Advice for a newbie (just got Nikon D40) - one extreme to the other.

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by Adrian, Nov 6, 2007.

  1. Adrian

    Adrian Guest


    I have just got a Nikon D40, with the 22-55 lens and a 55-200 lens.

    I have used it for general photography (railways is my thing), but now
    I'm wondering about trying something else which won't involve using the
    auto settings...

    With the 55-200mm lens at full stretch, I reckon I should be able to
    take a decent photo of the moon, but my first attempt was horribly
    over-exposed. Can someone suggest which settings I should be using?

    Now to the other extreme, I can take nice sharp focus macro photos, but
    they always have a very narrow depth of field, with all the background
    out-of-focus. How can I take photo with more depth of field?
    Specifically, I'm trying to take a photo of my uncle's model railway in
    such a way as to make it look realistic.

    Thanks in advance

    Adrian, Nov 6, 2007
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  2. Adrian

    Ken Hart Guest

    The camera 'wants' a certain overall average exposure. The moon is a small
    bright spot in the middle of a black space. The camera will try to lighten
    that black space, over-exposing the bright spot in the middle. If you are
    able to fill the frame with the moon (probably will reauire substanitally
    more the your 200mm lens), the camera will not be fooled so much by the
    black space around.
    The closer you focus a lens, the less depth of field you will have (for a
    given f-stop). It's the nature of the beast. Get more light on the subject
    so you can use a smaller f/stop and increase your depth of field.

    In both situations, a tripod would be helpful. For long lenses, a slight
    movement at the camera is a big movement way out there where the subject is.
    For close-up shots (of motionless subjects), a tripod will allow you to use
    a long exposure and stop down the lens for greater depth of field.
    Ken Hart, Nov 6, 2007
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  3. Adrian

    ray Guest

    This subject was covered at some length not too long ago, and there are
    several followups with moon shots. Basically, it is a brightly lit sunny
    exposure - that's what the moon is. I've done with a 400mm equiv, and the
    image was still fairly small.
    ray, Nov 6, 2007
  4. Adrian

    The One Guest

    Hello Adrain, welcome to Photography, try not to listen to the stiffs, they
    will only feed you bad info. The moon will photograph well at about 200th of
    a second handheld. If you read up about shutter priority mode this will help
    you achieve this, you might be treading on a minefield trying an auto shot.
    Also you need to set your metering to centre weighted and make sure you
    meter for the moon in the centre of the shot.

    The macro shots you need a larger depth of field, your camera aperture is
    measured in f stops or f numbers, the higher the f number the greater depth
    of field the lower the f number the more limited the depth of field becomes.
    I recommend you read up about apeture priority mode and to take you close-up
    shots at f16 - f18. It might be temping to step up to f22 and beyond but you
    will be sacrificing image quality for the maximum depth of field.

    Hope this helps.
    The One, Nov 6, 2007
  5. Adrian

    The One Guest

    The moon can be effectively shot at 200mm, bare in mind the cropped sensor
    will reproduce at about 360mm plenty for a reasonable moon shot.
    The One, Nov 6, 2007
  6. Adrian

    The One Guest

    Good info Steve....
    The One, Nov 6, 2007
  7. Adrian

    Steve Guest

    Like you, I'm not a pro. In fact I'm at the amateur of amateurs end of the
    scale. I have had a punt at taking a pic of the moon though
    Nothing wonderful in the great scheme of things but I was quite pleased with
    my effort and for me that's what counts. I used manual settings with a
    shutter speed of 1/200 at f/8 and ISO 100. Note that I was using a 70-300
    lens at 300mm and the linked image has been cropped from the original. At
    200mm you'll have a smaller image of the moon to work with but the beauty of
    digital is that you're not burning up film! Play with the sutter
    speed/aperture and review the result after each shot until you get a nice
    exposure. Use a tripod (of course!) and set the camera to delayed shutter
    release to allow any slight wobble to settle down after you've pressed the
    shutter button - I used a 10 second delay - or use a remote release.
    From my lowly amateur of amateurs standpoint I'd say use a fairly wide angle
    zoom setting and a small aperture (i.e. higher number). The exposure length
    will increase so you'd be best using a tripod and remote/delayed release
    here too to avoid shake.

    Steve, Nov 6, 2007
  8. Adrian

    ray Guest

    I didn't mean to imply that he could not get a usable image - only that it
    will come nowhere near filling the frame.
    ray, Nov 6, 2007
  9. Adrian

    Adrian Guest

    Thanks Steve, Ken, Ray and "The One" for your help. That gives me
    something to go on. I think I need to buy a photography book and learn
    all the basics. Can anyone recommend a good one?

    Adrian, Nov 7, 2007
  10. Adrian

    Ken Hart Guest

    Go to your local library, start with the book that's the most beat up! There
    are a few basic principles and once you get your head around those basics,
    it's just a matter of applying them to the task at hand. Each author
    explains the basics in a different way; and depending on how your brain
    processes the info one of the authors will cause the "aha moment" when it
    all falls into place.

    Kodak, because of their vested interest, has published many good basics
    books; try some of the older ones first.
    Ken Hart, Nov 7, 2007
  11. Adrian

    Adrian Guest

    Thanks. Will do.
    Adrian, Nov 8, 2007
  12. Adrian

    Not4wood Guest

    While your there looking for books, also check out something that will help
    you with posing and portrait lighting.

    It doesn't actually have to be a Photography book. A book about paintings
    from Rembrandt or other painted portraits, or even something that will show
    paintings with how the painters use light for there subjects.

    Not4wood, Nov 9, 2007
  13. Adrian

    Bill Hart Guest

    ALSO, don't worry too much about film vs digital in the books you read.
    Most of the basics apply to either medium. Moving on to digital
    just means adding a few more "gotchas".

    And as a side to Ken Hart, You wouldn't be related to me would you? My
    family hails from Northern Ohio, and before that, New England.
    Bill Hart, Nov 18, 2007
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