Prices of basic D-SLRs are coming down regularly. With this in mind, why should one ever think of buying compact/bridge cameras (which are often higher priced)? On the other hand, why not buy a compact rather than a D-SLR?
Ramesh Pawar, Nasik
Which type of camera to buy should depend on your needs (rather than trying to match what your neighbor has bought). D-SLR for quality, and compact/bridge for convenience. In spite of what I have just mentioned, if you do not intend to make large prints (larger than 8×12 inches), you can be perfectly satisfied with a compact. The image quality of some current compacts can be compared to that of low-end D-SLRs.
I am using a Nikon D60 camera. The problem is that my Nikkor 70-300mm f 4-5.6 telephoto zoom lens doesn’t autofocus with my camera. So I have to manually focus my lens at times. My images are blurred due to focusing error. Kindly advice me which lens should I use. Is the Nikkor 55-200 f/4-5.6 VR a good lens?
Amit Cocker, via email
The AF Zoom Nikkor 70-300 mm f/4-5.6G that you are probably using is not an AF-S lens (there is no autofocusing motor in the body). The D60 also does not have an integrated AF motor. To autofocus, you need to use a AF-S VR Zoom Nikkor 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6G
The 55-200 mm Nikkor lens that you mention is an AF-S lens and will autofocus on the D60. Note that there are two varieties of the 55-200 mm lens – one has VR and the other doesn’t. Both will autofocus on the D60.
You say your images are blurred because of focusing error? What did we do when there was no autofocus? Train your eye for manual focus because there will always be times when you need to
Focal Length Conversion
I have a Sony DSC HX 1 camera. I am a avid photographer, I would say a hobbyist. I thought about advancing to a D-SLR but am not keen to change lenses oft and on. My Sony DSC HX 1 has 20x Optical Zoom. I would like to know how to convert this optical zoom to the 35mm format.
R. B. Balsara, via email
Your Sony HX1’s sensor is 1/2.4-inch Type (which measures 4.57 x 5.92 mm). Also note that the Sony HX1 mentions focal length as 5 -100 (See on the front ring of the lens). This focal length is for the smaller sensor that they use in the camera. (This information is used in point number 3 below)
To calculate the focal length in the 35 mm format, do the following:
1. Find the diagonal of the sensor that is used. In this case of the 1/2.4-inch Type sensor, the calculated diagonal is 7.4787 mm.
2. Divide this number into the diagonal of the 35 mm film format. (The 35 mm format is 24 x 36 mm. Hence the diagonal is 43.27 mm). 43.27 divided by 7.4787 is 5.7. Hence 5.7 is the Crop Factor for the 1/2.4-inch Type sensor.
3. Now take the focal length mentioned by your camera manufacturer and multiply it by the crop factor.
Hence, 5 x 5.7 = 28.5 and 100 x 7.7 = 570..
4. Hence, the 35 mm equivalent focal length should be 28.5 – 570 mm. (Sony mentions the focal length as 28-560 mm)
5. This discrepancy is because, there is always some area around the periphery of the sensor that is not used. How much of the area is not used is never mentioned by the manufacturer. Because of this, there will be some difference between our calculation and the manufacturer’s stated focal length.
Mixed Bag of Questions
1. Is the Nikkor 18-200 mm VR II lens superior in terms of sharpness and color saturation than the kit lens?
2. What is the difference between VR I and VR II?
3. What kind of filter I must use with a D-SLR?
Agnidev Sau, via email
2. With VR II, you need not put off the VR when the camera is tripod mounted. Also, the VR II offers 4-stop advantage against the 3-stop advantage of VR.
3. Depends on the purpose. If you need one for lens protection, you may use a UV filter.
Mobile Phone Cameras
We now get mobile phone cameras that boast of 10-12 megapixels. Would such devices match the image quality of compacts?
Suresh Patel, Ahmedabad
No way! At least not with the current technology. Once again it is a matter of convenience. Some users, who may not be inclined to print large size pictures may be satisfied with such devices, but not me!
Will Nikon come out with a very high pixel ILCC?
A reader, via telephone
We believe Nikon is being cagey but if ILCCs take the market by storm, Nikon will have no choice but to follow suit.
A Question on Filters
In this digital age, how important are filters? Which are the important filters?
Ramesh Kadam, Mumbai
Before I answer your query, let me tell you that there is a lot of debate on this issue. There are those who swear by filters, and there are those who swear at filters! Technically speaking, any filter placed in front of the lens degrades the image quality. But we shall not get into that debate.
If you wish to use filters for digital photography, consider the following:
A filter for lens protection (UV filter for example).
Neutral Density filter (reduces the quantity of light entering the lens and thereby helps you achieve longer shutter speeds when required for special effects).
Graduated Neutral Density filter (to darken the sky without affecting the ground area). This effect is possible to create on the computer but it is easier using the filter.
Circular Polarizer (to reduce reflections from glass, water, trees etc and to darken blue skies)
Opening JPEGs in ACR
In one of your earlier SP issues, you had mentioned about opening JPEG files in the RAW Converter. I seem to have misplaced that issue. Can you please refresh my memory?
Anthony Lobo, Ahmedabad
First, let us be clear that you do not get all the advantages of RAW capture just because you open the image in Adobe Camera RAW (ACR). However, there are some advantages.
Adjusting the White Balance is easier. Fine-tuning color or introducing color (for effects) is possible.
It is easier to check if the highlights and/or shadows are clipping.
Creating Gradient is easier (if you are using CS4/CS5).
Certain localized corrections easier (with CS4/CS5).
In my opinion, the greatest advantage is the ease with which you can adjust White Balance.
I have decided to buy a Canon D-SLR. Should I buy the 550D, 60D, or 7D? Price is not much of a
Vivek Shah, Surat, Gujarat
If price is not a problem, you could get the EOS 7D. At the same time, don’t underestimate the other two models. In my opinion, it is important to get a good body, but it is more important to get high-end lenses. Hence you could opt for the 60D and the money saved could be put towards getting a superior (L-series) lens.