Category Archives: Op-Ed

Nikon D800… decisions, decisions.

With 36 megapixel resolution, the Nikon D800 is competing with medium format cameras

By now, you’ve already probably heard that Nikon announced the much-anticipated D800 DSLR last night. The big news: a 36 mega-pixel 35mm (FX) sensor. Thirty-six million pixels. In a $3000 DSLR. Keep in mind that the D3x, Nikon’s high-res flagship, is a 24MP camera that sells for nearly $8000. That’s pretty crazy stuff. For a few extra hundred bucks, you can opt for the D800E, a variant that eliminates the optical low-pass filter (anti-aliasing filter) for even more detailed images (but at the risk of moire or other artifacts that would need fixing in post).

I’m already getting messages and emails from people who are jumping at the chance to pre-order this new camera. But ask yourself this: What are you going to do with all those pixels? With this much resolution, Nikon is clearly pushing into territory once reserved for Medium-Format backs and such. If you’re someone who shoots the kinds of subjects that need that kind of a file, then the D800 might be an incredible solution. However, there are always things to think about with any new camera, especially one that carries this much resolution. Continue reading Nikon D800… decisions, decisions.

Apple’s iBooks Author App for Indy Authors: Caveat Emptor

If you use Apple's iBooks Author App and want to sell your content, pay close attention to the EULA.

I’m a Mac user, and an independent author. I’ve published six eBooks, all of which are technical in nature. What does that mean? It means that my books have illustrations, photographs, and other graphic content that needs to be positioned on the page properly. You know, layout and design. In 2006, when I released my first eBook, The Photographer’s Guide to Capture NX, the iPad was at most just a gleam in Steve Jobs’ eye. I used the best format available at the time, Adobe’s PDF standard. Now while PDF is a great format for files with specific layout and design, it doesn’t transfer well to the future of eBooks: interactive content. Moreover, the only way to distribute eBook content in the mainstream commercial channels (Kindle, Nook, Apple iBooks) was to convert it to some form of ePub format. Continue reading Apple’s iBooks Author App for Indy Authors: Caveat Emptor

End Piracy, Not Liberty!

End Piracy, Not Liberty!

I have this blog to share my thoughts, knowledge and opinions. Don’t let content like mine be subjected to the whims of corporate (or government) censorship. Defend the Web. Please sign this petition against two potentially catastrophic bills, SOPA and PIPA. Despite their catchy names and “good intentions” of stopping online piracy, these bills would give unprecedented, unilateral power for corporations or the government to “shoot first, ask questions later.”

Look, I’m totally against online piracy. In fact, I’ve had to write my share of cease and desist (DMCA) letters to various bit-torrent sites illegally sharing my eBooks and videos. But say I were to post a link in this blog that someone, somewhere, decided infringed on copyrighted material. Instead of getting a notification to remove the content, they could instead just shut my site down. Poof. And that’s what this is about. It’s not about protecting piracy. It’s about protecting liberty.

In today’s photography, does noise even matter?

Does the noise in this image matter? Nikon 1 V1 @ ISO 3200, in-camera JPEG (click to enlarge)

In the early years of digital photography, it seemed like there were two simultaneous battles between manufacturers: the “megapixel war” and the “noise war.” It seemed like everyone was rushing to put more pixels on their sensors, and also make them produce clean images at what were unheard of ISO settings for film users (if you used film, ISO 1000 was very grainy).

All of these battles led to better and better sensor technology, and the production of larger sensors for digital cameras. At any megapixel resolution, a larger sensor means larger photosites, and in-turn, a cleaner image at high ISOs. With the release of the Nikon D3, and later D3s, a usable ISO 12,800 was a real possibility. Continue reading In today’s photography, does noise even matter?