Old Newbie


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JohnMak

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Jun 11, 2009
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#1
Hi to all forummers here.
I am a newbie .... albeit quite an old newbie. Recently bought a Nikon D200 witht the 18 - 200mm Nikon zoom before moving to live and work back in Vietnam.

I am re-kindling an old interest in photography as I haven't been involved since selling my first camera, a Mamyia RB67 way back about 30 years ago. I had a Minolta 35mm film camera for a short while when I was working here 5 years ago. At that time I thought every camera would be like this and produce perfectly exposed and focussed portrait photos.

Now with the Nikon Digital I am struggling. Pictures are often not sharply focussed and the exposure always looks a bit dull and dark.
I leave it on Auto mode but either I am doing something very wrong or the lens is not much good. The pictures look quite good when I view them on the camera screen but when I download them onto the PC they look very dull and drab.

I'm thinking of buying a better portrait lens - either Nikon 50mm f1.4 or a Nikon 85mm f1.4.

I would appreciate any comments from users familiar with the D200 and the lenses I am interested in.

Kind regards,
Old Newbie
 

thenomad

New Member
Nov 17, 2008
448
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Singapore
#2
you can read up the camera manual, get to know the camera better and play around with the picture settings

also try not to use auto mode, read up somemore and use the specialised modes like aperture priority, shutter priority, manual priority

for portrait lenses, the 50 1.4 or the 85 1.8 will do fine. the 85 1.4 is much more expensive, but if you really like smooth bokeh, that is the lens to get
 

giantcanopy

Senior Member
Feb 11, 2007
6,232
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#3
I leave it on Auto mode but either I am doing something very wrong or the lens is not much good.
Hi JohnMak a warm welcome to the forum!

Obviously we do not want to do everything manually all the time, but sometimes in complex lighting conditions, the auto modes might not produce the most desirable exposure outcome. Have u tried manually setting for the trickier lightings?

There is abit of post processing to learn in digital workflow as well :bsmilie: such as sharpening, saturation etc

The f1.4 lenses mentioned will open a larger aperture and lets u take at thinner dof, but I am not sure if they will solve the dull and drab mentioned without solving the exposure issues

Ryan
 

Octarine

Moderator
Staff member
Jan 3, 2008
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Pasir Ris
#4
Welcome to Clubsnap :)
Now with the Nikon Digital I am struggling. Pictures are often not sharply focussed and the exposure always looks a bit dull and dark.
I leave it on Auto mode but either I am doing something very wrong or the lens is not much good. The pictures look quite good when I view them on the camera screen but when I download them onto the PC they look very dull and drab.
There two possible causes for errors that I can see:
1) Your settings in the camera. Why don't you just use the Program Automatic Modes like Aperture and Shutter Priority? By this you can control one parameter and the camera will automatically adjust the rest for proper exposure. Secondly: make sure the focus is where you want it to be - adjust the AF points. Your manual will tell you how to do this. Most people use the center AF point. Lastly: use the right metering method. Pattern metering (also called "Average" or "Multi-segment") is usable most of the time but sometimes a different metering gives better results.
2) Digital workflow. The screen at the camera is only for setting up the camera or for reviewing the image and histogram. It is not the way to judge image quality, colours or other fine details. For this you better use your computer screen. But first thing here is to calibrate (or more correctly "profile") your monitor. This is to make sure that the monitor shows exactly what is digitally coded in the image file. There are software solutions (quick and dirty) and there are hardware tools (for accurate profiling). Once you have done this your pictures might look already much better :) For more details about profiling you can have a look at Digital Darkroom section. Plenty of information around this topic.
I'm sure you have lots of experiences from the times of film. But technology has advanced tremendously and there are completely new topics now which you need to explore and learn.
 

JohnMak

New Member
Jun 11, 2009
31
0
0
Vietnam
#5
Hi guys and many thanks for the tips.

I am plodding through the manual at the moment - I am quite surprised at the poor quality of the Nikon manual compared to the old Minolta one which I still have. Tiny print, poor quality paper and very technical. Hmmmnn those are all perhaps problems of my age and eyesight.

Anyway, I have found a site for someone called Rockwell who has some pretty clearly written tips on actually using the Nikons to get results and I find myself quite liking his philosophy re "over the top" colours etc.

It's quite an adventure for an old chap and I'm sure once I can get the drabness (which is fixed quite well with the "I'm feeling lucky" button in Picassa) and the sharpness problems sorted I will love it. In spite of my difficulties, I have to say I really like the "feel" of this camera.

Cheers,
JohnMak
 

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