Some dummy DSLR questions

Discussion in 'Digital Discussion & Q&A' started by mfer, Jan 11, 2010.

  1. mfer

    mfer TPF Noob!

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    Ok guys and gals. I just got my D40 and I've been playing around a decent amount. I'm trying to learn things so I'm using the "P" mode to mess around and I just want to make sure I'm understanding things correctly. When I'm indoors with poor lighting the shutter is sloooooooow. This is because the image is trying to get more light, right? Also, as I increase the zoom (and consequently increase the f stops) the shutter time gets longer and longer b/c I'm increasing the f stops and increasing the time needed to get the adequate light to the sensor. So at 18mm the f/3.5 and at 55mm the f/5.6. I can also change the white balance on the camera, but that leads to under/over exposure if done to far. Is what I'm saying correct and I'm understanding it correctly? Also, if I want to take the majority of my pictures indoors, do I need to get a prime 50mm correct? Like the Nikon 50mm f/1.4g. Thanks for your help!
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2010
  2. 1limited92

    1limited92 TPF Noob!

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    Im gonna let an more experienced photographer answer your question BUT you can also INCREASE your ISO and lighten your picture though too much will give you excessive NOISE. You can experiment with that as well as your shutter speeds to find the right combo. You may have been familiar with that but I figured I would share just in case. ;)
     
  3. IgsEMT

    IgsEMT No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I'm in the mood to type, but you can check this thread for some really great 411
    http://www.thephotoforum.com/forum/...tering-white-balance-jpeg-vs-raw-formats.html
    Exposure is a relationship b/n ISO, shutter speed (SS) and Aperture
    White Balance is color.
    If your image is overexposes, it might be perceived as change in color but it is really overexposed; opposite is true for underexposure.
    ISO - sensitivity of the sensor to light. The lower the # the less the sensitivity, the better the less noise; opposite also in effect.
    SS - the slower the more motion blur but more light enters
    Aperture - the wider - the more light enters BUT the less dof you get.

    The lens you're describing is probably a lovely cheapo kit lens 18-55 3.5-5.6 where at 18mm it's open at 3.5 while zoomed at 55, it closes down (stop down) to 5.6; again, color doesn't change (shoot in raw --> underexpose during shot by 2 stops --> correct in PP and you'll see that it doesn't change).

    Now you mentioned about prime lenses and low lighting. If you are to do a search, probably just for the month of December 2009 till now, this Q came up time and time again and answer is really subjective.
    Personally, after working with medium format, as great as the IQ is, one thing that I hated about it is caring 5-6 lenses on the job. Even at home, shooting s family portrait vs friends hanging out meant at least 2 different focal lengths. So once again, for me, primes are OUT of the question. However, a trend I noticed about me is that every 3-4 yrs I change my style of shooting and I'm coming up on 3rd change so we'll see what happens :)
    Thus, I believe that your next purchase should be a flash unit. You can have the widest lens possible but w/o any light, your image will be dark unless you'll leave shutter open for an hour (j/k, lol, i hope you're getting an idea where I'm going with this)
    My shooting style, I shoot at f/8 +/- a stop so I don't have a NEED for lens wider then 5.6. That is why I am a proponent of 18-200; HOWEVER, you have to boost the sharpness in-camera b/n by default it is a very soft lens.

    So, the final result will be what you want to get out of photography and what your style is.
    Good Luck
     
  4. mfer

    mfer TPF Noob!

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    Wow, that was more than I was looking for. I'm well aware I need a flash. Most likely going to get a SB-400 or maybe a SB-600.

    I was more to just trying to understand if my understanding of what the camera was doing was ok. I can tell if I'm taking a decent pic or not, but the shudder speed thing is a bit of a surprise to me. I JUST started and I am just a little surprised is all and want to understand.

    Thanks for the link and the feedback!
     
  5. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    First stage I would recomend the book Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson - this book will give you a good insight into the relationship between ISO, shutter speed, aperture and how they combine into an exposure.

    When you're shooting in a darker condition you have a few options to give you a correct exposure depending on what you have as well as what you are shooting;

    Static subject - if its static subject then you don't need a fast shutter speed to freeze their motion so you are free to use a slower shutter speed - however you will need to idealy use a tripod as well otherwise your handshake will affect your image quality. The general rule of thumb is that your shutter speed should not be lower than 1/focal length of the lens - its a rough guide rule and idealy the faster the better.

    Moving subject: Now you have a direct need to have a faster shutter speed so you have a few things you can do;
    Use a wider aperture (smaller f number) this will let in more light to the camera sensor and thus give you a faster shutter speed. However the wider the aperture the smaller the depth of field you will have. This is something that can be very tricky as a 50mm lens with f1.8 when set at f1.8 can be very hard to get the whole subject in focus as you want (ei you might get one eye on focus and the other not. However wider apertures have other bonuses which I will note later:

    Use a higher ISO: The higher the ISO the more sensative the camera sensor, however the higher you set it the more noise you will get in your shots, it will also reduce the sharpness of finer details. This is one area where the camera body is a key consideration since higher level camera bodies can go much higher without as much image degradation.

    Boost the lighting on the subject: This can be done in a range of ways, from cheap reflectors (white reflective surface) through to complex flash setups (strobist). This is a whole area unto itself which can be as simple or complex are you (and your wallet) are prepared to take it. If you find yourself shooting indoors a lot I would look into this a lot more. At the simplist flash stage a speedlite flash is the ideal approach; they are costly but they do have a lot of applications and - when used correctly - they will give good lighting without that horrid "flash was used" effect.
    A good site for flash advice is strobist blog = specifially the 101 section found here:
    Strobist: Lighting 101
    The reflectors can direct and give some decent boost to lighting, but they rely on local lighting (or flash lighting) to reflect of course.


    On the subject of wider aperture lenses they have more advantages than just letting you shoot a faster shutter speed by using a wider aperture. Firstly a wider max aperture means that the lens can gather more light from the ambient lighting, which is very key for the autofocus - the more light you get inthe more the camera has to work with and thus accuracy and speed improve. Further you will also get a brighter image to view in your viewfinder image which helps with composition and also manual focus should your autofocus be failing in the lighting.
    In addition the lenses with wider max apertures tend to be the better built and sharper glass - typically sitting in the canon L range. The 50mm f1.8 is rather an exception since whilst it is a dirt cheap lens and is very plasticy in build it is infact very sharp and also sports the large max aperture.
     
  6. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    You do seem to be grasping the basic principles involved and how aperture & shutter speed (& ISO) work together to give you an exposure.
    Keep at it and do some reading...it will all start to fall into place for you.
     
  7. mfer

    mfer TPF Noob!

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    Thanks Overread. I've seen that book referenced many times.

    Also, thanks for the encouragement Mike.

    My goal, in the short term, is just to take good pictures of people and places for my own benefit. I'm not a pro, so spending tons of money on strobe lights/umbrellas/etc is most likely out of the question. I understand they give you PERFECT shots when used correctly, but I'm looking to mainly do VERY GOOD shots with a flash and decent lens. I'm willing to spend money on decent equipment as well, but I can't bring out huge amounts of equipment evertime I want to take some pics for friends and family.

    Appreciate the guidance!
     
  8. gsgary

    gsgary Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    White balance does not alter exposure
     
  9. Patrice

    Patrice No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I agree with Mike in that you are starting to get the principles down. As for taking nice photos of friends and family in informal settings without too much theory and too much money and with a reasonable number of keeper shots then I suggest you keep your kit lens and get yourself a SB-600. For the time being keep your camera on P but when inside aim your flash anywhere but at the subject, light colored ceilings and walls make good light modifiers.
     
  10. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Exposure no, but Luminosity yes. An image pushed to the red yellow side appears far brighter than an image pushed to the blue side. All to do with our perception of colour.
     

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