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Old May 7, 2008, 5:40 PM   #1
conor
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Alright, I'll try to give as many details as I can without putting anyone to sleep.

2 years ago I picked up a Nikon D50 to replace my (at the time) year old 200 dollar point and shoot fujitsu. Up until recently, I've used it only for my everyday photography needs and have had no complaints with the kit lens (18mm-55mm).

Recently I've been experimenting a bit more, trying to control light, intentionally setting up my shots, etc. I've spent a few days reading and I'm confident that I have a firm understanding of (at least the theory of)the relationship between depth of field, focal length, aperture size, shutter speed, etc.

I very quickly realized that the kit lens was great as a replacement for my old camera, but didn't really give me much for the type of photo I was trying to shoot. Needless to say, I went and got a Nikkor AF 50mm f1.8 lens to play with.

I guess I need to eventually ask my questions, so here they are:

1) I took a shot of a black and white cat sitting on a desk. She's being lit with a 15 watt CFL (so, 60 watt conventional light). Its one of the bulbs that actually throws white light (unlike the ones that throw orange light). The kitty in question looks great, but the wall behind her (freshly mudded (but dry) drywall) which is white when you look at it, but in the photo looks green. I'm under the impression that its related to the subject being light with a fluorescent bulb (and screwing up the white balance?) but I don't get why kitty's white fur looks perfect. Would a FL filter solve this problem (without messing up kitty)?

2) I've found one minor annoyance with my new lens, here's the situation. f1.8, 1/50, ~3 feet from subject, iso200, flash off, lightmeter reads 0 (middle of the scale). Flip auto-focus on, and fire. Autofocus turns all the way in one direction (focuses to infinity past the subject) then all the way in the other direction (focuses to its minimum distance) and stops. It never goes back to the RIGHT point and never takes the picture. I checked the auto-focus setting in the camera, and it was set to "center frame" (or another term that would be interpreted as "middle"). Why wouldn't the camera actually focus and take the picture?

3) My goal is to set up a small studio for shooting poses. Maybe one day I'll have the skill of prestigious fashion photographers, but I'm trying to start simple. I've invested in a tripod, my new 50mm lens, and I'm going to follow advice from Strobist to do my best to create suitable lighting (I've spent some time doing stage light semi-professionally so I have confidence that I can put together something suitable). Since light won't be an issue, I don't need a really big f-stop (big = lower number right?), but I am concerned that my new 50mm lens wont work well in my space, I have a room 9x10. Any suggestions on a lens that would be more suited to this application? I would LIKE the ability to zoom in and out a bit (to save moving a camera back and forth) but that's not a requirement. I don't mind spending money on a lens that can be suited to other applications if my "studio photography" experiment doesn't turn out, so I'll assign this question a budget of $300-$700.

4) Often you see these gorgeous pictures (online or elsewhere) with the perfect flares from the sun. I've found countless places that explain how to get rid of them, but I have yet to come across some advice on how to create/predict them (to enhance the artistic value of the picture so to say). Any advice?

5) I've been given an older (25+ years) external flash that was originally used on an Olympus 35mm SLR, I've read stories about not using Canon flashes on Nikon's (due to power differences) and I'm not sure if this would be safe to throw on my Nikon. Admittedly, I'm buying a hot-shoe to PC Cord adapter with the goal of using the flash disconnected from the camera, does this make the union safer?

6) Lastly, I was offered two lenses (from the same Olympus camera) but they (obviously) don't fit on my Nikon. Are there lens adapters to allow mismatched mounts? If so, what opinions might you have on them?

Thanks a ton in advance for reading and responding!
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Old May 7, 2008, 7:02 PM   #2
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conor wrote:
Quote:
1) I took a shot of a black and white cat sitting on a desk. She's being lit with a 15 watt CFL (so, 60 watt conventional light). Its one of the bulbs that actually throws white light (unlike the ones that throw orange light). The kitty in question looks great, but the wall behind her (freshly mudded (but dry) drywall) which is white when you look at it, but in the photo looks green. I'm under the impression that its related to the subject being light with a fluorescent bulb (and screwing up the white balance?) but I don't get why kitty's white fur looks perfect. Would a FL filter solve this problem (without messing up kitty)?
If the same light is the dominant light source for both the cat and the wall, chances are, you're overexposing the cat washing out detail, with the wall behind it underexposed (making the color cast more obvious). That's just a guess at what you're seeing and we'd need a sample photo to try and figure out why there is a difference in color.

Your best bet is to use a custom white balance in artificial lighting, so that the camera is measuring the temperature of the light and applying the same white balance to all images taken using that same custom white balance.

Quote:
2) I've found one minor annoyance with my new lens, here's the situation. f1.8, 1/50, ~3 feet from subject, iso200, flash off, lightmeter reads 0 (middle of the scale). Flip auto-focus on, and fire. Autofocus turns all the way in one direction (focuses to infinity past the subject) then all the way in the other direction (focuses to its minimum distance) and stops. It never goes back to the RIGHT point and never takes the picture. I checked the auto-focus setting in the camera, and it was set to "center frame" (or another term that would be interpreted as "middle"). Why wouldn't the camera actually focus and take the picture?
Probably because you don't enough light. ;-) If the camera's Autofocus sensors can't see well enough to focus, it's not going to lock on your subject. Try half pressing the shutter button, focusing on something close to the same focus distance in the image, with better lighting and/or contrast (for example, where dark meets light), then reframe the image after locking focus and press the shutter button the rest of trhe way down.

Quote:
3) My goal is to set up a small studio for shooting poses. Maybe one day I'll have the skill of prestigious fashion photographers, but I'm trying to start simple. I've invested in a tripod, my new 50mm lens, and I'm going to follow advice from Strobist to do my best to create suitable lighting (I've spent some time doing stage light semi-professionally so I have confidence that I can put together something suitable). Since light won't be an issue, I don't need a really big f-stop (big = lower number right?), but I am concerned that my new 50mm lens wont work well in my space, I have a room 9x10. Any suggestions on a lens that would be more suited to this application? I would LIKE the ability to zoom in and out a bit (to save moving a camera back and forth) but that's not a requirement. I don't mind spending money on a lens that can be suited to other applications if my "studio photography" experiment doesn't turn out, so I'll assign this question a budget of $300-$700.
You'll want to take perspective into consideration when selecting lenses. If you don't have enough room to use a 50mm, you may end up with unwanted side effects in images from shooting at closer focus distances (closer portions of the image will appear to be too large compared to portions further way). Shooting from further away with a longer focal length will compress the image more (so that you don't get the sometimes unwanted perspective you get from shooting at closer distances). Shooting closer with a wider lens can be good for effects. But, you'll need to be careful if you don't have a lot of room to work with. Otherwise, you'll end up with some body parts that are incorrectly proportioned to others when you don't want to portray that effect.

In a reasonably priced zoom that starts out wider than your 50mm prime, you may want to look at a Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 EX DG HSM (and you may also want to check out some of the better lenses from Tamron, Sigma, and Tokina starting out wider). In a wider prime compared to your 50mm, I'd probably look at something like a Sigma 30mm f/1.4.

Quote:
4) Often you see these gorgeous pictures (online or elsewhere) with the perfect flares from the sun. I've found countless places that explain how to get rid of them, but I have yet to come across some advice on how to create/predict them (to enhance the artistic value of the picture so to say). Any advice?
Experiment. You're shooting with digital and it doesn't cost you anything to take more photos. Each lens is going to behave a bit differently shooting into brighter light sources.

Quote:
5) I've been given an older (25+ years) external flash that was originally used on an Olympus 35mm SLR, I've read stories about not using Canon flashes on Nikon's (due to power differences) and I'm not sure if this would be safe to throw on my Nikon. Admittedly, I'm buying a hot-shoe to PC Cord adapter with the goal of using the flash disconnected from the camera, does this make the union safer?
Nikon dSLR models have hotshoes rated for a higher trigger voltage than many competing models. You can check the flash yourself if you want to know how high it is. You'll see a link to user reported trigger voltages for a number of flash models, as well as a link to a page showing you how to check trigger voltage yourself here:

http://forums.steves-digicams.com/fo...mp;forum_id=53

Quote:
6) Lastly, I was offered two lenses (from the same Olympus camera) but they (obviously) don't fit on my Nikon. Are there lens adapters to allow mismatched mounts? If so, what opinions might you have on them?
Nikon's entry level dSLR models are not well suited for manual focus lenses (they will not meter with non-CPU lenses, so you'd have to use a separate light meter or estimate exposure, even if you could find an adapter). Your D50 won't even meter with a Nikon F mount manual focus lens, much less another manufacturer's lens via an adapter. I'd suggest sticking with Nikon compatible Autofocus lenses.

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Old May 7, 2008, 8:31 PM   #3
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JimC wrote:
Quote:
conor wrote:
Quote:
4) Often you see these gorgeous pictures (online or elsewhere) with the perfect flares from the sun. I've found countless places that explain how to get rid of them, but I have yet to come across some advice on how to create/predict them (to enhance the artistic value of the picture so to say). Any advice?
Experiment. You're shooting with digital and it doesn't cost you anything to take more photos. Each lens is going to behave a bit differently shooting into brighter light sources.
I'd like to add a note of caution. You can damage the image sensor and otherpartsof your camera by pointing it at the Sun for too long.
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Old May 7, 2008, 9:41 PM   #4
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JimC wrote:
Quote:
conor wrote:
Quote:
1) I took a shot of a black and white cat sitting on a desk. She's being lit with a 15 watt CFL (so, 60 watt conventional light). Its one of the bulbs that actually throws white light (unlike the ones that throw orange light). The kitty in question looks great, but the wall behind her (freshly mudded (but dry) drywall) which is white when you look at it, but in the photo looks green. I'm under the impression that its related to the subject being light with a fluorescent bulb (and screwing up the white balance?) but I don't get why kitty's white fur looks perfect. Would a FL filter solve this problem (without messing up kitty)?
If the same light is the dominant light source for both the cat and the wall, chances are, you're overexposing the cat washing out detail, with the wall behind it underexposed (making the color cast more obvious). That's just a guess at what you're seeing and we'd need a sample photo to try and figure out why there is a difference in color.

Your best bet is to use a custom white balance in artificial lighting, so that the camera is measuring the temperature of the light and applying the same white balance to all images taken using that same custom white balance.
Thanks very much for your advice everyone! It's highly appreciated.

As requested, here's the picture in question. (I should have seen the shadow before itook the shot, but she wasnt behaving and wouldnt stay still, so I didnt have time to throw a light on the floor behind her)

EXIF data should be preserved.



Last edited by conor; Apr 21, 2016 at 10:14 AM.
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Old May 7, 2008, 10:05 PM   #5
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I seea greenish tint in the cat's fur as well as the drywall, and I'm guessing that the cat's fur is whiter than the drywall, so that would account for the difference.

So, I agree with JimC. The problem is with the white balance.
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Old May 7, 2008, 10:20 PM   #6
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TCav: Thanks! Next mission for this newb would be learning "white balance". ;-)
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