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Thread: First images from the D90

  1. #1
    Dizzy's Avatar
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    First images from the D90

    Received the camera and extra lens on Tuesday, and spent pretty much every non-working hour since reading the manual and tutorials here on CiC, and also watching the video's on Nikon's Digitutor site. Since I had never even taken a picture with a DSLR (and only handled a couple), I wanted to be sure I wasn't going to mess up the works by pushing the wrong button at the wrong time.

    This afternoon I felt confident enough to try and shoot a few frames, so with the 18-105 kit lens mounted up I stepped out on the back deck for the maiden images. I'll be learning as I go, and felt no shame whatsoever setting the camera to Auto mode. I was honestly more interested in just getting a few pics taken, and also making sure that the Nikon transfer software was working properly so I could move them to my computer for PP. Shot all the pics as .jpg's; working with the RAW data will come in time.

    Processed the pics in Microsoft Image Composer. It has limited abilities, but I'm very familiar with it's functions and again, the goal today was to stay simple and just get some pictures taken and processed.

    The files were rather large, but that allowed me to crop them to what I felt was the best image:

    First images from the D90
    (yes, it was delicious!)

    First images from the D90

    First images from the D90

    A view of the Skagit River from the back deck:

    First images from the D90

    Went back out after sunset and hunted up a couple of other subjects, one being this very accommodating spider. After finding that the Auto-mode could not focus on the spider due to the house behind the spider being just too overbearing (manual taught me this), so I switched to manual focus and almost got it just right:

    First images from the D90

    Not sure how to get the EXIF data to post with the pic, but it was: Auto, manual focus, 105mm, F/5.6, ISO 800 (auto), 1/60s and the built in flash was used.

    Also learned about "hot pixels" tonight (getting an education, oh yes!) as the spider had one I had to clone out:

    First images from the D90

    The camera performed superbly as best I could tell, and I couldn't be more pleased with having chosen the D90. The operator, on the other hand, has got a long, long, long ways to go yet.

    I'm definitely lacking in post-processing software, and since there are so many free trial versions available out there I plan to test a few out before making a purchase.

    Also gained a huge amount of respect for all of you producing those incredible images, as you definitely give us beginners something to aspire to. Tonight was just the first steps of what I can already see is going to be a long, awesome journey.

    Mike

    [edit: I know these images are not very good; and if anyone wishes to try some processing on them, please do. ]
    Last edited by Dizzy; 5th August 2011 at 07:44 AM.

  2. #2
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: First images from the D90

    Quote Originally Posted by Dizzy View Post
    The camera performed superbly as best I could tell, and I couldn't be more pleased with having chosen the D90. The operator, on the other hand, has got a long, long, long ways to go yet.
    Mike

    Congratulations on both the new camera and also in your use of it. If I had produced something like that the first time I went out when I got a Canon 40D, I would have been very pleased.

    So, whilst there may indeed be a learning curve to negotiate, you are alrady well past the starting gate.
    Last edited by Donald; 5th August 2011 at 11:35 AM.

  3. #3
    Dizzy's Avatar
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    Re: First images from the D90

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald View Post
    Mike

    Congratulations on both the new camera and also in your use of it. If I had produced something like that the first time I went out when I got a Canon 40D, I would have been very pleased.

    So, whilst there may indeed be a learning curve to negotiate, you are already well past the starting gate.
    Thank you Donald, and the encouragement is greatly appreciated!

    After a nights sleep and revisiting the images here, I can see that that any of those could just as easily been done with a P&S, so, I've decided to take the "training wheels" off, and switch over to Aperture Priority mode. Auto mode has many limitations (as I've already seen), and the camera is capable of so much more than being used as a P&S.

    Sink or swim, it's time to step up and see if I can actually take some pictures.

    Mike

  4. #4
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    Re: First images from the D90

    The flower shots are very promising, Mike. One of the things I can share to you as a fellow Nikon user is that you can trust the Nikon's matrix metering 90% of the time. In some cases I can get acceptable results even if the scene really has some very tricky lighting situations on it. With that assurance, you can simply set your D90 to matrix metering and start using your DLSR in Manual Mode. Once you see the meter needle hit the "0" display at dead center press the shutter button and review the shot on your camera's back monitor. Once you learned to trust your camera metering system it will help you concentrate more on the shot and less on thinking about the exposure, not to mention the very great advantage of shooting RAW. As for now, practice using Jpegs if you still have no post-processing software to use. If you can get hold of some old versions of lightroom or photoshop on ebay for a cheap price that would help you a lot.

    Keep on shooting and be systematic on your studies. Keep a notebook nearby and record everything that you notice regarding how you use your camera and lens. best of all... ENJOY! Good luck, Mike.
    Last edited by jiro; 7th August 2011 at 10:05 AM.

  5. #5
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    Re: First images from the D90

    Great starting images, Mike. I love the flowers and the strawberry the most.

    Just wondering if you do any sharpening with your post processing (PP). If not, since you are shooting jpegs anyway, the incamera sharpening does a failry good job. However, the default settings are not very high and your images might be helped with a nudge up in the sharpening department. I shoot RAW, but when I'm just taking holiday pics I have started using the Picture Controls. I have played around a little and have tweaked the "landscape" setting a little to give me some good punchy snaps. You might not like what I like but I have settled on -2 on the "contrast" and about 3 or 4 on the "sharpening." I always do a little sharpening in NX2 anyway, so if you don't sharpen on our PP program you could go as high as 5 or 6 in camera for crisper results. The way to do it is:
    Menu (button on back of camera) > SHOOTING MENU (little camera icon) > Set Picture Control > Landscape. Then scroll around and make your adjustments and then press "OK" button on right of LCD screen. Shoot a few, adjust to taste, shoot a few more, adjust etc.

    The above settings are a little too saturated sometimes, which is ok for holiday snaps, but not for any images which contain a lot of skin (close up portraits etc). I just shoot "Neutral" with sharpening at 1 or 0 for portraits and do all the processing on computer.

    Of course, sharpening isn't a substitute for good focus, steady hands and an appropriately fast shutter speed.

    Image below was slightly enhanced with slight "S" curve, and sharpening (basic capture settings I use in USM), very slight vignette and just a little brightening in on the strawberry (about 30 secs)

    First images from the D90

    Keep up the great work and thanks for sharing
    Last edited by Hans; 7th August 2011 at 08:30 AM.

  6. #6
    Dizzy's Avatar
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    Re: First images from the D90

    Quote Originally Posted by jiro View Post
    The flower shots are very promising, Mike. One of the things I can share to you as a fellow Nikon user is that you can trust the Nikon's matrix metering 90% of the time. In some cases I can get acceptable results even if the scene really has some very tricky lighting situations on it. With that assurance, you can simply set your D90 to matrix metering and start using your DLSR in Manual Mode. Once you see the meter needle hit the "0" display at dead center press the shutter button and review the shot on your camera's back monitor. Once you learned to trust your camera metering system it will help you concentrate more on the shot and less on thinking about the exposure, not to mention the very great advantage of shooting RAW. As for now, practice using Jpegs if you still have no post-processing software to use. If you can get hold of some old versions of lightroom or photoshop on ebay for a cheap price that would help you a lot.

    Keep on shooting and be systematic on your studies. Keep a notebook nearby and record everything that you notice regarding how you use your camera and lens. best of all... ENJOY! Good luck, Mike.
    Thanks for the great advice Willie; it's already been put into practice with the images shot in the past 2 days. First images from the D90

    I took a large number of images in Aperture mode (about 100) using the "....meter needle hit the "0" display at dead center press the shutter button and review the shot on your camera's back monitor", but unfortunately did not look close enough (zoom) at the images, and later found that 95% were overexposed. The camera was setting too slow of a shutter speed, and after reading about this issue on other forums (for D90's using the 18-105), I went and learned what the Exposure Compensation button was for, and that has helped a great deal.

    Today I took a number of shots of one of my favorite subjects (an old train car), and took several shots of the same object, from the same position, same F/stop and shutter speed and ISO. Took one shot at -0-, -.3, then -.7 and finally a -1.0 EV. Reviewed all the relevant data in NX2, and learned quite a bit from the results.

    I do seem to enjoy shooting in Manual mode, and prefer it at the moment as it helps me to learn what works, and what doesn't, and then makes me read up on why a pic came out, or didn't. This will change, I am sure, but for now that's where I'm getting the best education.

    Still using Jpeg's, and probably will be for a bit. Unfortunately, life's sense of humor has made me a "one subject at a time" learner, meaning that the software will be another education due to a lack of experience with the processing part. Did find a nice on-line site today (Picnik), and have used it to adjust several images so far and I'm somewhat pleased with the results. It's nothing like Lightroom, I am sure, but I understand the adjustments the provide, and that's enough for now. I've bid on a few copies of Lightroom on eBay, so will see how that goes.

    Took your suggestion on a notebook too, and that came in handy yesterday as I was out in the hills shooting the mountain tops as the Sun setting behind me. Here are 2 that I did some minimal PP on in NX2 and Picnik:

    First images from the D90

    Device: Nikon D90
    Lens: VR 18-105mm F/3.5-5.6G
    Focal Length: 75mm
    Focus Mode: Manual
    AF-Area Mode: Single
    VR: OFF
    AF Fine Tune:
    Exposure
    Aperture: F/8
    Shutter Speed: 1/100s
    Exposure Mode: Manual
    Exposure Comp.: 0EV
    Exposure Tuning:
    Metering: Matrix
    ISO Sensitivity: ISO 400

    First images from the D90

    Device: Nikon D90
    Lens: VR 18-105mm F/3.5-5.6G
    Focal Length: 105mm
    Focus Mode: Manual
    AF-Area Mode: Single
    VR: OFF
    AF Fine Tune:
    Exposure
    Aperture: F/9
    Shutter Speed: 1/125s
    Scene Mode: Landscape
    Exposure Comp.: 0EV
    Exposure Tuning:
    Metering: Matrix
    ISO Sensitivity: Auto (ISO 640)

    Those mountain tops are the North Cascades, and the Cascade Glacier is visible there on the left side. I was at about 1500 ft., and at least 50 miles away shooting through quite a bit of atmosphere (I'm sure it was asking a lot of the 18-105 VR). The day was warm (for here) and there was quite a bit of moisture in the air that I had to shoot through (the peaks ere about 7000' +). I do know from my astronomy experience that sky conditions can make all the difference in having good observing conditions, or bad. I'll be back there in Winter (with the 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED) when the air is clean and crisp, as the setting sun just lights a fire on those snow covered peaks when it's real cold out.

    On that second pic, do you think it would have been much better if I had slowed down the exposure to about 1/100th or 1/60th? Feel free to make comments or suggestions, or even edit them further if you wish.


    Mike
    Last edited by Dizzy; 9th August 2011 at 07:53 AM.

  7. #7
    Dizzy's Avatar
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    Re: First images from the D90

    Quote Originally Posted by Hans View Post
    Great starting images, Mike. I love the flowers and the strawberry the most.

    Just wondering if you do any sharpening with your post processing (PP). If not, since you are shooting jpegs anyway, the incamera sharpening does a failry good job. However, the default settings are not very high and your images might be helped with a nudge up in the sharpening department. I shoot RAW, but when I'm just taking holiday pics I have started using the Picture Controls. I have played around a little and have tweaked the "landscape" setting a little to give me some good punchy snaps. You might not like what I like but I have settled on -2 on the "contrast" and about 3 or 4 on the "sharpening." I always do a little sharpening in NX2 anyway, so if you don't sharpen on our PP program you could go as high as 5 or 6 in camera for crisper results. The way to do it is:
    Menu (button on back of camera) > SHOOTING MENU (little camera icon) > Set Picture Control > Landscape. Then scroll around and make your adjustments and then press "OK" button on right of LCD screen. Shoot a few, adjust to taste, shoot a few more, adjust etc.

    The above settings are a little too saturated sometimes, which is ok for holiday snaps, but not for any images which contain a lot of skin (close up portraits etc). I just shoot "Neutral" with sharpening at 1 or 0 for portraits and do all the processing on computer.

    Of course, sharpening isn't a substitute for good focus, steady hands and an appropriately fast shutter speed.

    Image below was slightly enhanced with slight "S" curve, and sharpening (basic capture settings I use in USM), very slight vignette and just a little brightening in on the strawberry (about 30 secs)

    Keep up the great work and thanks for sharing
    G'day Hans, and thank you for the great tips!

    The post processing (PP?) is going to take me awhile to get the hang of. I was (past tense) using Microsoft Image Composer (left over from an old version of FrontPage) and found today that it was showing many colors completely overblown, which in turn was making me think the image was completely overexposed. I found today that the pics looked fine in other viewers like Office Picture Manger, so the MIC program is now only for reducing image size.

    Today I used the limited features in Office Picture Manger along with NX2, and the on-line processing at Picnik.

    Post processing does seem to have it's very own language. Levels, curves, masks, layers upon layers, dithering ... First images from the D90. We even have a dedicated Image Processing forum over on Astroholic, but I leave that to my partner (also an Aussie), as it's so confusing to me that it might as well all be written in ancient Sanskrit ..

    Right now I'm just concentrating on learning how to operate the camera, and once I've got the basics down then I'll start to focus more on the PP work. Found that I'm not as fast of a learner as I once was (sucks to get old..lol), but the pleasure is all in the journey.

    Mike
    Last edited by Dizzy; 9th August 2011 at 06:54 AM.

  8. #8
    RockNGoalStar's Avatar
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    Re: First images from the D90

    Hi Mike,

    Congrats on getting to know the basics with your new kit! As Donald said, you are already well on your way!

    I'm impressed and pleased that you are already experimenting with manual mode. Personally I shoot more in aperture priority mode, but using manual mode really helps you to understand how every feature of your camera can affect the outcome of the image. A good understanding of this mode will also help you in those tricky scenarios where the camera is struggling to capture what you want it to in A mode.

    Some nice pics posted so far but you'll soon see that, although you can get good pics straight out of the camera, some good PP software and techniques can make them really great.

    But for now keep shooting and experimenting and shooting some more. It certainly sounds like you are going about this new hobby the right way and I'm sure you'll be posting some trully fantastic images in no time at all!

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