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Old Jul 7, 2011, 1:50 AM   #1
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Default A Newbie frustrated with my new Nikon d1500

I plopped down my money yesterday and purchased a Nikon d1500. I debated on the Nikon and the Canon t21 and ultimately chose the Nikon since they were both in my price range.

I am from the land of point and shoot but have been interested in composition and wanted to do more then the automatic settings... I have had my camera for a day and am ready to bang my head against the wall. It came with the basic lens kit which means it is an 18-55 mm lens. I have been trying to play with the aperture to make the background blurry and it just isn't working. I thought the manual would have a bit more help and explanation but it basically tell you, "This is the aperture button". I know I am making the adjustments correctly, working through all of the aperture numbers just in case, but there is no blurriness in the background. (i hope i make sense since i am a total novice)

I am in a quandary. I didn't buy another lens with my initial purchase because I want to get to know THE one I have first before moving on to another lens. However, if this camera is going to be a glorified point and shoot then I might as well stick to my pocket digital.

Another question I have is that My focus ring (around the lens) is always focused no matter what mode I have it in and seems to be more of a zoom lens more than anything. Is this normal? I can never NOT take a blurry picture. My friend owns a high end Nikon said that there should be blurriness.

Also, is there a site, book or other reference for the d1500?

Any comments are surely welcome. I need some encouragement right about now since I am about to give up. I've spent hours on this thing already with no success.
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Old Jul 7, 2011, 2:51 AM   #2
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There are lots of things that can make the background blurry. First, use a large aperture. The 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens doesn't have a really large aperture, but you should be able to set the lens to its maximum aperture by setting the A (Aperture Priority Auto) Mode on the Mode Dial, and adjusting the aperture with the Command Dial. (See page 64 in the Nikon D5100 Reference Manual.) As I said, that lens doesn't have a very large aperture, so setting the aperture to its maximum all by itself may not be be enough to blur the background very much. To get better results, you may want to recompose so that the distance between the subject and the background is greater.

As for manually adjusting focus with the focus ring, the 18-55 kit lens has an A-M Mode Switch. (See page 15 of the 18-55 lens manual.) Sliding the A-M Switch to the M position will allow you to rotate the Focus Ring to adjust focus yourself.
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Old Jul 7, 2011, 8:03 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dresden View Post
I plopped down my money yesterday and purchased a Nikon d1500. I debated on the Nikon and the Canon t21 and ultimately chose the Nikon since they were both in my price range.
Welcome to the forum.

I assume you mean D5100?
The Nikon is a very fine camera. I'm sure you will get great results from it.

Quote:
I have had my camera for a day.......
That sums up your problem perfectly.

Quote:
I can never NOT take a blurry picture. My friend owns a high end Nikon said that there should be blurriness.
One of the big differences between a small sensor P&S camera
and an SLR is the dramatic reduction in depth of field. This shouldn't
be too much of a problem for you because reduced DOF (blurred background)
seems to be what you want to achieve.


Quote:
Also, is there a site, book or other reference for the d1500?
I'm sure there are D5100 specific books on the market by now. The
standard users manual will give you a lot of information about how
to use your camera. This will tell you what the various buttons and
controls are used for, but it won't necessarily tell you how to take
good pictures.

There are a few good books and on-line tutorials covering DOF.
Books like Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson can help
the beginner to develop an understanding of exposure and the
relationship between aperture and DOF. A lot of this authors
work is also covered on his YouTube channel:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kEfL6...eature=related

Quote:
Any comments are surely welcome. I need some encouragement right about now since I am about to give up. I've spent hours on this thing already with no success.
Photography has a learning curve. It isn't as difficult as playing a
musical instrument, but it does take a little bit of practice. Modern
cameras with auto and semi-auto modes can do a lot of the work
for you, so that even a complete novice will sometimes produce
excellent images. When you gain some experience, your hit-rate
will improve so that you won't need to depend on beginners luck.

Remember that you are doing this for fun. If you are not a
professional photographer, you can afford to spend a lot of
time experimenting. With digital cameras, the cost of failure
is very low. You don't have to buy film and pay developing
costs. The same applies to printing. If you don't like the image
on the computer screen, you don't have to print it.

There are many ways to work out DOF. Some lenses have
a DOF scale. You can calculate DOF on a pocket calculator
or mobile phone 'app'. On line calculators will do the calculations
for you. http://www.dofmaster.com/dofjs.html

None of this compares to the practical experience of shooting
a few tins on the kitchen table.
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Last edited by corkpix; Jul 7, 2011 at 8:07 AM.
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Old Jul 7, 2011, 11:59 AM   #4
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There are three factors that affect DOF:

Distance: the further away the subject the greater the DOF. You want less DOF move closer to the subject.

Focal length: The longer the focal length the shallower the DOF. DOF on wide angle lenses could be measured in parsecs!

Aperture: The smaller the aperture number the shallower the DOF. We're talking about f/1, f/1.4, f/2 or f/2.8 here though.
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Old Jul 7, 2011, 2:01 PM   #5
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If you can not get the separation need to get the background blur you are looking for with the kit lens, look at getting the af-s 35 1.8 or the new af-s 50 1.8. They will set you back 190 to 250 dollars, but will help get the blur effect you are looking for. The cheap 125 dollar AF 50 1.8 will not focus on your camera.
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Old Jul 7, 2011, 5:41 PM   #6
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In short do these things:


Get as close as you can to your subject (either by moving closer or zooming in or both)

Shoot at the widest aperture

Move your subject away from the background
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Old Jul 8, 2011, 7:51 AM   #7
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http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tut...h-of-field.htm

DOF Tutorial
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