Complete Guide to the Nikon D200- P22

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Complete Guide to the Nikon D200- P22

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Complete Guide to the Nikon D200- P22:As with all my books, a full draft was reviewed by volunteers to weed out unclear language and misstatements. This book is better because of them.

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  1. V1.03 Several things are important here: • Be careful of the Delete option. I think it’s generally wiser and safer to reformat cards to remove files. • You’ll want Rotate ON. If you’ve set rotation ON in the camera, make sure it’s set to ON here, too. • IPTC data should be added. If you’re selling your photos or sharing them with others, both these items should probably be checked, as it allows for additional identifying information to automatically be copied to the IPTC fields. (Nikon promises a more complete IPTC implementation in future versions of View.) The Creator tab allows you to specify which programs are used for certain actions within View (normally, View assigns Capture as the image editor, so if you use Photoshop CS you’ll want to change that). One nice aspect of Nikon View is that it allows you to rename files and add IPTC information during the transfer (something I generally recommend; see “File Names and Folders” on page < 163>): H 1. Click on the Change button on the Nikon Transfer dialog. Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D200 Page 631
  2. V1.03 2. In the dialog that appears, fill out the File Destination and Naming options. 3. If you want to change the file names during transfer (highly recommended), click the Change radio button and then the Change button under the File naming section and select your options. Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D200 Page 632
  3. V1.03 4. Click the OK button when you’re done and you’ll be returned to the File Destination and Naming dialog. 5. Perform the same actions for the folder name (e.g. change the destination folder as desired). 6. Click on the big yellow Transfer button to start the transfer. If you asked to Start Nikon Browser in the Transfer window, when the transfer completes you’ll be taken to the Browser window, where you can then view, print, and rotate your images (if you still need to): Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D200 Page 633
  4. V1.03 In the Browser window, you can only perform a few actions (the icon bar gives you quick access to them). At the top, you’ll see a bar labeled Shooting Data. Click on the > at the left edge to reveal this information (or hide it). The data shown is for the currently selected image (highlighted with a selection rectangle around it). Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D200 Page 634
  5. V1.03 By default, the left of the main window is a standard hierarchical file browser. In the two sample windows immediately above, the first one has the file browser showing, the second doesn’t. If for some reason you don’t see the file browser window, choose Show Folder Tree from the Navigation submenu on the View menu. This allows you to navigate amongst all the folders of images you’ve created (assuming you’ve been following my workflow suggestions, you’ll have a well-labeled folder for every shoot). Finally, Nikon View has a rudimentary image viewer in it. Double-click on an image thumbnail to invoke it: Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D200 Page 635
  6. V1.03 When you doubleclick on an image thumbnail, you get the Nikon Viewer window. The icons at the top allow you to zoom in or out and a few other basic options. If you want to manipulate the image in any way, you need Capture, Bibble, Photoshop CS, Photoshop CS2, Photoshop Elements, or another image editing program. Things you can do with Nikon View: • Batch rename images. Select the images to be renamed, and then select Rename Automatically from the File menu. • Search for a file. Curiously, one of the attributes Nikon allows you to search with is the Scene exposure mode. Sigh. The more interesting ability is to search by filename (which, of course, is one of the reasons why I want you to give files meaningful names in the first place). Select Show Search Control on the Navigation submenu on the View menu. • Create a slide show. Select the images you want to show (you don’t have to show everything in a folder). Select Slideshow from the Tools menu. Select your options from the slideshow dialog that appears. To hide the option dialog, press Shift+Tab together. • Email images or a contact sheet of images to a friend. Select the images you want to email. Select Email from the Tools menu. Select your options from the dialog that appears. Usually you’ll let Nikon View resize the images to a smaller size for emailing (it’s not proper etiquette to send large files to someone unless they’re expecting them—most email services have storage limits for email, Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D200 Page 636
  7. V1.03 and a handful of 1MB images can quickly fill their 154 mailbox and prevent other mail from being received ). F • Export images to a Web site. Select the images you want to create a Web page for. Select Export as HTML Files from the Tools menu. This brings up the first of three dialogs you need to fill out: This first dialog is about the overall style of Web page that will be created. Here you set the size, style, and number of images per page (plus a title for the page). 154 Proper etiquette, even for someone you know, would be to ask before sending and tell them what size the images will be. Better still would be to use a public posting service, such as pbase (http://www.pbase.com) and simply email the URL to the recipient. Since we’re on the subject, I should warn you that my email has very aggressive filters on it. If you want me to look at an image, post a modest sized version of it on a public posting service that doesn’t require an account to enter, and send me the URL via email. Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D200 Page 637
  8. V1.03 The second dialog defines what information appears with each image (filename, date, capture data, etc.). The final dialog tells View where to create the new HTML pages. It’s usually safest to save to a new subfolder so that everything for a set is grouped together in the same place rather than mixed with the rest of your Web pages. • Invoke an image editor. Select an image (or images). Choose Edit from the File menu to invoke the editor entered in Preferences. Choose Edit using other program from the File menu and point to the editor you Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D200 Page 638
  9. V1.03 wish to use if you want to use something more sophisticated. Note: What’s the difference between Nikon Editor and Nikon Capture Editor? Well, the first is free and comes with Nikon View. It contains basic controls only (you can change white balance and exposure for NEF files, for example). Nikon Capture Editor is part of Nikon Capture and is a very sophisticated image editing program. Nikon Editor (the free one) isn’t enough for serious post-processing work. If you’re trying to conserve cash, Adobe Photoshop Elements would be the logical choice to use instead. Earlier in the book I discussed IPTC information (see “IPTC” on page < 161>). Nikon View allows you to append basic H camera information into the IPTC fields, which I discussed above, but it also allows you to add both simple and complex IPTC captioning information. Select IPTC Information from the File menu and you’ll get the “simple” dialog: For most uses, this is probably enough (note that I’ve added several of my keywords here, which is how I search for Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D200 Page 639
  10. V1.03 images later). But if you want to get the full spectrum of fields you can enter, click the Detail button and you’ll get this screen: If you’re entering IPTC information for a group of images and most of the information is the same for each photo, note that you can “save” and “load” information. For this Death Valley shoot, I saved all the items except for the Caption, loaded them for all the images then went through and wrote captions for each. Other programs exist that do a better job of this than Nikon View, but View isn’t a slouch, either. A lot of people overlook the many features that are hidden underneath View’s simple interface, and this is one of them. Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D200 Page 640
  11. V1.03 Before we move on to Nikon Capture, let’s take a quick look at the free Nikon Editor just mentioned (I’ll use a D70 image here, but the D200 is also supported just fine). Above is a screen shot from a single image opened from Nikon View. I’ve expanded everything that can be expanded, so this is it folks—everything you can do is here to be seen. At the left is a standard tool palette, with icons for save, open, copy image adjustments, paste image adjustments, zoom, rotate, crop, move (using hand cursor), open in Photoshop, and redeye elimination, amongst others. If you can’t figure out what is what, each tool’s name is revealed if you have your cursor hover over it. Tip: Cropping usually trips up newcomers to Nikon’s software. You select the crop tool (rectangular marquee) and then select the area of the image you want to keep. The image area outside the selected rectangle darkens to show that it isn’t part of the final image. To change the crop, grab the side or corner and drag it to a new position (or drag the middle of the crop to a new position). The real sticking point is: how do you cancel the crop? Press Command-D Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D200 Page 641
  12. V1.03 (or select Select Entire Image from the Image menu, or double-click outside the crop area). It really is that easy. But it usually stops newcomers dead in their tracks, as it doesn’t quite work the way other image editing software does. The main image window is in the middle, and I’ve opened the Shooting Data display above it. (This image was taken at the sand dunes in Death Valley National Park at a workshop, by the way.) On the right is a tool palette with four basic areas of control (if the individual controls aren’t showing, click on the arrow just to the left of the palette name to open it). Here’s the full extent of the imaging tools: • Auto Contrast (Off, With color change, With no color change). This is basically Nikon’s attempt to provide an Auto Levels type of control. While I never use it, it does sometimes make for some very interesting effects if you select With Color Change. This is a control worth exploring, but unlike Photoshop’s automatic controls, it doesn’t find the “right” solution very often. • Sharpening (Off, Low, Medium, High). Your standard Unsharp mask control. Note that the image may already have been sharpened and this would be adding sharpening. Since you don’t have any control over the parameters used, I’d tend to avoid this control if possible. • Effect (None, Black and White, Sepia). A quick way to make a monochrome image out of a color one. It appears that Nikon simply throws away the color information rather than optimize the conversion, but this control is fast and easy and quickly lets you see the basic shell of how the image will look in black and white. For more sophisticated ways of generating black and white, see http://www.bythom.com/bandw.htm. The Sepia setting is H decent, though. • Image Size (enter a new size). Allows you to scale the image to a smaller or larger size. Nikon’s resizing abilities have always been overlooked by most people. They Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D200 Page 642
  13. V1.03 actually produce quite decent results (from well done original images) at up to about 2x. In general when downsizing, try to stay in divisible-by-two or by-four sizes, though. • Red Eye Correction (Automatic, Click on eyes). Works only with 8-bit JPEG images, but allows either automatic or quasi-automatic removal of red-eye. Generally, Click on Eyes is my usual choice here. This works better than the in-camera Red-Eye Reduction options, and is about as fast and convenient as red-eye correction gets. • Brightness. Changes the overall brightness of the output image (not to be confused with exposure compensation, which changes the underlying data). I’m not a fan of using a crude, overall control like this to fix image defects. • Contrast. Changes the overall contrast of the image. Again, this isn’t the method I’d use to fix image defects. • Red. Varies the amount of red in the image. • Green. Varies the amount of green in the image. • Blue. Varies the amount of blue in the image. Using RGB channels to control color shifts is a bit like using a sledge hammer to move a wall stud. Very crude, plus you’ll need to understand how the colors interact to form the full spectrum of colors. • Exposure Compensation. Allows after-the-fact exposure modification for NEF images. Note that you aren’t really changing the exposure, but the underlying linearity curve for the data. Blown highlights are not recoverable. However, you can recover a missed exposure by as much as –2 stops or +1 stops with relative ease 155. F • White Balance (Unchanged, Auto, Incandescent, Direct Sunlight, Standard Fluorescent, High Color Rendering Fluorescent, Shade, Cloudy, Flash). Allows after-the-fact white balance modification for NEF 155 The actual range is -2 to +2, but beyond +1 there are objectionable side effects. Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D200 Page 643
  14. V1.03 images. Note that you have no fine tuning control, only a basic set of choices. Still, this is often enough to correct color temperature issues to a tolerable choice. Overall, Nikon Editor is simple, a bit crude, but has just enough capability to make it work in a pinch if need be. If Nikon would only add the Levels/Curves adjustment from the Capture Editor, Nikon Editor would be usable for a lot of simple work. As it stands, though, you’re going to want something else. One such something is Nikon Capture, which we’ll deal with next. Nikon Capture Nikon Capture provides support for critical viewing and image manipulation of D200 NEF (and JPEG) format files. Capture is now at version 4.4, and all examples and menu descriptions here assume that version (it’s the first version that supports the D200; so if you have Capture that you used with a previous Nikon DSLR, make sure you have version 4.4 or later). Nikon has a free 30-day trial version of Capture that you can download from the Nikon Web sites. I strongly suggest that you load this into your computer and try it. While Capture is a bit different in user interface than most software you’re used to, it’s easy to learn and it has features you won’t find in other products. While I think Nikon should have provided Capture with the camera—Nikon’s software is much more mature than the competitor’s, so it’s a potential selling point—the program has undergone considerable revision and refinement over the past few years, which I’m sure wouldn’t have happened without the added revenue. Capture has two primary roles: • Converts NEF files into usable images (JPEG, TIFF, direct Photoshop transfer). • Provides direct control and setting of the camera. Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D200 Page 644
  15. V1.03 Plenty of competitors exist for the first function (see “NEF Converters” on page < 692>”), though Capture holds its own H against all comers. What is unique in Capture, other than a few manipulation tools, is the second function: not only can you take pictures from the computer, but you can make settings from the computer, as well. Hidden amongst that ability is another: you can save camera settings files and load them into the camera with a couple of clicks. For cameras that are shared, this is a godsend. But even for the rest of us, it gives us the ability to save and name a few common camera configurations and get them back without having to thread through every control of the camera. So I’ll repeat: take a look at Capture. I’ll bet that most of you will find that there’s something there that is useful and worth the money. Controlling the Camera Once Nikon Capture is running with a camera connected to the computer, choose Show Nikon Capture Camera Control from the Tools menu and you’ll see a display that looks like this: Things to note in the window that appears: Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D200 Page 645
  16. V1.03 • The top line will tell if your camera is correctly connected. If it isn’t, you’ll see: • The camera control area in the middle is a tabbed dialog; some camera settings are accessed on specific tabs. • The black bar with green indicators is a representation of what you’d see at the bottom of the camera viewfinder. • The buttons at the bottom of the window are the equivalent to the shutter release. The camera will also have PC displayed in its top LCD where the frame counter normally is. At this point, you can make camera settings or take a picture. Note: If you have the WT-3 and D200 properly configured with your computer’s wireless network, you can also perform all the Capture functions wirelessly. This includes taking pictures remotely, a very useful attribute for studio shooters. Taking Pictures with Capture Taking pictures works one of two ways: • Control the settings and press the shutter release on the camera. The image is automatically transferred to the computer if Nikon Capture is active and the computer and camera are connected properly. No image is stored on the CompactFlash card. (Make sure to save the image on the computer where you can find it!) You control the transfer situation by clicking on the Download Options button. Note: The Enable controls on the camera body option must be checked for this to work. • Use Nikon Capture Camera Control to set the camera options and virtually press the shutter release. Again, the Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D200 Page 646
  17. V1.03 image is automatically transferred to the computer and no data is stored on the CompactFlash card in the camera. While most camera controls are available remotely on the computer, the Power switch, Focus Mode Selector lever, and Depth of Field Preview button can only be manipulated directly on the camera. Other limitations you need to be aware of: • You can’t use the self-timer. • You can’t autofocus without the D200 taking a picture. Not all error messages that may appear in the D200 viewfinder and color LCD are duplicated in Nikon Capture’s simulated LCD panel and viewfinder information display. For example, the flash-ready light does not appear after exposure when the flash fires at full strength. • Use a combination of camera and computer control and release. Make settings on the computer and press the camera’s shutter release, or make settings on the camera and click the shooting buttons on the computer. Note: The Enable controls on the camera body option must be checked for this to work. Note: If the default settings are used, the D200 operates for 15 minutes before it goes into a standby mode. Note, however, that when the camera goes inactive when connected to Nikon Capture, it cannot be reactivated from the PC; you must press a camera control to wake up the D200. Two “shooting” functions of Capture are often overlooked by new users. First, Capture can batch process NEF images as they’re taken (i.e. high quality images can have image processing manipulations applied as they are taken). This is the way I shoot 16-bit TIFF with the camera, for instance. To set up a batch session, select Live Batch from the Camera menu: Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D200 Page 647
  18. V1.03 Note that you’re given essentially three things to set: • How the batch is processed. Applying the settings from the camera is the same as leaving these settings in the Unchanged state in Advanced Raw section of the Capture Editor. The camera’s sharpening and other optimization settings will be applied by Capture before saving the image. More interesting is to use either the current settings you’ve set up in Capture, or a set of previously saved Capture settings. For example, I often process with some slight changes made in the LCH tool, especially when I’m shooting under fluorescent lighting conditions. If you’re working in a studio with the D200 tethered or wirelessly connected, take a test picture under your lighting, then spend some time in Capture figuring out the exact settings you want to use. Save these, and then use the Apply settings in option to have them applied to every image in your actual session. • Where the files get saved and how. The Destination box allows you to pick the folder to save your files in, the filename format to use, and the final save format. You’ll note that I’ve picked 16-bit TIFF in my example; often when shooting for a client, that’s what they want as final output anyway, so that’s what I give them. • Whether you save an additional copy of the file without processing. Generally, I recommend this, just in case you mess up the batch settings or decide afterwards that those Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D200 Page 648
  19. V1.03 weren’t exactly the settings you wanted. This gives you a fallback at the expense of disk space. Be careful, though: you usually want to save these to a different folder that is carefully named as an archive so that you don’t confuse which image is which, or accidentally overwrite images. The other interesting aspect of picture taking that Capture enables is an additional form of time lapse photography (see “Interval Shooting” on page < 345> for the usual method). H Select Time Lapse Photography from the Camera menu. This brings up a dialog that allows you to set the controls necessary for this style of photography: Note the Live Batch option: that’s the first overlooked shooting option I mentioned back for an encore; be sure to set the Live Batch dialog first. Note: The D200’s built-in Interval function is limited to 999 shots; Capture’s Time Lapse Photography function is limited to 9999 shots. Making Settings with Capture As already noted, you can make camera settings with Capture Control. Let’s step through the primary screens and make a few comments as we go: Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D200 Page 649
  20. V1.03 While we’re mostly interested in setting up our D200, note the Download Options button. If you’re not using the Live Batch function, you’ll want to click on this button to set up where the pictures taken while the camera is connected to the 156 computer will go . F 156 Personally, I think Nikon blew the interface design here, probably because features got added over time to the basic program. It seems to me that the AF and Shoot, Shoot, Download Options, Live Batch, and Time Lapse Photography options are all related, and probably ought to have been grouped in some way. It seems to me that there should be status, settings, and control panels, with the settings having tabs. Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D200 Page 650
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