All posts tagged Lenses

Are you starting out in digital photography? If you are, then here are a list of pointers pertaining to digital photography basics. These pointers will give your digital images a massive kick start in terms of quality and it doesn’t matter what camera you have. You can take good photographs with any digital SLR camera.

So here’s my advice:

1. Don’t be concerned with the number of megapixels of your camera. The number of pixels determines how big you’ll be able to print your photographs. Yes it’s true that the more pixels you have, the more refined detail your images will have but at this stage you want to start shooting as many photographs as you possibly can. You’ll learn so much through every photograph.

2. Set your camera’s ISO speed to the lowest possible setting. This will give a smooth transition to your photographs and make them less grainy than at higher ISO settings.

3. When you are shooting portraits, use large apertures that are wide open. This means that the f-number should be as small as possible. The smaller the f-number, the larger the aperture. Why is it a good idea to use large apertures when photographing human subjects? Large apertures blur out the background and bring the subject into sharp focus bringing the viewer’s attention right where you want it.

4. Pay attention to the background – try to eliminate clutter that doesn’t need to be there. In digital photography, a lot can be done to remove unwanted clutter using software like Adobe Photoshop but there is no harm in doing a little preparation. Perhaps you’ll want your subject to stand in front of a bright plain wall, or colourful patterned curtains. Make your background work with your subject.

5. If you are hand-holding your camera, try not to use a shutter speed slower than 1/60. For example, don’t hand-hold the camera at 1/30. Nice photographs are sharp and in-focus. If you need to use a shutter speed slower than 1/60, use a tripod to ensure sharpness.

6. Use slow shutter speeds to imply motion. Take your digital SLR camera out to an urban environment where there are cars, bicycles and public transport. Set it to shutter priority mode using speeds of 1/30, 1/15, 1/8 and 1/4, follow a moving car or bicycle using the AI Servo focusing drive. Once the moving object is in focus, take the shot. This should blur out the background leaving trails of the subject and imply motion. This technique can take a bit of practice.

7. In your camera’s menu, increase the sharpness and contrast of your “picture style”. Some photographers like to increase the saturation as well, but if you are going to post-process in RGB mode I wouldn’t increase saturation in-camera.

8. Take your landscape images at small apertures like f/16 or even f/22 using a tripod. This will ensure sharp focusing from front-to-back telling a story about your landscape.

9. Pay attention to your camera angle – as a photographer, be prepared to move around. You may have to get down on your knees, even lie down to get down to your subject’s level. Don’t photograph a crawling baby whilst standing… get down to the baby’s level. That’ll evoke more emotions when the photograph is printed and viewed. Get down when shooting landscapes to use your foreground to convey a sense of depth.

10. Don’t forget the rule of thirds – imagine that your viewfinder is split into three thirds both vertically and horizontally. Never place your subject in the centre square or a horizon in the middle. Frame your portraits so that they appear to the right if you are shooting in the landscape orientation, otherwise in the middle if you are using the portrait orientation. For landscape photographs, make sure the horizon line sits on the first or the second horizontal line that divides your viewfinder into three thirds. A horizon line in the middle produces boring landscapes that will do nothing for your viewers.


My Present Cameras and Kit

A lot of people ask me what cameras and lenses I have so I thought I would add as section to my blog showing you what kit I own and my views on them!

My Fuji X10

Christmas 2011 and I received this little Fuji X10 Retro Digital Camera which I have been using for the last month or so and I am very impressed with the results!

Here are a few of the fantastic features that this little X10 has to offer;

Key Features:
4x manual optical zoom featuring Fujifilm’s new Intelligent Digital Zoom technology that doubles telephoto capabilities and provides up to 8x zoom.
Fast power start-up; the X10 is fully ready to shoot in approximately 0.8 seconds using the on/off power switch built into the lens ring (must be in Quick Start mode).
High-contrast and wide viewing-angle 2.8” 460K dot high contrast LCD screen that provides excellent viewing even outdoors and in bright sunlight.  Diverse manual shooting modes that can be selected according to scene type (Program / Aperture

My Fuji X10Priority / Shutter Speed Priority / Manual).
Four diverse auto bracketing functions for exposure, ISO sensitivity, dynamic range and film simulation RAW shooting and in-camera RAW processing (SilkyPix RAW conversion software supplied in-box).
Best-in-class3 1080p Full HD movie recording capabilities.
Film Simulation Modes (eight setting are available, including Velvia / PROVIA / ASTIA).
Manual pop-up flash with a range of 7 meters (approximately 23 feet).
Electronic horizon leveling gauge to ensure that the camera is being held level, and histogram display to check image gradation and a Motion Panorama 360° for seamless 360-degree panoramic shooting

My Nikon D80 DSLR

My D80 DSLR with double battery grip.

My main Camera is a Nikon D80 DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) camera with a D80 double battery grip that allows shutter use in landscape and portrait mode, the battery grip excepts 2 x Nikon batteries which when fully charhed will last for days of constant use, the DSLR provides me with a lot of highly functional features and it is a lovely camera to use.  The lens which spends most time on the camera is an Nikon 18-135mm F3.5/5.6 G AFS DX IFED lens with a lens hood, I also own a Nikon D70 DSLR camera and that one was my first introduction into DSLR cameras, I don’t really use this camera too much now but bring it out for special occasions!

At present I have the following DSLR lenses which provide a variety of differing varieties of photography scenarios;

My Present Lenses

  • Nikon 18-70mm ED Kit Lens (fantastic all round lens).
  • Sigma 70-300mm APOms Lens (great zoom capability with a great macro ability as well).
  • Sigma 105mm DG EX Macro Sigma Lens (nothing can beat this lens for its macro capability).
  • Sigma 18-200 F3.5 – 6.3 DC lens (another great all round lens that stays attached to my D70 most of the time).
  • Nikon 18-135 F3.5/5.6 G AFS DX IFED
  • Nikon 18-105 F3.5/5.6 G AFS DX IFED (this one has just been bought (July 2012) and is stuck to the D80 at the moment).

Nikon Speedlight SB 800

I have a Nikon Speedlight SB 800 flash system which really is a must if you intend to take images in difficult light conditions i.e. Wedding Photography, Portraiture Photography and christenings etc.

Nikon SB 800 Speedlight Flash













My Manfrotto PRO B Tripod and Manfrotto 322 Grip Action Ball Head














My Lowepro AW Mini Trekker and my Billingham 335 Canvas BagLOWEPRO AW MINI TREKKER

A camera bag is an accessory which is often ignored yet provides fantastic benefits to its users. The main function of a camera bag is to protect your camera from external aspects such as the extreme heat of the sun, rainfall, dust, and most importantly scratches. Moreover, a camera bag safeguards your camera from the possibility to incur heavy damage if you accidentally knock into something or when the camera has been by chance dropped 🙂