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Old Aug 7, 2005, 1:30 PM   #1
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Hiya experts!

Okay... So I've just got my first digital camera, a rather nice D70s and have a Sigma 18-125 lens and a Nikon 70-300 lens.

Now time for the questions!

01. I think I still need to have a couple of pieces of kit, namely a flashgun and a tripod as following a week of holiday photo's I found that unless I played with the apiture (sp?) setting, even with the flash the pictures came out dark or blurred. Do I really need them and if so what should I look for or will my pictures get better the more I play / learn the settings??

02. Filters. In the shop the guy had loads and loads of filters... Do I need them and if so are there any that I should be looking at getting before others??

03. Lens. Apart from the family shots, I fancy using my new kit to do macro photos. (not sure if this is the right term) and capture loads of small flowers and beasties.. I've played a little with this already but couldn't seem to get focused at close range.

All help and advice welcome!!

Thanks
tef
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Old Aug 7, 2005, 2:49 PM   #2
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You need to provide more information on the type of photography you're doing before anyone can comment of whether you need a flash or tripod. If you are taking shots outdoors in good lighting they should not be coming out dark. You say you adjusted the aperture but what mode are you using? The P mode works well for most situations and adjusting the aperture would cause a corresponding shift in the speed. If you are using M then you need to take careful note of what the light meter is telling you.

You do not need filters. Some create pleasant effects and some are a waste of money. A skylight filter will serve to protect the lens and does help with haze. A circular polariser can help improve blue skys.

To take macro shots you need either a dedicated macro lens, extension tubes or a close up lens, which screws onto the filter thread of the lens. The order in which I've listed them is in decreasing price but also decreasing quality.




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Old Aug 7, 2005, 3:21 PM   #3
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More information... Okay, I'll give it a go.

The shots I was taking on holiday where mainly outdoors and in the evening or with a bright background where the subject, the wife or kids, became siloetted and even with the built in flash on, came out dark. This may have been either the distance the flash has or the aperture. I was about 5-6 meters away.

When I did adjust the aperture, the camera shake, suject movement was really noticable.

I used the auto setting for almost all of the shots except two.

Thanks for the advice for the filters and I'll pick-up one of the skylight filters tomorrow to protect the lens if nothing else.

If I wanted a lens for macro shots, what size, spec should I be going for?

(Sorry for all the stupid questions however this is the first time I've used anything other than a point a click camera and I'm just on the bottom rung of this photo thing!!)
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Old Aug 8, 2005, 6:36 AM   #4
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It is tough to get an accurate exposure with brightly backlit subjects. The exposure gets based on the bright background, underexposing the subjects in the foreground. You could try spot metering on the subjects to get a more accurate exposure.

When you played with the aperature, I assume you stopped the camera down, meaning used a smaller aperature (larger F-stop) because the resulting pictures had subject motion. By using a smaller aperature, the camera chose a slower shutter speed (less light=longer shutter speed) You should have "opened up", or used a larger aperature. If DOF was your concern, you also could have to switched to a higher ISO.

I would recommend doing some reading and learning the basics of photography, and things like shutter speed and aperature affect the image. A DSLR is a little more difficult to use, even on P mode. I wouldn't worry about filters and other accessories till you have the basics under control. Keep everything simple until you're more comfortable. The only filter I think you really will eventually need is a polarizer and maybe an ND filter. Most other filter effects can be duplicated in photoshop or other image editing software without the hassle or expense of carrying them around.

Good luck!!





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Old Aug 8, 2005, 9:57 AM   #5
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As RJSeeney says it is difficult to get a good exposure with a backlit subject. Spot metering your subject should work but would produce an over exposed background. Fill flash is probably the way to go and the built in flash should be good enough in most situations. Opening up the aperture would help the flash so use F2 or F2.8 if you've got it on the lens if not use the smallest number you've got.

For macro you really want a lens thathas a1:1 reproduction ratio. Nikon make very good macro lenses the 60mm and 105mm Micro lenses. I use a Sigma 50mm Macro lens and that produces good results. Sigma also make a 105mm Macro lens but I haven't seen any results from that. My avatar was shot with a Tokina 100mm macro lens that is now discontinued. It actually only does 1:2 but I use my 50mm when I need 1:1.

As to whether you choose a 50mm 60mm105mm or longer it depends on what you want to shoot. For beasties 105mm lets you get a bit further away from the subject so you are less likely to spook it. For things where you can get in close I think the 50mm or 60mm has the edge, just.




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Old Aug 8, 2005, 1:05 PM   #6
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Thanks for both your replies!

I'm going shopping tomorrow to get a book and possibly that 50mm lens, if i can find it.

I'm sure I'll have loads more questions after I've had a read!!

cheers
Tef



<- Aviator take using:
Nikon D70s
Auto Setting
Sigma 18-125 lens
Cropped in PSP8
Little to no experience with a DSLR

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Old Aug 17, 2005, 11:44 AM   #7
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Read the Manual, I found it long and involved but, helpful on the preset modes and on the basic functionality of the camera. Keep everything simple as a beginner, don't make it more difficult than it needs to be. Try simple settings like turn on auto ISO and make sure the AF (auto focus) assist are turned on. There are a few really simple settings that make it easy to operate and still return good results. Read a little about aperature, ISO and exposure, what they do and how the coincide as well as how they individually affect the photograph. I hope you find some of this helpful. haans
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