Need help taking better pics.

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Rob2006, Feb 26, 2007.

  1. Rob2006

    Rob2006 TPF Noob!

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    I have a Nikon D50 with a 18-55, 55-200 and a 50mm 1.8F. I also have a SB600 for night shots.

    Some of my pics come out good but allot don't. Allot of blurry or just blah. I am not talking about the content but the clarity.

    Is there there a good book or lesson I can read/take?

    I usually shoot in "P" mode.

    Help please.
     
  2. EOS_JD

    EOS_JD TPF Noob!

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    You need to get out of P and start using aperture or shutter priority or even M. The semi auto modes though are a good start.

    Buy "Understanding Exposure" by Bryan Petersen. An excellent book that teaches you all about exposure. It seems sparse when you first read but once you've gone over it, exposure just clicks into place. Learn to use ISO, shutter speed and aperture and you'll be on your way to sharper better exposed images.
     
  3. nolatome

    nolatome TPF Noob!

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    Watch your shutter speed, and make sure if you are hand holding the camera you are not below 60 or 1/60. That would cause shake, and blurry images. But with real interest you can google photography info. Lots of free info out there. First step you can take is use A (aperture priority) And when you download the photos they should come with information about exposure. Compare the photos when you review them, and notice the Depth of Field (how much is in focus), and what the aperture was. Notice how aperture effects perspective. This is a good beginning.
     
  4. xfloggingkylex

    xfloggingkylex TPF Noob!

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    the rule of thumb for shutterspeed to get blur free pictures is 1/focal length (for digitals case you have to use effective focal length, so whatever you use x 1.5)

    so for example, you are shooting as much telephoto as your kit lens will allow (55mm) so to figure out how fast your shutterspeed needs to be you find the effective focal length (1.5 due to the sensor size) so 55x1.5 = 83

    this means that as long as your shutter speed is above 83, you SHOULD be good. some people shake more than others so you will quickly learn if it works for you.

    now, if your shutterspeed is below this you can do a few things. First is open the aperture to allow more light in (smaller F numbers are larger apertures) so in our example, open that sucker up to f/5.6 to let as much light in as possible. Still not at a speed above 1/83, you have two choices. You can increase your ISO making the sensor more sensitive (which causes more noise, which is digital grain, and lowers picture quality somewhat) or you can pop up that flash.

    now the build in flash sucks for most things, and when taking pictures of people it really washes out the skin, but hey, a washed out picture is better than a blurry picture, not to mention you cant really fix a blurry shot in photoshop or other form of photo editor (such as the free GIMP)

    There are also cheap (13 dollar) diffusors you can buy at Ritz or other camera store that help to soften the light from the pop up, but it is still a popup flash.

    Hope this helps. Anything you dont understand just say so. I sometimes forget that not EVERYONE knows technical camera terms... hell, I dont even know most of them:lol:
     
  5. fmw

    fmw No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The P mode is the most useful mode on a Nikon and the one I use whenever I want to use the meter recommendation. It allows you to choose the exposure shutter speed/aperture combination you want by simply dialing through them all with the command wheel. You can choose a stop action shutter speed or deep depth of field option without changing the meter exposure recommendation or the shooting mode. If you want to vary from the meter recommendation, then the M mode is there as well as the exposure compensation control. Shutter and Aperture are old holdovers from the early days of auto exposure cameras and aren't needed these days. They could remove them from modern cameras with no loss of functionality.

    I haven't read the book by Peterson but I certainly would agree that a good book on the basics of exposure would be in order for the OP. I think almost any beginner book on basic photographic technique would help a lot.
     
  6. Goran Katic

    Goran Katic TPF Noob!

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  7. EOS_JD

    EOS_JD TPF Noob!

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    Hi Fred, thanks for the feedback. I must admit I find using Av or Tv much easier than P mode - I use Canon and not sure how the Nikon DSLRs differ.

    I mostly use Av as I want to control the DoF in my images. The Petersen book tells the reader exactly what he needs to know.

    He describes why you need fast shutters and when to use and describes the effects of slower shutter speeds. Apertures are described and there's plenty of images showing the various effects. Also he advises on shooting in tough lighting conditions like mid day sun or shooting in snow or shooting images with predominantly green/blue backgrounds and what to meter.

    A lot more to it but i've learned a lot reading it.

    One thing though and I know there's a lot of discussion on this. Regards shutter speed and focal length, the focal length of a lens does not change even on a crop camera right? So why would you have to increase shutter speeds? If you can shoot a 200mm lens at 1/200th on a FF camera and crop the image it would be the same as shooting a 1.5x camera at 1/200th,

    As far as I know you do not require to function in the camera's crop and the 1/focal length rule applies as it is.

    Cheers
    Jim



    ouse
     
  8. fmw

    fmw No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Sounds like a good book, Jim, and just what the OP needs.

    Yes, there is some confusion about focal length and shutter speed. A 150mm lens is a 150mm lens whether it is on a 120 roll film camera, a 35mm camera or an APS sized digital. Blur caused by shake will be the same on any of them. The "rule of thumb" really is a rule of thumb and not a rule but it does relate to focal length and not angle of view or film format.

    I think the rule of thumb varies by individual as well. Personally, I'm not very good at hand holding. If I hand hold a 300mm lens at 1/250 or 1/500 I won't get a truly sharp image. Perhaps someone else will but not me. I don't hand hold 300mm lenses as a result unless I can go to 1/1000.

    I don't know how the P mode would differ from the AV mode, sorry. On the Nikons it is like having A and S combined in a single mode. As you turn the wheel in the P mode you step through the various shutter/aperture combinations so you can settle on any one you want without changing the exposure. 1/125 at f8 would be followed by 1/60 at f11 and so on. It's really all you need, along with exposure comp, for regular daylight photography. I use M in the studio with flash heads and P for everything else. I'd be surprised if the Canon cameras didn't have a similar mode or function.
     
  9. xfloggingkylex

    xfloggingkylex TPF Noob!

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    FMW, could you please explain how the recipricol focal length for shutter speed rule of thumb is not amplified by the APS sized sensor?

    My thinking is that the angle of view on a 300mm lense on 35mm is the same as a 200mm lens on an APS sized sensor (300mm equiv.) so why wouldnt you use the same shutterspeed?

    Obviously this is impossible to accurately test since everyones hands shake different. Just a though, what say you?
     
  10. Digital Matt

    Digital Matt alter ego: Analog Matt

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    When you stick a 50mm lens on an aps-c sized camera, it gives you the field of view of an 80mm lens, but not the "magnification". This "magnification" also amplifies camera shake. You aren't getting any closer. You just aren't seeing the entire field of view of the lens.
     
  11. xfloggingkylex

    xfloggingkylex TPF Noob!

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    oh I think I am getting it.

    so if I took a picture of something across the room with a 35mm camer with a 300 mm lens, lets say a penny, and I then took a picture from the same place with a digital APS sized sensor using a 200mm lens, they wouldn't look the same because the 300mm would look closer? Is that how it is?

    I have had it in my mind that the above scenario would produce the exact same image (more or less) as far as magnification and everything went.
     
  12. f8lranger4x4

    f8lranger4x4 TPF Noob!

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    Tri-pod I take 85% of my photos day or night with a tri-pod and they turn out a lot clearer I was also haveing this problem when I started out in the digital world. Thats a great camera you have, I love mine.
     

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