Recent Camera and Photography Articles

This page points to all recent articles published on,,, and, and is updated as new articles appear (most recent on top). For articles from previous months, check the Articles Index Archive. 

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Final Call for physical books. We plan to close the physical goods store for good on April 15th. That means that Nikon J1/V1, D40/D40x, D50, D60, D80, D700, D5000, D5100, and D3/D3s/D3x books will no longer be available in CD or printed form. Of these books, I only will be moving the D700 and D3/D3s/D3x books to downloadable, update-able forms. So if you think you want the physical product for any of those books, please check out the While Supplies Last page for discount pricing, and order between now and April 14th. Related to that, on April 15th I’ll also be announcing how I’ll be doing books in the future, as well as launching some new downloadable books. 

Latest Articles (March 27, 2015):                                                        

Even Amazon Doesnt Get It. Amazon this week announced two Amazon Cloud Drive plans, one of which ought to be of great interest to photographers. Article on

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Recent Articles:                                                        

Starting from Scratch. It’s rarer than the “what should I upgrade to” questions I get, but I still receive quite a few “if I’m starting from scratch, what should I buy” questions. Article on

Camera Makers Don’t Really Pay Attention. What if I told you that car makers never drove their autos, let alone take them to test tracks to see what they could really do? What if I told you that car makers never really paid any attention to what customers said about their autos after driving them for awhile? What if I told you that car makers never noticed that people were taking off the supplied wheels and putting on different ones, almost universally? Article on

Back of the Envelope Numbers. I kept finding that my responses to your responses to yesterday’s article about a possible D300s replacement tend towards “Nikon would be leaving a lot of dollars on the table by not making a D300s replacement.” Okay, how many dollars is “a lot?” Article on

The Missing D300s Replacement, Redux. Comments I made concerning the D7200 introduction—that I felt that the D7200 specifications left open room for a D300s replacement—continue to get a fair amount of comment and questioning. Rather than answer each of your emails individually, I’ll just try to collect my thoughts in one place (here) and point to that. Article on

Zeiss Touit Lenses on Sale.   don’t usually comment on pricing adjustments, as they come and go too frequently to keep up with and the point of this (and my other) Web site(s) is not to steer you towards today’s greatest bargains, but rather to point out what’s truly new and useful in the digital camera world. Article on

Samsung Announces NX500 Camera.  Samsung took most of the internals—sensor, processor, etc.—from their flagship NX-1 camera and stuck it in their rangefinder style body and created the NX500. Article on Data page for NX500.

Sony Officially Launches FE Lenses.  Sony today officially launched the lenses shown in prototype form recently at CP+ and long ago talked about in their lens road map: 28mm f/2, 35mm f/1.4 Zeiss, 90mm f/2.8 macro, and the superzoom 24-240mm f/3.5-6.3. Article on 28mm f/2 data page, 35mm f/1.4 data page, 90mm f/2.8 data page, 24-240mm f/3.5-6.3 data page.

Can You Live On Less?  Today’s headline is dual-edged. First, it refers to the camera industry sales: can the industry get by with fewer sales? But it also refers to we users, too, as fewer sales are going to mean that the camera companies are going to have to make some tough choices in which future products to offer. Article on

March Software Updates Article on

The Nikon Software Problem  Okay, View NX-i is available to download. Hey, what happened to View NX2? Oh, it’s still available.  Article on

Nikon Introduces D7200 DSLR.  Are you happy or disappointed? Nikon on March 2nd announced the D7200, a minor update to the D7100 camera. The major changes are… Article on

Nikon Buys Optos.  Nikon announced plans to diversify into the medical business at the end of their fiscal year results meeting in May 2014. In February 2015, Nikon opted to purchase all shares of Optos, a retinal imaging company based in the UK, but which has most of their sales in the US. Article on

Reminder: Nikon’s lens rebates are still in effect until March 28th (only one week left). If you want my opinions on which lenses are good choices at these prices, see my article announcing the lens rebates. If you’d like to help this site, order your lens from this site’s exclusive advertiser (advertising link follows):

Previous articles can be found in the Articles Index.

Thom's Monthly Teaching Point — Dumb Luck

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I developed this one on my uncalibrated laptop, so it might be a little off in tonality/color.

So you travel to an exotic place and you end up at the hotel and…the view is the wrong direction to get star trails around the point of interest, there’s a fairly bright moon out most of the night, and the weather is moving in and likely to make your work for naught, anyway. 

Heh, heh, heh. When has all that stopped me? 

Most of Patagonia is heated too hot and you don’t have a thermostat you can control, so I tend to sleep with my window open. Why not stick a camera out and see what I get? So I set the camera to do really long exposures at long intervals (I think it was ten minute shots, as the whole goal was to assemble as few star trails shots together to get a full set of trails). 

I can generally sleep through anything, even my camera clicking away at regular intervals, so it wasn’t until morning that I had any idea whether I had captured anything useful. This is the fifth frame in. There are others that are interesting, too. It seems the clouds and stars were dancing against each other all night, and the moon provided plenty of exposure on the peaks. 

Even with film I probably would have tried the experiment, though with only 36 exposures to a roll I probably would have used even longer exposures. But with digital what’s the reason not to? It doesn’t cost anything other than a bit of time to set things up, and a bit more time to evaluate how things turned out. Sometimes you learn interesting things. First thing I learned on these shots was how dirty my sensor was ;~). I noticed a couple of star trails that were interrupted. By what? Dust. The second I noticed was the “energies” in the motion of the stars and clouds. I hadn’t really thought about which direction the clouds were moving relative to the stars. These days I do. 

Is it a great shot? 

No, but it’s a very interesting shot. One that has prompted me to set up my camera for nighttime serenades pretty much any time there’s anything interesting outside my window. Funny thing is, the very best shot I got by playing the dumb luck card (guided by previous experiments and observations, of course) was when I got real sick on a trip and just stayed in bed during the day. But every time I got up to use the bathroom or get some water, I’d double-check the camera and make sure that there was plenty of card space and battery life left and that nothing had gotten disturbed. That 36-hour marathon managed to capture an awesome sunset, a rainbow at sunrise, a full moon overlooking and lighting the scene, and a lot more. 

One of the great things about digital cameras is that you can get feedback far quicker. Don’t know how to expose for the above shot? Wait until it’s dark, then try an exposure. Wrong? Try a different exposure. 

I’m not afraid to experiment. I like it when reality throws me a surprise. I don’t learn if I keep doing the same thing the same way in the same place all the time. 

If you're wondering where the previous Teaching Points went, they're here.

© Thom Hogan 2015 — All Rights Reserved