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Old May 12, 2008, 8:09 AM   #1
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I'm very new to the dslr game. My wife and I have grown dissatisfied with the recent point and shoot digicams so we decided to move into a Nikon D40. Currently using it with the kit lens. We've had it now for a few days and I've been doing a lot of reading and playing with some of the different settings. So far I can say that the camera takes far and away better photographs than any p&s we've owned. The camera seems very intuitive and fairly straightforward to use even for us who have never used one before.

I'm wondering if anyone else has found the photos taken in auto mode to be perfectly acceptable for most occasions? I'm wondering why I would shoot in any other mode? I've also set some of the custom shooting settings and taken some shots in "P" mode and although the photos also come out great I can't see a really big difference. From what I'm reading many tend to shoot in this mode in lieux of auto? Maybe we're just too new to notice the difference between the two setitngs.

I'm also wondering about the white balance settings. Do they really work? I'm noticing that indoor shots set at wb auto tends to grey out the colors. Other than this I'm perfectly happy with this camera and can see us using it for years to come.
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Old May 12, 2008, 8:51 AM   #2
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The "auto" mode will work fine and produce images you will be happy with almost all the time. I will use the auto mode almost every time I hand the camera to someone else to take my picture. The auto mode balances the shutter speed and aperture to produce the proper exposure and get the image. I use the "P"rogram mode 9 out of ten times for just about everything else. I like having control over the shutter speed if things are moving or the aperture is I need to change the depth of field. That is the big difference between the two modes, both will get you the same exposure, but the program mode lets you very the way its achieved quickly and easily. When you look at a picture taken in auto of a couple on a park bench and see that everything is sharp, including the background it has no real focal point. Now thesame photo taken in Program could haveused a higher shutter speed and lower aperture to achieve the same exposure but now the couple is in focus and the background is not in focus, drawing the viewers eye to your subject. The same things can be acheaved with the A or S modes. I do use the "S" shutter priority if I need to freeze action. Your pre programed sceen modes do some of this for you as well. Hope this helps.
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Old May 12, 2008, 1:02 PM   #3
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I'd agree that the majority, if not all, of your pictures could be taken in Auto and you'll not see a bit of difference in "Picture quality". I personally feel you can capture better pictures by breaking out of auto. For instace, if you are shooting a fast object with auto, the object might be blurred because Auto did not choose a fast enough shutter. From a capture stand point you could do better by using another mode such as the Sports mode perhaps or the shutter priority mode (s) to obtain the desired effect. The bottom line is, if you want control or Auto does not work in a paticular situation, change the mode and experiment. That's half the fun to me. Just yesterday I used manual to capture some fireworks.

I have the D40 as well and I shoot in the P mode 99% of the time becuase I can easily change settings if I want to see if I can do better than the camera. In P mode, the flash does not automatically fire as it does in Auto which is nice too as I like to choose when to use flash without going into the menu.

Concerning White Balance, I have read that Auto WB will suffice in most lights except indoor incandesent which has been my experience as well. If I take a picture in my house lit with normal 40 to 60 watt incandesent bulbs, my pictures have a yellowish/orange cast to them. So to correct that, I choose the incandesent mode and the pictures look normal. So far, I have not had to change my white balance mode for any other light. Your milage could vary of course and you could change the WB then or perhaps correct the color in a program such as Adobe Elements.

Enjoy your camera.


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Old May 12, 2008, 3:32 PM   #4
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Thank you both for the response. So far I'm really enjoying the camera. Tonight we have to go to church for my daughter's Crowning of Mary ceremony. She made her first holy communion this year. I'll be taking the camera with me tonight so this will be a true test. I'm hoping to take some pics without the flash inside the church to produce a more natural setting. Looking forward to seeing how things work out.

style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"My daughter's communion was what prompted this change from a p&S to a dslr. I've been using a Canon SD 800IS and have never been happy with the pictures. They always seemed soft to me and the indoor shots were always terrible. Unfortunately I used the Canon at the communion so the pictures we took are not so great. I don't want to miss any more milestones.
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Old May 12, 2008, 8:59 PM   #5
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Glad I could help. Let me know how the pictures turn out.
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