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Thread: Got Nikon D3100, could use pointers

  1. #9
    larry's Avatar
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    Congrats, even though you chose a Nikon
    larry
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/bigflytrap/
    Save a tree, legalize cannabis.
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  2. #10
    Sphagnum Guru Wire Man's Avatar
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    Practice, practice, and more practice. I learned most of my techniques by playing around with the camera.

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    If I might suggest a cheap and great lens that I feel is a must for all dslr camera owners is a 50mm 1.8d. Although I had a Canon, I am sure Nikon will be just as good. They're only 100 bucks and they take great pictures for what you spend. It'll allow you to experiment and take some great macro shots. Just keep messing around with your camera like everyone has said and you will catch one quickly! Congrats on the camera by the way!

  4. #12
    Kyle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by larry View Post
    Congrats, even though you chose a Nikon
    larry made me LOL.

    I didn't fully read all the posts already here, but I'll throw a few pointers in there. Keep in mind I'm no photographer, these are just things I've picked up on over the last year or so of fiddling with my camera. XD

    Yes, higher f-stops will give you more depth of field (DoF), but you've also got to be careful with it. You can't just set it as high as possible and forget it. I tried understanding the physics behind the concept (it was way over my head), but you'll get distortion due to diffraction at the highest f-stops; that might depend on the lens, but I'm pretty sure all lenses suffer from that - the nicer lenses just have a less noticeable distortion and only at higher f-stops.

    Always shoot at the lowest ISO that you can practically get a shot. You may well already know that higher ISOs can produce noise. For this reason, I typically shoot at 100 ISO since I use a tripod and a remote shutter release and, therefore, can shoot with very long exposures with zero effect on the quality of the picture.

    (Wait, I don't know if this can be done with a Nikon... the cable port might be a different size) And that brings me to the remote release. I can't recommend one enough. You can even DIY one for like $2 with a headphone cable and a button from RadioShack. Seriously. They make a world of difference and save you a lot of hassle (you can also use a two-second timer for each shot, which gives you pretty much equal results, but it's a hassle). Here is a picture of the one I made and use. Ghetto, for sure, but it works great.

    If you want to get "professional" looking lighting, as opposed to sunlight (which, don't get me wrong, can give beautiful color to your pictures, if you can handle the white balance) and the harsh shadows that typically come with it, build yourself a cheapy light box. I built one out of PVC and some cheap white fabric. Cost like $20, and it was $20 well-invested if you ask me. Much more even and uniform lighting, and a much "softer" feel to the light. You can also use this outside and the fabric will diffuse the light and cause it to sort of bounce all around in the box, evening out the light a lot.

    Try to work on composition early. I think a lot of beginning photographers (myself included) are discouraged when they look at the pictures they took and they aren't satisfied with them because they just don't "have it." Often, this is probably because the composition of the shot is just "meh" as opposed to interesting. Learn to give a picture that "pop" from the beginning, and I think you'll have a lot more fun.

    I'm sure there're plenty more things I could think of, and I'll add them as I think of them.

    But one thing I will mention right now is that, no matter how much I read or how much people give me tips and pointers, none of it means nearly as much to my learning as does good ol' fiddling. Experiment with your camera. Just throw that thing into manual and screw with things until you get a picture you're happy with. And once you achieve that, try to understand why whatever settings you used gave you the result you wanted. Then try to imagine how else those same techniques and settings can be applied to other situations and whatnot.

    But, regardless of all that, welcome to the world of DSLRs! They're, of course, accompanied by a pretty steep learning curve, but it's so worth it. They're a lot of fun, and it is just SO friggin' satisfying to take a hundred pictures and have even one that you absolutely love.

    Good luck!


    EDIT: Thought of another thing. Auto focus can be used fine a lot of the time, but I highly suggest getting use to manual focusing. I can't express how frustrating it is trying to take a picture of something in motion (like our dogs) and the camera won't focus properly and I'm not familiar enough with it to get it in focus in time. I stopped using auto focus all-together with stationary objects just for that reason: to get the "feel" of it.

  5. #13
    larry's Avatar
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    Autofocus can be quite helpful. It gets you in the ballpark of where you want to focus. Once there, keep your finger halfway pressed on the shutter release button so that it will no longer try to focus. Then just move your body closer or away from your subject until the the part you want to take a pic of is in focus. As far as what f-stop to use, well, it depends on the situation and what effect you're looking to achieve.
    larry
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  6. #14
    Lover of Mountains nightsky's Avatar
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    Congrats! Enjoy, play with the settings and just practice like crazy with different settings to see the results. Others have given great tips so I won't regurgitate them. And I also highly recommend the nikkor 50mm 1.8. It's an excellent lens that is super cheap.

  7. #15
    Av8tor1's Avatar
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    Excellent start Zu, and some great advice.

    I love my 50mm 1.8 lens (canon in my case) biggest bang for the buck there is.

    Eventually you will also want a good macro.... but take your time kid, those are owie expensive.
    Get the 50 first and use your tubes.

    Butch

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    kulamauiman's Avatar
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    or close up filters. They do cause some light loss and really reduce the DOF, but inexpensive and easy to use. Can also stack them for more magnification. ......

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