Jump to content
mommykim

I just ordered my first DSLR camera!

Recommended Posts

Costco had a price on the Nikon D3400 I could not resist so my first DSLR is on it's way to me as we "speak". I got myself a Pixel XL cell phone about a month ago and am having so much fun taking pictures with it I decided to take the plunge into a real camera. To say I am a beginner gives me too much credit but I have high hopes :-) The camera comes with the following lenses:

AF-P DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR Lens

AF-P DX NIKKOR 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED Lens

 

Any advice greatly appreciated on anything else I might need. I leave on the Anthem of the Seas January 14.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi mommy Kim. We are going on our first cruise in March. I bought last year's model of your camera. It's a big learning curve & I'm loving it. Get a good camera bag that can double as a carry on. There is a lot of info on line to help you learn your camera. One tool I found helpful, especially in the beginning are the 'cheat sheets' Moose Winans. He's on Facebook too and will also answer any questions you have within a day or two. I have also bought guides to the camera online.

I have a question for you if you have cruised before - on shore excursions are there safe places to leave valuables (like a camera) if you do some activities like snorkelling

I hope this helps a bit.

Maris

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ditch the Nikon lenses and get a Tamron 16-300mm lens. For traveling you can't beat its versatility. You won't be needing to change lenses when you need a long telephoto. Also, you won't be traveling with 2 lenses only 1.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think the best advice I can give you is to learn your camera before you leave.

 

You don't want to miss those great shots because you are still trying to figure out how your camera works.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I always carry a small, thin plastic bag it my pocket to protect my camera if it rains. I never travel with a camera bag - I never put my camera away - it's ALWAYS on my shoulder. Don't forget a spare battery and charger. Get a large capacity memory card.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have to disagree with the advice about a large capacity memory card.

 

My suggestion is to consider how much memory you might use in a day or two and bring multiple cards for two reasons.

 

One, if a card gets damaged, you lose the pictures on just that one card, not your whole vacation.

 

And, two, if your camera gets lost or stolen, same reason as above.

 

I had a friend who got sick while traveling and took a taxi back to her hotel. Totally forget about her camera which she left in the taxi. All vacation pictures gone. :(

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good advice about multiple memory cards. Pros do it all the time. If space (or weight) is not an issue I transfer my daily images to a laptop and then reformat my card.

Need help using your new camera? Ask the ever-present ship's photographers.

Don't forget, when walking around in high crime cities your high end camera is a thieve's target. I've bought a cut- proof camera strap. It is only useful if you wear it right - across your body. I can't get used to that.

Also, your lens which is so easily removable from your camera is a target. I've seen a fellow traveler lose her lens to a street of thief in St. Petersburg. Another passenger lent her a lens.

I actually carry a spare lens and a spare camera. I've had both camera and lens fail while on a trip. A cell phone may provide a satisfactory backup for you but not for me.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Things I would be looking at a new camera....

  • camera case if it did not come with one.
  • NC or UV filter for lens protection
  • flash.... love the SB-5000 for power to bounce light or brighten up dark shadows.
  • tripod for low light and sharper images.

 

I'm not familiar with the 16-300mm Tamron.... but my 28-300mm had autofocus issues when fully extended. I sold that lens when Nikon came out with it's version. As a result, I recommend the 18-200 or 18-300. Warning... while I love super zooms for travel.... you do get distorted images.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Take your camera with you. I cringe every time I see a post that says, "I leave my good camera at home because I'm afraid it will get damaged or stolen".

 

Get used to taking pictures with it. Find a mode you are comfortable with and use it most of the time so you can adjust quickly. Don't be afraid of using the Program mode. Seemingly helpful people will tell you to "only shoot RAW" because the pros do it. "Only shoot in Manual mode because the pros do it." "Get rid of the kit lenses and buy G lenses because the pros do it". Politely tell them, "thank you" and continue to use the huge analytical capability programmed into your camera to capture excellent images through the more-than-adequate kit lenses. Billions have been spent on development of automated exposure, automated focusing, and lens design. Take advantage of that. If you try to shoot "like the pros" before you are ready, you run the risk of burning out and losing the main incentive to shoot...it's fun! Even an average runner would never start you off with a marathon on your first day, so it baffles me why photo-hobbyists and even pros seem to think that if you don't avoid "Auto" like a pro right out of the box, you'll never get good pictures.

 

Get an extra battery or two. Without a battery, your camera is just a shiny paperweight or a somewhat bulky necklace.

 

As for memory, you got some good advice earlier. I carry multiple cards when traveling but though I back up to my Kindle Fire nightly, I never format them until the images are loaded and backed up at home. Just get a card wallet and start collecting good brand (SanDisk, Lexar, PNY, Sony, etc.) 16GB Class 10 or UHS-1 cards when you see a sale. One per day should suffice. (So take two extra!) Switch to an empty card every morning, even if the previous one isn't full and keep the wallet in the cabin safe.

 

Avoid too-good-to-be-true pricing since it almost always is too good to be true. "Sold by Amazon" is safe and online stores like B&H Photo and Adorama run sales regularly. I am amazed at how folks can spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars on a camera and still freak out over a $15 memory card or $40 for an extra battery. Memory speeds and class ratings can be confusing, so feel free to post questions if you have any.

 

You have a great camera and lenses that will cover just about any travel situation. Use them and have fun!

 

Dave

Edited by pierces

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Pierce's advice is all good but I would make one exception. When shooting in Auto mode the camera will decide what to focus on. It may not be what you wanted. It will try to focus on a bunch of things all at once. For example, you want a pic of Uncle George on the couch in the living room. The camera searches the scene and finds a lamp in the foreground - it will focus on that and forget about George. Instead, figure out how to choose ONE focal point, put that focal point in the center of your viewfinder, put that spot on George and he will be in focus (and not over exposed).

Auto everything sounds like a great idea for a newbe but I think that the single focal point is essential. You may have to read the instruction manual (Ugh) but it's worth it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Pierce's advice is all good but I would make one exception. When shooting in Auto mode the camera will decide what to focus on. It may not be what you wanted. It will try to focus on a bunch of things all at once. For example, you want a pic of Uncle George on the couch in the living room. The camera searches the scene and finds a lamp in the foreground - it will focus on that and forget about George. Instead, figure out how to choose ONE focal point, put that focal point in the center of your viewfinder, put that spot on George and he will be in focus (and not over exposed).

Auto everything sounds like a great idea for a newbe but I think that the single focal point is essential. You may have to read the instruction manual (Ugh) but it's worth it.

 

Good advice. As part of "find a mode and learn how to adjust", I should have mentioned things like exposure compensation (+/- dial) or setting the AF to center zone or single and use Focus and Recompose. In that case, the OP could half-press the shutter, focus on George using the center zone then shift the scene with George off to the side. I have also found that most modern cameras ignore closer objects unless they are fairly centered in the view. I wasn't kidding when I said billions have been spent. I'd like to meet the guy that made it possible for my camera to pick my granddaughter's "registered" face out of a crowd or find a subject's eye in the scene and track focus on it. They crammed a lot of old photographer's advice into the tiny supercomputer that runs our cameras. :)

 

Dave

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll also agree generally with Pierce while offering some qualification.

He is completely correct -- ignore anybody who tells you that you must shoot raw, or must upgrade lenses,etc.

You can go enjoy your camera on full auto and kit lenses, and capture some very nice images.

Now the but -- keep your expectations in check. Most of your images will not look like many of the great images you see being shared online. Getting a masters degree in photography is not a prerequisite to buying a dSLR. But any time you spend learning photography -- learning composition techniques, learning technical aspects, will improve your photography.

Don't expect to learn it all at once, you'll just get frustrated.

But any learning you do, you'll see the reward in your photographs. And far far far down the road, you may benefit from shooting raw or upgrading lenses, etc.

For now, gradually learn from the beginning.

 

I'd put aside technical stuff at first, and learn a bit about composition.

 

I teach a 4-week photography class-- my starting lesson is understanding light, and understanding how to use autofocus (as Sodicoff suggested). My second lesson is all about composition. The third lesson gets pretty technical lol.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Pierces advice is good and I feel goes along with what I said about learning how to use your camera.

 

We were on a once in a lifetime trip to Antarctica and several people commented about how they just got their camera a week or two ago and couldn't figure out how to do some things.

 

My husband is the dSLR expert and knows his camera inside and out.

 

Me? I use a point and shoot but I never use it on Auto. I always use it in Program mode. I know how to do (as Pierces mentioned) exposure compensation and Focus and Recompose. I know how to turn on the Macro mode and I know how to force the flash or turn it off completely or use it on Auto. (I am always amazed at the number of people who don't know how to do this with their P & S.)

 

Learn how to change lighting settings. Are you shooting outdoors or under fluorescents? Do you know how to set your camera to shoot multiple frames with just one press (and hold) of the shutter release?

 

These are the types of thinks I'm referring to when I suggested getting to know your camera. And don't hesitate to take your manual with you on your first couple of trips.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would say bring at least one spare battery, and multiple memory cards.

 

Keep the 'exposed' cards in the safe.

 

If the camera has some sort of wi-fi feature, you may be able to copy selected photos onto your phone, and view them on the phone's larger display, or later upload to google photos.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am enjoying reading the responses to your original question. As I mentioned before, I bought a similar camera a year ago a 3300. Some really good suggestions that I might use like extra batteries & SD cards. You will not have a lot of time to learn about photography before you go. Shooting in auto does kind of defeat the purpose of a dslr. Seriously consider packing some cheat sheets & take a laptop or tablet so you can review your photos. A card reader would be something to take as well so you don't have to use Wifi to transfer your photos. And have fun with it.

Maris

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

These are the types of thinks I'm referring to when I suggested getting to know your camera. And don't hesitate to take your manual with you on your first couple of trips.

 

Great idea. I have a copy of manuals for all my equipment on my phone and tablet.

 

PDF Manuals for D3400: http://downloadcenter.nikonimglib.com/en/products/330/D3400.html

 

Dave

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would suggest you purchase an Alan Hess book. A field guide for a Nikon D3300.

This book is full of information that will help you about using your D3400. Also a paperback book you can carry with you while traveling. I find these field guides to be extremely valuable. Available on amazon & other sources. Enjoy your new camera. John

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great advice given so far. I am going to exaggerate a little bit. Don't worry about camera settings. Even on fully auto, and using the kit lens, the Nikon is capable of stunning results.

 

Instead, concentrate on what makes a good photo, most notably lighting and composition. Look at other people's photographs. Take an art class (yes, an art class.) Have other photographers critique your work. Ask yourself what would make a photo better.

 

The single most important thing I ever did to improve my photography had nothing to do with equipment. That single thing was joining our local photography club. Every month we enter photos and have a photographer critique them. Hearing other people's comments about my photographs over the years has vastly improved my photo taking skills.

 

After you have gotten better at the art of photography, then start playing with camera settings and buying better gear.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Instead, concentrate on what makes a good photo, most notably lighting and composition. Look at other people's photographs. Take an art class (yes, an art class.) Have other photographers critique your work. Ask yourself what would make a photo better.

 

Best advice I've heard. The technical stuff is important in the long run, but none of it matters if you don't have good light and good composition.

 

I was critiquing a landscape photo recently.... it was of a nice enough scene. The photographer was asking, "it just isn't popping.... what should I have done differently?"

I took one look, and realized from the positioning of the shadows and the overall look, that it was taken at mid-day. And with my knowledge, I knew the exact same scene would pop and look 100 times better, if the photo simply had been taken around sunrise or sunset.

 

I'd suggest a book on composition, before worrying too much about the technical manuals. Learn the rule of thirds. Explore places like flickr, where you can see amazing images taken by others.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you all so much for such wonderful advice. I have already ordered extra batteries and SD cards and just by blind luck the kind Pierces recommended. I plan to play with the camera at home of course to try and learn as much as I can and already have the Hess Digital D3200 coming as well :-)

 

I have never really been much of a photographer even with a point and shoot so this is all new for me and I am really looking forward to it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thank you all so much for such wonderful advice. I have already ordered extra batteries and SD cards and just by blind luck the kind Pierces recommended. I plan to play with the camera at home of course to try and learn as much as I can and already have the Hess Digital D3200 coming as well :-)

 

I have never really been much of a photographer even with a point and shoot so this is all new for me and I am really looking forward to it.

 

Just a few more tips.

 

Go to pretty places that you may not usually go to.

 

Shoot a lot and don't be afraid to go back and try something different if you aren't happy with what you got the first time.

 

If you're in a port or visiting someplace new, see if there are photo tours. I just took a last minute Lava Boat tour while visiting friends in Hawaii and it made me very happy that I own a camera! :)

 

Play with the settings. Wander around your yard and try stuff out. The better you know your camera, the more fun shooting is.

 

You had a lot of good info dropped on you today, so use what you can and have fun!

 

Congrats on the new camera as well as the new hobby!

 

Dave

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nikon has a list of approved memory cards, and only the Nikon battery. They indicate that using any other (card or battery) voids the warranty. Not sure if that is enforced, but I am not willing to find out.

 

Good luck with your new camera and lenses!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have one more piece of advice. Print photos! Another bit of exaggeration, but to me a photo is not really a photo unless it is printed on paper (canvas, metal, etc.) Frame them. Put them on the wall for all to see and enjoy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thank you all so much for such wonderful advice. I have already ordered extra batteries and SD cards and just by blind luck the kind Pierces recommended. I plan to play with the camera at home of course to try and learn as much as I can and already have the Hess Digital D3200 coming as well :-)

 

I have never really been much of a photographer even with a point and shoot so this is all new for me and I am really looking forward to it.

 

In the beginning I would encourage you to shoot in the auto mode. Yes there are limitations but you really don't want to go on a nice cruise and your frustrated when you get home with the results because you were trying to shoot in some form of manual.

 

I would also encourage you to shoot in jpeg or maybe a combo if your camera allows, both RAW and jpeg. This especially true if you don't do any post processing.

 

My better half shoots in auto on a similar camera and a standard kit lens that comes with the camera. Here is an example, just so you know you can get good results in auto and with the equipment you've purchased, oh, and this was shoot in jpeg.

 

i-pbKKf69-XL.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I have one more piece of advice. Print photos! Another bit of exaggeration, but to me a photo is not really a photo unless it is printed on paper (canvas, metal, etc.) Frame them. Put them on the wall for all to see and enjoy.

 

I absolutely agree! We have several prints on metal (stunning color and detail!) and canvas but lately, I have been looking into replacing a couple of them with 40" 4K TV screens driven by an Intel-powered computer-on-a-stick. Loading an assortment of images formatted to the display onto an SD card and adding a slideshow screensaver would allow me to simply turn on the screen during the day via home automation and have it kick into the photo display after a minute or so.

 

Digital ate analog when resolution got good enough. I think 4K might have put teeth in digital home display of quality images.

 

Dave

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I have one more piece of advice. Print photos! Another bit of exaggeration, but to me a photo is not really a photo unless it is printed on paper (canvas, metal, etc.) Frame them. Put them on the wall for all to see and enjoy.

 

Agree. We have some very special shots framed and hung around the house.

 

And I do a Shutterfly album of each trip.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As for memory, you got some good advice earlier. I carry multiple cards when traveling but though I back up to my Kindle Fire nightly, I never format them until the images are loaded and backed up at home. Just get a card wallet and start collecting good brand (SanDisk, Lexar, PNY, Sony, etc.) 16GB Class 10 or UHS-1 cards when you see a sale. One per day should suffice. (So take two extra!) Switch to an empty card every morning, even if the previous one isn't full and keep the wallet in the cabin safe.

 

Better safe than sorry. The cards I bought are Lexar Professional UHS-I SDHC Memory Card at 32mb. All the cards I have so far are the same kind. The man at Office Depot said they're exactly what I need but I'd rather find that out from people who know for sure :-) I have not opened any of them so if they are wrong I can exchange them. If it matters I do not plan to shoot video at all. Just take photos.

Edited by mommykim

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Better safe than sorry. The cards I bought are Lexar Professional UHS-I SDHC Memory Card at 32mb. All the cards I have so far are the same kind. The man at Office Depot said they're exactly what I need but I'd rather find that out from people who know for sure :-) I have not opened any of them so if they are wrong I can exchange them. If it matters I do not plan to shoot video at all. Just take photos.

 

Lexar is a good brand and makes reliable products. A UHS-1 rated card is more than capable of handling the output of your camera, even if you decide at some time to shoot video. The reason I suggested 16GB was for use as a daily card on a trip. 32GB will work just as well but will cost more to get a full one-a-day set built up. Of course, there's no firm rule. You could shoot two days on a card if that's your preference. You would likely be able to fit a whole trip on one card if you want but having too much memory in the bag is always better than having too little.

 

Dave

Edited by pierces

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Lexar is a good brand and makes reliable products. A UHS-1 rated card is more than capable of handling the output of your camera, even if you decide at some time to shoot video. The reason I suggested 16GB was for use as a daily card on a trip. 32GB will work just as well but will cost more to get a full one-a-day set built up. Of course, there's no firm rule. You could shoot two days on a card if that's your preference. You would likely be able to fit a whole trip on one card if you want but having too much memory in the bag is always better than having too little.

 

Dave

 

The 18GB card was $10.99 and the 32GB was $12.29. For that difference I went big :-) I know they are cheaper on Amazon but I had a Office Depot gift card so I used that for them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The 18GB card was $10.99 and the 32GB was $12.29. For that difference I went big :-) I know they are cheaper on Amazon but I had a Office Depot gift card so I used that for them.

 

Travelling with "too much memory" is a nonsense phrase! :)

 

At least these days...

354864149_e8c2481237_z.jpg?zz=1

 

Dave

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cleaning my desk, I actually found one of my first digital memory cards.. a CF card, 512mb, I think I spent between $50 and $100 on it, 11 years ago.

The last memory card I bought -- a couple months ago, 128gb, 80mb/s, for $40.

So wow, how things have changed. In just a decade, 250x the memory, for a lower price.

Just that memory card, is bigger than the hard drives of my computers from just 7 or 8 years ago.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Cleaning my desk, I actually found one of my first digital memory cards.. a CF card, 512mb, I think I spent between $50 and $100 on it, 11 years ago.

The last memory card I bought -- a couple months ago, 128gb, 80mb/s, for $40.

So wow, how things have changed. In just a decade, 250x the memory, for a lower price.

Just that memory card, is bigger than the hard drives of my computers from just 7 or 8 years ago.

 

My first CF card was 256 MB cost near enough to $100 Aus. That was when I got my 300D.

 

Back in the 80s I sold computers, sold a 10MB HDD $15K.

 

1 MB floppy drive (8") $10k (it was dual drive so I guess fair to say 2MB)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
My first CF card was 256 MB cost near enough to $100 Aus. That was when I got my 300D.

 

Back in the 80s I sold computers, sold a 10MB HDD $15K.

 

1 MB floppy drive (8") $10k (it was dual drive so I guess fair to say 2MB)

 

It is amazing. My first 1gb hard drive was the size of a car stereo and the 512gb SSD I just put in my computer is hardly larger than a stick of chewing gum. It's also a fraction of the price and probably 1000x faster.

 

I guess it's a great time to be a computer user too!

 

Dave

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cheat Cards are handy. I have a full set hanging off my camera bag. Helpful since I am not a Pro Photo guy

 

I believe you camera will wirelessly transfer photos to another device. I use a Nikon Coolpix AW130 that can go underwater. So after a snorkle trip on a cruise I can transfer all my photos to my iPad. I keep the photis on the camera until I am home but nice to have them backed up while I travel.

 

SD Cards can fail, not usually but not unheard of. Unless you do a lot of videos you do not need huge capacity cards but having one or two SD cards as back up is helpful.

 

I usually just fill up as much on a card per Cruise, keep the card and get a new card for my next adventure on land or sea. So I have pics on the Cloud and saved also on the SD card. Cards are inexpensive these days.

 

As the other poster said, peactice with it well before you trip.

 

One other lens yo may want is a macr lens. Helpful for very close up shots on flowers etc. A wide angle lens is a nice feature fir large landscap shots.

 

A tripod for steady shots.

 

Flash diffusers are helpful. I like Gary Fong diffusers

 

A camera bag to haul all the gear especially back up batteries for your flash.

Edited by FireStation46

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, that did not take long. I got the camera Friday late and prdered my first lens on Sunday. Not a major purchase but a nicely priced starter lens I think. I got a Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Well, that did not take long. I got the camera Friday late and prdered my first lens on Sunday. Not a major purchase but a nicely priced starter lens I think. I got a Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G.

 

And so it begins....

 

:)

 

Dave

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
If you want an amazing book to read i would suggest "Understanding Exposure" By Bryan Peterson.

 

Great book but check the publish date. It's been updated several times.I think it's in its fourth edition now.

 

Dave

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Explore the Night. Sweepstakes - Enter now for a chance to win win a free cruise for two with Azamara Club Cruises!
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Community Contests
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×