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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    Friday, July 17, 2009

    Objective Comparison of Nikon D5000 and Canon 1000D/ Rebel XS

    Nikon D5000 and Canon 1000D / Rebel XS are the two basic D SLR offerings from the leading brands. Here is a comparison of the two cameras compiled from multiple sources where I refer when I need to choose between cameras .

    • Data provided by DxoMark

    DxoMark is a new comparison site that compares camera sensors based on mathematically measurable factors presenting solid results on the image capturing capabilities


    As you can see the comparison from DXOMark gives advantage to Nikon D5000. It clearly scores higher in Dynamic Range and Low ISO capability.

    •  reviews - Comparison
    • 100 - 5 star reviews and 21 - 4 stars for the Canon 1000D
    • 20 -5 star and 10- 4 Star ratings for Nikon D5000


    Obviously Canon got better reviews here because canon was around longer (10 months more than the Nikon).

    • Sample Images from Flickr

    The best place to find the best images images and popularity stats of the cameras from Flickr



    • Popularity around the world - Flickr Stats
    • Flickr camera stats show how popular a model is around the world

    Canon has a much higher popularity while Nikon seems to have lost its initial momentum that it got while sales started off.

    • Subjective Comparison from DPreview
    Canon 1000D
    Nikon D5000

    While the results are pretty close with both Brands scoring a "Highly Recommended" status, you can see that the Nikon scored higher in features and the Canon scored higher in Image Quality

    • Conclusion:

    Both Canon EOS 1000D and Nikon D5000 are very capable cameras for a person stepping into Digital SLR photography from point and shoot or Film cameras. If you already have Lenses available from Canon/Nikon, then i would suggest to go with the same brand. After all the lenses will surely outlive the camera body. You cannot go wrong with either cameras and they should give you a good band for your buck.


    • Price Check :

    Canon EOS 1000D / XS Nikon D5000

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    Tuesday, July 14, 2009

    Enabled Google Friend Connect on My blog

    I have enabled google friend connect on my blog. Planing for regular updates going forward