Old 05-25-2009, 02:19 AM   #1
Alan
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Default Does it pay to get the DVD?

Dear Fellow Members,
I'm getting a new Nikon D40 camera. Now you have to understand I don't know the first thing about taking pictures when you have to set the shutter and aperture. For $25 you can get a DVD that I guess shows you how to use the camera. Do you think this DVD is a good idea or should I just figure out how to use the camera on my own. Or ask my brother who's into photography. I don't have a lot of money and would rather use the $25 for a lens shade or filter.
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Old 05-25-2009, 02:33 AM   #2
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I think you answered your own question. Get with your brother to show you a few things, ask opinions of other photogs you meet in person or on line. You may be different, but I personally think a book on shooting would be better.

Also, filters are a bad idea in my opinion. I don't like them and don't use them. Save that 25 bucks on gas and fast food for your first day trip out shooting.
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Old 05-25-2009, 02:44 AM   #3
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I have to disagree with Joe on the filter question. There's at least one filter that you should get, and it doesn't matter that you're shooting digital. You need to get a circular polarizer! Makes for much better skies, and can help cutting down glare in certain conditions.

Jon
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Old 05-25-2009, 03:02 AM   #4
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I agree with Jon. A multi-coated circular polarizer is a great thing to have. It really deepens the blue in skies and makes puffy white clouds really pop. Can even make wispy clouds that don't seem to be there pop in your pics.

I'm sure there are better examples, but many of these clouds were not visible to the naked eye without the C-PL filter...

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Old 05-25-2009, 06:38 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by jnohallman View Post
I have to disagree with Joe on the filter question. There's at least one filter that you should get, and it doesn't matter that you're shooting digital. You need to get a circular polarizer! Makes for much better skies, and can help cutting down glare in certain conditions.

Jon
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I agree with Jon. A multi-coated circular polarizer is a great thing to have. It really deepens the blue in skies and makes puffy white clouds really pop. Can even make wispy clouds that don't seem to be there pop in your pics.
I wouldn't recommend a CP filter to a beginner until he learns how to use a DSLR and understands the values of shutter speed, aperture and ISO settings and how they relate to each other.

Using a CP filter typically loses 2 stops of light, and just that alone might be a little confusing to Alan if he hasn't learned about that stuff yet.

I've tried to use my CP filter in the past for train photography, but one thing I noticed when shooting a train coming toward me was that light flaring typically happened. This was evident with both my wide angle and zoom lenses. And, with losing the 2 stops of light, you either have to jack up the ISO or slow the shutter speed (providing you're at a set aperture).
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Old 05-25-2009, 06:47 PM   #6
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Dear Fellow Members,
I'm getting a new Nikon D40 camera. Now you have to understand I don't know the first thing about taking pictures when you have to set the shutter and aperture. For $25 you can get a DVD that I guess shows you how to use the camera. Do you think this DVD is a good idea or should I just figure out how to use the camera on my own. Or ask my brother who's into photography. I don't have a lot of money and would rather use the $25 for a lens shade or filter.
Assuming that you can understand basic photographic principals, the (IMO) best "learn your Nikon gear" books are by Thom Hogan. Visit his site at, www.bythom.com and check out the resources that he makes available to the Nikon shooter.
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Old 05-25-2009, 06:51 PM   #7
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Also, visit www.kenrockwell.com and do a search for the D40, he may have a free edition of his book on his site. Just please take alot of his "words of wisdom" with a grain of salt.
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Old 05-25-2009, 08:05 PM   #8
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I've tried to use my CP filter in the past for train photography, but one thing I noticed when shooting a train coming toward me was that light flaring typically happened. This was evident with both my wide angle and zoom lenses.
I'll agree that one should get used to regular shooting before messing with a CP, but it's still something to get down the road.

I've noticed issues with light flaring from head on shots even without the CP - any suggestions on how to deal with that?

Jon
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Old 05-26-2009, 05:24 PM   #9
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I don't see the idea of having to compensate 2 f-stops for using a PL filter as a major hurdle. It's minor in the scheme of learning a new DLSR and still say its worth having pretty early on. As far as the light flaring what kind of filter were you using? Was it multi-coated? The one's that aren't are more susceptible to flaring.
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Old 05-26-2009, 06:07 PM   #10
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I don't see the idea of having to compensate 2 f-stops for using a PL filter as a major hurdle. It's minor in the scheme of learning a new DLSR and still say its worth having pretty early on.
I'm a fan of the one step at a time approach. Sure, the polarizer isn't that much more, but it is yet something else to think about. You are getting ready for a shot, and you think about whether or not to use it, is the sun at a good angle for it, what does it add, and if you do decide to use it, you have to get it rotated to a good position. It adds complexity when not needed and not that important.

Master the DSLR and its basic processes first. Move on to a polarizer in 3 months, one year, one week, whenever comfortable. But there is enough to learn without having a polarizer to bother with at the beginning.
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Old 05-27-2009, 05:09 AM   #11
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Also, visit www.kenrockwell.com and do a search for the D40, he may have a free edition of his book on his site. Just please take alot of his "words of wisdom" with a grain of salt.
......or an entire salt mine....
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Old 05-27-2009, 11:14 AM   #12
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Dear Fellow Members,
I'm getting a new Nikon D40 camera. Now you have to understand I don't know the first thing about taking pictures when you have to set the shutter and aperture.
Fingering out the camera isn't hard at all The set up can be a bit testing for a new guy but it's not all that bad. Start with P mode or TV and with an ISO 200 or 400 if you're setting it up yourself. Go full manual as soon as you can as it is still the best way to get the shot as you seen it and the trains headlights wont mess it up.
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Old 05-27-2009, 12:44 PM   #13
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Hi Alan,

I wouldn't spend the $25 on the DVD. You can learn just as much by seeking out the advice of other folks (preferably several) who are more experienced photographers. Certainly, if you ask questions here, you'll find a wealth of advice....and opinions!

I know that the D40 doesn't come with a lens shade. Nikon does make one for it though and that would be worthwhile. It does make a difference in bright sun situations....and in the rain. It will also help protect the front element in your lens. Buy the Nikon shade that is made for the lens. Anything else could cause vignetting (darkness around the corners of your photos).

Another good choice (IMHO anyway) is a good, multi-coated UV filter. It has no filter factor (doesn't cut the amount of light entering your camera), it will slightly improve the quality of sunny day shots, and most importantly, it will also protect the front element of your lens. Be sure to get a multi-coated filter. The cheap ones they sell at Best Buy are not. The multi-coating will cut down on the lens flare problems that the other guys have alluded to. In some situations....night shots, for instance.....take all filters off. Even the multi-coated ones can cause problems.

I would hold off on the Circular Polarizer. A good one can cost you a lot more than the lens shade and UV filter combined and you just don't need it that often. I have a 72mm Nikon PL2, which costs over $100 and can count on one hand the number of times I've used it. As others have pointed out, it also carries a 2-stop light penalty, forcing you to up the ISO to keep a decent shutter speed. You're starting out at ISO 200 with the D40 and you really don't want to go above that if you can help it.

Get a lens shade and a good UV filter and you have the basic tools you need. Everything else is skill and judgement....those only come with time and practice. As has been noted, the first real skill you need to master is MANUAL EXPOSURE. Your camera is good at a lot of things, but one thing you want to retain control of is exposure.
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Old 05-27-2009, 08:40 PM   #14
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Thanks for the advice Kevin. I appreciate it.

Alan
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