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mommykim

I just ordered my first DSLR camera!

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No the bird was just sitting on a branch. My camera Nikon D3400 doesn't seem to have

Image Stabilization / Vibration Reduction.

 

 

 

I'm very new at this. I really don't know how to figure out the 3 legs yet.

 

Just to clarify no Nikon DSLR has VR, on Nikon cameras the image stabilization aka VR is a feature that is found on the lens and indicated with red letters “VR” stamped on the barrel of the lens. So your camera will ‘work’ with VR lens. Not all lens are equipped with VR and tend to cost more than non VR lens. So if you suffer from knowing Father Time for a long time like me the days of shooting with non VR lens are gone unless mounted on a tripod.

 

Also on the bird photo always try to keep in mind when zoomed out to 300mm you need a shutter speed faster than the magnification of the lens ie 1/500, for 500mm 1/1250 and so on, so the faster the shutter speed when handholding with a non VR Lens when zoomed all the way out you will get a sharper image. I also will shoot on a long telephoto shot in continuous high mode a burst of 3 or four shots because the first one of just pressing the shutter will cause camera shake then the next shots as you hold the shutter down you will have “settled” and result in the “keeper” shot.

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So far I'm not really finding anything in this area.

 

I used to find them on Groupon all the time where I live. I don't know where you live though so maybe there aren't any close to you. I took photography classes in high school, but it was with a regular SLR and darkroom. I have gone to several seminars over the year. Some put on by local photography studios and some put on by out of state groups like Rocky Mountain School of Photography or Arizona Highways. Some have been worth the money I spent, and some have not. The best school is getting out and using your camera and trying different things. Since you don't have to buy film you are really not out anything.

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Thanks, I'm just learning all this. I don't know how to crop on the computer yet (but will eventually). Is there a menu item for center focus?

 

I think you have a D3400?

 

If so:

Shooting menu, shooting options > AF Area Mode

 

AF Area is an option on almost all DSLR or mirrorless cameras. choices usually include:

Wide (camera guesses),

Zone (you move the area with the control dial),

Point (smaller than zone, sometimes just one focus point)

 

Dave

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Just to clarify no Nikon DSLR has VR, on Nikon cameras the image stabilization aka VR is a feature that is found on the lens and indicated with red letters “VR” stamped on the barrel of the lens. So your camera will ‘work’ with VR lens. Not all lens are equipped with VR and tend to cost more than non VR lens. So if you suffer from knowing Father Time for a long time like me the days of shooting with non VR lens are gone unless mounted on a tripod.

 

Also on the bird photo always try to keep in mind when zoomed out to 300mm you need a shutter speed faster than the magnification of the lens ie 1/500, for 500mm 1/1250 and so on, so the faster the shutter speed when handholding with a non VR Lens when zoomed all the way out you will get a sharper image. I also will shoot on a long telephoto shot in continuous high mode a burst of 3 or four shots because the first one of just pressing the shutter will cause camera shake then the next shots as you hold the shutter down you will have “settled” and result in the “keeper” shot.

 

The 18-55mm lens says VR but not my 70-300mm. So far all my shots (except moon photos) are on Automatic. You think it's best to try Manual?

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I used to find them on Groupon all the time where I live. I don't know where you live though so maybe there aren't any close to you. I took photography classes in high school, but it was with a regular SLR and darkroom. I have gone to several seminars over the year. Some put on by local photography studios and some put on by out of state groups like Rocky Mountain School of Photography or Arizona Highways. Some have been worth the money I spent, and some have not. The best school is getting out and using your camera and trying different things. Since you don't have to buy film you are really not out anything.

 

I'll keep looking. I've been trying to taking lots of photos but almost exclusively on automatic. I don't know enough about how to use manual or try to figure out what settings to use.

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I think you have a D3400?

 

If so:

Shooting menu, shooting options > AF Area Mode

 

AF Area is an option on almost all DSLR or mirrorless cameras. choices usually include:

Wide (camera guesses),

Zone (you move the area with the control dial),

Point (smaller than zone, sometimes just one focus point)

 

Dave

 

Yes, I have a D3400. What do you use to get center focus?

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I think you have a D3400?

 

If so:

Shooting menu, shooting options > AF Area Mode

 

AF Area is an option on almost all DSLR or mirrorless cameras. choices usually include:

Wide (camera guesses),

Zone (you move the area with the control dial),

Point (smaller than zone, sometimes just one focus point)

 

Dave

 

Yes, I have a D3400. What do you use to get center focus?

 

 

It was in my previous response.

 

I found it in the D3400 user guide on page 70.

 

http://download.nikonimglib.com/archive3/GflUt00Q30KF03YzCLl43rm2po76/D3400UM_SG(En)02.pdf

 

My first 2 hours with any new camera is spent in the menus going through each setting. If I don't understand what a setting does, I look in the manual or online . By the time I'm done, I may not remember where each setting is but I know that it exists and can find it again. This exercise will provide two benefits. you will know what is in the menu and the general layout and you will have a fair understanding of what all the camera can do.

 

Happy shooting!

 

Dave

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You think it's best to try Manual?

 

I do not recommend that you shoot in manual. Manual requires that you read the meter in the camera and manually set both the shutter speed and aperture. If you do it incorrectly, you risk getting an improperly exposed and unusable photo. I rarely shoot in manual unless there is a very good reason for it (e.g. very long exposure to smooth water.)

 

Instead, on your Nikon you will have three other options. I would suggest starting with program mode (P on the mode dial.) Here, the camera will choose for you what it considers to be the proper combination of aperture setting and shutter speed. You can change this for creative effects, while still usually maintaining a proper combination for exposure, by rotating the command thumb dial. Again, this will change the combination of shutter speed and aperture setting while still maintaining an appropriate combination of them for proper exposure most of the time.

 

As you advance, you can try using shutter priority (S on the mode dial of the Nikon.) In this mode, you choose the shutter speed you desire and the camera will choose the appropriate aperture to give you what the camera thinks is proper exposure. This is useful for sports or action shots where you want to select a high shutter speed to stop action. Or, you can choose aperture priority (A on the mode dial.) Here, you choose the aperture you want and the camera will select what it thinks is the appropriate shutter speed. This is useful if you want to use a wide open aperture for narrow depth of field (e.g throw the background out of focus for portraits) or to chose a very small aperture for large depth of field to have the entire photo in focus.

 

I use aperture priority most of the time, except when shooting sports.

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It was in my previous response.

 

I found it in the D3400 user guide on page 70.

 

http://download.nikonimglib.com/archive3/GflUt00Q30KF03YzCLl43rm2po76/D3400UM_SG(En)02.pdf

 

My first 2 hours with any new camera is spent in the menus going through each setting. If I don't understand what a setting does, I look in the manual or online . By the time I'm done, I may not remember where each setting is but I know that it exists and can find it again. This exercise will provide two benefits. you will know what is in the menu and the general layout and you will have a fair understanding of what all the camera can do.

 

Happy shooting!

 

Dave

Sorry, I didn't see center focus listed (just wide, zone and point) and I'm not sure what I would use to get center focus. That's a good idea to go through the menus. I'll have to spend a lot more time doing that since I won't understand what most setting are but it sounds like a plan.

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I do not recommend that you shoot in manual. Manual requires that you read the meter in the camera and manually set both the shutter speed and aperture. If you do it incorrectly, you risk getting an improperly exposed and unusable photo. I rarely shoot in manual unless there is a very good reason for it (e.g. very long exposure to smooth water.)

 

Instead, on your Nikon you will have three other options. I would suggest starting with program mode (P on the mode dial.) Here, the camera will choose for you what it considers to be the proper combination of aperture setting and shutter speed. You can change this for creative effects, while still usually maintaining a proper combination for exposure, by rotating the command thumb dial. Again, this will change the combination of shutter speed and aperture setting while still maintaining an appropriate combination of them for proper exposure most of the time.

 

As you advance, you can try using shutter priority (S on the mode dial of the Nikon.) In this mode, you choose the shutter speed you desire and the camera will choose the appropriate aperture to give you what the camera thinks is proper exposure. This is useful for sports or action shots where you want to select a high shutter speed to stop action. Or, you can choose aperture priority (A on the mode dial.) Here, you choose the aperture you want and the camera will select what it thinks is the appropriate shutter speed. This is useful if you want to use a wide open aperture for narrow depth of field (e.g throw the background out of focus for portraits) or to chose a very small aperture for large depth of field to have the entire photo in focus.

 

I use aperture priority most of the time, except when shooting sports.

 

Thanks. This is probably a stupid question but how do you know what shutter speed or aperture to choose?

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I do not recommend that you shoot in manual. Manual requires that you read the meter in the camera and manually set both the shutter speed and aperture. If you do it incorrectly, you risk getting an improperly exposed and unusable photo. I rarely shoot in manual unless there is a very good reason for it (e.g. very long exposure to smooth water.)

 

Instead, on your Nikon you will have three other options. I would suggest starting with program mode (P on the mode dial.) Here, the camera will choose for you what it considers to be the proper combination of aperture setting and shutter speed. You can change this for creative effects, while still usually maintaining a proper combination for exposure, by rotating the command thumb dial. Again, this will change the combination of shutter speed and aperture setting while still maintaining an appropriate combination of them for proper exposure most of the time.

 

As you advance, you can try using shutter priority (S on the mode dial of the Nikon.) In this mode, you choose the shutter speed you desire and the camera will choose the appropriate aperture to give you what the camera thinks is proper exposure. This is useful for sports or action shots where you want to select a high shutter speed to stop action. Or, you can choose aperture priority (A on the mode dial.) Here, you choose the aperture you want and the camera will select what it thinks is the appropriate shutter speed. This is useful if you want to use a wide open aperture for narrow depth of field (e.g throw the background out of focus for portraits) or to chose a very small aperture for large depth of field to have the entire photo in focus.

 

I use aperture priority most of the time, except when shooting sports.

 

I do not know if you camera has this feature or not, I know the D7000, D7200 have it, so I will now add more confusion, Some Nikon cameras have a setting called Auto ISO, A lot of bird photographers, for bird in flight (BIF’s )shots will use manual, set the shutter speed for a fast shutter speed due to long lens and depth of field to get what they want in focus then the camera then picks the ISO to get the correct exposure, you can even set the range of the ISO IE 100 to 3200 for example. So it is not to high.

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Thanks. This is probably a stupid question but how do you know what shutter speed or aperture to choose?

 

Not a stupid question, but here is a stupid answer: practice, practice, practice.

 

Here is a more useful answer: Generally, if you are shooting landscape or similar, you will want as much depth of field as possible so that both the foreground and background will be in focus. For this, you will want a small aperture which is a large f number. For example, you will find landscape photography is often done at f11, f22 or something like that.

 

On the other hand, if you are trying to throw the background out of focus, as you might want to do on portraiture, you will want a large aperture which is a small f number. For example, you might want to shoot at about f4 or even possibly f2.8 if your lens opens that wide.

 

For sports, you will want a fast shutter speed, like 1/500 or 1/1000, to stop action.

 

By the way, the Nikon cameras are smart. Very smart. If you leave the camera in P mode, it considers the type of photography it thinks you are doing, and tries to choose an appropriate combination of shutter speed and aperture. Again, you can change this combination by rotating the thumb wheel and still usually get proper exposure.

 

Hope this helps.

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For example, you will find landscape photography is often done at f11, f22 or something like that.

 

 

Just an added note: Skip the f/22. Any aperture smaller than about f/16 on a typical kit lens will suffer from softness (blur).

 

Dan is right about practice, practice, practice. One of the beauties of digital is that you can easily use trial and error to see how different settings affect a scene. The basic outline he presented about fast shutter for action and such is spot on and only experience is going to drive the knowledge in deep enough to make stick. You can read about golf or tennis all you want and watch it for hours on TV, but to get good at it, you need to play. And play. And play.

 

Make practice fun. Stalk your pets. Take walks with your camera. In spring, we go on little road trips to wildflower areas and then tour a craft brewery or open air market. Photography can be fun. I have been shooting since I was about ten years old and it has become a part of my life. I also find it therapeutic as hell. That's why I often end posts with:

 

Happy shooting!

 

Dave

Edited by pierces

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Thanks. This is probably a stupid question but how do you know what shutter speed or aperture to choose?

 

Not a stupid question -- And not an easy answer.

 

Shutter speed, aperture and ISO are all used to get a proper exposure -- To make sure enough light gets into the camera. They form an exposure triangle. Adjusting 1, requires changes t the other 2 factor in order to compensate and keep the proper exposure.

 

But in addition to exposure, they each have a "side effect."

-- Aperture -- Affects the depth of field, also known as "background blur" -- A small number gets a more blurred background, a large number makes more of the frame appear in perceived focus.

-- Shutter speed -- literally the speed with which the shutter opens and closes. It needs to be fast enough to freeze any motion. So a very slow shutter speed can be used to show motion (as in fireworks), while a fast shutter speed is used to freeze action. And the faster the motion, the faster the needed shutter speed.

 

But as I said, they are all related. If you go with a very very fast shutter speed, then the camera will have to open up the aperture, which will blur the background, which you may or may not want. And then, if the aperture can't open any wider, the camera will have to increase the ISO. And as ISO goes up, image quality comes down -- you get noisy grainy softer images as ISO goes up.

So you need to balance all of the factors.

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I would agree that full manual is probably not a good idea for a beginner. You will end up more frustrated with your camera. But don't be afraid of the big M on your dial. When you are playing/practicing, put your camera on manual mode then take a shot. Then adjust the aperture or shutter speed and see what happens to the shot when you take it again. Then adjust the other and see what happens. There are a lot of people who only shoot on Automatic mode, and I think you miss out on some of the fun of photography.

 

You can do some really creative things by understanding exposure and how to manipulate the shutter speed, aperture, and ISO to get the creative effects you want.

 

I do a considerable amount of manual shooting, but I also use aperture mode quite a bit for HDR photography where I am taking 5-7 shots to build into one photo later and I don't want the depth of field to change.

 

The best way to understand it all is to experiment like others have said. You aren't wasting film and you can delete your experiments without any downside, so shoot away. Go out and take 200 photos in an hour using different settings. The only thing you are out is time, and you can chalk it up to education. Watch tutorials on your camera to see how others are doing things. Then figure out if it can incorporate into your workflow.

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One of the things I do for traveling pictures is to take in both whatever mode I am shooting (usually A or S) and automatic. Then at least I usually have something reasonable and can compare them later to learn what it was I did wrong (or maybe even right).

 

Vic

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Thanks everybody! I really appreciate all your help.

 

Enjoy the hobby. Taking photos has given me great pleasure over the years.

 

One last piece of advice, and perhaps the most important advice I can give you. Don't worry too much about the technical stuff. Although I don't do this, and don't recommend it, modern cameras are capable of great results when left on fully auto. Cameras are really smart these days.

 

Really, much more important than the technical stuff is the artistic stuff. Learn how to compose well and learn how to see the light and shoot in good light. These factors are far more important than f stops, shutter speeds, ISO's and the like.

 

I have said this before many times. The single most important thing that I ever did to improve my photography was joining our local photography club. Here, we enter images and have others critique them. Through having others look at and comment on my photos, my pictures have gotten much better over the years.

 

And........ practice, practice, practice.

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Enjoy the hobby. Taking photos has given me great pleasure over the years.

 

One last piece of advice, and perhaps the most important advice I can give you. Don't worry too much about the technical stuff. Although I don't do this, and don't recommend it, modern cameras are capable of great results when left on fully auto. Cameras are really smart these days.

 

Really, much more important than the technical stuff is the artistic stuff. Learn how to compose well and learn how to see the light and shoot in good light. These factors are far more important than f stops, shutter speeds, ISO's and the like.

 

I have said this before many times. The single most important thing that I ever did to improve my photography was joining our local photography club. Here, we enter images and have others critique them. Through having others look at and comment on my photos, my pictures have gotten much better over the years.

 

And........ practice, practice, practice.

 

Thanks. I did post some pictures (info on post 144) hoping that I would be given pointers. Pierces did help with one picture. Apparently I need help with the artistic stuff. I never would have thought of changing it the way he did (of course I also don't know how to do it).

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Enjoy the hobby. Taking photos has given me great pleasure over the years.

 

 

 

One last piece of advice, and perhaps the most important advice I can give you. Don't worry too much about the technical stuff. Although I don't do this, and don't recommend it, modern cameras are capable of great results when left on fully auto. Cameras are really smart these days.

 

 

 

Really, much more important than the technical stuff is the artistic stuff. Learn how to compose well and learn how to see the light and shoot in good light. These factors are far more important than f stops, shutter speeds, ISO's and the like.

 

 

 

I have said this before many times. The single most important thing that I ever did to improve my photography was joining our local photography club. Here, we enter images and have others critique them. Through having others look at and comment on my photos, my pictures have gotten much better over the years.

 

 

 

And........ practice, practice, practice.

 

 

 

Thank you from me as well.

 

I am getting an enormous amount of pleasure from this hobby and have tried to take the advice of focusing on composition. Getting into lighting of course starts us down the road of getting more technical so it seems to be a spectrum.

 

I am starting to look at better and broader lens options than the kit lens I have been using for a few years.

 

I think in terms of cruising though one has to be careful not to see the whole cruise through a viewfinder.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

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I think in terms of cruising though one has to be careful not to see the whole cruise through a viewfinder.

 

My primary viewfinder is my two eyeballs. The camera viewfinder only gets used once my primary viewfinders see something they like.

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Pierces did help with one picture..

 

Without sounding like a cheerleader, I've gotten more tips on photography from Dave, Justin, Adam than I have from 70-years of taking photos!

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Is there a way to keep focus on the object you are trying to take a picture of? I keep losing focus to what is behind or even in front of it. I'm using the 70-300mm 1:4.5.6.3G ED on the NikonD3400.

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Is there a way to keep focus on the object you are trying to take a picture of? I keep losing focus to what is behind or even in front of it. I'm using the 70-300mm 1:4.5.6.3G ED on the NikonD3400.

Often a 'half press' of the shutter release, or a 'back button' near your right thumb is or can be configured to focus the lens - then you reframe / recompose and shoot.

 

This is either for stationary subjects, or where you can focus on a fixed target where you anticipate the subject will enter the picture [e.g. birds at a feeder, bees at a flower or a basketball hoop]. Sometimes you will need to focus manually [say the camera keeps focusing on a smear on the window, not the bird visible through the window.]

 

Some continuous auto focus systems [like my 1994 vintage Canon Elan] will attempt to follow a moving subject and anticipate just where the subject & focus will travel while the SLR mirror is flipping. Some mirrorless cameras [e.g. Sony A9, Olympus M1.2] let you track a moving subject without any viewfinder blackout]

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