Nikon have form when it comes to retro styling, first with the Df F mount body, and now with the Z fc and a small number of retro-styled lenses. We have looked at the 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3 and now examine in detail the new Nikkor Z 28mm f/2.8 SE, a Special Edition lens that currently is only available as part of the Z fc SE kit in the UK. It is available separately in the USA. The new lens totally mimics the appearance of classic Nikon F SLR manual focus lenses, although it is in fact an AF lens. Not only does it appeal on a retro level, but its hidden secret is that it is in fact a full-frame optic. So let’s look at the new lens, using not only the APS-C 20.9 MP Nikon Z fc body but also the 45.7 MP Nikon Z 7 II.
Nikon Nikkor Z 28mm f/2.8 SE Handling and Features
For the styling of the lens, it was back to the original blueprints for Nikon and the illusion is complete. The knurling of the manual focus ring, the silver ring behind that and the general shape are all genuinely Nikon F in appearance. Of course, we lose an aperture ring or meter coupler, but otherwise, traditionalists just might relate with enthusiasm to the overall ethos of the design.
Weighing in at just 160g, clearly, this is a lens using plastics extensively, including the mount. However, plastic can be a totally effective choice. There is no provided lens hood, always a shame, but there is a standard 52mm filter thread; the traditional Nikon size. The lens is dust and drip-resistant, a welcome decision.
The control ring can be set to control focus, aperture, exposure compensation or ISO. The feel of the ring seems very similar to what would be expected from any of the old F lenses, silky smooth. There are no other controls on the lens, everything else being controlled from the camera. There is therefore no AF/MF switch. There is also no option for VR (Vibration Compensation) and that function is blanked out in the camera menus. However, in-camera VR such as with the Nikon Z7 II works just fine.
AF is driven by two stepping motors and is very fast, very quiet and very reliable. The focusing ring can be used to tweak the focus position after AF. Focusing is down to 0.19m, or 0.63 feet, for a maximum magnification of 0.2x, 1:5. This is close, but no closer than many traditional 28mm lenses.
Lens construction is 9 elements in 8 groups, including 2 Aspherical. IF (Internal Focusing) means the dimensions of the lens do not change. The diaphragm comprises 7 rounded blades.
The lens is only sold as part of the Z fc SE kit in the UK, although available separately in the USA. Of particular interest is that although it is supplied as part of a kit with an APS-C format camera body, it is in fact a full-frame lens. It works just as well with the Z 7 II body and the opportunity was taken to test it out on both DX and FX formats. The FX-format results in the native 28mm focal length as intended, a very useful wide-angle; the DX-format results in a “35mm-format equivalent” of 42mm. In terms of field of view, that 42mm is very close to the theoretical “standard lens” which for full-frame would be 43mm.
Either as a wide-angle, or as a slightly wide standard, depending as detailed above on the format, this is a totally lovely lens to use. It looks great, it works faultlessly and the results will speak for themselves. What’s not to like?
For years, Lightroom’s tools for selective adjustments left something to be desired. The “detect edges” feature often adds noise to soft areas like clouds, whereas the standard brush and gradient tools can affect too much of the image. Range masking fixes those problems.
What Is Range Masking in Lightroom?
Range masking was added to Lightroom a few years ago and has since become one of my favorite post-processing tools. Lightroom has two types of range masking: luminance (which selects portions of the image by brightness) and color (which does the same by color). Both are very powerful ways to apply local adjustments to the exact areas of an image you want.
For example, say that there’s a bright cloud in your photo that you want to darken without affecting anything else in the photo. You don’t need to worry about painting a perfect mask around the cloud with the brush tool. Instead, you can use a range mask to tell Lightroom to selectively edit the bright tones in the cloud and completely ignore the rest of the sky. Here’s how such a thing looks in practice, starting with the original photo:
And then Lightroom’s preview of the range mask I created:
At this point, any edits I make will affect only the areas highlighted in red, which allows for very nice selective post-processing. That’s what makes range masks so powerful.
How to Use Luminance Range Masks
The process of using range masks in Lightroom is fairly straightforward. Here are the steps if you’re planning to create a luminance mask:
With Lightroom’s gradient or brush tools, paint over the entire area that you want to affect. It’s fine to include some extra areas, but make sure to get 100% of the regions you need.
Look at the bottom of the local adjustment panel. You’ll see a section called “range mask. Change it from “off” to “luminance,” and this full dialog pops up:
Click “show luminance mask” to see Lightroom’s preview and get a good sense of what areas you’re affecting. Then, use the “range” slider to tell Lightroom which tones to affect. For example, if you set the slider from 0 to 30, you’ll only be affecting the dark tones – and if you set the slider from 35 to 65, you’ll only be affecting the midtones. In this case, I chose a range of 68 to 100, which isolated the brightest tones in the clouds. (You can also use the eyedropper tool to select tones, if you prefer.) Again, this is the mask I ended up with:
After that, use the “smoothness” slider to soften the mask or give it harsher edges. The default value of 50 is usually good, but feel free to adjust if you’re getting halos or harsh effects.
Now it’s time to turn off “show luminance mask” and start actually making your edits! Any editing you do will only affect the tones you’ve selected (and, of course, only in the area of your brush/gradient).
How to Use Color Range Masks
The color range mask works in a similar way, except it selects areas based on color rather than brightness values.
Rather than using a simple slider to include or exclude certain tones, the color range mask tool uses an eyedropper tool instead. It looks like this:
All you need to do is click on the eyedropper tool, then click on something in your photo of whatever color you want to adjust. Lightroom paints a mask over those colors and excludes everything else. Pretty easy!
You’ll notice that the only slider involved is called “amount.” When the slider is at 0, only the areas of the exact color you selected will be included in the mask. On the other hand, when it’s set to 100, Lightroom barely takes your color selection into account and instead applies the gradient/brush almost at full strength – almost as if there were no range mask at all. 50 is the default value and usually a good choice, but you may want a lower value if you want more isolated edits to the exact colors you’ve selected.
There are also two extended ways to use the eyedropper tool if the one-click method isn’t working well enough:
Hold down the Shift key while you click a color, and you can choose up to five colors for Lightroom to add to the range mask.
Rather than just clicking, you can click and drag to select a much larger area of the image for Lightroom to analyze the colors. (This can be used in combination with pressing the Shift key if you want to have multiple such areas selected.)
If you’ve added multiple color range mask eyedroppers, and you’re unhappy with one or more of them, you can Alt+Click (Option+Click on Mac) to delete any that are bothering you.
I used range masking for the image below because I was finding it difficult to brighten the yellow flowers selectively any other way. This version is before I added the range mask:
I couldn’t use the HSL panel for the image above because it was adjusting the yellow colors in the sky as well (and adding some color noise). A standard gradient tool – with or without luminance masking – wasn’t a terrible option, but it selected a bit too much of the flowers’ stems for my taste. So, the color range mask was the way to go.
In this image, I created a gradient that only affected the foreground. Then I used the click+drag method in the color range mask to isolate the yellow tones:
You’ll note that this does include a few of the green tones as well, but is mainly focused on the yellow flowers. Then it was a simple matter of adjusting the sliders in the gradient panel to brighten the flowers to my liking. Here’s the final result:
Note that with the color range mask, there is no “show color mask” option, so it can be a bit harder to tell what areas you’re affecting. You can get around this by simply pressing the “o” key on your keyboard, which is the shortcut for showing your local adjustment mask in Lightroom.
What Are Depth Range Masks?
You may notice that there’s a third option in Lightroom’s range masking tool, alongside luminance and color: depth. With most cameras, this option is going to be grayed-out, and you won’t be able to use depth range masking at all.
However, if you shot a .HEIC image file with a camera that supports depth mapping, you’ll be able to use this tool to selectively mask areas by how far away they are. This applies to some Apple iPhones when shot in portrait mode but generally isn’t found on DSLRs or mirrorless cameras yet. In the future, we may see it become more commonly available.
Downsides of Range Masks
In general, range masks don’t have very many downsides and cause very few artifacts in a photo. It’s one reason why I prefer them over the “detect edges” tool or the HSL panel most of the time. Still, if you do an overdramatic edit, you can end up getting some halos with range masking that may not have shown up with a more standard gradient or soft brush too.
Another minor downside is that the tools may not perfectly mask your subject in every situation. For example, different parts of people’s faces – their eyes, lips, hair, skin, etc. – are generally so different from each other in luminance and color that range masks can’t select everything at once. If you want to make broad edits to people’s faces or other such subjects, it’s better to use a standard brush tool than to rely on range masking.
But the biggest issue with range masking is more general. After years of editing in Lightroom and a lot of other post-processing software, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s better to do fewer local edits whenever possible, including range masking.
This isn’t some ethical crusade against local edits. There’s nothing wrong with them in theory, and they often can lead to results that are impossible to achieve any other way. But they demand a high degree of care. In practice, it is very easy to use local edits with bad results (not just range masking, but even gradients).
Specifically, if you have a large number of local edits, they can overlap and compete with each other in unwanted ways, leading to color shifts, halos, and other artifacts. Finding the source of these issues can be almost impossible without deleting all your local edits entirely. Not to mention the slowdown penalty in Lightroom once you exceed about a dozen local adjustments.
The process I recommend instead is to try to bring an image as far as possible without any local edits. Only once you’ve achieved that is it time to edit the image locally – and even then, I’d aim for just a few well-placed gradients or soft brushes if possible.
This applies to any local adjustments, including range masking. Just don’t overdo it. Local adjustments are great features (and range masks in particular), but if you let them become your primary editing tool, you may find that your process becomes unmanageable.
I consider range masking to be the best feature added to Lightroom in years. It offers an elegant way to edit selective parts of an image without adding excess noise or other artifacts. And once you get the hang of it, it’s very easy and intuitive.
While I still prefer to use global sliders as much as possible, range masking is a helpful tool when you need to make precision edits. I’d go so far as to say that a majority of gradients and brush edits in Lightroom can benefit from a range mask restriction. It’s a tool that I highly recommend learning for almost every Lightroom-based photographer.
An anonymous photographer has gone viral online after sharing the story of how she deleted her friend’s wedding photos at the wedding after he turned out to be a groomzilla.
The account was published by the photographer under the username Icy-Reserve6995 to the popular Reddit subreddit AmItheA**hole, in which people share disputes with the 3.1-million-strong community to have others weigh in on whether they were in the right or whether they were actually the “a**hole.”
The woman explained that she is a dog groomer who often photographs clients’ dogs to put up on her Facebook and Instagram accounts. She had been invited to a friend’s wedding, but the friend subsequently asked if she could be the photographer instead — she agreed to help out and accepted a “mate rate” that most wedding photographers would balk at.
“A friend got married a few days ago and wanting to save money, asked if I’d shoot it for them,” she writes. “I told him it’s not really my forte but he convinced me by saying he didn’t care if they were perfect: they were on a shoestring budget and I agreed to shoot it for $250, which is nothing for a 10-hour event.”
On the wedding day, the photographer drove around with the bride to various locations to document the preparations before arriving at the venue and covering the ceremony and reception. It was during the reception that the groom’s expectations for her rubbed the photographer the wrong way.
“I started around 11am and was due to finish around 7:30pm,” she recounts. “Around 5pm, food is being served and I was told I cannot stop to eat because I need to be [the] photographer; in fact, they didn’t save me a spot at any table.
“I’m getting tired and at this point kinda regretting doing this for next to nothing. It’s also unbelievably hot: the venue is in an old veteran’s legion and it’s like 110°F and there’s no AC.”
Finally, the photographer had an exchange with the groom that made her snap.
“I told the groom I need to take off for 20min to get something to eat and drink,” she says. “There’s no open bar or anything, I can’t even get water and my two water bottles are long empty. He tells me I need to either be [the] photographer, or leave without pay.
“With the heat, being hungry, being generally annoyed at the circumstances, I asked if he was sure, and he said yes, so I deleted all the photos I took in front of him and took off saying I’m not his photographer anymore.”
The photographer says she had originally RSVPed to the wedding as a guest and had picked a meal choice, but the groom apparently “took it away because I was no longer a guest but hired help,” she says.
This wedding photography dispute has since gone viral. It amassed roughly 18,000 upvotes and 2,300 comments on Reddit before hitting mainstream media outlets — publications that have shared the strange tale include Newsweek and The Independent.
Responses to the story are overwhelmingly in support of the photographer.
“For that price I wouldn’t even consider it as a job, it was more like a favor,” one commenter writes. “And that you were an invited guest that got uninvited for doing them a favor is just mind-boggling.”
“$250 is nothing for the amount of hours you worked,” writes a former wedding photographer. “Unfortunately the people who pay the least are usually the ones who want the most. When I shot weddings, I was literally forced to sit down and eat/drink by my brides/grooms, not just because it was in my contract, but because they respected me as a human being. I’m sorry you’ve been burned by this ‘friend.’
“If you’d like to save the photos, and you haven’t reformatted the card(s) they were on, you can most likely get them back by using a recovery software.”
Image credits: Header illustration photo licensed from Depositphotos
A wide angle lens with a wide aperture is useful for a huge range of scenarios, from landscape photography to astro work and events coverage. For Fujifilm X Series shooters, one option is the XF 18mm f/1.4 R LM WR, and this great video review takes a look at the lens and the sort of image quality and performance you can expect from it in practice.
Coming to you from The Hybrid Shooter, this awesome video review takes a look at the Fujifilm XF 18mm f/1.4 R LM WR lens. With a 27mm-equivalent focal length and a very wide maximum aperture, the 18mm f/1.4 is well suited for a variety of needs. It comes with a range of great features, including:
15 elements in 9 groups
Three aspherical elements and one ED element for reduced distortion and spherical aberrations and increased sharpness
Super EBC coating for reduced flares and ghosting and increased contrast
Linear autofocus motor for quick (as fast as 0.04 seconds) and quiet autofocus suitable for stills and video
Minimum focus distance of 7.9 inches (20 cm)
Rounded nine-blade diaphragm for smoother bokeh
Altogether, the XF 18mm f/1.4 R LM WR looks like a capable option. Check out the video above for the full rundown on the lens.
Life this week has been interrupted a bit by the birth of our first grandchild: Della arrived on Sunday morning, and everyones been telling me that Ive got a free model for the next few years. Its been a while since Ive had much practice photographing babies, and it ought to be so much easier with digital than it was with film.
When my children were small, 1000 ISO was pushing it: 10 times that is easily achievable these days, and a modern auto focus system with eye recognition should make life a lot simpler! Best of all, Im neither responsible for getting up in the middle of the night to feed Della, nor do I have had a job to get in the way.
Im inspired by a lot of my Ephotozine friends who have posted beautiful, evocative portraits of their grandchildren: Im particularly indebted to Roy (kaybee) who is probably my oldest friend on here. Roy took exception advantage of the photographic opportunities his grandchildren have offered, and Ill be doing well if I match them.
There is one big downside though. I was never the most physically flexible photographer in the room, and it definitely takes me longer to get down onto my knees. Getting up is more a matter of the calendar than the stopwatch. But on the whole, the way is open for much photographic mischief and many photographs that I will need to print and distribute around the family.
Of course, whether you get to see any of them will be a matter of parental choice. Watch this space.
Nikon has announced that it’ll soon be offering a new virtual photography Nikon School experience called “Live Remote Shooting” that invites photography enthusiasts to learn photography and shoot with Nikon from the comfort of their home.
The organization provides courses that cover a wide range of photography aspects, from understanding a camera and lenses, shooting fashion, landscapes, wildlife, videos, and more. Now, it’s gearing up to expand its educational services to include “Live Remote Shooting,” as first reported by Digital Camera World.
Unlike a traditional workshop, attendees don’t have to travel to a particular location and instead are guided by a Nikon School’s professional trainer via a video call. During this call, the participants can follow the action from the trainer’s point of view, discuss and view the in-camera setup in real-time, and take part by changing camera settings without leaving their desks.
This type of virtual training enables photographers to explore various locations, shoot set-ups, and even different models of equipment — so as long as it is Nikon brand — without the commitment to travel or rent the gear.
Here’s how the Live Remote Shooting system will work: the Nikon School trainer first tethers their camera to a laptop and starts a live stream through a video-hosting platform which enables students to join in. The trainer also shares their screen so that the students can control the tethered camera connected to the laptop.
This allows students to guide the trainer to compose the image while having full manual control over camera settings. Once captured, the images are displayed on the screen. Students can also request particular lenses or cameras, including those that are not yet available in store. After the live shoot has concluded, all captured RAW images are sent to the students so they can post-process them as they wish.
As Nikon leans into virtual education and develops a wide range of online courses, it opens up possibilities for photographers who are not able to travel but still want to enjoy the benefits of interactive learning, led by an experienced trainer.
Here’s a short video introducing Live Remote Shooting workshops:
This new workshop type is set to feature in Nikon School’s event and training line-up starting in October 2021. Nikon School also offers in-person workshops as well as other types of online courses. More information can be found on Nikon School’s website.
Becoming a proficient landscape photographer takes a tremendous amount of technical skill both behind the camera and at your computer, but even flawless technique is not enough to make a compelling image. It takes creative vision as well, but that is something that is a bit more difficult to learn. This great video tutorial discusses the idea of learning to see in landscape photography and building your creative vision.
Coming to you from Alister Benn with Expressive Photography, this fantastic video tutorial follows him as he explores an unfamiliar location and discusses learning to find your vision. A lot of landscape photography these days tends to follow the same trend of a lot of dynamic range, vibrant colors, golden light, wide angles, and deep depth of field — just look at Instagram to see that. And while there is nothing inherently wrong with that kind of image (after all, it is popular for a reason), it lacks personal identity when so many people do it. I find it far more personally satisfying to develop a personal style. Check out the video above for the full rundown from Benn.
I recently had a bad case of fungus in a Sony kit lens. The fungus was between the two outermost lenses that are assembled together in a glued plastic case.
I placed it in a cleaned vacuum box with enough rubbing alcohol to submerge it — I actually had to tilt the box to cover everything, so I should have added more.
I first cleaned everything very thoroughly.
I sucked all the air out of the container and watched small bubbles leave the lens.
I then let air back in. Make sure the lens elements are fully covered with alcohol so that it can seep in.
Alcohol between the lenses:
Now empty the box, put the lens back, and suck the air out. It almost all came out in the first go, but you may need to experiment with the orientation of the lens because the leaking hole needs to be below the alcohol.
The last droplet wouldn’t come out with suction.
Now, this is a crucial step. If you just let the alcohol evaporate, it can leave a dried-out mark.
So here’s what you can do: swing the lens in your arm so that the alcohol creeps to the edge and then leave the lens to dry upright, standing on the spot where the droplet went so that it stays down there at the lowest point.
Voila! A fixed lens!
The stuff that’s seen on the outer ring is all that was left from the alcohol residue drying by itself. There’s no haze or any remnant at all on the rest of the lens.
After this initial attempt, I repeated the process a second time and ended up with a lens with absolutely no residue at all.
Read also: How to Remove Fungus from a Lens
In hindsight, I would have placed the lens in a new clean Ziploc bag with alcohol and then put that in the vacuum box to avoid any dust or grease completely.
Warning: If you don’t know what you’re doing, it’s always safer to send your camera equipment to authorized repair services. These types of do-it-yourself repairs should be done at your own risk — and when it comes to things as sensitive/delicate as camera equipment, the risks can be great.
About the author: Lasse Reinhold is a hobbyist photographer based in Denmark. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.
An ethereal, dreamy landscape photo can be a nice change of pace from the common ultra-sharp, super-vibrant photos we are used to today, and it can invite the viewer to find their own meaning and message within the image. If you are looking to create such photos in your own work, this great video tutorial will give you five tips to make it happen.
Coming to you from Sapna Reddy with B&H Photo Video, this awesome video tutorial will give you five tips to help you make more ethereal and dreamy landscape images. As you will see, fog often plays a role in these images, so brushing up on basic meteorology and keeping an eye on your local forecast can make a big difference in your ability to find the right conditions for such photos. Learning where fog forms, what time of day it tends to appear, and having a strong grasp of local topography can help you find the magic spots with the right conditions and good scenery for an image. Check out the video above for the full rundown from Reddy.
Feeding ducks is something everyone enjoys but next time you head off for your Sunday morning stroll around your local pond, pocket your camera as well as the treats you take for the Mallards and Swans.
1. An opportunity to get close to wildlife
As ducks are used to people visiting with goodies they’re not usually skittish so getting close to them shouldn’t be a problem. Even still, taking along a small bag of birdseed to scatter will keep the ducks in front of you for longer increasing the chances you have of getting a good shot.
Flat banks are the perfect location for photographing ducks as the low angle gives you a shot that has more of a duck’s eye view. If you don’t want to work hand-held, take along a light-weight tripod or beanbag to sit your camera on.
2. Which season is best?
Winter’s a great time to head to the water’s edge as the sun sits at a lower angle for longer which means you don’t have to get up at the crack of dawn for softer light. You’ll also get mist rolling over the water – perfect for silhouetting a bird against. For a bit of variety try shooting their reflections or look for interesting behaviour such as fighting or preening activities.
3. Need more details?
If you find their feathers are lacking in detail try adding a little fill-in flash. Just remember for birds such as Swans that have lighter feathers you’ll need slightly stronger light. This time of year when lakes can be slightly frozen light will be reflected off the icy surface back under the duck, highlighting detail in their plume. For particularly gloomy days switch to a slightly higher ISO so you can use a quicker shutter speed. If you’re out when the sky is rather bright keep an eye on your exposure if Swans are around as a white bird against a bright sky may mean your camera underexposes the shot.
For shots of birds in flight make sure you’re on continuous focus and get the focus locked on the bird straight away. To freeze their movement in the air or when they’re splashing on the water try a shutter speed of around 1/500sec but if you want to be a little more creative try to blur the motion of the wings with a slower speed of around 1/30sec.
Privacy & Cookies Policy
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.