Preview of the Nikon D7000: Full HD Video with control

The Nikon D7000 (Photo: Nikon USA)

Nikon is raising the bar for DSLR video

Nikon has announced another new gem in the video-capable DSLR with the new D7000.

When I reviewed the D3100 I predicted more was on the way and Nikon has delivered! Due to ship in October, the D7000 adds the controls and pro lens capabilities the D3100 was lacking. At $1199 this looks like just the tool to put in modern photojournalists bags.

This mid-level model is the second Nikon to have full high definition (1920 x 1080 pixels) recording capabilities and active auto focus during video recording — something Canon doesn’ yet offer.

Here’s a rundown of Nikon’s latest:

Basics:

  • 16.2 megapixel DX format CMOS sensor for sharp images and great prints
  • 3-inch monitor screen
  • Full HD (1920 x 1080) video recording with active auto focus
  • Up to 6 frames per second in sweeping 100 image blasts
  • 39 point auto focus
  • ISO sensitivity from 100 – 6400 expands up to ISO 25,600 equivalent (Hi2)
  • Dual SD card slots for longer shooting or splitting RAW, jpeg, and movie files
  • 100% viewfinder view
  • Lots of regular Nikon features included like:  Image processing, In-camera editing, pop-up flash, etc. Continue reading

Preview of the Nikon D3100: Step into Full HD

Nikon is stepping into Full HD

Nikon has announced their latest foray into the video-capable DSLR with the new D3100 which adds a 9th camera to their DSLR line up. It is supposed to be available in mid September!

This entry level model is the first Nikon to have full high definition (1920 x 1080 pixels) recording capabilities and likely heralds the coming of full HD to their high end line as well. One great feature on the D3100 is the auto focus during video recording!

Like it’s predecessor, the D3000 the D3100 is an entry level camera but has some great capabilities that can get even an pro interested in this camera as a backup. Here’s a rundown of Nikon’s latest:

Basics:

  • 14.2 megapixel DX format CMOS sensor for great prints even beyond 20″x30″
  • 3-inch monitor screen
  • Full HD (1920 x 1080) video recording
  • Up to 3 frames per second bursts
  • 11 point auto focus
  • ISO sensitivity from 100 – 3200 expands up to ISO 12800 equivalent
  • Auto Sensor Cleaner
  • Lots of user friendly features included like: Guide Mode, Scene Auto Selector, Image processing, In-camera editing, pop-up flash, etc.

There are lots of great previews out there reviewing the D3100, so I’m going to cover the features that attract me to this camera and a few that make me wish for more. Continue reading

Fine Tuning Autofocus on your DSLR

Do you have soft focus issues with your digital camera?

Some of Nikons DSLR’s like the D300 and newer  come with the option of adjusting the focus yourself if you know which way to adjust. Sadly, the D200 didn’t include that option. You might have to send the camera in for repair if it is a D200. Try reading over this and downloading the chart (It’s on the last page) to test your camera and see how it handles focus.

If you do need to adjust your focus, check out what Leon Goodman has to say. He also provides some great targets for download.

Snapped4U — A tool for photographers to sell photos

I remember seeing photographers doing this on campus when I was in college but it was before every soccer mom had a super camera. Now you can have a basic camera and a few business cards and “work the crowd” to make money doing what self timers and tripods once did.  I’m curious how well this actually works and if people will pay $4 for a jpg of themselves.  Will people they actually go and check the pictures out.

Here’s how it works:

  • You go out and shoot photos of people at some event where there are lots of people.
  • Send them to Snapped4U’s web site
  • They search for their images and hopefully buy lots of them.
  • You get paid (via PayPal) $3.50 per image they buy.
  • They get a jpg of the image e-mailed to them.

I like the idea behind this, but wish they had a print option as well. For four bucks it seems like they should get a print, but that would involve printing and shipping…unless they teamed up with Wal-Mart or Walgreens to provide digital delivery to a location near you!

Maybe the future of vacation photos will be something like this…your family is out in front of the St. Louis Arch having a picnic and some guy comes buy takes some pictures and gives you a card to Snapped4U. You get back to the hotel, check it out and buy a few copies, post them to Facebook and click on a button to have them both e-mailed to you and prints delivered to your neighborhood Walgreens Photo Center. When you get home, you drop by Walgreens and pick up your pictures to show the neighbors.

Here’s what Snapped4U says about themselves:

Snapped4U is about getting pictures of people, particularly the group shots they can’t get themselves. Watch for events like concerts, fairs, festivals, markets, and sporting events. Think of places such as parks, beaches, monuments, and scenic overlooks. Choose a venue, then go when it’s busy and work the crowd.

via Snapped4U – The Place for Photographers to Post and Sell Their Photographs.

Polaroid Instant Film is Reinvented

From http://www.the-impossible-project.com/

Polaroid Instant Film…that loveable instantly (well actually a few minutes to see the what the chemicals have been doing) gratifying invention has gone the way of the glorious past…just like 8 track tapes, vinyl records, and bell bottom jeans…yet, just like revivals of the past fads seem to occur about every 20 or 30 years, Polaroid Film is not dead yet!  Artists and hobby-ists alike are probably pretty excited about this turn of events!

Polaroid, which suffered badly since the death of its inventive founder Edwin Land in 1991, could have completely lost the instant film — a whole artistic medium, pop culture icon and technological marvel in one — had the company not crossed paths with the Impossible Project’s founder, Florian Kaps, a man described as a “crazy Austrian entrepreneur.”

See full article from DailyFinance: http://srph.it/d3Yxjr

Personally, I’d given up on Polaroid’s film and gave my trusty Vivitar Slide Printer up to eBay. Now I’m wishing I’d held on a little longer!

Read more about how The Impossible Project, tries to explain just how they’ve managed to reinvent instant analog film in a story that is part innovation, part faith, part business and part dream. Read it via Polaroid Instant Film is Reinvented, Revived and On Sale This Week – DailyFinance.

Pricing yourself and your photography

Pricing yourself and your work can be a difficult consideration, but there are some good tools and recommendations out there that can help you make a wise decision when you’re trying to price your own work, photography, design work, programing or whatever art or work you produce.

One of the best tools I’ve seen is the Cost of Doing Business Calculator by the National Press Photographer’s Association. Fill in the blanks and let it calculate a basic range. You can figure out a rate that best fits you from there.

Believing in your abilities and continuing to improve yourself is an important part of pricing. I know a consultant who gave an quote to a new client. When the client came back and said it was higher than what they wanted by more than double. He confidently let them know that they will get what they paid for, but if they wanted to, he would give them an invoice for the full amount and after the day of consulting they could write in whatever amount they felt his consulting was worth. They liked his confidence and his negotiation skills, and they flew him across several states for the job.

Johnny Truant actually inspired this entry with his article. It reads in part…

There are good and bad photographers. There are good and bad coaches. Which are you? If you’re good, believe it — and then hike up your pants and price yourself accordingly.Cutting prices works for commodities, but will not win you good clients. If you’re cheap, people won’t think it’s because you’re awesome and they’re getting a good deal. Instead, they will look at your bargain basement price and will assume that you suck. via You’re worth more than you think | Johnny B. Truant.

Besides the Calculator, there is a lot of material out there that can help you price yourself. Pricing is important. Read what Laurie said at Photopreneur.com:

If you’ve agreed to accept a lower price in return for the thrill of publication, how can you be sure that the buyer wants your picture because it’s the best he can find… or because you were the only person willing to supply it at that bargain rate?

Pam Newman gave these five questions that are great to ask when you’re in the process of setting pricing for yourself and your products.

Other references worth checking out on this same topic

Costs in producing photos

Pricing freelance photos

Defining a line and when to cross it is a tough call for photographers, journalists

Journalists are taught to be a “Fly on the wall” observer who records but doesn’t make the news. Well, that’s nice in theory and there are times when journalists should be just that, but there are other times when a journalist overcomes the shyness of the observer and ends up getting involved. Here are two examples…

The Sun Journal newspaper reported that photographer Russ Dillingham was credited with helping police capture 35-year-old Norman Thompson as he tried to flee from local police and federal agents.

via News Photographer Tackles, Apprehends Fugitive on the Loose –

And in the recent coverage of Haiti’s Earthquake recovery…

Several media ethics scholars have criticized the broadcast and cable news networks for allowing their medical correspondents to be shown performing emergency treatment in Haiti. via Contactmusic.com

The way I see it is that it’s more a matter of the purpose of the journalist’s intrusion into the story. If it is to get more viewers or to promote the journalist’s company or commercial interests, then I think it is completely inappropriate. If it is a human responding to a need or reacting to a situation, then I’m really quite accepting of the intrusion. It should still be reported clearly that the journalist was involved, but I don’t see this as a case of unethical behavior. I see it as human behavior kicking in. Honestly, it’s refreshing to see that journalists out there still have humanity’s reactions working in them! Remember Kevin Carter? He became notorious for not getting involved after he left an emaciated Sudanese girl under the watch of a vulture after photographing the pair in Africa. Even after winning a Pulitzer Prize in 1994, the things Carter saw especially in Africa be came too much for him to deal with and he took his own life. While I worked as a journalist/photographer for the Fort Scott Tribune, I found myself feeling like I knew the details but could do little to make a difference. Yet, those times when I did “only” write about things, the encouraging words of a reader or the public official who later told me of the response they received after an article I wrote were excellent reminders that even an unbiased report can stir people to action simply because a journalist did his or her job…informed the people. Thoughts?

Dave Black’s insightful review of the Nikon D3s

In another one of his great Workshop posts, Dave Black reviews the capabilities of the new Nikon D3s digital SLR.

A new standard of high ISO has been set and the D3s is the undisputed king. Not only are its clean High ISO levels 1 and 1/3 higher than a D3, but I believe the D3s handles the shadow areas cleaner and with more edge detail as well. The ISO setting of 6400 is now a cleaner and almost noiseless reality

via Dave Black Photography – Sports Photography Worldwide.

He says the new Auto ISO features and tight rendering at even high ISO settings make this a great camera for the photographer whether you’re on the sports field or shooting in intimate candle light at a wedding.

Check out these images from Black’s blog demonstrating detail that this camera can retain even at ISO 12,800. Pretty sweet!

Dave Black also gives some tips on how he banded two Nikon SB-900 Speedlights together to make his own powerful handheld flash. See images of the results on his blog.

Improve on the important things

I think APAD has an excellent point when it comes to self improvement.

I feel like photographers can really get caught up in tinkering with all the marketing material and periphery that goes along with being a professional photographer because, let’s be honest, it’s quite difficult to “improve your craft” and a lot easier to improve your letterhead. via APhotoADay Blog.

We can spend a lot of time improving our packaging but fail to improve our product. This builds great expectations among our customers but can lead to dissapointment if our actual product isn’t up to par.

It’s kind of like buying a boxed tube of toothpaste at the store. I expect the tube inside to be roughly the size of the box. When I open it and find that there’s a spacer inside to keep a small tube of toothpaste from rattling around, it doesn’t matter to me that the label said the right number of ounces. I still fee wronged because I thought I was geting more.

It’s fine to improve your marketing and packaging, but never neglect improving your product. It’s better to have your clients go away thinking they got more value than they expected than have it be the other way around. Why? Because people share their experiences. When something underwhelms or overwhelms them, they tell others, and word of mouth markeitng is one of the most powerful marketing tool around.

What are you doing to improve your craft/product today?