Nikon Camera Control Pro and Image Authentication Software

Darren wrote this at 9:29 am:

Along with the D2Xs, Nikon has released a ‘pro’ version of their Nikon Capture Camera Control software, Nikon Camera Control Pro. Unfortunately, the press release is fairly scant on detail. This program is available for both Windows and Macintosh platforms.

The second new software product is Nikon Image Authentication Software, which enables verification of the authenticity of images captured with a Nikon D2Xs digital SLR. This ability is very useful for law enforcement and other government agencies, the media, insurance companies and has a variety of other business applications. Unfortunately, this program only runs on the Windows platform.

Further details and the press releases are available at DP Review.

Nikon D2Xs Announced

Darren wrote this at 9:15 am:

Nikon has announced the D2Xs, an improved version of the D2X.

The main improvements include:

  • larger 2.5″ LCD monitor
  • electronic viewfinder masking in high-speed crop mode
  • longer battery life
  • black and white mode
  • 3 custom tone curves
  • save and load settings, even between cameras
  • image authentication system compatible

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

Darren wrote this at 7:51 pm:

Nikon has just announced the AF-S VR Micro-Nikkon 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED lens. This is the first macro lens equipped with both the Silent Wave Motor (SWM) and Vibration Reduction (VR) systems, and works with both Nikon DX format digital and 35mm film SLR cameras.

Nikon Invests In Nik Software

Darren wrote this at 9:06 pm:

Nik Software (formerly Nik Multimedia), makers of such great tools as Nik Sharpener Pro and Nik Color Efex Pro) have announced that they are collaborating with Nikon to “develop and distribute digital photographic software and imaging technologies”.

Nik have collaborated with Nikon in the past to produce a proprietary version of Nik Color Efex Pro for use in Nikon’s Nikon Capture software.

Interestingly, this time Nikon has made a capital investment in Nik Software – this is the first time the company has taken external investment. It has always been privately held and privately funded by its executive management.

The press release can be read at DP Review.

Nikon D200 Banding Issue Fixed

Darren wrote this at 8:04 pm:

Nikon have confirmed the existence of a banding issue in some D200 digital SLRs, which have been the subject of much discussion in Nikon forums for the last few weeks.

According to their knowledge-base article, the banding “can become visible only in specific shooting conditions that include particular combinations of high contrast scene content, lighting, camera settings, substantial enlargement and the shooting environment.” Nikon claims that the problem is limited to early-production D200 cameras.

Basically, if you think your D200 has a problem you can send a sample image to Nikon, who will advise you on what to do next (usually the camera needs to be sent in for adjustment).

Ken Rockwell has written a page about the Nikon D200 Striping, Vertical Stripe, Banding and Corduroy Effect (all different terms for the same thing), with notes on how to reproduce it, how to avoid it, and why not to worry about it. Ken claims that the problems only really occur with badly-exposed images that should be deleted anyway, but that doesn’t account for photographers deliberately over-exposing an image in a bracketed series of exposure for later reconstruction in a high dynamic range image.

Digital Artform has a pretty comprehensive page about D200 banding, with links to many forum discussions and other resources.

Carl Zeiss Making Nikon F Mount Lenses

Darren wrote this at 10:26 pm:

Carl Zeiss has announced they will be releasing a new line of ZF lenses in the Nikon F mount.

The first lenses to be made available will be the Planar T* 50mm f/1.4 and the Planar T* 85mm f/1.4, with more to follow throughout 2006. These are manual focus lenses.

They will also be making a ZS range of lenses, with the same optics as the ZF lineup, but using a 42mm screw mount. There are already M-42 adapters for a variety of lens mounts, so they will be able to be used on Canon EOS and FD cameras as well as many others.

More information is available at the Zeiss web site.

Nikon Moving Out Of Film Cameras

Darren wrote this at 8:10 pm:

Nikon has announced that they’re now going to “focus management resources on digital cameras in place of film cameras”.

While there will surely be film buffs lamenting this decision, I think it makes good business sense for Nikon. That press release states that 95% of Nikon UK’s business comes from the digital area.

As a result of the new strategy Nikon will discontinue production of all lenses for large format cameras and enlarging lenses with sales of these products ceasing as soon as they run out of stock. This also applies to most of our film camera bodies, interchangeable manual focus lenses and related accessories. Although Nikon anticipates that the products will still be in retail distribution up to Summer 2006.

In recognition of Nikon’s commitment to professional photographers we will continue to manufacturer and sell the F6, our flagship film model, as well as a number of manual interchangeable lenses. Sales of the manual FM10 will also continue outside Europe.

The manual lenses Nikon will still continue manufacturing include:

  • Nikkor 20mm f/2.8
  • Nikkor 24mm f/2.8
  • Nikkor 28mm f/2.8
  • Nikkor 35mm f/1.4
  • Nikkor 50mm f/1.2
  • Nikkor 50mm f/1.4
  • Micro-Nikkor 55mm f/2.8
  • Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8
  • PC Micro-Nikkor 85mm f/2.8D

What are your thoughts? Is this a good move on Nikon’s part? Which discontinued Nikon products will you miss the most?

New Nikon D3H?

Darren wrote this at 8:31 pm:

Darren Rowse over at the Digital Photography Blog is reporting that French website Chasseur d’Images has posted some info about a rumored Nikon D3H. Chasseur d’Images has been fairly accurate in the past with these types of rumors, so it’ll be interesting to see how this one plays out.

The claims at this point are that the D3H will feature:

  • 10 megapixel DX-format sensor
  • 3″ 320,000 pixel rear LCD
  • USB 2.0 and WT-3 wireless connectivity
  • CF and SD cards
  • ISO 100 to 1600 (and boost mode of 3200)
  • buffer of 50 jpg or 40 RAW
  • burst mode of 8.5 or 10 frames per second
  • shutter speed 30s to 1/8000s
  • improved noise reduction
  • approximate price of USD$3,800
  • to ship during second half of 2006

It sounds like a plausible set of specifications. What do you think?

Carl Zeiss Lenses For Other SLRs?

Darren wrote this at 8:14 pm:

There are rumors doing the rounds that Carl Zeiss will soon be releasing their highly-regarded lenses in other mounts – most likely, obviously, Canon and Nikon mounts. The rumors are fuelled by an image on Zeiss’ web site that contains the text “Millions of SLR Photographers Will Soon Discover a New Dimension in Photography.”

You can follow (and contribute to!) the rumors over at DPReview.

This would be an awesome development, with many photographers swearing by the superiority of Zeiss lenses.

Nikon Capture 4.4.0 For Windows

Darren wrote this at 8:19 pm:

Nikon has just released Nikon Capture 4.4.0 for Windows.

If Nikon Capture version 4.4.0 is to be used in combination with Nikon View, please be sure that you are using Nikon View version 6.2.7 for full compatibility of files and most functions.

Improvements:

  • Support for D200 RAW images has been added.
  • A B&W (black-and-white) option has been added to the Color Mode item in the Advanced RAW tool palette.
  • Improvements to the method used to reproduce tones in highlight areas, preventing a loss of detail when Exp Comp is set to a negative value. (Does not apply to RAW images captured with the D1 or COOLPIX-series cameras.)

Images edited using the Exp Comp with a negative value with Nikon Capture 4 version 4.3.2 and earlier are opened in Nikon Capture 4 Ver. 4.4.0 or later, the results of highlights may differ.