Nikon Cameras

Brooke Clarke 2010 - 2011

Background
Cameras    
    Nikon F with FTn Lightmeter Prisim Viewfinder
    Kodak DC290
    Nikon N90
    Nikon D300s
        D300s Video
        Stereo Mike
        USB Problem Jan 2012
        Settings
    D60
    Full Frame
Lens
    f/Stop   
    Pre Light Meter Automatic Diaphragm Lens
    Pin & Yoke Metering
        Nikon Nikkor-Q Auto 1.4 f=20cm
    AI, AI-S & AI-P
    D Series
    G Series
    AF, AF-D, AF-I, AF-S
    Using a Manual Lens on Modern Camera
    Focus
    Camera Body Lens Mount
    Nikkor AF 35-70mm f2.8 D Lens Full Frame
    DX (half frame)  AF-S 18-55mm ED Lens
    Tamron 80-210 mm AF Nikon Lens
    Kenko MC7 Nikon AF 2X Tele-extender
    Nikkor 300mm f/2.8 ED AI-S Lens
        Astronomy Use with D300s
    Nikon AF Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G ED-IF AF-S VR
    Nikon Nikkor-Q Auto 1.4 f=20cm Nippon Kogaku Japan No. 209604
    Pin Hole
    55mm Macro f/2.8 AiS 
    Tokina 11 - 16 mm
    Nikon 18-200 mm
Metering
Learning
    SB-900 Book
    CLS DVD
    D300s Guide
    Mastering the Nikon D300/D300s
    Nikon Creative Lighting System, Digital Field Guide
    Strobist Lighting Seminar DVD Set
Lighting
    Color Balance
        Micro-Disk
        Translucent Lens Cap
    Creative Lighting System
    Flash
        Separate web page for Photographic Studio Strobe System
        Red Eye
        Blinking
        Long
        Focal Plane High Speed
        Zero Length Wire
    SB-25
    SB-900
        Optional DC Power for the SB-900
    Nikon Patents Scope Plot of SB-900 Flash Pulses
    R1 & R1C1 Close-up Flash
    SB-R200
        Close Up Photography
    250W Studio Light Flash Strobe
    Set of Two Studio Light Flash Strobe Monolights
    Pro 7" Reflector for Bowens Strobe - does NOT fit
    Yongnuo YN-565EX Flash
    Wein WP1000 Flash Meter
    Smith-Victor PL10
    Hot-Shoe
    Manfrotto Clamp
    Deluxe Strobist Swivel Flash Bracket Umbrella Mount
    SB-400
    Umbrella
    Ultra Compact Light Stand
    Spring Clamp
    Collapsible Soft Box
    Collapsible Reflector Diffuser
    SG-3IR Visible Light Filter for the pop-up flash
    Shooting Table
    Flash Bracket Grip
    Pocket Wizard RF Remote Flash System
    Einstein E640 Flash
Nikon DC Power
    EN-EL3e in camera Battery
    EH-5A AC Adapter
    Vertical Battery Grip Timer
Memory & Data
    SD Cards
        Eye-Fi WiFi Data Transfer
    CF Cards
    USB Cable
Remote Control
    Self Portraits
    Wireless Remote Shutter
    Wired Remote Shutter Release Cable
    MC-21 Shutter Release Extension Cord
    WT-4a WiFi LAN Control
    Wireless USB
        Experiments
Filters
    Lens Chart
Tripod
Carry Case
GPS
Software
Second Nikon Digital Camera
Related
Links

Background

In the mid 1960s my brother developed an interest in photography and bought a Nikon F, the top of the line full frame 35 mm camera at that time.  He then lost interest so I started an interest in photography.  Over the years the plain Nikon F was upgraded by adding the Photonic (spelling?) view finder that had a light meter that mechanically coupled to the f-stop ring on the lens allowing on the camera metering.  The last of the film Nikons was the N90.  It had a couple of computer chips in the body, one chip in the lens and one chip in the flash.  An accessory back allowed imprinting an alphanumeric image on the film.  To get digital images from the N90 you could get an optional CD-ROM when the film was developed.  The CD contained a number of images of each frame where they differed in the file size.  I was using the Nikon SB25 Speed Light from the N90 with the Kodak DC290.

The N90 was put on the shelf when the Kodak DC290 digital camera became my mainstay camera.  This digital camera has manual override capability for exposure, focus, flash, etc. and a script language that allows it to do things like imprint the image with GPS coordinates.  I wore out the navigation button on the first DC290 and have been using a second one (bought used) for a number of years.  I've worn out the external flash contacts on the second DC290 and rplaced it with the Nikon D300s.

It turns out that all the D300s cameras on eBay for a good price were either demo or refurbished units (not eligible for Nikon extended warranty).  I ended up buying it new form Wall Mart on line and picking up the camera at the local store (no shipping cost).  This is a new camera eligible for the Nikon extended warranty, even though I'll live with the factory 1 year warranty.

Cameras

Nikon F with FTn Lightmeter Prisim Viewfinder

Started with the plain F camera  with no electronics.  Then replaced the viewfinder with the light meter type.  You can see the "V" notches on the film rewind base at the upper right in the large version (click on photo for a larger image.  One of the selling points of this camera was the What You See Is What You Get viewfinder.  The viewfinder in other cameras was not matched to the film frame,but Nikon went to some trouble to make the viewfinder exactly the same as the film frame.
Nikon F with
          FTn Lightmeter - Prisim Finder

Kodak DC290 Digital Camera

Was used for all my web photos up till mid 2010 when the D300s became the everyday camera.  Mostly used with the Nikon SB-25 Speedlight in bounce flash mode.
Kodak DC290 Digital Camera The A.C. power cord camera connector wore out and has been replaced with one from Radio Shack.

It was commonly used connected to both the A.C. power and USB cords.
In addition to the camera there is an accessory lens adapter that can hold a wide angle, telephoto or close up lens.

Nikon N90 33 mm Film Camera

Used for my very first web pages (maybe a couple of dozen images).
Nikon N90 33 mm film camera
The larger round cover below the "N90" is for the same 10-pin interface that's used on the D300s.

The focus mode switch (M, S, C) is in about the same position as on the D300s.

The Lens electrical contacts might be:
LVcc: Low Voltage positive rail
AF-A/M: Auto Focus is either Auto or Manual
Pre-view:  Stop down to the taking f/stop
RW1: ?
SCK: Serial data clock
SIO: Serial data input or output
RW2: ?
DGnd: Digital Ground
Nikon N90 33mm Film Camera
Shown with MF-26 Multi-Function back installed.  Uses LED digital display to imprint film.

Nikon D300s

The D300s is the next generation of the D300.  The D300/D300s are half frame (DX) sensor cameras and the D700/D700s are the full frame (FX) versions of the same body.  The main thing the D300s has is HD video mode including 720p and 1080i.  This should look great on a Home Theather system.  But on the first day of having the camera have not gotten it to play the HD video on the big screen.  It will however download an .avi video file at 720p (the only format I've tried so far) that plays on a PC (75 MB for 30 seconds) but the sound was out of sync with the speakers lips.

The D300 and D300s are GPS (see below) enabled cameras.  That means when a GPS receiver sends TTL level digital data to the 10 pin interface connector the camera stores the coordinates (and heading if available) as part of the data package for each shot.  The shots can then be geo located on Google Earth.  I think the Nikon GP-1 GPS receiver does not have a heading output but there are after market GPS receivers for the Nikon that do have heading.

The D300s can not be used to take a photo when the USB cable is being used to download images.  The Kodak DC290 has a switch on the back and when it's not in the "connect to computer" position will take photos so the cable can be left on all the time.  Maybe there's a way to turn off the computer link on the D300s so you don't need to plug and unplug the cable?

I have the self timer set to 2 seconds and when taking hand held shots it greatly reduces camera movement.

D300s Video

When the Live View button (Lv just the the right of the LCD screen) is pressed a red rectangle appears at the center of the LCD image.  Now when the button in the center of the 4-way navigation switch is pressed "REC" appears and the camera is recording video.
In the SHOOTING MENU there is "Movie Settings" and you can select:
Quality: 1280x720(16:9) (this is not quite as good as 1920x1080 HD but is a big improvement on normal TV), or 640x424 (3:2), or 320x216 (3:2)
Microphone: Auto, High, Medium, Low, or off
Destination: SD or CF card.

Stereo Mike

The built-in microphone is monophonic but the recording allows for stereo, so an external stereo mike should enhance the sound.  This is more important if you have a home theater system.  This is an audio-technica PRO 24-CM Stereo Condenser Microphone with a hot-shoe mount.
audio-technica PRO 24-CM Stereo Condenser
                    Microphone
audio-technica PRO 24-CM Stereo Condenser
                    Microphone

I've used the D300s to make YouTube videos.
Nikon web videos on using the Movie Mode:
Lesson 1 - 2:14 - use VR image stabilization or a tripod or brace yourself.  If you move, do not zoom or pan, i.e. only one of these at a time.  Don't stop recording and restart when at the same location (that's called a jump cut, for most of the time a no-n0).
Lesson 2 1:48 - Composition: Change Point Of View (POV), different lens focal length. They suggest the old fashioned idea of wide establishing shot, medium shot then closeup.  I think that's a very old technique that's boring.
Lesson 3 1:48 - quit playing
Lesson 4:  There is a time limit for video recording and the camera just stops recording and if you don't notice that the red dot turned off, you may think  you are recording when you are not.
Lesson 5: I'ts also easy to press live view and think you are recording but until you press the center of the navigation button you will NOT be recording and miss out.

Lesson 6
There is a major problem with Live View.  You can NOT look through the viewfinder, but MUST look at the live view screen.  But, I can not focus on the live view screen unless I hold the camera at arms length, which results is very shaky videos, so it's not at all practical.  What's needed is a mirrorless camera that has an electronic eye level viewfinder.

Because the LCD is fuzzy when holding the camera steady it's very easy to miss the "recording" red dot.

Mirrorless cameras with Electronic Viewfinders:

Sony Alpha, Alpha R and Alpha S

Panasonic GH3, GH4


A neat thing is that you can change the ISO number and that allows making a video in low light conditions without bringing in flood lights.

Nikon D300s Front

Nikon D300s Back

Nikon D300s Bottom
Bottom with "L" rubber boot removed to expose the two contact fields.  These are used when a eight AA cell battery grip is added.  The door just below the contacts is for the battery.

Nikon EN-EL3e is 7.4 V, 1500 mAh.

There are after market versions with 1800 and 2000 mAh capacity.
Strap
Nikon D300s
                Shoulder Strap
Nikon D300s Shoulder Strap.

The triangular fitting is part of the camera.  Over it is a black plastic plate.  It's there to prevent the metal ring from scratching the camera body.  (thanks to Oliver Perialis for letting me know.

The shoulder strap has no metal fittings on the end.  This is quiter than a metal to metal connection.

The strap is 0.43" (11 mm) wide where it connects to the camera.
Nikon D300s
                  Input/Output Panel
From top to bottom:

A/V Out

full size HDMI

MIC in

DC power In

Mini USB (not micro USB)

USB Problem 5 Jan 2012

After taking a photo when I plugged in the USB cable all my USB stuff quit working.  Unplugging the camera restored USB operation.  Swapping the USB cable made no difference, so the camera USB connector is bad.  Looking at it under a stereo zoom microscope shows bent pins and trying to straighten them broke off a pin, so the camera is on it's way to the Nikon service center in S. Calif.

This brings up the question of how to get images out of the the camera.  I've probably made thousands of connect/disconnect cycles on the USB connector (ofter many times a day) and that's taken it's tool on the connector.  Although it's convenient, it may not be the best strategy.

Another option would be to use the Universal Card Reader I got for use with the Home Theather system for viewing photos.  It's going to also have a wear problem but may be a lower cost item to replace.  Note I didn't loose any photos since they are on the removable memory cards.  But if using the memory card as the transfer method then when (not if) it fails from all the mechanical mating cycles you will loose the new photos that are on the card.

The best way to avoid this problem is to use some from of wireless file transfer to get the photos out of the camera.  Some options are:
7 Jan 2012 - Saturday camera delivered to Nikon.  They will have it first thing Monday morning.  Should take up to a few days to hear what they find.

Settings

When taking photos of some subjects there are settings that make for better photos.

Helicopter in flight

Shutter Release: S (not timer)
ISO: 800 (3200 makes for a lot of noise in image)
Focus mode: Manual (manually focus on something at infinity)
Vibration Reduction: Off (not good for tracking moving objects)
Focal Length:  about 200mm on DX camera, maybe 300mm
Exposure mode: Manual (use Shutter priority first and set shutter speed as fast as possible, should be 1/500 to stop rotor blade)
Camera needs to be preset so it can just be picked up, turned on and point & shoot.  There's not going to be time to make any adjustments.



Taken using D300s:
105mm lens with 2X tele extender.
ISO: 3200 (click image to see larger image w/noise)
Shutter: 1/6400 @ f/9
File name:  RGB_1564.NEF
Helicopter with water bucket

Astronomy  (stars as points, no objects on ground)

Astronomy (stars as points, objects on ground properly exposed)

Astronomy (star trails)

Every Day Hand Held

ISO: 200 (minimum noise)
image quality: NEF only
NEF bit depth: 14 bit
Color Space: adobeRGB (better reds than default sRGB)

Movie




D60

July 26, 2014 - When taking photos for the Microphotography page related to the use of infinity microscope objectives with a tube lens I used the D60 to photograph the D300s with the tube lens optics on a light table with optically triggered strobes below and a Paul Buff E640 strobe as the main light.  See: Studio Strobe & Tube Lens.  When working with this lighting system with the D300s camera I use "M" manual setting and the automatic settings don't seem to work.  But I used the "P" setting on the D60 and got a properly exposed photo.

It turns out that the shutter speed was way too low and while there was correct exposure there was also a lot of blur that shouldn't be in strobe photos, so  this DOES NOT WORK.

Jan 2011 - got this camera as a second Nikon digital SLR so that photos can be taken of the D300s.  The criteria used were:
The D60 will work with the SB-900 in commander mode but does not have CLS in it's menu system.  So the pop-up flash can NOT be used as a CLS commander.  Used cameras that include that feature cost in the $400 and up range.

Supports (RAW) NEF and/or jpeg file formats.
Uses EN-EL9 battery (different from everything else I have)
Uses SD or SDHC memory cards.

The D60 is considerably smaller and lighter than the D300s.

D300s+105mm                      D60+18-55mm
Nikon D300s
                  w/105mm lens vs. D60 w/18-55mm lens

Nikon D60 Digital
                  SLR Camera Body Only
Model XB168A2 Charger & EL-EL9 type battery.  The charger has a folding 2-prong AC plug and
comes with a Cigarette Lighter plug.  The Nikon charger is called the MH-23.
Nikon D60
When the battery is dead the LED glows red.
When the battery is charged the LED is green.
Nikon D60 Back
The D60 does not have an auto focus motor2 so only will auto focus with a lens that has a built-in focus moter.
So my 35-70 mm AF Nikkor lens does not work, but the 18-55mm AF-S Nikkor does work.
You can see there's no screwdriver at the lower left of the lens mount.  See: Camera Body Lens Mount
Nikon D60 Lens
                  Mount showing no focus drive
Note the lever at the lower left is engaged by a tab on the 35-70mm lens but not the 18-55 Lens. 

The pogo pin at the "?" senses when the lens is at it's lowest f/stop (the normal viewing position) on an AI lens.

On the inside edge at the top you can just see the electrical contacts.
Exposure Mode selection dial
Above mode dial at left is the Active-D lighting
button and to its right is the exposure compensation button
Nikon D60
                Mode Selection Dial
Clockwise
AUTO1 - Point & Shoot (the flash will automatically pop-up if needed)
P - Programmed
S - Shutter priority
A - Aperture priority
M - Manual shutter & aperture
Night Portrait1
Close up1
Sports1
Child1
Landscape1
Portrait1
Auto (Flash Off)1
30 Dec 2011 -

Error: Press Shutter Release button again.
This means the shutter is not working.  Either send back to
Nikon for repair or remove everything, Battery, Memory Card, Lens.
And let the camera sit for awhile.  This did not work.

Found a YouTube video that suggests removing the bottom plate and
lubing the shutter gears with WD-40.  I'll lube with clock oil, not a Water
Displacement product that's not a lube.

A better work for the screw size with be long (instead of large) and short instead of small.


Nikon D60 Bottom
                  Plate Screws
Nikon D60 Bottom Plate Shutter & Mirrorr Gear
The red gear raises the mirror and trips the shutter.
After appling some Nye clock oil and using a small screwdriver
to move the gear all the way, then pressing the shutter (manually holding
the battery down on the contacts) a few times the shutter started working again.
Nikon D60 Bottom
                  Plate Shutter & Mirrorr Gear


Note 1 -  hobbiest modes whereas the D300s only has P, S, A & M  (See: Digital Photography 101: the Basics)

Note 2 - Lens compatibility was not on my list, but it would be knowing more about it now.

External Flash Operation

The other problem is getting this camera to trigger the SB-900 flash that's mounted on the light stand with umbrella and that's cabled to the old SB-25
The pop-up flash is not a CLS wireless controller, so the SC-17 cable was installed at the base of the SB-900 and connected to the hot shoe of the D60.
The first problem was switching the SB-900 into REMote mode, it needs to be just turned on and that means the SB-25 may does not fire.

In order to gain control of the D60 you need to go into the Tools menu (wrench icon) and then the CSM/Setup menu and select "Full".  This expands the Custom menu from 6 items to 19 items.

Flash metering is either just the subject (when using spot metering) or balanced (when using matrix metering).
So for using the shooting table and the SB-900 on the light stand, just connect the SC-17 cable, select "A" mode and some small f/stop and shoot.
Now to figure out how to get the SB-25 to also fire.

When the D60 is used with a non CPU lens, like the 55mm Micro AND the Pocket Wizard Flex TT5 you get an error message saying that you can't use TTL flash metering with a non CPU lens.  If your remove the Pocket Wizard and manually change from TTL to Manual flash metering you get the same error message when the Pocket Wizard is installed again.
This is because the Einstein 640 flash is telling the hot shoe on the D60 that's it's there.  The simplest fix is to remove the Pocket Wizard and enable the pop-up flash on the D60 and you automatically get optical triggering of the Einstein 640.

Note you need to manually set the f/stop on the lens and manually adjust the flash head output.

Full Frame

One of the key benefits to using a DSLR camera for video is that you can get very shallow depth of focus because of the larger chip size.  So a full size (24x36mm) chip when combined with an ED glass lens like the 300mm f/2.8 will give depth of focus selection that's no possible with very expsnsive professional video cameras.
Sep 29, 2011
Model

List $
M Pixels
Image
Ratio
Movie
D3S
FX
5,200
12.1
4256x2832
1.502 720
D3X
FX
8,000
24.5
6048x4032
1.500 na
D700
FX
2,700
12.1
4256x2832 1.502 na
D300s
DX
1,700
12.3
4288 x 2848 1.505 720
Canon 7DNote1 FX-
1,700
18.0
5184x3456 1.500 1080p24
Canon 5D Mk II
FX
2,500
21.1
5616x3744 1.500 1080p
There is no full frame Nikon that does 1080p HD movies.  The Canon 7D is the only one that can do 1080p24, i.e. real HD movie format.
Nikon will be coming out with a full frame camera that does 1080p?? (no current Nikon will do 1080p at any frame rate).
Note 1: the Canon 7D has a number of features specifically for making movies.

Ken Rockwell has a page of lens recomendations for the D3x and notes that because of it's high resolution the lens must be better than for other cameras.

Lens

Chart
Lens
Filter - Lens Cap Size
Nikkor-Q Auto 1.4 f=20cm 52mm
AF 35-70mm f2.8 D 62mm
AF-S 18-55mm ED 52mm
Tamron 80-210 mm AF 52mm
300mm f/2.8 ED AI-S 39mm1
AF Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G ED-IF AF-S VR 62mm
0.25 mm Pin Hole
TBD
Note 1: Internal not front of lens

f/Stop   

Pre Light Meter Automatic Diaphragm Lens

The lens f/stop ring is not directly connected to the iris, but instead acts as a stop.  The picture is composed using the fully open iris and just prior to the exposure the camera body stops down the lens to the f/stop that was manually set.  You also can press the depth of field preview button to stop down the iris to it's preset value. 

The D300s has a lever that does this, i.e. you compose the photo with the lens fully open and it stops down to the preset value just prior to exposure.  It also has the depth of field preview button.

DO NOT INSTALL THESE LENSES ON MODERN CAMERA BODIES WITHOUT HAVING THEM MODIFIED.  May damage the body.

Pin & Yoke Metering

Nikon Nikkor-Q Auto 1.4 f=20cm Nippon Kogaku Japan No. 209604
This is a MI (Manual Indexing) lens. This seems a better term than does NAI, i.e. Not Auto Indexing, seems like a double negative.
The lever at 3 o'clock is to allow viewing at f/ then stopping down the the taking f/stop.
The notch at 9 o'clock is for locking the bayonet mount.
Yoke at 12 o'clock.
There are no notches on the outer black ring.
Nikon Nikkor-Q Auto 1.4 f=20cm Nippon Kogaku
                    Japan
f/16, the smallest stop is colored yellow.
 
Nikon
                    Nikkor-Q Auto 1.4 f=20cm Nippon Kogaku Japan
After the AI Conversion
Nikon
                    Nikkor-Q Auto 1.4 f=20cm Nippon Kogaku Japan after
                    AI conversion for modern cameras1. Paper f/stop scale
2. notch to tell camera about lens fully opened f/.  Note without this notch you can NOT install a pre AI lens since it would interfere with the tab sticking out of the camera.
3. the lever that stops down the lens just prior to exposure seems to have been machined .

The f/stop ring has been modified by adding the nothc.  When the f/stop ring is manually rotated the notch drives the camera telling the camera the current f/stop.
When in "A" mode you set the f/stop manually and the camera changes its shutter speed for the correct exposure.

Nikon
                  Nikkor-Q Auto 1.4 f=20cm Nippon Kogaku Japan after AI
                  conversion for modern cameras

Nikon
                  Nikkor-Q Auto 1.4 f=20cm Nippon Kogaku Japan after AI
                  conversion for modern cameras
Hand Held at f/4 1/125sec
setup as Non-CPU lens #2.
Nikon
                  Nikkor-Q Auto 1.4 f=20cm Nippon Kogaku Japan after AI
                  conversion Hand Held f/4 1/125

The first Nikon SLR light meter was an optional viewfinder.  It stuck out over the camera body and had a pin that coupled to a yoke on the aperture ring of the lens.  (AI Conversions photo)  It also had a coupling to the shutter speed dial on the top of the Nikon F body.  That way when you manually changed either the shutter speed or the lens f/stop a needle would indicate the correct exposure when it was centered.  Pre AI lenses (with the slotted tab) may need to be modified (AI Conversions) prior to connecting to a modern camera.

When installing a lens the pin on the light meter was pressed up and after the lens was installed the aperture ring needed to be turned to the min and max positions to train the light meter what range of f/stops it had.   If you did not do this correctly the exposure may not be correct.  Needless to say this was not a good thing with a film camera when you would find out AFTER the film was developed.

DO NOT INSTALL THESE LENSES ON MODERN CAMERA BODIES WITHOUT HAVING THEM MODIFIED.  May damage the camera body.

Note:  If you have setup the camera to use a non-CPU lens in the Tool (Setup) menu and replace it with a CPU lens the camera body knows that.  So if you only have one non-CPU lens it's easy, just leave the camera set for it.

AI, AI-S & AI-P


Tamaron 80-210mm AF Aperture Tab
Tamaron
                    80-210mm AF Aperture Tab
Nikon 35-70mm AF Aperture Tab
Nikon 35-70mm AF Aperture Tab
The AI (automatic maximum Aperture Indexing ) type of lens was made after 1977.  This replaced the pin and yoke system.  AI adds the meter coupling ridge that tells the camera body the f/stop when the lens is fully opened.  Note that early AI lenses also had the shoe or yolk so they would work with the light meter - view finder.  Other features of AI lens are the Aperture-Direct_Reading (ADR) ring and EE Servo Coupling Post.

The D300s has a tab on a ring and when a lens is installed a notch on the lens causes the camera ring to rotate.  How far the ring rotates tells the camera the f/stop of the fully open lens.  The "G" series lenses do not drive the camera body ring.

The AI-S (Shutter priority) is an all mechanical system which was superseded by the AI-P that added a micro Processor (chip) to the lens and was the introduction of the electrical contacts that allowed the lens to tell the camera some key information.   The smallest aperture is colored orange on the AI-S lenses.  The AI-S lens has a linear f/stop scale to support shutter priority.  The plain AI lens was held wide open until the exposure was about to start then stopped down to the preset value, it was not partially stopped down.  If the smallest aperture is not orange it's either an AI lens or a pre AI lens that's been modified.  If you know someone who can "chip" this 300mm f/2.8 lens please let me know.

f/x.xD

In the "D" type of lens the focus Distance is sent to the camera.  That distance is passed to the flash unit and is used in computing the flash exposure.
The f/stop can be controlled by the body, or if the f/stop coupling link is unlocked the f/stop can be controlled manually.
It's not clear if all "D" lenses are also AF.

f/x.xG

These are the current (2010) Nikon lenses that have no aperture ring at all.  The f/stop can only be controled from a modern camera.  They have internal focus motors.

AF, AF-D, AF-I, AF-S

Lars Holst Hansen has a lot of information on the F-mount.

Nikon 35-70mm AF showing AF drive screw coupling
Nikon
                    35-70mm Mount Features

The Auto Focus lens has a motor drive for focus and the camera body can automatically control the focus.  The camera body and a selector for M (Manual), S (Single) or C (Continuous) focus.  When switched to M you can manually focus the lens.  Some AF lenses have a M/A switch that can be used to turn off the Auto Focus.  When doing Macro work it's common to turn off the auto focus and move the camera to focus.  What was the focus control now is used to set the magnification (field of view).

The AF-D tells the camera body the focus Distance.

The AF-I lens has an Integrated focus motor that allows faster focusing.

AF-S lens uses a Single Servo motor.

IF lens has Internal Focusing where the lens does not have any external moving parts.  This is espically important on a telephoto lens.  The 300mm f/2.8 is an IF lens.

Using a Manual Lens on Modern Camera

On the D300s in the menus you can define The focal length and wide open f/stop for 9 different lenses (numbered 1 to 9).
Menu: Setup (wrench) Non-CPU lens data

If only lens 1 is defined (maybe any single lens number?) then when a manual lens is installed the camera will show the exposure f/stop on the top LCD and in the viewfinder.  You can use modes "M" or "A" but neither "P" nor "S" will work because the camera has no way of controlling the f/stop that can only be done manually.

Focus

Manual

The first generation lenses could only be focused by manually turning the focus ring.
like the 300mm F/2.8 and the other manual lenses.

Screwdriver

The next generation,  use a shaft that's rotated to focus.  This system is slow compared to using a motor in the lens.
Thus sports photographers who didn't like the Nikon slow focus switched to Cannon cameras.

Motor

The lens has a motor that driven from the camera and this is both fast and quiet compared to the screwdriver focus lenses.

Camera Body Lens Mount

The N90 body shown at right and the D300s have many common features.

The movable ring that senses the f/ stop of an AI lens.
The sense pin for sensing that the lens has AI-S
The focus drive for a lens without its own motor
The lever that stops down the lens just prior to taking a photo
Electrical contacts at the top (7 for N90, 8 for D300s)
Nikon
                    Camera Body Lens Mount
When the 35-70mm AF lens is installed you can see the lens lock pin snap into the notch on the lens.  The 105mm lens has a rubber shroud that hides the notch.
Nikon Body
                    AI-s Sense Pin

Nikkor AF 35-70mm f2.8 D Lens Full Frame


Nikkor AF 35-70mm f2.8 D Lens
                  Full Frame 35 mm This is from the N90 35 mm film camera.
It's an Audo Focus lens.

The red line going up from the white dot with the red letter M is for the macro function.  By pressing the sliver button near NIKON/NIKKOR the body can be rotated and the lens then will focus much closer than a normal lens.  The macro mode is only available when the FL is set to 35 mm.  Focusing is done by moving the camera.

There is a lock on the f-stop ring which when lifted allows manual control of the f-stop.  Otherwise it's controled from the camera.

Uses 62 mm filters.

weighs 1 pounds.

Nikon DX (half frame)  AF-S 18-55mm ED Lens


Nikon DX AF (half frame) 18-55mm
                  Lens uses 52 mm filters.  weighs pound.

Has the Auto - Manual switch and focal length controls, but no f-stop control.
Nikon DX AF-S at 18 mm ED Lens
x

Nikon DX AF-S at  55 mm ED Lens
x



Tamron 80-210 mm AF Nikon Lens


Tamron 80-210 mm AF Nikon Lens Note the electrical contacts on the camera end of the lens for Nikon Auto Focus.
Tamron 210 mm lens Nikon D300s
Tamron
                  210 mm lens Nikon D300s
That's not a black smudge but a vulture.

Kenko MC7 Nikon AF 2X Tele-extender

Note that all 7 electrical contacts are present, I think this means the Teleplus works with each Nikon camera lens that has some subset of these contacts.

Kenko MC7
                  Nikon AF 2X Tele-extendor
Tamron 210 mm lens + 2X Tele-extender Nikon D300s
amron 210
                  mm lens + 2X Tele-extender Nikon D300s


Nikkor 300mm f/2.8 ED AI-S Lens

This may have been the first lens that used Extended Definition (ED) glass (Wiki).  This is an extremely sharp lens (maybe the highest image quality available).

This lens will work in M (Manual) or A (Aperture) modes on the D300s.  Since A mode is how I plan to use it that's fine.  The point of this lens is that it's fast, i.e. f/2.8 so will mostly be used with the camera set for A 2.8. 

This is an ED lens (see label) but it does not have the gold band.  Probably it's one of the first ED lens designs and prior to the adoption of the gold band (let me know)

Since this is an AI-S lens (f/22 is orange)  it should work in Shutter priority mode.

There is no focus drive coupling on the back of the lens so it's not an auto focus lens.  Also manual focus is fine, compared to the price for the Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 300mm f/2.8 G ED VR II 2 f2.8.  The only advantage that I'm giving up is the VRII Vibration Reduction.  That may be overcome (time will tell) by using fast shutter speeds (maybe with increasing the ISO #).
In SETUP under Non-CPU lens data, lens No. 1 has been set to 300mm and f/2.8.
Also in f5 assigned the Fn button + dials to selecting a non-CPU lens.
When in A mode the aperture is set by rotating the ring on the lens and the camera shows the f/stop.
When in P mode as the f/stop ring is turned the shutter speed changes and the f/stop is shown on the camera body.
When in S mode you need to rotate the f/stop ring, but there's not much point.

The close focus distance is 3 meters (10 feet).  Will need to use a tripod to test that, see the tape measure shot below.
KenRockwell - History of the Nikon 300mm f/2.8 - my lens looks like the one made between 1986 and 2005 i.e. it focuses down to 10' and the 122mm filter has been replaced with a protection plate, hood is the HE-4.

The next version of the 300mm f/2.8 lens used screwdriver type auto focus.  It was so slow that many sports photographers switched to Cannon.
Nikon also offered the TC-16A Auto Focus 1.6X Tele Converter.  It worked on some early AF camera bodies, but in stock form does not work on newer AF camera bodies.  But there are people who modify the TC-16A to work on modern AF bodies and so allow limited range AF operation of MF lenses, like the 300mm f/2.8.
foolography - Modify TC-16A -
Matrix metering chips - and electrical contact pin functions

Note:  Double click photo to see larger image and if cursor is (+) click again for even larger photo.
Nikon 300mm f/2.8 ED AI-S Lens on D300s
This setup may have broken the tripod because it strains the handle
pinch screw and nut.  Now only use the Arri tripod for this lens.
Nikon 300mm
                    Mmode f/2.8 ED AI-S Lens on D300s

HTo remove the 39mm filter holder you push in and turn CCW.
Nikon 300mm
                    Mmode f/2.8 ED AI-S Filter Holder

Focus Click Stop - the small pinch screw can be set at any focus distance.
Shown with white dot next to pinch screw, i.e. in the notch. 
The focus can be set anywhere it's just that the click stop can be preset.
Nikon 300mm
                    f/2.8 ED IF Lens Focus Click Stop
Filter Holder with Nikon A2 39mm filter installed
Nikon 300mm
                    f/2.8 lens Filter Holder with Nikon A2 39mm filter
                    installed
HE-4 Lens Hood (1986 -2005 version of the MF 300mm f/2.8 Lens)
Nikon HE-4
                    Lens Hood (1986 -2005 version of the MF 300mm f/2.8
                    Lens)

Nikon
                    Nikkor 300mm f/2.8 ED AI-S Lens

Nikon
                    Nikkor 300mm f/2.8 ED AI-S Lens

Nikon
                    Nikkor 300mm f/2.8 ED AI-S Lens

Nikon
                    Nikkor 300mm f/2.8 ED AI-S Lens

Nikon
                    Nikkor 300mm f/2.8 ED AI-S Lens

Nikon
                    Nikkor 300mm f/2.8 ED AI-S Lens
Nikon
                    Nikkor 300mm f/2.8 ED AI-S Lens
29 Aug 2011 - R60 Red 39mm Filter
Nikon R60
                    Red 39mm Filter
First photos taken with ISO set to 400.
Nikon 300mm Pmode 1/4000 @ f/2.8 Hand Held
Nikon
                    300mm Pmode 1/4000 @ f/2.8 Hand Held

Nikon
                  300mm Amode 1/4000 @ f/2.8 Hand Held
Nikon 300 mm f/2.8 Lens Amode f/5.6 1/80 Hand Held
Nikon
                    300 mm f/2.8 Lens Amode f/5.6 1/80 Hand Held
Nikon 300mm Smode ISO1000 1/800 f/2.8
Nikon 300mm Smode ISO1000 1/800 f/2.8
Nikon 300mm Mmode f/2.8 1/200 & SB-900 in TTL mode
focus set as close as possible (9' 9" to sensor plane)
maybe a 1 degree wide FOV.
Nikon
                    300mm Mmode f/2.8 1/200 & SB-900 in TTL BL mode

Lens: 300mm f/2.8
Arri Tripod w/Quick Release adapter
Mirror Up, exposure mode A (2.8)
16 bits/chan NEF RAW

x
In the crop at right the background is not clouds, but rather the distant
mountain through haze.
Crop from photo at left.  Note background is forest not sky.
Compare to photo at left.
Crop
                  from

Astronomy Use with D300s

To get optimum results when imaging stars (which are point sources of light) the star image should be about the same size as a pixel.
Camera
D300s imaging chip 23.6 x 15.8 mm , 4,288 x 2,848  23.6 mm/4288 = 5.5 um, 15.5 mm/2848 = 5.4 um
Lens
Objective diameter = 300mm / 2.8 = 107 mm
Note a lens focused at infinity is it's focal length from the image plane so angular resolution (Wiki) can be converted into spatial resolution by multiplying by the focal length thus:
delta distance = 1.220 * (FL) * Wavelength / Diameter = 1.22 * 0.3meters * 550E-9meters / 0.107meters = 1.88 um

A simpler formula is:
delta distance = 1.22 * Wavelength * (f#) = 1.22 * 550 nm * 2.8 = 1878 nm = 1.878um
An aproximation is that the spot size is is the f# in um (which would say 2.8 in this case, close enough for government work)

So the image is 1.88 um compared to the pixels that are 5.4 um.  This is close enough although a longer focal length would be a little better.


Nikon AF Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G ED-IF AF-S VR

This is a case where I plan to be doing hand held macro (close-up) work and wanted the VR feature so got this lens instead of an older version of the same
lens.  There is no DX on this lens, i.e. is good for either full frame or half frame camera bodies.  That's probably why it's so heavy (1# 13 oz)

Bummer - I was investigating teleextenders (for example my MC7 (above) has 7 electrical contacts, but this 105 mm lens has 8 electrical contacts.  The Nikon USA web page has a compatibility chart that says that this lens will not autofocus with any tele-extender.  If you know why, let me know.

The autofocus function may not work if the lens when wide open is f/5.6 or dimmer.  So when a 2x tele extender is applied to a lens that's f/4 wide open the two stop penality brings it to f/8 which is too dim for auto focus.  BUT, the 105 mm lens is f/2.8 so this should not be a problem.  Maybe it's that there are 10 electrical contacts on the 105mm lens?

Nikon AF
                    Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G ED-IF AF-S VR Nikon AF
                    Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G ED-IF AF-S VR
Coupling on
                    Nikon 105mm f/2.8G ED VR Lens
P mode - you can hear the VR system humming
Nikon
                    AF Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G ED-IF AF-S VR
P mode w/SB-900
Nikon
                    AF Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G ED-IF AF-S VR
A Mode f/32 w/SB-900
Nikon AF
                  Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G ED-IF AF-S VR

Pin Hole

When the f/number gets to be 100 or larger an image will be formed without any optics.  One way to do this is use a camera body cap with a pin hole acting as a lens.  I was hoping for a more in focus image.
Holga HPL-N 0.25mm Pin Hole Lens
ISO:400, 1/6 sec
Holga
                HPL-N 0.25mm Pin Hole Lens
ISO:400, 1/6 sec
Holga
                HPL-N 0.25mm Pin Hole Lens


55mm Macro f/2.8 AiS

This lens was purchased to be used with the StackShot close-up system to be used in the reversed lens configuration where the electronic features of the lens will not work.  Therefore ideal candidate lenses are manual types since they cost less than modern electronic types.  That this lens is an AiS type means that it will also work in the non reversed configuration with manual focus, which for macro work is the normal mode.

The Ken Rockwell review of this lens says it's the standard against which other lenses are compared for sharpness, not only for close up work but at any magnification.  Note: his review is assuming you're using a 35 mm film camera or a FX (full frame) digital camera. It was introduced in 1979 and still is available new from B&H photo.

Because this lens was made for use on a full frame 35 mm film (36 x 24mm) camera the magnification numbers shown on the lens barrel (1X max when fully extended when mounted directly on a camera) need to be doubled when used on a DX (half frame) digital camera.  The "PK" scale assumes the PK-13 extension ring is being used also needs to be doubled (max from 2X to 4X).  

The focal length was a consideration since the effect of using extension rings or a bellows works in proportion to the lens focal length.  The shorter the focal length the more effect a given amount of extension will have.

The Canon MP-E close up lens is a reversed design with magnifications up to 5X without the use of extension rings.  This lens when used with the PK-13 should come very close to the same magnification range and hopefully similar performance.  There's a note in the manual saying best results at f/4, but that can be confirmed by taking photos.

To take photos with higher magnification requires using thing like microscope objective lenses on the camera, see the Micro Photography web page for that.

 shown collapsed
55mm Macro Micro
                  f/2.8 AiS shown collapsed
shown fully extended
55mm Macro Micro
                  f/2.8 AiS shown fully extended
Normal configuration, fully extended
55mm Macro
                  Micro f/2.8 AiS Normal configuration, fully extended
The D300s imaging chip is half size, or 18x12mm and
the front scale is showing 18 mm so this is a 1:1 or 1Xmagnification.
Reversed Lens, fully extended
55mm Macro
                  Micro f/2.8 AiS Reversed Lens configuration, fully
                  extended
about 10.7 mm showing on 18mm chip or 1.7X magnification
when lens used reversed.  This is may just be the extension
caused by the reverse adapter ring.


    Tokina 11 - 16 mm

My main motivation for getting this lens was to do long exposure astrophotography.
It's also handy for taking photographs inside a car or room where you just can't back up enough with a normal lens.  A friend was doing a kitchen remodel and this lens allows capturing much more than any other lens I have.

Tokina 11 - 16 mm Lens for Nikon


    Nikon 18-200 mm

I've wanted one of these since I got the D300s camera, but they were too expensive.  A local wedding photographer is upgrading to full frame Nikons and this lens was surplus and at a fair price.  It will become one of my standard lenses along with the 105mm.
This has been my standard lens for most things and the 105mm is used for hand held close up work so a tripod is normally not used.

Nikon 18 - 200 mm
Nikon 18-200mm set at 200mm rainy day
click to see larger photo.


Metering



The Nikon F was an all mechanical camera with no metering (no batteries).  It did have a removable penta-prism view finder and under that an interchangeable focus screen.
The shutter speed dial was on the top surface just to the right of the view finder.  The early light meters coupled to the shutter speed dial.
See my Weston light meter web page for more on light meters.

Meter 1

Nikon F selenium meter is of the Type III (all types Se from 1959-62) (thanks Geoff)
The first light meter was coupled to the shutter dial. 
The tab on the bottom couples to the notch on the lens f/stop ring.
The dial on the top is to set the film ASA speed.
It has a center the needle read out.
It was not Through The Lens (TTL) metering, but just incident light like a hand held meter.
Selenium works like a solar panel so no battery is required.
The view angle was rather large and had no relationship to the lens focal length.
Nikon F first light meter

Photomic Light Meter

Like the original meter its a forward facing (not TTL) but now there's a single lens with an optional snoot that narrows the field of view to match medium telephoto lens Field Of View (FOV).  The pin and yoke coupling is now incorporated for sure.  "Center the needle" read out visible both from the top (like meter 1 above) and you can see the needle through the lens.
Powered by a button Mercury cell battery (Mercury batteries are no longer available so this is a problem).

When this light meter came out I already was using a plain Nikon F camera so all that was needed was to purchase just the meter.  The snoot was stored on the side of the meter when not being used which was most of the time.  So either the snoot is installed in the photo at the right or it's missing.
Nikon Photomic Light
                  Meter

Photomic FTn Light Meter

This was the first Through The Lens (TTL) meter and like the plain Photomic was a replacement penta-prisim view finder.  Prior to installing a lens the pin that rides on the lens yoke needs to be pressed up thus resetting the wide open f/stop setting (that way a lens without the yoke will do something that's consistent).  Then after the lens is installed it's rotated to the min and max f/stop positions.  The min f/stop position trains the FTn meter and the pointer on the front will show the full open f/stop of the installed lens.

Like all the previous light meters it's a "center the needle" type and viewable from the top or through the lens.
Powered by a Mercury button cell battery.
Nikon Photomic FTn Light Meter
Starting with the F2 camera body the light meter was built in.
The camera body now needs to have a battery.


Learning

I've been watching some YouTube videos and have on order:

"The Nikon Creative Lighting System: Using the SB-600, SB-800, SB-900, and R1C1 Flashes" book by Mike Hagen ( @Amazon )
For most of the SB-900 flash functions to work the camera needs to be set to Matrix metering.  The center position of the 3 available that surrounds the AE-L/AF-L button on the back of the camera just to the right of the viewfinder.
Nikon Creative Lighting System, Digital Field Guide, 2nd Edition by J. Dennis Thomas, ISBN978-470-45405-3
Includes the SB-900.  Lists CLS cameras: F6, D3/D3X, D2X/D2H/D2Hs, D700, D300/D300s, D200, D70/D70s, D80, D90, D40/D40x, D50, D60, D3000, D5000.  Includes a test card, gray on one side and color squares on the other side.

"Nikon- A Hands On Guide to Creative Lighting" DVD SB-900
Creative Lighting System Cameras
Camera
CLS Controller
Close-up Flash1
D700, D300, D200, D90, D80 built-in pop-up flash
R1
D3, D2XS, D2X, D2H, D705, D70, D50, D60, D40X, D40, F6
SB-900, SB-800, SU-800
R1C1
Note 1: R1 is the two Ring lights, R1C1 has the same two Ring lights plus the SU-800 Controler.

A neat way of mounting the SB-900 and a translucent umbrella is demonstrated.  By using a ball adapter the flash head is offset from the umbrella holder and can be positioned along the side of the umbrella support rod, i.e. very close to the umbrella center line.  Since the idea of the umbrella is to get a wide light source as seen by the subject it's best to use the shoot though mode and place the top of the umbrella close as possible to the subject.

Using color gels to change the flash light color to match the ambient light allows changing the camera white balance to match the ambient light.  Using the "wrong" gel and/or WB setting is a way of colorizing the image.

Using bounce light from a reflector on the floor/ground can provide a soft fill light, for example when someone is wearing a hat or wedding veil.

Slow-sync flash allows the shutter to be set to illuminate the background while the f-stop is set for proper flash exposure.  It's not as nice as the EV rings on a Hasselblad, but a step in the right direction.  How to use slow-sync, or for that matter any of the demonstrated methods was not explained on the DVD.  I think in order to use slow-sync you first need to use spot metering on the main subject to determine the f-stop, change to A mode with that f-stop, enable slow-sync and let the camera TTL metering figure out the background.  Note:  This probably will result in a long exposure so a tripod or image stabilization (Vibration Reduction) lens would be good.

"David Busch's Nikon D300s Guide to Digital SLR Photography"
The Nikon factory manuals leave a lot to be desired.  For example some flash features are controlled by the camera and are mentioned in the SB-900 manual but there's no information about how to get them to work.  For example Red eye is mentioned on page D56 but not how to turn it on.  In the D300s manual on page 175 is says red eye reduction is supported and also in slow sync mode, but does not say how to turn it on.  On page 282 it mentions e2 flash shutter speed in relation to red eye reduction but no info on how to turn it on.  Hopefully this guide will help.

9-1/8 x 7-3/8" and 525 pages.  Glossy color pages.
The Index has comprehensive listings (for example I found AF-S there, but not in Mastering).

I tried using RAW (NEF) files with 14 bits/channel, but the Nikon transfer program makes a .xmp file that's only 8 kb in size, so something appears to be wrong.  By using Windows Explorer and looking at My Computer the D300s file system shows .NEF files that are about 15.1 MB in size which are about half the size of the .tif files that are 37 MB.  Photoshop CS4 with Camera Raw 5.7 will open the NEF files and can work with them, it's not very user friendly so going back to .tif files.
Turned off the Active-D lighting and will activate it only when it's needed.

2014 - I'm now using only RAW files at 14 bits/color channel.
Nikon ViewNX version 2.2.1 to transfer files from camera to computer.
(Should be using the wireless card, but haven't set that up for my desktop computer).
Using Photoshop CS4 with Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) to "develop" and then process the images.
In ACR you are working with a high dynamic range photo (the difference between a .jpg file with 8 bits/channel and a RAW file with 14 bits/channel is 6 full stops or 6 f/numbers!)
There is a "Fill Light" slider in ACR that allows adjusting the fill light after the exposure so all the high dynamic processes that are done in the camera are not needed nor are any HDR post processing software packages needed.

Color balance is selected in ACR and since most of my shots are done with Studio Flash, I just select Flash for color balance, but  you have many other options.
I typically use an 8-bit/channel output from ACR, but it can be set to higher depth if needed.


Mastering the Nikon D300/D300s by Darrell Young, rockynook NikoniansPress, 2011, 400 pages
There are gray boxed text examples of the subject matter that help me understand the topic.  Without these examples some of the ideas are too theoretical to put to practical use.  {Cannon cameras are more user friendly, but Nikon cameras are much more powerful.  But with the power you need to work through the learning curve to really use them.}  There are paragraphs at the end of some sections titled "My Conclusions" and are the author's take on the subject usually based on it's prior history.
Nikon Creative Lighting System, Digital Field Guide, 2nd Edition by J. Dennis Thomas, ISBN: 978-0-470-45405-3, 2010
Got this book because it has info on taking portraits.  Also includes a test card with gray on one side and color swatches on the other side.
On pg 132 Fig 5.1 shows an SB-900 (?) on a light stand with an umbrella, BUT the flash head center line is far from the umbrella support rod making for something like my photo below.

The problem with flash head offset to umbrella is that the light source is too small if the zoom is set to narrow, or if the zoom is set to illuminate all of the umbrella then some light misses the umbrella and you have a dimmer light.  Flash head offset is like having the flash head centered on the umbrella and turning down the power and making the umbrella smaller.  Centered gives a larger light AND brighter light source.
Strobist Lighting Seminar DVD Set
This is a set of 8 DVDs.  Four of them were made during a two day lighting seminar and additional DVDs were made to illustrate ideas presented in the seminar.  It's Nikon based, but with a lot of Do It Yourself rather than just buying expensive items.  He promotes manual control rather than using CLS and has some good arguments for that.

I used info on the Strobist site to make the remote setup for the Nikon B-25 flash and light box.  They have Lighting 101 free on line.

Lighting

Color Balance (See Digital Photography 203: Color Management)

Nov 2011 - I've taken a couple of photos near sunset where the auto color balance said the color temp was in the 4000 K area, which was not correct.  So it looks like for normal photos taken outside during full daylight the auto white balance may be correct, but you can't count on it.  One of the BIG advantages in using RAW (NEF) file output from the camera is that when you open the file in Photoshop CS4 the Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) program displays the color temperature and allows changing it.  Need to do more work with these devices.

It turns out that the default setting for White Balance (WB) on the Nikon D300s and the D60 is AUTOmatic white balance.  It works, that's to say you really don't need these gadgets for most things.  Maybe for something that requires tight color balance control, like would be needed if a book with color plates was being worked on.

Another way of achieving good color control would be to make sure something with no color at all was part of the first exposure and then in Adobe Camera Raw you can color correct all the shots taken in that light.

Although most digital cameras have a number of standard color balance settings such as Sunlight, Tungsten, Florescent, shade, etc. the actual color temperature where you are shooting may have a different color, such as when there's reflected light from a colored surface such as vegetation that changes color with the seasons.  There are a number of ways to work with this.  One is to use RAW data files and to the color correction in post processing, but then you need a standard.  That's why 18% gray cards may be shot on location as the reference.  Another is to measure the color temperature using the cameras White Balance measurement function (if it has one).

In ACR (when processing a RAW image where there's no color correction in the camera) you can easily (one click)  set the color balance if the shot includes an area that's either white or gray.  So if you're shooting RAW just take an extra shot with a white card for color balance for that session.

Micro-Disk

I haven't used this since I now shoot only in RAW mode.
Micro-Disk Color
                  Correction White Balance
Micro-Disk Color
                  Correction White Balance

Although these ofter are advertized as a "lens" they are reflectors of light. They do not mount to the camera unlike lens caps so the size is not critical in relation to the lens, but should be large enough to fill 70% of the frame.

Patents

7719606 System and method for effectively performing a white balance procedure for Electronic Camers, Diane Wallace - a transmission filter

Translucent Lens Cap

These need to be ordered in the same size as the lens cap, in my case 52 and 62mm fit everything except the 300mm f/2.8 lens.
52mm and 62mm
        Translucent Lens Caps for White (Color) Balance


Creative Lighting System (CLS)

Only Nikon cameras with a pop-up flash (and with built-in CLS functions: D700(s), D300(s), D200, D90 & D80) can act as CLS commanders.  Other Nikon cameras need to use the SU-800 flash controller to take advantage of the CLS.  For example the D3 does not have a pop-up flash and so needs the SU-800, SB-800 or SB-900 to act as the flash commander.

The D300s supports CLS with three groups:  Built-In, Group A and Group B.
When at the top of the Custom Setting Menu it's fastest to press the navigation ring UP and go  "e Bracketing/flash"
then to e3 Flash cntrl for built-in flash
then right to Commander Mode
then the LEFT and RIGHT navigation controls which field is highlighted and the UP/DN navigation controls the value of the field.

All the flash equipment in a system needs to be on a single channel number.  This allows different photographers to use different channel numbers.  You might have a number of different cameras (probably each with a different lens) all on the same channel number and using the same lighting setup.

The group letter allows different flashes in the same setup to have their power levels controlled independently for each group from the CLS camera or the SU-800 controller.  This is one of the key features of the CLS, i.e. you can adjust the light output of all the flashes in a setup from the camera position.  It can be done two ways.  The most straight forward (and recommended) way is to change the Exposure Value correction for the group letter while in one of the TTL modes.  The other way is to use a non TTL mode and manually control the light level.  The former is easier and retains corrections for changes in the natural lighting level while the latter may offer a wider range of light levels.

CLS Cameras

Camera Pixels
Meg
Frame
size
Pop-up
Flash
Accy
Conn
Storage
Media &
File Types
Interchangeable
 Lens
Jan 2011
eBay $
used Body
F6
Film
No


Yes
1850
D2X
D2H
D2Hs

DX
No
10-pin

Yes 455 - 700
D3
D3X

FX/DX
No
10-pin
Yes
5900 - 8100
D40
D40X
6.1
10.2
DX
Yes


SD SDHC/NEF jpg
Yes 80 - 363
80 - 667
D50 6.1
DX
Yes


Yes 150 - 300
D60 10.2
DX
Yes


Yes
100 - 560
D70
D70s

DX
No
USB? CF1 CF2 NEF jpg
Yes
240 - 500
D80
DX
Yes
USB? SD SDHC
NEF jpg
Yes
250 - 550
D90
DX
Yes

Yes
455 - 997
D200
DX
Yes 10-pin
Yes
385 - 630
D300
D300s

DX
Yes 10-pin

NEF TIFF jpg
NEF TIFF jpg AVI
Yes 708 - 1148
D700
FX
Yes 10-pin
Yes 1500 - 2350
D3000
DX
Yes


Yes
200 - 885
D5000
DX
Yes


Yes
460 - 885

Flash

I've been using the Nikon SB-25 Speedlight that was purchased for the Nikon N90 but when used on the D300s it doesn't have the nice features like good two way communications between the flash and camera.  In particular it does not have the Infrared remote trigger feature.  This allows removing the flash from the camera and triggering it without using wires.

The SB-800 and SB-900 Speedlights both can act as a remote commander for the R1C1 close-up speedlight set or other remote flash units.  The SB-900 adjusts beam size to match 12 to 200 mm DX lens coverages and has auto sense for DX (half frame) or FX (full frame) size. The SB-800 user interface is impossible to work (user hostile)  without the instruction book (i.e. press two buttons to get some obscure result but only if held for more than 3 seconds), the SB-900 is much more user friendly.

Red Eye

Red eye is caused by photographing an eye in dim light and where the flash light source is close to the camera lens.  Most cameras, including the D300s, have a red eye flash mode where the flash winks a few times to cause the eye's pupil to contract prior to the actual picture taking flash.  I haven't had a problem with red eye.

Blinking

This is when the subject closes her eyes because of the flash of light.  This has been a problem for me.  Even when turning off the pop-up flash in commander mode the pop-up still makes light in order to act as the commander and that causes blinking, i.e. photos where the eyes are closed.  One solution that's worked is to tape the infrared filter from the SDU-5/E strobe to the support rails of the Puffer diffuser.  I have the SG-3IR filter on order which should do the same job.

Another solution may be to use the SC-17 cable and the SB-900 as the commander flash.  If the SB-900 can be moved far enough away so that the subject does not have a direct flash to eye path it may work.  That means using one less light, i.e. the pop-up flash will no longer be used at all.

Long

The depth of field preview mode allows the flash to pulse and to your eye it looks like it's on all the time.  This would be a neat way to light close up subjects when the camera is on a tripod.  But it is not allowed because the flash tube would have a very short life.  Maybe there's a workaround by using multi exposure?

Focal Plane High Speed

There are two modes of focal plane shutter operation.  Wiki: Focal Plane - Two Curtain Shutter 

Slow (< about 1/250 sec)
The rear shutter is already open.  To start an exposure the front shutter opens (this takes some tijme T1) and after the required exposure time the rear shutter closes (this takes some time T2).  A strobe flash can only be triggered after T1 and before the start of T2 in order to expose all of the frame.  On first generation focal plane shutters the fastes "sync" speed was 1/60 second.  On modern cameras it's more like 1/250 second.
X sync works with the "slow" shutter speeds for triggering either a regular flash bulb or an older strobe flash.

Fast
The rear shutter is already open.  To start an exposure the front shutter opens and after the required exposure time the rear shutter starts to close, but the front shutter is still moving, so a slit is open and moving across the imaging chip.  If a strobe was to fire it would only illuminate the slit leaving the rest of the frame black.

In order to use flash when the shutter speed is "fast" a special flash bulb was designed that has a long flat light vs. time curve called FP (Flat Peak).
FP sync is used to trigger these Flat Peak flash bulbs.

When the Nikon SB-900 flash is instaled on the D60 camera and the "S" exposure mode is selected the fastest shutter speed is limited to 1/200 sec.

In the set of 8 "Strobist" DVDs the Nikon D70 is mentioned a lot because it uses two different types of shutter, a mechanical shutter for low speeds and the imaging chip is electronically controlled for high shutter speeds.  This allows X-sync to work at very high shutter speeds IF the speed light is NOT installed on the camera's hot shoe.  That allows much more latitude when balancing existing light with strobe light.

The Hasselblad lenses have two adjacent rings for controlling the f/stop and shutter speed (EV).  They interlock and turn as a pair providing the same exposure in each position, but trading f/stop and shutter speed.  The rings can be pulled apart to allow setting the existing light exposure then turned as a pair to control the f/stop which controls the strobe flash exposure.

The Nikon D300s has automatic High Speed Sync or FP sync when the SB-900 flash in installed on the hot shoe.  What this does is provide a series of precisely timed flashes so that all of the frame is illuminated.  For example you use "S" exposure mode and set 1/8,000 second shutter speed and the frame is evenly illuminated.  So the D300s is just as capable as the D70.  But, if the flash is removed from the hot shoe then the shutter speed is limited to 1/200 second.  That's because the pop-up flash does not have enough power to fire rapidly enough and with enough light to work.

Zero Length Wire

This is a proprietary feature of the latest (2011) Pocket Wizard flash triggers.  It allows studio strobes to be synchronized at speeds faster than possible using X-sync.

I haven't used this feature of the Pocket Wizard, but do use them to trigger the E640 studio strobe light and that's my standard setup (2014).

SB-25

Nikon SB-25 flash speedlight
The SB-25 was the flash that was current with the N90 35mm film camera but does not have anywhere near the features of the SB-900.
Note that a wheel is used to clamp the SB-25 to a hot-shoe.  The SB-900 uses a lever rather than the wheel.   The SB-900 lever is much easier to operate.

The SB-25 when used with the SU-4 remote trigger supports turning off the flash when enough light has been collected by the camera.  So this may be a way of using the SB-25 with the Creative Lighting System?

Main capacitor is 1,400 uF at 350 V.  The SD-9A auxiliary power unit will not fit the SB-25.  That must be because of a difference in the control signal.

SB-900

As of 2010 this is the flagship flash for the Nikon line.  It's one of the speedlights that has the Creative Lighting System (CLS).  This system allows controlling the remote flash output from the camera or a flash acting as the wireless commander.  For more details see the Nikon Patents below.

When the switch on the SB-900 is turned one click from OFF to ON it comes up in TTL BL (Through The Lens, Balanced Light) mode, which is the good one.
To take the SB-25 photo above I just swiveled the head (SB-900 on camera hot-shoe) so it was pointing to the ceiling and that first shot is the one you see.

The SB-900 can be removed from the camera (and mounted on the supplied AS-21 crows foot stand (see photo of SB-900 Set below).  Then the on camera pop-up flash is activated.   To get this to work some settings are required on the camera and SB-900, unlike the default hot-shoe operation.

SB-900 as remote
Turn from OFF to REMOTE.  The default is Group A, Channel 1, 24 mm.
D300s as Commander
In the Custom Setting Menu, e. Bracketing/Flash e3. Flash Ctrl for Built-in flash, select Commander Mode where the default is Built-in flash TTL, Group A TTL and Channel 1.  Press OK and exit. 
NOTE: For remote commander mode to work the pop-up flash needs to be opened! 
After I wrote the above using normal text, made the mistake again, hence the bold and red type face.
You will hear a sound from the remote to indicate that it fired.

Note:  You can change the light output of the on camera flash (all the way down to off, but you still need to have it opened to talk to the remote flash) and control the light output for Group A and B flashes by changing setting in the camera menu (i.e. you don't need to have access to the remote flash to change it's output.  When the SB-900 is connected to the hot-shoe it can act as a more powerful Commander than the pop-up flash.

Note:  When the SB-900 is mounted to the hot-shoe or connected to the camera with the SC-17 cable the angle of coverage of the flash changes when the zoom lens is changed.  But when using the remote commander mode the flash zoom does not change and defaults to 24 mm.  You can get a much higher guide number by manually changing the flash focal length setting.  To change the FL of the flash:
One of the modes of operation is called "SU-4".  This refers to a Nikon remote trigger product called the SU-4

To get "strobe" stop motion effects:
The top left photo of the Chinese Spouting Bowl was taken with the Nikon D300s in "P" mode, self timer at 10 seconds (time to get from the tripod to the bowl).  The SB-900 manual (page F-15) says that at M1/16 the flash duration is 1/10,000 second.  Although the D300s supports shutter speeds as fast as 1/8,000 you can only get that when the lighting supports it, so it's not an option for things like the spouting bowl.  In TTL BL FP mode the shutter speed can be increased to speeds faster than can be used for a single flash.  As the shutter opening moves across the sensor there are multiple flashes to illuminate all of it.  See the Chinese Spouting Bowl page were this mode was used in camera S mode at 1/320 second.

Flash bulbs came in normal the FP versions.  The normal flash lamp had a peak in the light output vs. time plot and the FP (Focal Plane) lamp has a constant light output for some specified time (i.e. a flat top light output curve).  Since it takes a lot of power to keep a xenon lamp on all the time the FP mode flash is accomplished by using multiple flashes to cover the image sensor as the slit in the focal plane shutter moves across.  It's not clear what shutter speeds are supported (1/320 or 1/8,000?).

The SB-900 comes with filter gels that can be used to change the color temperature of the flash to tungsten or florescent or red or blue.  They can be used to match the color temperature of the flash to the ambient light so the White Balance (WB) on the camera can be set to the ambient light color.

SB-900 Set  - what's in the box
Nikon SB-900
                  flash what's in the box




Nikon SC-17 Flash Cable
Nikon
                  SC-17 Flash Cable
When the focal length of the lens is changed
the flash changes it's focal length when this
cable is used.
The SC-17 cable uses a pinch wheel to hold onto the camera and the remote end does not have the hole of the lock lever.

The pop-up flash will not open when the SC-17 is on the camera.

The SC-28 cable uses the lock lever system.

Gary Fong Puffer - hot-shoe mount diffuser that clears pop-up flash
Gary Fong
                Puffer - hot-shoe mount diffuser that clears pop-up
                flash
Tits on Puffer keep it from seating in the camera hot-shoe.
Gary Fong
                Puffer - hot-shoe mount diffuser that clears pop-up
                flash
A wood chisel will clean off the tits allowing the bracket to seat fully on the camera hot-shoe.
Gary Fong Puffer - hot-shoe mount
                diffuser that clears pop-up flash
SG-3IR Visible Light Filter for the pop-up flash
SG-3IR Visible
                  Light Filter for the pop-up flash
Puffer Pop-up Flash Diffuser
Gary Fong
                Puffer - hot-shoe mount diffuser that clears pop-up
                flash

SG-3IR filter does not block all visible light from the
pop-up flash, but does reduce it.  So it's not a solution
for people who blink.
Nikon
                SG-3IR filter


Optional DC Power for the SB-900

The SB-900 runs on 4 internal AA batteries that can be pretty much any chemistry (primary or secondary).  These power the electronics and flash.

When an external battery pack, such as any of the SD-x series, they supply 300 Volts to the flash capacitor to lower the recycle time.  The external pack does not replace or supplement the internal pack.  There's no need to match cells between the internal and external packs.  But all the internal batteries should be very much the same.  All the batteries used in the external pack should be very much the same.

2014 - for over a year I've been using NiZn AA batteries in the SB-900.  They have almost 2 Volts per cell when fully charged and make for a faster cycle time.  They require a special charger.

SD-7 holds 6 "C" batteries and 3 female terminal plug
SD-8A holds 6 "AA" batteries and 3 female terminal plug uses coil springs (higher resistance than straps)
SD-9 holds either 4 or 8 AA batteries
SD-9A holds 6 "AA" batteries and 3 female terminal plug has lower resistance contacts than the SD-8A
AC Adapter or Studio Strobe that works with CLS
There is no AC adapter for the SB-900 but there should be.  Or, as an alternative, Nikon should either offer studio strobe lights that work with their CLS or work with studio strobe makers so that there was a CLS compatible studio strobe.  Being forced to use a bunch of AA cells is a real PITA.

Shoot SD-9A Auxiliary Battery Holder for Nikon SB-900
Shoot SD-9A
                  Auxillary Battery Holder for Nikon SB-900
Holds 6 AA Batteries. 
Shoot SD-9A
                  Auxillary Battery Holder for Nikon SB-900
The current draw when the flash is recharging exceeds 1 Amp, the limit of my bench power supply.
Switch Mode HV Power Supply
Shoot SD-9A
                  Auxillary Battery Holder for Nikon SB-900
Black = Ground
White = control
Red = 300+ Volts DC just after a flash, near zero the rest of the time.
marked 330 V
Shoot SD-9A
                  Auxillary Battery Holder for Nikon SB-900
Any auxiliary power unit that has this connector is a HV power supply,
not a simple battery supply.
I've cut a hole in the carry bag so that you can see the charging LED.
Shoot SD-9A
                  Auxillary Battery Holder for Nikon SB-900


When connected at idle there is almost no current draw from the string of 6 batteries.  Note it does not matter how these batteries compare to those installed in the SB-900.  But all 6 batteries need to be the same brand, model and state of charge.  Since the auxiliary supply is a HV supply the SB-900 needs to have 4 operational AA batteries installed for it to work, i.e. you can not power the SB-900 with just the auxiliary supply.

If you have a schematic of the SB-900 or other Nikon Flash that accepts the same 3 prong plug let me know.  I'm wondering if you could just connect a capacitor charged to 330 Volts to the Red and Black terminals.  A potential problem would be that the energy stored in the external cap might burn out the Xenon flash tube.  If you have a dead SB-800 or SB-900 that could be used for testing let me know.  The problem is if the camera wants a lot of light the flash tube will be on for much longer than it would be if powered by just the internal 4 AA batteries and that might fry it.

I used to have a Stroboflash IV which used a couple of 510 V batteries (AFAICR).  Using a similar system with the SB-900 might be interesting in that there would be almost no recycle time needed between flashes.

SK-6 Power Bracket - allows mounting flash at side of camera + has a 4 AA battery holder to shorten recycle times.
SF-17 - 6 AA
SF-18 - 8 AA

Diffuser for SLR cameras

Gary Fong Puffer SLR Flash Diffuser - fits in the hot shoe and allows the built-in flash to be opened.
11/285,947 Photographic light diffuser, Gary M. Fong -
D578151 Photographic light diffuser, Gary M. Fong -
D607915 Photographic light diffuser, Gary M. Fong -
D591785 Lightsphere (note the hemisphere from the lightsphere can be used in front of a lens for a custom white balance.
7380966 Lightsphere
7748858 Photographic diffuser, Gary M. Fong - Puffer

Nikon Patents

4896181 Camera System Jan 23, 1990 - explains the screw driver auto focus digital data protocol, although the length of the actual packets may be longer.
5585987 Camera system including electronic flash device with slave emission function, Dec 17, 1996 - might be the SB-25
5724620 Wireless light-amplifying strobe system and strobe device usable with the System, Mar 3, 1998 -
The on camera strobe emits a train of light pulses and the remote strobe also does this.
The camera monitors the accumulated light and stops the pulsing when the exposure is correct which also stops the remote flash.

Scope Plot of SB-900 Flash Pulses

Nikon Creative Lighting System
                  CLS Pulse Light Sensor
The IR light sensor is a QSE156 soldered to fish paper top of a dead 9 V battery and powered by a 9 V battery.
The scope is a RigolDS1052 and the screen shots are moved to the computer using a USB thumb drive.
Note this IR light sensor has a speed that's better than 100 ns, so microsecond timings are well within it's capability.  It was chosen just because it was in a box of Electrical Optical parts.

The left lead is ground, the center lead is the totem pole output and the right lead is for Vcc (4 to 16 V).
Nikon SB-900 on camera CLS active
Nikon
                  Creative Lighting System CLS Pulses
I think the first 4 flashes are related to the CLS and the last flash was for the image.

The first 4 flashes are 200 us wide but the last flash is different.

My guess is that the position of the first 4 pulses (and the fifth flash) is a message to all possible CLS receivers and includes all the CLS data, i.e. Channel number, Group letter, and the mode and power level for each group.

If you know the specifies of this protocol let me know.

Nikon SB-900 last of 5 pulses
Nikon
                  Creative Lighting System CLS Pulses
The last pulse is really two pulses with a total time of about 1,000 us.
Note to see this image the same image from the above single shot capture was just scrolled and expanded.  This is what's great about deep scope memory.
Nikon Creative Lighting System
                  CLS Pulses
Group A set to Manual mode.
Manual focus, aimed into dark space.
Nikon Creative Lighting System
                  CLS Pulses
D300s on Manual Focus default CLS settings, pop-up open and camera aimed at ceiling.
Nikon Creative Lighting System
                  CLS Pulses
Just like the above screen except the SB-900 was aimed at the photo sensor.
It looks like the SB-900 is not contributing much if any light for this image.


It may be that in order to really understand the Creative Lighting System protocol the images being exposed may need to be correlated with the pulse trains?

5754898 Control device for a camera capable of using a flash device, May 19, 1998 - works with two shutters
5794082 Electronic flash device with slave emission function, Aug 11, 1998 - might be the SB-25
6088542 Housing for camera flash control components and circuitry, Jul 11, 2000 - the housings used on parts of the camera and the flash units transmit infared light.  This is probably part of the Creative Lighting System.  When they say wireless, they mean IR, not radio.
6654558 Electric flash and connector, Nov 25, 2003 - a "noise" signal from the pop-up flast triggers the flash unit mounted in the hot-shoe
6795647 Flash control device and flash control system, Sep 21, 2004 - details of the digital light communications between camera and remote SB-xxx flash unit
6798986 Slave flash controlling device and slave flash device, Sep 28, 2004 - the camera speedlight emits a pre-flash then there is a pause while the camera meters the light from the combined on camera and slave flash light, then the camera emits a timed pulse of light that also triggers the slave flash.
7340275 Wireless communication unit, Mar 4, 2008 - Compact Flash (CF) card wireless unit
12/312,463 Electronic Camera, Dec 20, 2007 - internet connected camera

R1 & R1C1 Close-up Flash

The R1C1 close-up flash set contains a couple of SB-R200 Ring light flash units and the SU-800 flash commander plus accessory items.
The R1 close-up flash set contains a couple of SB-R200 Ring light flash units and accessory items.

When the SU-800 is used (R1C1 set) on a camera with a hot-shoe but without the Nikon Creative Lighting System (CLS) it needs to be cabled to the ring lights and the switch in the battery compartment needs to be set to Close-Up mode (flower symbol).

For cameras that have CLS there is no need for the SU-800 since the camera's pop-up flash will control the SB-200 lights.

The manual mentions that some cameras, like the D70, the pop-up flash emits some light that might interfere with the exposure and so the sets include the

SB-R200 Flash

This is one of the flash units that go with the R1 and R1C1 close-up sets.  It's powered by the common CR123A photo flash battery.
This flash can not be used at full power in the repeat flash mode, but will work for a small number of repeats when turned down to 1/8 power or less.


The SB-200 comes with a carry case with pockets for
the included gels and gel holder, theAS-20 crows foot
stand and three manuals. Runs on a CR123 battery.

The exposure compensation can only be turned down about 3 stops.  Need to try using both increase on the SB-900 and decrease on the SB-R200.
Nikon SB-R200
                  speedlight flash
8 pin connector is for the SC-30 cord for Close-up (non CLS camera) operation.

Nikon SB-R200
                  speedlight flash
a single CR123 photo battery powers the SB-R200.

Nikon SB-R200
                  speedlight flash
A problem with the pop-up flash when taking close up photographs is the shadow of the lens falls on the subject.
SB-R200 flash with AS-20 Mount
                taken with pop-up flash showing lens shadow



SB-R200 flash with AS-20 Mount taken as subject
pop-up flash is the main light showing lens shadow.
To eliminate the uneven lighting from the pop-up flash you could just close it,
but then it can not act as the infared remote for the CLS system.
Nikon Close-up using both pop-up
                flash & SB-900 bounce light.


Camera pop-up flash set to TTL 0 correction
Pop-up flash is up
SB-900 in remote mode bounced of ceiling.
Subject (AS-20 on bottom of SB-R200) on desk on a piece of copy paper.
The lens shadow is still present.
Nikon

Camera pop-up flash set to off (-- in menu e3).
Pop-up flash is up to allow the commander mode to control the SB-900
SB-900 in remote mode bounced off ceiling.
Subject (AS-20 on bottom of SB-R200) on desk on a piece of copy paper.
Nikon CLS 3 flash sources, pop-up,
                SB-900 & SB-R200



Nikon CLS 3 flash sources, pop-up, SB-900 & SB-R200
taken in a home made light box where the bottom is copy paper sitting inside the cardboard,
i.e. there's no light from the bottom.
There's still a shadow on the bottom edge.

A collapsible light box is on order and I think it has a suspended bottom that's translucent so light can come from below.


Nikon SB-R200 on
                  AS-20 on Light Stand
The AS-20 has a 1/4-20 socket on the bottom which matches the 1/4-20 stud that's part of the light stand.

One of the advantages of the R1 or R1C1 kits is that they include adapters that mount the SB-R200 flash so it's located at the front of the lens.  This allows the light to fall on the subject directly.  But you can get a very similar result by using the AS-20 stand.

Close Up Photography

The owner's manual for the SB-R200 recommends three Nikon lenses for close-up work:
AF Micro-Nikor 60mm f/2.8D - 8" min. working distance may make lighting difficult
AF Micro-Nikor 105mm f/2.8D - this lens has a good reputation for CU optics and is now reasonably priced.  12" min. working distance
AF Micro-Nikor 200mm f/4D IF-ED - 19" min. working distance. 
The AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED Lens came out after the manual was printed.  The Vibration Reduction (VR) feature should be handy for hand held close up work especially in natural light conditions.

Note the minimum f/stop has no meaning in terms of light gathering since a much smaller f/stop is typically used in order to get a reasonable depth of field.  But it does have meaning in that it relates to the optical design of the lens.  For example there are a number of 105 mm "Micro" lens designs and some are much better for close up photography than others.  The early designs were f/4 (shown as 1:4 on the lens barrel) and are not as good as the later designs that are f/2.8.

For close up work focusing is typically done in Manual mode by moving the camera so Auto Focus is not a requirement.  But AF is nice for regular use of the lens as for portraits, and general shooting.  The only problem with a first generation film lens is the lack of f/stop communication with the camera body.  So manual input to the camera body of the f/stop would be required.  It would seem that any any "Micro" lens with electrical contacts would work as well and any of the newer lenses for close up photography.

SB-400

This is a small speedlight, similar to the SB-R200 or the on camera pop-up flash.  It's part of the CLS.   A big advantage it has over the SB-R200 is that it uses a couple of AA batteries instead of the CR123 in the SB-R200.  There are rechargeable versions of the CR123 (i.e. RCR123) but the selection of chemistry and specifications is huge for the AA and the AA is available on sale.

Although Nikon says this is a CLS flash, it can only be used on a CLS camera as the master unit, i.e. it can NOT be used as a slave flash!
They do say there are no wireless communications channels, that's to say it can not be used as a remote.
After Getting a "3 Pc Hot Shoe Kit Flash Adapter" (eBay search phrase) so that a PC cable could be used to trigger the SB-400, it did not work!
Using metal to short the center hot-shoe terminal to the frame does NOT fire the flash! I confirmed with Nikon that the only way to use the SB-400 is by means of a digital interface like a modern camera from the hot-shoe or using the SC-17 or SC-28 cable.  What a bummer.  I've told Nikon this is a design defect.
Nikon SB-400 flash
Nikon SB-400
                  Flash

250W Studio Light Flash Strobe 110V Photo Light F250

23 Oct 2011 - completely DEAD. Received 4 Aug 2011.  Checked the line cord and it's fine.  Opened panel end and On-Off switch is fine.
The white seal covering one of the bottom screws looked like it may have been applied over another seal, so this may be a refurbished unit.
DEAD 250W Studio
                  Light Flash Strobe 110V Photo Light F250

1
Blu
Yel
Org
Power
Pot
J1
FW
2
Blk
Red
Buz
J5
BUZZ
3
Blk
Red
Ready
Lite
J3
LED
4
Blk
Red
Mode -
J6
LW
5
Blk
Red
TEST
P.B.
J4
TEST
6
Blk
Red
Top
Red
Lite
J2
GM
behind
5
Blk
Red
Sync
J7
SYNC


DEAD 250W Studio
                  Light Flash Strobe 110V Photo Light F250


Fusiton - URL on PCB

DEAD 250W Studio
                  Light Flash Strobe 110V Photo Light F250
The Red and Black wires are from the AC On-Off switch.
The Black wire goes to the Capacitor board and four diodes.
This accomplishes two things, it eliminates the need for a input transformer
and it provides energy storage for the flash

DEAD 250W Studio
                  Light Flash Strobe 110V Photo Light F250


DEAD 250W Studio
                  Light Flash Strobe 110V Photo Light F250
There's an extra (and broken) insulating spacer between the two PCBs, so this probably
is a refurbished unit.

There a burn hole at the left side of the clear plastic insulating sheet indicating a short from
the Capacitor Board to the other board that probably killed the other board.  But the modeling
light should still work but doesn't.

The C board measures 2560 uF. (10 ea 220 uF @ 450 V) which are for the flash tube
& another two 68 uF @ 450 V caps that are the power supply for the other board

The Black AC line wire at the left is connected directly to the yellow wire that feeds both the flash tube
and the modeling light, nothing to go wrong here.

The Red AC line wire on the right needs working electronic parts in order to power the modeling light
which is not happening, so, as stated above, this board has fried components.



This type of strobe is also called a Monolight.  That's because it's self contained unlike the prior studio lights that had a power supply box that sat on the floor plus light heads.  The mono lights are simpler and much more cost effective than the old type studio lights and it's easy and cost effective to expand a system by adding lights.

The two  main motivators for this purchase are to get more light and to eliminate the hassle of using batteries for studio work.  I've been complaining to Nikon to add an AC adapter for the SB-900 or offer a studio light that's CLS compatible and much less expensive than the SB-900 or license someone else to make a CLS compatible studio strobe, but so far nothing has happened.

250 W Studio
                  Light Flash Strobe 110V Photo Light F250 This is a 250 Watt Second strobe light that cost about $80.  It probably has no TTL metering capability. 

There is a Metz 45 Watt Second strobe that retails for about $900 that will work with the TTL metering of the D300s, but that's just too much a premium.  In addition the owner's documentation is very poorly written and illustrated.

I'd guess the SB-900 is about 50 Watt Seconds.  One stop more light would be 100 WS another stop would be 200 WS so the F-250 strobe is a little more than 2 stops brighter.  A better way to compare is using Guide numbers where the ISO number is specified as well as the view agnles (hor & vert), but that gets difficult because the light cones have different shapes, i.e. the SB-900 has a rectangular shaped beam that matches the camera's image format but the studio strobe is far less well defined.  When using the reflective umbrella there's probably an increase in guide number.

But just looking at the below photos shows that the F-250 is much brighter than the SB-900 and there's a huge cost difference (SB-900 is about $500 and the F-250 is about $90).

The paragraph title is the eBay item description.  This is to experiment to see if it will follow the Nikon camera Creative Lighting System (CLS) pulses.  I don't think it will.  But even if not it can still be used as a way to get more light for close-up work where f/32 is needed for depth-of-field.

The light stand and subject were not moved between these two shots.  At left the SB900 is the light source and on the right the F-250 strobe trigered by the on camera flash.
Both photos taken in A mode at f/36.  Images have been cropped but no other changes.  In both photos you can see the bright spot that's the on camera flash.
Shots 1. through 7. takes with D300s & AF-S 105 mm lens.

1. SB-900 Reference shot
SB900
                  w/Umbrella
2. First try F-250 photo eye trigger
F-250
                  w/umbrella
You can see the umbrella in this photo.
Custom Setting Menu/Bracketing Flash/
e3: Flash cntrl for built-in flash: Commander Mode
In this photo the F-250 did not contribute any light.
Custom Setting Menu/Bracketing Flash/
e3: Flash cntrl for built-in flash: Commander Mode
The strobe fired, but no light on subject.
3. CLS mode turned off
A mode f/36 (shutter speed 1.3 sec)
Trigger by PC cable, note no hot spot from on camera flash.
F-250 Flash
                  CLS mode turned off A mode f/36 (shutter speed 1.3
                  sec)
You can see the blur caused by hand holding at 1.3 seconds. 
The image stabilization can not help here.
4. CLS off,
M mode 1/60 @ f/36 trigger using PC cable.
Trigger by PC cable, note no hot spot from on camera flash.
F-250 Flash
                  CLS off, M mode 1/60 @ f/36 trigger using PC cable

5. CLS off, M mode 1/60 @ f/36 trigger usingF-250 photo eye
Note, hot spot from on camera flash.
F-250 Flash
                  CLS off, M mode 1/60 @ f/36 trigger usingF-250 photo
                  eye
6. same as 5. except added SG-3 IR pass filter in front of
on camera flash.
F-250 Flash
                  CLS off, M mode 1/60 @ f/36 trigger usingF-250 photo
                  eye SG-3 IR pass filter in front of D300s flash.
7. same as 6. except soft box added +
SB900 & SB25 used below for bottom light.
same as 6. except
                  soft box added + SB900 & SB25 used below for
                  bottom light.
8. View of setup taken with 18-55 zoom lens
which only stops down to f/25 so it's overexposed.
overall
                view of Monolight F-250 flash setup
The SB-900 and SB-25 on the floor are turned off,
or more correctly the F-250 was left on and I just took
this photo.
I'm going to order a couple more of these strobes.  One for a second main light (or fill light) and another to back illuminate the background.
eBay item title:   Photo Studio Lighting Photo Flash Strobe Light, LF01

Set of Two Studio Light Flash Strobe Monolights

eBay item title: Photo Studio Lighting Photo Flash Strobe Light, LF01
Kit includes:
  2 x 100W Model Light Bulb 
  2 x 200W Flash Light Bulb
  2 x Studio Light Tripod Stand
  2 x Black/Silver Umbrella Reflector
  1 x LS Photo Studio Carry Bag
The the ubmrellas that come with this kit are black on the sky side and silver on the strobe side.  This is less diffuse than the existing umbrella that's translucent and can be positioned with the umbrella between the strobe and subject providing light through the umbrella (from the point of view of the subject the light is much larger.  But for a fill light and background light the provided umbrellas may not be needed.

Note the strobe above is a 250 Watt Second (WS) unit, but the kit includes 200 WS strobes.  The difference is a fraction of a stop and so in not significant.

Set of
                  Two Studio Light Flash Strobe Monolights in Carry
                  Case
This is an early attempt to use the Extract plug-in for Photoshop CS4.  I've done the green pencil outline but have not done any of the History Brush touch up work.  Click on the photo to see a larger version.
Set of Two
                  Studio Light Flash Strobe Monolights Inside Case view
The removal of my floor as the background was done in Photoshop 7 using the erase tool.

In the center of the case there are some case divider parts that have Velcro strips, but this set of parts may not need them or they may need to be modified to really fit.
200 Watt Second Monolight from eBay
                FL-1 Set
The 200 WS Monolights that come with the set have a fixed core, not the IEC type removable line cord that's on the F250 Monolight.  They only have two switches: Main On/Off and Modeling Light On/Off.  The Light Brightness control comes all the way at minimum power, so needs to be turned up to Full power.

For the 200 WS light under the Light Table to show up white the camera needs to be at f/8 or more open.
Shutter speed 1/60 works best, anything faster and there's a slight dimming effect.
D300s Custom Menu, 32 Flash Shutter Speed, 1/60.
Test Photo using Light Table & 3 Monolights.
The highlight level has be adjusted, still not enough light.
Test Photo using
                  Light Table & 3 Monolights
Test Photo using Light Table & 3 Monolights.
The highlight level has be adjusted, still not enough light.
Test Photo using
                  Light Table & 3 Monolights

Pro 7" Reflector for Bowens Strobe

Got this in the hope it would fit either of the above monolights, but it does NOT fit either of them.  The idea was to increase the Guide Number.

The back I.D. is 3.604" (91.5 mm) whereas the nose O.D. of the 200WS & 250 WS strobes is 3.705" (95mm).
Pro 7"
                    Reflector for Bowens Strobe Pro 7"
                    Reflector for Bowens Strobe Modified
Stock
Modified by hacksawing off the ring,
then using Tin Snips to make cuts.
Not fits Monolights.
But it's difficult to compare the light from the 250 WS monolight when using the modified 7" reflector and the same light when using the metalized unbrella because the distance is very different and the softness of the light is verry different.

Yongnuo YN-565EX Flash

This appears to be a knock off of the SB-900 (SB-800?) or similar flash that works with Nikon and Canon cameras including the remote digital modes.
Factory web page - CLS demo video - eBay search - 15 Aug 2011 $165 including shipping from China or Hong Kong

It has a high voltage socket for the SF-18C or SF-17C auxiliary power packs which are the Cannon style (580EX, 550EX), not the Nikon style.
Yongnuo YN-565EX
                  Flash Nikon CLS
Yongnuo YN-565EX
                  Flash Nikon CLS
n = Nikon (not c: Cannon not cn: Cannon or Nikon)
1 = Channel #
A= Group
Yongnuo
                  YN-565EX Flash Nikon CLS

Smith-Victor PL10

Smith-Victor PL10

This is a Photographic Light for standard household Edison base lamps.
In order for the reflector to work properly one of the following lamps
should be used:

Lamp
Color K
BBA
3400
BCA
4800
ECA
3200
The markings on the installed lamp are: BCA #1 3 hours average life.

I think there is no electronics in the box, but rather the heat sinks are there
to help keep the lamp cooler than it otherwise would be.  This product has
been on the market for decades (my father bought this one).

 Wein WP1000 Flash Meter

This was also sold under the Honeywell name and there was a WP500 model.

As received the needle was pointing at f2.8 to f 4 and the screwdriver would not adjust it.  Removing the plastic cover allowed the zero adjustment to work fine.  But when the plastic cover was held near the needle it again moved up scale.  The poblem was static on the plastic.  Getting a Downey cloth from the laundry  room and wiping the plastic and the box and reassembling solved that problem.  Installed a fresh 9V battery.

The dial on the front has no effect on the meter reading, it's a replacement for the paper sticker that was on earlier models of the meter to allow translating the f/number for different film speeds.

The Guide Number of a flash aimed at the meter and 10 feet away is found by switching from off to on and firing the flash.  Multiply the f/stop shown on the meter by 10 feet (or if it was 3 meters away by 3) and the product is the guide number.  The setup as it is not shows f/11 so the guide number is 110.

An on line manual claims that the WP1000 is accurate to 1/6 of a stop, better than the 1/3 stop for the WP500.
Wein WP1000 Flash
                  Meter

The paragraph title above is the eBay item name.  Under $50 half list price.  It got a good review and is accurate to 1/3 f/stop.  Will be used to compare monolights (using various optical arrangements to control their light) and hot-shoe flash units.

As a first test looked at the light from the 250WS monoblock light with silver umbrella.  It's about 1-1/2 feet from the lamp plane to the inside of the umbrella, so placing the light meter 7 feef from the lamp plane results in a reading of f/6.3 or a guide number of 63.  With the umbrella removed and the meter 10 feet from the lamp plane (now facing the meter) the guide number is 50.

The Nikon SB-900 (zoom at 200 mm) at 10 feet is f/8 or a guide number of 80.  This agrees with my limited experience with both units.

Hot-shoe

The original shoe had no electrical connections and was used for mounting camera accessories like range finders with field of view to match a lens.  This was on the early Lieca bodies.  Later it was electrified to make the connection that used to be made using the PC flash cable whose plug had a way of falling out of the socket.
Then additional contacts were added for other functions.  But there was still a problem getting the hot-shoe accessory clamped to the camera.  The most common attachment method was the pinch wheel.  But it tended to jam thus locking the accessory to the camera.

Nikon has introduces a retractable locking pin that's very easy to use and doesn't jam. 
Pinch Wheel hot shoe on RF flash trigger.
Pinch Wheel hot
                  shoe
Notice that there is only a central contact for flash triggering, none of the other contacts.
Nikon hot-shoe socket for locking pin
Nikon
                hot-shoe socket for locking pin
Nikon locking pin for hot-shoe
Nikon
                  locking pin for hot-shoe
SB-25 Speedlight with pinch wheel for hot-shoe
Nikon
                  SB-25 speedlight with pinch wheel for hot-shoe
AS-21 Stand has hole for locking pin
Nikon AS-21
                  Stand has hole for locking pin
On the Shoe Fetish web page by Herbert Keppler he mentions the Minolta FS-1100 that came out in 1988.  This was the introduction of the hole to allow for a locking pin to hold the accessory to the hot shoe, replacing the clamp screw or friction methods.



---(on order) ---
These are Nikon Couplers for Flash Gun, i.e. Hot-shoe adapters.  They were used to add a hot-shoe to the Nikon F SLR.  Note they attach over the film winding crank.  Note the hot-shoe is NOT the standard type with the electrical contact in the center.
Nikon
                Hot-shoe Adapter
This is the botom side that slips over the the Nikon F film rewind crank.
Nikon
                Hot-shoe Adapter
Nikon F - note "V" notches under film rewind crank
Nikon
                  F with FTn Lightmeter - Prisim Finder

This appears to be the current hot-shoe standard where the hot contact is in the center of the shoe.
Nikon
                Hot-shoe Adapter

Nikon
                Hot-shoe Adapter
In this back view of the film rewind crank you can see the two base electrical contacts and the rear hot contact.  Note the notch in the insulating plastic to allow the hot-shoe adapter to be slid on from the back.
Nikon F
                flash contacts at film rewind crank
But there are still problems.

3 Pc Hot Shoe Kit Flash Adapter

Got this to allow an old fashioned PC flash cable to trigger the SB-400.  But the SB-400 does NOT trigger from the center hot-shoe terminal unlike all the other flash guns I've used.
3 Pc Hot Shoe Kit
          Flash Adapter

Manfrotto Clamp

A very handy thing to carry in the camera bag.  Clamps to flat surfaces like doors, shelves, etc or to cylindrical tubing.  See my Nikon SB-25 flash page for more.

Deluxe Strobist Swivel Flash Bracket Umbrella Mount

This is part of a studio lighting setup and is used to hod both the umbrella and a hot-shoe flash on a light stand or camera tripod.  The paragraph heading matches the eBay listing title (@ Amazon).  Photoflex calles it a ShoeMount MultiClamp.
Deluxe
                  Strobist Swivel Flash Bracket Umbrella Mount
Deluxe Strobist Swivel Flash Bracket Umbrella
                  Mount
There are four positions for the metal dumbbell tripod adapters.  The smaller hole is for the umbrella shaft.
The two metal dumbbells each have US thread on one end and European thread on the other end.
They can be installed either along the axis of the clamp or at right angles to the clamp making for a large number of possible setups.  There are teeth between the two parts of the clamp so it will hold it's position better than a friction only swivel.  Don't know why the hole in the female threaded dumbbell.  Let me know why it's there.

Umbrella

This is a translucent white unbrella with no handle, i.e. it's intended for photographic lighting.  Under 11" long closed and abut 32" acorss the flats of the octagon when open.
32" White Translucent Umbrella

The D300s was set so the pop-up flash was off and in A mode set to f/29, i.e. forcing extreme underexposure so that the umbrella illumination can be seen.
SB-900 standing up (largest seperation between the
flash head and the umbrella rod and set to 200 mm.
You can see the area illuminated is far smaller than the
umbrella.
Light
                Stand, Pro Umbrella Clamp, SB-900 Speedlight, Umbrella
Mounting the SB-900 on its side gets it a little closer to
the umbrella rod and changing to 14mm is much better,
but you can see that the right of the umbrella is brighter
than the left side.  This is the best that can be done
with the current mounting hardware.
Light
                Stand, Pro Umbrella Clamp, SB-900 Speedlight, Umbrella
Holding the SB-900 on the umbrella rod with the
hot-shoe backed up against the tripod top is too close
to the umbrella.  i.e. there's some vignetting.
Light
                Stand, Pro Umbrella Clamp, SB-900 Speedlight, Umbrella
Moving the SB-900 back so the joint between the
head and body is over the tripod is about optimum.
But there's no practical way to mount it there.
Light
                Stand, Pro Umbrella Clamp, SB-900 Speedlight, Umbrella
Notice that the lever that's used to tilt the umbrella is on the
same side of the clamp as the flash.  You might think that
the lever would not work, but when the button at the
center of the lever is press it causes the lever to move
out of engagement with a dog and can be moved without
turning the threaded base.

Diffuser on SB-900 installed = 14mm flash coverage.
The 6" offset from the center causes uneven illumination
of the unbrella.  Getting the head closer to the support
rod would help.  If you know of a way using off the
shelf parts let me know.
Light
                Stand, Pro Umbrella Clamp, SB-900 Speedlight, Umbrella
The problem might be solved by using a swivel bracket that has the umbrella
rod hole at an angle rather than, like this bracket parallel to the plane of the hot-shoe.
Umbrella
                Swivel Bracket with Umbrella Hole parallel to the plane
                of the hot-shoe

Shooting Table

The eBay ad says 24" x 51", but they cut the white translucent sheet more like 23-1/2" wide which impacts how you assemble (set the distance between the) rods.
24" x 51" Photography Camera Shooting Table Overall View
You can see the SB-R200 below the table and at the upper right is the SB-900 clamped to the bookcase.
The SB-900 can also be used on the tripod or with the umbrella.
24" x
                51" Photography Camera Shooting Table Overall View
It's very inconvient to turn on and off the SB-R200 that's below the shooting surface.  When the SB-25 is added or replaces the SB-R200 (or the SB-400 is used) it gets more difficult.

Since this is really a studio type application it would be nice to have an AC power supply for all the lights that are under the shooting surface with a switch somewhere that's easy to get to.  This also applies to the SB-900.

2014 - I've quit using any battery powered flash.  The main flash is the E640 and now there are 4 monolights below the table.  The mono lights have built-in photocells and trigger from the main flash.

Using SB-900 as Wired Flash Trigger
As you can see in the photo above the SB-R200 does not light up the "seat" of the shooting table.  I'll try lowering it for more coverage.

7 Jan 2011 - When the SB-900 is in REMote mode the PC socket acts as a trigger.  So, by connecting the SB-900 to the SB-25, the SB-25 is triggered.  This works great for use with the shooting table for lighting from under the translucent surface since the SB-25 has much more power than the SB-R200.

I think by using a universal hot-shoe adapter the SB-400 can be triggered using a PC cable from the SB-900. 
eBay search words:  3 Pc Hot Shoe Kit Flash Adapter

Flash Bracket Grip

The eBay search words are  "Flash Bracket Grip".  It allows mounting the SB-900 with more offset from the lens (should help reduce or eliminate red eye).
Also allows mounting other items high enough above camera like the GPS receiver thus allowing the pop-up flash to work.
Flash Bracket
          Grip

Pocket Wizard RF Remote Flash System

The Pocket Wizard line got rave reviews in the Strobist lighting DVDs.  So I browsed their products and found that they have CLS capability AND that the Einstein E640 Flashpower can be commanded via CLS.  This also works for the AlienBees and White Lightining
MiniTT1-Nikon - fits the hot shoe.
PowerMC2 - specifically to control the Einstein E640 Flash.
FlexTT5-Nikon Transceiver - mounts on camera hot shoe or can be used to mount a speedlight (has hot-shoe socket).  Responds to MiniTT1-Nikon.
Tracks camera f/stop and ISO changes.
AC3 - clips on top of the MiniTT1-Nikon and allows control of three zones (Nikon speak: Groups) and has manual control dials for each group.

Einstein E640 Flash

Has a socket on the top that accepts the MC2 control.  The MC2 will trigger from any of the Pocket Wizard transmitters, but when the NiniTT1-Nikon transmitter is used the CLS system controls the flash power.  For example if I press the exposure compensation button on the D300S and turn the wheel the power level of the E640 changes.  But . . . two things are happening in parallel, the flash output changes by the number of f/stops you select AND the camera changes it's f/stop by the same number, that means the total correction is twice as big.

Nikon D300s DC Power

If you know the max voltage allowed on the external power connector let me know.   This might allow using a cut off cord from the AC adapter with my 10 "D" cell battery holder.

EN-EL3e

Prior to using the D300s for the first time the factory EN-EL3e is 7.4 V, 1500 mAh battery was charged in the MH-18a charger.  After a full day's use the battery was dead.  It looks like I need an A.C. power adapter Ilike I use on the Kodak DC290).  The factory AC supply is either the EH-5 or EH-5a.

2014 - I have the battery charger plugged in with a spare battery in it.  When the camera battery is low, or prior to taking the camera somewhere I swap batteries.

Also have a couple of in camera batteries on order, one is 1800 mAh and the other 2000 mAh, but that's not going to last much longer than the stock 1500 mAh battery.
Nikon Factory En-EL3e 1500 mAh battery
Nikon
                Factory En-EL3e 1500 mAh battery

EN-EL3e 1800 mAh Battery fits Nikon
EN-EL3e
                1800 mAh Battery fits Nikon

EN-EL3e 2000 mAh Battery fits Nikon
EN-EL3e
                2000 mAh Battery fits Nikon

EH-5A AC Adapter for Nikon

Nikon EH-5A
                AC Adapter
Output rated at:
9 VDC @ 4.5 Amps
measures 9.4 Volts open circuit

Input rated at:
100 - 240 VAC 50/60 Hz 88 - 117 VA

The power supply brick and line cord are very similar to those used
for laptop computers.  But the camera power connector is specalized.

If you know of a commercial plug like this one let me know.

Vertical Battery Grip works with either 8 AA or 2 EN-EL3e

Nov 2010 - have a battery holder that mounts below the camera on order.
That way AA batteries can be used when in the field and the in camera battery dies.  I still carry spare EL-type batteries but expect them to be dead when needed.

Nikon Vertical
                  Battery Grip works with either 8 AA or 2 EN-EL3e


Nikon Vertical
                  Battery Grip works with either 8 AA or 2 EN-EL3e


Nikon Vertical
                  Battery Grip works with either 8 AA or 2 EN-EL3e
Nicano DSLR Battery Pack ND300P
comes with two battery trays, one holds 8 AA cells and the other holds 2 EN-EL3e batteries.

Nikon
                Vertical Battery Grip works with either 8 AA or 2
                EN-EL3e
After turning the ring surrounding the vertical shutter release to the (.) position (when in the L position that shutter release is disabled the exposure at left was made using the vertical batterty grip.

The on camera flash was turned off in commander mode and the SB-900 was used bounced off the bathroom ceiling, but you can still see some light from the on camera pop-up flash.

Memory & Data

SD Cards

16GB capacity, PNY Optima

Eye-Fi WiFi Data Transfer

July 30 - It worked for a couple of months then stopped.  I've spend many hours with tech support trying to get it going again to no avail.
At one point they thought the problem was my Eset NOD32 anntivirus software, but removing it did not solve the problem.
It may be been that the SD card got full or that WIN XP SP3 has some problem and since Microsoft no longer supports XP neither does Eye-Fi.
The card does with with a friends Apple iPad Air, so the card and my Wi-Fi network is OK.  It's been a week since tech support said they would get back to me so it looks like it's not going to work.

May 29, 2014 - It's working.  As each photo (.NEF RAW files) it taken it's automatically uploaded to my desktop computer in the proper folder.
The Eye-Fi Pro X2, 8GB+WiFi card is the one I'm using, not the Explore card shown below that does not support RAW files.

This not only will save time, but also the wear and tear on the camera USB socket (I've replaced it once already) or wear and tear on either the CF or SD card sockets.
So, not only faster but no wear and tear on the camera.

Eye-Fi Explore
              X2 8 GB+W-iFi Camera SD Card
The Eye-Fi EXPLORE X2 8GB+WIFI Wireless Secure Digital Card
allows wireless image file uploading to a computer or photo web sight.
It appears that they have a software package you can run on you computer that in addition to the image file management functions includes a firmware upgrade capability for the SD card itself.

My ASUS laptop is running WIN XP SP3 which is a requirement for the Eye-Fi software so that's where I tried to install it.  BUT . . . there have been numerous problems and so far I have not been able to get it to work.  The first problem was the "Unable to connect eye-fi server" error message that appeared when trying to load my wireless network settings into the card.  This was fixed by turning off the firewall and Avast anti virus.  Turning these on again resulted in the card being installed.  But, when trying to enable photo file downloading the error message is now "You must be connected to the internet to change this option" so cannot enable the key function needed.  The latest message from Eye-Fi support is that I need to uninstall my Avast anti virus software.  More later . . .

9 Feb 2012 - The CF-30 Toughbook laptop is running WIN XP Pro SP3 and has my digital camera software on it.  After fighting with the Eye-Fi installation finally got it to sort of work.  The D300s Menu settings:
  • The Explorer X2 8GB SD card is set to: ON
  • primary storage device: CF card
  • Secondary storage device: RAW to primary, jpeg to secondary.  This way the Expolre X2 card gets the jpeg file it can handle.
  • jpeg: highest quality, not file size.
I've ordered one of the Eye-Fi Pro X2 8GB cards that supports NEF raw file transfers ($15 on eBay),  Well, eBay has canceled the Buy It Now auction after I paid for the card.  Now to see if the seller is going to ship it or do I need to put in a claim for a refund.

2014 - Got a Pro X2 card a year or two ago and synchronized it with the CF-30 laptop.  But it turns out that I do 99.9% of my photography in the studio using studio flash, so haven't really made use of it.  But once had the CF-30 in the studio for another reason and it was powered up, and it did download each photo I took.  So now need to install and configure the Eye-Fi software on my desktop computer.

2014 - downloaded the latest WIN software and tried to reset my password, but . . .that did not work.  Waiting for tech support.
Tech support is a problem because the options you MUST fill in to get support do not include what I'm doing.
Got some help and now it seems to be working.  Required using an SD to USB adapter to connect the Eye-Fi card directly to the desktop computer, can not use the USB cable to the camera.

It's not clear when the RAW files get uploaded.  Maybe by themselves or maybe only when I open the Eye-Fi Center.
NOTE: when you open the Eye-Fi center a second window opens directly on top of the center and you need to click the small x in the upper right to see the center.

CF Cards

8 GB capacity 30MB/sec SanDisk Ultra

USB Cable

USB-A to 5-pin
            Mini-B Cable

The USB-Amale to USB-Bmale Mini cable is 99 on eBay (including postage)
Note:  This is NOT a USB micro cable which has a smaller connector.
2014 - Got a new cable that's 10 feet long allowing plugging into the back of my desktop computer (to avoid the hub which seems to solve some problems).

Remote Control

Self Portraits

The key issue is getting focus.  The problem is that when the shutter release is at the half way position the focus is set.  So if you set the self timer and press the shutter the focus is set at the time you pressed the shutter, not the time when the exposure happens.  Possible ways to get focused images:
For movie self portraits the remote will not work since you need to press the center of the navigation button on the back of the camera to start/stop a movie.  In a similar manner neither the self focus nor the slef timer works when doing a self portrait.  Use manual focus, use a small opening (high f/number) and increase the ISO speed to a high value (200 stock, set to 1000) so that you don't need flood lights.

Wireless Remote Shutter

This is a 433 MHz RF wireless shutter release that mates to the Nikon 10-pin connector.  Note there are other versions that look very similar but have a different camera connector.  Marked Meike MK-RC6. 

The remote uses a CR2 coin cell battery.
The camera receiver uses a 23A 12V battery.

28 Sep 2011 - received two new 23A batteries and still the receiver is not working.  The battery in the receiver was hot to the touch after being installed just a few minutes.  It tests about 1/3 of full charge.  The other new battery tests 100% of charge.  Something has gone bad inside the receiver.  Not sure how to get it opened up. Removing the screw between the hot-shoe and switches and peeling back the battery polarity diagram does not free up the two halves.  If you know how to open it let me know.

Note pressing the large button on the receiver when there's no battery in the receiver causes the camera to take a photo.  During all these tests I've not seen any LED on the receiver light up.

Nikon RF Meike
                  MK-RC6 Wireless Remote Shutter
Nikon RF Meike
                  MK-RC6 Wireless Remote Shutter

Nikon RF Meike
                  MK-RC6 Wireless Remote Shutter
The label says 3V....20ma, but clearly the 23A battery is
marked 12V.
Nikon RF
                  Meike MK-RC6 Wireless Remote Shutter
The battery compartment holds a 12V type 23A battery
Nikon RF
                  Meike MK-RC6 Wireless Remote Shutter



It turns out that the Pocket Wizard flash system can also be used to
trigger an exposure.

Wired Remote Shutter Release Cable

This works reliability and does not need any batteries.  It's only problem is that it's about 1 meter long, not enough for a portrait.

Nikon Wired
                  Remote Shutter Release Cable RS-3004 MC-30?
The rectangle part surrounding the 2-stage shutter release
button can be slid upward locking the button in the down
position to make long time exposures when the camera
is in the Bulb shutter mode.

May be similar to the Nikon MC-30 cable.
Marked RS-3004 Remote Switch.
Probably works on any Nikon with the 10-pin connector.
eBay search terms:  "Wired Remote Control for Nikon D3"

MC-21 Shutter Release Extension Cord (10' 3" - 3 m)


Nikon MC-21
                  10-pin Shutter Extension Cord
The instruction sheet says up to three of these ten foot cords can be connected in seires to make a thirty foot extension.
But just one of these and the MC-30 shutter release cable will give enough length to make self portraits using up to _____ mm lens.

WT-4a WiFi LAN Control (Nikon)

This is a full 2-way remote control based on IEEE 802 WiFi. If you have a home WiFi network it has more advantages.
When used with Camera Control Pro 2 software you have full remote control.
Without the CCP 2 software you can automatically download images from the camera to a computer.

Nikon has already patented the idea of building 802 WiFi into the camera body, but so far these have not come on the market.

Eye-Fi

This is a Compact Flash card that can plug into a camera that uses them for memory (like the Nikon D300s).  But it's so picky about the configuration of the computer that I was not able to get it to work.  It's a one way download system that can send photos to your computer or if you're in a WiFi hot spot, home Wi-Fi system or to a designated photo hosting site.

Wireless USB

The idea is to use a pair of wireless USB adapters, one at the computer and the other at the camera to achieve wireless control, photo downloading or tethering.  The trickey part is that the camera wireless USB adapter needs a 5 Volt supply and a USB to USB printed circuit board to allow injecting the DC.  See:
PeteTether 1.1 - A Wireless Portable USB tether

Experiments

X-Connect Wireless USB Data Kit
After installing the software on the CF-30 laptop and connecting the rightangle dongle to the laptop and the straight dongle to it's stand-power adapter and the stand to the D60 camera, Nikon Camera Control Pro 2.9 will talk to the D60 with a wireless link.
Wireless USB Link
            Experiments
But when the X-Connect vertical stand-power adapter is replaced by a USB hub with external power the wireless link no longer works.
Wireless USB
                    Link Experiments Wireless
                    USB Link Experiments
With Wireless USB dongle in top port - does not link With Wireless USB dongle in side port - does not link


The X-Connect stand-power adapter just has two USB connectors
with their pins soldered to each other (no PCB) and the negative PS
pin soldered to the shell.  The center pin from the external power
module is soldered to the + USB pin.



Why does the hub cause the link to quit working?  Maybe it's the voltage difference, X-Connect 6V and Staples USB Hub 5 V.


Filters

Lens Chart

Lens
Filter - Lens Cap Size
Nikkor-Q Auto 1.4 f=20cm 52mm
AF 35-70mm f2.8 D 62mm
AF-S 18-55mm ED 52mm
Tamron 80-210 mm AF 52mm
300mm f/2.8 ED AI-S 39mm1
AF Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G ED-IF AF-S VR 62mm
Note 1: Internal not front of lens

62 mm

Got this set of 6 filters but they came in a BLACK pouch, so you can't tell which is which!  Someone was not thinking.  I've cut up some 3x5 cards and put the white side behind each filter.
62 mm Filter set as received
6 color
                filters 62 mm Black pouch

Without a Polarizing Filter
Nikon D300s
                w/o Polarizing Filter showing Reflection
With Polarizing Filter adjusted to cancel reflection
Nikon D300s
                w/ Polarizing Filter showing Reflection



Tripod Slik F740


To use the camera in the kitchen to make YouTube Videos a tripod that would not dent the floor and one that would not spread was needed.  The Arri movie camera tripod was not suitable and the cheap flimsy one is not stable enough so I got a Silk F740 from the local camera store.  This is a purchase that's best done in person so that you can evaluate the tradeoff between cost and stability.

Note:  Purchased at the local camera store.  That way I can see the tradeoff between steadiness, price and weight.
Slik F740.

The tilt mechanism is locked by turning the handle.  The handle is plastic and has a 1/4-20 threaded rod that goes into the head.
That rod works to tighten a slot around the tilt drum.  In order to do that the 1/4-20 rod screws into a common nut that sits in a hex plastic pocket.  But when you mount something heavy and tighten the handle it can split the plastic near the nut and also pull the rod out of the handle.  This is the problem with plastic parts used in mechanical applications.

I got a spare head, but it split again, probably because the handle was also defective.  Next I'll send it to southern California and let them repair it.

I like it for portability and it works fine with just a camera and normal lens, but not for telephoto lens or other heavy items.
Silk F740 Tripod
Instead of having a 1/4-20 male thread as is commonly used on U.S. camera tripod heads, it has a quick release head similar to the Arca-Swiss (factory web site) type (Wiki) BUT the Silk is 42mm x 42mm (a little larger than 1-5/8") and the Acra-Swiss is 37mm x 37mm (a little smaller than 1-1/5") so not compatible.
Silk F740 Tripod
                Camera Plate
Tripods that have Acra-Swiss compatible heads are:
Acratech -
Arca-Swiss -
Giottos -
Henjar - eBay standard products - custom prod avail
Kirk Photo -
Markins - Markins North America -
Really Right Stuff (RRS) -
Wimberley - heads, QR related, no tripods
Silk F740 Tripod
                Head
July 2013.
The part that the handle screws into has broken.  Turning the handle locks the head up-down tilt movement.
The plastic has broken away from the nut.
The problem is caused by the weight of the 105mm close up lens and the need to point it down.
It would be good to add a counter weight.

Within a day I have p/n: 3/1-K615-52-6 on order for a total under $10 including shipping and tax.
The California office phone is:  800-421-1141

Slik F740 Broken up-down tilt part


Ultra Compact Light Stand

When collapsed this light stand is a little over20" long.
20" when collapsed
Ultra Compact Light Stand
37" Tall min usable height. 
Note the legs fold upwards.
Ultra Compact Light Stand

91" (7' 7") fully extended
Ultra Compact Light Stand
The inside of the top clamp has been filed to widen the gap and it's now working properly.
Ultra
                Compact Light Stand

The top uses the same dumbbell shape as is used by the Monfrado clamp and the umbrella mount and has a 1/4-20 male thread.  The bad news is that the top clamp is not tight against the top extension, you can see an air gap between the inside of the clamp and the top extension tube.  The clamp and knob should not have been in this photo, but are because they do not work properly.
Ultra Compact Light Stand

The top slot is too narrow and bottoms before the top extension tube can be clamped.
At the bottom there are a couple of Teflon anti-friction sleeves and a rubber seal that
causes the tube to act like a bicycle pump and provide an air cushion as the tube moves down.
Ultra Compact Light Stand

SB-900 on Umbrella Mount on Light Stand.
The hot-shoe clamp is not wrapping around the foot on the SB-900.  It's not as reliable as I'd like.  The umbrella has not arrived.  It will go in the empty hole just above the pivot axis.
Nikon SB-900
                  Flash on Umbrella Mount on Light Stand
The hot-shoe clamp has an angled tip and is either clamping to the shoe or the tip is touching the block just above the metal shoe.
Note that the SB-900 hot-shoe lock is not being used.
Nikon
                    SB-900 Flash on Umbrella Mount on Light Stand

Spring Clamp

These have a spigot/stud topped with 1/4-20 male thread.  The spigot is held on by a couple of hex head screws, one of which you can see in the photo.
Photography Spring
          Clamp

Collapsible Soft Box Light Tent 16"

This is made of fabric and metal hoops and so can be carries in a bag that's about 8" in diameter and 3" thick.  In includes colored backdrops.
Soft Box in Carry Bag
Collapsible
                  Soft Box Light Tent 16"
Soft Box Expanded with Black, Red, Blue & White Backdrops. 
Note slit on top surface to insert camera lens.  This panel is held
onto the rest of the soft box by velcro.

Collapsible
                  Soft Box Light Tent 16"
Collapsible Soft Box Light Tent 16" on plastic kitchen bowl with SB-R200
Collapsible
                  Soft Box Light Tent 16" on plastic kitchen bowl
                  with SB-R200
By placing the SB-R200 on the floor pointing up (the AS-20 stand is just right)
then a large kitchen plastic bowl is placed over the speedlight (the bottom of the bowl acts as a diffuser, although an additional diffuser would be good).  Then the soft box (light tent).

With the SB-R200 as Group B (the SB-900 is Group A) and with EV compensation set to -1.0 the SB-R200 lights up the bottom of the subject.  This is how the photos of the ND300P Vertical Battery Grip were taken.

You can see the light from the SB-200 in this photo.  In addition the pop-up flash and the SB-900 are adding light.

2014 - I now just sit it on the light table that's part of the strobe flash studio.

Collapsible Reflector Diffuser

This is handy to use with the SB-900 when the SB-900 is in the remote mode and the reflector is used as a backdrop, like for the garden club flower photos.

Carry Case

Lowe Pro Runner 200 AW

Note: Purchased at the local camera store so that I could see the quality and how the camera fit with lens attached.
Hint:  When photographing long subjects, like this camera case, it's good to frame them in the viewfinder on a diagonal and later rotate the image.  That way there are more pixels on the subject.

SB-900 Direct D300s: A mode f/22
SB-900 Bounce D300s: P mode
SB-900
                  Direct D300s: A f/22
SB-900
                  Bounce D300s: P mode
As of Dec 2010 this carry case no longer can hold the D300s and the accessories shown on this page.  It may be that a second case (details to be determined) can be used to hold the lighting related equipment.

GPS

The D300s and other digital SLR cameras support GPS data logging of each shot.  But the Nikon GP-1 and most of the after market GPS camera accessories do not include heading information.  The only on camera solution that I've found is the MetaGPS model M2 (the M0 and M1 models do not include heading).

Geotagged photos can be uploaded to Panoramio which will show up in Google Maps if done properly.  Geocoding photos using any GPS.
Wiki:  Geotagged photograph, EXchangeable Image File format (EXIF) "The specification uses the existing JPEG, TIFF Rev. 6.0, and RIFF WAV file formats, with the addition of specific metadata tags. It is not supported in JPEG 2000, PNG, or GIF."

Another way of getting photos on Google Maps or Google Earth is to use the Locr software.  It allows adding position info to photographs or videos based on a GPS track file or on street address.  Has an uploading function to Google that includes file converion to  .KML or .KMZ file format

Meta GPS M2

The M0 and M1 models don't have the magnetic compass for bearing info.
When used the first time in a location far from the last use a GPS receiver may need 15 minutes to get a fix.  But this receiver (uses SiRF chip set) got a fix in a couple of minutes.

Meta GPS Nikon model M2 with Magnetic Comapass


Note the neck strap to hot shoe adapter
 is not a good idea if you want bearing information,
 for that hte GPS receiver needs to be
on the camera hot-shoe.
Meta GPS for
                  Nikon model M2 with Magnetic Comapass

Data from D300s with GPS

Adobe Photoshop CS4: FILE / File Info.../ Raw Data
Adobe Photoshop 7:      FILE / File Info.../ EXIF
Scroll down to see the GPS data that's shown in bold font.
Photo taken
                with Nikon D300s & Meta GPS M2
<?xpacket begin="" id="W5M0MpCehiHzreSzNTczkc9d"?>
<x:xmpmeta xmlns:x="adobe:ns:meta/" x:xmptk="Adobe XMP Core 4.2.2-c063 53.352624, 2008/07/30-18:12:18        ">
   <rdf:RDF xmlns:rdf="http://www.w3.org/1999/02/22-rdf-syntax-ns#">
      <rdf:Description rdf:about=""
            xmlns:xmp="http://ns.adobe.com/xap/1.0/">
         <xmp:CreatorTool>Ver.1.01 </xmp:CreatorTool>
         <xmp:ModifyDate>2010-11-26T10:05:53-08:00</xmp:ModifyDate>
         <xmp:CreateDate>2010-11-26T10:05:53-08:00</xmp:CreateDate>
         <xmp:MetadataDate>2010-11-26T10:05:53-08:00</xmp:MetadataDate>
      </rdf:Description>
      <rdf:Description rdf:about=""
            xmlns:tiff="http://ns.adobe.com/tiff/1.0/">
         <tiff:ImageWidth>4288</tiff:ImageWidth>
         <tiff:ImageLength>2848</tiff:ImageLength>
         <tiff:BitsPerSample>
            <rdf:Seq>
               <rdf:li>8</rdf:li>
               <rdf:li>8</rdf:li>
               <rdf:li>8</rdf:li>
            </rdf:Seq>
         </tiff:BitsPerSample>
         <tiff:Compression>1</tiff:Compression>
         <tiff:PhotometricInterpretation>2</tiff:PhotometricInterpretation>
         <tiff:Orientation>1</tiff:Orientation>
         <tiff:SamplesPerPixel>3</tiff:SamplesPerPixel>
         <tiff:PlanarConfiguration>1</tiff:PlanarConfiguration>
         <tiff:XResolution>300/1</tiff:XResolution>
         <tiff:YResolution>300/1</tiff:YResolution>
         <tiff:ResolutionUnit>2</tiff:ResolutionUnit>
         <tiff:Make>NIKON CORPORATION</tiff:Make>
         <tiff:Model>NIKON D300S</tiff:Model>
      </rdf:Description>
      <rdf:Description rdf:about=""
            xmlns:dc="http://purl.org/dc/elements/1.1/">
         <dc:creator>
            <rdf:Seq>
               <rdf:li>BROOKE CLARKE                       </rdf:li>
            </rdf:Seq>
         </dc:creator>
         <dc:format>image/tiff</dc:format>
         <dc:rights>
            <rdf:Alt>
               <rdf:li xml:lang="x-default">2010                                                  </rdf:li>
            </rdf:Alt>
         </dc:rights>
      </rdf:Description>
      <rdf:Description rdf:about=""
            xmlns:exif="http://ns.adobe.com/exif/1.0/">
         <exif:ExifVersion>0221</exif:ExifVersion>
         <exif:FlashpixVersion>0100</exif:FlashpixVersion>
         <exif:ColorSpace>1</exif:ColorSpace>
         <exif:DateTimeOriginal>2010-11-26T10:05:53-08:00</exif:DateTimeOriginal>
         <exif:DateTimeDigitized>2010-11-26T10:05:53-08:00</exif:DateTimeDigitized>
         <exif:ExposureTime>10/200</exif:ExposureTime>
         <exif:FNumber>220/10</exif:FNumber>
         <exif:ExposureProgram>3</exif:ExposureProgram>
         <exif:ISOSpeedRatings>
            <rdf:Seq>
               <rdf:li>200</rdf:li>
            </rdf:Seq>
         </exif:ISOSpeedRatings>
         <exif:ExposureBiasValue>0/6</exif:ExposureBiasValue>
         <exif:MaxApertureValue>30/10</exif:MaxApertureValue>
         <exif:MeteringMode>5</exif:MeteringMode>
         <exif:LightSource>0</exif:LightSource>
         <exif:Flash rdf:parseType="Resource">
            <exif:Fired>False</exif:Fired>
            <exif:Return>0</exif:Return>
            <exif:Mode>0</exif:Mode>
            <exif:Function>False</exif:Function>
            <exif:RedEyeMode>False</exif:RedEyeMode>
         </exif:Flash>
         <exif:FocalLength>700/10</exif:FocalLength>
         <exif:SensingMethod>2</exif:SensingMethod>
         <exif:FileSource>3</exif:FileSource>
         <exif:SceneType>1</exif:SceneType>
         <exif:CustomRendered>0</exif:CustomRendered>
         <exif:ExposureMode>0</exif:ExposureMode>
         <exif:WhiteBalance>0</exif:WhiteBalance>
         <exif:DigitalZoomRatio>1/1</exif:DigitalZoomRatio>
         <exif:FocalLengthIn35mmFilm>105</exif:FocalLengthIn35mmFilm>
         <exif:SceneCaptureType>0</exif:SceneCaptureType>
         <exif:GainControl>0</exif:GainControl>
         <exif:Contrast>0</exif:Contrast>
         <exif:Saturation>0</exif:Saturation>
         <exif:Sharpness>0</exif:Sharpness>
         <exif:SubjectDistanceRange>0</exif:SubjectDistanceRange>
         <exif:GPSVersionID>2.2.0.0</exif:GPSVersionID>
         <exif:GPSLatitude>39,11.4155N</exif:GPSLatitude>.............................39:11:4155 North
         <exif:GPSLongitude>123,9.8526W</exif:GPSLongitude>.....................123:09:8526 West
         <exif:GPSAltitudeRef>0</exif:GPSAltitudeRef>
         <exif:GPSAltitude>270/1</exif:GPSAltitude> ................................................270 meters elev.
         <exif:GPSTimeStamp>2010-11-26T18:05:53-08:00</exif:GPSTimeStamp>
         <exif:GPSSatellites>06</exif:GPSSatellites>
         <exif:GPSImgDirectionRef>M</exif:GPSImgDirectionRef>
         <exif:GPSImgDirection>5900/100</exif:GPSImgDirection>................................59 deg
         <exif:GPSMapDatum>         </exif:GPSMapDatum>
      </rdf:Description>
      <rdf:Description rdf:about=""
            xmlns:photoshop="http://ns.adobe.com/photoshop/1.0/">
         <photoshop:ColorMode>3</photoshop:ColorMode>
         <photoshop:ICCProfile>sRGB IEC61966-2.1</photoshop:ICCProfile>
      </rdf:Description>
   </rdf:RDF>
</x:xmpmeta>
When the GPS is connected to the camera you can see it's output on the LCD screen in the SETUP MENU under GPS \ Position.  The data fields will be blank until the GPS gets a fix.  The North arrow in the photo at right was with the camera held close to 0 or 360 degrees.
Nikon GPS tif file EXIF test
.tif files don't display on web pages
Nikon GPS gif file EXIF test
Nikon GPS
                gif file EXIF test

Software

Photoshop

I've been using Photoshop (7, CS4) for some time mainly to erase the background.  This is done manually using the Pan Opacity Flow Airbrush set for 5 pixels.  Prior to erasing the histogram is adjusted to remove the ends of the curve where there's no data and possibly adjust the gamma so that the subject can be seen against the background.  Where this is the hardest is when a black subject is sitting on white paper and it's hard to see into the shadows.  This can be improved on by using more diffuse light and/or a light box.

CS4 has a number of features that depend of stacking multiple images.  This can be used to increase the dynamic range (HDR - High Dynamic Range) or to obtain a depth of focus that would be impossible to do with a single exposure.

I think there's also a way to make corrections for lens aberrations.  I first learned about this idea while reading about he Hasselbald digital camera's software.  There are software packages that include lens corrections for Nikon lenses.

Remote operation (Tethered) software is another interest.  As of 2014 I haven't spent any time getting that to work, but I'm trying again to get the Eye-Fi card to work.

I'm now working on Micro Photography and it would be good to not disturb the camera so the ability to remote control the camera and in parallel see an HDMI image on a big screen makes a lot of sense.  I'll post more on the Micro Photography web page as this develops.

Nikon Camera Control Pro

This software package should allow tethered operation of the D300s.  See details below.

Two big problems are:
1) no support for Creative Lighting System (CLS)
2) no support for making videos

Digital Enhancements that are Not possible with Film

Lens Correction

I first read about this idea in connection with the modern Hasselblad digital cameras.  They have a software package that corrects the raw image file to take into account any aberrations in the lens that was used to take the photo.  This can also be done in Photoshop if the correction factors are known for the lens of concern.  There are also programs that make lens corrections for various Nikon lens designs.   I think any software package that can make lens corrections can also make geometrical corrections, but not vice-versa.

High Dynamic Range

Photoshop has the ability to stack a number of images that were all exposed so that one has highlight detail and another had shadow detail.  When combined the composite image has a range of detail that far exceeds what can be captured in a single exposure.  This can be done to some extent inside the D300s either as part of the original exposure or as a post processing step inside the camera.

Depth Of Focus

In a manner similar to the stacking for exposure range it's also possible to stack a number of images, all exposed properly and at the same f/stop but that are focused at different distances into the scene.  The result is a photo that has more depth of field than is possible to capture with a camera.

Working with RAW (Nikon Electronic File NEF) Files

NEF is a Nikon propritory file format where there has been the smallest amount of processing in the camera and so is the most flexible file format when it comes to digital image processing.  The Camera Raw plug-in for Photoshop is a free plug-in allowing photoshop to import the NEF file.

The common image adjustments such as luminance curve, color balance, hue, saturation, etc. are typically all part of the RAW converion software.

Noise Reduction - Noise

All digital cameras have some noise in each of the image planes.  Some of the noise can be reduced in software.

Remote Control - Rem

The idea is to operate the camera remotely.  This involves seeing what the camera sees and controling all the settings of the camera.

Tethered Operation - Tether

This is different from remote control.  The idea is to have the images from the camera automatically loaded onto a computer where you can see on a larger (and hopfully color calibrated) screen the image you just shot.  This no only lets you better understand the quality of the image but also eliminates the problem of limited in camera storage space.  The latter is extreamly important when working with huge image sizes.

My idea of tethered operation is that it's automatic.  For example the Eye-Fi SD card can be setup so it automatically uploads images as they are taken.  While Photoshop can import emages using the File menu it does not automatically upload them so can not be considered a teathered application.

Table

I don't have all these programs and am trying to understand what each one does.  Not an easy task since they all assume you know already.  The Yes (Y) marks in the table are my best understanding and the blank squares are where I don't know.  If I knew better there might be some No (N) table entries.  Probably better than Y or N entries would be a numeric scale between 0 and 5 where 0 means No and 5 means does it very well.  Also the version of the software matters.  For example you need Photoshop at or above CS4 do do some of these things.
Brand
Description
NEF
Noise
Lens
HDR
DOF
Rem
Tether
Adobe

Camera Raw (a plug-in for Photoshop) Y






Lightroom 3 (an add on to Photoshop) Y
Y
Y



Y
Photoshop Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
N
N
Bibble Labs Professional fast image processing







Breeze Systems
NKRemote






DxO Optics Pro
Y
Y
Y




Neat Image (a plug-in for Photoshop)
Y





Nikon

Camera Control Pro 2




Y
Y
Capture NX2 Y






PhaseOne
Capture One Pro (C1 Pro) Y
Y
Y
Y

Y
Y
Picture Code
Noise Ninja






Camera Control Pro 2

Dec 22, 2010 - You can download a free trial version of CCP2 from the NikonUSA web page along with the users manual.
There is no support for movies or Creative Lighting System (CLS) in version 2.8.0 with the D300s, but I get the feeling that Nikon will support this in future versions.
Also note there is no control of the SB-900 other than simple EV or exposure compensation i.e. camera controls, not SB-900 controls.
What you get is the CD-ROM box and a disk.
Nikon
                  Camera Control Pro 2 Cd box

Nikon Camera Control Pro 2.8.0 Exposure 1 screen
Nikon
                  Camera Control Pro 2.8.0 Exposure 1 screenNote:
Exposure Compensation and Flexible Program are active controls (P mode) but the other controls are grayed out.

When the SB-900 is installed the Flash Compensation control becomes active.
How to use the Creative Lighting System (CLS) flash controls that can be accessed manually on the camera?
Answer: No CLS support.
Suggestion:
Show the Information screen on the back of the camera in the Control software along with the buttons and navigation controls so that anything that can be done on the camera can be done remotely.

Nikon Camera Control Pro 2.8.0 Exposure 2 screen
Nikon
                  Camera Control Pro 2.8.0 Exposure 2 screen

Nikon Camera Control Pro 2.8.0 Storage screen
Nikon
                  Camera Control Pro 2.8.0 Storage screen

Nikon Camera Control Pro 2.8.0 Mechanical screen
Nikon
                  Camera Control Pro 2.8.0 Mechanical screen

Nikon Camera Control Pro 2.8.0 Image Processing screen
Nikon
                  Camera Control Pro 2.8.0 Image Processing Screen

Nikon Camera Control Pro 2.8.0 Live View Screen
Nikon
                  Camera Control Pro 2.8.0 Live View ScreenNote:
CCP2 2.8.0 does NOT allow movie control with the D300s.  But does allow movie control with the D7000.  So a future version may support movies.

I think that only with cameras that have Live View mode can you see what the image will look like.


To use CCP2 with the Nikon D300s requires both the latest version (2.8.0) AND WIN XP SP3.  This is a problem for my desktop computer because the graphics card I'm now using does not work with SP3 (i.e. this computer is on SP2).  For now I'll install the trial version of 2.8.0 on a laptop that's running WIN XP SP3 and if that works use the product key on that computer.  Then decide wheather or not to upgrade the graphics card on this desktop computer.

It's working in the free trail mode on my WIN XP SP3 laptop.

Second Nikon Digital Camera

It would be handy to have a second Nikon digital camera to take photos of the D300s in connection with other photo equipment, i.e. to no longer be using the Kodak DC290.  Some features that would be required are:

Related

Photography
Nikon SB-25 Flash & Manfrotto Clamp
Arri Tripod
eBay Camera Idea

Links

Breeze Systems - Remote Control software and Photobooth application

Brooke's PRC68, Products for Sale, Personal Home Page
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