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Beginner Questions
by Chuck McKern

With over 15 years of retail and professional experience Chuck thought he'd heard it all - until he took this job.

Send us your questions for either the Beginner or Advanced columns by clicking HERE.  Please include as much detail about the technique, camera, lens, or film as you can so Chuck can answer your questions. 

I'm switching to Astia for fashion to get slightly warmer skin tones and better resolution and saturation than print films in general can give. Should I use a warming filter (81A or Tiffen 812) to enhance this further, or would that be too much?


It really comes down to personal taste. If you're using electronic flash or studio strobes, you will probably be OK with the filter, as electronic flash has a tendency to be a little cool (bluish). If you are using available light or a warmer light source, the filter will probably be a bit much.

My suggestion is to experiment a little to determine what looks best to you.

I own a D100 and a Coolpix 5700. Will I encounter any problems setting "noise reduction" ON no matter what ISO I've set on the camera?


[Gary Stanley responds] My experience is that I'd rather make that choice after the fact with computer software than in-camera where I can't judge the results. If the software within the camera decides to soften (which is what noise reduction does) the image too much, then your dead. Software like Digital Gem from Kodak, does a much better job, because you can view the results in much larger detail on the monitor. In my experience the D100 has little noise even at 800 ISO (with reduction off) while my 5400 shows more noise across the entire ISO range. Bottom line; Leave it off and correct it later if need be.

If I have a digital photo (JPEG) with 800*600 pixel resolution it will give best printing results at 4x6 print size, but if I convert it to TIFF format with any image manipulation software like Photoshop, will it be helpful to get best picture of 8x10 size print? (Means it will add some pixels during format change?)

Umesh Mardiya

If you start with a TIFF or RAW image file and convert it to JPEG you may loose some information due to compression. But going the other way and converting from a JPEG to a TIFF file won't add any information that's not already present in the JPEG. Printing an 800x600 file at 8x10 is really pushing it and you're not likely to be happy with the results. Ideally you'd want an 1800x1200 image for a 4x6 print (at 300 ppi) and a 3000x2400 image for an 8x10. The best solution we've found for scaling images when you've got a big difference in image size is to use Genuine Fractals. It's a Photoshop compatible plug-in and will work with any software that is plug-in compatible (such as Paint Shop Pro). But at 800x600 you're starting with a pretty low resolution.

I have Nikon F55 Camera. I wanted to buy 70-300mm lens but Nikon lenses are costly compare to Tokina/Sigma/Tamaron. I have decided to buy one among them but I don't know which one will fit to my Camera, I need your help to buy one with (AF). I haven't found a table of what lenses fit what camera models.

Thanks & Regards 
Andrew Suresh

All the lens makers you mentioned make lenses to fit Nikon, Minolta, Canon and Pentax models. Your F55 is a current model and will be compatible with any lenses made for a Nikon mount. The only exception are "digital only" lenses that are now available for Nikon's digital SLRs. But those are clearly labeled digital only.

Just in case you were not aware, Nikon does make two different 70-300 lenses. There is a 70-300 G series lens whose price should be in the same range as lenses from Sigma, Tokina and Tamron, though it doesn't have the ED optics of Nikon's 70-300mm D series lens. ED optics provide better contrast and color sharpness.

I've seen a couple of times where you've mentioned using a warm polarizer in past articles. What is a warm polarizer.


A warm polarizer combines a circular polarizer and an 81a warming filter into a single filter. As it's name implies it gives a warmer tone to your images that many photographers find pleasing. It can be especially useful when shooting under midday light or under overcast skies. 

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