Buying lenses for your digital SLR, hiding distracting info on the digital camera’s display, converting copy-protected downloads to MP3

Sound Advice

By Don Lindich

Week 35, 2007

Q: I have a Nikon FE 35mm SLR and am thinking of going to a Nikon digital SLR. Are there any zoom lenses I can purchase to use with the FE,that will be compatible with Nikon Digital SLRs? I’d like a 28-100 and a 70-210 zoom lens to cover most photo opportunities. What do you suggest?

-Joseph Munoz

A: The key here is to buy a lens that is designed to work with 35mm film. Most digital SLRs have a sensor that is smaller than a frame of 35mm film, and in the interest of cost and optical performance manufacturers have designed lenses that only cover this smaller sensor. These lenses are not compatible with your FE, though they may mount on it. Whichever lens line you consider, just be sure it says “for film or digital SLRs” if you plan on using it with your FE.

I’d suggest looking at Nikon’s lens line, specifically the D series AF lenses. Do not buy the Nikon DX lenses as they are compatible only with Nikon mount digital SLRs. Older zoom lenses for Nikon film SLRs are likely to work with digital SLRs, but functionality may be limited as the lenses may not contain the electronics necessary to use all the features on the camera.

Other manufacturers have designations for their digital lens line. For example, Canon’s is EF-S, Pentax has DA, and Sigma uses DC to designate small sensor lenses.Please note that some digital SLRs, such as Canon’s 5D and 1Ds models, use a sensor as large as a frame of 35mm film. So Canon’s EF-S lenses are not compatible with them though they are digital cameras.

Q: My wife’s digital camera always has information on the screen that we do not use such as shutter speed, frame number, shooting mode, etc. It is very distracting and obscures the pictures when we are reviewing them. Is there any way to get rid of the information so we only see the picture?

-Bill Zielinski, Allison Park, PA

A: With most cameras you can choose which information is shown on the display. Push the “Info” or “Display” button on the back and the camera will cycle through the available display modes. Usually one of thee display options is bare-bones with very little if any information, allowing you to see the entire image clearly.

Q: Recently I purchased a 2007 Audi A4 and one of the features of the GPS system has slots for flash cards which allows you to play MP3 music. I bought a 2GB card and have been able to download music that I burned from my CD’s onto ┬ámy laptop hard drive. I can then play them from the flash card in the A4. However, when I go to an online music store to buy songs, I can not get the MP3 format to put on my flash card. I’ve been told that it has something to do with licensing. Yet, if I buy and down load a song, I could burn it onto a CD. Is there any way of converting the WMA format to MP3 for my personal use in the new car?

Paul Gavin, Little Egg Harbor, NJ

A: There may be a way to convert it from protected WMA to MP3, but I do not know of it and it would probably not be legal to defeat the copy protection encoded on the songs. You will need to continue to burn the music to CD to use it in your car. If your Audi has an auxiliary jack you may want to consider getting a portable music player that supports WMA to carry your music.

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