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robtf

Nikon D5200 help and recommendation

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ok apologies if this has been hashed out elsewhere, just saw this forum and figured 'what the heck'.

 

Got a D5200 last year, the default lens was like a 28-70mm, bought a 80-300mm, and a fixed lens (50mm something... don't
have the camera with me at the moment)

 

I can take some decent pictures with it, but can't seem to get to that awesome-ness that seems possible with a camera like this.

 

Yes, I know most of the problem is between my ears, but I'm also looking for a better quality lens, zoom lens in particular.

 

Wondered what Nikon D... owners thought were good lenses?

 

Second question is how the heck can I take a halfway decent picture of the moon, say for this question standalone in the sky. Not, for example, the double exposed type photoshopped image of the moon in behind a lighthouse / whatever. I'm just talking about getting
a viewable image of the moon, and not just some white circle. I've got a tripod, and my existing Nikor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED IF AF-S lens?

 

Thanks... and if you don't feel like typing, pointers to helpful references for both would be much appreciated :D !!

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Posted (edited)

Robtf,

 

It's not easy to answer your first question, since for different purpose (taking different pictures, e.g. landscape, wildlife, portrait, etc) will have different ideal lenses .. I'll list the commonly agreed ones for your reference:

 

For landscape:

You need a wide angle lenses since you are using a DX formatted camera. e.g. Nikon 10-24mm, Tokina ATX 11-16 f/2.8, etc.

 

For Portrait:

Your 50mm fixed lenses ( I assume it's the 50mm f/1.8) can do wonders if you use it for taking portraits and group shots.

 

For Wildlife:

Your 70-300mm can take decent pictures of large animals, large birds in close distance. But if you want to really sharp images, then fixed lenses will give the picture quality a bump, e.g. Nikon AFS 300mm f/4

 

Now for taking moon pictures, you want to use tripod, use the longest zoom (e.g. if you use your 70-300mm, then use the 300mm end). I'm copying/pasting some info from the photographylife dot com and that is a general way to take moon pictures:

 

  1. Camera Mode: Set your camera mode to full Manual Mode.
  2. ISO: Set your ISO to 100 if you have a Canon DSLR and to 200 if you have a Nikon DSLR (basically, whatever base ISO you have in your camera). For most other brands, the base ISO is also 100. If you have a point and shoot camera, see if you can find a menu setting to set your ISO to 100. Make sure “Auto ISO” is turned Off.
  3. Aperture: Set your aperture to f/11.
  4. Shutter Speed: Set your shutter speed to 1/125 on cameras with base ISO 100, and to 1/250 on Nikon DSLRs with base ISO 200.
  5. Lens Focus: Set your lens to manual focus (either through a switch on the lens or on the camera) and set your focus to infinity. Be careful while setting the focus to infinity, as some lenses allow focusing beyond infinity. On more advanced DSLRs such as Nikon D300, there is a handy feature called “live-view with contrast detect”, which can accurately acquire focus on distant objects. I have used it many times for my moon photography and it works great! If you do not have such a feature in your camera, then try setting your lens to the center of the infinity sign, then take a picture and see if it came out sharp by zooming in the rear LCD of the camera.

Examples:
Nikon D90 DSLR: ISO 200, Aperture f/11, Shutter Speed 1/250.
Canon EOS Rebel XSi: ISO 100, Aperture f/11, Shutter Speed 1/125.

 

You can Google above moon picture method with "taking moon photos with dslr", you will see the link for photographylife dot com.

 

Hope that gives you something to start from and someone else will also chime in later.

Edited by SurfGazer

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While buying better glass will improve your images(especially low light) the amount of improvement is not going to be very noticeable under "normal" shooting conditions. Nikon's best selling lens is the 70-200 2.8...fairly expensive.....and you have that range covered.......becoming good at post-processing will have the most effect on your images. I think you will be disappointed if you think buying better glass will make you images look great. The glass you have is decent and capable of producing beautiful images. Just my opinion of course!

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Thanks for *all* the replies guys.

 

I understand that post-processing is very important, and for certain things really the "key to the castle"

 

For example, I would never see the colors pop out in this picture I took, without adjusting the saturation.

 

butterfly3.jpg

 

However, my experience and reading comments on my existing lens seems to show that at full zoom, there is fuzziness or lack of crispness to the image that I don't think any amount of postprocessing will fix.

 

Maybe.

 

I'll still have to research... I just know that I've seen awesome zoomed images from someone with the exact same body that I have, that I can't see to coming close
to replicating.

 

I certainly am not going out and spending $6K or more on a new lens, but maybe the $1300 or so for a much better fixed lens might be something I'd consider.

 

Again, maybe :D

 

The wide angle lens for landscape is probably a good idea... I'll look into that.

 

surfgazer, thanks especially for the pointers on moon shots... I'll try out the suggestions and also look into if the D5200 has something similar to the

“live-view with contrast detect” mode.

 

Again, thanks for all the comments.

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Posted (edited)

robtf,

 

You're welcome. As allen mentioned, your lenses collection is decent enough and can produce very good quality pictures. Besides the post processing and quality lenses, one of the most important parts is to make sure the object is properly focused when you press the shutter button, also make sure you have eliminated hand shaking as much as possible.

 

To minimize the handshaking, an easy to remember rule to use shutter speed faster than the reciprocal of your effective focal length. e.g. if you are using your 70-300mm at 300mm end, with your Nikon D5200's 1.5x crop factor, that will make the effective focal length of 450mm, so you want to use shutter speed at least 1/450 second, since there is no such speed you can find, you might use 1/500 second. If you think you have a not-so-stable hands, then use even faster speed, e.g. 1/640 or 1/800 second if light condition permits.

 

Now, if you have the VR turned on, that could buy you some room, and it might give you reasonably sharp image. Also, if you use tripod with a shutter release cable, that will also give you extra room to play and you might get away for much slower shutter speed.

 

Of course, if you are using A mode (Aperture Priority), then once you set the Aperture, the speed is determined by the camera. Depends on the light condition, the speed could drop to well below the acceptable level, e.g. to 1/125 second, that will certainly make your handshaking visible on your final picture image if you are using 300mm end of lenses.

 

I normally play it safe and always try to use fast shutter speed when possible, unless I intentionally try to blur something (e.g. water falls, etc).or I have my camera/lenses on tripod or with VR turned while handholding.

Edited by SurfGazer

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Posted (edited)

I believe in a post awhile back, Jim mentioned about removing any filters from lens so as to avoid any 'ghosting' (think that's the word he used) from the filter when taking moon shots.

Edited by fluke07

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fluke I have been staying out of this conversation intentionally because he was looking for help from "other D user's" specifically ...... which I am not.

 

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Posted (edited)

Jim, all: While I was looking for input from D users on  lenses and settings, I welcome other comments and helpful hints. I never heard about ghosting from filters .. I almost always use a "sky" filter or a circular polarized filter if I have them (  I do for the 300 zoom, for example) So, should I really leave those off unless I need the polarizer for a specific shot? I am really a photo novice, having abandoned SLRs since my AE-1 days, and at that was not a huge photo student.

Edited by robtf

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Posted (edited)

rob you have gotten some excellent advice in this thread...... The supplied pic you posted is a rough spot to start... I think I know what you think you are missing and I assure you your gear can deliver what you want if you do your part............ find the lens sweet spot... that is the aperture that it best delivers a sharp image. Usually it will be between f4-10 depending on the lens design. Yes zoom lenses can be a compromise but if you take the time and learn it's strong and weak points and shoot to it's strengths and avoid it's weaknesses you can be successful. A poster mentioned lighting an post processing as key points as did Allen mention post processing and I agree wholeheartedly. A photo's only 20-40% the capture and is 60-80% post processing in order to get the results you feel you are missing.

 

Great glass all well and good but todays software in Post Processing can narrow the differences each produces till a barely perceivable difference as Allen referred to. I would keep my money in my wallet and work to learn my camera and the glass I have and work to learn how to shoot RAW and being a Nikon the Capture NX supplied software for post processing. Your camera and glass in the hands of someone who knows how to work to it's strengths and can post process it's RAW files can generate as great a image as they can with a setup costing 10x as much. Camera's and software today are usually far more capable than their users.

 

This hobby takes time behind the viewfinder and time at your PC's keyboard learning what can and can't be done to accomplish your goals.... there are few shortcuts and you surely can't buy one's way there by chasing better and better equipment. The only shortcut I know of is shooting beside someone who has the talents and abilities you want to achieve. A camera club or photo society sometimes can give the shooter this opportunity in the field trips or weekly competitions and critiques. 

 

When you start processing RAW's at first just think less is best and make slow gradual changes... then look at it and see if it is heading the direction you want.

 

If you know someone close to you that you admire their abilities in photography see if they will go afield with you and mentor you on the capture and then spend a bit of time with them behind a keyboard learning Capture NX. Lot's of people will be glad to do this for free some may charge you but it will be money far better spent at this point than new hardware.

 

Just my .02 on this ........ all of us hear from time to time what great gear we must have to make photo's such as they may of seen from us...... trust me in most cases we could get near similar results with a cellphone camera if we know the basics of capture and PP. Like telling a chef he must have great pot's and pan's ;)

 

 

Edited by Jim DE

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Jim,

 

I don't really have anyone local that I can tap into, but will keep my ears open and ask around.

 

I have not tried using Capture nor working on raw images, so that will be my starting point :)

 

Thanks again!

 

Rob

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Rob your local camera stores may know of some willing mentors.

 

RAW will give you the most amount of uncompressed information to work with while post processing. Think of a ooc jpg as the old 4x6" prints you used to get from the local drugstore when you dropped off a role of film and RAW as it's negative. The more data you have recorded the more you have to work with. I am sure if you ask 100 paid photographers out and about 99% will be shooting RAW.

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Posted (edited)

......JIM, is it worthwhile to shoot RAW with a P+S using Picasa for PP?  So far, all of my images have been just been JPEGs  OOC, with some minor post in Picasa.  Maybe I just need to try it and see what happens.  And maybe Picasa is just not so good for that purpose.  I use Picasa bc it is free and simple.  Any input always welcome.  Thanks.

 

UPDATE:  Processing RAW images from my P+S using Picasa was NG.  There is a disk that came with the camera and maybe that will have something useful on it.  The camera also does in-camera RAW processing, whatever that is.  Time to experiment.

Edited by fm/nj

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Posted (edited)

fm/nj usually the jpg processor in a P&S gives relatively good images but it is not ALL IT COULD BE if shot in RAW and processed by someone who has learned his tools. WB is the biggest difference in that essentiially a jpg WB is what it is and with a RAW you still have adjustability there. Also most RAW files are either uncompressed or relatively uncompressed thus giving you far more to work with if needed.

 

It is all a matter of needs and wants and how much time and talent one wishes to expend to achieve their goals..... slr's historically OOC images are relatively soft because they assume a slr user will want to do their own processing..... P&S come out relatively sharp because the manufacturer assumes a P&S shooter is going to use OOC images.

 

 

Edited by Jim DE

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