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Understanding manual settings

manual nikon d3100

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#1 Lilrich

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Posted 08 June 2013 - 17:09

Hey,

So i have a Nikon D3100 i have been shooting with it for some time now on Auto and think it is time to branch out to Manual mode and learn about the various different options.

Are there any good sites online that explain the various settings, functions etc?

Rich


#2 Nilus

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Posted 08 June 2013 - 17:29

The digital field guides are a great reference for learning camera settings, and really handy to keep in your camera bag
http://www.amazon.co...e/dp/0470648651

http://froknowsphoto.com/ is a great site for getting off of auto on nikon cameras too, you have to pay for the video guides but they are good value.

Kudos for trying to branch out of Auto, you will find that your photography will be so much better.

As a starting point, I would learn what Aperture does and then stick on A mode. See the different effects by shooting wide open, in the middle, and almost closed. Changing the aperture in A mode allows a degree of control whilst letting the camera do the rest of the settings.

Similarly, S mode for shutter speed, practice with that, and let the camera do the rest.

Finally, manual mode where you can start pulling all this together and dialling them all in yourself.

Whilst I am happy in manual mode, I actually shoot in Aperture priority mode most of the time as I find it is only aperture I want to change most often with my type of shooting.

Let us see some results, if you have questions do feel free to ask and i'll do my best to help. It saddens me when people use DSLRs and keep it in automatic mode so I love seeing people branch out :)

#3 OP Lilrich

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Posted 08 June 2013 - 21:21

The digital field guides are a great reference for learning camera settings, and really handy to keep in your camera bag
http://www.amazon.co...e/dp/0470648651

http://froknowsphoto.com/ is a great site for getting off of auto on nikon cameras too, you have to pay for the video guides but they are good value.

Kudos for trying to branch out of Auto, you will find that your photography will be so much better.

As a starting point, I would learn what Aperture does and then stick on A mode. See the different effects by shooting wide open, in the middle, and almost closed. Changing the aperture in A mode allows a degree of control whilst letting the camera do the rest of the settings.

Similarly, S mode for shutter speed, practice with that, and let the camera do the rest.

Finally, manual mode where you can start pulling all this together and dialling them all in yourself.

Whilst I am happy in manual mode, I actually shoot in Aperture priority mode most of the time as I find it is only aperture I want to change most often with my type of shooting.

Let us see some results, if you have questions do feel free to ask and i'll do my best to help. It saddens me when people use DSLRs and keep it in automatic mode so I love seeing people branch out :)


Hey There,

Thanks for getting back to me, i have some of my work online you can see it here www.flickr.com/photos/podshine but i really want to get to know my camera better and the resources you have provided look really good and i will be sure to take a look at them.

I need to learn the "lingo" so that i know what people are talking about when they say F Stop, Aperture (i think this is how much light is let in) and the various modes, oh and ISO.

I would appreciate any advice you have

Cheers
Rich

#4 Draconian Guppy

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Posted 08 June 2013 - 22:56

Aperture is the amount of light that is let in by the lens diaphragm, ISO, is the sensitivity the sensor will have to that light let in by the lens... Those are really googleable terms if you ask me :)



http://lightism.co.uk/ is a very good read!

#5 Stealthy_Singh

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Posted 08 June 2013 - 23:46

Hi Lilrich,

I'm learning just like you. Someone pointed me in this direction: http://www.lightandm...of-photography/
Go over the basics articles to learn what you need to know to get started. A good way of implementing it is to take photos with making a gradual change to either the shutter speed, aperture iso. Then going back and doing the same with one of the other two and then again with the final one. You'll learn how to control the light getting to the sensor and the trade offs you make by changing one setting rather than the other. Enjoy :)

#6 Ambroos

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Posted 09 June 2013 - 00:40

I think that before getting into the technicalities it's more important to just improve your framing a little. I've had a look over your Flickr stream and noticed that quite often you cut off the wrong parts of your photos.

For example: http://www.flickr.co...ine/8870241797/ - Try to avoid cutting off feet. There is nothing of interest in the sky here, but you're lacking part of your subjects. Try to focus on them. A common mistake you make from time to time is to put the 'main' subject (for example peoples faces) in the centre of your photos. The rule of thirds is usually key, but there are more (like the golden ratio/spiral). Google them, it's a really good place to start.

After a while you start doing that automatically, like I did in the image below. If you use the crop tool in Lightroom you get some visual guidance like this:
Posted Image

And that is my tip 2. Shoot in RAW (or RAW+JPG) and use Lightroom (even just the trial to try it out). With Lightroom you can correct a huge amount of lighting issues, and it'll help you understand what was wrong with them in the first place. RAW gives you a lot of room to correct photos that are too dark or too light.

A demo of how much data you can recover from RAW shots - before (straight out of camera):
Posted Image

After:
Posted Image
Neither is a very good photo but you get the idea.

Don't bother with finetuning settings on your camera yet if you don't understand the effects completely, start out with composition and a tiny bit of simple editing. But mostly composition. And after that, as it has been mentioned before, try the A mode (aperture priority). Leaving the shutter speed of your camera on automatic is usually fine, you can fine tune that in Lightroom or something similar anyway, but the aperture controls how blurry the background gets in relation to your subject (and some other things ofc).

Good luck!

#7 OP Lilrich

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Posted 09 June 2013 - 08:49

Ambross, Thanks for the tips i will be sure to take a little more time when shooting the shots to get the subject setup properly, i don't think i am doing *that* bad maybe just need to fine tune my skills.

After all i am just starting out and any advice is great.

Thanks everyone :)

Rich

#8 remus_lupin

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Posted 21 June 2013 - 18:55

See comment on this photo: http://www.flickr.co...ine/9058662073/

 

Also, shoot in RAW if you do not already, gives you A LOT more flexibility when editing in Lightroom afterwards (if you do that)