Tag Archives: Nikon D5200

Supercars video with the Nikon D5200

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Shooting Supercars with the Nikon D5200 was a Real Thrill

The Video Quality was Superb from this DSLR

A couple of weeks ago we got the chance to shoot some video for one of our clients who run supercar track days in Scotland. We wanted to get plenty of stock video so that, over the next few weeks, we could put together a selection of movies to advertise their next visit to the track. We had a really great day – the weather was superb and the crowds were really enthusiastic. The great thing about Supercars Scotland is that they are so enthusiastic about cars. It is infectious. I am not a petrol head by any means (I’ve got a boring Saab) but they took me round the track a couple of times on the Lambo (that’s a Lamborghini Gallardo, if you didn’t know…) and it literally took my breath away. It’s not just the acceleration, it’s the awesome breaking power of these cars that amazes you.

Anyway, I took the Nikon D5200 along. We were using a Nikon D800, D3s and Panasonic AF100 for the main action shots, but I was to shoot some of the drop in segments. The light was really bright, so I made sure to drop the picture profile down to neutral and focussed on doing the fronts of the cars. We have a make shift slide system made from some plastic piping and so I shot the from to the orange Lambo with that. Although we were planning to put music over most of the video, I didn’t want the noise, or inconsistency of the autofocus, so I used AF to focus and then switched it off on the lens. That way the Lambo stayed in focus even when other cars were in the shot. Next time I shall try to focus from one to the other.

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Other than changing the picture profile from standard to neutral and controlling the focussing, I left everything on auto. Let me know what you think!

Here is one of the finished videos….

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Now is the time to buy your Nikon D5200

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Now is the time to buy your Nikon D5200

Prices have flattened, the holidays are coming

Nikon D5200 digital camera with standard lensIf you haven’t bought your Nikon D5200 yet, then this is the perfect time to buy. The prices have stabilized and the camera stores fighting between themselves to get your money. Whilst the Nikon website is holding out for $800/£719.99 for a body and $900/£819.99 for the body and 18-55mm kit lens, (we don’t recommend getting the 18-105mm lens) you can get them for $700/£499 and $800/£571 respectively on the internet. Check out our prices below. We don’t think they are going to change much before the end of the summer. It is a great deal – the camera produces superb stills and videos and the 24mp chip is a cracker. Combined with the faster processor and the 39 focus points, you are getting a lot of camera for your money.

And if you have bought your D5200, why not try out our D5200 manual. It is full of tips and information to help you take great pictures and movies. It is only $10/£7 and we will update it for free. We are currently working on a video section which should be available shortly.

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In the meantime, please drop into our YouTube channel to catch up on some great advice and helpful videos. Recently we have put up a full review of the D5200 and also a video explaining the abbreviations on lenses made by Nikon Sigma and Tamron. Some more tips on night time photography are to follow. If you have any questions, that is probably the best place to contact us.

Nikon Lens Abbreviations

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What do those initials mean in the side of your lens?

 Getting the right lens for your Nikon camera

A detail of a nikon lens Different manufacturers identify the different features of their lenses with different initials or abbreviations. These can be quite confusing and so we thought it would be a good idea to go through the most common ones, so that you know what to look for. It is important to know what your Nikon lens can do, because some lenses will not be appropriate for your camera.

Firstly though, two very basic settings

MM or focal length of the lens. So the larger the number, the longer the focal length, the higher the magnification and the further you can see with it. The human eye is about 30mm (though there are different interpretations of this), so if you want to see more than that you want a higher number. For example, sports lenses tend to be big, perhaps 300 – 1000mm, so that they can get close to the action. They also tend to be fast…

Which brings us on to aperture. The aperture of a lens is known as the F number or F-stop. Often the widest aperture is shown on the lens. So an f4 means that the widest aperture on that lens is f4 – though it will have other settings, probably going down to f22. If the lens has two numbers – for example f4-5.6 – then it means that the lens has a variable aperture. This means that when you zoom the lens in and out, the aperture will change. This can be annoying when shooting stills, but a nightmare if you are shooting video. The bigger the number, the smaller the aperture. Again, a sports lens would be f2.8 or so, so that the shutter speed can keep up with the action.

Now some of the abbreviations:

DX Means that the lens is built for DX cameras like the D3000, D5000, D7000 series cameras. They tend to be smaller and lighter than FX lenses and the focal length doesn’t change – if you put an fx lens on a dx camera the focal length will change. It will be increased by a factor of 1.5 or 1.3, so a 50mm lens would become a 65mm or 75mm lens. If you buy a 50mm dx lens and put it on a dx camera, the focal length will remain 50mm

IF Means internal focus. This means that the front of the lens doesn’t move – so you can attach filters to the lens either clear filters to protect the lens, or polarisers or neutral density filters to change the light going into the lens.

ED Means extra low dispersion. This is supposed to reduce the amount of chromatic abberation, which is the blue/red tinge you can sometimes see on edges when you blow pictures up.

AF-S Means Autofocus the lens has an internal motor for focusing, it might also use the initials SWM for silent wave motor. Because the D5200 doesn’t have an internal motor, if you want your lens to auto focus, it must have an internal motor

VR Means vibration reduction and is designed to reduce the effects of camera shake. Very useful for low light hand held photography, and in big lenses which are hard to keep steady. Because this is automatic, you must switch this function off if you are on a tripod or it will increase blur.

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The Nikon D5200 and selective color

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The Nikon D5200 selective color mode

Nikon have a winner with their Schindler setting

I must admit, I am not a great fan of some of the scenes and effects on modern cameras. I think some of them are more for show than anything else. Someone somewhere has decided that this camera or that camera should have 16 effects and so the designers and engineers have to come up with modes that will never get used. If you buy a Nikon D5200, will you ever use the Dusk/Dawn setting? or Autumn colors? (and why is it autumn, British season and colors, American spelling?) Will you ever find yourself in a situation when the silhouette effect will be just what you were looking for?

However, the selective color settings on the D5200 open up a whole new perspective on shooting both stills and video. That dramatic scene of the little girl in the red coat in Schindler’s list has spawned a thousand imitators and has made the part color, part monochrome image a right of passage for many photographers. Of course, it is relatively easy to do in photoshop – you just draw around your color object, select the rest of the image and grayscale it. But if you want to have multiple objects colored, you have to draw around them all, and even with the Magnetic Lasso Tool is can get quite laborious. That is the price of having a software that defines color by pantone and is very specific and exact. The selective color option on this digital camera is a blunt tool by comparison. When you choose a color, every object in the image that has that general color will keep it. This sounds pretty rubbish, but I think it works really well. In these two pictures, I chose orange and removed all other colors.

selective color on a Nikon D5200

selective color in a D5200

I particularly like the detail in the lampshade and the fact that the software found orange in the cabinet. Obviously, you need to be careful. I don’t particularly want the buildings outside keeping their color, for example but, used with some forethought, this can be a great effect.

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There are two ways of using selective color for stills. You can either chose it from the Effects menu on the Mode Dial or use it in the retouch menu after you have taken the shot. The pictures above were changed in retouch. This picture was shot having selected yellow through the Effects menu.

selective color in the nikon d5200

With video, you cannot use selective color in retouch (imagine the processing power you would need for that) but you can choose it through the Mode dial. If you choose your color wisely, it can have a very dramatic effect. Which, I guess, is why it was so appealing to Steven Spielberg…

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Should you buy a Nikon D5200

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Should you buy a Nikon D5200?

Should you buy a Nikon D5200? Nikon D5200 digital camera with standard lens

Buying a new camera is a big decision, not least because it is quite a big ticket item. If you buy a Nikon D5200, you will also be tied into other Nikon products, like lenses and Flashguns. Nikon produce great quality kit, although it can be expensive. But I think buying this DSLR is worth serious consideration. Launched in the States in January, every photo enthusiast in America had already seen the D5200 and examined its features ( it was launched in Europe and Asia at the end of 2012). This could explain why there was not a huge buzz that accompanied the launch of other cameras like the Compact System Camera updates, the J3 and the S1, or even the sibling Nikon D3200 last year. However, the D5200 is a superb camera that can produce high quality stills and astonishing HD video. It was recently rated higher than the Nikon D3200 by DxOMark and was only a few points behind Nikon’s Pro cameras.

Nikon have furnished their DSLRs with different sensors from different manufacturers. The D5200 has a brand new 24MP sensor, supplied by Toshiba. As a result, nobody knows how well this sensor can perform yet, but it is assumed that it will be even better than the similar Sony sensor in the Nikon D3200. Certainly the D5200 gives quite splendid color saturation and clarity. The sensor produces a 68MB file, which will satisfy almost any requirement, and the Expeed3 processor –  which has already proved itself to be very quick and efficient in the D3200 – it quite at home in the D5200. It has also inherited a couple of excellent features from the D7000 – the 39-point Auto-focus system – up from the 11-point Auto-focus system in the D5100. This gives you much greater accuracy when focussing and is especially useful for shooting landscapes. The D5200 also has the D7000′s metering system, which gives makes the exposure settings far more accurate and takes it into the realm of professional cameras (in fact DxOMark place the D5200 only a few points behind the professional Nikons the D3x and the D4). It has also upgraded the internal Mic from mono to stereo which produces very good sound for videos. There is a side port which allows you to attach either a GPS receiver, or a WiFi connector, so that you can receive and transmit with your computer. It can also be used as a remote control for the camera, even operating the Live-view option. Nikon have worked to address some of the criticism directed at the D5100. For example, there are now two customizable buttons on the camera that give you the chance to to change certain parameters instantly, rather than find the settings in the menus.

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Of course, if you are considering whether to buy a Nikon D5200, you will need to have a look at the alternatives. The main rival to the D5200 is the Canon T4i. Out for over a year, the 18MP files aren’t as impressive as they once were, but it is a superb camera and, like the D5200 is designed for both stills and video. Like the D5200, the T4i also has a an articulated viewing screen which canon have made a touch screen. It is fair to say that opinion is divided on the value of the touch screen option, but Canon loyalists insist that it is an extremely useful feature and much quicker for navigating the menus.

You might also like to look at rivals closer to home. The Nikon D3200 and D7000 are both in the same entry-level category as the D5200. The D3200 was launched last year and also has a 24MP sensor. This file size blew the opposition away at the time and that, combined with the great picture quality and the very competitive pricing, has led it to dominate its class. However, it has a poorer build quality and no articulated back screen which is becoming a requirement for those who want to seriously shoot video. The D7000 is probably going to be replaced this year and that is reflected in current prices. Only offering a 16MP file size, it seems to be a poor relation in that area. However, there are many photographers who are not dazzled by the file size debate and see other qualities in the D7000, like the internal motor (for older lenses), the tough magnesium alloy body, twin memory card slots and 6FPS burst speed. Not flash or up to date, the D7000 still holds a place in the hearts of the Nikon stalwarts for its reliability and ruggedness.

Other things to think about if you are wondering if you should buy this digital camera are the accessories. The Nikon lenses are second to none and there is a healthy second hand market for them. If you do buy a Nikon D5200, get the 18-55mm kit lens or, if you can afford it, the 18-105mm lens. They will give you some great flexibility for shooting video and stills. Make sure you buy a decent memory card and, if possible, a tripod – as you may be enticed by some of the scene options that require a slower shutter speed. If you are still unsure, I would advise that you to find a good camera shop and ask to pick one up and see how it feels in hand. I have seen many new cameras over the years and I don’t think that the D5200 is revolutionary or the next technological leap forward. It is however an excellent performer across stills and video, in different lighting conditions and quick enough for action photography. So, should you buy a Nikon D5200? Well, I have.

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Nikon D5200 scenes test

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The Nikon D5200 Scene Modes

The Nikon D5200 has 16 pre-programmed scenes. Basically you decide which scene suits your needs best and then let the camera do the rest. The scene modes are: portrait; landscape; child; sports; close up (which have their own separate options on the Dial Mode); night portrait; night landscape; party/indoor; beach/snow; sunset; dusk/dawn; pet portrait; candlelight; blossom; autumn colors; food (which are all under the Scene mode on the Dial Mode).
The easiest way to explain the Scene Modes is to show how they effect a single shot. Here is a shot of a sign, using the 16 scene modes which are available from the Scene option on the Mode Dial. Everything was left to the camera to sort out and they were taken hand-held. The lens is a 12-24 f4 Nikkor AF-S G lens. Feel free to download the Hi Res images to examine them closely.

portrait scene, 1/400, f4, ISO 400

portrait scene, 1/400, f4, ISO 400

Portrait Mode: This Auto Mode can be used for taking portraits. The camera will prioritize skin tones. It will be shot will a shallow depth of field (wide aperture) to make the in-focus subject stand out more. The best lens for portraits is one between 85mm and 105mm.

Landscape scene mode 1/80, f8, iso 400

Landscape scene mode 1/80, f8, ISO 400

Landscape Mode: This Auto Mode slows down the shutter speed to give more depth of field and greater detail in your shots. Landscape mode will turn off the flash and so this mode should ideally be used with a tripod.The camera will try to boost greens and blues in the image and boosts the sharpness during processing. It tries to get down to the lowest ISO to give you maximum detail.

Child scene, 1/200, f5, ISO 400

Child scene, 1/200, f5, ISO 400

Child Mode: This Auto Mode is great for intimate lively snapshots. Consider it a combination of portrait mode and sports mode, if that makes sense. It will try to boost vivid colors.

Sport scene mode 1/1000, f4, ISO 640

Sport scene mode 1/1000, f4, ISO 640

Sports Mode: This Auto Mode switches the camera to a higher ISO and a fast shutter speed to capture the action. It also switches off the pop up flash. It will switch the focus mode to dynamic and widen the aperture. Be aware of noise, though, which can slip in to your images when you shoot at high ISO.

Close Up scene, 1/60, f8, ISO 160

Close Up scene, 1/60, f8, ISO 160

Close up Mode: As the name suggests this is ideal for close up photography though, a macro lens will give you more scope in this area. Again this should be used with a tripod. The camera will keep the aperture small, but try to maintain a high shutter speed. It will achieve this by using the flash or raising the ISO.

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The following scenes are found in the SCENE MODE. You can navigate through them by using the command dial.

 

Night Portrait 1/500, f4, ISO 360.

Night Portrait 1/500, f4, ISO 360.

Night Portrait addresses the problem of photographing a subject in relative darkness. The usual result is an overexposed face with the background lost – and so no context. This mode slows the shutter speed to give you more background and less overexposure of the subject in the foreground.

 

Night Landscape 1/100, f9, ISO 400

Night Landscape 1/100, f9, ISO 400

Night Landscape addresses the problems of noise and flare that can effect a photo when taken at night, The noise is reduced and lights and signage (in cityscapes for example) are more realistically reproduced. The flash is switched off, so use a tripod.

Indoor Party scene, 1/125, f5.6, ISO 200

Indoor Party scene, 1/125, f5.6, ISO 200

Party/Indoor works to accurately reproduce the effects of indoor lighting.

Beach/Snow scene 1/100, f9, ISO 400

Beach/Snow scene 1/100, f9, ISO 400

Beach/Snow is designed to capture the highlights and brightness (which other modes might work to reduce) that you will find on sunny beaches, bright snow scenes and also still water shots.

Sunset scene 1/160, f6.3, ISO 200

Sunset scene 1/160, f6.3, ISO 200

As it sounds, Sunset is designed for those low-light conditions and those deep colors you get when the sun is low in the sky. The flash is switched off, so use a tripod.

Dusk/Dawn scene 1/125, f5.6, ISO 200

Dusk/Dawn scene 1/125, f5.6, ISO 200

The Dusk/Dawn setting tries to hold onto those weak strands of light you get just after sunset or before dawn. Flash is off.

Pet Portrait scene, 1/1000, f4, ISO 800

Pet Portrait scene, 1/1000, f4, ISO 800

The Pet Portrait mode is a very fast scene for catching your pet in action. The flash is on for this, but the red-eye/ AF-assist is off, so that your pet isn’t spooked by it. Fast with Flash means less depth of field.

Candlelight Scene, 1/125, f5.6, ISO 200

Candlelight Scene, 1/125, f5.6, ISO 200

Candlelight tries to tune into the light given off by a bright yellow flame. It turns the flash off.

Dusk/Dawn scene 1/125, f5.6, ISO 200

Blossom scene 1/100, f9, ISO 400

Blossom is for pictures of fields of flowers or trees full of cherry blossom. Flash is turned off and, whilst it has a fast shutter speed, it uses the aperture to keep the depth of field.

Autumn Colors, 1/100, f9, ISO 400

Autumn Colors, 1/100, f9, ISO 400

The Autumn Colors scene emphasizes the reds and yellows that are so dominant in autumnal scenes. Flash is off.

Food Scene, 1/60, f8, ISO 400

Food Scene, 1/60, f8, ISO 400

The Food scene emphasizes the vivid colors associated with bright, fresh food. The flash can be used with this scene. The shutter speed is slowed and the aperture is smaller to give a wider depth of field.

All these shots were taken within seconds of each other and their purpose is to show how the different scenes can affect the final images. I hope you will notice the variations between the scenes. For example the color saturation and depth of field in the Close up image, as opposed to the blue hue in the Candlelight shot or the shallow depth of field in the Portrait scene. The scene options offered a wide variety of shutter speeds, apertures and ISOs which combined to give quite different images. I think the point here is that these scenes are shortcuts, designed to help you take good pictures in certain circumstances. BUT that does not mean that they should be restricted to those circumstances. They allow the photographer who is not yet adept enough to work exclusively through manual mode a selection of different shooting choices that can enhance the experience.

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