Tuesday, July 21, 2009

July 21, 2009

Hopefully the few of you who read this blog know that I am just starting out with my camera. Recently, I bought a prime lens (Nikkor 50mm 1.8). I had heard so much about it (and it's more expensive brother, the 1.4) and read so many posts of adoring photographers complete with all their amazing portraits; all compliments of their "nifty fifty". So I have had high hopes of my new little lens. Unfortunately, I don't really know what I'm doing. Trial by error to be sure, with emphasis on the error. I suppose I thought that if a wide aperture is good, then why not open it up all the way baby! Perhaps hundreds of blurry, grainy, fuzzy photos will emphasize to me the relationship between aperture, shutter speed and ISO. I can't just focus on one of the three and forget about the others. Maybe pay attention to how much light I have, if the subject is moving around, stuff like that? Did you know that not everything should be shot at an f-stop of 1.8? Did you know that there is a time and place for it? Slow learner, that's me. I don't even want to show you all my "bad examples" ...

... but, here it goes. I'm not saying that either of these are at all good, they are not (yuck). They are both SOOC (straight out of camera). Might as well show as it is. But this is the exact same shot at the same time but in different settings.

Shot 1: f: 4.5, 1/80 sec, ISO 200
Shot 2: f: 1.8, 1/4000 sec, ISO 1000

So those of you reading this who have some words of advice (or condolences), let me have them. How do you manage with your prime lens? Tell me how you decide what aperture to use. In the interest of having at least one good shot, I'm tempted to turn my dial back to "auto".


kimber said...

To me, shot 2 looks AMAZING. I never play with my ISO settings. Keep posting this kind of stuff. I can't understand most of it, but I'm studying and studying this post so I can figure it all out! Shot 1 looks like what I usually get SOOC...RAW, then I adjust everything in Photoshop. I STINK! You're amazing!!

Nathalie said...

The aperture is responsible for your depth of field, i.e how much of your photo is in focus. The first shot had a smaller aperture which increases your depth of field (more of the photo is in focus). This is why everything from the hand in the front to the back of the head is in focus.
In the second shot, the larger aperture decreased your depth of field and therefore there is less of the photo in focus. It looks to me that your point of focus (the part that is sharper) was her hand in front. You might want to try changing your point of focus to her nose or her eyes (which would ensure that at least her face is in focus).
I, too, have a 50mm 1.8 and I found that I get great results at 2.8. But again, this is from experimenting and playing around with my points of focus.
Hope this helps you!
BTW, I love your beach photos, I have a lot of similar shot of my kids boogie boarding!

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