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New D70 owner with a few questions

Discussion in 'Photography Forums' started by cutes6, May 21, 2005.

  1. cutes6

    cutes6
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    Well I have always had a slight interest in photography and have just gone and bought a Nikon D70 with the kit lense.

    Now I have been reading lots of posts on various forums to try and understand the lingo and get a few tips to try and get close to some of the spectacular results that are posted on here.

    I have a few questions that I just can't quite understand yet so here goes,

    1, I have the standard but apparently good kit lense 18 - 70mm. Now I have been reading about portrait and close up shots and people buy specific lenses for this purpose such as the Nikon 50mm lense, will my standard lense provide good enough close up shots as it is 18mm, are these specific lenses better because they are specific for the job and do they provide a wider field of view. I have a feeling that most of my pictures will be my family and home cinema room etc so feel these closer shots will be important to me.

    2, Do the automatic settings on the Nikon provide good enough results or is switching to manual and playing with settings going to produce substantially better results. Having just got the camera will auto do for now.

    3, Half of the skill in producing good photo's appears to be the post processing of the picture. I read about Adobe Photoshop but also about Elements and CS (whatever that stands for) are these cut down versions of Photoshop or are they different programmes all together. If I was to get one software package which one would people get for processing, resizing etc and would you use a different software package to transfer the picture to a PC such as Nikon capture.

    Final question for now - If I take high quality JPeg or RAW pictures can I take normal pictures with the kit lense and then crop an area of the picture and blow it up to produce what in effect will look like and close up picture and will it be of good enough quality - is this what people do.

    Sooooooo many questions but any help from you knowledgable people will be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. jont

    jont
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    Welcome to the world of digital photography cutes6 ... I'll answer these as best as I can ... I use a D70 as well so you are in good company :)

    1 - for portraits, the general rule of thumb for '35mm film' photography has been to use a lens of around 85-90mm ... this is considered to give the most natural look to facial features in regards to perspective or not being too wide-angle and distorting ... your D70 lens is 18-70mm however as the imaging chip inside the camera is smaller than a piece of 35mm film, you must multiply your lens lengths by 1.5 to get a 35mm film equivalent ... so 70mm x 1.5 =105mm ... so you can use your existing lens for portraits as long as you use the 60-70mm end of the zoom

    2 - the auto settings on the D70 will produce very good results in most situations ... however until you learn more about photography and why a picture maybe doesn't come out as you had wanted it is difficult to say which manual settings you 'should have used' ... the biggest problem for new photographers is needing to now how or when to compensate for back-lightng i.e. when your subject has a greater amount of light behind them than in front and when you take their picture they come out all dark because the camera has exposed for all the light coming in around them ...

    In these situations, assuming the subject is up to 2m away you can flip up the built-in flah unit on the top of the D70 and it will fire an amount of flash to try and balance the exposure ...

    The other thing about digital photography is that it preferable to just under-expose shots to ensure that you keep as much detail in the image as possible ... and you can always tweak the image in photoshop later if you need ...

    3 - Depending on how far you want to go then processing the image in photoshop can be fun and rewarding ... but can also be time-consuming and frustrating !! The best version, especially for a beginner would be Photoshop Elements 3 - whilst this is a 'cut-down' version of photoshop they have essentially taken out most of the programme that is there to deal with print design imaging and have left the digital photo design bits in there ... it is also substaintialy cheaper !! The CS bit (or CS2 as you will now see) refers to the current 'full' version of Photoshop ... You can use Nikon Capture to import your pictures, although windows XP will allow you to do the same thing, and then open in Elements to start adjusting ...

    4 - if you shoot high quality jpeg or RAW (at a low ISO speed) then you should have lots of picture quality to do enlargements or crops with ... but there will be occasions where you want to shoot something that is too far away to get a decent enlargement out of ... then it is worthwhile considering getting another lens - your next one should probably be a 70-210 zoom ... this will allow you to get closer to subjects that are far away ...

    My best advice - the great thing about digital photography is instant (and near instant) results ... when you are learning to use the camera look at the screen and see what is wrong (if anything) with the picture you have just taken and then make an adjustment and shoot again ... also be prepared to pop down to boots at the end of the day and wait 15 mins for them to do you a set of digital prints ... they are cheap and you can learn alot from a small print which will guide you in making adjustments in photoshop elements when you need to ...

    Have fun and post some pictures back up here as you go along ...

    rgds

    Jon
     
  3. owain_thomas

    owain_thomas
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    Hi,

    nice choice of camera :) Got mine about 4months ago in america and haven't looked back since. I'm a long way from being a photography expert but I've found I've learned a lot in the last few months, mainly because of how easy the D70 makes things.

    To answer some of your questions:

    1. A lot of portraits are done with slightly longer lenses, the longer the lens is the shallower the depth of field is - this gives you the ability to have the subject in sharp focus but most of the other stuff in the shot (backgrounds etc) out of focus, this makes the subject stand out more. The kit lens is great to start off with, it covers a very useful range I've found. As for room photos you might need something a bit wider which would have a larger angle of view, this would be able to get closer to what you see with your eyes.

    2. Auto produces good shots most of the time. If you've gone to the expense/bother of getting a DSLR though you're going to want to start playing with the manual settings soon. To start with try putting it in aperture priority mode and see the effect that different appertures make to shots that you take, in this mode the camera controls shutter speed to give a correct exposure so you don't have to worry about that. Once you've got an idea of what that does try shutter priority mode and see what differences you get there.

    3. Although PS can make a difference to pictures I don't believe it can turn a crap photo into a good one. Photoshop has two current versions, CS2 and elements 3. CS stands for creative suite, CS2 is really just PS version 9 and is the full blown £500 monster. Elements is cheaper, I've never used it so can't give a detailed comment on it but basically its a cut down version. I don't use nikon capture at all.

    You can crop the images but by how much depends on how big you want your prints to be. I've just had some A4 prints done at photobox and they are outstanding, I'm sure they could easily go bigger.

    HTH, let me know if I've just muddied the waters further ;)
    owain
     
  4. owain_thomas

    owain_thomas
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    doh!

    don't you hate it when you spend ages typing an answer and someone beats you to it!
     
  5. jont

    jont
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    Should have had that lie-in after all ;-)

    Between us we gave a fuller answer though ... !!

    Jon
     
  6. cutes6

    cutes6
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    Great feedback guy's thanks. Right I have just taken a picture in the garden and will try and work out how to upload it to this forum, I am quite pleased and have printed it out to A4 .

    I have no idea how this is going to look but I have resized the pic to 800 size, here goes (this could be embarrasing)
     

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  7. jont

    jont
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    Nice shot ... if you stay in the same position and put the D70 into aperture priority and take a round of shots at each aperture setting e.g. 4, 5.6, 8, 11, 15, 22 you will see what that does to the focus of plant the flower head is attached to ...

    The minimum focus distance on the 18-70mm lens is around 2 feet ... if you want anything closer than this/or a larger image of the subject then you will need to get another lens with more of a close-up or macro facility (or some extension rings that fit between the lens and the camera increase the zoom range) ...

    Jon
     
  8. cutes6

    cutes6
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    jont. thankyou once again.

    well had a play around and I can now understand how the plant focus decreases as the background comes into focus.

    I have taken another picture in RAW format and cropped it and resized it to post here, so I will upload it and see which is the better quality.
     

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  9. dejongj

    dejongj
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    Cutes6, I think jont & owain have answered most of the questions so I won't answer all of the them...

    1. You asked specially about the 50mm, most likely the very good value for money Nikon 50mm f1.8....And why people get it as you already have 50mm within the 18-70 range...That was exactly my thought, the main difference is that it lets 3x more light in then the 18-70 kit lens...combine that with the price of £79 and it becomes a great little indoor and portrait lens...And boy is it sharp....

    2. I wasn't into SLR photography and started with full automatic settings. I've only just started dipping my toe into the other manual settings...As you have shown yourself by your pictures posted, automatic can be great...Very good to know so that you can give the camera to someone else and still get a half decent picture of yourself...But automatic is not perfect and I have seend some fantastic manual results...

    3. I can definitely recommend Photoshop Elements 3...Does everything you want from photoshop and personally I really like the version control system and organiser as well. A must have will be Scott Selby's book 'Photoshop Elements for digital photographers', perfect start to learn a daunting package...

    Further more, I am not a big fan of digital zoom which is basically what you are talking about. Considering there are great lenses like Sigma 70-300 SUPER APO II blah blah blah for only £139 there is really no excuse....But if you must, I came across the following tip in Scott Selby's book and it really seems to work...What ever you do, after you have cropped and are ready to enlarge, don't do it in a big step...Do it 10% enlargement at the time, it is a pain and slow progress but the results are amazing. BTW That tip is for Photoshop (all versions) only and may not work in other applications...

    Hope this helps...
     
  10. jont

    jont
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    I think you can clearly see what is better about the second shot ... although at this much smaller resolution you may not appreciate all that is going on within the file ...

    If you have the time and space on your memory cards and pc/mac keep and burn the master RAW file of all your shots (with recordable cd/dvd's being so cheap this shouldn't be too difficult) ... the reason is that when you save as a jpeg you are throwing away some of the file data as it compresses the file ... RAW files also don't get artificially processed by the camera or software to achieve a reasonable picture ... you'll be able to go back to RAW files and adjust far more things about the picture without losing any quality than you will with even a high quality jpeg ...

    Jon
     
  11. cutes6

    cutes6
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    dejongj,

    thank you for your reply, can I ask where you get those lenses for those prices please
     
  12. witters

    witters
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    DejonDJ,

    I'm after a 50mm f1.8. Can I ask where it's going at £79 please?
     
  13. jont

    jont
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    I'd take one too at that price

    Jon
     
  14. cutes6

    cutes6
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    These are of my home cinema room, they have been difficult to process and it will be interesting how they come out
     

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  15. dejongj

    dejongj
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    It's a great price isn't it...I really want the Sigma 30mm (true 30mm for APS-C) f1.4 but it is still not out...Then I noticed this price and I thought ah well, for that kind of money...Take a look at http://www.microglobe.co.uk, got both the 50mm/f1.8 and Sigma 70-300 APO blah, blah for those prices....
    I got my SB-600 speedlight via Jessops when I bought my D70 and it was price matched against microglobe's £154....Big saving....So Jessops may do it with those lenses as well, I just couldn't find one that had them in stock....
     
  16. dejongj

    dejongj
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    If you do a lot of indoor flash photography, you've just got to get an external flash...Something like the SB-600 would be great, you can then avoid those shadows and the flashhight as in the pictures provided...I tend to use the built-in flash only for emergencies...
    And if you really want to get creative...With the SB-600 a tri-pod bracket is supplied...And you can then remotely fire it with the built-in flash....Oh the joys still to come ;-)
     
  17. cutes6

    cutes6
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    Thanks for those pointers. dejongj
     
  18. owain_thomas

    owain_thomas
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    hi cutes6,

    When you put your camera in aperture priority and use different apertures you'll see that the background can be in focus as well as the flower if you use a higher f-stop number (ie a smaller aperture), the lower the f-stop the less will be in focus in your picture.

    This depth of field allows you to make things stand out from their background when you use larger apertures or can make it so that you have as much as possible in focus with smaller ones (things like lanscapes where you might have a plant in the foreground but still want to see the distant mountains in focus would need a smaller aperture).

    HTH
    owain
     

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