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Old 03-26-2009, 02:28 PM
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xpaeanx xpaeanx is offline
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Default Camera Lingo Help, plus Lens Recommendations

I'm just getting into the whole DSLR thing. I bought a D90 and I really want to be able to use it to it's fullest. I know I probably should have gotten a "beginner" one... but these things are expensive... so I decided to get the nicer one now, bc I won't be able to buy another one.

So Can I have help with Camera Lingo? What does everything mean? How do they work together.

Like on lenses: Right now I have a Sigma 28-70 mm f2.8, it came with the camera... but what does all that mean?

What does ISO mean, how does it work, how do I use it?

What do the little hoods at the end of the lens really do. I read that they keep side light from hitting the lens directly.. but what does that do to the picture?

Anything else I should know?

Also, can I get some good lens recommendations? Obviously, it needs to fit my D90, and I want one that would be good for outside action/wildlife shots.

Any tips for taking pics at dusk? Mine always seem to come out weird...

TIA for any info!!!
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Old 03-26-2009, 04:04 PM
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Lizmo Lizmo is offline
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Hmm, I'm a littile confused. You want another lens, I think? If so, I'd recommend a 70-300 lens. It will give you a nice, long zoom. And if you have the money, get a 70-300 VR (Vibration Reduction) lens

Sensitivity (ISO): Digital Imaging: Glossary: Learn: Digital Photography Review

Most of the time, you can leave your ISO setting on about 200 and be fine for all pictures.

What's happening when you take pictures at dusk? Too much light? Not enough light? If it's not enough light, you need to go to a lower shutterspeed so it will allow more light into the picture.
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Last edited by Lizmo; 03-26-2009 at 04:16 PM.
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Old 03-28-2009, 08:03 PM
Psyfalcon Psyfalcon is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xpaeanx View Post
Like on lenses: Right now I have a Sigma 28-70 mm f2.8, it came with the camera... but what does all that mean?
Sigma = manufacturer. They're usually good, but not great.

28-70mm. Its a zoom lens, with a focal length of between 28 and 70. On a 35mm film camera, a 50mm lens (2 different mm usages here) is about what your eye will see. Because your camera has a smaller sensor than 35mm film, a your lens set to 40mm will be about what your eye sees. At 28, you get a wider angle, and at 70, you are more "zoomed in."

f2.8 is the maximum aperture, or how wide the lens can open, to let in light. At f2.8, it lets in the most light, but at a loss of depth of field. Saje posted a good comparison a week or two ago on that.

Quote:
What does ISO mean, how does it work, how do I use it?
This is the sensitivity of your sensor. It works the same as allowing in more light, but it is at the expense of (the dreaded) sensor noise. A higher setting will allow a smaller aperture or faster shutter speed without the photo being too dark.

The D90 is really good up to 800 iso. Nikon D90 Review: 20. Photographic tests (Noise): Digital Photography Review For shooting dogs, even 3200 would be workable.

I tend to shoot daytime at high iso, and night at low, counter intuitively, because I do not like sensor noise. If you're shooting a dog, running in a field, the noise is not noticeable, but the same noise is terrible if you are shooting fireworks against a black sky.

Little purple sensor dots would screw this up:


Sensor noise can be seen in Orion here. This is an older P&S camera, but I can do worse with my dslr if I try.


Quote:
What do the little hoods at the end of the lens really do. I read that they keep side light from hitting the lens directly.. but what does that do to the picture?
Lens flare, as seen here. Lens flare - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Quote:
Any tips for taking pics at dusk? Mine always seem to come out weird..
Dusk is about the hardest time to shoot. Post a sample. Many things can be going wrong, so its hard to help unless we see what the actual problem is.
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  #4  
Old 03-28-2009, 08:20 PM
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wow, thanks for all the info Psy! I understand them a lot better now!

The problem with the photos I try to take at dusk, is that certain colors come out glowing. Like my corgi will come out a glowing orange color.
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Old 03-28-2009, 10:29 PM
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Congrats on the new camera and lens!

Psyfalcon answered most of your questions, so I'll leave those alone. Regarding the lens hood though, they're a blessing for two reasons. First, like you heard, they keep side-light from striking the front element of your lens. If side lighting does hit the front of your lens, you get a flare of light in your picture which can obscure parts of your photo. The other reason lens hoods are great is because they protect your front element while you're hiking around with the lens-cap off (as I do quite frequently). The only down-side to lens-hoods is if you ever start using a square filter system - but that's a tale for another day .

Cheers!
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Old 03-30-2009, 10:46 PM
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For absolute beginners, I suggest reading these articles:
Digital Photography Tips and Tutorials

Once you have those basic concepts down, there's a great "online textbook" at photo.net for more info on technique and how to "make photographs" (as opposed to "take"):

Learning Photography? Browse photo creation resources from Photo.net


Good choice on the camera though. The lens is pretty decent, too. A lens with a low, fixed f-stop is good for low-light situations. Sigmas can be a little "soft" compared to a tack-sharp Nikon lens, but I shoot with one and don't really mind it.

For dusk and low light photos, the rule of thumb is, if your shutter reading goes below 1/60, use a tripod or brace the camera against a fixed surface. With the above links, the most important sections you should read is about exposure, shutter speeds, aperture, and metering. The rest will fall into place. Good luck, and practice. A LOT!
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Old 03-31-2009, 12:25 PM
96 GTS 96 GTS is offline
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Since everyone has done such a great job answering your questions already, I really have nothing to add...

However, along with what AndrewF said, lens hoods can also be a line of defense against dog noses and tongues smudging your lens.
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