Nikon D3200 Turning Out To Be Expensive Point-And-Shoot

StarsFellOnIndiana

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I'm starting to think I should have just stuck to my Elph PowerShot 110 HS.

I recently bought a Nikon D3200 camera, and I have several lenses - the kit lens that came with it (18mm - 55mm I believe it is) the Sigma Zoom/macro lens that came with it, and a fixed Nikon 50mm, as well as a Nikon 55mm - 300mm zoom lens.

This camera takes gorgeous pictures in auto mode. I have tried venturing into A mode, with varying success.

I've read and read several books on the D3200 specifically, and on DSLR photography in general, and I thought I had an understanding of how aperature, ISO settings, white balance and exposure times work together. Ha.

I went out shooting today in my back yard. The photos I took on auto setting were beautiful, perfect. The ones on manual setting were either orange, stark white or jet black. I am so frustrated I am ready to chuck the whole thing and go back to my Elph! I had hoped to shoot a minor-league baseball game I'm attending September 6th, but I'm starting to think I'd be just as well off taking my Elph, rather than lugging this camera and the various lenses and filters with me.

Any help or encouragement would be SO appreciated!
 

480sparky

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Post some samples of the ones you feel aren't up to par. Otherwise, we're all just clueless on what to do.
 

Braineack

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when you flip to A, are you making sure your camera is setup correctly?

You've opened up manual control of the ISO, WB, focus points, metering method, etc.
 

Derrel

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Why not leave the camera on AUTO and just shoot the pictures you want? The D3200 has the Guide Mode to assist beginners with settings. Have you tried the Guide Mode assistance?
 

Joeywhat

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Why not just keep it in auto mode, then?

I mean, the only other option is to learn what all the other settings do, and then employ that knowledge into taking quality pictures. If you don't understand it now then keep learning...Charlie Parker didn't get awesome at the sax the day after he picked it up.
 

manicmike

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Did you shoot full on manual or in one of the priority modes ie aperture/shutter? It sounds like you either completely overexposed or completely underexposed. To start, try putting it in one of the priority modes. Adjust only the aperture or shutter and see what it looks like from there. That should get you at least close enough to not want to give up.
 

badrano

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When you say "manual setting" do you mean the "M" setting? Based on the words you used to described the pictures, it sounds like your white balance is off and the pictures were either over exposed on under exposed.
If you were in "A", or "S", you should still get proper exposure unless your lighting is so off that the camera couldn't properly compensate with a fixed aperture or shutter speed.
You should still be able to set the white balance to Auto even if in P,A,S or M modes

Like sparky said, post some of the pics and we'll be able to help out.
 

Nat.

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Sounds like white balance and massive over- and under-exposure.
 

Braineack

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Don't fret. I've been shooting SLR since 1995 or so. I went out for an hour yesterday, took maybe 100 pics, kept 0.

Something that might help you as you dive into manual controls is turning on auto ISO.


keep practicing, that 300mm will have plenty of reach to get some good shots:

$DSC_9677.JPG

taken from here:

$DSC_9734.JPG
 

goodguy

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My first shots in auto mode were not very impressive either, the more mistakes I made and the worst the pictures came out the more I learned and honestly after almost a year I can tell you I feel like I only scratched the surface.
Loosing hope so fast is not how it should be, who said learning is easy but it sure is fun.
Dont expect to take a camera put it on Manual mode and expect your pictures to come out perfect.

Have patient my paduan learner, take your time, learn from your mistakes, keep asking questions, let those who know more critisise your pictures and slowly you will improve.
I can tell you in regards to White Blance I have never moved the dial to any settings, I am happy to leave that in auto, everything else I shoot mostly in Apature mode of MAnual mode.

In time you will master this camera but give yourself time to learn and let yourself to enjoy the learning process.
 

bc_steve

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sounds like you need to pay more attention to your white balance and your light meter. look them up in the owner's manual or online.

there is a learning curve, and once you get enough practice you will be able to take better pictures on the manual settings than with the auto settings. nobody becomes an expert overnight.
 

astroNikon

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I tried to learn everything at once. It was all confusing.
Then I learned one thing at a time.
I first started using the Aperture mode, with WB, ISO, metering etc on AUTO modes
Then I started one at a time turning off those AUTO modes, first with ISO

I learned so much quicker by experimenting with one feature/function at a time.

It will take time. There were times when my photo was just off and I just put it in Auto. Then I would compare the picture preview and see what each setting was and then adjust. Being comfortable of what function is where in the menu really helps too, and all that will take time.

Now I shoot mostly in Manual mode, but when something doesn't look right I have a good idea of what to change.
When I first tried it, I was totally lost. I had an idea of what to maybe change, but I wasn't familiar with the camera at all to get the results.

I've shot close to 9,000 now. Probably half of those were just experiments with Aperture, Shutter, WB, ISO, Metering, Focus points, exposure, flash exposure etc but just one function at a time until I understood it.
 

Designer

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Dear StarsFOI; here's some encouragement for you. :D

Full manual takes some practice. Getting ready for the ball game on 9/6, I suggest charge your batteries, check the capacity of your SD card, and get some idea of what lens you want to use mostly. Leave manual for when you are not stressed.
 

SCraig

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Best advice I can give on white balance is to leave it in Auto and forget about it. You're adding a level of complexity that you don't need at this point. Nikon's auto WB does a pretty good job, certainly as well as the point-and-shoot you were using. I'll bet you never worried about it on that one, right? Why worry about it with this one?

As others have said, leave your camera on Auto. That's what it's there for. It's not going to go away if you use other modes, and other modes won't go away if you use Auto. Go out when you have time and practice with the other modes, but make it easy on yourself when the need arises. Photography isn't supposed to be a chore, it's supposed to be fun. Do what makes it fun for you. The rest will come with time.
 

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