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cyrusuncc

Photography tips and tricks...

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Thanks guys for the quick reply. I am going out to a few spots this weekend and try your suggestions. I guess there is still a lot more I need to learn about my camera. I tried reading the manual but it was a little confusing. For the most part I am a hands on type of guy and get quite impatient with instruction manuals and things of that nature. I will have to get remote shutter release though. I am sure that will solve 50% of my problem...the hardest part of that is sneaking the purchase past the comptroller(the wife).

Well, if it is any consolation, I'm not typically a manual type of guy either. What I learned was almost purely from hands on experience with what worked and what didn't. In my mind that will stick with you way more than what is read from a book as it allows you to actually SEE what happens when your method is not perfected.

You should be able to pick up a remote shutter release cable fairly cheaply from a reputable online dealer such as B&H Photo Video or Adorama Camera. Don't bother going to a place like Ritz Camera. I have so many reasons to list for not shopping at a place like that (especially Ritz/Wolf) but amongst that is price.

A great way that I found to see what happens when you leave the shutter open, etc. is to just go to Flickr.com and look at some of the gorgeous night shots that folks have taken and then take a look at the EXIF data (if they made it available) to see what their aperture was, how long the shutter was open for, what time of day it was taken, etc. Learning my example was a great way for me to broaden my skills and creativity so it may help you as well.

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I took your advice and played around with some settings and came up with these shots. I finally used the timer on my camera and was quite amazed at the shots I still am not satisfied. All in all thanks for the input I am always striving to improve. These angles are not the best but I had to take what I could get while trying to figure out what setting is best. Next week I will go to my money location and see just how much my skills have improved. Again thanks to all who gave me some advice.

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Shot with NIKON D50 at 2008-04-07

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Shot with NIKON D50 at 2008-04-07

rellfb1528sx2.jpg

Shot with NIKON D50 at 2008-04-07

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It looks like there is still some camera shake in there. More importantly is your aperture setting. I took a look at the EXIF data for the last image and noticed that you are zoomed in at 200mm at f/5.6. Your aperture really needs to be something like f/18 at the least and maybe even something like f/22. This is causing things to not be as sharp as you would have liked. Do this and it may get rid of a bulk of your issues. Aside from that, practice is the best advice I can give you.

The big thing now is just to correct the aperture you're using for your shots.

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It looks like there is still some camera shake in there. More importantly is your aperture setting. I took a look at the EXIF data for the last image and noticed that you are zoomed in at 200mm at f/5.6. Your aperture really needs to be something like f/18 at the least and maybe even something like f/22. This is causing things to not be as sharp as you would have liked. Do this and it may get rid of a bulk of your issues. Aside from that, practice is the best advice I can give you.

The big thing now is just to correct the aperture you're using for your shots.

Thnaks again and I will try your advice.

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Quick noob camera question: are there any remote shutter releases that work with the Nikon D40? Documentation for the Nikon MC-DC1 Remote Release doesn't say, and I don't want to assume it does as this may only be a feature with higher end DSLRs? What would it plug into, the USB? Thanks.

Edited by InitialD

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Quick noob camera question: are there any remote shutter releases that work with the Nikon D40? Documentation for the Nikon MC-DC1 Remote Release doesn't say, and I don't want to assume it does as this may only be a feature with higher end DSLRs? What would it plug into, the USB? Thanks.

The D40 doesn't work with cable releases but you can obtain one of these which will work with that camera:

http://www.nikonusa.com/Find-Your-Nikon/Pr...l.page?pid=4730

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The ML-L3 Wireless Remote works well, even directly behind the camera.

I'm still a camera noob, but recently I've taken an interest in shooting more photo journalism, and I need a little help getting started. Almost all of my experience is only shooting outdoors, and I've found the built in flash on my Nikon D40 looks rather harsh. I've experimented with using a business card to bounce the flash off the ceiling such as in the following two photos.

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Link

Obviously this isn't practical for most situations, so I'm looking at getting an external flash. I'm not sure if I should get the Nikon SB-400 AF Speedlight or the Nikon SB-600 Speedlight. One of the most important features for me will be the ability to bounce the flash. Would the SB-600 have more features than I would really need? I think I read some of those features won't work with a D40. Also, what kind of results can you get using a diffuser on the flash versus bouncing the flash? I just hate harsh-looking flashes.

Also, there are situations where I'm not able to use a flash. Example:

2879213661_2b7f77f526.jpg

Link

The majority of my photos turned out blurry regardless of what settings I tried (without cranking the ISO up so high it became grainy). What setting are important for shooting low-light indoors without a flash? Also, I've been thinking about getting a Nikon 50mm f/1.8D AF lens since it is relatively inexpensive. I've heard this lens is good for low-light situations? Also, I've heard it won't auto focus with a D40? Thanks for any help!

Edited by InitialD

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I have a couple of SB-800's that I use when I must use flash, but I almost always try to make do with my Nikon 50mm 1.4 first as I hate the 'flash' look. I do have a couple of Gary Fong domes that are perfect for what you're looking for however:

http://store.garyfonginc.com/licl.html

You'll need either an SB-600 or SB-800 to use it though. A big difference in the models is how much power they output. I also use flash off camera for the most part (if it is on camera I ALWAYS use the Gary Fong dome) so the SB-800's allow for wireless triggering. Nikon just released the new model, SB-900, so you can likely find the older SB-800's for a good buy.

Unfortunately the Nikon D40 isn't going to be as good as the Nikon D300 or D3 in terms of ISO quality else you could probably get away with no flash at all unless it is truly dark. Having said that, the D40 is much better or as good as some of Nikon's older flagship models like the D100 and D200.

I would suggest picking up a Nikon 50mm 1.8 as you can get a brand new one for under $100 (the 1.4 version costs ~$300 I think). The 1.4 (I had a 1.8 before) is my favorite lens in my arsenal. You'll have the lens for a long time if you take care of it, but cameras will come and go. Your next camera will likely have better focusing capabilities and will allow this lens to shine even more. For $100 you really can't spend any more wisely.

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Thanks. I think I'll get the 50mm 1.8 lens. I've searched for photos taken with it and I really like the bokeh. I'm going to hold off and get at least a SB-600 and possibly SB-800, but for now very few of my photos I use a flash. The Gary Fong dome is just the kind of diffuser I'd want. I'm happy with the D40 for now, but I'll be wanting to upgrade in a year or two. I'm really liking the new D90. Professionals might not have use for it, but I think recording video would be fun.

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Definitely I share your view!

That isn't entirely true. A large aperture doesn't necessarily correlate into a better lens. There are some very fine f4 lenses out there like the Nikon 300mm f4 prime. If you aren't going to be shooting in low light or don't need the DOF of a large aperture then you really aren't doing yourself any favors except for lightening the weight of your wallet. What I would look for is good glass. You are right that kit lenses are absolutely terrible. For the casual shooter they're probably ok, but if you care about color abberations for example, then don't buy cheap glass. Stay away from cheap alternative brands like Sigma. You get what you pay for.

In my bag I have all Nikon equipment including some prime lenses which are probably a great way to start out. You can get a 50mm 1.8 prime from either Canon or Nikon for very cheap and it really pushes your creativity IMO. Probably not the best lens for skylines obviously, but for shooting details you really can't beat it for the money. I also own a 17-55mm f2.8 ED IF and a 70-200mm f2.8 ED IF VR and can vouch that both of those lenses are absolutely superb, but even being so my 50mm is my bread and butter. Not bad for a lens that was 1/16 the cost of my 70-200.

Of course, I may note that I am considering moving to the Canon 5D (from a Nikon D2H and D100) just because of the awesome colors it produces out of the bag.

Perhaps we should start a camera tips and tricks thread for this sort of thing. I'm sure all of us could learn from one another. smile.gif

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