new to photography!

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  • 02-12-2010, 06:23 AM
    gembo888
    new to photography!


    Hey everyone

    Ive had a good scan through some of these threads, and have decided to start my own as not all o fmy questions are answered in the threads, and some of the jargon used is currently alien to me!

    So, Ive started my long and happy relationship with photography and have been lucky enough to receive an olympus e-420 (14-42mm lense) camera for my birthday.

    Ive got my manual, several photography books etc which im trying to read through, but I have a few basic questions to be going on with, if someone could kindly oblige!?


    Firstly - what do I need to know about my lense - advantages / disadvantages, that will help me at this early stage?

    Second - I DJ and am wanting to take my camera out to the club and take some photographs. The venue is an old brick tunnel - with lots of strobes, lazers etc but is mostly quite dark. I have experienced using the slow shutter speed to create some movement shots and bright flashing lights etc which as ive learned from experience and also reading these forums - can be a bit hit and miss. Ive got some great shots but also some very un-focussed shots. I would like to know what other settings etc I can use to create some good images? there are many settings on my camera, night, candle, portrait etc etc - im not sure what to use.

    Third - could you explain some of the basic jargon used so that I can understand a little more of what everything means in english!! Aperature etc - not sure what this means!


    Thanks in advance to anyone who is nice enough to take all this on!!

    Gem:)
  • 02-12-2010, 06:32 AM
    mEasy27
    Re: new to photography!
    Welcome.. I am also new and just recieved a E-420 for Christmas..
  • 02-12-2010, 06:39 AM
    Iguanamom
    Re: new to photography!
    hey welcome - both to the obsession and the Olympus family.

    Aperture is the opening in the lens that lets light into the camera. Without getting too technical, the bigger the number (f16 say) the smaller the opening. The smaller the number (say f2.8) the larger the opening. This affects pictures in two basic ways - exposure, meaning how light or dark the picture relative to the shutter speed, and depth of field, meaning how much of the scene is in focus from nearest the camera to farthest.

    Aperture and shutter speed work together with the ambient light and the ISO (light sensitivity) setting you choose. If you choose a low ISO setting (less light sensitive) and a small aperture and a fast shutter speed, you're very likely to get a dark (underexposed) picture in the situation you describe. Changing these variables or adding light inside the tunnel will help, but it doesn't seem like you can do that. I could instead start with a higher ISO (light sensitivity) so the camera will see better in lower light. Maybe 800 or 1600. Then I would think about whether you want a frozen action shot or a slow blurry action shot. Put the camera in the S mode. This is Shutter priority which means that the camera will rely on you to set the shutter speed, but it will set the aperture for you. If you want slow blurry, choose a shutter speed that is around 1/60 of a second. If they're too dark, you may have to go slower. If you want frozen action shots, change your shutter speed to something like 1/250 or even higher (1/500th) and see what you get.

    I think you're going to have to sort of play around here and get used to how the variables in your camera settings work together. Then you can try more sophisticated techniques like slow curtain flash. But this is part of learning photography...experimenting, failing, succeeding. It's all part of the fun.

    I hope this helped a little.
  • 02-12-2010, 06:44 AM
    Greg McCary
    Re: new to photography!
    Your best bet in the long run is to learn to shoot in manual. Basic exposure isn't rocket science. It just takes a bit of practice. Hanging around the critique forum, posting or just reading, will help more than a shelf full of books. The 420 is a great camera. The 14-42mm is a basic kit lens. Olympus kit lenses are very good and can take some awesome pictures. Welcome to PR and ask as many questions as you like we are here to help you enjoy your new toy.
    Aperature, it is how much light the lens allows to hit the sensor when the shutter fires. The higher the number the less light but longer shutter speed you will need. The lower the number the more light allowed in. Portraits work good around F/4. Landscapes when you need more detail in the background needs to be a higher value. The sweet spot with most lenses is around F/10. The lower the F/# the less depth of field you have. It is nice to blur the background on portrait shots. But for landscapes you want more detail, for most scenes anyway.
    The automatic settings on you camera will get you in the range but without learning to shoot in manual you will still have a higher percentage of throw away shots since the camera really can't determine what you really are after.
  • 02-12-2010, 06:47 AM
    Iguanamom
    Re: new to photography!
    Oh damn. Just realized I didn't mention anything about that pesky depth of field I mentioned. This is what will be in focus in a scene from the thing closest to the camera to the thing farthest away. Aperture controls that relative to what the camera lens is focused on and if the lens is in wide angle mode or telephoto. Basically the larger the aperture (the lower the number showing) the less will be in focus relative to the actual thing you focused on. So if you're in the club and focusing on one person 20 feet away from you and using f4, people in front of and behind that person will likely be out of focus. But that same shot taken with an aperture of f11 will most likely have those same other people in focus. But then you have to have a slower shutter speed compared to using the larger aperture of f4. They work relative to each other - shutter speed and aperture. If you increase or decrease one, you have to increase or decrease the other opposite to the first one and in the same proportions. So if you decide to 'stop down' the lens (meaning to make the aperture smaller) from f2.8 to f8 that is three 'stops' and in order to get a decently exposed picture you'll need to slow the shutter speed by an equal 3 stops (say from 1/250th of a second to 1/30th). There is more to it, but that's the core of how they work together and what they do.

    I hope that wasn't too confusing.
  • 02-12-2010, 06:52 AM
    Injektilo*
    Re: new to photography!
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by gembo888

    Hey everyone

    Ive had a good scan through some of these threads, and have decided to start my own as not all o fmy questions are answered in the threads, and some of the jargon used is currently alien to me!

    So, Ive started my long and happy relationship with photography and have been lucky enough to receive an olympus e-420 (14-42mm lense) camera for my birthday.

    Ive got my manual, several photography books etc which im trying to read through, but I have a few basic questions to be going on with, if someone could kindly oblige!?


    Firstly - what do I need to know about my lense - advantages / disadvantages, that will help me at this early stage?

    Your kit lens is a good practice lens, you will however find it's slow at focusing in low light and it will not give you a great picture like an upgraded lens would. It will work well for outdoor daytime and well lit scenes but thats about it. You will be tempted to use the on camera flash but I strongly urge you to not use it as your pictures will look like you took them with a point and shoot.

    Learn about aperture/f stops and know what they mean and how to use them to you advantage in certain circumstances.

    Quote:

    Second - I DJ and am wanting to take my camera out to the club and take some photographs. The venue is an old brick tunnel - with lots of strobes, lazers etc but is mostly quite dark. I have experienced using the slow shutter speed to create some movement shots and bright flashing lights etc which as ive learned from experience and also reading these forums - can be a bit hit and miss. Ive got some great shots but also some very un-focussed shots. I would like to know what other settings etc I can use to create some good images? there are many settings on my camera, night, candle, portrait etc etc - im not sure what to use.
    Shoot A (aperature) mode and use the lowest F-stop possible. This will limit your DOF a bit so you will need to make sure your focus is spot on. You can always wait for a bright moment, autofocus and then switch it to manual and leave it, USE A TRIPOD for this. Also adjust the ISO settings, you probably have it set to auto which if I remember ranges from 100 to 800. I would avoid shooting anything above ISO 400 because of the noise, though a higher ISO will give you a faster shutter. You may also want to look into getting a faster lens, but just know that the wider the aperture the more limited your DOF will be so focus becomes more important.

    Quote:

    Third - could you explain some of the basic jargon used so that I can understand a little more of what everything means in english!! Aperature etc - not sure what this means!
    I'll point you to this site, if there's anything you don't understand after doing a bit of research let us know.
  • 02-12-2010, 09:57 AM
    gembo888
    Re: new to photography!
    thankyou so much to everyone for your feedback, I am going to have good read through it and get my head around it all. No doubt I will be back here tomorrow with more questions!!

    I have thought of one in the meantime - when im manually setting the aperture and shutter speed etc, what setting on the camera do I need it to be on when im taking the picture itself? do i need to select portrait, landscape etc - as when I do this it reverts to the auto selections for this setting. ??!

    Thanks again

    Gem
  • 02-12-2010, 09:58 AM
    Iguanamom
    Re: new to photography!
    In those modes, the camera selects all. Put it in M or Manual.
  • 03-16-2010, 10:09 AM
    gembo888
    Re: new to photography!
    quick question - if im wanting to take a picture of a specific subject, but the camera is focussing in on a different subject in the picture, how do i change this?
  • 03-16-2010, 10:55 AM
    Frog
    Re: new to photography!
    I don't know what focus options the e-420 system has but if it is anything like nikon d80 then you can select where in the composition you want the focal point.
    Does it have a focus area with several focal points? There should be a setting that allows you to select which one you want. This only works if the subject to focus is within your focus area.
    Another thing you can do and I believe this holds true for all dslr is to get the focus on what you want focused and hold the shutter half way down to lock that focus. Then move the camera to the composition you want and take the pic. This works if the subject you want focused is to the sides of the frame.
  • 03-16-2010, 11:59 AM
    Rocker
    Re: new to photography!
    welcome, you can have just as much fun looking at pictures as you do taking them
    im here on this forum more for enjoying peoples work and enjoying the beauty of art, it rocks ;)
  • 03-16-2010, 04:11 PM
    Atomic2
    Re: new to photography!
    My biggest advice to anyone new to photography is to put the camera in MANUAL [M] and just play with every setting there is. Just play and play and play; see how the various settings effect the image, and effect other settings. Important things to understand are shutter and aperture. The combination of those two things has the greatest impact on the image. Back in the day of old school film cameras, shutter and aperture where ALL you had control of most the time. Now with digital there are SO many things you can tweak, the importance of these two things seems to go unnoticed by those picking up a camera for the first time. Make sure you have a good understanding of these two things before you do anything else.
    and if ever there is a setting that doesnt have a clear impact on the image or the other camera parameters, only then should you look it up in the manual or on the internet. Its always better to see the effects of your setting changes first hand.

    REMEMBER THIS: never put your camera in auto mode. If you do this, you might as well trade your fancy SLR for a point and shoot because thats exactly what it becomes and I can assure you the images it will produce will be none better. Just dont do it, you will never learn this way.
  • 03-21-2010, 09:27 PM
    Ivan916
    Re: new to photography!
    I've got the same camera too and I love it. Small, elegant, and with a kick-ass lens. I'm surprised myself at what a nice lens it is; it's flimsy, feels cheap, wobbles a bit, but it takes really good pictures and its auto-focus speed is like .5 seconds or less.

    We didn't have such good lenses 30 years ago unless you paid insane amounts of money.

    If you're going to shoot indoor at a club then I'd recommend just leaving it at "sport" mood which basically shoots at ISO 1600 with the widest aperture. Neat thing is that it fires off like 3 shots per second so at least a portion of your shots get through the strobe.

    The great thing about SLR's is that people argue whether they should be used in manual or point and shoot mood. They're flexible and take far better pictures than any point and shoot camera.

    So use it like a P&S at first, then gradually learn about the other moods. The manual the camera comes with is pretty nice.