Category Archives: Videos

What is Focus Breathing?

Some lenses change apparent focal length during focus due to their optical design.

A demonstration of focus breathing in the Nikon 50mm f/1.8 lenses

Some lenses change their apparent focal length as you move from infinity to near focus. This phenomenon is called “focus breathing.” In the video above, I demonstrate what this looks like using the Nikon 50mm f/1.8G and Nikon 50mm f/1.8S lenses on a Nikon Z7 mirrorless camera.

Dealing with a blown-out moon in landscape photos

Using Photoshop to create natural landscape photos that include the moon

In landscape photography at twilight, the moon will most likely be blown-out. Here’s how to get a natural moon exposure in your images by using Adobe Photoshop.

When photographing landscapes at twilight that include the moon, proper exposure can be nearly impossible to achieve. That’s because while the dim light of twilight requires a relatively long exposure, the moon requires nearly a sunny-16 exposure. As a result, there is no one camera exposure setting that will get the scene right. Your options are:

  • Under-expose the scene and recover shadows & highlights in post
  • Properly expose for the landscape and blow out the moon
  • Bracket exposures and combine them in post

All of the above options have drawbacks. In an under-exposed image, you’ll be prone to getting noise when you try to recover shadow details, and you may or may not be able to recover detail in the moon. If the moon is very small in the frame (as with wide-angle lenses), you can make the conscious choice to just allow it to blow out completely. Bracketing exposures is another option, but I’ve found that traditional exposure blending or HDR tone-mapping just doesn’t quite produce the results I’d like, because the blown-out areas around the moon often bleed into the sky or are exacerbated by thin clouds.

Recently while I was in the field, I decided to try a variation on exposure blending. I captured two shots: the first was exposed only for the moon, and the second shot was properly exposed for the landscape. I then used Adobe Photoshop to combine the images, but instead of just blending them (as with a traditional composite), I had to completely remove the blown-out moon from the landscape photo using Photoshop’s Content-Aware Fill tool.

Video: Processing Landscape Photos with the Moon (Photoshop)

Nikon Z6 & Z7 Firmware Updates

How to update the firmware in a Nikon Z mirrorless camera

Nikon has released updated firmware version C 2.10 for the Z6 and Z7 mirrorless digital cameras. In addition to bug fixes, this firmware update also adds support for the two new DX format Z-mount lenses, the 16-50mm and 50-250mm zooms released with the Nikon Z50 mirrorless camera.

Updating the firmware on a Nikon Z mirrorless camera is fairly straightforward. To do so, you’ll need:

  • A formatted XQD memory card
  • An XQD card reader for your computer
  • A fully charged EN-EL15 battery
  • Nikon firmware update file

After downloading the firmware update, copy the binary (.bin) file to the ROOT (main) directory of the XQD card. Put the card in your camera and navigate to the Firmware Version option in the Z6 or Z7’s SETUP (wrench icon) menu. Follow the on-screen prompts to update your firmware to the current version (currently 2.10).

Updating the firmware in the Nikon Z6 and Z7 mirrorless cameras

Get more of Jason’s Nikon tips and tricks here