A military re-enactment as seen at the English Heritage Festival of History event in August 2004

Image was taken with Nikon D2H and Nikon 80-400VR lens at 120mm ISO 800 1/750th f13

 Friday 8th February 2008

This weeks highlights include:

  • Description of the NEW Nikon D60 camera

  • Comparison of all Nikon DSLR camera models

  •  NEW COURSE  - Quick Start Short - Getting Started with Your Camera

  • Kite Aerial Photography and its restrictions

  • Places you can go and Photograph Birds within the UK

  • More, more,  more ........

This weeks picture is of a military re-enactment on display at the English Heritage Festival of History event. Military re-enactments are a colourful affair and can be quite noisy with guns, and canons going off, people charging etc but do give good photo opportunities. This week we have updated the Highlights Forward diary to include the major events of the Sealed Knot Society, who put on English Civil War re-enactments around Britain each year. They are once again taking part in this years Festival of History event which is being held at Kelmarsh Hall, Northants in July. But their first event takes place on the 16th February in Cornwall. We have also extended the diary for this month and next month to include these items and more.

Last week we told you Nikon had announced a NEW D60 DSLR camera and this week we have, after looking through the press release, the specification, a brochure and a mini website on the camera, put together a short introduction to the camera based on what we have found so far. It is very similar in size and stature to the D40x but with some of the additional new features that can be found on the D300. Read More .......

To go alongside this we have also done a comparison of each of the Nikon DSLR models from the D40 through to the D3 and made some suggestions on where we think each model sits within the photographer market. If you have one of the earlier models, then don't despair they still do what they used to and will still produce quality photographs as you can see from the picture above, which was taken with the Nikon D2h. Read More .......

Also in last weeks issue we gave you two reports on Nikon lenses, the first looking at what the codes mean and the other comparing the prices of Nikon lenses across different suppliers. This week we have two new similar reports looking at Sigma lenses. We have prepared a list of the Sigma Lens Codes with their definitions.  The second report gives a Price Comparison across suppliers for Sigma Nikon Fit lenses.

We have also introduced a new range of short, 3 hour courses, called Quick Start Shorts. The idea of the quick start, is to give you rapidly just enough information to get you started rather than the whole picture across ground that you are not necessarily going to use immediately. It is still one to one and you should still cover and understand over twice as much ground,  as you would in a day group course. It is also relevant to the camera and equipment that you personally have now. Run with and for you personally, you cannot get left behind, or attend this course and be unable to use your camera. It is relevant to you, your interests and the equipment that you have now. Delivered by the most experienced and knowledgeable tutors who specialise in Nikon cameras only, and know every one well. The first of these 'Getting Started with Your Camera' is detailed this week. Read More.......

In order to bring variety and give you a good understanding of all areas of photography available as usual we bring you details of another type of photography. This week we are looking a Kite Aerial Photography, getting your camera into the air but not with the use of an aeroplane, helicopter or even when travelling in a hot air balloon, but by attaching it to a kite. What you might say, put my piece of expensive kit on the end of a bit of string and see what happens, not likely. It's not a modern phenomenon having been around since the late 1800's, so if you want to find out about the history of this type of photography and how you might go about it, then read here...... It is apparently quite popular in the US, but in this country, as usual there are rules and regulations to be aware of, and for this reason we have also included another short article looking at the Law and Kite Aerial Photography.

Amongst our locations this week we have done another in our series of UK Locations to Photograph, and this time it's the turn of UK Wild Birds. This is an ongoing and growing list and to start it off we have included the public access places of the RSPB together with the Wildfowl and Wetland Trust places around the UK. Of course you can get a lot of good pictures of the more common UK birds in your own back yard, or even in your local patch, but if you want to venture out further or try and get a more elusive shy bird in the countryside this list may help you to track down something of interest. You will notice that within the first column some of the places are linked to pages, that have more fuller descriptions of what you can see, within our Locations  section. See here for the list ......

In the News This Week

NIK Software, the producers of Capture NX, have announced this week the launch of a new plug in for Photoshop CS3 and Elements, called 'Viveza'. One of the major advantages of Capture NX over Photoshop is it's use of U-Point Technology which allows you to precisely control and adjust colour and light in parts of your digital images easily without having to use the cumbersome method of layers and masks to do so. This useful facility has now become available to Photoshop users via this new plug-in, as long as you don't mind the price tag. Using this U-Point technology couldn't be simpler you merely place a U-Point colour control point directly on the colour or object you want to adjust, such as sky, skin, grass etc, then by using sliders you merely adjust the brightness, contrast, colour and more. By working directly on the image you can make selective enhancements in a fraction of the time of other methods. It is expected to be available in the US from April 2008 and will retail for around $249.95. To find out more and watch a video of how it works take a look at http://www.niksoftware.com/viveza/usa/entry.php?view=intro/viveza_announcement.shtml

NEW SIGMA Telephoto Zoom Lens - 200-500mm f2.8 EX DG. This is what they call an Ultra-Telephoto Zoom lens that offers f2.8 throughout the whole of the zoom range. It comes with Sigmas' Hyper Sonic Motor (HSM) for fast, silent autofocus, but it can also be used in manual focus. It has internal focusing and zooming so does not change the overall length of the lens. It's lens hood has been specifically designed to black out extraneous light. A 72mm filter can be inserted at the rear of the lens, and circular polarising filters can be used in situ because of the internal rotating mechanism. It has it's own dedicated battery, housed within the lens body, to power the zooming and AF operation and has a built in LCD panel to show you focusing distances and focal lengths. It weighs a staggering 15.7kg and is 726mm long and has a diameter of 236.5mm. This is the good bit, its suggested retail price is 16,999.99 (1p under 17k!). They have also included a 2x attachment which will give you a 400-1000mm f5.6 ultra telephoto zoom lens and still retaining autofocus. It will be available from April 2008. For more information see Sigma Website.

We have put together a list of Sigma Lens Codes with descriptions as well as an Price Comparison across suppliers for Sigma Nikon Fit lenses where one supplier is showing this lens at it's fully suggested retail price. Prices will probably change when launched in April.

32GB SDHC Card announced by Sandisk, this addition is to their Ultra II line up writes at 15MB per second and will be able to store more than 8,000 high resolution images or up to 40 hours of video. It comes packaged with the MicroMate USB 2.0 reader to get the images from the card to your computer via the USB port. UK prices are yet to be confirmed but it is scheduled for release in March/April 2008.

Final Point

Today, February 8th last year (2007), Cheltenham was cold and covered in snow. As you can see we took the opportunity to walk the streets and local parks with our D200 and take some photos. What a difference a year makes, it's too warm for snow today.

Other pages in this newsletter

Diary:  New additions added to the Highlights Forward as well as This Month and Next Month pages.

Featured LocationOld Sarum, Wiltshire . The remains of a prehistoric Royal palace, Norman castle and cathedral not far from Salisbury, which attracted William the Conqueror in 1070. An earthworks today which overlooks the valley of the existing Salisbury Cathedral - made famous by the painter John Constable.

Location Guides:    Bradfield Woods and Nature Reserve, Suffolk

                            Carew Castle, Pembrokeshire

                            Carew Cross, Pembrokeshire

                            Where to UK Photograph Birds - A list of places within the UK where you can get
                            to see and photograph birds.

We will be adding more location guides each week.

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