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gills Registered since 28th Dec 2004Tue 04-Jan-05 11:41 AM
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"A bit discouraged..."


Munich, DE
          

I'm hoping you good folks at Nikonians might have some suggestions. I love my D70 (I got it for Christmas), but I need some help getting past "point & shoot". The manual was a bit overwhelming, because I don't understand the basics. I've been scouring the internet for ideas, and I put a note on the literature forum asking for book suggestions... I'm just wondering if you have any other suggestions for how I can get started? I'm in Germany and don't speak the language well enough yet to take classes, which I guess is what's discouraging me most. I went to the store it was bought from, but they weren't interested in helping me out... I got monosyllables back for every question I asked.

How did you guys get started?

I apologize if this is the wrong place to post this...

Thanks

Sandy

  

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NonEx
04th Jan 2005
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NonEx Registered since 27th Dec 2004Tue 04-Jan-05 11:54 AM
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#1. "RE: A bit discouraged..."
In response to Reply # 0


Malmö, SE
          

Is it the basics of the actual camera you don't understand or the basics of photography ?

If you mean the camera, just try reading the manual and fibbling around in the menus, you can always reset it to factory default!

If you mean photography, thats even easier, just take pictures! Its a digital camera so you dont have to worry about developing film :-D !


Look at other people images and get inspired...


Heres a simple tip: For more interesting images use the focus lock (holding the shutter halfway down when focusing on the object you wish to photograph) then move it to one of the edges of the picture.

This creates more dynamics in the photo...

Also try different angles and points of view.

It would help if you could clarify what exactly you need help with though :-p

Happy photographing!

Edit: One more thing, a famous war photographer once said (forgot his name unfortunatly) "If your picture is not good enough, you are not close enough" ... he died from stepping on a landmine

Also, apparture priority or shutter priority gives you more controll over how your images will look. Try those two modes and experiment...

Chris

Check out some of my D70 pics -
http://nonex.doesntexist.org/

  

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drjimbob Team Member Awarded In Memoriam for  sharing countless hours of his expertise no matter how simple or complex the question, and especially for his eternal good nature. Charter MemberTue 04-Jan-05 12:26 PM
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#5. "RE: A bit discouraged..."
In response to Reply # 1


Bowie, US
          

I believe that was Robert Capra - outstanding (and incredibly courageous) photographer.


Sandy - here's a link to Thom Hogan's review of the D70. But, on the right hand of that page is a link to his complete guide to the D70. If it's the camera that you don't understand, this should help.

If it's photography, I'd recommend "Understanding Exposure" by Bryan Peterson, and the general photography books by John Hedgecoe and Paul Harcourt-Davies. I'd also suggest looking a books of photographs, the galleries here - especially those of Photophil, Marsel, Paul_Fisher, JRP, mine (I think). Finally, search the web for articles on composition. Just realize that you're beginning a process - it's not going to happen in a day, but one day you'll see one of your pictures (or even better, someone else will) and the response will be "Hey, that's really beautiful!"


But - practice taking pictures, changing settings as you go. That's the best way to learn - and with digital, its cheap.

Good luck -

A BAD DAY BEHIND A NIKON (OR NIKON-HYBRID DSLR) BEATS A GOOD DAY BEHIND A DESK - Bob Tomerlin
My Nikonians Gallery

A BAD DAY BEHIND A NIKON BEATS A GOOD DAY BEHIND A DESK - Bob Tomerlin
My Nikonians Gallery

  

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PakWaan Registered since 31st Dec 2004Tue 04-Jan-05 10:57 PM
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#18. "RE: A bit discouraged..."
In response to Reply # 5


Orlando, US
          

>the galleries here - especially
>those of Photophil, Marsel, Paul_Fisher, JRP, mine (I
>think).

drjimbob,

I just browsed through your gallery - you have a great eye. Outstanding images. I will have to spend some time there, and in the other galleries you mentioned. Thanks for sharing!

---------------------------

National Geographic photographers shoot an average of 10,000 to 35,000 photos to get the 15-20 that appear in a feature article. Keep shooting!
National Geographic Photography FAQ

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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ikd Registered since 15th Oct 2004Wed 05-Jan-05 09:54 AM
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#24. "RE: A bit discouraged..."
In response to Reply # 1



          

I picked this book up yesterday and havent been able to put it down since. Being a n00b, I was also looking for a little more guidance.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/079225676X/qid=1104922393/sr=1-8/ref=sr_1_8/104-4784258-1421526?v=glance&s=books

Regards

Ian

Ian

  

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stabone76 Registered since 08th Jan 2005Sun 09-Jan-05 11:06 AM
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#42. "RE: A bit discouraged..."
In response to Reply # 24


US
          

I have that book, its AMAZING.. i have about 100 paperclips marking things to remember, its a great help.

tony

  

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Dug Registered since 21st May 2004Sun 09-Jan-05 11:48 AM
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#44. "RE: A bit discouraged..."
In response to Reply # 1


MAROOCHYDORE, AU
          

Australian Photographer Neil Davis said "If it's not good enough you are not close enough" Robert Capa died from a land mine in Vietnam.

Neil Davis died in Thailand shot in a small coup that failed but took his life.

Read his biography "One Crowded Hour" by Tim Bowden it is a classic tale of a war correspondent.

na

  

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bclaff Silver Member Awarded for multiple contributions for the Resources Nikonian since 26th Oct 2004Tue 04-Jan-05 12:16 PM
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#2. "RE: A bit discouraged..."
In response to Reply # 0


Vancouver (WA USA not Canada), US
          

Take heart! For one thing we all had to pay for film and processing while we were learning, you can shoot digital for "free".

I assume what you mean is that you want to get out of the Auto or P modes and into something where you have more control over the camera.

I'm sure others will give you book ideas and URLs to good articles and tips. I'll just start with this:

Most people shoot in A (aperture priority) mode. This lets you take the sharpest pictures and gives you control over depth of field when you want it. For sharp pictures set an aperture between f8 and f10. To play with depth of field try experimenting with f3.5 or f4 and using the depth of field preview button or take test shots.

You'd switch to S (shutter priority) mode to give ther shutter speed priority. If you wanted to take a picture of a bird in flight and not have the wings too blurred you might use S mode and a shutter speed of 1/250th.

Eventually you will want to learn about and play with exposure compensation especially negative compensation to control situations where the camera might be overexposing.

What type of questions did you have at the store where you didn't get answers due to the language barrier and their lack of interest?

Visit me at My site

  

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fieldeffect Registered since 04th Jan 2005Tue 04-Jan-05 12:18 PM
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#3. "RE: A bit discouraged..."
In response to Reply # 0


London, GB
          

Hi Sandy,

Yes, if you can give some idea of how much of your problem is not knowing the technical stuff and how much is a lack of inspiration.

I'm in the process of putting together a website for easy advice on photographic technique, and I think you're exactly the type of person i'm trying to provide for.

Nick.


  

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jpellant Registered since 09th May 2002Tue 04-Jan-05 12:20 PM
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#4. "RE: A bit discouraged..."
In response to Reply # 0


Waltham, US
          

I would try to get a manual in German.

Also, I would go to a "good" camera store, and they will be glad to help you (becuase as you gain experience you will want more expensive stuff that you will buy from them).

I would also go to Amazon.com and look for books in german about the basics of photography. You can transfer basic knowledge back to your manual for the D70.

Leverage this site. While I have been photographing things for decades, this site has been valuable for getting Nikon specific information. You can also get basic questions answered here.

Lastly, experement. It doesn't cost you anything to shoot digitally-- so just shoot away and learn.

Good luck,
Jon

  

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Dominic_Y Registered since 03rd Jul 2004Tue 04-Jan-05 01:45 PM
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#6. "RE: A bit discouraged..."
In response to Reply # 0


Hong Kong, CN
          

You may want to check out one of John Shaw's books. You can also have a look at the bookshelves under the resource sections.

I too got a D70 recently and having heaps of fun so far. Just keep shooting because it won't cost you anything with digital

Dominic Yeung
Nikonian @ Hong Kong www.pbase.com/dominicyeung

  

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simpo two Registered since 17th Aug 2004Tue 04-Jan-05 02:32 PM
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#7. "RE: A bit discouraged..."
In response to Reply # 6


GB
          

Hi,

Well your written English is excellent!

I wrote - just for fun - a short piece on the basics of photography which you might find helpful. I *think* it's completely idiot proof! If you mail me offline I'll send you a copy as a Word doc.

Cheers,

John
www.blokewithacamera.co.uk

John
www.blokewithacamera.co.uk

  

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David Mulligan Registered since 10th Oct 2004Tue 04-Jan-05 02:48 PM
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#8. "RE: A bit discouraged..."
In response to Reply # 7


Calgary, CA
          

Sandy said that she is in Germany but does not speak German. This makes me think that maybe english is her first language.

David

  

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uufda Registered since 05th Jun 2004Tue 04-Jan-05 02:52 PM
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#9. "RE: A bit discouraged..."
In response to Reply # 7


Tucson, US
          

People, I don't think you read her email correctly. She is in Germany and does not understand Deutch (zie canst nicht sprechen deutch < obviously I can't either) and therefore cannot get much advice from the store. She speaks and writes english very well because that is her native language.
By the way Sandy, any book by John Hedgcoe would be very useful. However, there are many sites on the internet where you can get good basic techniques on photography. You might try dpFWIW.com. (digital photography For What Its Worth) is where the acronym came from.
Good luck and keep coming back to this forum.
uufda

  

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gills Registered since 28th Dec 2004Tue 04-Jan-05 04:24 PM
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#10. "RE: A bit discouraged..."
In response to Reply # 9


Munich, DE
          

You guys are great, thank you!! (btw, yep I'm Canadian and speak English). I've only used a point and shoot camera before now, and people have told me that I have a good eye. It's the photography basics (beyond pushing a button) that I'm starting from scratch on.

My husband explained about the relationship between aperture and shutter speed, but we couldn't figure out how to adjust them on the D70.

After futzing with the settings and buttons and the menu with no luck, I figured the f-stop on the lens might be the answer, and tried changing it there, then every time I tried to take a picture I got an error message (FEE). I took the camera back to the store to get help, the guy turned it back to the highest setting, and told me the f-stop ring on the lens had "nothing to do with it" (it??), but wouldn't explain any further (yes he spoke English fine). When I asked if he had any manuals in English he said no, and when I asked where I could get one he said he didn't know. My husband told me they were not helpful to him either when he bought the camera for me, and that he had to turn on the charm offensive in a big way to get advice. I just can't bring myself to work that hard for salespeople, so I guess I need to find a new store to buy my accessories! Anyway. I finally found a manual in English on the internet.

The manual makes me crazy. I tried going through it from start to finish, but it refers to stuff at the beginning of the manual that it only explains somewhere near the back or buried in the middle, maybe. I wanted to stomp on it.

So you see, you've renewed my enthusiasm. Thank you! All these responses encouraged me to tackle the manual again so I could be sure it wasn't just me being a dummy when I answered. I understood a bit more of it this time. I found the section that described how to use the MASP settings. I fooled around and figured out that I have to press the shutter release button halfway and THEN turn the command dial to change the aperture and shutter speed. The manual doesn't say that!! Argghhh.

Thank you all for your hints and book suggestions, I will follow up on all of them. Much appreciated. In the meantime, I'm still confused about:

1) P setting. I know it's flexible, and picks out the best apperture & shutter speed. The manual says I should be able to turn the command dial to adjust it if I want to play with different settings, but I find that when I move the camera the settings in the control panel change crazily anyway. When I turn the dial, the setting sometimes change, sometimes don't, and I don't know if turning the dial is actually doing anything.

2) P setting again. What's the difference between this and the auto setting? Don't they do the same things?

3) Is the "depth-of-field-preview" button supposed to do anything? I can't see any difference when I press it and look through the viewfinder.

4) I'm not sure to start when it comes to experimenting with aperture and shutter speed. Bclaff suggested playing with the A and S settings (thank you, I will try it). Since I haven't conceptualized (besides the theory) how the settings translate into differences in the picture, is there a methodical exercise I could do that would help me understand?

5) Anybody know of a good - helpful! - camera store in Munich?

Thanks again for all your help!

Sandy

  

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bclaff Silver Member Awarded for multiple contributions for the Resources Nikonian since 26th Oct 2004Tue 04-Jan-05 04:45 PM
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#12. "RE: A bit discouraged..."
In response to Reply # 10


Vancouver (WA USA not Canada), US
          

Do you have an English manual? It is available on-line if you don't.

It sounds like you haven't figured out the main command and subcommand dials (if you're right-handed the ones by your thumb and forefinger). When you're in A or S (or M) mode these control the shutter and aperture respectively. Just put the camera in A mode and watch the viewfinder as you "play" with the subcommand dial.

Yes, with your G type lens the aperture ring stays locked at the maximum and you control aperture only from the camera.

To see any difference with the depth of field preview you need a subject that's relatively close. Point the camera at something nearby and watch the distant background as you try the preview button with an open aperture like f4.

My wife has relatives in Germany including a professional photographer so I'll see if I can find you local advice.

Keep those cards and letters coming.

Visit me at My site

  

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gills Registered since 28th Dec 2004Tue 04-Jan-05 05:05 PM
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#13. "RE: A bit discouraged..."
In response to Reply # 12


Munich, DE
          

I did what you said, but I can't see any difference in what I see in the viewfinder when I turn the sub-command dial, nor when I press the depth-of-field preview button. Am I supposed to? Or do the differences not show up in the viewfinder, just in the photos? Is this a dumb question? (I have a feeling it might be....)

  

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bclaff Silver Member Awarded for multiple contributions for the Resources Nikonian since 26th Oct 2004Tue 04-Jan-05 05:11 PM
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#14. "RE: A bit discouraged..."
In response to Reply # 13


Vancouver (WA USA not Canada), US
          

In A mode when you change the subcommand dial, the f-stop shown on the bottom near the middle will change; what you see through the viewfinder will not.

Visit me at My site

  

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gills Registered since 28th Dec 2004Tue 04-Jan-05 05:18 PM
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#15. "RE: A bit discouraged..."
In response to Reply # 14


Munich, DE
          

I get it now. Ok, I'm off to do some experimenting. Thank you!

  

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falcon9 Registered since 16th Jun 2004Tue 04-Jan-05 05:25 PM
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#16. "RE: A bit discouraged..."
In response to Reply # 10


Long Island, US
          

Hi Sandy,
If you want to be methodical and try an experiment try this. Find yourself a long fence or a wall. Put the camera in Aperture priority (A) and find a point along the wall and focus on it. Pick out some feature so you can use it as the focus point for a series of pictures. A tripod might help here. Set the lens aperture (f-stop) to the widest (smallest number) and take a shot. Change the aperture to the next larger number and focus on the same spot and take the next picture. Repeat this until you have reached the smallest f-stop (largest number) and look at the pictures one after another. You will see that as you go from the widest f-stop to the smallest f-stop more and more of the fence in the distance will be in focus. That is Depth of field and you use the aperture to control just how much of what you see is in focus.

For an experiment using Shutter Priority (S) find something that is moving like flowing water. Do the same type of thing only this time vary the shutter speed from the slowest to the fastest. Pick a reasonable range like 1 sec to 1,000. As you look at the pictures you should see the change in how the camera freezes motion.

You should try these on a reasonable nice day so the camera can make good choices for the exposure. If you choose something at either extreme and the camera does not have enough lest to work with then the image will either be over or under exposed. Remember the correct exposure is a balancing act between the 2. In Manual mode (M) you need to choose the best combination of the 2 to express what you feel the image should convey.

Mike

  

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Old Yeller Registered since 21st Dec 2002Tue 04-Jan-05 05:45 PM
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#17. "It's like driving a car..."
In response to Reply # 10


Prineville, US
          

All this stuff is hard at first but will become second nature to you in a few years. Remember, most photographers spend a lifetime learning and still never understand everything. The important thing is to have fun!

Here we go:
Set your camera to "A" mode for apeture priority. Your apeture controls the depth of field.

1) Portraits, you want the background to be blurry so you would want to set your apeture for the smallest size, like f/3.5 or f/4.5 on the standard kit lens. This will make your subject sharp but blur any distracting background elements. Make sure you focus on the eyes.

2)Landscape or Scenic, You want to set your apeture to around f/8-f/11 for the best quality photos. You may have to stop down to f/11 or f/16 if you have something close in the forground like a big rock or tree to keep everything in focus.

How can you check to see if everyting is in focus? Your depth of field preview button. After you set your apeture to f/16, press the button and you will see the screen go dark. You can also see what is in focus and what isn't.

You may need a tripod if there is not much light. You do have a tripod right?

3)Snapshots, Your pretty safe at this point just using the "P" or program mode. The camera will automatically adjust everything for the right exposure. The camera asumes that your are hand holding the camera though. So the camera always trys to keep the shutter speed high enough so that there is less chance of the user shake causing blur.

What's the difference between the Auto mode and the "P" mode? Auto mode will pop up the flash if it senses there is not enough light to hand hold. Again the camera assumes that your are hand holding.

4)What about "S" mode or shutter speed? You either want fast shutter speed to stop motion or slow shutter speed to emphisize motion.

Fast = 1/500th+ sec. Use this to stop action or when hand holding a telephoto lens to reduce vibration blur. Think faster speed = less blur.

Slow + 1/15th- sec. Use this to blur waterfalls or panning a subject to make the background have motion blur. Think slower speed = more blur.

This is just a start but hopefully this will answer some of your questions. Remember the most important thing in photography is to have fun. If your having fun then your doing everything right and could probly teach most of us a thing or two about what is really important in life.

I bought my little five year old girl a Coolpix camera for Christmas. All she knows is that you press a little button to make pictures but you should see the look on her face when she sees the photos. What a treasure! I only wish I could be so happy with every photo!

Fred
http://www.butterflydesigns.net/
Photoshop is one big party waiting to happen..

  

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gills Registered since 28th Dec 2004Tue 04-Jan-05 10:59 PM
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#19. "RE: It's like driving a car..."
In response to Reply # 17


Munich, DE
          

Awesome! Thanks Mike and Fred, now I feel like I'm getting somewhere. I can't wait to get started on my homework! I feel a bit like Eliza Doolittle, "by jove I think she's got it!" I don't have a tripod yet, though... or a camera case... I guess I'm gonna have to suck it up and brave the mean man at the camera store again.

I learned how to drive standard a few years ago, and I remember it seemed like an impossible task at the time. Now it's second nature and I prefer it. So telling me that photography will be like that, Fred, does make me feel better. Hmmm... I wonder if that applies to learning how to speak German too...

I've been studying John's article tonight and it was a great help too.

Fun, I can manage. When I didn't have to think about any of this and just pointed the thing, I had a ball and actually took some not-half-bad compositions. I was ready to graduate, and getting started has been a bit of hump to get over but I'll persevere! Thanks to all of you it doesn't seem overwhelming anymore and I now know what the next steps are.

Cheers

Sandy

  

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gills Registered since 28th Dec 2004Tue 04-Jan-05 04:25 PM
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#11. "RE: A bit discouraged..."
In response to Reply # 9


Munich, DE
          

Whoops! posted the same message twice.

  

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nillevang Registered since 16th Aug 2004Tue 04-Jan-05 11:07 PM
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#20. "RE: A bit discouraged..."
In response to Reply # 11


Vordingborg, DK
          

I think you need to find a new photo shop. I live in Denmark (3 hours from Hamburg) and know quite a few germans, and have bought camera gear down there aswell. And never, not even once, have I experienced what you describe - every german I met have been very nice and friendly...

Go find yourself a new one!

Ps. Try posting for help on the german version of this site - quite a few germans speak english in there

Niels Lillevang Hansen

Nikonian (also) in Denmark

<www.digitalphotographix.com>

  

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gills Registered since 28th Dec 2004Tue 04-Jan-05 11:18 PM
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#21. "RE: A bit discouraged..."
In response to Reply # 20


Munich, DE
          

You're right, Niels, there must be other camera shops in town. I will ask in the German forum.

I was surprised by the service too, I've been here six months and have found people here super friendly and helpful. That's why I was so taken aback -- it just seemed weird.

Ok, I will find someplace else.

Cheers

Sandy

  

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LEI858 Registered since 10th Dec 2004Wed 05-Jan-05 12:13 AM
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#22. "RE: A bit discouraged..."
In response to Reply # 0


San Diego, US
          

I found a great book the other day at the bookstore, it caught my eye cause it had a huge D70 on the front cover. It's called "DigitalSLR Handbook" by Rob Sheppard. It covers a lot of the basics on using a DSLR and photography without the technical jargon.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/1579906028/qid=1104887634/sr=8-1/ref=pd_ka_1/104-9647015-8167102?v=glance&s=books&n=507846

Edit: added link

** Leo **

  

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subhre Registered since 05th Jan 2005Wed 05-Jan-05 08:59 AM
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#23. "RE: A bit discouraged..."
In response to Reply # 0


Singapore, SG
          

I stumbled upon this thread and am I glad I did! A round of thanks to Sandy (for asking the questions that she did) and to everyone who responded to her message. I esp. found Mike and Fred's responses very helpful, as well as fieldeffect's. Nick, here's another sample audience for that website you're in the process of putting up to help newbies like us.

I had been using a Canon A40 p&s camera since the past coupla years and just bought my first SLR (the D70) over christmas, and have been sifting through the internet for hours everyday looking for anything helpful... articles on technique, composition or even just equipment, and it has been a daunting experience. Read the manual cover to cover with my camera in hand a coupla times over... and had been becoming a lil discouraged myself. But the posts here have been keeping my spirits up. I feel at home out here with the other Nikonians and had been wondering if my terribly-newbie questions would draw flak! But thanks to Sandy's post, I think I can ask some things in the future without worrying about that! So thanks again Sandy.

I have been having difficulty understanding the use of the "Depth of Field Preview" button (while in "A" mode) and can't seem to understand why the view becomes dark when I press it... and that's the only thing that seems to happen when I press it. I know I'm probably not doing something right, but don't know what? I also saw this article about "Centre of Confusion" and couldn't understand any of it, esp. since it trailed into "Hyperfocal distance" and a host of formulae! Photography suddenly seemed to have become a long math class (for the record, I suck at math! always have)

For the benefit of other newbies like me who 'stumble' in here, I've been reading lotsa articles on these websites:

1. www.photographic.net (they have all the past editions in the archive which has a wealth o info on image composition, lighting, etc)

2. www.photo.net

3. www.shutterbug.com

Keep your posts coming on how you're progressing on your journey Sandy... would help fellow travellers like me! Ta!

  

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gills Registered since 28th Dec 2004Wed 05-Jan-05 11:03 AM
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#25. "RE: A bit discouraged..."
In response to Reply # 23


Munich, DE
          

You should ask John to send you his article, subhre, it's really excellent. Thanks for the links, I will follow-up on them. I'm still having trouble understanding the depth of field button too. It doesn't go dark for me, but my eye can't pick out the differences in the viewfinder when I press on it.

I think I'll master the shutter speed and aperture first, and then work on that one later.

I'm now going to study the pictures I took this morning, and order a few books on Amazon... thanks again everybody!

  

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RTodd548 Registered since 26th Apr 2002Wed 05-Jan-05 01:05 PM
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#26. "RE: A bit discouraged..."
In response to Reply # 25


Morganton, US
          

When you press the depth of field preview, you are closing down the aperture blades in the lens to what they will be upon exposure, therefore reducing the amount of light entering the camera. It also shows you, if you give your eyes time to adjust to the reduced light, the true depth of field you will have ( in focus areas of the shot vs. the out of focus areas).

Todd

  

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Frenchie Registered since 06th Oct 2004Wed 05-Jan-05 03:26 PM
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#27. "RE: A bit discouraged..."
In response to Reply # 26


FR
          

Sandy, you've had some good advice already.

I, for one, would reiterate the recommendations for John Hedgecoe's books on learning photography.

This is part of a reply I once gave someone else; maybe it will help you too...

All photos (digital or film) are formed by light falling on something that will capture and fix the image (in your case, the sensor in the D70). The amount of light reaching the sensor (its 'exposure') is critical in obtaining a decent image.

Exposure is controlled by three things...

1. the aperture (that's the diameter of the hole in the diaphragm
inside the lens that allows light through) and measured as f-stops

2. the shutter speed (imagine the shutter as a curtain inside the
camera that is briefly pulled open and then closed again when you
press the shutter button. This allows the light from the lens to
hit the sensor. This is measured in time - 1/125 of a second for
example

3. the sensor sensitivity (that's the ISO setting)

All those three things combined together are called the 'exposure value'.

The meter in your D70 tries to gauge the exposure value for a given scene (I'll come on to spot metering in a minute)

OK, let's look at each of those three things in turn....

APERTURE. Let's assume you are in "P" mode, the camera may, for example, tell you that the scene needs an aperture of f5.6 and a shutter speed of 1/500th of a second. If you now increase the aperture to, say f8 by moving the control dial, then you have halved the light coming through the lens and so the camera will halve the shutter speed (in this example to 1/250) to keep the exposure value the same. Each aperture change upwards (in numerical value) allows through half the light of the previous setting and vice versa. So f11 allows through half the light of f8 and f5.6 allows through twice the light of f8. The numbers run in a wierd sequence, like this...

f1.4 f2.0 f2.8 f4 f5.6 f8 f11 f16 f22 ...

doubling the light as you decrease the numbers or halving the light as you increase the numbers.

I won't complicate the issue by explaining why this is so. If you see other 'f-stop' numbers like 3.5 or 6.3 for example, these are what are called "half-stops" or "third-stops" and, again I won't complicate things by explaining these now.

All these different apertures determine how much depth of your subject (i.e. front to back) is in focus: the higher the number the more depth is in focus, the lower the number, the less depth is in focus. Also, all lenses have a "sweet" f-stop where they are at their sharpest

SHUTTER SPEED determines how much motion is 'frozen' by the camera. With a slowish moving subject, 1/30th of a second will produse a blurred image whilst 1/1000 will freeze most motion and produce a sharp image.

Let's go back to our 'P' mode example with the ISO set to 200 and the camera saying that the scene needs an aperture of f5.6 and a shutter speed of 1/500th of a second. If you now change the shutter speed to 1/1000 (i.e. halving the light reaching the sensor) the camera will change the aperture to f4 in order to double the light being allowed through the lens and keep the exposure value (the EV) the same.

SENSITIVITY: The same situation exists with the sensitivity (ISO). With each of these ISO settings... 200, 400, 800, 1600, the sensitivity of the sensor is being doubled (moving up the scale) or halved (moving down).

So to sum up...

With apertures: the higher the f-stop number the less light reaches the sensor and the more is in focus, the lower the f-stop number, the more light reaches the sensor and the less is in focus.

With shutter speeds: the higher the speed the more movement is frozen, the lower the speed the more blur will be apparent (and also the more the risk of movement being introduced by you in the form of "camera shake")

With sensitivity: the higher the ISO the more sensitive the sensor and the lower the ISO the less sensitive the sensor. Lower ISO will produce higher quality pictures. Higher ISO settings make the images a bit more "grainy"

Aperture, Shutter Speed and Sensitivity all combine to determine your EV or Exposure Value. Changing any one needs a change in one of the others to keep the same EV

in "A" mode (aperture priority) you can choose the exact aperture setting you want and the camera will set the shutter speed. In "S" mode (shutter speed priority) you can choose the specific shutter speed you want and the camera will set the aperture

Finally, YOU can totally control the amount of light falling on the sensor yourself and the best way to do this is to switch to "M" mode and select your own individual 'A mode' by changing the aperture (aperture priority) or your own individual 'S mode' (shutter speed priority) by changing the shutter speed. In "M" mode you can increase or decrease the aperture without the camera compensating by altering the shutter speed and you can increase or decrease the shutter speed without the camera compensating by altering the aperture.

Using these three modes you can also determine what motion "freeze" you want or what "depth of focus" you want OR (in "M" mode) you can do both AND also over-ride what the camera is telling you.

Good luck and welcome to Nikonians and the world of SLR photography! If I can be of any further help, just ask

(From an Englishman living in France)


Pete
"Cameras don't take photographs, people do" - John Hedgecoe said that.
"Expose for the highlights and let the shadows take care of themselves" - Ansel Adams said that.
"The camera is only a tool. The best saw in the world won't make you a great carpenter" - I said that
A few photos, here for a reason

  

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BrooklynView Registered since 10th Nov 2004Wed 05-Jan-05 03:49 PM
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#28. "RE: A bit discouraged..."
In response to Reply # 27


Brooklyn, US
          

Don't feel bad. I regretted trading in my old Nikon for a N80 when I started feeling like I was spending more time with the controls then taking piture. Alas, it seems digital is here and I am now tortured with the D70 as you are. The fact is it is a fairly complicated machine much like a computer in a camera. There is so much information available yet so little space to display it.

So, I went out with my brand new D70, after a fast review of the manual, and took some pictures. It's heavy. What the hell is the difference between P and Auto. Looking through the viewfinder I cannot decifer the shutter speed numbers. They seem to shift to decimals at some point. Shooting in the dark is almost futile unless you have mastered the controls. Looking at all that information in the viewfinder is not inspiring.

I have decided to spend some time just shooting at home to master the controls. Learn the controls and study one photographic concept at a time and try to master it. Take a day an shoot using aperature control, another day for shutter speed, try some flash shots. As time goes on these will be your tools to help you reproduce your vision. If not, use photoshop )

  

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bclaff Silver Member Awarded for multiple contributions for the Resources Nikonian since 26th Oct 2004Wed 05-Jan-05 03:59 PM
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#29. "RE: A bit discouraged..."
In response to Reply # 28


Vancouver (WA USA not Canada), US
          

Hope these quick answers help.

Q:What the hell is the difference between P and Auto.
A: P just chooses an appropriate aperture and shutter speed. Auto chooses everything for you, like P on steroids.

Q:Looking through the viewfinder I cannot decifer the shutter speed numbers. They seem to shift to decimals at some point.
If the number ends with a quote mark it is seconds otherwise it is 1/seconds. So 1.3" is 1.3 seconds but 1.3 is 1/1.3 seconds. Decimal points are only used when necessary.

Visit me at My site

  

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BrooklynView Registered since 10th Nov 2004Wed 05-Jan-05 04:12 PM
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#30. "RE: A bit discouraged..."
In response to Reply # 29


Brooklyn, US
          

Thanks for the clarification.

What else besides the shutter speed and the aperature is left for Auto to control. Does it select the best type of metering as well?

  

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bclaff Silver Member Awarded for multiple contributions for the Resources Nikonian since 26th Oct 2004Wed 05-Jan-05 04:24 PM
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#31. "RE: A bit discouraged..."
In response to Reply # 30


Vancouver (WA USA not Canada), US
          

Don't be upset... but have you tried reading the manual ??? }> }>

In any case, the easiest way to tell what is set for you is to examine the camera menu while in a Auto (or any) mode.
The items that are unavailable in the menu are those that are set for you depending on the conditions.

Visit me at My site

  

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subhre Registered since 05th Jan 2005Thu 06-Jan-05 07:39 AM
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#37. "RE: A bit discouraged..."
In response to Reply # 26


Singapore, SG
          

Thanks a lot Todd. That explanation on what exactly happens when the DOF preview button is pressed helped. Well I guess I've not been giving my eyes enough time to get used to the dark when the button is pressed. Now that I know what exactly happens and what to look for, it would make more sense. Takes out magic out of that button. Cool!

Thanks again.

  

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Ol Don Registered since 27th Mar 2004Wed 05-Jan-05 05:12 PM
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#32. "RE: A bit discouraged..."
In response to Reply # 0


Issaquah, US
          

Hi Sandy,

I'm surprised nobody has mentioned Nikonian Bob Johnson's site,
http://www.earthboundlight.com/
Look at his PhotoTips. He has a ton of excellent info in understandable, bite sized chunks.

Don


Don

  

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rleibfreid Registered since 24th Feb 2002Wed 05-Jan-05 05:33 PM
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#33. "RE: A bit discouraged..."
In response to Reply # 32


Arlington, US
          

One of the best matches would be the ebooks from Digital Outback Photo. I believe the native language of the authors is German and they publish them in German as well as in English. I have the English version, and while it is not camera specific, it is a superb reference for just about every aspect of digital imaging. This link is to their German ebooks.

http://www.outbackphoto.com/booklets/dop2000DE/DOP2000DE.html

  

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theEpiphany Registered since 26th Dec 2004Wed 05-Jan-05 07:22 PM
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#34. "RE: A bit discouraged..."
In response to Reply # 33


Fullerton, US
          

I'll second the appreciation for Sandy and everyone's great advice. I'm still teaching myself some of the ins and outs of basic photography (and taking some great pictures in the process).


I feel a tear coming on. It's a beautiful thing


-D

  

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gills Registered since 28th Dec 2004Wed 05-Jan-05 09:18 PM
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#35. "RE: A bit discouraged..."
In response to Reply # 34


Munich, DE
          

So *that's* what the quotation marks mean beside the shutter speed. Aha! And I'll keep trying with that depth-of-field preview button... I must be not giving my eyes enough time to adjust.

I have to admit I'm relieved I'm not the only one benefitting from all this great advice.

Thank you all once again. I think it's time I become a paying member of this site...

cheers

Sandy

  

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BrooklynView Registered since 10th Nov 2004Wed 05-Jan-05 09:59 PM
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#36. "RE: A bit discouraged..."
In response to Reply # 35


Brooklyn, US
          

Yes, indeed you are not the only one.

Of course, I am sure this is all in the manual somewhere as someone alluded in response to my post. It is so nice to read that nice well laid out easy to read manual. I'm surprised they didn't just put on the CD and force us to print it out ourselves.

I think they might consider something like the Apple tool bar in the viewfinder where the current selection gets enlarged as you scroll through the choices allowing easier to read lettering and more logical symbols.


  

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bclaff Silver Member Awarded for multiple contributions for the Resources Nikonian since 26th Oct 2004Thu 06-Jan-05 01:42 PM
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#38. "RE: A bit discouraged..."
In response to Reply # 36


Vancouver (WA USA not Canada), US
          

Jacob,

BTW, the smiley's ( )in my post were meant as a tongue-in-cheek acknowledgement that the manual is obtuse.

I've read it enough times that I have a better understanding than most and am happy to "read it out loud" to other Nikonians in response to a questions. (Especially paying members such as yourself )

Bill

Visit me at My site

  

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BrooklynView Registered since 10th Nov 2004Thu 06-Jan-05 06:30 PM
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#39. "RE: A bit discouraged..."
In response to Reply # 38


Brooklyn, US
          

OK, no sweat. Either way I can take it.

  

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Dug Registered since 21st May 2004Sun 09-Jan-05 08:42 AM
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#40. "RE: A bit discouraged..."
In response to Reply # 0


MAROOCHYDORE, AU
          

Hmmm ? Where to start! I have been working in photography since 1972 ( I got chucked out of school when they found I could not read or write )
I just now consider my photography is becoming "acceptable" but I look forward to getting to "good" over the next 30 years.

Two things I would recommend

(1) Look at photographs.

This sounds simple but look at any and all photographs good and bad ask your self "Why is it good ?" " Why is it bad ?" " How did they take it ?" " What light did they use"
"What lens, shutter speed and aperture? Think about it, go to a library and study the history of photography look at the masters both old and new find a style that you like.

Look at books on photography there are heaps of them not so much the how too books but books of photographs. Learn to use your eyes to see you have to train to do anything well seeing is no different you have to train your eves and brain to look and see photographs.

(2) Take photos and assess them.

Digital makes this easy and cheap but can spoil by stopping you from thinking go out and take one photo but make it a good one put subjects into a hat and draw one out then go and shoot it. Stretch yourself find something that scares you and see if you can photograph it ( Mine is snakes) Stay safe don't do anything dangerous or stupid but give yourself a challenge then go for it. Then assess your photos print them or put them on your computer and LOOK at them see what is good and what is bad what you like and what you hate. Then go out and do it all over again and again and again and again and again.................Until you are happy



You have a great tool at your disposal, it is the most sophisticated piece of equipment ever made and one of the most complex, It is your brain.

In front of that is your eyes, then a camera,

if you can get them all working at the same time, you are a photographer.


Cheers doug

na

  

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stabone76 Registered since 08th Jan 2005Sun 09-Jan-05 11:02 AM
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#41. "RE: A bit discouraged..."
In response to Reply # 0


US
          

One thing that helped me to learn my N60 the most was the series of books by Magic Lantern, i beleive its called. They put out entire books about various cameras and each book, a hundred and some pages or so, are for each camera. If you find the one on your book, i would buy it. It shows A LOT more than the manuals do. Like i said, i think its Magic Lantern (its something lantern or magic something anyway). I'm sure someone on here can help you with the right name.

tony

  

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gills Registered since 28th Dec 2004Sun 09-Jan-05 11:30 AM
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#43. "RE: A bit discouraged..."
In response to Reply # 41


Munich, DE
          

I just wanted you to know that I've made a heck of a lot of progress in just a week, thanks to all this wonderful encouragement. I actually understand what most of the buttons on the camera do now, and I've been out with my camera every day taking lots of pictures and trying to figure why they turned out the way they do. All the things I think I've learned about fstop and aperture fall out of my head when I'm looking through the viewfinder, but... that will come with practise, I bet!

I'm going to make a bit of a confession. I'm having a lot of fun with my camera, but sometimes I get this nagging insecurity about why I'm doing it. It's hard to explain, but when I see the fantastic photos posted on this site and elsewhere, this stupid idea gets in my brain that there are so many great photographers out there, why am I taking all these horrible under/overexposed out of focus badly composed shots? It's a terrible thought, I know, and I fight it. But it's an insidious thing. I guess I'll just have to make a point of picking up the camera and taking more pictures every time it crosses my mind, just to be contrary.

I just wondered if it's just me, or if anyone else ever felt that way when they were starting out.

  

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uufda Registered since 05th Jun 2004Sun 09-Jan-05 12:58 PM
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#45. "RE: A bit discouraged..."
In response to Reply # 43


Tucson, US
          

I certainly did, but then I got a good one; even by other peoples standards (friends, family, etc.) Then into a slump again where nothing even satisfied me. Lots of snapshots and few pictures. But then again, right circumstances, right reaction and selections and voila! Eventually the gaps get shorter. Anyway, it is frustrating, but then art has been frustrating to even the greatest artists. Just don't cut your ear off!!!
uufda

  

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Frenchie Registered since 06th Oct 2004Sun 09-Jan-05 03:13 PM
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#46. "RE: A bit discouraged..."
In response to Reply # 45


FR
          

>>sometimes I get this nagging insecurity about why I'm doing it. It's hard to explain, but when I see the fantastic photos posted on this site and elsewhere, this stupid idea gets in my brain that there are so many great photographers out there....<<

I can emphathise with that, However, there is always someone 'better' than you or me out there and always will be.

I play guitar, but I will never play like Segovia or Eric Clapton.

I paint, but I will never paint like Monet or Vermeer.

I'm a photographer but I will never produce photographs like Cartier-Bresson or a thousand other great photographers.

However, Segovia, Clapton, Vermeer, Cartier-Bresson and all the others give me inspiration and something to strive for.

Pete
"Cameras don't take photographs, people do" - John Hedgecoe said that.
"Expose for the highlights and let the shadows take care of themselves" - Ansel Adams said that.
"The camera is only a tool. The best saw in the world won't make you a great carpenter" - I said that
A few photos, here for a reason

  

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JP_W Registered since 06th Jan 2005Sun 09-Jan-05 11:13 PM
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#47. "RE: A bit discouraged..."
In response to Reply # 46



          

Just wanted to say how much I've enjoyed this thread! Tons of great info. Plus it's always nice to see new people, like myself, being supported by everyone, thanks so much.

Can't wait til I have something useful to add! lol

  

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sfs Registered since 10th Jan 2005Mon 10-Jan-05 03:28 PM
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#48. "RE: A bit discouraged..."
In response to Reply # 43


Lexington, US
          

There's a well-known quotation from G.K. Chesterton that I like: "If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly." If you do something for the love of it, then doing it has value, even if you don't produce the best results in the world. Of course, you will want your results to be as good as you can make them, but that's a little different than wanting to be better than others.

Steve (who is brand new here, and whose D70 just shipped from B&H)

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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racepics Moderator Nikonian since 02nd Jan 2005Mon 10-Jan-05 06:28 PM
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#49. "RE: A bit discouraged..."
In response to Reply # 0


Fitchburg, US
          

please don't get discouraged, if you know how to work a PC read the camera manual couple times and fool with the camera what it says in the book, take lots of pics and go from there. The book is a very good photo class. Just take it slow and easy and have fun. I know nothing about PC/cyber space so I get lost all the time, but it is a GREAT camera once you learn the basic moves. Good Luck in all you do.

racepics in Tx.

Shoot and Shoot some more.
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