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Old Oct 12, 2004, 12:44 AM   #1
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I could use some pointers as I get acqainted with my new D70.

First of all, the AUTO mode and the P mode seem to be same thing. What is the difference in settings? Are there actually 9 different programmable settings for this?

One thing I have noticed is that I don't have any issues taking pictures in good light and with the subject being close. That is probably true for just about anyone. Auto mode seems to work fine for this, but I really think I am holding the camera back in auto mode. Obviously the picture taking is much harder in low light and when you want to get a group of people in a picture. I want to take some choir pictures for our church, but a flash is not allowed, and the area is of people is pretty large. Should I be using the Aperture mode to take group pictures. Right now I use the auto mode or P mode(which I don't get yet) and it tends to get the center of the picture in focus but not the outer edges. Depth of field is pretty shallow. Unfortunately, this is not a situation I can take a bunch of pictures at different settings. If I use aperture mode, will I need a tripod?

I will probably be asking lots of questions over the next few months, so bear with me.

thanks.
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Old Oct 12, 2004, 1:48 AM   #2
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You might want to hit the Nikon SLR forum here for questions specific to the camera (assuming that is the Nikon D70 SLR you're talking about).

In general, auto usually handles every feature of the camera itself including white balance, ISO, etc. keeping you from touching it. In Program, it mainly adjusts the shutter speed and aperture (although you have the option to have white balance and ISO set to automatic on most cameras, but in program mode you have the option where in auto mode it is forced on you).

In the scene modes, most things again are handled automatically but something is given preference, landscape being distance, sports being shutter speed to (try to) freeze the action, night for low light shooting, etc.

If you don't understand things like shutter speed, aperture, ISO, etc., here's a website that covers the basics in an easy to follow format:
http://209.196.177.41/
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Old Oct 12, 2004, 7:05 AM   #3
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I moved this down into the Nikon Digital SLR forum, where you will get better responses.

Your problem with getting the entire group in focus is most likely a Depth of Field Problem. The people on the outside edges of the group are further away from the focus point.

If you are shooting indoors, the camera's autoexposure algorithms are most likely selecting the largest available aperture.This gives you the fastest shutter speeds, to help reduce motion blur.

However, the largest aperture also gives you the shallowest depth of field, so it's a tradeoff.

Shooting in P Mode gives you more flexiblity. By using the command wheel, you can change between different Aperture/Shutter speed combinations, while still taking advantage of the camera's autoexposure.

For example: any of these combinations would give you identical exposure:

1/60 second at f/2.0, 1/30 second at f/2.8, 1/15 second at f/4

Aperture Priority (Av Mode) allows you to select a desired aperture, with the camera selecting the shutter speed needed for proper exposure. This is going to be preferrable (so that you don't need to worry about spinning the command wheel). Chances are, you'll use the same settings all the time anyway for your choir shots.

Of course, to reduce motion blur, a faster shutter speed is needed, which will require a larger aperture and/or higher ISO speed. You'll need to experiment with settings for the desired result.

If you don't want to increase noise levels by using higher ISO speeds (which will allow you to go 1 stop smaller on your aperture each time you double the ISO speed and still get the same shutter speeds, increasing your depth of field), take your photos from further away and/or use a wider lens setting (don't fill the frame as much). This will give you greater depth of field. Then, you could crop the photos later if larger prints are not needed.

Chances are, you're going to need to increase your ISO speedsto reduce motion blur anyway you do it indoors without a flash.

Use tools like Noise Ninja, Neat Image or Noiseware to reduce the appearance of noise later:

http://www.picturecode.com

http://www.neatimage.com

http://www.imagenomic.com

Yes, a tripod will help. Chances are, at slower shutter speeds, taking photos of a choir, you'd have just as much chance of motion blur from camera shake as you would from subject movement (although, you have to keep both in mind).


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Old Oct 12, 2004, 10:25 AM   #4
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The largest Aperture is the smallest number right? So looking at the Program Mode, if I increase the Aperture number for more depth of field, the shutter speed decreases, which makes sense, as it needs to let more light in. This seems to act the same way in Aperture mode. So are the Program, A, & S modes similar? I can see one big advantage of using the Program mode vs. Auto is to override the flash settings. But it seems all the modes are very similar.

Also, the kit lens has Aperture rating froms 3.5-4.5. I assume this is the minimum aperture rating, and that the minimum will depend on whether you are zoomed in or not, correct?

Would you recommend I use the Aperture priority mode when taking pictures indoors in low light? Would it be best to take several shots at different Apertures to see which one works best?

It will take me a while to figure out all the things this camera is capable of doing. I appreciate all your answers and insight.
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Old Oct 12, 2004, 11:39 AM   #5
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Ghostinz wrote:
Quote:
The largest Aperture is the smallest number right?
Yes.

Quote:
So looking at the Program Mode, if I increase the Aperture number for more depth of field, the shutter speed decreases, which makes sense, as it needs to let more light in. This seems to act the same way in Aperture mode. So are the Program, A, & S modes similar?
All modes except for full manual exposure are going to select an aperture/shutter speed combination for proper exposure of the image. The main difference is that you have more control over which combination the camera selects in non-Auto modes. For example, selecting the desired aperture yourself in Av mode, while the camera selects the appropriate shutter speed to match it for proper exposure.

Quote:
Also, the kit lens has Aperture rating froms 3.5-4.5. I assume this is the minimum aperture rating, and that the minimum will depend on whether you are zoomed in or not, correct?
f/3.5 is the maximum aperture (largest aperture, represented by the smallest f/stop number) at wide angle. f/4.5 is the maximum aperture (largest aperture, represented by the smallest f/stop number) at full zoom.

Quote:
Would you recommend I use the Aperture priority mode when taking pictures indoors in low light? Would it be best to take several shots at different Apertures to see which one works best?
Chances are, with the kit lens, you're going to need to shoot "wide open" (largest aperture) anyway for fast enough shutter speeds to prevent motion blur. I doubt it really makes much difference indoors without a flash. The Autoexposure is probably selecting the largest aperture already.

Are you getting any motion blur now?

What kind of shutter speeds have you been getting? This information is in the EXIF in each image file. Most image editors can see this information. If you don't have one that can, download irfanview from http://www.irfanview.com (it's free). Make sure to download the free plugins, too. You'll see the camera settings under Image, Information, EXIF.

To get a better idea of how aperture and shutter speed work together for proper exposure of an image, see this chart. It's based on ISO 100. So, each time you double the ISO speed, the camera can use shutter speeds twice as fast for any given lighting level and aperture. If you need faster shutter speeds than Auto ISO provides, you can set it to a higher value yourself. But, this will increase noise levels. See thelinks in my last post for tools to help reduce it's appearance.

http://home.earthlink.net/~terryleed...tes/tables.htm

I find it very difficult to believe you'dhave a depth of field problem shooting at f/3.5 or smaller with a large group, though (although, this is what it sounded like from your initial description).

You may just be seeing abit of lens softness from shooting wide open. If you don't frame as tightly (leave more space on each side of the group), it may solve your problems.
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