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Jason_Bryan
Feb 20, 2006, 09:12 AM
I have just come back from buying a Nikon D50. I have been swinging between buying one or saving my hard earned cash, for a couple of months now, but I gave in today. I was a very keen photo taker as a teen, but have done very little in the last 18 years. I will probably be asking loads of questions of you guys so thank you in advance.
What made me buy a DSLR? I have a passion for clouds and sunsets/rises and wanted a camera that would help me capture them. I know all to well it is the person not the camera that makes the picture so any are tips welcome :)



Frank (Atlanta)
Feb 20, 2006, 09:26 AM
Jason,

Congrats on the D50! I've used Nikon gear (as an amateur) for ~25 yrs and have not had a single problem with any of my kit. I made the switch to digital in 2004 and haven't looked back.

The amount of pictures you'll take will skyrocket and you'll have the ability to experiment without incremental cost.

With regards to tips - just 2 starters from me:

1. Experiment, shoot a lot and have fun. That's the beauty of digital - go ahead and try new/different things. As such, though, think about a filing system, naming convention, etc. - you'll build-up a large number of photos and you'll want to be able to access them as needed.

2. Not sure what you're used to shooting, but digital's dynamic range is less than print film (it's more akin to slide film). Not sure how the D50 is configured, but the D70 had a slight tendancy to underexpose to preserve highlights. There are curves available on the net that can help with this item; however, experiment first to see if you like the look out-of-the-camera or if you want to dial-in exposure comp, use a custom curve, etc.

Have fun,
Frank

Clix Pix
Feb 20, 2006, 12:56 PM
Congratuations! You will have a lot of fun with your new camera. As Frank mentions, digital is great because you can experiment and shoot to your heart's content without worrying about the cost of film and processing, and of course you can see what you're doing all the way... No more hoping-for-the-best and holding your breath as you develop the roll of film and stick it under the enlarger only to see that, oops, you didn't get what you'd intended.... No more peering at the slide and sticking it into the projector only to see that, oops, you missed the mark.... No more cumbersome Polaroid backs on medium-format or large-format cameras in an attempt to get a preview of what you're trying to shoot before using expensive film.... Shooting with a digital camera has wiped all those problems away.

Tips: Get more than one memory card. You will be shooting a lot and there may be times when you don't have time to download into the computer, especially if you're out for an afternoon of shooting somewhere. Get the largest size memory cards you can afford, too, because you can never have too much memory. Also get a spare battery for the camera. Even though battery life is pretty good on these things, it is always advisable to have a spare at hand, especially when out shooting for a long time or when using flash extensively.

If you don't already have a good image editing program, take a look at Photoshop Elements, which has many of the same features as its more expensive big brother Photoshop for significantly less cost. I think PSE is now around $100, whereas of course PS CS2 is more like $650-700.00. I think while PSE 4 is available for the PC we Mac users are still in v.3, but I've been told that there is really little difference between the two versions.

Find yourself a good camera bag to tote your D50 and lens(es) around in while you're out and about, and also for safekeeping at home. Dust is the DSLR's enemy and keeping your camera and lens(es) free from it is imperative unless you want to spend a lot of time blowing dust bunnies off your sensor. Eventually you'll want to get a Giotto Rocket Blower but unless you're changing lenses a lot, especially under unfavorable conditions, you shouldn't need to worry about cleaning the sensor for a while. I had to get out the blower for the first time a couple of days ago when suddenly a nasty big old dust bunny appeared in my view as I was getting ready to shoot after having switched lenses for the third time during the session. A couple of puffs with the Giotto and that sucker was gone and I was back to business.

This next tip is a hard one. Try not to succumb to the infamous "lens lust disorder" which usually strikes most of us who have and use SLRs and DSLRs. It's insidious and sneaks up on you.... You start out with one lens and then you think, "gee, if I had a [fill-in-the-blank] lens, I could do this or that...." and then you buy that lens. Next thing you know you're thinking, "well, gee, if I had a [fill-in-the-blank] lens, too, I could do...." and you're hooked. The beauty of shooting with a DSLR is the flexibility that comes with being able to use interchangeable lenses. The havoc this can wreak on one's pocketbook can also accompany owning a DSLR. One nice thing, though, is that if you need a particular lens for a specific occasion, if you're in a large city or suburbs in a large urban area, you can rent the lens for a day or weekend. If you have friends who have the same brand of camera it's fun to swap lenses while shooting together, especially if the friends have a greater variety in lenses than you do.

In the meantime, work with the lens(es) you've got, really get to know what they'll do for you and how you can optimize results from them, and also get a sense of what you like to shoot. Only THEN start thinking about what other lenses might fill specific needs...

"Lens Lust Disorder" is fortunately not fatal, but it can be chronic. Fortunately there's no hurry to "cure" it, one can take one's time in accumulating and using lenses through the years....

OK, editing to add a summary of everything I wrote above:

1. Get more than one memory card.
2. Get as much memory on each card as you can afford.
3. Get a spare battery for the camera.
4. Get a good image editing program such as Photoshop or Photoshop Elements. iPhoto will do in a pinch but it really isn't as flexible as the other programs designed for editing.
5. Get a good camera bag for keeping the camera and lens(es) safe at home and also for carrying when you're out and about.
6. Get a Giotto Rocket blower for getting those pesky dust bunnies off your sensor. Yes, it WILL happen eventually.
7. Work extensively with the lens(es) you've got before allowing yourself to succumb to "Lens Lust Disorder." Pay attention to what you like to shoot the most; this will help in deciding what your next lens purchase should be.


In a nutshell, just have fun with that new camera and get out there and SHOOT!!! :)

drlunanerd
Feb 20, 2006, 01:41 PM
Good tips, if not exactly succinct! ;)

The D50 is a great camera, hope you enjoy using it.

I've had mine since December and have just been infected with "lens lust"! Have ordered a Nikon 18-200mm VR-II lens. My reasoning is that it's a do it all lens and I shouldn't have to buy any others (ahem, cough!). Only problem is that the lens is worth more than the camera body!

TOP TIP: buy these silicone LCD screen protectors, they're brilliant and the best I've ever found (Jessops own brand ones are shockingly awful for example): http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/EXiM-SPOC-Screen-Protector-for-Nikon-D70s-D70-D50-HQ_W0QQitemZ7591077514QQcategoryZ27432QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

Lens lust sated, that's not to say I haven't got a D200 lined up in my future :p

Clix Pix
Feb 20, 2006, 02:35 PM
Good tips, if not exactly succinct! ;)

LOL! Yeah, I AM a bit wordy at times, eh? :D


I've had mine since December and have just been infected with "lens lust"! Have ordered a Nikon 18-200mm VR-II lens. My reasoning is that it's a do it all lens and I shouldn't have to buy any others (ahem, cough!).

You will LOVE the 18-200mm VR lens! It is a real beauty and is a great walk-around lens for traveling or a day strolling around your own area. However, it's not the "end-all-and-be-all" lens because it's not as fast as some other lenses (primes and some expensive zooms), so there may come a time when you decide you want or need another lens in order to shoot under low-light conditions without having to bump up the ISO to the limits.... But, yes, the 18-200 VR is a wonderful lens and not too heavy so it's ideal for traveling.

Doesn't the D50 come with a LCD protector thingy on it? The D200, D70 and D70s all have this plastic piece over the LCD screen that snaps on-and-off. If it doesn't, yes, it would be a good idea to get some sort of LCD protection.

Oh, yes, along with Lens Lust there eventually comes New Camera Body Lust.... Been there, done that! :D

Jason_Bryan
Feb 20, 2006, 03:16 PM
I have just noticed that on all my pictures I have taken today there is a dark spot in the same place on all the different shots. I can't see anything on the lens :confused:

Clix Pix
Feb 20, 2006, 03:23 PM
I have just noticed that on all my pictures I have taken today there is a dark spot in the same place on all the different shots. I can't see anything on the lens :confused:

That may very well be a speck of dust on the camera sensor. You might want to take the camera back to the store -- did you buy it at a camera shop or at a "big box" store? -- and see if they can check it out and clean it for you. Unless you've already got a Giotto Rocket blower at hand and are ready to tackle this yourself....

Basically what you would do is remove the lens, then hold the camera with the lens opening facing down, then gently blow with the Giotto Rocket into and around the opening. Maybe give the camera a gentle little shake. If there is a piece of dust it should come right on out. If it's something worse, something gooky actually stuck on the sensor, then this will require a little more serious cleaning and a trip to the camera store where they know what they're doing.

Jason_Bryan
Feb 20, 2006, 04:06 PM
Lucky I chose to buy from a local dealer and not off the net. I think that the personal touch is worth the extra few pounds in cash. I will just have to take it back into store and ask them to sort it.

Clix Pix
Feb 20, 2006, 10:55 PM
Yes, it is a very good thing that you chose to purchase from a local brick-and-mortar store! Take the camera and lens back to them and have them sort it out; more than likely this is a situation of a dust bunny that has found its way to the sensor, even though this is a brand-new camera. If it's not a mere dust bunny but something sticky, if this seems to be something more serious, I think I'd request an exchange and I'd also take the precaution of checking out the new equipment before leaving the store.

Sorry this had to happen to you straightaway -- I'm sure that you are frustrated and disappointed. Keep us posted!

drlunanerd
Feb 21, 2006, 08:44 AM
LOL! Yeah, I AM a bit wordy at times, eh? :D

You will LOVE the 18-200mm VR lens! It is a real beauty and is a great walk-around lens for traveling or a day strolling around your own area. However, it's not the "end-all-and-be-all" lens because it's not as fast as some other lenses (primes and some expensive zooms), so there may come a time when you decide you want or need another lens in order to shoot under low-light conditions without having to bump up the ISO to the limits.... But, yes, the 18-200 VR is a wonderful lens and not too heavy so it's ideal for traveling.

Doesn't the D50 come with a LCD protector thingy on it? The D200, D70 and D70s all have this plastic piece over the LCD screen that snaps on-and-off. If it doesn't, yes, it would be a good idea to get some sort of LCD protection.

Oh, yes, along with Lens Lust there eventually comes New Camera Body Lust.... Been there, done that! :D

Yep, am aware the 18-200 isn't super fast, but the D50 is very good at high ISOs so it shouldn't be a problem. For the price there's nothing to touch this lens, and as I'm already missing shots due to not having a big enough zoom I think it should be worth it for me. I'm planning on taking it with me on a 200 mile hike, so that will be a real workout (for it and me!).

The D50 doesn't come with the Nikon plastic screen protector as there's no attachment points, but the silicone protectors I've linked to are better IMO - they're not bulky, adhere directly to the screen so no chance of grit getting behind it, and also protect the top panel. They don't create bubbles and also peel off with no glue residue at all. Essential for all D50 owners!

Jason_Bryan
Feb 22, 2006, 10:40 AM
Well I took my new camera back into the shop today, They swaped it out strait away when I showed them the pics, they say there is a small defect on one of the lens. Now all I have to do is find some time to get out and about and get taking some shots.

Clix Pix
Feb 22, 2006, 11:06 AM
There, this shows the benefits of purchasing from a local brick-and-mortar camera shop! Glad that everything has worked out and that you're good to go again with your newest camera....