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  1. #1636

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    Re: The Disneyland Photo of the Day...

    A couple of other stabilzation techniques -

    The Joe McNally Grip
    This really only works if you use your left eye on the viewfinder. Joe's technique is to use the left sholder and left hand to brace the camera against your body. I learned this last year and have started using it quite a bit with great success.

    The string "tripod"
    This is also a nice little trick to stabilize your camera.

    This link covers both of the above - Prevent dSLR Camera Shake With These 3 Techniques

    Keep shooting!
    The Mur
    ______________________________________________
    Two different worlds.....we live in two different worlds

  2. #1637

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    Re: The Disneyland Photo of the Day...

    Today’s “Disneyland Photo Tip of the Day” takes a voyage on the Happiest Cruise that Ever Sailed and goes on a photographic journey through It’s a Small World.

    At first I wasn’t planning on doing a tutorial on IASW because it always seemed so easy to photograph. However when my wife and I rode it the other day, a woman sitting behind us was using a point and shoot camera and her flash was going off every few seconds. Not only was it irritating to me and everyone else on the ride, it wasn’t going to give her very good pictures because the light from the flash will only travel up to 10 feet and what it does illuminate will not look like what it supposed to look like. The color of the light from her flash will wash out any special lighting that on the subject she was taking a picture of.

    Because of this I thought it would be a good idea if the post was done with the 3 most popular ways of photographing it.
    First is with a Point & Shoot Camera.
    Second is with a DSLR with a standard 18-55mm F/3.5 – F/5.6 kit lens.
    Third is with a DSLR with a 50mm F/1.8 (nifty fifty) lens.
    Yes, my wife and I actually rode It’s a Small World over and over and over using different cameras and different settings until we honed it down to the settings that seemed to work the best. These are the sacrifices we make for you.

    The first tip, regardless of what camera you are using is to ask for the front row of the boat. The reason is so you can photograph the subjects as you are heading straight towards them. A camera can focus on something moving towards or away from you in half the speed that it needs for something going beside you.

    The second tip is to hold your camera properly. Keep it close to your face with your arms bent. Don’t be like these people!!! They are holding it a way that doesn’t stabilize the camera very well and causes blurry photos and nobody behind you wants to see your LCD screen for the whole ride. It is even more irritating than using a flash.
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    For a Point & Shoot camera:
    These are the settings we used on our 5 year old Canon IS800 Point & Shoot Camera.
    Set the camera on Manual.
    ISO at 400 (because this camera doesn’t handle high ISO very well and is really noisy.)
    Exposure Compensation down -1 2-3rds.
    By keeping the camera at it’s minimum focal distance of 4.6mm and not zooming in at all it sets the aperture at F/2.8 which is reasonably fast for a P&S camera. If you zoom in, it will make the aperture smaller, thus making the shutter speed slower. On this camera, it will lower the aperture to F/5.6 when zooming.
    White Balance on Auto which is pretty accurate for every scene in the ride.
    Set it on Continuous Shooting or Burst Mode and take at least 3 shots for every photo. Usually the first two will be blurry and the third or fourth shot is the sharpest.
    Even with these settings, the percentage of clear useable shots is about 20%, which isn’t too bad for a dark ride with a Point & Shoot camera.

    We tried to take similar photos with each camera so we could compare them from camera to camera and see what the differences were. I did virtually identical editing on all of the photos. There was some cropping, noise reduction, brightening and contrast. For a few I did slight color temperature adjustments.

    First up are the photos from the Point & Shoot Camera. You can see that with such a wide viewing angle, you get the entire scene and can’t zoom in on any particular subject. I did crop the photos a bit to keep the important part of the scene. I will list what the shutter speeds were for each shot.
    1/20th of a second.
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    1/15th of a second.
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    1/20th.
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    1/10th.
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    1/13th.
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    1/30th.
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    1/15th.
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    1/60th.
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    Now for the DSLR with a F/3.5 – F/5.6 Kit Lens:
    Aperture Priority with Aperture at it’s maximum of F/3.5.
    Keep the lens backed out all the way at 18mm and do not zoom in. Just like the P&S camera, this will make the aperture smaller and slow down the shutter speed.
    ISO at 1600
    White Balance on Auto
    Exposure Compensation down -1.
    Focus Mode on AI Servo
    Metering Mode on Partial Spot Metering
    Select the single center auto focus point. This way the camera meters the light in the same spot that it is focusing on and doesn’thave to search for a place to focus.
    Also remember to press the shutter button half way down so the camera can prefocus and meter the light in the scene better.
    You will see that there is very little difference between these and those taken with the P&S other than better ability to handle digital noise. The percentage of good shots with this set up is around 40%.

    1/50th.
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    1/60th.
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    1/50th.
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    1/60th.
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    Now for the camera with the Nifty Fifty lens.
    Aperture Priority
    Lens 50mm F/1.8, Aperture set at F/1.8.
    ISO: 800 Other than the aperture, the ISO dropping from 1600 to 800 is the only change.
    Metering Mode:Partial Spot Metering
    Focus Mode: AI Servo
    Exposure Compensation: -1
    White Balance on Auto
    Once again selecting only the single center auto focus point.

    The biggest difference by using a 50mm lens is the distance to the subject. With a crop sensor camera and a 50mm lens, you are basically now at 80mm instead of 18mm with the kit lens. For this reason you can’t shoot a scene like you can with the others. You have to select the most important subject in the scene and go for that. The other main difference is shutter speed. With an Aperture of F/1.8 you get much faster shutter speed and much sharper images. The ISO being lowered to 800 also gives you cleaner images with less noise. The success rate with this set up is much closer to 90%.

    1/125th.
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    1/200th.
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    1/50th.
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    1/400th.
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    1/320th.
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    Another advantage of a 50mm prime lens like the F/1.8 is the ability to get close to some of the smaller details and really focus on single characters.
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    I hope these different set ups with different cameras help you capture the magic of IASW in the way that best suits your situation.

    Happy Snapping
    © Michael Greening 2012

    For a complete directory and direct links to all of these posts, please click here: http://micechat.com/forums/disneyland-resort/140579-disneyland-photo-day-50.html#post1056358940
    Last edited by Hot Sauce 1; 02-24-2012 at 01:03 AM.
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  3. #1638

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    Re: The Disneyland Photo of the Day...

    Wow this is great! Thank you so much.
    I find it impressive that you took the time to discuss not one, not two, but three different cameras.

  4. #1639

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    Re: The Disneyland Photo of the Day...

    Here's some "Retro" pretty for today. I'll be back tomorrow with part 1 of a 5 part tutorial on HDR from start to finish.
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  5. #1640

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    Re: The Disneyland Photo of the Day...

    2-28-12
    Today’s “Disneyland Photo Tip of the Day” is part 1 of a 5 part tutorial on Taking and processing a HDR image from start to finish.

    I’ve been very fortunate to photograph Disneyland as often as I do and even more fortunate to do a lot of that photography along side the master of Disneyland HDR photography, Gregg Cooper. He has taught me a lot about not only processing HDR photos but some tips on taking them as well.

    In the past month or so I’ve figured out some new techniques that have improved my HDR photos dramatically. I wanted to share those revelations with you but think it is best to start at the very beginning.

    In part 1 of this tutorial, we will go over some tips on taking the photos to use in the HDR process.

    Up until just recently I took my HDR photos the same as most other people do. I would set the cameras exposure bracketing at 0, -2 and +2 and take the 3 photos to process in Photomatix. As time went on, I was seeing some improvement in my HDR work but nowhere near what I wanted them to be. I was also running into some occasional problems that were becoming very frustrating because I couldn’t figure out what was going wrong.

    So let’s go over a few different techniques for taking the initial photos. I shoot with a Canon camera which gives you exposure bracketing of 3 exposures. Nikon cameras have the ability to take 5 exposures. (Oh how I wish Canon would do that!)
    It is highly recommended that you use a tripod or some other way to securely hold the camera still while it’s taking the photos. For daytime shots or where there is a good amount of light, you can do it hand held but you should find a way to support the camera, like I showed in the tutorial a few days ago.

    Tip 1: Set your ISO as low as possible. Processing HDR images adds a lot of noise into the photo so you want your beginning photos to have very little or no noise to begin with. I try to shoot all of mine with the ISO at its minimum setting of 100.

    Tip 2: If shooting handheld, hold the shutter button down for all 3 (or 5) photos. The problems I mentioned above were coming from my own laziness and forgetting what how things on my camera worked. Once in a while, when my camera was on a tripod and set for taking a bracketed exposure, I would press the shutter button, then press it again for the next shot, then again for the 3rd shot. This sounds fine except for the fact that I had the Auto Focus turned on and every time I pressed the shutter button, the lens would refocus and move in and out a little tiny bit. The result would be that the photos wouldn’t line up perfectly and would come out blurry. The simplest way to prevent that is to hold the shutter button down for all 3 exposures. A little better way would be to use the cameras 2 second timer function. If you set the timer and press the shutter, you don’t run the risk of moving the camera and it will automatically take the 3 exposures without trying to refocus between frames. This is what I was doing until Gregg taught me a better way.

    Tip 3: Manual Focus.Turn off the cameras Auto Focus and turn off the Image Stabilization. The IS (or VR for Nikon) can actually cause a slight vibration and add a tiny bit of blur to the photo. If you are using a tripod, there is no need for Image Stabilization anyway.

    Let’s begin with the set up that I am using. This is just the way I do it. There are all kinds of ways to take the photos but this is what is working best for me.
    I used my Gorilla Pod and wrapped it around the railing looking up a the Innoventions sign. I also use a shutter release cable so I don’t have to touch the camera.
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    Notice the Auto Focus is turned off and the Image Stabilization is also off.
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    First I turn on the Live View so I can see and compose the shot the way I want.
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    I manually focus the camera as best I can, then using the zoom in the live view (not the lens) I zoom in really close on the main subject and make sure the focus is really sharp.
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    Next I calculate all my settings. With the camera on Aperture Priority, I set the aperture where I want and for me that is F/16 because I want everything in focus and whatever lights to have a sparkle to them. I set the ISO at 100. I press the shutter half way down to see what the camera says is the proper exposure time. For this shot, the camera says 30 seconds. (NOTE: the longest shutter speed that a camera will allow when not on BULB mode is 30 seconds. If I were to try this on any other mode such as with the timer, I would get the 0 exposure of 30 seconds, the -2 exposure of 7.5 seconds and the +2 exposure will still only be 30 seconds, which would not work. I would have to either increase my ISO to at least 400 or increase the Aperture to a much larger size. This is why the BULB mode is so useful for these types of photos). Name:  6788000580_9a8ee5e24c_z_d.jpg
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    From there I do another thing that Gregg taught me and switch the camera to Manual mode and choose Bulb Mode. I make sure my settings are at F/16 and ISO 100. Knowing that the 0 exposure should be 30 seconds, I use the mathematical formula to determine my times for the 5 exposures. Those are 15 seconds for the -1, 7.5 seconds for the -2, 60 seconds for the +1 and 120 seconds for the +2. Using the timer on the back of the camera, I take all 5 exposures. Depending upon the situation, I will also take a -3 and a +3 exposure just in case I need them for layering in parts down the road.

    This is what the 0 exposure shot looks like right out of the camera. It’s actually a hair underexposed but that is ok for now.
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    In the next installment we will go over the RAW editing of all the photos.
    Last edited by Hot Sauce 1; 02-29-2012 at 12:39 PM.
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  6. #1641

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    Re: The Disneyland Photo of the Day...

    2-29-12
    Today’s “Disneyland Photo Tip of the Day” is part 2 of the tutorial on HDR photography.Today, we go over the Initial Processing of the RAW images.

    As a brief recap, I shot these as a 5 exposure set of photos. The 0 exposure was 30 seconds, the -1 was 15 seconds, the -2 was 7.5 seconds, (I also shot a -3 at 3 seconds just in case I needed it), the +1 was 60 seconds and the +2 was 120 seconds.

    These are the 6 images that I shot.
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    As recently as 4 weeks ago, I would just open my images in Photomatix and process the HDR image, relying on Photomatix to do all the work and then I would try to fix it more in Photoshop Elements afterwards. I made my greatest discovery a few weeks ago when I figured out "The better your beginning images, the better your results." By spending some time editing the RAW files to be as good as they can, I have improved my HDR photos dramatically. The goal is to get the 0 image to be as close to perfect as it can be. It should look almost as good as your final HDR image.

    First, I open all the RAW images up in Photoshop Elements, which starts off in Adobe Camera RAW. Please be aware that the Adobe Camera RAWeditor that comes with Photoshop Elements is a much abbreviated version of the one that comes with the full version of Photoshop CS5. It only has about 25% of the features that the full version has.

    This is the view of them all open in ACR.
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    First I click on Select All so whatever edits I do will be automatically applied to each photo.
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    To start off, I zoom in a little bit to the main part of the photo to see what edits need to be made. The first edit I do is Fill Light. Even though the program is basically designed so you start at the top and just work your way down each different slider, I start with Fill Light so I get a better illuminated view of what other edits need to be made. I increased it to 30. For HDR images, I don’t like to go above 50 for fear of adding too much noise and grain to the photos.
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    Next I increase the Blacks a little and then add a little more Fill Light to 35.
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    Now that I have a pretty well lit photo, I can adjust the Color Temperature. I lowered the temp down to 3200
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    You can see that there are some over exposed areas in the photo but those will be taken care of later in Photoshop Elements.
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    Those over exposed areas are why I took a -3 exposure so I can layer them together later.
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    Next I’m going to zoom in close to the main subject to adjust the Contrast and Clarity sliders.
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    I increased the Contrast from 25 to 34, I increased the Clarity slider to 22. For HDR photos I don’t like to go any higher than about 30 on the Clarity slider because it seems to add too much noise. I increased the Vibrance slider to 10 to brighten up the colors a touch.
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    Next I back out to see the entire photo and increase the Saturation by +3 and then add a little more Fill Light to 45.
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    My last step in ACR is to open the next tab over, which is the Noise Reduction and Sharpness section. The only thing I do in this section is to reduce the Radius of the Sharpening from 1.0 to 0.8.This makes the sharpening of the pixels a little smaller which helps keep the noise down.
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    Next I click on the Open Images button to open all the photos in Photoshop Elements. I go to the Quick Edit Tab.
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    In here, I select the +2 image and Darken Highlights a little bit.
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    Next I click on File –Save As
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    Save it as a jpeg.
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    I do the same for the +1 image and the 0 image. I save the-1 and the -3 image as jpegs without any edits on them.

    I do take a look at the -2 image and do some slight adjustments to the Lighten Shadows and Darken Highlights. The reason I do this is because I will be using it to layer together with the image after it goes through Photomatix.
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    In Part 3 we process the HDR image in Photomatix.

    I am also very pleased to announce that the Master of HDR Photography Gregg Cooper will be teaching a 2 day seminar on beginning HDR photography from taking the photos out in the field all the way through classroom instruction on processing them on March 22nd and 23rd. The cost is $100.00 and it is filling up fast. If you are interested, you can contact Gregg directly at [email protected].
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  7. #1642

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    Re: The Disneyland Photo of the Day...

    I'm afraid that Part 3 will have to wait until next week. I have to head out to Albuquerque first thing tomorrow morning for a trade show and will be gone until Sunday. I hope to have part 3 up on Tuesday or Wednesday. In the mean time, here are some other HDR's done in exactly the same way as I've shown above.
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  8. #1643

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    Re: The Disneyland Photo of the Day...

    Safe journeys, and thanks for the great tutorial!!!

  9. #1644

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    Re: The Disneyland Photo of the Day...

    ​Nice! I was thinking I need to start working with HDR some.
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  10. #1645

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    Re: The Disneyland Photo of the Day...

    If you are not taking crazy long exposures, couldn't you just set the shooting mode to "continuous" and just hit the shutter button once to get all three bracketed photos? Maybe I am missing something, but I thought that the camera would not refocus between each of those shots. This way you would not have to try to hold the shutter button down for all three shots.
    - Bobd

  11. #1646

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    Re: The Disneyland Photo of the Day...

    Quote Originally Posted by Bobd20011 View Post
    If you are not taking crazy long exposures, couldn't you just set the shooting mode to "continuous" and just hit the shutter button once to get all three bracketed photos? Maybe I am missing something, but I thought that the camera would not refocus between each of those shots. This way you would not have to try to hold the shutter button down for all three shots.
    On Continuous mode, (at least on Canon) you would still have to hold it down for all 3 or hit it all 3 times. If you hold it down for all 3 it won't refocus. But if you press it all 3 times, it will refocus and remeter each time. However, if you set it on the 2 second timer mode, it will take all 3 photos without refocusing between them. Also, if you are on Manual Focus and press it all 3 times, it won't need to refocus because you already focused it yourself.
    Life is far too short for bland food!


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  12. #1647

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    Re: The Disneyland Photo of the Day...

    A bit of topic, but I'm studding photography and want to upgrade to a better camera than my compact cybershot, my teacher said the camera is too limited for me now, and is time to upgrade.

    The only problem is since I'm a newbie wit the cameras subjet is hard to decide what to buy.

    My teacher has talked us a lot about reflex cameras, and some of my classmates have Canon Rebels, others have lumix (I don't remember the series) they look pretty good, but they are many models, wish models are good for a newbie to use?

  13. #1648

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    Re: The Disneyland Photo of the Day...

    Quote Originally Posted by Sapphire-Light View Post
    A bit of topic, but I'm studding photography and want to upgrade to a better camera than my compact cybershot, my teacher said the camera is too limited for me now, and is time to upgrade.

    The only problem is since I'm a newbie wit the cameras subjet is hard to decide what to buy.

    My teacher has talked us a lot about reflex cameras, and some of my classmates have Canon Rebels, others have lumix (I don't remember the series) they look pretty good, but they are many models, wish models are good for a newbie to use?
    This is a very difficult question to answer. I know exactly where you are coming from. I got to a point with my P&S camera where I had taken it as far as it could go but still wasn't getting the pictures that I wanted. That was when I knew it was time for me to upgrade to a DSLR.

    For me, I had a Canon P&S camera and I understood the menu systems of the camera so I went to the Canon T1i, which at the time was their entry level DSLR camera. I chose it simply because of the cost and I figured I would be able to maneuver through the menus and functions pretty easily. I have to say that it really is a wonderful camera. Now I also have the Canon 7D, which is a lot more expensive and advanced, yet I still find myself using the T1i half the time. The new model T3i is an EXCELLENT camera at a pretty reasonable price.

    I can't tell you what to choose but I can give you some things to think about before making your choice.

    1. Budget: Remember that the Lenses are where the real expense is. You will want to get a few different lenses and other accessories so whatever your budget is, factor about 1/3rd of it for the camera body itself and the rest for lenses and other items like memory cards or back up batteries, lens filters, new camera bag, new tripod and so on.

    2. Go to a store and play with different brands of cameras. Specifically, play with the menus and functions. If you find that Nikon is easier for you to grasp, choose Nikon, If Canon is easier, choose that. Stepping up to a DSLR is a HUGE learning curve and the better you understand how the camera works and how to maneuver through it, the better off you will be and the more enjoyment you will get out of it.

    3. This is just personal advice: Choose either Canon or Nikon. Those two brands have the most availability of accessories such as lenses and things.

    4. Whichever camera you choose, immediately go out and buy one of the good manuals for it. The ones that come with the camera are completely useless. They are so boring and hard to understand that you will only get really frustrated. In a bookstore, look at the different manuals for your model camera and choose which one is written in a way that works best for you.

    5. Virtually all entry level DSLR's come with a kit lens that is 18-55 for Canon and 17-55 for Nikon (I think) Those are actually very functional and versatile. I use that lens at least half of the time and really like it.

    If your classmates have Canon Rebels, that might be a good choice for you simply because they can help you learn the basics of it.
    Another thing to keep in mind is what type of photography you really want to do.
    If you really like HDR photography, Nikon allows exposure bracketing of 5 exposures whereas Canon only allows 3. That is one thing that really makes me envious of Nikon. This is also a personal observation but from what I have seen Nikon also seems to do better than Canon for Landscape type photography.

    I hope that helps.
    Life is far too short for bland food!


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  14. #1649

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    Re: The Disneyland Photo of the Day...

    After you get that after market manual, the next thing is to copy all of the great tutorials in this thread and print them out and put them in a binder.
    They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night. ~Edgar Allan Poe

  15. #1650

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    Re: The Disneyland Photo of the Day...

    Thank you for your time and suggestions Hot Sauce , they are of great help now I have a better starting point, all those pretty models are confusing for a newbie.

    Speaking of easy to find and rare cameras, our teacher has an old film reflex Zenit , is impressive how advanced it was for the time, too bad they are rare.

    Thankfully he has explained to us how the reflex process works, however is hard to practice when I don't own one, lol.

    He is like 80 years old has more than 40 years of teaching, and is still interested in photograpy innovations, he is a great mentor.

    Quote Originally Posted by chris001 View Post
    After you get that after market manual, the next thing is to copy all of the great tutorials in this thread and print them out and put them in a binder.

    Agree, I can't wait to try them, we are going for a trip to DL in this month


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