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Old May 25, 2009, 6:01 AM   #1
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Default Nikon D40 best settings?

Hello,


I'm a beginner to DSLR photography. I've had a Nikon D40 for about a year. I mostly like to click macro shots, people, abstract stuff and sometimes lanscapes. Though I'd like to use the 'P' mode, sometimes the photos turn out darker than I'd like; this makes me shift to the 'Auto' mode.

What suggestions can you give me for getting the best settings (vivid colors, but not too much) out of the D40 and any other tips for beginners like me?
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Old May 25, 2009, 2:22 PM   #2
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I also have a Nikon D-40 and I have no problems at all when I use the "P" or Programmed Auto mode. You might check to see if you have some minus Exposure Compensation cranked in that is darkening your photos.

Sarah Joyce
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Old May 26, 2009, 5:28 AM   #3
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I also have a Nikon D-40 and I have no problems at all when I use the "P" or Programmed Auto mode. You might check to see if you have some minus Exposure Compensation cranked in that is darkening your photos.

Sarah Joyce
There is no such thing as ideal settings, especially when talking about color and sharpening etc. Everyone's taste is different. Settings will also depend on the specific effect or look that you are trying to achieve. Learn the basics of exposure and how things like ISO, shutter speed and aperture affect your image. then go out and play with your camera...dial in different settings and see what works best (take notes so things are easier to remember). Also, remember, that you can always play with the final image in post work.
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Old May 26, 2009, 10:18 AM   #4
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I suggest that you experiment with different metering modes, too. With my D40 I find that if I use matrix metering I need to use exposure compensation. But, generally speaking, when I use center-weighted metering I don't have to use exposure compensation. The best thing I think you can do is just takes a lot of photos with different settings and modes until you discover what really works best for you.
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Old May 28, 2009, 6:48 AM   #5
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I suggest that you experiment with different metering modes, too. With my D40 I find that if I use matrix metering I need to use exposure compensation. But, generally speaking, when I use center-weighted metering I don't have to use exposure compensation. The best thing I think you can do is just takes a lot of photos with different settings and modes until you discover what really works best for you.
Thanks for this; I'll def try it out. thanks others as you've all said, it is best to play aroun and find my best setting. Is the P mode the right first step for a beginner to DSLR. Do you suggest some reading / tweaking that I should start experimenting with?
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Old May 28, 2009, 8:16 AM   #6
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Is the P mode the right first step for a beginner to DSLR. Do you suggest some reading / tweaking that I should start experimenting with?
P mode is a great first step. It is essentially the same as auto but it allows you to do 2 things:

1) Program shift. This allows you to keep the same exposure the camera chose but SHIFT the aperture / shutter speed mix. The camera may choose f5.6 1/200. You may want more depth-of-field so you turn the appropriate dial and shift the exposure to f8.0 1/100.

2) Exposure Compensation. This allows you to override the camera's meter - for example you take a photo and notice it's darker than you like, so you dial in +1/3 Exposure Compensation (EC) - repeat, until you get the exposure that suits your tastes.

As you play around with the metering modes, the big thing to learn and understand is - with each mode (matrix, center weighted, etc.) - how much of the image is the camera considering when determining proper exposure? That's really the key. There is no single 'best mode' - having an understanding (reinforced through practice and review of images) of the modes and how much area will allow you to change the metering mode for the type of shot you want or at least recognize that if you leave the mode as-is the camera may under or over expose the shot and you'll have to dial in EC.
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