation Photos, Focus First on Family

Tamara Lackey on taking great photos during family vacations

Beginner

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4.1 Rating
ISO Control

For digital photography, ISO refers to the sensitivity of the camera's sensor. The ISO setting is one of…

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

Focusing tips for HDSLR video shooting

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4.6 Rating
Underwater Photography

Tips for getting started shooting underwater with David Doubilet

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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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4.2 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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3.5 Rating
Have Fun Shooting Selfies (Self-Portrait) Photos

Tips and tricks for taking great Selfies

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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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5.0 Rating
Matthew Jordan Smith

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

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4.6 Rating
Outside Shots: Go Long

Tony Sweet on revealing the invisible in images

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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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4.4 Rating
Taking Better Photographs on the Water

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

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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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4.4 Rating
Shooting with Remote Cameras

Andrew Hancock discusses the art of shooting sports with remote cameras

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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.

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4.6 Rating
Comfort Zone

Ryan Brenizer on photographing weddings with prime NIKKORs

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3.9 Rating
Tips and Techniques For High Flying Photos

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

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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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