D40 struggle: Am I using it wrong or do I need a new lense?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Jeuk, Jan 1, 2009.

  1. Jeuk

    Jeuk TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2009
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Hey guys, I purchased a Nikon D40 with the basic lense, which was the AF-S Nikkor 18-55mm.

    Now, I have been fiddling with the thing for a while, figuring out what the ISO, aperture, and exposures produce. However, one thing I never seem to get figured out is why in order to capture an image of a room that is relatively well-lit (at least it seems so to my human eyes) I have to use a flash.

    Now, I know I don't have to. When I use the manual settings in a room with one fluorescent bulb which is lit well enough for humans to see everything, I tried using the highest ISO settings, the lowest aperture, and then switching in between exposure settings. But there is never a sweet spot.

    Either the image comes out sharper but extremely dark to the point where faces are barely visible(smaller exposure), or the exposure is too long and the image will be well lit but very blurry.

    I can take a decent photo with a flash, but I for some reason I hate flash pictures. I just don't like the way a face, or a subject object appears when it is sprayed with that much light. I've always liked the pictures with no flash much better.

    Maybe I am just messing with the wrong settings, or maybe my understanding of the settings is what's at fault, but that's why I came here.

    Do I need a new lense in order to take good pictures in not so bright rooms without a flash, or do I just need to learn to use my camera?

    Thanks for all the prospective help.
     
  2. dxqcanada

    dxqcanada Been spending a lot of time on here!

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2008
    Messages:
    5,513
    Likes Received:
    702
    Location:
    Woodbridge, Ontario, Canada
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Tripod :thumbup:
     
  3. tron

    tron TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2008
    Messages:
    352
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Michigan
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    not to sound like a dick but maybe youre being a little too ambitious with the manual modes. start out in auto and shoot around for a couple hours seeing what you like and dont like. when you rewview the picture, just hit the down button once or twice and itll show you the settings the camera was on. this is a good way to find out what works and what doesnt.

    then move to program mmode, this allows you to change the iso and whte balance, but still leaves the cameras shutter and aperture up to the electronics.

    then move to aperture priority where you can set iso, wb, and aperture and the camera will pick the best shutter speed. then go to shutter prioroty which is obvious as to what it does.

    now that might sound liek a load of **** haha. for me i try to shoot at f/3.5 iso800 (or 1600) and a shutter speed of around 1/25 depending on how much liht you have in a room. how bright is the room? in a well lit room, f/3.5 iso800 and 1/30 might work just fine.

    it might be a good idea to invest in a speedlight too so you can bounce light and get nice, well lit pics.

    good luck mate
     
  4. kundalini

    kundalini Been spending a lot of time on here!

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2007
    Messages:
    13,601
    Likes Received:
    1,929
    Location:
    State of Confusion
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    :addpics:




    From your description, it sounds like you need more light. Crank up the ISO, set lens to max aperture or slow the shutter speed. If this still results in dark exposures or blurred images...... you need more light. That or a faster lens.
     
  5. Jeuk

    Jeuk TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2009
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    I've tried this with a tripod, and though the background is stable when using longer exposures, people tend to move around. So I guess I should have been more specific in saying that I would like to take shots of people moving around (not necessarily running, but you know, people still move when they are trying to be still, atleast enough to make the pic come out a bit blurry.)



    Thanks for the thorough advice, though I guess I should have been a bit clearer.
    I am in no way shooting professional portraits or anything like that. I am just talking about hanging out or just trying to snap spur of the moment pictures in a decently-lit room.

    I've tried using the automatic settings, but they tend to always use the flash in the settings I mentioned. If I hold down the flash or disable it, the picture usually comes out either dark or a bit blurry. Sometimes the camera says "image is too dark" or something like that on the screen.

    I've tried the modes in between also, but pretty much got the same results. Then again, I've exhausted just about every combination of WB/Aperture/ISO speed/Exposure that I could think of to try and get a, bright, sharp photo without a flash.

    Hey kundalini, thanks for your advice. It's true, I do need more light. However, when I crank up the iso and get the max aperture, the image tends to be dark. Then, if I choose to get a longer exposure, it seems to capture the amount of light deired, but makes the image/faces/etc blurry, even when using a tripod, because as I said above, people tend to move a bit even when they try to be motionless.

    I don't happen to have any examples of this on my HD, I tend to delete the photos because they are either extremely blurry, or too dark to use.

    Perhaps someone can expand on the benefits of a "faster" lense?

    Thanks again for all the info guys, very helpful.
     
  6. dxqcanada

    dxqcanada Been spending a lot of time on here!

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2008
    Messages:
    5,513
    Likes Received:
    702
    Location:
    Woodbridge, Ontario, Canada
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Ah, you did not mention anything about moving objects ... I thought you were just taking pictures of a room.

    You need a faster lens.
    The maximum aperture of the lens is limiting the amount of light the camera can pickup.

    A 50mm f/1.8, would do it.
    If you need a wider angle ... then you can look for a 28mm f2.0

    The smaller the aperture number the greater the light gathering ability of the lens.
    example ... f/1.8 is a faster aperture than f/2.8 ... f/1.8 allows more light through ... which allows the camera to use a higher shutter speed.
     
  7. katerolla

    katerolla No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2008
    Messages:
    202
    Likes Received:
    26
    Location:
    Newcastle Australia
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Both of these photos where taken with a flash
    Photo 1 was taken on auto with the auto flash, notice how the subject is exposed and the background is washed out.
    Photo 2 was taken on auto as well but I changed the flash to slow curtain 1, this means that the flash fires and exposes the subject so that there is no hand shake because the shutter speed is open longer enough for the camera to expose the background with out the aid of the flash.
    I’m sure if you read your camera’s manual on slow synchronization you will learn how the flash works and take batter photos in side, good luck and post some photos using the different flash setting.
    Photo 1
    Shutter speed ½ sec
    ISO 100
    F 4.2
    Photo 1
    [​IMG]

    Photo 2
    Shutter speed 1/50 sec
    ISO 100
    F 4
    Photo 2
    [​IMG]
     
  8. tron

    tron TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2008
    Messages:
    352
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Michigan
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    ^good call kat, i forgot about that. on the d40 hold the FN button down (on the side of the camera) and rotate the scroll wheen until you see 'rear' on the screen
     
  9. anubis404

    anubis404 TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2008
    Messages:
    955
    Likes Received:
    0
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Three things will fix that: Tripod, 50mm F1.8, SB-600.

    The SB-600 can be bounced, resulting an a natural and soft light. The 50mm F1.8 will let in much more light than yours at F5.6, which will more successfully make use of the natural light. The Tripod will hold your camera still to get a sharp, long exposure.

    That being said, all three of these things are valuable to a photographer, and you're probably going to get them sooner or later. The 50mm F1.8 is an awesome lens for the money, however since you have a D40 the F1.8 is out of the question. I believe Nikon is coming out with (or has come out with) a 50mm F1.4 AF-S, which will autofocus with your D40. The problem is, its many times the price of the 1.8. A tripod is necessary, and nearly all photographers should have one. A flash isn't as necessary, but still a very handy thing to have.
     
  10. tron

    tron TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2008
    Messages:
    352
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Michigan
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    yeah there is a af-s version of the 50mm f/1.4 out now but its upwards of $400usd

    the regular 50mm is somewhere in the ballpark of $100usd
     
  11. Adour

    Adour TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2008
    Messages:
    127
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    The orignal 50mm f1.8 will work on the D40 but it will not auto focus, you will still be able to use TTL metering and it will still tell you that the shot is in focus via the little dot in the view finder.

    IMO the extra money for auto focus does not make it worth buying the new AF-S lens.

    just my 2 cents

    LJ
     
  12. anubis404

    anubis404 TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2008
    Messages:
    955
    Likes Received:
    0
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    It'd actually be cheaper to upgrade your body to a D70 or D70S than to buy the AF-S version. That's what I recommend. I did it.
     

Share This Page