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notaxonrotax
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So I Bought My Nikon D3100………now What?

Tue May 03, 2011 4:32 am

Dear people behind lenses,

3 days ago I bought one of the most economic DSLR cameras that are supposedly great for people that know "nowt" about photography but yet wanna make great pics! That´s me………

Would I be able to head out with my purchase tomorrow and shoot legendary pictures??
Obviously, there is the weather and many more factors to consider, but I´m referring to myself and the camera.

My plan of attack is to keep it on "Automatic" or "Sports Mode"……….and try my luck next time at the airport!
Any hands on advice greatly appreciated.

FYI: I have the standard lens 18-55mm.


Best regards,

No Tax On Rotax
For anybody that happens to be wondering:"yes, owning your own aircraft is a 100% worth it!"
 
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cpd
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RE: So I Bought My Nikon D3100………now What?

Tue May 03, 2011 4:49 am

Quoting notaxonrotax (Thread starter):
Would I be able to head out with my purchase tomorrow and shoot legendary pictures??

No.

Quoting notaxonrotax (Thread starter):
My plan of attack is to keep it on "Automatic" or "Sports Mode"……….and try my luck next time at the airport!

No. Instead, try:

1. P mode
2. Dial up around 1/640sec shutter speed in the P mode (read the manual to find out how)
3. In broad daylight (or sunlight) - set the white-balance to 5250K (the camera may only select 5260K).

The 18-55mm kit lens won't afford much long range, so you need to get as close as possible. The rest is just practice, practice, practice. That will get you started off - but you really do need to take some photography classes.

[Edited 2011-05-02 21:58:12]
 
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clickhappy
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RE: So I Bought My Nikon D3100………now What?

Tue May 03, 2011 4:49 am

Your best bet is to sign up for a photography class at your local community college.
 
vikkyvik
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RE: So I Bought My Nikon D3100………now What?

Tue May 03, 2011 5:22 am

Quoting notaxonrotax (Thread starter):
My plan of attack is to keep it on "Automatic" or "Sports Mode"……….and try my luck next time at the airport!
Any hands on advice greatly appreciated.

When I first got my DSLR, I left it on automatic for a couple weeks, just to get an idea of how photos would come out, and how the thing operated at a basic level.

(oh, I also read the manual from cover to cover....learned quite a bit just from doing that)

Then, having familiarized myself with the camera and the interface, I switched to full manual mode for a few months, and took tons and tons of photos (most of them were not of airplanes).

Finally, when I was starting to photograph airplanes more and more (having decided that I might be ready, relatively speaking), I switched to aperture priority mode, with the occasional manual mode thrown in for good measure (and I still use manual mode quite a bit for non-aviation photography).

And that's where I remain for now, a year and 3 months after I purchased the camera.

It is also very much worth noting that I didn't even start uploading here until about 6 months after I bought the camera (well OK, I tried 2 shots soon after I bought it, failed, and decided to wait till I had learned more). My first acceptance here was image number 2919 from my camera - so nearly 3000 images of learning and practice prior to having any real shot at acceptances. And even that one was a bit of a fluke - my 2nd acceptance was image number 4330, about 4 months after my 1st. Then they started coming more frequently.

Long story short: take as many photos as you can of anything and everything, at different times of day, indoors, outdoors, landscapes, portraits, action shots, whatever you can find. It's a great learning experience, and it's fun, too!
I'm watching Jeopardy. The category is worst Madonna songs. "This one from 1987 is terrible".
 
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SIA6696
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RE: So I Bought My Nikon D3100………now What?

Tue May 03, 2011 6:15 am

Quoting notaxonrotax (Thread starter):
My plan of attack is to keep it on "Automatic" or "Sports Mode"

Umm....NO, Not for photos of aircraft.

I only used auto when i first got my camera and knew next to nothing, my first trip out to the airport was quite bad, only a very small handful of keepers.

I then moved on to P mode which yielded a much better keeper rate, but my lens kind of let me down.

Now i am using Av and M and have not touched the auto modes since.

Since you are now starting out, just go around and take pictures of anything and everything. Play around with the manual modes and find the delicate balance between aperture, shutter speed and ISO. you don't want shots dark, nor shots really bright. you can also play around with the other settings, and read the manual of look on google to find out what it means. after you have learnt the settings etc, go out to your airport and just shoot, it doesn't matter if they come out bad, cos you will learn from your mistakes.

Quoting notaxonrotax (Thread starter):
FYI: I have the standard lens 18-55mm.

the 18-55 wont do much good unless you are shooting the cabin, wing, or if you get really close. you should get something longer, eg 200mm+.
Come fly away!
 
iamlucky13
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RE: So I Bought My Nikon D3100………now What?

Tue May 03, 2011 6:09 pm

FYI - "P" or "Program" mode is an automatic mode.

Based on the reading of the meter, the camera chooses the aperture, shutter speed, and assuming you leave the ISO in "auto," it will choose ISO, too.

But it gives you the option, either through the shooting menu, or if you learn the shortcuts (usually holding a certain button while spinning the dial), to make changes without glancing away from the viewfinder. Sports and other modes on the fully automatic side of the dial give you almost no options for overriding camera settings.

You'll want to understand the basics of photography, and there's plenty to be learned on a variety of websites online. Alternately, if you get a copy of Understanding Exposure or another book on the fundamentals, you'll have a professionally written reference to learn from, that's portable and doesn't even require batteries!


Like cpd said, the 18-55 has a short range, but it's a good lens for the price. If you can get close enough to frame the subject reasonable (cropping away half the picture limits quality), you're fine, but for aircraft, the distances are often too large to depend solely on the 18-55.

I don't tell people to buy another lens immediately, but if you find yourself wanting more reach, Nikon's 55-200 VR and 55-300 VR are both decent performers and fairly priced. The 70-300 VR is slightly better, but commensurately higher priced.
 
Silver1SWA
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RE: So I Bought My Nikon D3100………now What?

Tue May 03, 2011 6:44 pm

Quoting notaxonrotax (Thread starter):
Would I be able to head out with my purchase tomorrow and shoot legendary pictures??

Absolutely not. Legendary photographs are made by experienced photographers, not cameras.

At the very least you need to do two things.

1) Read the camera manual. Then read it again. Know your camera inside and out.

2) Learn as much as you can about photography. You need to understand the relationship among shutter speed, aperture and ISO. All 3 are very important.

Then get out there and PRACTICE! Good luck and have fun!
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
NIKV69
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RE: So I Bought My Nikon D3100………now What?

Tue May 03, 2011 8:14 pm

Get a good book on photoshop too. Great captures need some good editing ya know!
Hey that guy with the private jet can bail us out! Why? HE CAN AFFORD IT!
 
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notaxonrotax
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RE: So I Bought My Nikon D3100………now What?

Wed May 04, 2011 2:22 am

Hi,

instead of quoting each one of you individually…………I´ll save my and everybody´s time and say a general "THANK YOU" out loud!
There!! For all of you to hear!! Great tips so far………..

I´ve even had 2 private E-mails with more tips………..very nice.

1 or 2 additional remarks:

I have read the manual on the plane home, while shooting pics of clouds…………and I read it again today.
Very useful to be comfortable and confident with all the "controls".

I had been given the tip of Thom Hogan´s Nikon stuff on-line………that seems the right thing to study before I head out to any airport!
Oh yes, and how much do I pay for a decent Nikon lens that shoots planes out of the sky from a distance????

Please, feel free to comment some more………..it´d be my pleasure.


No Tax On Rotax
For anybody that happens to be wondering:"yes, owning your own aircraft is a 100% worth it!"
 
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cpd
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RE: So I Bought My Nikon D3100………now What?

Wed May 04, 2011 2:31 am

Quoting notaxonrotax (Reply 8):
Oh yes, and how much do I pay for a decent Nikon lens that shoots planes out of the sky from a distance????

You're probably going to be looking at the 70-300mm AF-S VR Zoom-Nikkor lens.

Otherwise, maybe the latest Sigma 150-500mm lens.
 
darreno1
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RE: So I Bought My Nikon D3100………now What?

Wed May 04, 2011 4:43 am

I use a Nikon d3100 and have 50 shots on this site. And I have at least another couple hundred that's worthy. This camera takes very good pictures but like with anything, you have to practice. Auto mode can occasionally take decent pics but you'll soon learn that in many situations (especially those with extreme lighting conditions) it tends to make a lot of mistakes. For example, in bright sunlight you'll tend to get overexposed shots.

IMO, your best bet is to learn to shoot in manual mode only. Read the manual and just go out and practice. Manual mode forces you to learn the settings and their effects. Soon you'll begin to understand the settings that work in a particular situation and automatically choose them when needed. When I'm at the airport on bright sunny days, I tend to dial in some negative exposure compensation (check the manual for info) and set a high shutter speed (800-1000) with an f-stop around 11 or so. Of course this is going to differ according to the photographer's style and desired output, the camera body, the lens used and actual weather conditions but you get the idea. Also for this camera, leaving white balance on auto for outdoor shots yields excellent results. For indoor and incandescent shots, manual adjustment is usually needed. For focus, I prefer continuous servo mode with the default matrix metering as it seems to produce the least amount of rejects.


The lens I use for aircraft shots is a Tamron SP 70-300 mm f/4-5.6 Di VC USD and it hasn't failed me yet. I'm sure Nikon's version is great too, but the price didn't seem worth it to me, especially when the Tamron got rave reviews and took very sharp photos - so sharp that many don't even need to be sharpened in Photoshop.

So in conclusion, this camera (paired with the right lens), can yield great (even legendary) shots but most of the hard work will still be up to you.
Nikon D7000 / Nikkor 105mm AF f2.8 / Nikkor 35 f1.8G / Nikkor 50 f1.8D / Nikkor 85mm / Nikkor 300mm f4 AF
 
diezel
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RE: So I Bought My Nikon D3100………now What?

Thu May 05, 2011 1:10 pm

Besides getting acquainted with your new camera, you might want to brush up on your Photoshop (or similar program) skills as well.

Besides the many free tutorials online and tips on this site, there are fast tracks where you can get up-to-date with those programs in multiple hours crash courses. I can recommend lynda.com.

Roel.
Never be afraid of what you like. (Miles Davis)
 
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notaxonrotax
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RE: So I Bought My Nikon D3100………now What?

Sat May 07, 2011 3:15 am

Quoting darreno1 (Reply 10):
I use a Nikon d3100 and have 50 shots on this site.

Thanks for that, Darreno Uno.

The last few days practised on friends in the house, mainly nights; and the Automatic still beats me when it comes to living room shots.

Now here's my next plan:

Tomorrow and the whole Sunday I'll be occupying a hotel room a few hundred meters from an international airport's threshold. I have to be in town for some paperwork tomorrow and Monday so I made sure to pack the Nikon.
Not sure if the Missus will appreciate all this, will tell her tomorrow at check in.

With planes flying roughly at my balcony level, a few hundred meters away; what are (generally) my 3100's settings to begin with?
I know; it's weather dependent etc, but what would your basic settings be?
Would you shoot in A or S mode??

My lens won't help, but for practising, well; we will have to make do.

Any advise appreciated.

Cheers,

No Tax On Rotax
For anybody that happens to be wondering:"yes, owning your own aircraft is a 100% worth it!"
 
darreno1
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RE: So I Bought My Nikon D3100………now What?

Sat May 07, 2011 1:16 pm

Well l only shoot in manual mode so for a sunny day for example I'd probably set the shutter to 800-1000 and my aperture to f10-11 (remember this is also dependent on the lens itself - some lenses let in more or less light at a particular shutter speed so you'll have to adjust accordingly to your liking). However, if I'm looking to blur the background then I'd lower shutter to between 200-500 or so and close the aperture a little so as to avoid overexposure (by increasing the f-stop). If you're not going to dive into manual mode yet, then shutter priority might be the next best bet IMO. Try a shutter around 500 and see how that goes. I always review every shot on the lcd and adjust accordingly. For daylight I always use ISO 200 (sometimes 400 if it's overcast) with white balance set to auto. For focus points you should leave it on Auto-area and for mode try Continuous servo (AF-C). Good luck.
Nikon D7000 / Nikkor 105mm AF f2.8 / Nikkor 35 f1.8G / Nikkor 50 f1.8D / Nikkor 85mm / Nikkor 300mm f4 AF
 
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notaxonrotax
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RE: So I Bought My Nikon D3100………now What?

Wed May 11, 2011 1:12 am

Okay people,

I´m back from my business trip………..where I got the chance to put my D3100 to the test!

Bear in mind………I only used the standard lens--> 18-55mm.

What do you think?









I know I know, they´re not perfectly central etc…………but what´s the quality like?
Shot in "A" mode, with F9………

Regards,

No Tax On Rotax
For anybody that happens to be wondering:"yes, owning your own aircraft is a 100% worth it!"
 
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cpd
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RE: So I Bought My Nikon D3100………now What?

Wed May 11, 2011 1:52 am

The problem is that they are backlit.

They do look sharp enough, but the plane is too far away in each of them - and I suspect the city in the foreground and background isn't motive enough for this style of crop. The sharpness actually looks quite reasonable in the Iberia and the KLM photos, for what looks like a slightly lower shutter speed. Next time, try to photograph with the sun behind you, rather than in front of you. Getting closer would help too - but you'd need a longer range lens for that.
 
NIKV69
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RE: So I Bought My Nikon D3100………now What?

Wed May 11, 2011 4:27 am

Quoting cpd (Reply 15):
The problem is that they are backlit.

I don't see any light!    It's Jason Whitebird out there! Clouds!

First thing is to get SUN SUN SUN and make sure it's behind you and nice and low! Starting out this is what you want to learn how to expose things properly.
Hey that guy with the private jet can bail us out! Why? HE CAN AFFORD IT!
 
Silver1SWA
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RE: So I Bought My Nikon D3100………now What?

Wed May 11, 2011 3:00 pm

I actually think they are exposed beautifully. They are nice shots. They are not a.net material, but I don't think that's what you were asking.

Not bad. Not bad at all. Continue to shoot and don't let this website dictate how you go about learning photography.
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
CRBM666
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RE: So I Bought My Nikon D3100………now What?

Wed May 11, 2011 6:53 pm

notaxonrotax,

Obviously an unreleated question but, where in Quito did you take those pictures from?  
 
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notaxonrotax
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RE: So I Bought My Nikon D3100………now What?

Wed May 11, 2011 11:15 pm

Quoting Silver1SWA (Reply 17):

Not bad. Not bad at all. Continue to shoot and don't let this website dictate how you go about learning photography.

Why, thank you!
I know I need the the 300mm lens……….or perhaps even 400mm.
But I enjoyed messing around……….

Quoting CRBM666 (Reply 18):
where in Quito did you take those pictures from?

Hotel Savoy Inn, room 509.

http://savoyinnquito.com/

Great spot……….a decent hotel, a decent prize (it´s not top class)……….and with a beer and a camera on the balcony I was quite happy!!

It´s at the Runway 35 threshold, so if they use 17……….you only get noisy planes that fly too high to take a nice pic.
I mean, the Quito background makes it special!!

Put your radio on 118.100.

No Tax On Rotax
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CRBM666
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RE: So I Bought My Nikon D3100………now What?

Wed May 11, 2011 11:38 pm

Thanks a lot for the info, bookmarking their website.

Also, your pictures show a pretty awesome atmosphere, especially the Iberia and Aerogal ones. Keep it up.  

Cheers!
César B.
 
darreno1
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RE: So I Bought My Nikon D3100………now What?

Fri May 13, 2011 1:15 am

Yeah you needed some sun, but they're still good. Beautiful location BTW!! If I had a view like that, I'd never leave the house! You should try experimenting with S mode so you can pick the shutter speed. I like the KLM shot the best.
Nikon D7000 / Nikkor 105mm AF f2.8 / Nikkor 35 f1.8G / Nikkor 50 f1.8D / Nikkor 85mm / Nikkor 300mm f4 AF

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