I want my son to start photography as a hobby. He doesn’t seem enthusiastic about it. How can I induce him? He is 11 years old.
Indraneel, via email
A gentle reminder; I am Uncle Ronnie, not Aunt Agony! First and foremost, don’t force him, because if you do, he is likely to turn it into a prestige issue and then try to maintain that status. He will get into the game if you are patient with him and let him decide when, and if he wants to follow your advice. Children these days are quite independent and don’t like their parents/guardians to dictate to them.
Male children often look up to their father and try and do what their father does, so you need to set an example. Without making it obvious, provide him with good photographs. You need to take him out on nature trips and picnics (don’t forget to take some of his friends too or he may feel bored with grown-ups). Take photos and tactfully invite him to take photos too. Compliment him on the good photos and encourage him. Wait for him to say that he wants a camera all to himself. That should set the ball rolling.
Which is Better?
I am a freelance photographer and like to shoot portraits, weddings, and birds. Earlier, I was using Pentax K1000 film camera. I now want to purchase a D-SLR and my choice is between CANON 600D and NIKON D90. I am in a dilemma about which one is better. Some friends have said that the tilt-and-swivel screen in Canon 600D creates problems. Is that true?
Both the models you mention are good and you cannot go wrong with either. However, the Nikon D90 is now a couple of years old. In the digital field, a couple of years is a very long time. Technology changes very fast.
The Canon 600D is a recent addition to Canon’s arsenal. If you were to consider the newer Nikon D7000, then I think the two models (600D and D7000) would be at par, but comparing the D90 to the Canon 600D, I would opt for the Canon.
By design, any tilt-and-swivel screen would be comparatively delicate. This does not mean it will malfunction. It simply means you have to be careful with it. If I were you, I wouldn’t worry about it.
Why Two Apertures?
I notice that some zoom lenses have two different apertures marked on them. Why is this?
Praveen Shah, Mumbai
The two different apertures you are referring to are the widest lens openings (f/stops) at the two ends of your zoom lens. For example, if a zoom lens mentions 18-135mm f/4-5.6, it means that the lens has a focal range from 18mm to 135mm. It further means that at 18mm, its widest opening is f/4 and at 135mm, the widest opening is f/5.6. In between this range, the f/stop values will vary between f/4 and f/5.6. Zoom lenses having two different f/stops are known as Variable-Aperture Zooms.
You can purchase a zoom lens having a constant aperture throughout its zoom range, but that would be a costlier affair.
I have a 52mm mount bayonet tele-zoom lens for a film SLR camera. Can I use this lens in modern day D-SLR camera also? Can I get Nikon or Canon D-SLR camera in the market that will support this lens? Can you suggest me some Nikon or Canon camera models (if any) that can support this lens and what can be the price of these cameras?
Sukanya Mandal, via email
1. Every lens (bayonet mount or otherwise) is designed to fit a particular make of camera body. If your bayonet mount lens was designed for, say, a Nikon body, it will fit only on that make of D-SLRs. If the lens in question was designed for Canon cameras for example, it may not fit a modern Canon body since Canon has changed the camera mount on more than one occasion.
Note also, that even if the lens fits, it may not support every camera function.
2. Since you have not specified the make of the lens, I am unable to answer your other questions.
RAW Files Won’t Open
I use a Nikon D7000. I have been trying to to edit RAW pictures using Photoshop CS4 but they don’t seem to open. I also downloaded Camera Raw 5.6 and replaced the Camera Raw .8bi plug-in, but still I am unable to open NEF files in Photoshop CS4. Please advice.
Satyajit Datta, Agartala, Tripura
To open RAW files from the Nikon D7000, you will need Photoshop CS5; they will not open in CS4.
The RAW plug-in that you’ll need is Camera RAW 6.4 (which only works with CS5).
I suggest that you download DNG 6.4 from Adobe’s website (www.adobe.com). You can then convert your RAW files to DNG (Digital Negative). DNG is a non-proprietary format which is compatible with any version of Photoshop. The DNG file can be edited in Camera RAW in your CS4. When you double click on the DNG icon, the image will automatically open in ACR.
Will the image quality be just as good with the DNG file as it would have been with the NEF file? I haven’t noticed any difference. May be you could try it out (try it out with a NEF file from any other Nikon camera, that can open directly in your CS4, so that you can make a comparison) and let me know your findings.
Carbon Fiber or Aluminum?
What’s the difference between carbon fiber tripods and aluminum tripods? Is it worth spending so much more for the fiber version?
R. R. Patel, Mumbai
Carbon fiber tripod legs are comparatively lighter in weight, but are very expensive. Manufacturers say that they offer increased vibration dampening. Does this mean that they will help produce sharper pictures? At a practical level, I don’t think so (though I have not made any conclusive, scientific tests).
I think aluminum tripod legs produce images just as sharp as carbon fiber legs, but I would say opt for the carbon fiber variety if money is not a problem. If you are a mountaineer, or a hiker, or do a lot of travel photography, then it makes sense to go in for the carbon fiber variety (because it is lighter). How much lighter are they? Depends on the make and model, but I would say, on an average, about 400 to 500g lighter than the aluminum models offering similar specifications. Whether this weight reduction justifies the higher cost is difficult to answer. And remember, tripod legs are only half the story. You have to match it with a suitable ‘head’.
Studio Set up
I am looking forward to start my studio for some outdoor/indoor photography for small assignments. I am confused about umbrella kit for portfolios! Could you suggest the various essential equipment for a starter professional kit (including lighting equipment and backgrounds kit)?
Chitransh Saxena, via E-mail
Different jobs will require different lighting equipment/light modifiers. Here’s my suggestion For portfolios/head-and-shoulder portraits/small table-top jobs3 x Elinchrom D-Lite 4 studio lights, with stands.2 x large white translucent umbrellas1 x medium white translucent umbrellaReflectors (Thermocol will do for a start)SnootSuitable size white backdropReflector dish (sometimes called Beauty-Spot)Reflector dish (Maxi-soft)
Kindly note that my suggestion is based on the minimum requirement. For example, one would generally need a flash meter, but I have not included it because you are using a digital camera and hence can arrive at the correct exposure by trial and error. Soft boxes too play an important role, but again, as a beginner, you can make do with the white umbrellas.
I suggest you get in touch with a manufacturer of studio equipment and check out the other gizmos that can eventually be used in your kind of work.