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Photography Question 
Kelly Abernathy
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/5/2004

Looking for Advice

I have taken photos all my life, but am new to the digital SLR arena, but loving it. I am pursuing it aggressively and studying to improve. I have a Nikon D100. The two lenses I have so far are the AF Zoom-Nikkor ED 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5D IF and the AF VR Zoom-Nikkor ED 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6D. I love shooting wildlife, nature scenes travel and family. First question is what photo software do you reccommend? I've been using what came on my computer (Image Expert) and it's lacking. I've heard that Adobe Photoshop is probably the best, but I know there are several versions. Again, since I'm putting alot of time into this, I want a program I can grow with. Second question is about the 2X multiplier. Is it worth it? I've had someone tell me that image quality can suffer. What are your reccommendations? Thanks for all your help.

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3/4/2004 7:29:06 AM

Roy Breslawski   Photoshop is the industry standard and well worth the very high price. If that is more than you want to spend, look into Photoshop Elements. This is a reduced functionality version of Photoshop that will at least get you familiar with the same commands. It does lack some of what I would consider essential (curves, native RAW file support, 16 bit editing) but most people find it more than adequate.

I would not use a 2x teleconverter with your lenses. It will not be useful (and could even damage) the 18-35. Your 80-400 will lose autofocus, and generally teleconverters do not match well with zoom lenses. The quality just suffers too much. With the very expensive, constant aperature zooms a matched 1.4x teleconverter can give good quality, but that is the exception, not the rule.

On a D100 the 80-400 should be long enough for most wildlife except song birds. The most important aspect of wildlife is learning how to approach it. I use a 500 with a 1.4x teleconverter a lot, but just for song birds. For large mammals I have never needed that length.

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3/4/2004 5:17:16 PM

Wing Wong
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/8/2004
  Adobe Photoshop(CS being the latest version) is a great tool and one which most photography related plug-ins work with. So if you had to choose just one, go with Photoshop.

2x convertors CAN affect the image quality. It depends on the maker of the convertor. In many cases, it would be better to just get a longer lens. However, a 2x convertor is a means to an end: longer focal length. You sacrifice some image quality and light loss. But if you can life with that because you need the reach, then go for it.

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3/4/2004 5:41:26 PM

Damian P. Gadal
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/22/2002
  You may want to check on the D100, but I believe there's a 1.5 conversion ratio, making the 80-400 equal to a 120-600

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3/5/2004 4:58:39 PM

Kelly Abernathy
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/5/2004
  Thanks Roy, Wing and Damian. I appreciate you sharing your experience - it's much appreciated. I'm going to buy PhotoshopCS next week, (ouch on that pricetag!)- so I know learning that will keep me busy for awhile. I'm going to hold off on the converter for now, since there are some other accessories that I would like to get first. The D100 does have a 1.5 conversion ratio, but the literature I read lead me to believe that the 2x converter could be used on that body as well - but it won't be worth it if image quality suffers. After some practice, I'm starting to be able to get close enough to get the shots I'm wanting, so hopefully this lens will be enough. Thanks again all of you for all your help. -K

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3/8/2004 10:12:31 AM

Eric Highfield
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/16/2003
  Hi K,

I'm a D100 user and currently use both Photoshop full, and Photoshop Elements 2.0. I would recommend trying a demo of Photoshop Elements 2.0 before spending the big bucks for the CS version. Unless you plan on getting into heavy manipulation of images, Elements has all of the functionality you'll need (adjustments brightness, contrast, sharpening, blurring, hue, saturation, cropping, clone tools, colour dodge, colour burn, most common filters, and a whole lot more). I strongly recommend that you give it a try, and then make your decision based on that. Elements 2.0 Tryout can be downloaded from Adobe's website here:

As for the teleconverter, there will definitely be some loss of quality, but how much depends on the quality of the teleconverter. I have had a Tamron 2x AF that cost me about $300 or so, and have used it only on a few shoots, most of which where when I first bought the thing and was excited about its prospects. Sadly, reality kicked in and I've stopped using it except on very rare occasions. The biggest reasons were performance, even over the quality issues. The AF functionality is POOR, very slow, and sometimes you have to flip to manual focus in order to get a focus lock at all. Second is the amount of light you'll need…you’ll lose 2 F-stops when using the Teleconverter. If your widest aperture lens is F3.5, then this is a big consideration for you. Finally the last deterrent is the quality issue. Both the colours and sharpness do suffer. It just isn't worth the sacrifices to me (let alone the price), and the teleconverter spends most of it's time on a shelf. If you do feel you want one, I'd recommend a x1.4 over a X2, and I recommend saving for a good one if you’re going to do it. You'll sacrifice less and with a x1.4 and find that you actually use it more then you would a 2x. You can have Nikon send you a lens system guide and it’ll list all of the current Nikon lenses and teleconverters and some of the compromises you’ll experience when paired with different lenses in the line (such as, loss of AF, Vignetting, possible metering issues, etc.). I’ve just check the online product brochure for both Nikon’s x1.4 & x2.0. Unfortunately, neither the D100 nor either of your lenses appears on the recommended pairing list. I would take this as an indication the performance hit is too much for the D100 AF motor and would probably make your lenses too slow for practical use. You’ll likely be happier spending your money elsewhere (maybe some wide angle glass for those landscapes!).

URL for Nikon teleconverter products brochure:

Best of luck!

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3/8/2004 10:12:15 PM

Kelly Abernathy
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/5/2004
  Thanks Eric. I appreciate all the useful advice. After everything I've read and the advice of much more experienced photographers here, I'm going to hold off on the converter. There are other lenses and accessories that I can save up for first. Thanks again. I appreciate the help. -K

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3/9/2004 8:01:00 AM

rudy w. cooper
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/15/2002

Check out Picture Window Pro, I use it and am quite satisified with it. Plus it's about 1/5th the price of PS.


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3/9/2004 1:27:20 PM

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