New member, few questions about pictures

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by bmilleker, May 30, 2010.

  1. bmilleker

    bmilleker TPF Noob!

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    I just bought a Nikon D3000 body with the kit lens that comes with it. I am taking lots of pictures to try and learn the basics. Here are a few that I have questions about.

    This shot: ISO was set to 100, shutter speed was 1/320 and aperture was 4.7 (according to EXIF data).
    [​IMG]

    This shot: ISO 100, shutter speed 1/160, aperture 3.6.
    [​IMG]


    In both these pictures things are not super crisp (at highest resolution). I am not sure what to adjust to get this. Faster shutter with higher iso? The aperture settings is a little confusing to me as well. I understand its what determines how much light reaches the sensor, but utilizing it correctly is still foreign to me. I never adjusted the aperture at all for these photos. Should i have?

    Thanks in advance for any help.
     
  2. reznap

    reznap No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The aperture is the hole in the lens (layman's terms). Smaller numbers = bigger hole = more light (and less depth of field/focus).

    If the pics aren't sharp it's probably your focal point. Learn how to set a single autofocus point and you'll see your pics improve. The first photo is a correct exposure, good job.

    Always keep ISO at 100 if you can, especially during the day when light is abundant. Lower is better and will result in better image quality.

    At your focal length (between 18 and 55 mm) a shutter speed around 1/60 is fast enough to get a crisp image unless you're shaking or moving or something.

    Also you said you never adjusted the aperture, what mode were you shooting in? You listed a different aperture for both..

    Good luck, and make sure you read your manual!
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2010
  3. bmilleker

    bmilleker TPF Noob!

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    I was shooting in manual with auto focus on. The EXIF data stated "Max aperture Value" so I stated those numbers for the aperture. Is this not correct?
     
  4. ivomitcats

    ivomitcats TPF Noob!

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    Your first problem is the D3000 itself.

    The second thing is your ISO. 100 ISO isn't a good setting for....much of anything really. The object is to have your ISO at the highest set possible with little grain. A little grain/noise is a fine trade for clearer shots.

    To put this in perspective, in other Nikons, ISO 100 either isn't an option at all, or it's named something else (In the D5000 and D90, it's called -Low1) Because they simply don't want you to use it.

    Put your camera setting on P (The dial at the top) This will adjust the aperture FOR you. And it does it properly. Having aperture automatic is really handy, because that is probably the number one thing you adjust the most in photos. It takes so much longer to adjust your settings than it does to take a picture. I dunno' about you, but I like getting a shot, not setting up my camera TO get a shot. That's not to say put your camera on auto either. (Auto is code for 'let's take a snapshot esque guess' and gives you no control whatsoever)

    Set your auto ISO on, then set the max ISO to 800. 800's even a little strong for the D3000, but you'll get crispier shots.
    Your ISO determines the ratio of blur/grain. More ISO means=more grain and less blur. And vice versa. To keep it simple.

    Now what you mean by 'super crisp' is unclear to me. You're using a kit lens at a distance in bad lighting.
     
  5. reznap

    reznap No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Other things I like about your photo, the front plate.. It works well for a photo because it's not like a license plate (which I would say, take it off if it's a serious photo). It also tells you the model of the car which is nice..

    Here's a quick edit I did. Darkened the sky, played with contrast and saturation and cloned out the sign by the tree. I cropped the whole left side off because it was adding very little to the subject (the car) and the tree made a nice natural border.

    [​IMG]
     
  6. bmilleker

    bmilleker TPF Noob!

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    What is wrong with the D3000? From the reviews I have read they seem positive towards it. Comparable to the XSI.

    I thought iso 100 would give the least noise? I am taking the picture in a lighted condition as well, so why risk getting noise?

    I think I could do better than how my shots turned out. I have seen kit lens photos and a lot are stunning.
     
  7. bmilleker

    bmilleker TPF Noob!

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    I like that a lot! This is a friends car, so it would have been his decision to remove the plate. He was also taking pictures with me.
     
  8. reznap

    reznap No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    :lol:
    HAHAHA WHAT?
    WRONG WRONG WRONG

    OP, Ignore pretty much everything he said, especially the things emboldened.

    You're going to want to learn the right way and you've already taken a step in the right direction by using the camera on manual and giving it your own settings (even if you don't fully understand them yet).

    As far as "missing a shot" goes.. You're taking pictures of a parked car, you have all the time in the world to adjust settings and look at the histograms.

    I don't think so. It should be the line that says "Lens F-Number / F-Stop = " which tells you aperture used..
     
  9. ivomitcats

    ivomitcats TPF Noob!

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    Kit lens photos can be stunning indeed. But you're just starting out, and shooting on auto. So expecting fantastic shots immediately is ..eh.

    100 ISO does give you less noise, but it also makes the shot less 'crisp.' That's what you were asking, how to get the shot more 'crisp.' The answer, is higher ISO. With ISO at 100 everything from the slightest breeze in the wind that you can't even see and a bird pooping 20 miles away will somehow lessen the sharpness. People brag that their camera can function well at high ISOs, not low ones. When I started out I made the mistake of shooting with low ISO (Didn't realize I was, I'd adjusted it wrong) and was baffled by my shots not coming out clear as I'd have liked them, even on a tripod.

    There's nothing wrong with the D3000, it's a fine camera but extremely over priced. Cheaper, older models by Nikon actually take better photos.

    If you REEEEALLY want crispy clean shots, invest in a 50mm 1.8 lens. They run $125.

    The edit's a good one by the way. You fixed the blown sky.
     
  10. ivomitcats

    ivomitcats TPF Noob!

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    Now you wanna' explain what exactly was wrong about what I just said?
     
  11. reznap

    reznap No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    You're telling him to turn up his ISO when his shutter speed was "1/320" on the first image (which has borderline blown areas in the sky). You're telling him "this will get you a sharper image." There's 0 change of camera shake blur at 1/320 at his kit lens focal range, even if he's at the "long" side of 55mm. It's just bad advice..

    Also telling him to use Program mode.. that's not going to help anyone improve. He might as well get a coolpix like Aston Kutcher in those dumb commercials.

    And since when does the camera choose the settings "properly" as you put it? For a scene with that much sky he has a very low chance of getting anything but a dark and detail-less foreground using the camera's metering and auto exposure..
     
  12. bmilleker

    bmilleker TPF Noob!

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    I totally dont expect to be taking good shots for awhile. This is why I am on a forum learning :p. I am not shooting in auto either, just auto focus.

    I will try different ISO settings when I go out again.

    I didn't want to look in to something used. Thanks for the tip though. I am sure I will love my D3000, as I already do. The features it had were attractive to me.
     

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