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Old Apr 5, 2008, 6:00 PM   #1
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Hi I am a new budding photographer and new to this site. I have been reading some of the Q&A here and the answers are very helpfull, so I thought I would post a question about a problem that I cant seem to fix. I have just bought a Nikon D80 (I know I'm probably out of my depth with it, but I'm stuck with it now) and I have had a lot of success with it and enjoy using it. But when ever I try to take a photo out doors at dusk to capture the brilliant light it creates my photos are blurred. I can fix the shot with a flash but then lose the natural colours and the picture around the subjuect is dark. This is becoming very fustrating because I have missed some great shots. I have photoshop CS3 but I am still learning that aswell, although when the photo is really bad the software cant fix it either. Any help will be greatly appreciated. many thanks. Lee
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Old Apr 6, 2008, 6:51 AM   #2
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Savannah, GA (USA)
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Short Answer:

Use a tripod in low light.

Longer Answer:

You're probably seeing blur from camera shake, and if your subjects are not stationary, you may be seening blur from subject movement, too (and a tripod won't help with that).

The camera has to keep the shutter open long enough to "expose" the image. When light is lower, shutter speeds will need to be slower for proper exposure.

The rule of thumb for reducing blur from camera shake is that your shutter speeds should be 1/focal length. So, if you're zoomed into 50mm, you'll want 1/50 second or faster. If you're zoomed into 100mm, you'll want 1/100 second or faster, etc. So, not zooming in as much can help

You can increase your ISO speed to get faster shutter speeds. Each time you double the ISO speed, the camera can use shutter speeds twice as fast for the same lighting and aperture. But, increasing ISO speeds will increase noise levels.

You can also use a brighter lens with wider available apertures (smaller available f/stop numbers). But, you'll have a shallower depth of field with wider apertures (less of the image in focus as you get further away from your focus point).

To get a better idea of the relationship between light (shown as EV for Exposure Value), Aperture and ISO speed, see this handy online calculator. Film speed is the same thing as ISO speed.


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Old Apr 7, 2008, 5:29 AM   #3
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Just over one year ago I bought my D80.. Now, apart from a few smaller point and shoot type cameras and a Finepix Fujifim S6500, I never really got into photography on a large scale at all. Within a few days of owning the D80, I became quite disallusioned with it, because maybelike you, I thought maybe I bit off a lot more than I could chew. The pictures I took just didn't look good, were mostly blurry and either looked way under or way over-exposed,, yet using the Fujifilm S6500 seemed a breeze because I just left it on Auto and clicked off as many near perfect shots as I could aim the camera at...

Why was this D80 which cost 3 times the price of the S6500, not performing...???

I somehow thought the big leaque was not for me. I just couldn't handle it. I was too inexperienced and it showed up bigtime...

leeyoung - Take that camera with you wherever you go and click off as many shots as you can. Remember your settings,, then watch the results. If you are alert enough you will notice certain patterns emerging in your settings and their results. It may take months to even get off the ground but I am sure you will get used to it and see where you are not quite getting it right. Maybe you will pick it up very quickly... My easy way out was to use Auto mode, but that too gave some drastic results. I joined up with this forum and this was most likely the best thing I did as I watched, read and learned. I started buying photography mags and using Google to find out as much as possible about techniques and settings. Slowly I began to notice my shots getting better. I began buying lenses, left right and centre and I knew I was on the right track when I could point out some of the badcharacteristics that some of those lenses had. You know what, after some 10 or twelve lenses later, I have gone back to the lense which came with the D80,, the 18-135mm. For all its god and bad points, I am now getting some absolutely wonderful pictures with this lens.

You know what the most contributing factor to my better shots was...!!! Buying a D300 at the beginning of this year. This camera really is an advanced camera and relies totally on the users input. If you think you are in trouble with a D80, try a D300 and you will find out just how deep it gets if you are new to serious photography (on a hobbyist scale of course). I was forced to rely on my own knowledge when I started using the D300 but I loved this camera and what it was capable of, so much so that it rekindled my interest with the D80. All of a sudden I began taking "My Own" shots with it and let me tell you that the D80 can take some damned awesome photos with the correct settings. My D300 spends most of the time in the cupboard while the D80 is now getting a good workout and giving me the results I always wanted from it. I can now see why so many magazinesgave this camera the awards for best camera in its class and one of them even gave it a "Best Product of the Year" award this time last year. It deserved it,, only,, I didn't know it then - I DO now though...!!!

My brother gave me one big hint about a year ago, by telling me - "Shutter speed, Aperture andISO... Get those combos sorted out and you've got it made. From there, it's a matter of fine tuning then experimenting. After a while I began noticing the relationships amongst these three.. Adjust one, effect the others, and you get varying results. Each one of these three adjustments will directly affect the amount of light which passes through the lens and into the sensor but you have to realize that adjusting one will directly affect the others and each shot you take needs its own unique combination. Without seeing what sort of shots you are trying to take, at sunset, it is hard to directly answer but maybe you need to be very steady,, as JimC says, use a tripod, because maybe the shutter speed will be very slow which leads to blur...

What I have learned in the past 12 months and especially in the last 3 or 4 months is now starting to pay dividends and now at last I am coming to grips with some of these settings. I am no expert,, probably never will be, but I feel for you because I was in the exact same boat you are now in, 12 months ago. I truly felt that I was up sh*t creek without a paddle, but I hung in there...

Your D80 is capable of any type of shot you can currently ask for. It is only your lack of experience and/or knowledge at this point of time which prevents you from getting them. Experience comes with time and knowledge is for anybody who wished to learn it, so read as much as you eyes will let you and don't be afraid to ask. The knowledge I have gained from this forum is priceless. The only reason I replied to your post was because I was in this very same position you are currently in. I don't posess that much knowledge on the subject but the otherguys in this forum can point you in the right direction. I can only say - Hang in there - It will come to you...!!!
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