Photography Questions and Tips

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Photography Questions and Tips

#1 Post by sky's the limit » Mon Jan 19, 2009 6:57 pm

brokenwing wrote:STL,
Do you think you could post what type of setup you're using when taking some of these pictures ( lens,fstop,iso,exposure,filters..etc?) Im a newbie to dslrs and any help would be great, do you shoot in manual mode all the time?. I'm not saying all of em, but the odd one. Unless its a secret that is. If this is hijacking the thread, then disregard.

Cheers
Hi BW,

Well, I'll tell you my gear set-up, but settings... those are what help pay the bills..! ;-)

I'm shooting a Nikon D3 with three lenses, 14-24mm F2.8, 24-70mm F2.8, and the 70-200mm F2.8 VR. All are Nikon's top pro lenses, and they make more difference than the body, which of course is excellent, but you can make great photos with great glass and not-so-great bodies.

I also use the SB-800 flash, sometimes times two as one is popped remotely. That's not often, as I prefer not going with flash unless I absolutely have to, particularly with the extraordinary low light (high ISO) capabilities of the D3 body. It's is second to none in that dept, and coupled with a fast (low F#) VR (Vibration Reduction Lens), you can get away with murder.

As for settings, I only ever shoot in Aperture Priority, and Shutter Priority. Manual is almost a waste of time and energy these days, and Auto or Program takes away any control. The only thing to remember is, when shooting action, shoot in Shutter, when shooting still life, or when trying to control depth of field, shoot in Aperture. As I say, manual isn't worth the hassle.

What camera did you buy?

Just shoot a tonne, no film to pay for anymore, and practice. Doesn't matter what you shoot.

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Re: Pic from a swamper

#2 Post by brokenwing » Mon Jan 19, 2009 7:30 pm

thanks a bunch! have an older nikkon d-50 with standard 18-55 f3.5 to 4.6 and standard 55-200 f4 to 5.6. I just bought a sony alpha a200, with a single 18-70 f3.5 to f5.6, im not sure how wise a purchase it was, i only paid just under 400, bonus was it had internal image stabilization, and i was debating that with the cannon rebel xsi.(with stock lenses and my feeble attempt at getting a descent picture at the same settings, the sony was easier(quicker) to manipulate) but after realizing the price of lenses and that there are few after market lenses. I have a flash but havent really used much considering most of my shots are outside, past 50ft. If i get a hang of this magic, i'd like to upgrade to the alpha700 or the D80.

Now, this may sound stupid, but what is the difference between the fstop range on the lens and the adjustable fstop in the camera?... im lost there. I undersand shutter speed and iso (well, shutter speed and that lower iso give better pictures and higher iso gives more distortion, thats it). but not the lens fstop and the relationship with the camera fstop

*edited for typing faster than my mental ability*
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Re: Pic from a swamper

#3 Post by 2R » Mon Jan 19, 2009 7:39 pm

I know where you can get free Hasslebad camera's .
The shipping and handling might be a shock :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
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Re: Pic from a swamper

#4 Post by brokenwing » Mon Jan 19, 2009 8:06 pm

no more brown pops and avcan, i can't keep up with the editing
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Re: Pic from a swamper

#5 Post by brokenwing » Mon Jan 19, 2009 8:11 pm

I havent really experimented with low fstop/high iso at all yet. I have done a few shots with f16-22 and super slow shutter speeds to shoot the sky at night. I never thought about increasing the iso, the sony will go to iso3200 i think.. not too sure i have never really gone past 800
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Re: Pic from a swamper

#6 Post by brokenwing » Mon Jan 19, 2009 10:45 pm

im sure you can tell im a total rookie, i have been trying to research the whole relationship between lens fstop and body fstop, if any. Do you know of any literature for dslr... comparable to ftgu? as in total idiot to moderate comprehension?

also, (this is totally out of speculation, wearing polarized sunglasses while flying floats) does the circular polarized filter make that much of a difference with a camera as well?
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Re: Pic from a swamper

#7 Post by sky's the limit » Mon Jan 19, 2009 11:35 pm

BW

It sounds like you're having fun.

I'm not sure what you mean by "body F-stop." There is only a lens F-stop, as the the F# simply refers to how wide the aperture (in the lens) opens, and how much light comes in. The body has nothing to do with it. The lower the number, the more light you get, the less Depth of Field you get. Conversely, the higher the F#, the less light, the greater the DOF, and longer exposure for a given light level.

I've never used a Sony, so I can't comment on that set-up however.

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Re: Pic from a swamper

#8 Post by brokenwing » Tue Jan 20, 2009 3:51 am

STL,
I think im confused with the whole f3.5-5.6 written on the lenses (im a little slow) was some sort of fstop range, untill i realized you can set the fstop from 3.5 all up to past 22 in the camera itself. So if im shooting in A mode at f12 with said lens, what is going on with the camera? is it artificially compensated by shutter speed or iso? or am i totally lost?

I dunno if most are like this, i never shot anything but auto with the d50.

I'll have to head to chapters and get a book of basics.

I'm having a great time!, thanks for the advice so far.
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Re: Pic from a swamper

#9 Post by sky's the limit » Tue Jan 20, 2009 10:18 am

brokenwing wrote:STL,
I think im confused with the whole f3.5-5.6 written on the lenses (im a little slow) was some sort of fstop range, untill i realized you can set the fstop from 3.5 all up to past 22 in the camera itself. So if im shooting in A mode at f12 with said lens, what is going on with the camera? is it artificially compensated by shutter speed or iso? or am i totally lost?

HI BW,

Well,

The F stop range on your lens, F3.5-F5.6 refers to the lowest F-Stop available at a given focal length (ie Zoom setting). Lenses are measured by how low an F-stop they can achieve. The lower the number, the "faster" the lens. Having a low F-stop is expensive, it means the lens is wider, with better glass, and that costs money.

That range on your lens means that at 18mm zoom, the lens can open up to F3.5, but when you zoom it in to 55mm, it can only manage F5.6. This is totally normal in regular type lenses. The difference between what you are shooting, and what I am shooting, is directly related to that F#.

My lenses are capable of F2.8, which mean they can let a lot of light in, achieve quite a narrow focal plane (Depth of Field), and most importantly, they maintain that F2.8 throughout the Zoom range. That is why they are so friggen expensive. The greater the zoom, and the lower the F#, the more expensive they come. For example, an F2.8 400mm telephoto will run you about $10,000....

You CAN close the aperture down to F22 (very little light), but shooting up at F22 comes with a price - and that is slow shutter speeds. Hand holding for most people is generally accepted as 1/60th of a second or faster. I can get away with about 1/50th and maintain sharpness, any slower and I need to rest the camera, or use a tripod. With VR (Vibration Reduction), I can get away with about 1/15th of a second, which is SUPER slow, and used to be tripod territory.

The first thing you need to do is stop shooting in Auto. Set "A" or aperture priority, then go play. Shoot at F3.5, F11, F22, the works, then go see what the differences are on your computer. The LCD screen on your camera is not an accurate reflection of the shot. Always use your view finder to frame, NOT the LCD screen.

I hope that helps.

stl
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Re: Photogrpahy Questions and Tips

#10 Post by enbt » Tue Jan 20, 2009 10:46 am

Brokenwing

The f-stop range on the lens is there because the max f-stop changes over the range of the zoom. It'll be 3.5 on your widest end of the zoom (18mm) and 5.6 at the other end (70mm). It will be the same on your other zooms too. Longer focal lengths require more light, the tradeoff on most lenses being that you lose a stop or two of light on the range of most zooms. You can get zooms that are constant throughout the range, and you can get long focal lengths with apertures of 2.8 or 4, but the longer the focal length and the bigger the aperture the heavier and more expensive the lens is going to be (picture the lenses you see on the sidelines of football games, they are probably something like a 600mm f/4).

Don't know if it was mentioned but every stop is letting in twice as much light. Not that it really matters, but it makes sense when you correlate it with your shutter speeds. I'm not sure the origins of the numbers but usually f-stops go 2.8, 4, 5.6, 8, 11, 16, 22. So f/2.8 is the fastest and lets in twice as much light as f/4. f/4 lets in twice as much light as f/5.6 and so on. Just about all cameras will give you the option to adjust in half or third stop increments which gives you much greater control over exposure.

Since f-stop and shutter speed are related, if you make a change to your f-stop it follows that your shutter speed will have to change by the same amount in order to get a proper exposure. Say you have your aperture set to f/5.6, and your camera gives you a shutter speed of 1/500 of a second. Now you decide that you want more depth of field so you change the f-stop to f/8, your lens aperture is letting in half as much light, so you will need to keep the shutter open for twice as long so your shutter speed is now going to be 1/250 sec. There are many different combinations of aperture and shutter that will all result in a correct exposure. A good analogy is filling a bucket with water - when the bucket is full you have a proper exposure. You can turn the tap (aperture) on full blast (f/2.8, 3.5 or the smallest # aperture you have) and you will fill the bucket in the shortest time (shutter speed). Or, you can turn the tap on low and it will take longer to fill the bucket.

ISO is also a part of that equation but you usually don't change that as much. ISO 100 is slow, 200 is twice as fast, then 400, 800 etc. Usually the higher ISO the more noise (grain) you get in your picture although the newer cameras are getting better I hear.

Can be a lot to wrap your head around at first but it all makes sense when you start playing around. Best thing to do like STL says is get out and shoot lots, digital is great for learning since you can experiment and see the results right away. It's good that you want to learn the nuts and bolts, too many people get a fancy camera and leave it on auto and never know what's going on. The other funny thing I used to see working retail was people always wanting the higest megapixel camera they could get, then shooting on a low quality setting to save space on their card. :roll:
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Re: Pic from a swamper

#11 Post by tvguru » Tue Jan 20, 2009 10:55 am

brokenwing wrote: I'll have to head to chapters and get a book of basics.
I highly suggest you read "Understanding Exposure" By Bryan Peterson
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Re: Photogrpahy Questions and Tips

#12 Post by brokenwing » Tue Jan 20, 2009 3:30 pm

Thanks folks, this is starting to make a bit of sense, I have been shooting in a and s mostly just trying to figure out what im doing, i havent really dabbled in Program mode or manual. And i do noticed a bit of difference from the lcd to photoshop. and this model of camera doesn't have a live view lcd, (i'd buy a point and shoot if i wanted that).

Thanks for the book advice too!
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Re: Photogrpahy Questions and Tips

#13 Post by Slats » Thu Jan 22, 2009 11:22 am

Hey STL, you shooting in RAW or JPEG or both?

Anyone have any experience with the AF-S DX VR Zoom- NIKKOR 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G IF-ED?? Right now I've got a 28-70mm and a 70-300mm. I shoot alot of landscape and I find that 28mm just isn't wide enough most times, and on the other end, when I'm occasionally shooting wildlife, 300mm doesn't give me enough telephoto. I'm wondering if perhaps picking up the 18-200mm and a 2x teleconverter might be an affordable way to give me good wide-angle for landscapes and panoramas and have the ability to get a little bit better telephoto performance when I require it. Will 18mm offer an appreciable advantage over 28mm or do I need to go wider still? Any other suggestions on how to affordably get the best of both worlds, keeping in mind I am trying to stay on a budget (< $1200)?

Oh yeah, I'm shooting a D80.
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Re: Photogrpahy Questions and Tips

#14 Post by tvguru » Thu Jan 22, 2009 1:47 pm

Slats wrote: Anyone have any experience with the AF-S DX VR Zoom- NIKKOR 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G IF-ED??
That's the lens I have and use mostly. It's a great lens, jack of all trades master of none. It's not fast enough but better then the kit lenses you would normally get. VR is great and makes up for the slower glass at times. I would highly reccomend it for a everyday lens or travel lens.

http://www.dpreview.com/lensreviews/nik ... r_afs_n15/ for an indepth review.

As for wide angle I want to go wider, but not willing to shell out the bucks yet.
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Re: Photogrpahy Questions and Tips

#15 Post by sky's the limit » Thu Jan 22, 2009 10:36 pm

Slats wrote:Hey STL, you shooting in RAW or JPEG or both?
Hi Slats,

Lol, you are falling into the wide angle trap... Going wide, with any quality, is expensive... It's tough to get true wide angle performance without a 1:1 sensor = more money.

As to RAW, no. I only shoot RAW on very rare occasions, mostly in very challenging light conditions (high contrast for example), and never in action sequences. Just too much processing to do later, and Jpeg works just fine for 99.9% of applications. I have many shots blown up to 30X40 inches from Jpegs that are extremely high quality. I think studio people may use it more often, but I'm not a studio photographer.

Understanding your camera's software - white balance and colour programs - is a good way to improve your results while shooting Jpeg. With the exception of the Nikon D3/D700, most cameras will need some tweaking to get that just right.

I do however HIGHLY recommend Adobe Lightroom 2.0 It is a excellent processing program, quick, easy, and cheap. And, you can adjust white balance after the fact if you need to.

Hope that helps.

stl
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Re: Photogrpahy Questions and Tips

#16 Post by Mach .28 » Fri Jan 23, 2009 11:34 am

STL,

Quick question on ISO for a newbie. What are your preferences on ISO settings. I'm running an Xti and have been normally leaving it on 1600(max). I have been trying different ISO settings and I'm trying to start running at a lower setting. I do enjoy getting most of my prints blown up (I use Costco).

1.) Any suggestions on ISO settings

2.) Who do you use to get your prints blown up??

Keep the awesome pics coming. Gives me a reason to upgrade my lenses
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Re: Photogrpahy Questions and Tips

#17 Post by sky's the limit » Fri Jan 23, 2009 11:53 am

Mach .28 wrote:STL,

Quick question on ISO for a newbie. What are your preferences on ISO settings. I'm running an Xti and have been normally leaving it on 1600(max). I have been trying different ISO settings and I'm trying to start running at a lower setting. I do enjoy getting most of my prints blown up (I use Costco).

1.) Any suggestions on ISO settings

2.) Who do you use to get your prints blown up??

Keep the awesome pics coming. Gives me a reason to upgrade my lenses

Hi .28,

Well, ISO is quite a simple concept really - so I'm sure I'll manage to confuse you.... lol

The lower the ISO, the higher the quality of the photo, ie. less grain, and the MORE light you need to shoot. (Longer shutter times)

The higher the ISO, the greater the graininess of your shots, the advantage being you need LESS light to shoot. (Shorter shutter times)

When you double the ISO #, you are roughly halving the time required to expose a given shot.

To quote someone else:

ISO stands for 'International Organization for Standardization' and their film speed ratings are used to indicate the relative amount of light necessary to give a proper exposure. A normal film will be rated at ISO 100. A film rated at ISO 200 will give a proper exposure with only half the amount of light compared to the ISO 100 film, enabling you to shoot in lower light or with a smaller aperture or faster shutter speed. The ISO 200 film would be referred to as a 'faster' film.


I shoot at the lowest possible ISO for a given condition - always. The trade off is the length of the exposure required to make a picture increases with the lower ISO number. If you are shooting at 400 ISO, your shutter speed will be faster than the same photo shot at 100 ISO.

With my old Canon 1D MK II, I shot at 50 ISO whenever I could get away with it, only increasing the ISO as the lack of light required. The new Nikon software in the D3 and D700 are so exceptional at reducing grain, I leave it at ISO 200 most of the time, only going lower when I need to have longer shutter speeds, or smaller depths of field. I can take this camera to ISO 1200 without seeing ANY grain at all. Your camera cannot do that, nor for that matter can any others - yet. My Canon at ISO 1200 was quite grainy.

I would recommend you try shooting down at ISO 100, 200, or 400 max, whenever possible, particularly if you are doing blow-ups. You WILL see a big difference in the quality of the photos.

Where do you live?

The reason I ask is, I have a printer here who's business is photographing and printing original Art for painters. He is exceptional at what he does, and his rates are very competitive. I could easily put you in touch and he can print and ship you blow-ups, I have several friends who use him, and I just recently had an entire art show printed and sold a lot of it. Enough of the plug, you get the idea!

Hope that helps.

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Re: Photogrpahy Questions and Tips

#18 Post by Mach .28 » Fri Jan 23, 2009 12:08 pm

That answers a lot. I was also trying to figure out the best ISO for noise on my camera and have been playing with it this morning.

Now I'm sold on upgrading my lenses with a lower f/stop and have to get the IS if I want to shoot the lower ISO.

I'm in yyc and have been looking for someone who can make larger shots then the 18x20 I get at costco.

Thanks and keep the pics rolling if the fog lifts!!
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Re: Photogrpahy Questions and Tips

#19 Post by sky's the limit » Fri Jan 23, 2009 1:25 pm

.28

Send me a shot you'd like to blow up, what size, etc, and I'll have a look at it then ask him about cost and get back to you.

Glad that helped. You don't need a top lens to shoot low ISO, you just need more light.... ;-)

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Re: Photogrpahy Questions and Tips

#20 Post by username: » Fri Jan 23, 2009 2:36 pm

STL,

What program do you use for editing, ei. colour enhancement?
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Re: Photogrpahy Questions and Tips

#21 Post by sky's the limit » Fri Jan 23, 2009 4:35 pm

username: wrote:STL,

What program do you use for editing, ei. colour enhancement?

I use Adobe Lightroom for processing. I only ever open Photoshop to size things anymore. LR is VERY easy to use, and very powerful for photo editing, well worth it. V 2.0 is what you want, and it's not expensive compared to PS.

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Re: Photogrpahy Questions and Tips

#22 Post by sky's the limit » Fri Jan 23, 2009 6:01 pm

I posted this in the General Forum too, but I thought I'd throw it up here. It is only a sunset shot, but there are a few things going on in this one that some of may want to know about. Just little things which can help get better results.

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Re: Photogrpahy Questions and Tips

#23 Post by 2R » Fri Jan 23, 2009 6:05 pm

View from the westview ?
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Re: Photogrpahy Questions and Tips

#24 Post by sky's the limit » Fri Jan 23, 2009 6:07 pm

2R wrote:View from the westview ?
Lol, no... I'm up between PR and Lund, although I don't have as much booze here as the Westview..!

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Re: Photogrpahy Questions and Tips

#25 Post by brokenwing » Fri Jan 23, 2009 10:04 pm

is that picture taken with a tripod, highish fstop and a lower iso?.... im still trying to figure out taking shots with the sun infront of the camera.

Btw, Thanks a bunch for starting this thread STL.
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