Ask Uncle Ronnie – June 2017

JAskUncle5Interval Timer
I use a Nikon D5300. Beacause I wanted to capture star-trails, I set my camera on tripod for interval shooting. I planned to capture 250 shots of 30 second long exposure at interval of 2 sec. But my camera stopped capturing after 20 photos. I tried again and it captured only 42 photos. Battery was fully charged and there was enough space in the memory, so that was not the issue. Why is this happening? What shoud I do?

Manish Dhuva, via email

a) Ensure that the SD card that you are using is capable of writing fast (120Mb/sec or faster).

b) Shoot in JPEG Low or Medium. Don’t use Raw for this purpose.

c) Ensure that Long Exposure Noise Reduction is set to ‘Off’.

d) Ensure that High ISO Noise Reduction is set to ‘Off’. If it is ‘On’, the camera will take twice the time to write to the memory card.

e) Set your camera to Manual Exposure mode, Manual Focus, Continuous shooting and use a manual cable release.

f) Don’t use the built-in interval timer.

g) As soon as one exposure is over, immediately start the next one. Don’t allow any interval between shots or you’ll get star trails which are not continuous.

I feel the reason for the problem you face is that the Buffer gets full and takes a lot of time to write to the SD card.

ND 8 filter
Sony A 7S with 24-70mm lens

ND Problem
I face a problem when focussing with a ND 8 filter (Hoya) mounted on a Nikon 16-85 mm zoom lens on a Nikon D7000 camera body. It seems that autofocus is not working properly and manual focus is quite hard as the viewfinder become black. How can I overcome the issue?

Anupam Sen

When you mount a ND8 filter on any  lens, the incoming light is reduced by 3-stops. This is why it is difficult to see or autofocus the subject once the filter is attached. Even manual focus is practically unusable. So, first focus (autofocus or manual focus) the subject without using the ND  filter, and then attach the filter. Take extreme care that the focus does not shift while attaching the filter.

Sony A6300

Questions on Sony gear
With all the current talk about smarter/smaller/lighter cameras, I have been thinking whether it would be wise on my part to change from my current system to Sony. I am unable to make up my mind as there are still some doubts. Hence my questions. What are your personal views on Sony cameras? Are they as reliable as Canon or Nikon cameras? Are they user friendly? Would you, if given a chance, replace your gear with Sony?

V. Ramakrishnan, Chennai

I have no reason to believe that Sony cameras are not as good or not as reliable as the competition. Sony is a very innovative company and are the current market leaders when it comes to Mirrorless cameras. In terms of ‘user friendliness’, it often takes some time to get used to any new/ different design and with Sony cameras, it is no different. Sony cameras provide very good image quality (assuming that you set up your camera for optimum performance and are familiar with different aspects of photography).

Regarding your question about ‘replacing my gear with Sony’, I have no reason to do so; I am perfectly satisfied with my Nikon gear and I have invested a lot in it. Normally, you build-up on the first ‘make’ of camera that you buy – unless you have a very good reason to change. In my case that first SLR was a Nikon. If my first camera had been a Canon or a Sony, I would have built-up my gear on that particular ‘make’. |SP