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Hi, new mature student (West midlands)

Discussion in 'Introductions...' started by Legojon, Jul 30, 2019.

  1. Legojon

    Legojon Active Member

    Hi all, just wanted to introduce myself. I've been taking snaps using my phone for ages, but picked up a Nikon D3500 a couple of months back for the start of Uni. I'm a mature student currently in the first year of a Photography degree. It's so much more difficult that I thought it'd be. So I signed up here to browse for some tips and hopefully get some advice and feedback on my pics.
     
  2. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    Hi and welcome. You must have finished your first year by now!
     
  3. Legojon

    Legojon Active Member

    Hi, unfortunately not, I should have said just starting a photography degree (I'm enrolled for 2019/20). I'm just going out at the moment trying to get used to the camera and controls.
     
  4. Aspadora

    Aspadora Well-Known Member

    Hi :) I have also recently started using the D3500, so I'd be interested to see how you get on with it! (I'm also quite new to photography)
     
  5. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    Scour the charity shops / public library for old "teach yourself photography" courses by the likes of John Hedgecoe. They will be for film photography but the basics haven't changed at all. Learning what all the buttons/menu items are on a digital camera is less about photography and more about how the damn camera works. All cameras do more or less the same thing but it can be daunting trying to figure options out. Try to keep the two things separate.
     
  6. Legojon

    Legojon Active Member

    Hi. My experience is mixed at the moment. I like the camera and it's controls a lot. I like that you can press the info button and get a grid of settings to change quickly (ISO, metering mode, AF, etc). I bought the 35mm f1.8 lens for it because 1:- it's cheap and 2:- makes it smaller, lighter and easier to carry round. Also was suggested it'd be a better event for car events (I still have to stand pretty far back). The only thing I have found with it... and this could likely be me being rubbish. But the light meter always seems to underexpose. So I often find myself upping the exposure compensation 1/3 or 2.

    Cheers. I've managed to source some second hand books on photography, camera controls (specific to the D3500) and adjusting settings (exposure triangle, etc). Feels like a big hill I'm climbing up. But I hope given some years practice / experience and a few thousand photos. I might feel a bit more confident.
     
  7. Aspadora

    Aspadora Well-Known Member

    I haven't looked at that lens, I must say. When I first bought the D3500 I was coming from the Lumix FZ72 bridge camera, which had insane zoom, so I panic bought a zoom lens which would cover roughly the same range when combined with the 18-55mm kit lens. That's interesting about the metering, it's not something I've noticed, but then I shoot in manual all the time so maybe that's why?
     
  8. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    With a wider angle lens the proportion of sky in the image can influence the meter. The camera metering tries to assess the brightness of the image so as to render a standard exposure. Most modern cameras have 4 options: evaluative metering tries to be clever, guess the scene and not be too distracted by highlights or dark areas away from the centre of the frame. Average metering does what it says with a small bias to the centre. Partial metering is like average metering but uses only the central portion of the frame. Spot metering uses a very small area, either the very centre or on some cameras it can be the focus point.

    A scene with a lot of sky will sometimes need positive exposure compensation. As the proportion of sky gets less it can go the other way to avoid the sky being burned out. It all depends on circumstance. You can get some idea of the sensitivity by tilting the camera up and then down and seeing how the suggested exposure changes. This is perhaps easiest to judge in aperture priority with ISO fixed, else in a full auto mode figuring out how triplets (aperture, exposure time, ISO) differ is a bit of a headache.
     
  9. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    Unless supremely gifted to judge light intensity you should still pay attention to the metering, whether using the camera or a hand-held meter. How else can you set the exposure?
     
  10. Aspadora

    Aspadora Well-Known Member

    I must admit that at the moment I've set my metering to "centre" and that's as much attention as I've paid to it so far. In terms of exposure, I've been doing the "test shot" method and adjusting based on the results and histogram (unless that's what you're referring to?)
     
  11. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    It came across that you never look at the meter reading when choosing exposure settings. In which case trial and error can take quite some effort, but I suppose in this digital age it just means a bit of chimping on a DSLR. On a mirrorless it is easier still. Although meters are not infallible they will get you pretty close to a starting point. Using exposure compensation is an alternative way to achieve the same end.
     
  12. Aspadora

    Aspadora Well-Known Member

    Ah sorry, didn't realise it could be read that way!
     
  13. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    My own view is that switching any modern camera to full automatic will give you an image that is a good start. Once you have that you can play with the settings to see if you can get it closer to your desire.
     
    RogerMac likes this.
  14. Learning

    Learning Ethelred the Ill-Named

    The problem with this approach is that in most circumstances, P for professional does rather better than A,S,M . It is quite humbling that an inanimate camera can make better decisions than me.
     
  15. contax wide boy

    contax wide boy Active Member

    Don't know anything about Nikon but most camera's sport an AE button that locks your
    required exposure, and then allows you to re compose and shot. Most cameras position this
    button on the camera body as it's too useful and important to bury in the menu.
    You mentioned car shows.
    If you're shooting a car from a low angle pointing towards the sky, approach the car, point
    the camera directly on the car away from the sky and press the AE button.
    Take a few steps back then re compose and shoot - the car should be correctly exposed.
    If you now want to shoot the interior, reset the AE button, point the camera at the interior, re compose
    and shoot.
    Don't set the camera on programme or auto mode because these modes are instructing the camera
    to do what algorithms decide for you. Set the camera on Aperture Priority which allows you to take
    complete control. You could also back it up with a picture using Auto mode and gain experience from that.
     
  16. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    Implementation of AE lock varies between cameras. On a standard set up Canon you have about 6 seconds to take the shot before the camera resets exposure by itself.
     
  17. gray1720

    gray1720 Well-Known Member

    I would guess that the AE button is to the right of the viewfinder in your camera - it is on my rather older Nikon.

    Adrian
     
  18. Chester AP

    Chester AP Well-Known Member

    You have made no mention of the camera body's user manual: do you have this? If not, you can probably download a pdf version from the Nikon website. You should find that it answers many of your questions, and also explains how the different settings work so that you can experiment with them.

    You have a modern DSLR that should allow you to do almost anything the course requires (although other lenses may be needed for specific types of image), but first you will have to understand how all its functions work. Use the manual as a starting point and experiment: since you're using a digital camera body this will only cost you your time and patience. Older members had to do this learning using film, which was not free and did not allow an immediate 'feedback' by seeing your images just after taking the shot. But beware that judging images just by looking at them on the camera's LCD screen is not ideal: look at them later on a larger PC screen if you can.

    Have fun.

    Finally, if you try any portrait work and find that your subjects always look sullen, bored or fed up, don't despair. The annual Taylor Wessing competition appears to specialise in shots like this, but you'll need to be able to write lots of complete bollocks to accompany your entries.
     
    Legojon likes this.
  19. gray1720

    gray1720 Well-Known Member

    Damn you Chester, I've just snorted tea over my laptop!

    The other thing I'd suggest is that you try to find a guide to your camera written by someone who's actually used it, rather than relying on the factory manual which has probably been machine-translated from Korean via Welsh and Urdu.

    Adrian
     
  20. Chester AP

    Chester AP Well-Known Member

    To be referred to as a work of reference, as required, in case the answer lies within. I downloaded and looked at A Nikon one recently after another user repeatedly asked very basic questions, and was pleasantly surprised. Obviously some are better than others, but the user won't find out without trying.

    And, of course, if there are any bits that are almost beyond comprehension, an experienced person like you should be able to interpret the relevant bit into beginner-friendly English.

    Best to leave the laptop for a few days in a warm dry room before using it again.
     

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