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Get me out of "Auto"...please!
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Jul 29, 2014 08:11:00   #
GrandmaG
 
I've had the D5000 Nikon DSLR for several years and I still use mostly the automatic settings. It seems I'm always in a hurry to get pictures & don't (or can't) take my time with them. I have 3 lenses, 2 speedlights, and a polarized filter.

I mostly use the 18-55 mm 1:3.5-5.6G lens that came with the camera and my SB400 Speedlight. I use my 55-200mm 1:4-5.6G when on vacation. These 3 items, the filter, & the cords fit nicely in my small tamrac bag (plus the camera body, of course). The SB 900 speedlight and the 35mm 1:1.8G lens mostly stay in my other camera bag at home. I've only used them a few times. I love the quality of the pictures and the fact that there is no lag time, plus I can take a burst of photos to catch just the right expressions on my grand children's faces. I have played around with RAW photos a bit and edit some photos in Adobe PSE 8.0. I would love to learn how to use more of the features of my camera so I can take professional looking portraits and group shots.

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Jul 29, 2014 08:21:12   #
jerryc41 (a regular here)
 
GrandmaG wrote:
I've had the D5000 Nikon DSLR for several years and I still use mostly the automatic settings. It seems I'm always in a hurry to get pictures & don't (or can't) take my time with them. I have 3 lenses, 2 speedlights, and a polarized filter.

I mostly use the 18-55 mm 1:3.5-5.6G lens that came with the camera and my SB400 Speedlight. I use my 55-200mm 1:4-5.6G when on vacation. These 3 items, the filter, & the cords fit nicely in my small tamrac bag (plus the camera body, of course). The SB 900 speedlight and the 35mm 1:1.8G lens mostly stay in my other camera bag at home. I've only used them a few times. I love the quality of the pictures and the fact that there is no lag time, plus I can take a burst of photos to catch just the right expressions on my grand children's faces. I have played around with RAW photos a bit and edit some photos in Adobe PSE 8.0. I would love to learn how to use more of the features of my camera so I can take professional looking portraits and group shots.
I've had the D5000 Nikon DSLR for several years an... (show quote)

Don't feel bad, I often shoot in auto. Joel Sartore, a photographer who has worked for National Geographic, has said that when he's at home, he leaves his cameras on Auto because he knows he can pick one up and get a good shot.

There are two easy ways to get off auto: P and Aperture. First shoot in P Mode and adjust aperture and shutter and see what difference it makes. When you adjust one, the other one will automatically compensate.

The try Aperture Mode. Set a moderate aperture - F/8 - and then spend a day shooting as you adjust the shutter till the exposure is right. The indicator in the viewfinder will tell you when exposure is right.

In the old days, 1970s, all SLRs were manual, and we didn't give it a second thought. You would set the shutter and then match a needle to get the aperture right.

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Jul 29, 2014 08:32:54   #
bkyser
 
First, composition and seeing a photo in the viewfinder that tells a story is the first way to take those professional looking portraits. Jerry is right about P and Aperture modes being viable alternatives to shooting in manual. I started in all manual mode, and find that it is actually more comfortable for me to just look at a situation, know about where I'm going to start, then tweek. Cameras are sophisticated computers with more computing power than the first rockets sent to space. I have a guy who sometimes helps me shoot weddings that takes stellar photos, and because he was brought up in the digital age, he always shoots in P mode. He can adjust the shutter speed or aperture and know that the other settings will change appropriately and give him a correct exposure. I don't push people into shooting manual, to each his own. Now, if you really want to start taking portraits and doing portrait lighting with strobes, then there really isn't a way around manual, but that's a discussion for another day.

Jerry, as for the needle you mentioned, MAN, I MISS THAT NEEDLE. something about the LED readouts, still just doesn't feel right. Time to break out my film cameras again.

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Jul 29, 2014 08:37:12   #
GrandmaG
 
Thank you Jerry. I will give it a try. Back in the 70's, I think I had an upgraded "box" camera with flash cubes! So I'm learning this from scratch!

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Jul 29, 2014 08:41:06   #
camerapapi (a regular here)
 
You need to start with basic photography. You need to learn what apertures and shutter speeds do and learn to use the different exposure meters of your camera.
AUTO (A, S and P) will put you in the ballpark but there will be many occasions when the exposure will not be correct or will not reflect what you actually wanted your photograph to look like.
This is going to take some time and when you master those basic principles then it is time to begin learning visual design.
I use A often and my most used metering mode is center weighted. When in an auto mode it is basic to know how to use exposure compensation because exposure meters read average middle tonalities and something bright or dark is not middle tonality.
If you do not want to depend on what the camera will do on its own and you want to be in control it is imperative that you learn basic photography.
There are excellent books available to learn but having an instructor is hard to beat.
Good luck!

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Jul 29, 2014 09:08:29   #
fotohouse
 
My advice would be to just get your camera out and play with it. With digital it is free and you get instant feedback. Do a study on some subject in or just outside your home, no flash, and put your camera on manual mode M. Do not zoom the lens and use a tripod if you have one.

1) Use the meter scale, should be on the bottom of the viewfinder and probably looks like ( <-3..2..1..0..1..2..3+> ) or something similar.

2) Set you aperture at 3.5 (or its largest setting (smallest number)).

3) Then adjust the Shutter setting until you get the meter to zero.

4) After that pictures at one stop increments in adjustment to the aperture and adjust the shutter speed back to zero.

I like to have people do this with a series of objects sitting on a table in a row going away from the camera, as you make the adjustments you will see how the aperture effects what is in focus (this is your depth of field refered to as DOF).

Do this, take some pictures, post a few here and next lesson will be on shutter speed settings.

Now, I would stay in auto for a while when taking pics of the grand kids, they are to precious to miss a shot as you learn how to improve your photography.

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Jul 29, 2014 10:02:54   #
Db7423
 
First, welcome to the Hog, GrandmaG. Only thre basic things to understand when you are out of auto and in full manual mode: aperature, shutter speed and ISO. Getting a grip on how they work together to get a well exposed photo isn't hard once you understand these three and what they do and how they relate one to the others. A book that will make this easy to understand is "Understanding Exposure" by Bryan Peterson. This book is an easy to read and well illustrated. About $20 at Barnes and Noble and Amazon. Get it and unlock the mystery. ;)

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Jul 29, 2014 11:25:44   #
Ched49 (a regular here)
 
Just because a person shoots in manual mode doesn't mean he/she will automatically get better photo's, that's a misconception most people have. It's a matter of learning the settings in your camera and what each setting does to a exposure. Like the previous poster suggested...get a book about exposure and a book about the D5000 so you will understand all the setting's in your camera. It's no sin shooting in auto once in a while to get those quick shots.

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Jul 29, 2014 19:11:05   #
amehta
 
GrandmaG wrote:
I've had the D5000 Nikon DSLR for several years and I still use mostly the automatic settings. It seems I'm always in a hurry to get pictures & don't (or can't) take my time with them. I have 3 lenses, 2 speedlights, and a polarized filter.

I mostly use the 18-55 mm 1:3.5-5.6G lens that came with the camera and my SB400 Speedlight. I use my 55-200mm 1:4-5.6G when on vacation. These 3 items, the filter, & the cords fit nicely in my small tamrac bag (plus the camera body, of course). The SB 900 speedlight and the 35mm 1:1.8G lens mostly stay in my other camera bag at home. I've only used them a few times. I love the quality of the pictures and the fact that there is no lag time, plus I can take a burst of photos to catch just the right expressions on my grand children's faces. I have played around with RAW photos a bit and edit some photos in Adobe PSE 8.0. I would love to learn how to use more of the features of my camera so I can take professional looking portraits and group shots.
I've had the D5000 Nikon DSLR for several years an... (show quote)

I would switch to aperture priority mode, using manual ISO:
1. Set the ISO based on the overall light, generally either ISO 200 or 800, keeping 1600/3200 available for "gotta get the shot" pictures.
2. Set the aperture (f-stop) based on the goal of the shot. Generally start with 1 or 2 stops smaller than the maximum f-stop if you want shallow depth of field or fast shutter speeds, or around f/16 for deep depth of field for landscapes.
3. Pay attention to the shutter speed. If it is not high enough for the action or to prevent camera shake, then use a larger aperture or higher ISO. Start with the "shutter speed = 1/(focal length) s" shutter speed guideline for camera shake. So if the focal length is 55mm, you want a shutter speed of 1/60s or faster.

Then experiment. :-)

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Jul 29, 2014 19:28:22   #
RWR
 
jerryc41 wrote:


The try Aperture Mode. Set a moderate aperture - F/8 - and then spend a day shooting as you adjust the shutter till the exposure is right. The indicator in the viewfinder will tell you when exposure is right.


You may want to explain to GrandmaG how to adjust the shutter when in Aperture Preferred mode. :)

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Jul 29, 2014 20:00:46   #
MW
 
GrandmaG wrote:
I've had the D5000 Nikon DSLR for several years and I still use mostly the automatic settings. It seems I'm always in a hurry to get pictures & don't (or can't) take my time with them. I have 3 lenses, 2 speedlights, and a polarized filter.

I mostly use the 18-55 mm 1:3.5-5.6G lens that came with the camera and my SB400 Speedlight. I use my 55-200mm 1:4-5.6G when on vacation. These 3 items, the filter, & the cords fit nicely in my small tamrac bag (plus the camera body, of course). The SB 900 speedlight and the 35mm 1:1.8G lens mostly stay in my other camera bag at home. I've only used them a few times. I love the quality of the pictures and the fact that there is no lag time, plus I can take a burst of photos to catch just the right expressions on my grand children's faces. I have played around with RAW photos a bit and edit some photos in Adobe PSE 8.0. I would love to learn how to use more of the features of my camera so I can take professional looking portraits and group shots.
I've had the D5000 Nikon DSLR for several years an... (show quote)


At least try "P" (Program). Its almost like auto but it you use the thumb wheel it acts sort of like aperture priority. After you spend some time with it you can experiment with other modes.

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Jul 29, 2014 20:22:44   #
SharpShooter
 
Grandma, welcome to the Hog.
You will probably get so much advice your head is gonna spin! :lol:
BUT, just know that if your shots are coming out very good right now, just that getting off of auto in itself will not make your shots any better.
In fact, in many situations there will be the possibility that your shots will actually not be as good.
As you venture to other modes your skills and knowledge will have to improve to the point that you will need to know when and how to use that other mode so as to actually do better than what Auto mode can't do as well. And that is what can take years to learn.
Good luck in your quest to get off of auto mode.
Again, welcome. ;-)
SS

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Jul 30, 2014 01:26:53   #
BHC
 
By the way, GrandmaG, congratulations on on of the best thread titles I've seen in a while. I'm serious; it sure beats a thread titled, "HELP!"......

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Jul 30, 2014 02:09:48   #
lighthouse
 
Db7423 wrote:
First, welcome to the Hog, GrandmaG. Only thre basic things to understand when you are out of auto and in full manual mode: aperature, shutter speed and ISO. Getting a grip on how they work together to get a well exposed photo isn't hard once you understand these three and what they do and how they relate one to the others. A book that will make this easy to understand is "Understanding Exposure" by Bryan Peterson. This book is an easy to read and well illustrated. About $20 at Barnes and Noble and Amazon. Get it and unlock the mystery. ;)
First, welcome to the Hog, GrandmaG. Only thre ba... (show quote)


This is better advice than telling you how to operate your camera. :thumbup: :thumbup:

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Jul 30, 2014 04:25:00   #
SharpShooter
 
amehta wrote:
I would switch to aperture priority mode, using manual ISO:
1. Set the ISO based on the overall light, generally either ISO 200 or 800, keeping 1600/3200 available for "gotta get the shot" pictures.
2. Set the aperture (f-stop) based on the goal of the shot. Generally start with 1 or 2 stops smaller than the maximum f-stop if you want shallow depth of field or fast shutter speeds, or around f/16 for deep depth of field for landscapes.
3. Pay attention to the shutter speed. If it is not high enough for the action or to prevent camera shake, then use a larger aperture or higher ISO. Start with the "shutter speed = 1/(focal length) s" shutter speed guideline for camera shake. So if the focal length is 55mm, you want a shutter speed of 1/60s or faster. Then experiment. :-)
I would switch to aperture priority mode, using ma... (show quote)


Geez, I think you just described the Auto Mode!! :lol:
SS

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