Newbie - Impulse purchase

azjames

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Hi all,

I am new here. Just found this place via a Google search. I have had a digital camera for years. A smaller body pocket camera. OK for snapshots but I got so tired of taking important photos (like in China or other one time visits) that once I got home were less than exciting.

I think the problem is partially expecting a pocket camera to deliver higher quality shots. The other problem is ME. I need to become better educated in how to take photos.

Yesterday I did a bit of research on the net and went to my local store and made an impulse decision. I purchased a Nikon D70s with a AF-S Nikkor 18-70mm 1:3.5-4.5 GED lens.

I am pretty comfortable that I got a good camera. But I am wondering if I got the right lens with it. I have also ordered a NIKON 70-300/4-5.6D ED ZOOM AF NIKKOR Lens.

I am hoping to use this equipment to:

1) Photograph my "toys". Mostly guitars. It was a pain to try and get the entire guitar in a photo with the old camera. Not enough width.

2) Shoot some wildlife. I live in a rural area and have a lot of animals and stuff around

3) Travel pics. I travel the world and want better shots to share. I live in Thailand half the year and USA the other half. This June I will be in Dubai and want to take some shots of the amazing things they are doing there.

If anyone has advice on books that will get me up to speed with photography skills I am all ears. In the meantime I will try to search before asking too many newbie questions.

In this long winded post I guess I am asking 3 things.

1) Did I select equipment suitable for my goals?

2) What do all the numbers on the lens MEAN :blushing:

3) Are there any short tutorials on using an dSLR camera?

Thanks.
 

benhasajeep

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You have a very good range of coverages with the lenses you bought and picked up. They are good general lenses. You will get alot of opinions that this is better or that is better. But it really deppends on you and what you want to do with your pictures. ALL lenses have some faults when compared to one or another. It's what you get out of them and if they are good enough.

The lenses you have have equalivialent of 27mm to 450mm field of view compared to a 35mm film camera. They are a little slow compared against faster lenses. So you will need slower shutter speeds and or a flash in lower lighting situations. But this does not mean they are bad. Good lenses cost money. And for most people that matters.

Congrats on the purchase. And welcome to the board.

Oh and if you find later on that you do want better lenses. You can always sell these and get better ones. But for just starting out. You will be fine.


As for the numbers on the lenses.

18mm to 70mm lens is the field of view the lens has. The f/ number is the size of the aperature. The smaller the number the more light the lens lets in. This in turn allows a faster shutter speed to be used in low light conditions. On the end of the lens will be another mm number. Like 58mm. That would be the filter size appropriate for that lens. The numbers in the middle of the lens is the focal length (ex.. as you turn it goes from 18mm to 70mm).

You have G type lenses so only the camera can set the aperature. Older lenses had a ring and numbers for that. With your lenses you have to set it with a camera dial, or button (or automatic deppening on what mode your in).

I am not sure about books for digital. As I have not really purchased any in a long time. There are some links in this forum for books though.
 
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azjames

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Thanks Ben. That helps understand the lens better.

I am trying to become competent enough to get good photos on my next trip. Dubai will probably be a one time visit for me. I want some memories AND some pictures. :wink:

BTW, I have a Jeep too. :mrgreen:

My biggest worry at this time since the D70s seems to almost shoot pictures itself in auto mode is how to carry/manage the camera AND a second lens. These things are larger than I'm used to. I looked at carry bags in the store but it appears you either have the form fit style which has no room for a second lens, or the rewally large unwieldy style.

I need to do some internet sleuthing.

Thanks again for the help.
 

benhasajeep

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azjames said:
Thanks Ben. That helps understand the lens better.


My biggest worry at this time since the D70s seems to almost shoot pictures itself in auto mode is how to carry/manage the camera AND a second lens. These things are larger than I'm used to. I looked at carry bags in the store but it appears you either have the form fit style which has no room for a second lens, or the rewally large unwieldy style.

I need to do some internet sleuthing.

Thanks again for the help.

Make sure you practice some stuff in manual mode. Or even in aperature, or shutter priority mode. Will help you get a better understanding. It's digital so your not wasting any money. :)

Someone referred to a Tamarac Sling bag. That looked very interesting to me. Another person posted it for another person traveling to europe.

http://www.tamrac.com/images/5747m.jpg take a look and see what you think.
 
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azjames

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Ben,

I was hoping for something smaller like a form fitted case that hangs from a strap with a lens pocket that could also loop through that strap.

But the weight of this thing is making me rethink. Maybe the backpack is the way to go.

Gonna sleep on it and go back to the store tomorrow and see how it fits in the backpacks and how it feels on.

Might havta do it.
 

DocFrankenstein

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You could've done much worse. Good choice so far... just don't buy anything else for 6 months or so.
 

LaFoto

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When on my recent trip to the States, having several different cameras on me in the little camera backpack, plus kit lens and tele-zoom lens, I found that changing lenses was the biggest and most time consuming (and marriage straining!) aspect of the entire trip. I ended up using my compact digital camera for the wider angle photos and the DSLR with the tele-zoom lens on for zoomed-in photos. Changing lenses was a PAIN. In situations when I did not want to use the compact digital camera, I then started to squeeze my lenses into my ... what is the name of a bag that you can sling round your waist? ... that thing, which cannot have been good for the lenses (made sure I had secured the glass and most of all the contacts with the caps first!!!!). But backpack off, zipper open, lens out, other lens in, zipper shut, backpack on ..... :roll: - if you are on your own, it can be ok, but if you are with a non-photographing partner, it can be a strain. Or you have to "use" your partner and have him hold the lenses all the while, but also that can lead to some friction.

However: backpacks are a lot back-friendlier than bags that hang down from one of your shoulders. You might deal well with that when you are still young. I no longer do. Bad headaches and very sore shoulder muscles come out of carrying both the camera on its strap round my neck and worse: a bag hanging down from one side.

So all that would want to be considered.

As to your spontaneous camera purchase I must say: you sure chose a very reliable and good DSLR. Being a Canon user myself, I don't go into the Nikon vs Canon debate for the brand name is really unimportant. What counts is that the camera you use brings you the results you hope for.

Show us some of your test photos so we can talk about them on here, too.

And hey, by the way, and before I forget: WELCOME to ThePhotoForum!!! :D
 
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azjames

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Thanks Doc. Good advice. Espcially for a guy with somewhat obsessive behavior at times - witness 11 guitars in the last year.

Hi LaFoto. Thanks for the welcome. I am finding the camera fairly easy to operate except my composition and posing of subjects is bad. I think I need a basic photography book to learn a bit. When I get back from Dubai in July I will post a few pictures if any of them are decent.
 

Soocom1

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Hi all,
Hello, and welcome….

I am new here. Just found this place via a Google search. I have had a digital camera for years. A smaller body pocket camera. OK for snapshots but I got so tired of taking important photos (like in China or other one time visits) that once I got home were less than exciting.


I think the problem is partially expecting a pocket camera to deliver higher quality shots. The other problem is ME. I need to become better educated in how to take photos.

I want to address this point for several reasons:
1: When I worked in a camera store, many people could not understand why their $150 camera couldn’t get the photos that they saw in Nat. Geographic. Keep in mind that the following is not a criticism. Most of those people are not professional photographers and as such, do not see things the way that those pro photographers see things.
2: The cameras are the big point, when you consider that most of the cameras used in the everyday world usually do not have or use $7,000 400mm APO lenses, motor driven Mamiyas’ or Blads’, or for that matter film or digital items costing around $7,000-20,000.
3: In addition, the camera you used is going to have a sensor half the size of a postage stamp, and a piece of glass that is the size of a dime. Compare that to the afore mentioned APO lens, that has a front element the size of a football. (Rugby ball to you folks across the pond).

DO NOT think that you are not capable of taking high quality photos. It is in the equipment yes, but also in the education and experience. You already have part of that licked.

Yesterday I did a bit of research on the net and went to my local store and made an impulse decision. I purchased a Nikon D70s with a AF-S Nikkor 18-70mm 1:3.5-4.5 GED lens.

I am pretty comfortable that I got a good camera. But I am wondering if I got the right lens with it. I have also ordered a NIKON 70-300/4-5.6D ED ZOOM AF NIKKOR Lens.


Solid choice, and don’t regret it.

I am hoping to use this equipment to:

1) Photograph my "toys". Mostly guitars. It was a pain to try and get the entire guitar in a photo with the old camera. Not enough width.


This is where you need to learn about taking Product Photography pictures. There is a technique to it, and it is not the same as still life, portraits etc.

2) Shoot some wildlife. I live in a rural area and have a lot of animals and stuff around


Get a good tripod, and monopod. The monopod because birds, coyotes, etc move. Tripods don’t so easily.
I also live in a rural area, and have the beautiful sunsets, and weather anomalies worth shooting. I get the occasional large beast like a deer or elk in the viewfinder, and I know all about that. Set out some bird seed, and take pictures of birds out your window. I get a lot of quail, and they are fun to take pictures of, and the cats like watching them too.

3) Travel pics. I travel the world and want better shots to share. I live in Thailand half the year and USA the other half. This June I will be in Dubai and want to take some shots of the amazing things they are doing there.


Keep in mind that travel is something that you will need to greatly plan ahead with. (Duh!) But seriously, you have to keep in mind weight. This stuff can add up, and if you are new to this kind of photography, the camera, the two lenses you list, and ancillary stuff is all you want to carry.

If anyone has advice on books that will get me up to speed with photography skills I am all ears. In the meantime I will try to search before asking too many newbie questions.


Magic Lantern for the equipment.
Any books in Barns and Nobel will do, but don’t study the artsy stuff except for ideas. Look for the self help and how to guides, even the ‘for dummies’ books are helpful.

In this long winded post I guess I am asking 3 things.

1) Did I select equipment suitable for my goals?


Yes.

2) What do all the numbers on the lens MEAN


“70-300/4-5.6D” The 70-300 is the focal distance in mm. Simply put, this is the number that is used to describe how much zoom or magnification you get on an object based on the distance from you. It is not the actual magnification amount mind you, but the distance that the rear lens element is from the image capture area. (film or sensor.) It also is indicative to the ‘angle’ of the lens. Or more accurately, the focal area. The smaller the number, the greater the focal area (wide angle), or how much more image on each side you get. General rule of thumb is regardless of the camera, a 16mm or smaller lens is considered Fish Eye.

4-5.6 is the largest aperture size or ‘F-stop’ that can be had with that lens depending on the focal distance.
The smaller the number, the larger the aperture, and more importantly, the ‘faster’ the lens.
The 4 is the maximum f-stop you will get with the lens set at 70mm. The 5.6 is with the 300mm setting. Aperture ratios change with length of the lens.
The 18-70 is a good choice, and has a faster stop. This will make the lens capable of really fast shutter speeds, and capable of getting that running deer. If you get an older 55mm fixed, look for one with a number around a 1.4-1.7.

3) Are there any short tutorials on using an dSLR camera?


Tons, but you have to find a good one. The magic lantern series covers some of this.

Thanks.
 

2framesbelowzero

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benhasajeep said:
..

Someone referred to a Tamarac Sling bag. That looked very interesting to me. Another person posted it for another person traveling to europe.

http://www.tamrac.com/images/5747m.jpg take a look and see what you think.

That looks a well-designed bag, but not so effective to have a camera strapped to your back.
Better to have it around your waist and accessible from the front... You'll make more photos
and they'll be more interesting ones too IMO if you can get to your camera quickly. It's also
safer with possible situations where there may be pickpocket-teams who can be very skillfull in taking things from people in crowded situations (with reference to 'travel in europe').
 

benhasajeep

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2framesbelowzero said:
That looks a well-designed bag, but not so effective to have a camera strapped to your back.
Better to have it around your waist and accessible from the front... You'll make more photos
and they'll be more interesting ones too IMO if you can get to your camera quickly. It's also
safer with possible situations where there may be pickpocket-teams who can be very skillfull in taking things from people in crowded situations (with reference to 'travel in europe').

That Velocity 7 has a second belt with it for waist level wearing! Its not just meant for the back. Can be over the shoulder or even in the front. I don't have it, someone else posted it in another post.
 
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azjames

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I have to say at this point I am confused on the best method of carrying the thing with me. it's too big to have dangling from the strap, and a shoulder bag I'm sure to lose or have problems with in places where I might need my hands to get to. Or for that matter I don't want to have to hang on to it if I am walking all day.

I recognize the hazard of a backpack for pickpockets but it might be the way to go for me.

I need to spend time n the shop tomorrow looking at how the carry cases strap to the body. If I find one that fits right there and uses straps i think I should be able to find a second lens case that will attach to the strap out of the way. That would be ideal. Quick access but hands free walking.

This is turning into a more complicated decision than the camera and lens. :)
 

dsp921

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The Tamrac Velocity that benhasajeep posted a link to is a good setup. You can sling it over your back out of the way and easily pull it around to the front for access to your gear. Go to the Tamrac website and follow the links to the Velocity series. There are some pictures showing this.
You should be able to easily find a bag/backpack that will carry the D70, your two lenses, a flash and other accessories. Even the smallest Tamrac backpack will fit that. Now try adding a 70-200mm, that's more of a problem.
 
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azjames

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You know I just took another look based on your post and it does look promising.

If it really does carry comfortably on the back for long periods AND can sling in front it might be perfect.

I go to store today and see if they have any,

Thanks
 

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