Image Dust Off is a very useful feature supported by Nikon Capture NX and NX2 NEF raw converter/editor. You can take a reference photo (feature-less white wall) in supported cameras and used it to automatically retouch subsequently taken photos in Capture NX/NX2 to remove the spots in your photos caused by dust particles on the image sensor. Dust spots tend to show up more clearly if you shoot small apertures (high F numbers). Macro and landscape photographers probably find this more of a problem than portrait photographers. If you’d like to learn more about Image Dust Off, please check your Capture NX/NX2 user manual or the help file.

In order for this automatic process to work as expected, the photos you want to edit should have the same dust pattern as the reference photo. To make sure, you need to take a reference photo for each shooting session. For Nikon DSLR cameras that has sensor-shake dust removal function, it gets tricky. You cannot use the dust reference photo taken before sensor cleaning to retouch the photos taken after sensor cleaning. Nikon recommends you to take the dust reference photo after each sensor cleaning. If you have setup the camera to clean the sensor automatically at each startup/shutdown, you may not realize that the dust reference photo is rendered invalid each time you switch off/on the camera. This is clearly documented in the instruction manual of your camera but how many of you actually read the manual throughly?

Posted in Tips and Techniques on September 22nd, 2009. 1 Comment.

One of our readers, Desmond, is a curious person. He found out through his tests that some of the common understandings of the Nikon TTL/BL flash mode may not be accurate and some facts even appear to contradict the voice of an expert. For example, Russ said that “… TTL-BL does not work correctly when the background is darker than the subject.” However the tests from Desmond showed it worked just fine.

You can read the complete tests results and his conclusions at his blog or watch the following Youtube video for his demonstration.

At beginning, I was a little skeptical. However the test results are pretty hard to dispute. Perhaps the conclusions are wrong but there has to be a better explanation of the results.

We should all blame Nikon who never seems to have come out with a clear technical explanation of how the Creative Lighting System (CLS) including TTL-BL mode works. What Nikon tells us is the typical nebulous description such as “…Balanced Fill-Flash is performed. The flash output level is automatically adjusted for a well-balanced exposure of the main subject and background.” (SB-800 Instruction Manual).

What are your thoughts on this? We’d like to hear from you. Please use the comment box below or click on the contact link above.

Posted in Photography Lighting on September 21st, 2009. 1 Comment.

Nowadays, camera manufacturers want you to believe their cameras are very sophisticated precision digital instrument that can take great photos effortlessly. There is some truth in the marketing literatures, but they don’t typically tell you at the same time that their cameras can also produce garbages if the users fail to use them properly. I admit, this is really not necessary for them to do so in the marketing materials and most camera manuals do come with such warnings. The matter of the fact is that many people have some unrealistic expectations from their cameras that cost them hundreds if not thousands of dollars. Read More…

Posted in Beginner Tips, Tips and Techniques on September 19th, 2009. 2 Comments.

One of our readers, Reinier van Houten of the Netherlands has kindly submitted a Capture NX2 tutorial on how to create a vignette effect in Capture NX2. We did have a similar tutorial already but Reinier’s tutorial uses a different method, which we also used in a Capture NX tutorial titled How to create a soft fade vignette. The tutorial is available as a downloadable PDF file.


Posted in Tips and Techniques, Tutorials on August 8th, 2009. No Comments.

You may want to add a signature (or logo, copyright, etc) to your photos for many practical reasons. If you shoot Nikon NEF RAW, Capture NX is the top choice for getting the best image quality. However Capture NX does not have a built-in tool to add signature to photos. You typically have to relay on a third party editor such as Adobe Photoshop.

Not any more! NXSignature (original post in French) is a Java application written by a French blogger by the ID totograph. In a comment posted to our Ultimate Capture NX Resource Guide, he (or she) brought to our attention the existence of this useful utility. Read More…

Posted in Software, Tips and Techniques on August 4th, 2009. 3 Comments.

North America is well into the summer season. It is the fun time with sun, beaches, pools, and parties. Are you ready to capture the moment? Nikon Canada has offered some summer photography tips in the article titled Top 10 Summer Photography Tips.

At the end the article Nikon strongly suggests that the Nikon D5000 has all the features to make the tips work but your Canon, Sony, Pentax or other cameras will work just well.

Posted in Tips and Techniques on July 14th, 2009. No Comments.

F/4, 1/60s

The photo above was taken with a Sigma 105mm f/2.8 Macro lens. The camera was set to Aperture Priority exposure mode and a shutter speed of 1/60s was chosen by the camera at ISO 100. To obtain the best possible image, I mounted the camera on a tripod and used a cable release to minimize blurring caused by camera shake. The photo came out nicely exposed and with decent sharpness.

I then tried to expand the depth of field (DOF) more by reducing the size of the aperture. At f/16 and 1/4s, I had a problem. The photo came out blurry like the following. I tried my best to avoid camera shake, but I could do little to prevent the wind from rocking the flowers! Read More…

Posted in Photography Lighting, Tips and Techniques on June 2nd, 2009. 2 Comments.
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