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Old 01-22-2013, 10:36 PM   #1
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Default Camera Advice

So I broke down and bought a camera today. I need some high quality pictures for a few different projects and I figured the family would enjoy it as well. I bought a Nikon D5100, just one lens for now (18-55mm).I don't expect to need big telescopic ability as most of my subject mater will be t arms length.

I bought a cheap lens filter kit with UV, polarizing and fluorescent filters. The kit also came with a tulip lens hood. I ordered an attachable Nikon flash and a 128 memory card (class 10).

Anything else I should really look at getting?

Any suggestion on how the fudge I use the crap I ordered?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 01-22-2013, 10:48 PM   #2
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I keep a polarizing filter on at all times. Unless I'm taking close up pics indoors. You'll need to keep that lens clean as you can. Get a tripod too if you are going to mess with settings like shutter speed etc. Other than that, just go take a BUNCH of pics. Take note of what settings you have been changing to notice how it affects the end result. You'll get the hang of it quick.
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Old 01-23-2013, 12:16 AM   #3
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Nice purchase Mark! I'm sure Pepper and our other pro photography members will have better/correct advice to give (with better terminology), but coming from a amateur/casual user, I actually use a telephoto lens a lot for photos of parts, especially when I want to show detail. There is a certain distance a lens has to be away from the object you are shooting, for it to get it in focus, so my 24-70mm won't be able to capture the detail I want all the time, even though the object may be just a foot away. Luckily, my brother has a T1i with a 18-55mm and a 55-250mm kit lens I can borrow, and even though the part will be further away when I take the photo, I'm able to zoom in much more for those particular shots.

I also use a tripod when shooting in low lighting situations, as I have to slow the shutter speed down to get my exposure right. I'm not a fan of turning up the ISO, as it tends to introduce some graininess to my picture at the higher levels. I also have a nice flash, but rarely use it since I don't have the ability to mount it off the camera yet, and haven't really liked the photos it's taken of cars and such mounted on the camera. Works great for people though, unless I'm in a restaurant, and it can quickly annoy others, and draw attention to yourself (which I'm not real keen on). If you are lucky to have image stabilization on your lens, you can get away with some slower shutter speeds that I can't (I have very shaky hands unfortunately), but a tripod is more useful than you would think.

A lot of people use the polarizing filter when shooting cars (the main thing I notice is the rainbow look on headlights) and it's good to help make reflections less visible on glass. The filter itself should rotate on your lens, which changes the effect the filter has on your image.

There's a lot of good information online, but it's honestly a lot to take in, and there is a lot of stuff that most people would honestly never use. If you ever want to meet up and pick my brain, I'd be happy to show you some basics for shooting in manual mode (my favorite mode).

Also, if you have access to any editing program that allows you to manipulate raw images (your camera should come with it I believe), make sure to shoot in raw. A .jpeg is your camera's interpretation of what the image should look like. A raw file (.CR2 for me) allows you to manipulate a lot of aspects of the image that may have been washed out or too dark. It's amazing what you can recover from a raw image! Fair warning, it takes up a good amount of space when compared to a .jpeg.

Enjoy shooting with the new camera, it can be a lot of fun!

Last edited by Malu59RT; 01-23-2013 at 12:28 AM.
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Old 01-23-2013, 09:29 AM   #4
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Digital film is "free" snap pics and experiment. No more paying for film and development.
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Old 01-23-2013, 09:55 AM   #5
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Here is something I put together a few years ago over on M3post. It might seem a little elementary, and not all encompassing, but it helped me understand what some of the things were. Since you are new to the photography world, the best way to get an understanding is get out there and shoot. Change one setting at a time, in various directions, and see the effects. This will help you learn the quickest

Since Im a noob to this world, Ive been doing A TON of reading while I wait for my D90 to arrive/before I go to Yellowstone so I can hopefully take some decent pictures.

Here are a few basic things I've learned along the way that should help my fellow noobs (it is in very very basic/laymans terms and the numbers are just for example purposes):

Photography is all about light, as basic as it seems. Too much light in = an overexposed/whiter picture, too little light = underexposed/blacker picture. This light talk, which is affected by a variety of inputs, is called Exposure

How does this light enter into the camera? Apeture and shutter speed (ISO does too but Im not 100% on its effect, I just know I need more if its darker)

-Apeture: This is the "F.#" (f1.2, f5, f11, f20, etc...). Think of it like a circle that opens a closes...the lower the "f.#" (f.1.2) the more open the apeture/wide circle is, thus letting more light in. The higher the "f.#" (f.24), the more closed the apeture is/tighter circle, thus letting less light in. The setting of the apeture are called "F-stops".

Here is a visual demonstration on the apeture opening/closing: http://asia.olympus-global.com/imsg/...ity/index.html

The apeture often controls the Depth of Field...DoF. DoF, basically, is what is in focus in the picture; a shallow DoF means the closer objects are in focus and the background is blurry...a larger DoF means to more of the picture is in focus. The lower the apeture (lower number/larger opening) the more shallow the DoF/fewer objects will be in focus, with either the foreground or background being blurry . The higher the apeture (higher number/smaller opening) the more the entire picture is in focus.

DoF Example...remember, the lower the F stop/F#, the shallower the DoF, the higher the Fstop, the deeper the DoF


-Shutter Speed This is the "1/#" 1/1 would be a slow shutter speed, while 1/1000 would be a fast shutter speed. The LONGER the shutter stays open (the slower the shutter/smaller denominator), the MORE light enters the camera. The SHORTER the amount of time the shutter is open (faster shutter/higher denominator), the LESS light enters the camera.

Shutter speed is used to determine the "motion" of the subject. If a subject is moving you want a faster shutter to "freeze" the subject (like a flying football). If the shutter is too slow on a moving object, it will result in blurry pictures. Slower shutter are used to capture motion (those cool firework shots/tail light shots on the highway that reach the entire length of the highway)

edit(6/29/2009): Just remembered something about the length of time the shutter is open/closed. The slower the shutter speed (remember, the lower denominator), the more vulnerable the pictures are to blurriness due to the natural shake of your hand (think about it, the longer the shutter stays open, the slower the camera takes the picture, thus allowing more movement from your hand to effect/blur the picture)

-Apeture vs shutter speed The more open the apeture (think lower F.#) the more light entering into the camera, thus you need a faster shutter (think higher number) to keep light out so your pictures are not overexposed...The more closed the apeture (think higher F.#) the less light enters the camera, thus you need a slower shutter (think lower number) to compensate for the little light entering the camera so your pictures are not underexposed.


Now that your confused, lets talk about Apeture Priority and Shutter Priority; very useful settings.

-A-Priority You control/set the apeture and the camera figures out the rest. An example when you want to control the Apeture would be taking portraits, flower pics, front wheel shots, etc...so that the close object is in focus and the background is blurry. Remember how to do this??? A lower F.#.

-S-Priority You control/set the shutter speed and the camera figures out the rest. You would want this when the action is moving around. Remember, a faster shutter (higher denominator 1/1000) will "freeze" and object in motion. Adjust your Shutter depending on the speed of your object.

Compliments of TurboFan:

ISO

The ISO number defines just how sensitive the sensor is to light. The degree of sensitivity any given “ISO” delivers is difficult to put your finger on, as it is a standard created by scientists and not something intuitive to the eye or mind. It is stated as a number, with ISO 100 being the lowest in most digital camera systems (ISO 200 in some Nikons). The term “ISO 100,” for example, means nothing onto itself, but in the context of the scene, brightness, aperture and shutter speed values it is a very key element in determining exposure and exposure values. It is part of an elegant, balanced system of exposure.

When the light gets low and the shutter speed gets slow it is a good idea to ensure a steady shot by using a high ISO setting. One of the real advantages of digital is that you can change ISO on every frame. This twilight shot was made on the docks at ISO 1000.

ISO poses part of an exposure solution to a given light level. For example, at ISO 100 on a bright day the correct exposure is usually around f/16 at 1/125 sec, or the so-called “sunny 16” rule. (This says that if your meter is broken and you have to set exposure yourself and it’s sunny out with the sun coming over your shoulder you can set the ISO at 100 and have a great exposure at f/16 at 1/125 sec—and it works!)

The sensitivity of the sensor is calibrated by your setting an ISO number. In round numbers, many cameras offer a range between ISO 100 and 1600, with some going up to ISO 3200 and beyond. Every time you double the speed, or ISO, you are in effect doubling the sensitivity of the sensor, or adding a “stop” of sensitivity to light. But this doubling of sensitivity only makes sense in the context of the aperture and shutter speed settings, which control the amount of light reaching the sensor.

There are times when flash is not allowed or would ruin the character of the shot, and that’s when high ISO comes into play. This photo inside a New Orleans curio shop was made at ISO 2400 handheld.

So, if for any reason you need more or less light to affect how the aperture and shutter speed are set, you simply raise or lower the ISO setting in the camera. Go to a higher number for more light sensitivity (when you need a faster shutter speed or narrower aperture) or a lower ISO for less light sensitivity (when you want a wider aperture or slower shutter speed).

You might think all shots made in low light or after sunset require a high ISO, but that’s only if you shoot handheld. Mount the camera on a tripod and you can shoot at lower ISO settings, which generally yield much less “noise.” That’s the case with these low-light shots. The classic Las Vegas neon cowboy was photographed at ISO 200 and the fireworks at ISO 100, both on tripod, albeit with slow shutter speeds.

In general, you will usually need a higher ISO setting in low light and want a lower ISO setting in bright light. Why not just set the highest ISO for every shot? Another rule to keep in mind is: the lower the ISO setting the better the quality of the image, all else being equal. That’s because to get more light sensitivity a gain, or additional charge is applied across the sensor. As you go higher in ISO this gain adds more noise to the image.
White balance

Many people choose to leave this in auto, but I think that is a terrible mistake. White balance gives me as much creative control of my images as any other setting on the camera. White balance simply tells the camera what is supposed to be white, and everything else is scaled from there.

Back in the days of film, you had to either select a film for your application, or use a filter to adjust the lighting coming into the camera. As a beginning photographer, it's important to know that not all light is created equally. Your typical light bulb has a very severe yellow tint to it. Fluorescent lighting has a very blue hue. Flash? Different still. Sunny day? This is considered to be true "white light" by most, having an equal concentration of each color of the spectrum.

If you take a picture that is illuminated by an incandescent lamp, and you have your white balance set to fluorescent, the image will appear very yellow. The camera will try and shift the color spectrum to yellow, because you told it the light source is very blue. Since the light source is already very yellow, it makes the problem that much worse.

If you take a picture in an office, where everything is illuminated by fluorescent lamps, and you are set for incandescent (regular light bulb) it will all be very blue.

If you are set for auto white balance, the camera does an OK job picking out the light color, but the camera still has to guess what is supposed to be white. If you don't have a good range of color in the picture, the camera may not guess right. I don't use auto white balance, ever.

Many cameras have additional settings for white balance. One is where you can set the color of your light source (expressed in degrees Kelvin, or K). A typical number would range from 2500k to 10000k. The higher the number, the more blue the source. Lower, more yellow. Another common setting is a pre-defined white balance. In this case, you take a picture of a white card under your light source, effectively telling the camera "this is white today". This is a very useful setting if you are shooting in controlled light, such as a studio.


Many photographers stress the 3 factors: Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO so much because these factors cannot usually be rescued by post processing:

Aperture: if your DOF is too shallow hence creating desire area to be out of focus, there is no perfect way to get them back on focus again.

Shutter Speed: if there is motion blur to the camera, there's also no perfect way to fix them 100%

ISO: the graininess introduce by high ISO would also be non-fixable during post-processing.
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I finally got these down and it took a few days of being confused before finally figuring it out (I think I have everything right). I would not recommend going into full manual mode as it can be VERY discouraging. Keep it simple and have fun!

Comments and concerns with the above are WELCOME! I hope to learn something from this post as well as posts from others. I will add to this as more hints/tips are added.

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Old 01-23-2013, 12:27 PM   #6
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How much of this stuff does a typical DSLR camera figure out on it’s own?
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Old 01-23-2013, 02:38 PM   #7
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^ If you leave it on auto, it will do it right a fair amount of the time, especially if you are shooting in ideal situations. Understanding how to adjust iso, aperture, and shutter speed will help when you aren't in an ideal situation. Learning how to edit is really the main difference between an ok picture and one that is captivating. Composition matters, but knowing the photo editing software will make up for a lot of camera mistakes you might make
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Old 01-23-2013, 04:52 PM   #8
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That's kinda what I was thinking. 90% of a good picture is in the edit.
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Old 01-23-2013, 07:46 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by golfinz View Post
Here is something I put together a few years ago over on M3post. It might seem a little elementary, and not all encompassing, but it helped me understand what some of the things were. Since you are new to the photography world, the best way to get an understanding is get out there and shoot. Change one setting at a time, in various directions, and see the effects. This will help you learn the quickest
Best advice one can give. Put the camera on manual around the house, and then see what changing the shutter speed, aperature, and ISO does.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Fubar View Post
That's kinda what I was thinking. 90% of a good picture is in the edit.
I'd say 75% of a good picture is subject matter and composition. The other 25% is using the correct settings (sometimes Auto mode can do this, like mentioned) to achieve the desired look of the photo.

Now, as far as editing...90% of a great picture which used to only be a good one, is in the editing.
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Old 01-28-2013, 08:04 PM   #10
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Just go buy Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson.

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Old 01-29-2013, 11:04 AM   #11
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Just go buy Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson.

http://www.amazon.com/Understanding-.../dp/0817439390
This is the book to get if you want to really understand how to get the most out of your camera. Also as dumb as it sounds read the manual. Camera manuals are usually pretty well written and helpful.
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Old 01-29-2013, 12:26 PM   #12
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yep… ordered book, I read most of the manual stuff. It doesn’t clearly explain why aperture affect focal range. I get how aperture allows different amounts of light, although it seems like shutter speed could do this just as well, but I thought focus was controlled by the lens. I guess the book will lay it out.
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Old 01-29-2013, 02:05 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fubar View Post
yep… ordered book, I read most of the manual stuff. It doesn’t clearly explain why aperture affect focal range. I get how aperture allows different amounts of light, although it seems like shutter speed could do this just as well, but I thought focus was controlled by the lens. I guess the book will lay it out.
Shutter speed can effect the amount of light metered. Go into a semi dark room and, with a tripod, take a picture with a fast shutter speed, the take a shot with a longer exposure. The slower shutter speed allows more light to be metered, thus making the picture "brighter"
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Old 01-29-2013, 02:36 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fubar View Post
yep… ordered book, I read most of the manual stuff. It doesn’t clearly explain why aperture affect focal range. I get how aperture allows different amounts of light, although it seems like shutter speed could do this just as well, but I thought focus was controlled by the lens. I guess the book will lay it out.
By focal range I think you are referring to something called "depth of field." Although the actual focus point of the camera never changes as you change the aperture, the amount of things in focus in front of and behind the focus point change. The smaller the aperture (larger f-num, like f11) will allow more things to be in focus than a larger aperture (small f-num, like f2.8).

This site explains it a lot better and has a calculator to help you visualize how your aperture settings will effect your picture.
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Old 01-29-2013, 02:57 PM   #15
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You are right, depth of field is the term I should have been using. Is PhotoShop still the best editor?
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Old 01-29-2013, 03:12 PM   #16
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I would recommend Lightroom (Adobe) or Aperture (Apple) instead of Photoshop especially starting out. Both of these programs provide image importing and cataloging tools as well as photo editing capabilities. Photoshop is more for serious image manipulation that you will not usually do to every picture and does not include a way to catalog and search all of your pictures. If you ever find the editing capabilities of Lightroom or Aperture lacking, both allow you to export to Photoshop for further editing.
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Old 01-29-2013, 10:31 PM   #17
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Messed around with Aperture (software). I'm getting it.. a little.
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Old 01-30-2013, 05:32 PM   #18
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Quote:
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Messed around with Aperture (software). I'm getting it.. a little.
Yep. You're getting it. Cool shots.
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Old 02-05-2013, 10:02 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fubar View Post
So I broke down and bought a camera today. I need some high quality pictures for a few different projects and I figured the family would enjoy it as well. I bought a Nikon D5100, just one lens for now (18-55mm).I don't expect to need big telescopic ability as most of my subject mater will be t arms length.

I bought a cheap lens filter kit with UV, polarizing and fluorescent filters. The kit also came with a tulip lens hood. I ordered an attachable Nikon flash and a 128 memory card (class 10).

Anything else I should really look at getting?

Any suggestion on how the fudge I use the crap I ordered?

Thanks in advance.

I purchased the same camera a few months back Mark and I love it, Not to complicated but it has some advanced functions for when I get more used to using it.
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