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Thread: I just bought my first DSLR

  1. #1
    realdereal's Avatar
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    I just bought my first DSLR

    Now what do all these buttons do? (kidding)
    I'm so grateful for these forums with so much great info to read.
    No idea what ISO or RAW or Fstops or (?)mm lenses or ANY of
    it means but I can't wait to learn.

    I bought the Nikon 5200 with just the kit lens. 18-55mm

    Can't wait to get it out of the box

    Thanks everyone for all the useful info on my previous post about
    what one to get. Truth is I tried a lot of them out at the store but
    none felt right as I have rediculously small hands but I'm hoping to
    get used to it.

  2. #2
    realdereal's Avatar
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    Re: I just bought my first DSLR

    Oh! And I got a lens filter(?) A case, and two 4G high performance cards and who knows what else.
    Came to quite a bit. Now to save for a different lens I guess.

  3. #3
    Melkus's Avatar
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    Re: I just bought my first DSLR

    Grats on your first DSLR. Take your time in learning it, read then read some more, as well as just start shooting, don't get upset if your photos don't look just right that will all come in time. Just starting out it's always best just to leave the camera on auto for now while you learn. I would not worry about another lens right off the bat the kit lens 18-55mm will do just fine for now. So get out there and lets see some photos.

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    Re: I just bought my first DSLR

    Welcome, Kristen! Both to the forum and to the wonderful world of photography.

    May I recommend that you are not in any hurry to purchase another lens (unless you just have too much money). Rather, take some time to learn your camera and the lens you have.

    Also, if you are looking for a way to spend some money, consider a speedlight at some point. You will be amazed at the difference in your photography. I'm assuming that you will use the flash in creative ways, such as bouncing it, and getting it off the camera.

    As to that "filter"; be aware that sometimes inexpensive UV filters will affect the image quality (IQ) of your pictures without your knowing the reason for it. I don't keep one on my lens unless I really need it, which is very seldom.

    ISO refers to the "sensitivity" of the sensor, and you can make adjustments to that value, as needed, or the camera can do it automatically as well.

    RAW (or in Nikon-speak; NEF) is the acronym for a file that contains more information than JPG files.

    Probably the biggest "surprise" will be the computer you need to edit your pictures. Some people go all out with the latest, greatest computer and the professional "standard" PhotoShop, and others get by with less. There are some free ones, BTW.

    Good luck!

  5. #5
    Stagecoach's Avatar
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    Re: I just bought my first DSLR

    Hi Kristen,

    Congratulations on the purchase of your first DSLR.

    You say that you have 'no idea' what ISO, f stops e.t.c. mean so the first thing to learn is the significance and affect that the three basics have on your pictures;

    a) Aperture (f stops)
    b) Speed (shutter speed)
    c) ISO (sensor sensitivity)

    An understanding of these will assist in the understanding of the camera modes.

    Once you have unpacked it concentrate on the sections of the manual that basically cover up to how to take a picture then go outside and play with it. You do not need to spend time finding perfect scenes or subjects for practising.

    Review you efforts and for any questions or concerns either try and gather the answers from the manual or post them here.

  6. #6

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    Re: I just bought my first DSLR

    Quote Originally Posted by realdereal View Post
    Now what do all these buttons do? (kidding)
    Actually, now that all of us know that this is your first DSLR, we know that it's perfectly understandable to wonder what all of those buttons do. Enjoy the learning process, as that's as much a part of the hobby as producing great photos.

  7. #7
    CP140's Avatar
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    Re: I just bought my first DSLR

    I question the wisdom of your decision.. you should have gone for a Pentax. In all seriousness, welcome aboard! There's a lot of good people and info on this site.

  8. #8
    davidedric's Avatar
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    Re: I just bought my first DSLR

    Congrats from me, too.

    I'm of the same mind as Melkus, start with A or P mode and get comfortable. When you start experimenting, just change one thing at a time or it can get very confusing.

    Now we want to see some pictures

  9. #9

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    Re: I just bought my first DSLR

    The point of having a camera is to take pictures ... the point of buying a good camera is to take good pictures ... you won't get good pictures when you are messing around with the all the knobs and things .... so put it on P mode and take pictures.

    Try and make head or tail of the manual ... it is hard since you don't know the terms they are using but start asking question here and you will get answers to the point, hopefully not too many off the point

    The main thing is to see pictures and press the triggeer to take them ... the camera knows far more about this business so TRUST it to do its job and leave it to the rest of us who think we know all about it to muff up by playing with the knobs

    Probably the most useful thing I can suggest to you is to learn from the manual what and where the 'ready light' is which tells you you have given the camera time enough to work out focus and exposure and it is ready to shoot. You tell the camera you are looking at a wonderful shot by gently pressing the trigger half down and then when you get the ready light complete full pressure to take the shot.

    Remember it is just as easy to foul up with an expensive camera as with a point and shoot. That simple practice will save you from many dud shots whatever camera you happen to use. With a DSLR the delay is very small but it is very worthwhile to ingrain this habit in yourself.

    Have Fun ... the [photo] water is great!

  10. #10
    realdereal's Avatar
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    Re: I just bought my first DSLR

    Thanks so much- I fell asleep reading the manual last night. I am looking forward to learning how to operate this camera well as well as just going out there and shooting Because I already can't wait to get my next one-lol.

    Another very nice Nikon was only $100-$200 more but I decided to just stick with my original plan.
    So much to learn. I am looking at the three aperture, IOS, and shutter speed now on the forums and trying to figure that out a bit. No idea what F-stop is yet either but I will learn I guess.

  11. #11

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    Re: I just bought my first DSLR

    The f-stop is another term for the aperture setting. The nomenclature for referring to f-stops (aperture settings) is as follows: f/8, f/11, f/16, etc.

    Calling the aperture setting an f-stop is rooted in the physics of optics, though I don't remember what it is. Understanding that level of physics is not needed to be able to capture pleasing photographs.

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    Re: I just bought my first DSLR

    Good luck

  13. #13
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    Re: I just bought my first DSLR

    Kristen,

    Congratulations! Be patient--there is a lot to learn, but if you take your time, you can have fun learning it.

    You have some contradictory advice here. One strand is: put the camera on automatic and take pictures. The other is: start learning about things like apertures, shutter speeds, and ISO. I'm going to muddy the waters by straddling both camps.

    I agree: you should practice, practice, and practice more. And for a lot of that practice, P or A is fine. E.g., you can leave the camera on those modes and learn a lot about composition.

    However, that will only take you so far. For example, say that you take two somewhat similar pictures, with a substantial depth from front to back. One has most everything in focus, while the other doesn't. You won't be able to make sense of this difference--and decide what YOU want to do in the future--if you don't understand the relationship between aperture and depth of field.

    So, my suggestion is that while you are practicing, narrow down to the fundamentals and start studying them. You can ignore for now most of the buttons on the camera, but the three things you really do need to learn about are aperture, shutter speed and ISO. The tutorials on this site would be a place to start. I don't have any basic books to recommend, unfortunately, because I learned this stuff 50 years ago.

    For example, decreasing the size of the aperture (higher f-number) increases depth of field, that is, how big a distance front-to-back is in focus. There are tutorials on this. When you get to this part, you can put the camera on aperture priority mode and try taking the same shot at different apertures, letting the camera adjust the rest to compensate. Then you can see the effect in your own photos.

    Be patient, bite off one or two pieces at a time, and have fun.

    Dan

  14. #14
    realdereal's Avatar
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    Re: I just bought my first DSLR

    Quote Originally Posted by DanK View Post
    Kristen,

    For example, decreasing the size of the aperture (higher f-number) increases depth of field, that is, how big a distance front-to-back is in focus. There are tutorials on this. When you get to this part, you can put the camera on aperture priority mode and try taking the same shot at different apertures, letting the camera adjust the rest to compensate. Then you can see the effect in your own photos.

    Be patient, bite off one or two pieces at a time, and have fun.

    Dan
    Wow- My brain hurts already. Increasing it decreases it... Wow. Back to reading the tutorials on here.
    Good sound advice and that is what I will do. Shoot while studying the basics and gently applying them.

  15. #15
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: I just bought my first DSLR

    Hi Kristen,

    Just to clarify; a couple of people have said put it on "P" or "A" and shoot, I believe they mean "P" (Programmed) or "AUTO" (Automatic) exposure.

    The position on your Nikon mode switch that is actually marked with an "A" means Aperture Priority and probably is not what they are suggesting. (which might be Av on their cameras, hence the confusion) You want the green AUTO and adjacent white P at 6 and 7 o'clock here:

    I just bought my first DSLR
    Borrowed from DPReview

    Wow- My brain hurts already. Increasing it decreases it... Wow.
    When you do understand apertures, f/ numbers and DoF, that's when you want "A", not before. Later, when you know about shutter speeds, then we can get you using "S" and when you know ISO too, then we'll move on to "M". As several have said, don't rush it - one thing at a time.

    Hope that helps avoid confusion,
    Last edited by Dave Humphries; 14th May 2013 at 07:33 PM.

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