Digital Photography

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Comparison

Nikon D50

Cons:

  • Less features

Pros:

  • Low price, Small, Less noise in high ISO values compared to D70, SD memorycard, Better JPG quality

Reviews:

Nikon D70s

Cons:

  • High price, CF memorycard, No mirror-lockup, Only RAW+Basic JPG (Not Fine)

Pros:

  • Good ergonomics, Two dial buttons for easy control, Buttons are placed for fast and easy operation, Wireless commander mode for remote flash, Depth-of-field preview button

Reviews:

Canon EOS 350D

Cons:

  • Poor kit-lens, Less natural looking pictures, Toy-like feel to the dial and handling the camera

Pros:

  • Light weight, More sensor pixels

Reviews:

Nikon D200

  • More soon*

Reviews: imaging-resource.com dpreview.com digit.no

Nikon D80

Pre-announcements intwebit.com nikonimaging.com

Reviews D80 vs D200

Nikon D40

Cons:

  • No auto-focus motor for older lenses

Pros:

  • Small and compact, Optimal use of 6 mp sensor, used for a long time

Reviews: dpreview.com letsgodigital.org kenrockwell.com bythom.com imaging-resource.com

Nikon D40x

Cons:

  • Only 3 focus points

Pros:

  • Same 10 MP sensor as D80

Nikon D60

Pros:

  • Timelapse movie function, Dust remover, New EXPEED sensor (also on D300)

Cons:

  • No live-view option, expected on a 2008 model

References:

Nikon D90

Pros:

  • Live view, HD video recording

Cons:

  • Limited HD video configuration

Nikon D5000

Pros:

  • Same sensor as the D90
  • Small and slick
  • More features than D60

Cons:

  • No wireless flash command
  • Grip not as good as D60

Nikon D5100

Pros:

  • Improved video mode, 1080P video, no rolling effect
  • Massive high resolution display
  • Smaller than D5000
  • More focus points
  • LiveView focus is now relatively fast

Cons:

  • Grip is not as good as D60
  • No proximity sensor to turn off display
  • Less buttons for direct control

Accessories

Lenses

Flashes

  • Nikon Flash TTL-AF SB-800
  • Nikon Flash TTL-AF SB-600

Carring Bag

  • Nikon Bag CF-D70

Memorycard

  • Sandisk Extreme III series

Adjustments Routine

Camera settings (pre-capture):

  • Shutter speed - over- and underexposure
  • Aperture - depth-of-field
  • ISO sensitivity - sensor gain

Image parameters (post-capture):

  • Exposure Compensation (EV)
  • White balance
  • Contrast
  • Saturation
  • Hue
  • Sharpness

UV filters

Operation

ISO

"ISO equivalence on a digital camera is the ability to increase the sensitivity of the sensor to enable faster shutter speeds and/or better performance in low light. The way this works in a digital camera is by "turning up the volume" (gain) on the CCD's signal amplifiers. Nothing is without its price however and doing so also typically increases visible noise (random speckles visible all over the image)."

Aperture

"Aperture, its most obvious function is to reduce the amount of light that can reach the image plane, to prevent saturation of a detector or overexposure of film."

Flash sync

"Flash synchronisation, typically referred to as flash sync, is a means by which a flash head is fired at precisely the moment when the camera's shutter is at its peak opening."

Exposure

"There is no single correct exposure for a specific photograph. At ISO 100 a picture taken at f22 at 1/4 seconds allows the same amount of light to hit the film or sensor as a picture taken at f2.8 at 1/250 second. Of course, not many people can hand hold a camera at 1/4 of a second and get a sharp image and you don't have much depth of field at f2.8, therefore, every exposure is a compromise. The photographer must decide how much depth of field they need while also thinking about how much of the action they want to freeze (or blur), what focal length lens they are using, can they use some sort of support, etc. More"

EV

"Exposure Value, each number represents twice as much light as the numbers increase. More

Shutter speed? The aperture diaphragm of a lens (bigger or smaller values) AND timing (open and close) of the camera's shutter curtain - BOTH perform the tasks of regulating the amount of light entering the camera and expose onto the film."

"Shutter speed, each number moving to the right is half the value of the preceding number, and represents half as much light as the preceding number. Aperture serie, each progression represents half as much light (moving to the right) as the preceding number. More"

Fast lens

"A fast lens, lens with low maximum stop that is open, like 1.4-2.8F. More light means shorter shutter speed, and faster captures."

Shutter rule

"The rule of thumb that says to shoot shorter than one over the focal length. In this case <1/50 with 50 mm lens. more"

Shooting modes

Regular shooting: 80% aperture, 10% shutter and 10 % manual aperture/shutter.

  • Aperture:
    • 1. Start mode A,
    • 2. Set aperture for desired DOF and focus area,
    • 3. Check if shutter speed is good enough for the situation; action, hand holding, etc (hand held: lower than the lens focal length, i.e 1/50, 1/125, etc on 50 mm))
    • 4. If not, pick a larger aperture (lower number) to let more light in and smaller/tighter DOF area.
    • 5. If still not perfect, raise the ISO sensitivity and start from the beginning.
  • Shutter (in good lightning):
    • 1. Start mode S,
    • 2. Set shutter for the wanted effect; wheel blur, moving element and blur bg, etc,
    • 3. Check if aperture is high enough for wanted DOF and focus area (blur/bokeh),
    • 4. If too little, set a slower shutter speed (lower fraction) to make the DOF and focus area smaller/tighter but in expense of extra motionblur or higher if less DOF and more area in focus is wanted but in expense of less effect (in 2.),
    • 5. If still not perfect, set ISO too the lowest setting and start from the beginning (rare step to get to) more

Tricks

Sport and action shoots / More / More

Blur background in action: "Also, I tend to always set S mode for fast action. Once the shutter speed is set it is easy enough to toggle up or down a bit on the command wheel and watch the Aperture setting in the VF." More

"If your subject is moving across the screen rather than approaching/receding, then panning is possible to get separation and you can crank up the DOF ( smaller f stop) to get your cake and eat it too. Slow shutter and smaller f stop work together nicely." More

Lens Terminology

AF-S means it focuses silently and you have instant manual override just by grabbing the focus ring.

D means it tells your camera's meter the distance to your subject. This helps a little for flash exposure metering.

DX means it only works on digital cameras. The corners will be black at many focal lengths on a film camera.

ED is special glass used to increase sharpness.

G means it has no aperture ring so it won't work on ancient cameras that require one. Since these old cameras are film cameras it wouldn't matter anyway.

IF is Internal Focusing. The lens focuses with only the slight motion of a few internal elements instead of having to crank the entire lens in and out. This means the front no longer rotates as you focus, making polarizing and grad filter use easy.

M/A (Manual/Automatic) mode means that even while in autofocus you may simply grab the focus ring to make manual focus adjustments. Next time you tap the shutter it returns to AF mode, and next time you grab the ring you're instantly in manual mode. I wish everything on earth worked this well.

SIC is Nikon's latest multicoating to increase light transmission and reduce ghosts.

SWM is a Silent Wave Motor, which is an ultrasonic piezo device similar to Canon's USM. It moves things without making noise. The lens focuses silently, handy for snoop photography and for sensitive pets and wildlife.

More and more at kenrockwell.com

References