I bought a D3200 to mainly take photos of our new baby girl, as well as the usual landscapes etc. Currently just have the AF-S Nikkor 18-55mm 3.5-5.6G ED lens. In the future I will purchase a very fast 50mm equivalent prime lens but need to make due for now.
Q1: I would like to know what settings to use to make this camera very fast in low light. I have a background in film SLR and my previous camera was a CoolPix8800 (i.e. max ISO 400!). For these shots I don't care about DoF. If someone could give me a rundown on the settings that would be great as I don't have the time currently to "experiment".
Q2: Also, there seems to be a very long shutter lag between focus and shutter release. I pre-focus by pressing the button half way so the autofocus time in not in the equation. The camera seems to take 0.25-0.5 seconds to actually flip the mirror up and then take the picture. This is unacceptably slow. Afterwards the camera seems to take another long time to return the mirror, show the preview, and become ready again. Without live view and just using the eyepiece it is faster but as a glasses wearer I have come to appreciate the screen on the back of these cameras.
#1. "RE: Getting to know my D3200... questions" In response to Reply # 0 Mon 17-Sep-12 06:25 AM by MEMcD
Welcome to Nikonians! Congratulations on your new Daughter and D3200.
Q1: What exposure mode are you using? How low is the ambient light level that you want to shoot in? Assuming your subject is static, To prevent blur due to camera shake the Rule of Thumb is use a Shutter Speed = 1/1.5 x Focal Length hand held (using the viewfinder). In other words if you are shooting with the lens set at 50mm, the minimum shutter speed = 1/75 ~ 1/80th sec. If you use Live View hand held, I would use a shutter speed 3 or 4 times faster as a minimum.
At 50mm your lens will be wide open at f/5.6 If you use Aperture (A) priority mode you will have to increase the ISO until your shutter Speed is 1/80th sec. Keep in mind the lower the ambient light level the higher the ISO setting that you will need. The higher the ISO the more noise will be in the image. The alternative is to use the base ISO and the Built in Speedlight.
Q2: If you want the camera to perform faster, turn off Live View and use the viewfinder.
I have been wearing Glasses since I was 5 or 6 years old and learned Photography using range finders and Nikon Film SLR's decades ago. I have 5 bodies with Live View and only use it with the Camera mounted on a tripod mostley when Manually focusing when shooting at Macro distances.
Once you get used to using the viewfinder you won't want to use Live View. Holding the camera out in front so you can see the rear LCD makes the camera much less stable than using the viewfinder and propper hand holding technique. The added stability will allow you to capture sharper images resulting in better over all Image Quality and a higher rate of Keepers. Good Luck and Enjoy your Nikons!
#2. "RE: Getting to know my D3200... questions" In response to Reply # 1
Thanks for your answers. Rooms are dimly lit to average lit if that helps. The subject's hands are sometimes blurry so its not camera shake. (I nailed that with my AE-1 !)
I always treated Aperture Mode as a means of controling DoF, whereas Shutter Mode was for controling camera & subject blur (or lack thereof). If that was the starting point would I not be better off in S mode and set the shutter speed to say 1/200 and let the camera adjust the aperture and ISO to suit?
Q3. What is the highest ISO I can use and still get reasonable 4x6 prints? (These particular shots will never be severely cropped or enlarged.)
(I am thinking I could make the necessary settings in P mode and have them there when needed.)
#3. "RE: Getting to know my D3200... questions" In response to Reply # 2
>I always treated Aperture Mode as a means of controling DoF, >whereas Shutter Mode was for controling camera & subject >blur (or lack thereof). If that was the starting point would I >not be better off in S mode and set the shutter speed to say >1/200 and let the camera adjust the aperture and ISO to suit?
Sure, you could use Shutter (S) priority mode, though depending on how low the ambient light level is, you might run out of ISO before getting a correct exposure without decreasing the shutter speed as well. You could also use a shorter focal length which will increase the aperture (decrease the f/#) though using wide angles is not flattering to the human form. 30mm - 35mm should be ok, I don't have an 18-55mm handy to check the aperture at 30-35mm.
Personally I would use Manual exposure mode.
>Q3. What is the highest ISO I can use and still get reasonable >4x6 prints? (These particular shots will never be severely >cropped or enlarged.)
I don't have a D3200 though it should provide reasonably good IQ at about ISO 3200 and possible up to ISO 6400. I am extrapolating the numbers using dxoMark.com sensor ratings comparing the D3200's high ISO performance to the bodies I have. I would recommend taking a few test shots at various high ISO settings and see for yourself since each person has their own sense of how much noise is acceptable. If the noise is objectionable, you can use Noise Ninja, DxO, or other Noise Reduction Software in PP.
>(I am thinking I could make the necessary settings in P mode >and have them there when needed.)
Give it a try. Experiment and learn what works best for your particular requirements and style. Program mode will not keep settings in a memory per say. In P, S, and A exposure modes: if the ambient conditions are beyond of the range of settings available, the camera will indicate HI or LO in the display. Good Luck and Enjoy your Nikons!
#4. "RE: Getting to know my D3200... questions" In response to Reply # 3
get the 35mm f/1.8g for low light indoor shots if u dont have the room for the 50mm <[[ if u do the math 35 x 1.5 = 52.5mm >] ok as for shooting this just my suggestion go to iso set it auto iso ok the starting point for your iso is 400 and the limit is 1600 u can try 3200 in my shooting 1600 works fine go to focus mode set it to auto-servo AF .....AF-area mode i set it to auto-area AF.... metering i set it to matrix metering or if i am taking a picture of a person i ether try the center wighted or spot metering i try both and see what happens u can raise the exposure comp by +1 or +2 but if itdont work back it back down and make sure u have a top of the line card the expeed 3 works so much better i go with a sandisk extream pro or lexar 600x speed card
#5. "RE: Getting to know my D3200... questions" In response to Reply # 0 Sun 23-Dec-12 09:55 PM by coolmom42
You will get much faster performance using the viewfinder instead of LiveView. You can also get more stable camera position using the viewfinder. This will allow you to reduce camera shake, which can be an issue at slower shutter speeds.
You can get very good prints at ISO 800 and probably at 1600 with the D3200. The D3200 sensor is one of the better ones for higher ISO.
My suggestion is to set your ISO to 1600, and then play with your aperture settings in typical lighting conditions and see what kind of shutter speeds you get.
You will need shutter speed of 1/200 sec or higher to stop all the motion on those little waving baby hands! If the child is still, you can use much lower.
working on it in Middle TN Nikon D3100
35 mm 1.8 Nikkor 18-55 mm Nikkor VR 55-200 mm Nikkor VR 55-300 mm Nikkor VR 150-500 mm Sigma OS Feisol CT3471 & Markins M20 ballhead