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Derek

Ask Raw: Nikon Lens Compatibility


Time for another mailbox moment from “Ask Raw.” Today’s question is from Dan, who asks:

What lenses can I get for this camera [Nikon D40], esp zoom?

Well Dan, lens¬†compatibility¬†with Nikon’s entry-level bodies (the D40, D40x, D60, D3000, D3100, and D5000) has been an often asked question ever since the D40 debuted, and unfortunately the answer isn’t really simple. But, the reason for the problem is. To save space and weight (and cost), these smaller bodies don’t have a built-in focus motor that powered Nikon’s auto-focus lenses before they switched to using built-in lens motors.

So, on to your answer. Technically, all current Nikon lenses will mount to and work on a D40 (or those others in this category). Nikon has used the same F-Mount forever now, and the D40 is a DX body, meaning it can take both DX and ‘FX’ lenses. What most people mean when they ask if a lens will work, though, is “will it auto-focus.” Only Nikon lenses marked as “AF-S” will mount to a D40 with auto-focus capability. The good news is that Nikon has been updating its line to AF-S for some time now, and most any lens in their current line-up will have it.

And, Nikon’s not the only one with lenses made for the motorless bodies. Tamron’s lenses have built-in motors, and Sigma has staring making BIM (built-in motor) lenses for the motorless Nikon bodies, too.

So, with options like Nikon’s popular 18-200mm VR II, or Tamron’s 18-270mm, there’re certainly some good zooms to look at that’ll work just great with your D40, Dan.



Derek

Ask Raw: Best Practices for Canvas Prints


It’s time for the first installment of “Ask Raw,” where we answer questions we’ve received from people. Today’s question from Rick is about what settings to use for gallery photos, especially printed on canvas.

I use the Nikon D300 I bought from Roberts and am still learning all the functions. Now I wonder about the best settings to get the gallery sized photo prints (wrapped canvas) that I see st photo exhibitions. Should I shoot in RAW format for extra sharpness. Can you offer me good printing results on such large size? I would like to send my images to consignments galleries and print from you as ordered. Appreciate your help.

We do recommend raw, but it’s not necessarily for extra sharpness. Shooting raw takes a lot of the burden off of deciding how to set most things on your camera. The only settings that genuinely affect raw files are exposure and focus. Your white balance, contrast, sharpness, color gradation, saturation, noise reduction, and so on are just settings to tell the camera what assumptions to make when it creates JPEG files.

The one catch here is that most cameras use the JPEG settings for the image previews you see on the LCD. For that reason, I set my white balance to auto, my color saturation to muted, and if you have the option of auto-gradation, D-lighting, DRO, or any other range extender, I usually turn that on to better represent the full exposure range I’ll have in the raw file.

Now, since we know the in-camera settings won’t matter much since you shoot raw, let’s talk about the next point, which is resolution.

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