Great Googlely Moogely


Dodging the Men in Black
Jul 23, 2009
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State of Confusion.
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I'm not exactly a beginner, I started shoot film circa 1975-6. I continued until a few years ago, and it just got to be too much for a condo, hanging neg's in the shower, digitizing neg's with lousy results, and trying to revive them with photoshop (elements).

I truly missed photography and after a lot of questions here, and recommendations from folks on the forum, I bought myself a Xmas present, a Nikon D610 and a Nikon 50mm F1./4 lens. I actually decided to get back in and go digital a while ago, but took a great deal of time thinking it over.

Well the lens and body got here today, and my heart sank when I saw the size of the user's manual.
I knew there would be a steep learning curve, but I got that sick feeling that I did back in my college days. You know, when your trying to move your stuff to your room, get classes scheduled or rescheduled, you pick up one or two texts, and one sadistic professor has a nice little note tucked in instructing you to read 2 or 300 pages of text before the first class. You know, like you didn't have anything else going on.:angry:

Well, as I said, I knew the learning curve would be steep, and it wouldn't come by osmosis, so I decided that since it was late in the day for UPS, I'd just unpack everything, make sure I got what I ordered, and everything looked good and undamaged.

My first impressions were that this camera felt sort of small and a little cramped in my hands, which seemed strange because I have somewhat small hands for my size. No sweat, I think I'll grow into it, but I really wonder what it will feel like with a larger lens, like a 70-200mm? I did order a Nikon battery grip, and maybe that will feel more natural, we'll see. The controls reminded me of the cockpit of a large Air Force cargo plane, only a little more than intimidating lol....

Well, I knew this was going to be a "challenge", and felt I was up to it. A quick browse of the manual doesn't even get to taking a first shot until about halfway through, so it looks like it'll be a while longer before I can get out of the house and start shooting and experimenting with it.

Well, I wanted a challenge, and the sick feeling in my stomach when I started browsing the manual, only made me feel slightly less elated, than I did before I opened the boxes.

I only wish I could have handled the camera before I bought, but without driving to Cincinnati, the only store I could find in my area that sold FX digital camera's was Best Buy, and the kid behind the counter where they keep them locked didn't seem to know what I was talking about, and just said "we don't have any in stock", without looking, then went on to brag about his cell phone to some admiring teenaged girls.:76:

Well, in the words of the late, great, Frank Zappa - "Great Googely Moogely":1247:
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Good luck with the new camera. I'm sure you'll love it.
D610 is an awesome camera, dont let all these little things worry you too much, in few weeks all the things that seemed starnge will become second nature, its just a matter of getting used to, nothing more.

I know some will think I am crazy but first thing I do when I get the manual book is stick it back to the box, I never read a single camera manual book, most of what my cameras can do is of no need for me, as long as it has A, S, and M mode I am happy, the rest is pretty much the same in all Nikon cameras and I know how to find the stuff that is important for me and its not much.

Just dont stress over this, enjoy the process and all will become second nature in no time.

BTW on youtube there are reviews that show most of the functions of the D610
Don't let the camera intimidate you. Though there are lots of buttons and menu options... it still has a mode dial with program, shutter priority, aperture priority, or manual shooting -- probably much like previous cameras you have used. Most features can be ignored until you're ready to learn about them. Read the owners manual at your leisure (but I do suggest you at least thumb through it get familiar with what sort of information you can learn from it.)

Stick a battery and memory card in the camera and go have fun with it.
I wish I could help with the camera but I'm a Canon girl. But-- you mentioned Cincy... how far are you? Just curious. That's my hometown. I live in Wyoming now but I miss Cincinnati every day. Good luck with your new purchase... you'll get the hang of it soon.
Thanks, I was hoping that I could just shoot in manual until I could figure this thing out...but it looks like it's going to be just a tad more difficult.
I'm going to try not to stress over it too much...besides, when I do eventually become somewhat proficient with it, it'll be fun to look back at where I started.....
The shooting modes (A, S, P, and M) are no different from the film days. The metering modes are probably much better. AF is EXTREMELY MUCH better than it was in the film days.
The big differences from film are changing the ISO without changing the film, and instant feedback on the screen. Shoot for a while at 100, then switch to 800 when you go inside. No big deal. And after the shot you see your image without waiting for processing to come back. You'll want to learn what a histogram is and how to read it.
Sounds like you need to learn digital workflow as well as the new hardware. I'd suggest shooting in Program or Auto mode to get started on workflow (the process from shutter release to final photo in the computer or on paper). Shooting in manual or priority modes will come quickly as you get more comfortable with the camera.
I like a larger heavier camera so the first thing I do is add the battery grip. Makes it easier to shoot vertical shots and also helps to keep the camera working with all this WiFi and GPS stuff sucking the life out of the batteries.
Having recently upgraded from 5100 to 7100, I can relate to your post. I did have a bit of a learning curve (still only about halfway up the hill) before getting started. I found that a quick run through the set up piece of the manual along with some selective video watching got me started...

Since you mention Google (or Googlely...) you may want to google for tutorials on using the D610 if the thought of slogging through the manual is too much like being back in school. There are a lot of videos on youtube and also some free tutuorials available from Nikon Nikon | Imaging Products | Digitutor | D610.
I like a larger heavier camera so the first thing I do is add the battery grip. Makes it easier to shoot vertical shots and also helps to keep the camera working with all this WiFi and GPS stuff sucking the life out of the batteries.

I agree with this, and I never really saw the appeal of making digital SLRs smaller if it comes at the expense of ergonomics. Full disclosure, though: I'm dreaming of a digital camera with the ergos and user interface of a Pentax K1000, so I don't think I have "normal" opinions.
Battery grips make a lot of difference! I don't have big hand either but found that the battery give gave me somewhere for my pinky finger to sit whereas otherwise it was falling off the bottom of the camera!

Take your time and remember there's only one thing you need to find in the manual in the early days - the page that tells you how to reset factory settings ;)

Otherwise I'd say just play with it. Mess around and get a feel for it; shoot some shots and try it out. Don't be afraid of mistakes (they are free now!) and by carry the manual with you at all times.

I find that just reading the manual is ok, but rather dull. So I would set little targets to learn; using a different mode or dial or setting or just trying a new type of shot (eg landscape or action). That way you can break down how to learn the various modes and functions of the camera into bite-sized chunks that you can focus on. With the manual in your bag at all times you can also reference it quickly when out shooting. Far better than spending the day second guessing yourself and questioning what you're doing and then getting back and finding out the answer as if you did it right or wrong
Dude--pretend it's a CAR!!!!!!

Gas it up (memory card). Start the ignition (turn the camera to ON). Put it in gear (Pick P to start if you want to). Hit the gas pedal! (shutter release). Turn the wheel, as needed. When you get back home, park the car, bring in the groceries, and head inside and fix dinner. Maybe watch a little TV. Do it all again the next day.

BOOM--you be drivin'!!!!

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