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New with a D40, Help requested.

AnotherNewGuy

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Okay, so I finally got my D40. Well I wanted a D60, but Circuit City is going out of business and the D40 was on sale for 350$ so I compromised. I heard it's the best SLR for beginners anyhow. Of course I have been snapping away, and editing a little bit with iPhoto. I've read the manual, and some of these forum posts. I find myself still asking questions, so I am going to post them and hope for some easy answers.

1. I'm thinking of getting editing software, what do I get? Is Aperture by Apple good?

2. How will different filters benefit me and in which situations?

3. What else do I need? I am going to get a 55-200mm lens. What brand(s) should I stay away from, and what's good?

4. Is the speedlight flash by Nikon suitable?

5. What are some simple tips you would give a beginner to take the best pictures possible?

I'm going to attempt to attach some pictures I have taken, and hopefully get some constructive criticism.

1.
DSC_0047-1.jpg


2.
DSC_0054-1.jpg


3.
DSC_0055-1.jpg
 
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ok... first you need to read your manual...

second read understanding exposure (you can get it at most book stores)...

aperture sucks.. Lightroom is way better...

as for filters, theres lots of threads on that here so do a search...

as for is the "speedlight by nikon suitable" theres probably about 30 different speedlights by nikon.. DO NOT GET THE SB 400.. its no better than the built in.. get the sb600 or something similar...

as for posting pics on TPF only post 2 or 3, post higher resolution (not full.. maybe medium or large) so we can actually see them.. number the photos, and put a space in between them
 
DO NOT GET THE SB 400.. its no better than the built in

I feel this is totally innacurate, the SB_400 is more powerful than the built-in, it has the ability to bounce, it has more adjustable options than the built-in and it is the perfect size for a carry-everywhere flash.

Yes, the SB-600 is better, but the SB-400 is still an excellent addition to a D40 kit.
 
ok... first you need to read your manual...

second read understanding exposure (you can get it at most book stores)...

aperture sucks.. Lightroom is way better...

as for filters, theres lots of threads on that here so do a search...

as for is the "speedlight by nikon suitable" theres probably about 30 different speedlights by nikon.. DO NOT GET THE SB 400.. its no better than the built in.. get the sb600 or something similar...

as for posting pics on TPF only post 2 or 3, post higher resolution (not full.. maybe medium or large) so we can actually see them.. number the photos, and put a space in between them


Okay thanks, I've adjusted the original post.
 
"The Digital Photography Book" vols I & II by Scott Kelby are also very good. I also have "Nikon D40/D40x Digital Field Guide" by David Busch. It is also very good--it's basically an expanded manual, but more in layman's terms, and it teaches you EVERYTHING the camera does.


Do you have a kit lens? I would assume the 18-55mm. If I were you, I would forego the 55-200mm and get the Sigma 70-300mm for around the same price (if not less) if you want a zoom( I know there are better lenses, but I'm taking cost into consideration--and I have been happy with my Sigma 70-300). However, I think most here would suggest that you get a 50mm "prime" lens. I just got one for a little over $100 and it is by far the best lens that I have, even though it's manual focus on the D40. However, don't take my word for it. There are lots more qualified people than me to suggest a lens.

Good luck to you! I have learned a lot on this forum in just a couple of weeks. Everyone here has been extremely helpful and accomodating.
 
I feel this is totally innacurate, the SB_400 is more powerful than the built-in, it has the ability to bounce, it has more adjustable options than the built-in and it is the perfect size for a carry-everywhere flash.

Yes, the SB-600 is better, but the SB-400 is still an excellent addition to a D40 kit.


it doesnt turn or anything.. it just points directly at the subject.. yes you can bounce it with a bounce card, but, that would be no different than using the built in
 
Thanks for the advice. I have seen the Sigma lens you're talking about, but thought maybe it wasn't that good because it seemed so cheap.

What is a 50mm prime lens? I know I am displaying my ignorance.
 
Take lots of pictures....weed through them and give yourself some personal critiquing........toss those that are even marginal..... you will accumulate a lot of photographs..

Pick out a few of your favorites that have good composition and nice exposure, then submit them to the forum for review.....you will get lots of mostly constructive feedback.. sometimes more than you might want...:lol:

Watch out for cutting off heads and feet, things that appear to be growing out of a subjects head, and develop your own style.........read about the rule of thirds in photography etc....

Welcome to a wonderful and time filling obsession/passion/hobby.
 
Thanks for the advice. I have seen the Sigma lens you're talking about, but thought maybe it wasn't that good because it seemed so cheap.

What is a 50mm prime lens? I know I am displaying my ignorance.


As far as the Sigma lens, like I said I have been happy with it so far, although I have not yet used it at a sporting event(which is why I bought it). It is inexpensive, but I would not call it "cheap."

I'll defer to the more experienced members of the board on all the rest.
 
Thanks for the advice. I have seen the Sigma lens you're talking about, but thought maybe it wasn't that good because it seemed so cheap.

What is a 50mm prime lens? I know I am displaying my ignorance.
Unless you find yourself using that focal length on your kit lens, I'd hold out for the new 35mm f/1.8 AF-S which is a more normal lens on our cameras and can AF on the D40.
 
Unless you find yourself using that focal length on your kit lens, I'd hold out for the new 35mm f/1.8 AF-S which is a more normal lens on our cameras and can AF on the D40.

What's the benefit with the new 35mm? I was assuming the 200 or 300mm kit lenses will provide me with greater distance, so I can get some good nature shots. I will look that one up tho.
 
My was son was sitting in my lap when I was opening this up and I think the first pic scared him lol... My fault.... lol But that one is a little wierd... and the head is cut off...

The other two are good and crisp... I'm thinking that they may look better in color and if you zoomed in on the girl and dog and cropped the background out... After all they are your focus and there isn't really anything interesting back there.
 
My was son was sitting in my lap when I was opening this up and I think the first pic scared him lol... My fault.... lol But that one is a little wierd... and the head is cut off...

The other two are good and crisp... I'm thinking that they may look better in color and if you zoomed in on the girl and dog and cropped the background out... After all they are your focus and there isn't really anything interesting back there.

Ok, here is what I came up with. I had to bring the contrast down for the color one, there was too much black and it was blending in and saturated. I think it looks better, maybe there is another way around that.

1.
DSC_0055-2.jpg


2.
DSC_0053-1.jpg
 
What's the benefit with the new 35mm? I was assuming the 200 or 300mm kit lenses will provide me with greater distance, so I can get some good nature shots. I will look that one up tho.
A normal lens is (in simplified terms) one that sees close to what we see when we look straight ahead. On a film or full frame camera a 50mm lens is considered normal, but this lens will end up being a little too long on our cameras. This is, however, great for portraits and for shooting certain things further away. If you plan on shooting wildlife, you will probably want either longer fixed length lenses (often referred to as primes on here, but keep in mind that technically not all fixed lenses are primes since not all of them have a focal length that is a prime number - i think the prime designation refers to the actual focal length, not what's on the lens; for example, a 50mm lens might actually be 53mm, which would make it a true prime) like an 85, 100, 200, 300 or 400mm lens, or long telephoto zooms like the 70-300, 55-200 etc. Starting out with the zoom lenses will probably be cheaper (maybe unless you get a fast pro level zoom) and allow you to figure out which focal lengths you like to use the most so you can choose the right fixed lenses later on.
 

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