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Old 07-07-2014, 12:07 AM   #1
_fifth_
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DSLR Suggestions?

I have a Nikon D40 I picked up when it was brand new and at first I loved the thing because it was my first DSLR and I thought it took brilliant photos. The more I've used it the more I realized I really don't like it at all. The autofocus only works about half the time and it over exposes almost everything. I figured out how to go in and adjust it so that problem is kind of fixed but I still feel extremely limited in what I can take a picture of. I find it difficult to work with and it seems to fight me on everything. I have found myself taking a lot of pictures in extremely low light and the D40 just doesn't seem to have the capabilities to capture what I want without being blurry (I've tried a tripod and messing with the f/stop and the aperture). I also shoot a lot of fast movement in low light too, something I cannot do well with the D40. Is this just me or is it the camera?

I'm looking into buying a new DSLR, but I'm not sure where I should look. I've heard wonderful things about the Canon Rebels, but have no experience with them. Should I bump it up to the D80? I'm considering the Canon Rebel T3, but as far as I can tell the lens is not detachable which weirds me out for some reason. How is it compared to the D40?

I don't have unlimited funds to work with so I kind of want to stick to something $300 or under. I realize you get what you pay for when it comes to electronics, but maybe there is a camera out there that is worth the price... To be honest, the D40 just feels cheap to me and even though we've been through so much together, it just may be time to move on from it.

I take pictures for work of our DJ and almost none of them turned out alright. I may just be doing everything all wrong though...

Here's an example (not altered in anyway):



This was taken with F at 3.5 and exposure program at 4. I need his mask/face to not be blurry but because of his light set up his face is almost always dark/not in direct light and he moves very quickly. Is there something I can do to change how I shoot or can it be blamed on the camera?


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Old 07-07-2014, 01:39 AM   #2
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Your issues sound like inexperience to me, personally. In order to shoot in low light conditions, you either need a tripod and a still subject, or a high ISO value. And even then, shooting motion in low light conditions just doesn't sound fun or ideal to me.

That being said, the D40 is a bit outdated. So, IMO, if you can afford it, upgrade.

My last camera was a Nikon P100 (DSLR-style point and shoot) and I thought it was great. Until I upgraded to a Canon T4i, that is. Granted, they're not even on the same playing field in terms of quality. But still.. My T4i kicks ass.

My only complaint is that it's still a crop sensor and I'd kind of like to go full frame at this point. However, for you, a crop sensor should be just fine.

I would recommend a Canon T3i or T4i. Both can be had for under $600 now. I'm not even familiar enough with Nikon to tell you where to go there. I believe the D3200 is equal to the T3i, but I could be wrong.

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Old 07-07-2014, 02:06 AM   #3
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I am extremely unexperienced outside of I think one photo class in college and more recently getting into using the D40 not set on auto everything. I can't possibly use a tripod at his shows and as far as I know doesn't raising the ISO make the pictures more grainy?

Wisco, what draws you to the Canon side as opposed to Nikon? Just curious. You're pictures are always spot on and I'm envious of your skills!
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Old 07-07-2014, 08:54 AM   #4
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The bright lights in the photo are what the camera is metering on making the shadows very dark. Do you use flash at all? Trying moving to a different angle to avoid the bright lights in the foreground. You can also change how the camera meters. You are probably using matrix metering which analyzes the entire frame. The other options are center weighted and spot metering. Spot as it sounds is the smallest area that is metered. Try different meter options to see if it helps your situation. Also, check out this link on metering.
http://photographylife.com/understanding-metering-modes

Good luck.
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Old 07-09-2014, 07:31 AM   #5
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Using a 50mm lens and a flash were the greatest improvements to my photography when I thought it was the camera. I'm considering moving to a mirrorless but as for what suggests I would have now, that would be it.
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Old 07-09-2014, 07:39 AM   #6
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What you probably need is a lens with a very open aperture. Both the Canon and Nikon 50mm fixed lenses have a pretty open aperture which will help allow you to take pictures with a lower ISO therefore reducing the grain in your shots.

Nikon: http://www.amazon.com/Nikon-50mm-Nik.../dp/B00005LEN4
Canon: http://www.amazon.com/Canon-50mm-1-8.../dp/B00007E7JU

If the lens still isn't enough you'll probably need a newer camera that is able to take better quality shots at higher ISO settings.
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Old 07-09-2014, 01:50 PM   #7
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Using a 50mm lens and a flash were the greatest improvements to my photography when I thought it was the camera. I'm considering moving to a mirrorless but as for what suggests I would have now, that would be it.
For some reason, I absolutely hate using the built in flash on my camera and I've never experimented with different types.

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What you probably need is a lens with a very open aperture. Both the Canon and Nikon 50mm fixed lenses have a pretty open aperture which will help allow you to take pictures with a lower ISO therefore reducing the grain in your shots.

Nikon: http://www.amazon.com/Nikon-50mm-Nik.../dp/B00005LEN4
Canon: http://www.amazon.com/Canon-50mm-1-8.../dp/B00007E7JU

If the lens still isn't enough you'll probably need a newer camera that is able to take better quality shots at higher ISO settings.

Thank you! I'll definitely look into that!
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Old 07-10-2014, 08:47 AM   #8
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Thank you! I'll definitely look into that!
No problem! Basically the lower the f/x.x number, the better the night pictures will turn out. As you can see both of those 50mm lenses have f/1.8. Also, you will probably want to shoot in aperture-priority mode. That way you can set the f-stop (f/x.x) as low as possible to allow the most light into the sensor in your camera.
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Old 07-10-2014, 12:13 PM   #9
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Makes a huge difference.
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Old 07-11-2014, 01:00 PM   #10
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I am extremely unexperienced outside of I think one photo class in college and more recently getting into using the D40 not set on auto everything. I can't possibly use a tripod at his shows and as far as I know doesn't raising the ISO make the pictures more grainy?

Wisco, what draws you to the Canon side as opposed to Nikon? Just curious. You're pictures are always spot on and I'm envious of your skills!
Honestly, I don't know. I had a Nikon (non-DSLR) and now I have a Canon (DSLR) and I enjoyed both. And since they're not the same style camera, a comparison is unfair.

From my understanding.. Canon is better at bringing out colors and Nikon is better in low light. But aside from that, I think they're generally pretty similar.
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