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Old 01-29-2013, 11:08 AM
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Default Alright dog photographers

I clearly need help. I have hit a wall with photography, and I need some help on where to go from here.

I have a Nikon D7000 and the two lenses that came with it, a 18-105mm and a 55-200mm.

Ok, so the thing is, I understand that this is not the top of the line camera, but I still feel like I am having a really hard time getting anything out of it. My plan is to take a photography class, because clearly I am missing something, but the next one isn't until summer. So, I need some help. Basically, my biggest problems are: noise, washed out colors, and I want to be able to take photos inside which I have had zero luck with. I don't know what lenses I should be using, what settings will work the best... I'm ashamed to say that I am clearly out of my comfort zone with this camera. My last one was an entry level DSLR (Nikon D3100) and I actually had more success with that one than this one which was *almost* twice the cost... LOL. I have gotten some fabulous pics with it (all the ones in my siggy are with this camera) but still I feel like its very hit or miss. Colorado is very bright, with not a lot of rich colors, so is it just a location thing?

I know there are a lot of really great photographers on here and I guess I am on my knees begging for help.
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Old 01-29-2013, 11:16 AM
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I have the same camera, transitioned from a similar camera (Nikon D5000), and had the same complaint. I bought a book, it's specific to the D7000, by Darrell Young, really helped a lot. That plus switching to full manual has really increased my knowledge and ability to get the photos I want. I highly recommend doing both. Check out my Flickr, everything after end of Dec forward is Manual. I am learning so much and starting to be really happy with my camera now, when I was super bummed before. http://www.flickr.com/photos/falon_167

I had never shot manual before that.
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Old 01-29-2013, 11:51 AM
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What do you do for editing? I also recently went to manual mode and I found that the auto and sport functions on my camera hardly ever got the exposure correct. I almost always had to change the exposure and contrast when editing. If you want I can try and find the blog post that helped me click into how to edit using the curve thing (technical term lol). It's the reason I had halfway decent pics on auto.
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Old 01-29-2013, 12:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FG167 View Post
I have the same camera, transitioned from a similar camera (Nikon D5000), and had the same complaint. I bought a book, it's specific to the D7000, by Darrell Young, really helped a lot. That plus switching to full manual has really increased my knowledge and ability to get the photos I want. I highly recommend doing both. Check out my Flickr, everything after end of Dec forward is Manual. I am learning so much and starting to be really happy with my camera now, when I was super bummed before. http://www.flickr.com/photos/falon_167

I had never shot manual before that.
Ok, thank you so much! I'm glad I'm not just a complete idiot who is way out of her league with this camera. LOL. I got some *fantastic* photos just now out in the snow, messed around with the settings a bit, will post soon. I will definitely get that book.
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Old 01-29-2013, 12:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Taqroy View Post
What do you do for editing? I also recently went to manual mode and I found that the auto and sport functions on my camera hardly ever got the exposure correct. I almost always had to change the exposure and contrast when editing. If you want I can try and find the blog post that helped me click into how to edit using the curve thing (technical term lol). It's the reason I had halfway decent pics on auto.
You know, I have honestly never shot manual. I really should try. Is manual mode good for sports/action shots? I have photoshop which has a great RAW viewer... awesome for photo editing. I have started easing up on the ISO, playing around with the lower settings to try and reduce the noise- it certainly worked well today (I was shooting in snow, which can be tricky with the black dogs)
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Old 01-29-2013, 12:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OwnedByBCs View Post
You know, I have honestly never shot manual. I really should try. Is manual mode good for sports/action shots? I have photoshop which has a great RAW viewer... awesome for photo editing. I have started easing up on the ISO, playing around with the lower settings to try and reduce the noise- it certainly worked well today (I was shooting in snow, which can be tricky with the black dogs)
Honestly I think manual is worth a try - the worst thing that could happen is you get no good photos.

This photo was taken in manual mode. Both dogs were in motion. The biggest problem I have is trying to change my settings quickly. Especially here in CO, where it tries to vary between clouds and BLINDING SUN every couple minutes.

The combo black/white dogs suuuuck. I always end up blowing out Mu and Murphy's white bits, or they look weirdly over saturated because I had to up the contrast too much.

I found the manual thread!! http://www.chazhound.com/forums/showthread.php?t=221471. It's huge, but there's so much good info in there.
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Old 01-29-2013, 05:13 PM
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Not much of a photographer, dog or otherwise, but a few suggestions -

1) If you are trying to shoot indoors or in lower light, and your dogs are far enough away for you to want to use a focal length of 55+ mm, opt for the 55-200mm f/4.-5.6. Here are the maximum apertures you can set your camera to, on the different focal lengths of the 18-105mmm

18mm = f/3.5
24mm = f/4
35mm = f/4.5
50mm = f/5
70mm = f/5.3
85mm+ = f/5.6


In italics are where the 18-105mm and the 55-200mm (almost) overlap. So on your 18-105mm your maximum aperture will be f/5.something at 55mm, and f/5.6 at anywhere above 85mm. On the 55-200mm, your maximum aperture at 55mm is f/4 and at 85mm I think it is somewhere around f/4.2 (from looking at photo samples).

Basically, if you're shooting primarily in the 55mm and up range, your 55-200mm is your better bet. On the 18-105mm your aperture in that range can only go as low as f/5 to f/5.6 and up, whereas on the 55-200mm your aperture can go between f/4 to f/4.2 and up. You get just a little more flexibility with the latter lens as far as aperture goes.

That said, you may not even notice the difference So it largely depends on what focal range you typically shoot in. I'd still personally go for my 18-105mm just because I would almost never, ever go above 105mm. The dog and people I take pictures of are never far, and wider angles are better for landscapes.

Another recommendation

2) Buy a new lens! I'd strongly recommend a 35mm f/1.8 or a 50mm f/1.8 (cheaper than the f/1.4) again depending on which focal length you prefer. Fantastic performance in low light and very affordable. Awesome especially for portraits, but I honestly use it for everything.

3) Set your camera to "vivid" on your menu.

4) Before I went to Manual, I almost always had my camera on Aperture Priority. I set the aperture as high as I could, and the camera decided the best shutter speed to use.

5) Just reread one of your posts and saw that you liked sports/action shots. If the Sport mode isn't doing much for you, you could also try Shutter priority. You set the shutter speed and the camera decides the aperture (and everything else).
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Old 01-29-2013, 08:41 PM
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I'd love to help but I'm a Canon girl. Try AP mode or TV (shutter) mode. If you're shooting in low light, you're not going to get fabulous shots without an off-camera flash but you CAN crank up the ISO& open the shutter longer (no more than 1/focal length so if you're shooting at 200mm you can't go below 1/200th of a second. At 50mm, you could do 1/50th ..make sense?). Try to not underexpose because upping the exposure in photoshop will KILL you with noise.

I'm not sure how a Nikon does with noise but I think, actually, on average they are better than Canons? Not entirely sure ..just play around with your settings If you have any questions, let me know!
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Old 01-29-2013, 09:18 PM
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I am bookmarking this thread.

I am just now learning about cameras... and don't really consider myself a good editer. I'm pretty satisfied with my photos but I KNOW I could do sooo much better!
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Old 01-29-2013, 09:20 PM
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For inside photos, a bounce flash saved my life.
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