Maybe this doesn't interest you, but they have a walk-in service center for their professional gear (basically any SLRs except for the Rebel series), lenses, etc. They'll do a sensor cleaning - and even calibration and minor repairs if their workload is not too bad - while you wait. If they're busy they will take all the gear and call you when it's done. Cleaning and bringing everything back to factory spec (including programming per-lend microfocus adjustments) is gratis.
Er...that should have been "per lens."
I already received the Nikon, but for future purchases I'll keep that convenience in mind.
Nikon may have something similar. They must have a huge pro market share in NYC as well.
Just wanted to follow-up:
- You guys have been absolutely correct with all your advice. After having read tons of stuff on photography I don't think I came across a single thing that disputed anything you guys said.
- You're right about the 18-200mm, but I think maybe a 18-105mm would suit me better. But not anytime soon, as I splurged on the Nikon 50mm F1.8 AF-S G lens instead of the regular Nikon 50mm. I love it. I like the fact that it's also a Full-frame lens incase I want to upgrade the body later on. Cost me about $220 from B&H.
- So from what I read, it's best to keep the ISO low and play with shutter speed and aperture. What do you think?
- Does the hood for the lens matter that much?
- What is your camera set on in terms of image quality? Do you do raw+jpg, only raw, or only jpg (at fine)?
- Are there any photo sites you guys use: 1) to upload your photos to share 2) for inspiration?
You guys have been absolutely correct with all your advice
This should not have come as a surprise to you as I am correct on everything I write here at Tree/Things.
...I splurged on the Nikon 50mm F1.8...
Great lens to learn photography. Give yourself assignments, going out with only that 50mm, like,
- Shoot using only available light
- Shoot everything wide open, i.e., at f/1.8 in Av or manual mode
- Shoot using prefocus
- Look for shots that will show strong bokeh
So. Your questions:
So from what I read, it's best to keep the ISO low and play with shutter speed and aperture. What do you think?
"Best" is very subjective.
A digression: I learned photography using 35mm film cameras, mostly a Pentax K1000 with a 50mm f/2.0 lens. This was a totally manual camera whose only electronics was a simple light metering system. Every shot required that you consciously make all of the decisions now made by the software in modern cameras (Is the scene backlit, requiring opening the aperture a stop or three? Is my shutter speed appropriate for the activity in the scene? Is my shutter speed high enough to meet the focal length reciprocal rule? What depth of field is possible given the light available and what depth of field am I looking for? At what f-stop is this particular lens sharpest and how much am I willing to accept an unsharp photo in order to get an optimal exposure? Is there just no way to get an acceptably sharp handheld photo given the light available?) The one thing you didn't have to worry about, at least at the moment you were pressing the shutter button, was what ISO* to use because the ISO was baked into the film you chose to load at whatever point prior to taking the shot.
The film you used was based on a number of factors, not least of which was its cost. If a roll of color film with 36 exposures was, say, $4 and the processing $10, then each click was $.38 - not a lot of money for a single shot, but it added up quickly.
Another factor was film speed (ISO). If you knew you would be shooting landscapes using a tripod, then you'd get some ISO 64 or 100 or whatever, because shutter speed wasn't really a problem. If you would be shooting a basketball game, then splurge and get one of the new ISO 1000 films and know that you had at least a chance of getting some usable photos.
Here is the point: once you loaded a roll you were committed to using that ISO until you needed (or wanted* * ) to reload. Is it "best" to keep ISO low? All else being equal, yes, because the result will be an image with less noise. But all else is seldom equal, and ISO should be considered one of three variables to proper exposure, along with shutter speed and aperture. Each of these variables possesses trade-offs, pros and cons, and I don't have the time to explicate those here. (Artificial lighting is arguably a fourth variable, with its own complications and trade-offs.) Asking whether it is best to keep ISO low is like asking whether it is best to keep shutter speed high or aperture wide or narrow: what is best is the combination that yields the photo you wanted to make. It makes no sense, for example, to get unwanted motion blur because you were under the mistaken belief that "it's best to keep the ISO low."
Experiment with all ISOs under a variety of lighting conditions and with a variety of subjects, and closely check the resulting photos. Sooner or later you'll figure out when you want or need to go with a higher ISO.
Does the hood for the lens matter that much?
There are three reasons people use lens hoods:
- To prevent or limit lens flare by preventing or limiting light from shining directly on a lens's front element.
- To protect the front of a lens from damage caused by bumping into things. (Break a hood? A new one will cost you a little. Break a lens? A new one will cost you a lot.)
- To make their camera look expensive and professional.
Get a lens hood. Like everything else with photo gear there are trade offs for using them, mostly because they make your camera and kit bulky. Still, the most useful thing is to learn what causes lens flare and react to those conditions when they occur. One easy trick is to stand in the shade instead of in the sun, if there is some shade conveniently close by - the shadow of a tree trunk, for example.
What is your camera set on in terms of image quality? Do you do raw+jpg, only raw, or only jpg (at fine)?
Short answer: Raw.
Long answer: You will use JPEG, then experiment with raw, then decide JPEG is way more convenient and yields quality that is all but identical to raw and absolutely identical for most purposes, then experiment with raw again and appreciate anew its versatility under extreme conditions, then decide to go the raw+JPEG route for the convenience of JPEG with the raw available just in case, then get some serious software like Adobe Lightroom and get a workflow that you like and realize that your camera can do raw-JPEG conversions (Can it do that? Read the manual.) in case you want to make some prints at Target or wherever.
Are there any photo sites you guys use: 1) to upload your photos to share 2) for inspiration?
I liked Flickr
until Yahoo bought them and screwed up my pasword and basically offered no help whatsoever in fixing the problem. Before Flickr I used my own website with various tools to upload and present. I also use Photobucket
For inspiration, I like books. And government websites like the Library of Congress or NASA.
* In my day we used ASA and we liked it. Now get off my lawn.
* * It was possible to reload mid-roll without wasting the rest of the roll: Since the rewind was done with a little hand crank (finger crank, really, given its size) you could note the frame number and carefully rewind until you could feel the loss of tension when the leader disengaged from the advance teeth. When you wanted to use the remainder of the roll you would simply reload and advance the film to the previously noted frame number with the lens cap on.
500px.com will make you feel like a bad photographer all the time....