In-camera HDR with the D610
Among its many features, the D610 offers a useful in-camera HDR (High Dynamic Range) function that’s designed to help you capture images with a wider range of tones in highlight and shadow areas. Available in the Shooting menu, the function can only be used when shooting JPEG files, and allows you to either take a one-off HDR shot, or as many as you like. Handily, only one press of the shutter release is needed, with the D610 doing the rest of the work through in-camera processing. The difference between each exposure can either be left to the camera or altered in single EV steps up to 3EV. Various levels of Smoothing can also be selected, which dictate how much is applied at the boundaries of the images. If you’re a fan of the cartoon-like HDR results this feature won’t be of much interest and you’re best sticking to your conventional method of HDR creation. But if you like your HDR images to look subtly improved, it could well be for you. The before and after images here show you what’s achievable – these have been done with 3EV exposure differential and Smoothing on Normal. The HDR image doesn’t show as much punch as the original, but it certainly has a greater tonal range.
ABOVE The 24-85mm lens that’s bundled with the camera is a great all- rounder. Picture quality is impressive and the focal range very useful. LEFt The D610 excels in low light. This image was taken handheld at ISO 3200 and the digital noise is barely noticeable.
I have no grumbles about the D610’s autofocusing system, though. The 39-point focusing system is accurate and has the uncanny knack of being able to pick exactly the right point of focus. On the odd occasions that it didn’t, I was able to flick either to the 11- point system or a single-point option. I prefer the latter, but then I like aperture-priority as well. How weird is that? Sharpness and colour accuracy in the images are good as well and the impressive results across the ISO range mean that the D610 really is a camera for all seasons and light levels. It’s a camera for all weathers as well thanks to the excellent weatherproofing, which is both reassuring as well as effective. There is, however, a bit of a black mark against some of the results I got, with black being the operative word. During my tests, some shots displayed a hefty amount of contrast that caused some shadow areas to block up almost as though the camera is trying too hard to render colours as bright and punchy. The problem is easily remedied in Photoshop, but I’d rather it hadn’t existed in the first place.
I’ve been using the D610 for the thick end of a month and we’ve been through a lot together. Firework displays, trips to the seaside and the Emerald Isle, plus lots of other general snaps in between mean that I’ve amassed well over 20GB of images. Plenty of time to assess the camera’s capabilities. In reality, if the dust issues are to be believed on the D600, this is probably a camera that Nikon never had any intention of building. Despite this, they’ve made a very good job of it and any furry issues that may have existed on the previous model certainly don’t exist here. Pick the camera up and you’ll know that your £1600 has been invested in a very solid piece of kit that will last for ages. Every aspect of the body is nicely designed. Well, except maybe one. Personally, I found the depth of the handgrip to be a little on the small side. Now, I don’t have the biggest hands. but even so I found I was nipping the handgrip, rather than cupping it. It never translated into a dropped camera or a missed shot, but I just would have preferred a few more millimetres of grip so it nestled in my hand comfortably.
Pros Features, autofocusing, weatherproofing, price Cons Handgrip not large enough, some results too contrasty No dust problems, but it’s up against some tough opposition More than enough for most Handling Handgrip depth disappointing Performance Focusing excellent, but results do display strong contrast Value for money Costly, but well priced OVERALL
Photography News | Issue 2
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