Somewhat New to DSLR, but Need Things Explained In Simple Terms!

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by MacMuttonchops, Aug 14, 2008.

  1. MacMuttonchops

    MacMuttonchops TPF Noob!

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    Hello all,

    I'm looking for books to help me enhance my DSLR skills. I've been with it for about a year now (I have since gotten off auto mode...yay), but I'd like to further my knowledge. Honestly, the most advanced thing that I understand is that a low shutter speed number (I know nothing about this 1/250 thing...I see a 20 or a 2.5 on the D40) means the camera doesn't click as fast and lets more light in. And I'm pretty good with filters.

    As you can tell I'm not very good with technical terms. So I need something that is well-written enough to explain these things to me using phrase like, "this is the thing that makes it do this and the photos will be this." And hopefully, it'll be able to teach me what exactly aperture is and how an f-stop works.

    I've been going by reviews on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, but that's really gotten me nowhere. So far, the closest I've got to a real decision is Bryan F. Peterson's books, specifically Understanding Digital Photography, Understanding Exposure, and Understanding Shutter Speed. I get discouraged every time I try to pick up Nikon's included manual and it uses all the technical terms that I end up pressing a bunch of buttons to see what will happen.

    So, do my seasoned photographers feel as if these would be not good enough, just right, or too advanced for someone at my skill level? Do you have any other recommendations? I've looked at the For Dummies guides and they are a bit too basic for me and teach me nothing that I didn't know before. Like I said, I've been with this for roughly a year now. I just want a book to tell more than how to frame a photo.

    Thanks a million!

    -Matt

    [EDIT]It's amazing what a little searching can do. I just found a Godsend of a thread here: http://www.thephotoforum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=123160. Still, I'll take any help that I can get through here. Thanks again![/EDIT]
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2008
  2. Big Mike

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

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    Welcome aboard.

    I would suggest 'understanding exposure' as a lot of people seem to like it for learning the basics.

    You can also find lots of good info on this site.

    The first thing I would suggest, is to get a really good understanding of the terms; shutter speed, aperture (F stop), and ISO. You should know how shutter speed affects motion & blur. You should know how the aperture effects the Depth of Field (DOF) and you should know what the pros and cons are for changing your ISO setting.

    These three things work together to give you an exposure...so once you understand how they work together, you can start to understand when to use specific settings.

    If you have any specific questions, search here but feel free to ask your own questions as well.
     
  3. MacMuttonchops

    MacMuttonchops TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the welcome. I'm looking around on that thread I just found, and it's absolutely perfect. This is an excellent resource and I hope to make good use of it!
     
  4. icassell

    icassell TPF Noob!

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    There are several book threads here, but all seem to recommend Understanding Exposure. IMHO, the For Dummies books aren't worth the $$.

    If you're looking for help on the artistic side, I recommend 'The Photographer's Eye' by Michael Freeman -- the best book on composition that I have found.
     
  5. MacMuttonchops

    MacMuttonchops TPF Noob!

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    Hopefully I'll be able to move to properly learning the more artistic side when I accomplish the technical side first. I'd like to think that I'm a creative individual, it's just that I was never properly taught how to do this. I kind of just immersed myself in it and took pictures whenever I saw something that looked cool. I'll see if I can throw some of my more favorite pictures up for a brutal critique. :D
     
  6. manaheim

    manaheim Jedi Bunnywabbit Staff Member Supporting Member

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    You, um, may want to read the manual that came with your camera. If you don't even know what "this 1/250 thing" is, you really need to brush up on the absolute basics.

    Like, seriously, I almost thought you were just trolling.
     
  7. MacMuttonchops

    MacMuttonchops TPF Noob!

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    Hmm...so let's re-read what I had to say, shall we?

    "As you can tell I'm not very good with technical terms," basically sums up why I came here. And since coming here, I've learned that I knew what that meant all along, it was just never displayed in fraction form.

    So please represent these forums as to what I think they are and cut the crap. You're posting in a beginners thread. Get over yourself.
     
  8. fabric

    fabric TPF Noob!

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    a book is good. you can stand on it and get a better point-of-view. buy all three
    books and you could get some cracking crowd shots. trial and error is the way to go.
    find some daylight, try all the settings in different combinations, make as many
    mistakes as possible. nobody ever learnt any other way. bon chance!
     
  9. NateWagner

    NateWagner TPF Noob!

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    beyond that as well, you can look up terms such as aperture, depth of field, shutter speed, ISO on wikipedia. It does a pretty good job of explaining it in easy to understand terms.
     
  10. manaheim

    manaheim Jedi Bunnywabbit Staff Member Supporting Member

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    You've got 5 posts under your belt and have been a member since... um... this month, and you're an authority on how the forum works, eh?

    In my experience not having a grasp on the rudimentary stuff is not only going to waste people's time, as they have to explain to you what is available to you in the manual that came with your camera, but also is going to severely limit people's ability to help you. For example, if I tell you your depth of field is too shallow, you should use a smaller aperature, and you don't know what an aperature is... how is that going to help?

    I admit, I'm making some assumptions on your knowledge based upon your original post, and I could be wrong... but the strong impression I got was "needs some basic information first".

    My suggestion was genuine. Read your manual. Brush up on the basics. Then come ask some questions. You'll get a hell of a lot more out of the experience.

    But by all means, please feel free to continue with the attitude if you think that will work as well. Let me know how it works out. :thumbup:
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2008
  11. manaheim

    manaheim Jedi Bunnywabbit Staff Member Supporting Member

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    You know, it's threads like this that make me start to realize why Alpha and some other folks who have been around get kinda "surly" after a while. I gotta say, I think I owe these guys an apology.

    :hug:::cheers:
     
  12. Syndac

    Syndac TPF Noob!

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    This statement condradicts everything you've just said:

    If the most advanced thing you know is how to read shutter speeds (which you seemed to have been struggling with), and you can't understand any technical terms, then what you need it something written at a pretty basic level. To be honest I have no clue how you could go a year without knowing what aperture size or ISO does.

    I'm not trying to sound like an ass, but you've gone from saying you know absolutely nothing to acting like you're too advanced for books meant to teach you exactly what you're looking for. I have no clue what to suggest beyond that...
     

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