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A question for the photographers here: can you recommend an online resource for learning how to use a digital SLR Nikon?

I've signed up for a class Nikon is giving in town in a few weeks, but before I go, need understandable basic information on how to use the buttons and knobs not labeled "auto." The manual presupposes an elementary understanding of DSLRs that I just don't have. Thank you, in advance.

asked by Mrs Beryl Patmore 9 months ago
9 answers 503 views
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added 9 months ago

There's a basic DSLR course on Craftsy.com -- I haven't taken it but I have several other courses on Craftsy and they have been very good. You buy it and then it's yours forever to watch again as often as you like.

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added 9 months ago

(You're Mrs Patmore!)

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added 9 months ago

Yes, dearie. Most people don't know my name is Beryl.

I've been watching Daisy and Mr. Mosley learning some new skills over these past few years; I figured it was high time I did the same.

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added 9 months ago

YouTube is a great resource for getting to know your camera, type in the model number and you'll likely find some good videos. One of my very favorite books if you're new to a DSLR camera is "Understanding Exposure" by Bryan Peterson (it's in most bookstores or Amazon).

A million years ago when I got my first DSLR I actually wrote a Craigslist ad looking for someone who would meet me at a coffee shop (I chose a busy public location) and explain the basics to me (I think I offered $25/hour), it was one of the best things I ever did! 2 hours in the coffeeshop was probably equal to 10 hours+ trying to understand the manual!

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HalfPint

HalfPint is a trusted home cook.

added 9 months ago

I would recommend reading up on photography terminology. The class should provide the specific mechanics of the Nikon camera, but the photography terminology is universal across any camera model and brand. Terms like f stop, shutter speed, etc. Here's a nice little guide for beginners, http://www.thephoblographer...

Learn these terms and you'll be able to follow how they translate over to your Nikon camera (i.e what the button/knob does).

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added 9 months ago

The Nikon School is great. They help all levels of photographers.

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cv
added 9 months ago

I suggest you go to the library and check out a basic primer on photography. The essential concepts behind photography are all the same, whether it's one of the view cameras that look like an accordion, a Leica rangefinder, the camera module in your cellphone, or a DSLR.

A camera is basically a light-tight box with a lens that focuses light onto an imaging plane (digital sensors, photochemical film, etc.). The concepts of exposure, f-stops, shutter speed, lighting, composition, color temperature, depth of field, etc. are universal because they are based on physics.

Heck, if you read a geriatric bible like Ansel Adams' "The Camera" -- the first volume of his classic trilogy -- you will probably understand the fundamentals of photography better than 97% of the people who own a DSLR.

If you really want to geek out, read Leslie Stroebel's "Basic Photographic and Processes." That used to be the first year textbook for photography majors at Rochester Institute of Technology. If you read that book, you will have a deeper understanding of the physics of photography than 99.9% of people who take photos.

If you walk into the Nikon class having read either one of those two books, then the Nikon class mostly serves as a seminar on what lever/menu setting will get you to the control that you want and you will probably get more out of the class versus swimming in a bunch of new terminology that sounds like rocket scientists discussing their latest spacecraft.

Remember, if you put an iPhone in the hands of Annie Leibovitz or Pei Ketron (the gal featured in some American Express commercials and a skilled food photographer), the reason their photos are great isn't because their iPhones are any better than yours. It's because they understand the fundamentals of photography (oh, and yes, they have some artistic vision). The camera itself is just a tool, like a skilsaw or a food processor.

Anyhow, enjoy your new gadget. They are superb tools when one has a full understanding of the fundamentals.

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cv
added 9 months ago

Sorry, the correct title of the Stroebel book is "Basic Photographic Materials and Processes." You should be able to find a used copy (probably softbound) of this book at Abebooks.com.

It replaced an even older hardcover book called "Photographic Materials and Processes." If I recall correctly, the former only had a fleeting reference of digital cameras. The latter had zero reference to digital photography.

In either case, the concepts presented in both books are still valid today.