Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Canon Instant rebates on SLR (EOS), Powershot cameras & lenses, Flashes


Canon has its seasonal rebate program currently for selected EOS and Powershot cameras and lens. Thanks to canon learning from its past mistakes, most of the rebates are instant and not mail-in

  • EOS Special Instant Rebate
    • Save up to $200 on select Canon EOS (SLR) camera lens kits and EF and EF-S lenses.
    • Valid from November 1, 2009 - November 21, 2009
    • Details
    • Qualifying Products:
      EOS Rebel T1i EF-S 18-55mm IS Kit
      EOS Rebel XSi EF-S 18-55IS Kit
      EOS Rebel XS 18-55IS Kit
      EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III USM
      EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM
      EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS

Buy Canon EOS Camera and Lens (Amazon)

  • EOS & PowerShot Loyalty Program
    • $50 mail-in rebate is available if you purchase and register a Rebel XS, XSi, T1i, 50D, 7D or 5D Mark II; or a $20 mail-in rebate is available if you purchase and register a PowerShot camera*
    • Valid From October 12, 2009 and December 31, 2009
    • Details
    • Qualifying Products:
      PowerShot G11
      PowerShot G10
      PowerShot S90
      PowerShot SX1 IS
      PowerShot SX20 IS
      PowerShot SX200 IS
      PowerShot SX120 IS
      PowerShot D10
      PowerShot SD970 IS
      PowerShot SD980 IS
      PowerShot SD960 IS
      PowerShot SD940 IS
      PowerShot SD780 IS
      PowerShot SD1200 IS
      PowerShot A1100 IS
      PowerShot A480
    • Need to have registered before Oct 12th 2009

Buy Canon Powershot Cameras(Amazon)

  • Instant rebate on Canon Speedlite Flash System
    • Save up to $70 on select Canon Speedlites and accessories
    • Valid from October 22, 2009 - January 16, 2010
    • Details
    • Qualifying Products:
      Speedlite 580EX II
      Speedlite 430EX II
      Speedlite 270EX
      Macro Twin Lite MT-24EX
      Macro Ring Lite MR-14EX

Buy Canon Speedlite Flashes(Amazon)

  • Instant rebate on Canon EF and EF-S lenses
    • Save up to $500 on select Canon EF and EF-S lenses
    • Valid from October 22, 2009 - January 16, 2010.
    • Details
    • Qualifying Products:
      EF 200mm f/2L IS USM
      EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM
      EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM
      EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM
      EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM
      EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM
      EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM
      EF-S 17-55 f/2.8 IS USM
      EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM
      EF 17-40mm f/4L USM
      EF 70-200mm f/4L USM
      EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM

Buy Canon Lenses(Amazon)


Monday, November 2, 2009

Nikon launches Learn & Explore iPhone App

If you have an iPhone and an interest in photography, things cant get better than this.

Imagine you are waiting for the fireworks display on 4th of July and you can check some quick tips on the spot. Think you are on a weekend hike and found yourself in front of a beautiful waterfall or saw a rare bird. Now you have a good photographic reference source that you can take with you on a safari or to the local festival that you want to shoot. The app is obviously speaks Nikon language, but is very useful for canon loyalists or users of other camera brands as well.

Some of the possibilities listed by Nikon include…

  • Read an article on getting the most from your travel photography while you’re on vacation.
  • Check information on adjusting depth of field or selecting the right shutter speed when you’re taking photos at your child’s sporting event.
  • Access advice on the right aperture for shooting photos indoors when you’re attending a wedding. It

Here are some screen shots to get you started

image image
Official Link:
So if you have an iPhone, try it now and let Nikon know your feedback. you can send your feedback on what you want to see on Learn & Explore to

Canon, lets see what you have in store for us…

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Panasonic Photo Contest

This is a digital only photo contest  and is open to residents of all EU and EEA countries, Serbia, Montenegro, Switzerland, and Turkey. prizes include Lumix DMC-GF1* digital camera, Lumix DMC-FZ38* digital camera and Lumix DMC-ZX1* digital camera. Check out the details at

The contest is open from November 2009 until April 2010 and will have monthly winners apart from a Grand Prize Winner and Runner up.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Easy way for Organizing Large Number of Photos

My backup hard drive crashed and I had to retrieve all the photos using Photo recovery software. Its an unfortunate situation and I hope it never happens to you. But once that happens you are most likely presented with a large number of recovered photos. In my case there were 20,000 JPG and almost half that number of CR2 Canon RAW files. All the JPGs are in one folder and the CR2s in another. Using windows thumbnail view to organize them will take a long time as each time windows will try to list all these files generate thumbnails etc.

A better alternative is to use FastStone viewer. Its a good photo viewer and quite comparable to irfanview which I was using before.


The main advantage you get in organizing by FastStone over plain vanilla Windows is that it is much faster when handling thumbnails and large number of photos. You don't need to wait while Windows refreshes with changes when you scroll or move files. Simply create a meaningful name for your folder and select the photos and drag them to the folder. Repeat this for all your photos and you are done.

If you know of a better way, please let me know by adding a comment here and I would like to try it out.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

View RAW thumbnails in Windows Explorer CR2, NEF, DNG


If you shoot raw, then this might be valuable to you. I have always wanted to view thumbnails of photos in explorer. Windows does a good job of showing jpegs but fails with RAW formats. There are free (or paid) programs like fastone viewer, canon zoom browser etc that let you view these proprietary RAW formats but none of them will let you view on Plain Vanilla windows explorer.

There are a lot of solutions available that claim to do this seemingly simple task, but most of them fall short. Here are some solutions that actually work based on my experience.

ps: While you are at the Microsoft site you might also want to check out their pro photography site

Monday, October 5, 2009

Macro Photography – Part 1 Techniques


A fly from my garden

Macro photography is nothing but close up photography that deals with capturing the smaller things around you. You will be amazed at the almost infinite photo ops available in your backyard or garden. Most point and shoot cameras and SLRs have a macro mode. Usually it is represented by the picture of a small flower in your mode dial. Once you engage this mode the camera will try to focus closer to the lens and some cameras will allow as much as 2cm. The exact value will vary and you should check your camera manual to see the details.

A true macro or a 1:1 macro is where the image of the subject formed on the camera sensor/film is the same size as the real life subject. Many general purpose lenses are capable of 1:2 macro which means the image formed on the lens is approximately 50% of the size of actual subject. The lenses will also label the minimum close focusing distance on its body (usually around where the lens cap fits into the lens)


A grasshopper

Techniques to capture Macros:

  • A dedicated macro lens is probably the best option out there for people who are seriously into macro photography. These are expensive but offer very good IQ. These dedicated lenses are usually primes and are very sharp. They also double as a good portrait lens. You can choose one based on the focal length. A 100mm macro lens will give you better working distance than a 50mm lens. This means you can stay farther from spiders and bugs.


  • Extension Tubes or bellows: This is what I use. Its not as easy to use as a dedicated macro lens, and you also loose the ability to focus at infinity (basically means you can only focus at close distances when tubes are mounted). I use my 50mm f 1.8 prime lens with Kenko extension tubes. Extension tubes are simple hollow tubes that provide magnification by increasing the distance between the lens and film/sensor plane. The further the lens is from the film/sensor (i.e by stacking multiple extension tubes), the closer the focusing distance, the greater is the magnification you can get. The thumb rule for getting 1:1 maco is that the you should provide a spacing equal to the focal length of the lens used. For my 50mm lens, i need to stack extension tubes to 50cm to achieve a 1:1 macro. The main problem with using this kind of setup is that the available light reduces by half when using extension tubes (as distance increases, the amount of light captured reduces). This means you will have to deal with longer shutter speeds or high iso. The Image quality is not affected using this technique
  • Using macro screw in lens adapters are also a way to cature macro photos. These typically screw into the lens thread . The problems of using this could be reduced sharpness and image quality. A low quality adapter will also lead to chromatic or optical aberrations in the final image.
  • Telephoto extenders could also double as macro adapters for lenses. But just like Extension tubes, the availability of light reduces when you use them, but the Image quality is not affected if the usual high quality extenders are used.

  • Reverse lens / Reversing Ring is another technique used. This is an inexpensive way wherein you need to purchase a special reverse lens adapter that attaches to the filter thread on the front of a lens and makes it possible to attach the lens in reverse.



Water droplets on a leaf

In the next section of this series we will look into the various issues faced in macro photography as well as some tips on these areas.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Canon EF 100 2.8L macro, EF-S 15-85mm and EF-S 18-135mm lenses

Along with the much awaited Canon EOS 7D, cannon also announed three new lenses. one EF L series lens and 2 EF-S lenses

Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L IS USM 1-to-1 Macro Lens

We need to wait and see how this lens compares to the existing 100mm macro

  • Canon’s second L series macro after the 180mm and the most affordable L macro
  • 1:1 real macro and should we well suited for portrait use as well
  • Ultrasonic focusing with Full time manual focus
  • Canon's sophisticated Image Stabilization
  • Filter Size - 67mm Max. Diameter x Length - 3.1 x 4.8 in. / 77.7 x 123mm Weight - 22.0 oz. / 625g
  • Closest Focusing Distance: 0.99 ft. / 0.3m (maximum close-up magnification: 1x)


Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS UD Standard Zoom Lens

This is a new lens probably inspired from the similar offering from Nikon. This is a very useful focal range for a camera buyer who just needs one walk around lens.

  • EF-S Only – will work with APS-C type cameras only
  • 18-135mm lens with f3.5-f.5.6 aperture (36mm Equiv of 29mm-216mm) is a very useful focal range to have
  • Image stabilization helps compensate for the small aperture and for low light shots
  • Lens Construction: 16 elements in 12 groups
  • Filter Size: 67mm and Weight 455g


Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM UD Wide Angle Zoom Lens

This new lens goes wider than your average kit lens (15mm vs 18mm) and does even better at the telephoto end (85mm vs 55mm).

This might be of interest to landscape and architecture shooters. Pretty expensive compared to your average kit lens but you can sure take some shots with this that your kit lens cant. The only other wide EF-S offering from canon is the 10-22mm lens. It remains to be seen how well this lens handles distortion and vignetting.

  • EF-S Only – will work with APS-C type cameras only
  • 15-85mm lens with f3.5-f.5.6 aperture ( 35mm Equiv of 24-136mm)
  • Lens Construction: 17 elements in 12 groups
  • Filter Size: 72mm, Weight 575g
  • USM focus and Closest Focusing Distance: 1.15 ft. / 0.35m


Canon is listening to customers and providing more choice in lens for starters and enthusiasts. The set of lenses announced by canon will be a welcome addition to its existing range. I think the Canon EF-S 15-85mm will be the lens to watch out for with lot of people taking up photography as a serious hobby, they need a good walk around lens like this one.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Canon EOS 7D SLR 18MP, HD Video, Live View

The EOS 7D Features Fast Eight fps Continuous Shooting, Class-Leading 18-Megapixel Resolution and Full HD Video Recording with Variable Frame Rates and Manual Exposure Control


Professional photographers and advanced amateurs have been demanding higher performance and more diverse functions in their cameras, and Canon has answered – with the new EOS 7D. EOS 7D DSLR is a brand new product that stands on its own with new features never before seen in any Canon camera.

Feature Highlights

  • Canon EOS 7D boasts the most advanced AF system ever seen in an EOS SLR
  • All 19 points are f/5.6-sensitive (center f.2.8)  for both horizontal and vertical cross-type focusing
  • AF system allows numerous AF area selection modes such as Spot AF, AF Point Expansion, Zone AF
  • EOS HD Movie mode -EOS 7D Digital SLR camera will record Full HD at 1920 x 1080 pixels in selectable frame rates of 24p (23.976), 25p, or 30p (29.97); 720p HD recording at 50p or 60p (59.94) and SD video at frame rates of 50p or 60p (59.94)
  • Artificial horizon for landscape and architecture photographers.
  • Pop-up flash features a built-in Integrated Speedlite Transmitter for control of multiple off-camera EOS Speedlites without the need for an external transmitter.
  • Ergonomic improvements - new super-fluid body design with continuous curves, easy-to-navigate menu
  • New large, clear 3.0-inch solid structure Clear View II LCD screen with 920,000 dot/VGA resolution
  • 150,000-cycle shutter life
  • fully compatible with WFT-E5A wireless transmitter

Pricing and Availability
The Canon EOS 7D Digital SLR camera is scheduled to be delivered to U.S. dealers at the end of September, and will be sold in a body-only configuration at an estimated retail price of $1,699.00. It will also be offered in a kit version with Canon's EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM zoom lens at an estimated retail price of $1,899.00.


Monday, August 31, 2009

Free Calendar Wallpaper for September 09 (Desktop & iPhone)

    I am giving away free desktop wallpaper with some nice nature photos.I plan to do this monthly so please check often. The photo was taken by me in Aspen Colorado

  1. To set as wallpaper, simply click on the image,

  2. The full size image will be displayed in the browser

  3. Right click on the image and click save to disk or set as wallpaper directly.

  • 1680x1050 Widescreen wallpaper

Aspen sept 09 Calendar Wallpaper- 1680x1050 wide

  • 1024 x768 Wallpaper

 Aspen sept 09 Calendar Wallpaper- 1024x768

  • Wallpaper for iPhone

 Aspen sept 09 Calendar Wallpaper- iPhone

Let me know your thoughts on what you would like to see more in this section

Share this post :

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Why you should not give your photo for free ?

With the popularity of digital photography and the number of amateurs joining in, its a common practice among the new entrants to give away photographs for free commercial use just for the thrill of viewing their photos published.


While its totally up to you to decide how to sell your photos, here are a few points you could consider before deciding to give away your photographs for free

  • If you really know what your photograph is worth, chances are you might reconsider your decision of giving it away.
  • When someone approaches you for a license to use a photograph you should ask the right questions like
    • What is the intended use ? say Corporate, Advertising or Editorial use?
    • If its for corporate use, What is the average circulation for the magazine or Annual report? Or in case of website, average visitors, feed subscribers etc?
    • Where will the photo be placed ? front cover, full page, spot etc
    • If its an advertisement, again the intended use, placement of the ad (billboard, magazine etc) and circulation numbers should be clear
  • If you don't know how to price the photos based on the usage, you can go to an online stock price calculator, just enter the data you collected from the buyer and use the numbers you get as a base for negotiation.
  • You may not need the money from your photos, but giving away photos for free will have long lasting impact the industry itself. This is really bad for fulltime photographers who earn their income from photography.
  • Most of the companies that approach for free photos are large corporations . Its not that they cannot afford to pay, they just simply don't want to.
  • While it may be good to give away photos for charity cause, or for non profit cause, please do the homework to see if your customer qualifies for this.
  • What ever be the reason, you should not transfer the copyright of the photo and should always prefer to grand a per use license. For unlimited use, price accordingly.
  • Never give away the RAW image and only provide the photo resized for the appropriate use i.e photos for web use need not have the resolution or size for photos intended for magazine print


This is a topic for debate so pen down you views.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A Great Book to Learn Photography - Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson

After you have spent months researching for the best camera that suits you need, you finally bit the bullet and got yourself a nice new camera. But are you using your camera to the fullest potential ? When I got my first camera, I used to get decent results with only the automatic modes. I was not sure how to use any of the creative modes or what each of the dozen jargons like ISO, Aperture, Underexpose, Shutter Speed, Flash curtain mean. This review is based on my own experience with the book.


Here is a book that really helped me understand the basics and got me started into experimenting with the creative zone of my camera.  Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson . The book starts with explaining the basic concepts like what exposure is and what are the various factors that affect exposure. I recommend reading this initial section couple of time at least as understanding this is critical to use the camera in modes such as Program, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority etc. Going forward, the book explains importance of having the right light, the effect Aperture has on depth of field etc. The book does not go into digital processing or anything and deals with only how to shoot pictures. So if you happen to shoot film, this book is still 100% relevant for you. Whenever there is a difference in usage of a particular concept (eg say ISO) between film and digital, the author mentions it and explains both the techniques.

Of the many things I learnt in this book, some of the techniques worth mentioning are

  1. Panning
  2. Shooting snow photos
  3. Shooting people with dark skin tones
  4. Choosing the right light and time to shoot portraits
  5. How to handle side lit, back lit situations
  6. Night photography

This book is highly recommended if you would like to be creative with your camera.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Understanding EXIF data in Photos. Beginners guide to EXIF

Exchangeable image file format (Exif) is a format for storing metadata in image files. This meta data is nothing but bits of useful technical information about the photograph that get stored when the photograph is made and / or processed later. If you are learning photography, or analyzing a photograph, EXIF data is an invaluable tool that provides an additional dimension of Information to us

When you record a photograph, be it raw formats like CR2, NEF etc or universal format like jpeg, the camera records some additional information on the exposure settings or processing.  EXIF specification is used mainly by JPEG, TIFF formats.  Exif info is recorded by almost all digital cameras and even cellphone cameras these days.

Exif was created by the Japan Electronic Industries Development Association (JEIDA).


What Kind of Information is found in EXIF ?

The following are the main categories of information available through EXIF

  • Date / Time when photo was taken
  • A thumbnail of the photo itself which is widely used by photo management programs, cameras etc to show preview of the photos.
  • Exposure settings of the photo such as ISO, Shutter speed, Aperture, Flash use, metering mode, camera make and model, focal length etc
  • Copyright info – Many cameras allow you to set this so that all the photos you take will actually have your copyright information burned right into the meta data itself.


How can i find EXIF information of a photo that i have taken ?

Basic EXIF info can be viewed in windows itself by right click on the image, choose properties and go to summary tab –> advanced


To view entire EXIF information and to edit it effectively, you will need a more powerful program and there are plenty of freeware available. My favorite is irfranview

Lets Take an example and understand EXIF information better

I goto app that lets you view EXIF information of the best photos in Flickr for any day.



These were chosen as some of the most interesting images for 01 - Jan – 2009. Quite stunning !! and if you want to understand further than just appreciate the photo, you need to take a look at its EXIF information. Its says which camera was used to take the photo, What software was used in post processing, what was the exposure settings like ISO, Aperture, Shutter speed. What specific processing was done like sharpness, contrast etc. was flash used or not? All this will help you to reverse engineer to some extend the thoughts that went into creating such beautiful photographs. Sometime it makes you think why the photographer chose such a shutter speed setting for this particular shot. Such thought process itself will lead you to new experiments with light and camera.

I will post more on EXIF in a later post.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Lucis Art - Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Plugin free giveaway download



You can use the Lucis look plugin in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom to create the effect shown above. a google/flickr search on this effect should give you multiple examples of this effect.

You can download this plugin free from

File name is: Arun's Lucis Look Lightroom Template.lrtemplate

Keep checking for more free giveaways like this.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Sony TX1 and WX1 with Exmor R back-illuminated CMOS technology promises better low light pictures

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX1 and DSC-WX1 are both 10-megapixel cameras, with one unique feature. Both sport a back-illuminated CMOS sensor, the Exmor R that promises to deliver improved low-light performance. Low light has never been the forte of compact cameras and belonged to SLRs with larger sensors and faster lenses.

According to Sony the camera is able to capture low light photos better due to

  • Advanced COMS technology (explained in the figure below)
  • Faster f 2.4 lens used. This is much faster than the f 3.5 lens that comes with most compacts
  • Six-shot layering technology

There are some example shots below from sony Australia site.





To read the full press release and details:

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Flickr Explore – some interestingness thoughts on how to get your photos to explore page

Flickr uses an algorithm  to choose the best 500 photos every day and these photos are posted on post them on Flickr Explore page. This algorithm goes by the name “interestingness”.

according to flickr - "There are lots of things that make a photo 'interesting' (or not) in the Flickr. Where the clickthroughs are coming from; who comments on it and when; who marks it as a favorite; its tags and many more things which are constantly changing. Interestingness changes over time, as more and more fantastic photos and stories are added to Flickr."

1) The easiest (most obvious) way to get into flickr explore is to shoot an excellent photo. or at least one that others think is interesting to them.

2) Getting more people to comment or tag the picture as favorite will really help.

3) to get more people to comment on your photos may take a while especially if you are starting off with flickr, but you can speed up this by adding your best photos first.

4) actively participate in forums(groups), discussions get people to discuss on you photos.

5) personally i dont like the comments that embed pictures in them… but you will find a lot of them in several groups. its something you have to live with if you are really interested in getting comments.

6) Get a bunch of flickr folks to regularly visit your photos by giving positive remarks and marking their photos are favorites. Its easier If you have a bunch of friends who are actively in flickr, otherwise try inviting them. All this would improve your chances of getting to explore.

Unfortunately flickr does not notify you in any way  if your photos are featured in explore (other than the attention it suddenly gets). To check if your photos are on explore, you can goto the free service    You just need to replace the username with yours and you can see a lot of statistics on you flickr account, including the list of photos that were featured in explore.

So far only 6 of my images have been in Explore and the highest position ever taken is # 34 (i still hold that). Below is a slide show of those images.

Some more links worth a click.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Nikon S1000pj - World's first camera with projector

Nikon pushed innovation to new heights today by introducing a brand new product category in Digital Cameras. The S1000pj includes a digital projector to show off your photos. The projector itself is rated at 10 lumens and in a dark room will produce reasonably sharp projections of photos or movies clips on any flat surface at up to 40 inches in size.

image   image

Other Major Features

  • 5 image stabilizing features
  • High ISO 3200 and 6400 at 3 megapixels (reducing the image size should help in keeping high iso noise in check)
  • Quick In camera retouch
  • 5x zoom NIKKOR lens (reasonable zoom range to have)
  • wide angle focal length of 28mm (good to have for landscape work)
  • 12.1 mega pixels (a bit too much for a small sensor)


See it in action here

Price and Availability

Available for pre order from amazon

Press Release

Nikon Corporation is pleased to announce the introduction of the COOLPIX S1000pj. Packing the pleasure of a personal go-anywhere theater into a stylish compact enclosure, the COOLPIX S1000pj delivers a fun new way to share pictures with friends and family in most any location.

The COOLPIX S1000pj is the first compact digital camera* in the world to feature a built-in projector. With a simple touch of a button, the camera projects favorite photos or movies clips on any flat surface at up to 40 inches in size. Pictures can be projected individually, or as slide shows complete with music and added effects that enhance the experience. It's the fun new way to share pictures with family and friends in most any location.

This capability to project still images or movie clips gives birth to an entirely new form of communication as all participants visually share the passion of special moments together. For example, the COOLPIX S1000pj can be used to capture photos on a family vacation, and then serve double-duty as a personal theater in the evening as everyone enjoys viewing the highlights of the day projected on a wall or a ceiling. Whenever and just about wherever friends gather, the COOLPIX S1000pj's projector can add whole new life to the party by displaying nostalgic pictures or freshly shot images for all to enjoy. Parents can even use the COOLPIX S1000pj to display photos of their own artworks or other images on the ceiling to complement bedtime stories they tell their children.

A handy projector stand is included, as is a remote control that can be used to operate the projector, release the shutter, and more.

Also featured are the precision optics of a 5x zoom NIKKOR lens that provides the compositional freedom of 28mm wide-angle coverage and macro shooting ability from as close as 3 cm (1.2 in.). This combines with the image quality and performance benefits of Nikon's innovative EXPEED digital image-processing concept to help ensure consistently beautiful results produced at the high resolution of 12.1 effective megapixels.

The COOLPIX S1000pj will be available in Black or Warm Silver. (Color name and color availability may vary according to region.)

Source: nikon usa site,

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Essential Free Software tools for The Digital Photographer

    This is a list of software (Mostly free)  that i have found useful in my digital workflow. If you don't see your favorite program here, please drop a comment and i would love to try that one out. Photoshop and Lightroom are not free but i have given the nearest free alternatives that I use.



  1. Gimp / Photoshop -  Gimp or Photoshop allows us to adjust the exposure settings, create HDRs Panoramas, work with layers etc. Gimp is free and is good enough for most purposes while Photoshop will cost a lot and has a few more options to play with.

  2. Picasa / Adobe Lightroom – Picasa is a good free photo organizer and viewer for viewing your collection from Google. Lightroom is an expensive offering from Adobe and is a complete photo workflow including integration with Photoshop. However it does not have all the layers and advanced features of Photoshop, but is great to work with a batch of images

  3. Irfran view – Irfran view is a great photo viewer (Free) and has some basic editing features as well. It supports a wide range of formats and the best feature I see is the batch processing. If you want to quicky resize 1000 photos and or rename them, adjust some parameters like sharpness while you do that, I have not seen a better tool than irfran view to do that.

  4. Microsoft Synctoy 2.0 – This is a great little free tool from Microsoft that allows you to take backups of you photos/documents. It can be scheduled and you have a lot of options to customize your backup

  5. Microsoft Live Writer (Photo Bloggers) – If you blog then this is a wonderful free tool from microsoft that works with most Online blogging services

  6. A Flickr Account and Flickr Uploadr – The best social network for photographers. If you are new to photography, the you must join for a free account. Flickt uploadr is a free tool that lets you add images to flickr.

  7. Twitter – I post the photo links on twitter whenever i upload photos or blog articles. this will help my friends who are not on flickr to follow me

  8. more to be added……

Friday, July 31, 2009

Photographic Composition - Online resources for beginners

There are some basic rules or guidelines to capture a frame beautifully that existed long before Photography. Understanding these rules will help us compose pictures in a better way. This will also help to understand the underlying meaning of the photographs that you see everyday.

One of the best online resources to start understanding composition is

The classroom goes though various abstract shapes that are commonly used compositional elements like The Triangle, Circle, verticals and horizontals etc.


Flickr is also an amazing resource of collective wisdom.  You can join groups and contribute photos that will attract comments.


Other sources worth reading are

Thursday, July 30, 2009

NIKON D3000 with guide mode and VR kit lens – Now available for order from Amazon

There are significant changes to Nikon's entry level offering when it moves from the D40 series to the D3000 which has just been announced.
The camera is expected in August 2009 with at estimated price of US$ 599. Its available for Pre – order from
  • 10.04 million image pixel self-cleaning CCD sensor
  • EXPEED image processing with Picture Control menu
  • 11-area AF system,
  • 95% coverage viewfinder
  • 3fps burst rate
  • 3-inch (diagonal)
  • 230,000-dot LCD
  • Retouch Menu
  • Guide Mode to assist novice photographers
  • ISO upto 3200(Hi1)
  • Active D-Lighting
  • Scene recognition system etc.

Press Release
MELVILLE, N.Y. (JULY 30, 2009) – Today, Nikon Inc. announced the D3000 digital SLR camera, an affordable answer for users looking to experience the superiority of digital SLR photography or enthusiasts seeking a capable, compact D-SLR. The 10.2-megapixel D3000 has features that make it easier than ever to take great pictures, including the new Guide Mode, which lends a smart helping hand to new D-SLR users, and an extensive Retouch Menu, enabling consumers to edit photos, even without a computer. The D3000, which offers an 11-point autofocus system, also leverages proven Nikon D-SLR technologies, including the exclusive EXPEED™ image processing, Active D-Lighting system and 3D Color Matrix Metering II, enabling entry-level D-SLR shooters to take stunning pictures.
“The D3000 combines the best of both worlds, providing picture takers with the ease-of-use currently offered in point-and-shoot cameras alongside the speed, precision and exceptional results that have made Nikon D-SLRs so popular,” said Edward Fasano, general manager for Marketing, SLR Systems Products at Nikon Inc. “The D3000 offers everyone the ability to discover the superiority of D-SLR photography at an affordable price point. We look forward to enabling more consumers to explore the possibilities of D-SLR picture taking and, more importantly, capture life’s memories faithfully.”
Intuitive Assistance On-the-Fly
The D3000 includes the all-new Guide Mode with an easy-to-use interface to help new photographers build confidence in using a D-SLR with step-by-step instruction and inspiration. The Guide Mode, easily accessed by the Mode dial on the top of the camera, displays a variety of shooting situations via the LCD screen, indicating the most appropriate settings for a particular scenario. Users can also see sample photos on the LCD screen, which illustrate the effects of different photo-taking techniques. The Guide Mode also helps users easily review, organize and delete images.
Whether new to D-SLR photography or simply mastering new shooting techniques, the D3000’s Guide Mode assists users in exploring effective picture taking solutions at their own pace to make capturing great pictures even easier.
Small in Size, Big on Features
With elegant ergonomics, softly rounded corners, and a comfortable grip, the D3000 packs powerful technology into a compact form factor. Though the D3000 is tiny when compared to professional D-SLR cameras, it boasts a large, bright three-inch 230,000-dot LCD screen, and now features an easier-to-read font size, 20 percent larger than in previous Nikon D-SLRs.
Quick performance and response are at the core of the D3000’s design and its 11-point Multi-CAM 1000 autofocus system makes it easy to find and focus on a subject. Also, the D3000 offers split-second shutter response, eliminating the frustration of shutter lag, as well as the ability to capture images up to three frames per second, allowing users capture every moment. Users can enjoy the benefits of Nikon’s advanced 3D Subject Tracking, which continuously focuses on a fast moving subject throughout the frame.
The D3000 provides multiple ways for users to engage with their pictures, post capture. It uses Nikon’s extensive in-camera Retouch Menu, which allows users to easily apply a variety of fun and dramatic effects to their images even when away from a computer. The D3000 introduces a new Miniature effect, which changes the appearance of distant subjects to look like close-ups of miniature models. The D3000 also inherits the Soft Filter and Color Outline Retouch options from the D5000, allowing users to express their photography in a new and artistic way. As with all Nikon D-SLRs, the camera creates the new retouched image, while preserving the original.
For users who want to take their creativity to the next level, the D3000 also includes the ability to capture images in the NEF (RAW) format, in addition to traditional JPEG. Images captured with D3000 in the NEF (RAW) format include a greater amount of image data, which in turn, affords finer image control and higher uncompressed lossless image quality. With NEF (RAW) images, users can fine-tune the appearance of an image with simple adjustments to things like exposure, color saturation, brightness, and overall tone – especially in the post-production process. Users can use Capture NX 2, Nikon’s powerful image editing software, to achieve these desired effects.
Nikon extends the creativity with Stop-Motion Movie Mode. With this mode, users can choose a collection of images within the D3000’s Retouch Menu, and the camera then compiles and stitches them into a fun and creative video file.
Renowned Nikon Technology
The D3000 leverages proven Nikon technologies to create the most positive picture taking experience for consumers. The D3000 delivers highly detailed images with vibrant color reproduction and low noise across a broad ISO range, due to its 10.2-megapixel CCD image sensor coupled with Nikon’s exclusive EXPEED image processing system. The D3000’s normal ISO range extends from ISO 100 to 1600, allowing for low light versatility. Additionally, the D3000’s ISO range can expand to a Hi-1 setting of ISO 3200, furthering the opportunities for shots that other cameras miss.
The D3000 also makes use of Nikon’s Active D-Lighting system, which automatically compensates to reveal veiled details in shadows and highlights in high-contrast situations. For instance, when selected, Nikon’s Active D-Lighting can improve the appearance of fine detail in a person’s face that was previously hidden in dark shadows or bring out the highlights in a beautifully backlit landscape.
Nikon’s exclusive 3D Color Matrix Metering II, in conjunction with the EXPEED image processing system, contributes to the D3000’s ability to capture breathtaking images by instantly evaluating the exposure elements of each scene and comparing it to an onboard database of information from more than 30,000 images. These split-second calculations allow the D3000 to ensure beautiful exposures—even when conditions are extreme.
The D3000 also incorporates Nikon’s Integrated Dust Reduction System, which offers a comprehensive solution that combats the accumulation of image-degrading dust from the camera’s image sensor. The system not only utilizes an active sensor cleaning function that activates whenever the camera is turned on or off, but also the Airflow Control System to redirect dust particles, limiting their ability to reach the sensor.
System Expandability
Photographers and enthusiasts alike can also appreciate the D3000’s system expandability, as the camera can work in conjunction with a variety of Nikon accessories, including a broad assortment of legendary NIKKOR AF-S interchangeable lenses. While the D3000 offers a versatile built-in flash, the camera is also compatible with Nikon’s Creative Lighting System and capable of Advanced Wireless Lighting when using the SB-900 Speedlight or the SU-800 Wireless Commander.
The D3000’s design also supports Eye-Fi memory card functionality, enabling the convenient wireless transfer of images from the D3000 to a computer, when using Eye-Fi memory cards.* Additionally, photos can be securely written to readily available SD cards, high-capacity SDHC cards and Eye-Fi memory cards, offering users a range of data storage options.
Price and Availability
The D3000 outfit, including the versatile AF-S NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR image stabilization lens, is scheduled to be available at Nikon Authorized dealers beginning in late August 2009 at an estimated selling price of $599.95.** For more information, please visit

Nikon D300S with HD Video Recording – Now Available for order


Priced at US $1799 and expected around August 2009. Now available for pre order from

  • 720p HD video recording
  • 7 fps continuous shooting
  • Quiet drive mode
  • Dedicated Live View and Info button
  • DX-format 12.3 megapixel CMOS sensor (same as D300)
  • 51-point autofocus system
  • EXPEED image processing
  • Virtual Horizon Overlay etc.


The D300S will be available in two kit configurations: AFS DX NIKKOR 16-85mm f/3.5-4.5 VR and the AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR II.


Press Release


MELVILLE, N.Y. (July 30, 2009) – Today, Nikon announced the D300s digital SLR, combining professional-level performance with agility and enhanced D-Movie capabilities to deliver a new benchmark for creative versatility. Engineered to leverage proven Nikon technologies, including a 12.3-megapixel CMOS sensor and 51-point autofocus system; the addition of HD video capture; and faster 7 frame-per-second (fps) continuous shooting, the Nikon D300s balances form factor, performance, versatility and reliability for serious photo enthusiasts and professionals.

The D300s retains the photographer-friendly features of the critically acclaimed D300, while enhancing speed, versatility, and agility of the DX-format for a wide variety of photographers, including advanced enthusiasts, wedding shooters and photojournalists. The D300s can record HD video clips and high fidelity audio with an external stereo microphone input, offering users a D-SLR with full multimedia capabilities. Dual card slots afford users the ability to seamlessly record stills and video to one CompactFlash™ (CF) and one Secure Digital™ (SD) card separately, while one-button Live View, a new Quiet Shutter Release mode and Active D-Lighting bracketing help users to capture stunning images like never before.

“Today’s photographer demands excellence and value from high-performance digital SLRs – and the Nikon D300s delivers,” said Edward Fasano, general manager for Marketing, SLR System Products at Nikon, Inc. “It’s no secret that more photographers need to gather multimedia content. In addition to proven technologies, such as the 51-point autofocus (AF) system and 12.3-megapixel CMOS sensor, we are more than confident that the D300s’ HD movie mode, along with a host of additional performance enhancements, will broaden the appeal of the camera to those seeking exceptional still image quality and video versatility.”

The Benchmark of Speed, Performance and Reliability
Whether on the front lines of spot news or behind the scenes at a spring wedding, users of the D300s can record HD video clips at 720p resolution with a smooth cinematic 24 fps rate. In addition, the D300s also records high fidelity audio—either with the convenient built-in microphone or by using the external stereo microphone input. Photographers can trim video length on the fly and apply Picture Controls to video, modifying the tone and color. Additionally, users can autofocus while recording video, using contrast detect AF, and do so while composing on the D300s’ bright three-inch 920,000-dot LCD screen.
Nikon’s applauded AF system, with 51 high density focus points, performs even faster and more accurately on the new D300s. The Multi-CAM 3500DX AF module uses 15 cross type sensors to provide unparalleled focus performance across the frame. The D300s offers multiple focus modes, including single-point AF mode, and a dynamic-area AF mode, where users can select from nine, 21 or 51 AF points with 3D tracking. Additionally, the added Face Detection System lets users instantly zoom in on a human face in playback mode on the high-resolution LCD monitor to check critical focus.

The Nikon exclusive and newly-accelerated Scene Recognition System (SRS) further refines Nikon's AF performance and light metering. In conjunction with the 3D Color Matrix Metering II system, the SRS uses precise color and brightness information from the 1,005-pixel RGB sensor to propel AF, auto exposure, i-TTL flash control and auto white balance to unprecedented accuracy.

The renowned 12.3-megapixel DX-format CMOS image sensor in the D300s delivers extraordinary image quality and low noise throughout the entire ISO sensitivity range from 200 to 3200 (Lo-1 at 100 and 6400 at Hi-1). The D300s captures image data using 14 bit A/D conversion, processed through a 16-bit pipeline for optimal performance, resulting in images with sharp details and smooth tonal gradations.

The D300s also incorporates Nikon’s exclusive EXPEED™ image processing. EXPEED image processing uses an accumulation of sophisticated Nikon intelligence and technologies to ensure impeccable quality for both still images and movies, while also achieving high-speed processing and low power consumption. When using the included EN-EL3e Li-Ion rechargeable battery, photographers can achieve as many as 950 shots under normal shooting conditions. The optional Multi-Power Battery Pack MB-D10 extends shooting comfort and supports three types of batteries: R6/AA-size batteries, along with Nikon's Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL3e and the EN-EL4a Rechargeable Li-ion Battery. It combines added stability with extended shooting of up to 2,950 shots*1 per charge and enables faster high-speed continuous shooting at up to 8 fps*2.

The reinforced magnesium alloy body is lightweight, ruggedly constructed and comprehensively sealed and gasketed against the elements at key points, and the shutter has been proven to a demanding 150,000 cycles. Additionally, the D300s employs the Integrated Dust Reduction System countermeasures that combat the accumulation of image-degrading particles on the optical low-pass filter.

World Class Versatility
With the D300s, Nikon introduces the ability to bracket Active D-Lighting (ADL). By localizing tone control, ADL restores shadow and highlight detail typically lost in high contrast situations, such as backlit subjects or while outdoors with strong sunlight. ADL bracketing provides users with the ability to bracket up to five frames of ADL strength to help ensure perfect contrast throughout the frame, putting an end to the guesswork behind the shot with a bride’s intricate white dress and a groom’s tuxedo in the same frame, for example.

Additionally, the D300s features two memory card slots—one CF and one SD, used simultaneously in a variety of configurations to match users’ preferences. Among the many options available, stills and video can record to separate cards or slots can be assigned for JPEG and RAW recording. The D300s offers “overflow” or “backup” modes, and when shooting D-Movie clips, it allows you to select the slot containing the card with the most available capacity. Users can also copy and paste files between cards.

Also added to the D300s is a Quiet Shutter Release mode, which substantially reduces the sound of the mirror while shooting. Quickly accessed by selecting “Q” on the release mode dial, this feature is ideal for the photographer who wishes to remain unobtrusive.

To further expand versatility, users have the ability to fine tune their images using Nikon’s Picture Controls to adjust sharpening, brightness, contrast and color hue. The D300s offers users four presets including Standard, Neutral, Vivid and Monochrome; while Landscape and Portrait settings can be downloaded from the Nikon website. While the D300s offers a versatile built-in flash with wider coverage for a 16mm lens, the camera is also compatible with Nikon’s Creative Lighting System and is capable of controlling up to two groups of remote units as a master / commander for Advanced Wireless Lighting.

System Expandability
In addition to compatibility with more than 60 NIKKOR lenses and a broad array of system accessories, the D300s will also perform well with the recently announced AF-S NIKKOR 70-200 f/2.8G ED VR II and the AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-200 f/3.5-5.6 ED VR II lenses.

Price and Availability
The Nikon D300s camera body will be available at Nikon Authorized dealers beginning in late August 2009 at an estimated selling price of $1799.95.** For more information, please visit

About Nikon
Nikon, At the Heart of the Image™. Nikon Inc. is the world leader in digital imaging, precision optics and photo imaging technology and is globally recognized for setting new standards in product design and performance for its award-winning consumer and professional photographic equipment. Nikon Inc. distributes consumer and professional digital SLR cameras, NIKKOR optics, Speedlights and system accessories; Nikon COOLPIX® compact digital cameras; COOLSCAN® digital film scanners; 35mm film SLR cameras; Nikon software products and Nikon sports and recreational optics. For the second consecutive year, Nikon D Series digital SLR cameras are recognized as “Highest in Customer Satisfaction with digital SLR cameras, Two Years in a Row, Tied in 2008.” according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2007 and 2008 Digital Camera Usage and Satisfaction StudiesSM. Nikon Corporation, the parent company of Nikon Inc., recently celebrated the 50th anniversary of its legendary F-mount lens-mounting system. Only Nikon has sustained an original lens mount for such an extraordinary period, ensuring that photographers can continue to leverage their previous investments while still taking advantage of new innovations. For more information, dial (800) NIKON-UX or visit, which links all levels of photographers to the Web's most comprehensive photo learning and sharing communities.
*As determined in Nikon performance tests
**Estimated selling price listed is only an estimate. Actual prices are set by dealers and are subject to change at any time.
*1 Based on CIPA Standards. When Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL3e is used for camera body, together with Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL4a and Battery Chamber Cover BL-3 for the Multi-Power Battery Pack MB-D10.
*2 Based on CIPA Guidelines. When Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL4a and Battery Chamber Cover BL-3 are used for the Multi-Power Battery Pack MB-D10, all of which are sold separately.

    Wednesday, July 22, 2009

    Canon develops Hybrid image stabilization system

    Canon has developed a 'Hybrid Image Stabilizer' that corrects for both linear and rotational shake. The system, which the company claims is a world's first for SLR lenses, will be incorporated into a lens that will be released before the end of 2009. It is designed to offer improved stabilization performance at closer subject distances, and particularly for macro shooting.


    Quite innovative but I feel this may not make much difference in areas other than macro photography like sports where image stabilization is pretty useful. Have to gets hands on to really see how different it is compared to the current generation of IS and VR offerings

    Monday, July 20, 2009

    Dark Flash - Invisible Flash That Takes Clear Pictures at Night



    Night shots using flash tend to flood limited region with a lot of light or you end up taking blurry / shaky pictures without using one. There is a new technology by Dilip Krishnan and Rob Fergus at New York University. First, they modified the flashbulb to emit light in a wider spectrum and filter out visible light. Then, they removed the UV and IR filters normally present in camera sensors. This will result in an image that looks like  this



    To convert this into a natural color picture, they use an algorithm that takes another photo immediately after the first one, this time without the dark flash. The results would look similar to any normal night photo with grains and blur but that will provide enough color information to the algorithm to fix the first photo. The fixed picture supposedly looks like this.



    Very innovative solution to one old problem. But my Only question after reading this is... what are the effects of removing the UV and IR filters normally present in camera sensors? I am sure that's there for a reason. Unless there is a workaround to quickly introduce the UV and IR filters after the Dark Flash photo, the other photos are sure to get ruined. It may not be possible to use such a camera as your everyday camera in normal daytime shots as the UV and IR range of light spectrum will surely interfere with the final image.


    If you are interested in learning how to convert your camera to an IR camera then read on.

    1) Non - DSLR - generic guide

    2) D SLR Camera, best left to specialized services who does the conversion for you. read more here

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