Editing Software & Simple Lens Question - Complete Beginner

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by ThomasG1988, Jul 13, 2017.

  1. ThomasG1988

    ThomasG1988 TPF Noob!

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    Good afternoon all and thank you very much for welcoming me into your community.

    I have just started out (2-3 months) with a Nikon D3300 purchased by my lovely wife as wedding present and I am thoroughly enjoying learning to take better pictures.

    I doubt it very much it will ever be a business for me but I am loving learning new techniques and taking some decent shots.

    Some pics on my Flickr.
    Thomas Griffiths

    In my current set up I have the kit lens of 18-55mm, a nikkor 55-200mm and a nikkor 35mm 1.8g (which has been great for portraits)
    I am swaying towards landscape photography more than anything so any advice on what lens I should pick up for this? I imagine something like 10-20mm?

    One thing I really am confused about is editing. I'm not quite sure what I should be doing to make my pictures look better. Currently just using the ViewNx2 software that ships with Nikon but I have read that lightroom/photoshop could be a better? Especially as I am keen to try some HDR merging soon.

    Any advice is greatly appreciated.


     
  2. Peeb

    Peeb Semi-automatic Mediocrity Generator Supporting Member

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    Since your 'kit' lens is 18-55, I will assume that your camera is a crop-sensor model. This is important to know because a 'full frame' sensor offers a different a wider field of view- whereas a crop sensor makes things look closer by a factor (with Nikon) of 1.5x. For example, a 50mm lens on a crop lens will 'look' like 75mm. You can capture perfectly acceptable (even wonderful) landscape shots with your 18-55 but it is nice to have wider angles from time to time. I personally own and enjoy the Tokina 11-16 lens.

    I agree with your suspicion that lightroom/photoshop is a great way to edit photos. I love it.

    PS- I checked out your flickr page and while you only have 7 shots posted, they are very nice.
     
  3. Ysarex

    Ysarex Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Welcome to TPF. Some reading: notes

    Joe
     
  4. Designer

    Designer Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    The 35mm lens is not one that I would use for portraiture, and the focal length is duplicating what you already had in your "kit" lens. Actually, you already have every focal length covered from 18 to 200 mm and since portraiture is often done at the longer end of that range, you probably don't need any new lens at all.

    That is; unless you wish to expand your repertoire to include lenses that render certain subjects more artfully. For that, you need to research lenses with vigor and tenacity, as might a college professor writing a paper on the rendering qualities of a few chosen lenses.

    As to landscape photography, you should be prepared to be disappointed by a wide angle lens. If your 18mm lens doesn't give you what you want, the 10-20mm will not give you anything new except smaller objects in the frame. My advice is to use what you have, and learn to make excellent photographs by finding and carefully composing scenes that nobody else is photographing. A good shot is not necessarily "everything" in the scene, if you get my drift.
     
  5. fmw

    fmw No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    If you want to do wide angle photography a zoom such as you describe should do the job very well.

    Photoshop is the industry standard professional editing system. Its downside is that you can't buy it. You have to rent it by the month. If that that doesn't bother then that would be the way to go. Lightroom is basically a cataloging system with some basic editing capability. It is included when you rent Photoshop.

    If you feel you need something a bit more basic and user friendly, Adobe Photoshop Elements is a good choice but I'm not sure it does HDR without a plug in. You can buy it for around $60-$70, no rental required.

    If you want the best bargain in the business now take a look at Affiinity Photo. It is $39.95 for purchase and is a pro level editor similar to Photoshop. It does HDR for sure as well as most of what Photoshop can do. No rental required there either.
     
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  6. KmH

    KmH In memoriam Supporting Member

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    Apparently, Affinity Photo is now $49.95.

    There is just boatloads and boatloads of Photoshop and Lightroom tutorials and other resources, both online and in print (books).
    The Adobe Photography subscription is $9.95 a month, and we always have the latest improvements.
    The software downloads to your computer (both Photoshop & Lightroom) Adobe re-authorizes your use of the software periodically through the Internet so you have to get online once every 45 days or so.
     
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  7. dennybeall

    dennybeall No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Nice photos, especially for someone new to photography.
    There are so many different aspects to photography and each requires specific and usually expensive tools to reach the last 15 to 20% of quality. You can have a very satisfying hobby if you don't get hung up on trying too soon to achieve that last 20%.
     
  8. ThomasG1988

    ThomasG1988 TPF Noob!

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    Thank you all for your replies and compliments on the first attempts at 'proper' photography.
    I purchased Rob Sylvans book on the D3300 when I purchased it - has really helped to understand ISO/SS/Aperture as most of those pics were shot in Manual with editing.

    Designer, the 35mm becomes 50mm with the crop sensor which I have read is a good focal length for portraiture. The f1.8 is something I haven't used up until now so I'm finding it fascinating. Thank you for your advice re what i'm shooting though.

    Is there much difference between grabbing lightroom 5 + an older photoshop version or would 100% just dive in at LR6+Photoshop CC??
     
  9. weepete

    weepete TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    No it doesn't, it's still a 35mm lens. Just your field of view changes because of the sensor size.

    I'd just go straight to lightroom and photoshop CC if you can afford it.
     
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  10. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    35mm on crop-sensor as sort-of-a-50-mm lens is "okay" for portraiture....yet still, too short a lens, which will force you to stand too physically close to people for the best rendering of their nose,or arms, or extended legs, etc.. I would suggest a 55-200mm VR lens, used, or the plain 55-200mm zoom, as being a better lens for portraiture, or if you can afford it, the most-excellent 70-200mm f/4 AFS- VR-G from Nikon, or a similar AF lens.

    Landscapes? 10-20, 12-24mm, etc; these make everything looks SMALL, and far-away....I dislike this lens length myself, and never suggest it to beginners. A TELEPHOTO lens is actually a better lens choice for the beginning landscape shooter, in many cases.

    Your 18-55 ought to be plenty wide at 18 to 24mm, for many landscapes.
     
  11. ThomasG1988

    ThomasG1988 TPF Noob!

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    I have the 55-200 VR. I will try it out when I get chance
    thank you
     
  12. Ysarex

    Ysarex Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Your question about software is better answered with a little more info here. Your camera can save raw (NEF) files and/or processed JPEG images or both. What are you doing? What type of file did you edit? What are you planing to do -- will you be saving raw files and editing those or will you be saving JPEG images and editing those?

    Lightroom is the industry default (used by majority of photographers) and likewise my default recommendation but your question above indicates some hesitation and I'll assume that hesitation is over Adobe's lease commitment. So it may be worth talking about that. There are other options but it's a complicated business.

    First, there's a good reason why Lightroom is the industry default and why I and so many others recommend it. Especially when used with raw files, the processing methodology used and supported by LR is the best way to go when working with digital camera photos. LR gets that right; LR is a fully re-editable non-destructive parametric editor. There are only a few other alternatives that equally get that right.

    However Adobe's lease commitment may not be the best option for everybody. It's worth noting that at least right now you can still purchase LR new without the lease: Amazon.com: Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 6: Software You won't get Photoshop but that's not a big deal and Photoshop is frankly easier to replace with an alternative like Affinity Photo for $50.00.

    Back to the lease: $10.00 a month seems like no big deal, couple coffees, what the heck. But priced out over time it really does make the LR/PS bundle from Adobe pretty much the most expensive photo processing software available. In 5 years that's $600.00 and if at the end of 5 years you stop paying the software stops working. I'm officially retired but I still teach a couple college classes a year. I teach LR of course. Go to any college campus and the software installed for student use will be Adobe with usually no other options. In the world before Adobe's lease students got a discount to buy LR/PS. It was still a lot but less than a microbiology text book. They could then keep and use the software. Now they have to pay the same $10.00 per month and the software shuts down at the end of the year unless they keep paying. Overall the students I encounter preferred the non-lease option and I now get a lot more of them asking me if there's ways around the lease. What they don't like is: a) keep paying forever, b) or else no software.

    It's easy to do what everybody else is doing and there are real benefits to that. You're going to find a lot more support out there if you go the LR route than not.

    If you decide against the lease, then to answer your question, I'd say no. Don't look for the old version option -- usually too much trouble in that with computer and OS compatibility issues and camera support. If you try that make sure at least that your camera's raw files are supported by what you get.

    The other alternative is non-Adobe software: Capture One would be the major competitor that arguably offers the same (even better) functionality but about the same cost with the caveat that should you decide to stop paying for upgrades the software you have keeps working. ACDSee is a much less expensive alternative (MAC problems). Both Capture One and ACDSee support the working methodology I identified above, like LR they are fully re-editable non-destructive parametric editors.

    A whole lot of additional options open up if you're willing to compromise that working methodology a little. Historically that's where we've come from and a lot of photographers are still quite happy working with both a more limited parametric editor and then an RGB pixel level editor. Or even just the RGB pixel level editor (edit camera JPEGs). Now there are lots of software choices including even excellent free options that rival the quality you can produce with LR. In some cases there are even arguably better options in terms of image IQ (DX0 or PhotoNinja for example) but with less working flexibility.

    Joe
     

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