I Would Like Your Advice

Yep, that’s right. I need advice from each and every one of you, especially anyone involved in DSLR photography!  I debated about posting this but here’s the thing.  I got a brand new Nikon D3200 camera and two lenses for Christmas.  Just like the one pictured.

Source: Google

Source: Google

Definitely exciting (for me)!  But I am so overwhelmed and intimidated by all of the bells and whistles on this thing compared to my iPhone 5.  I don’t know what ISO is or f-stop, etc.  I’ve been taking some pictures on the Nikon’s auto setting and trying to compare them with my iPhone pictures.  At this point, the photos are running neck and neck for viewing.  I like some of the camera ones better and vice versa.  I don’t really get it since it’s 8 megapixels on the iPhone 5 vs. 24.2 on the Nikon D3200.  I have about 90 days to decide if I’m going to keep it.  For me to justify keeping it and spending that amount of money, I’ve got to make some progress on learning how to use the different settings.  Especially since I’ve been fairly content with my camera phone.

Now that you have so graciously taken my little poll, can you tell me why your choice is what it is?  Those of you who use or are familiar with SLR cameras, are you self-taught?  Did you take classes?  What software programs do you use that are somewhat equivalent to Photoshop (which I can’t afford)?  What would be your ideas or suggestions on learning how to use the camera?

I’d appreciate any and all of your comments and/or suggestions.  You all are the best!!

65 comments on “I Would Like Your Advice

  1. rabirius says:

    If you are serious about photography I would advice to keep the camera.
    I’m sure there will be a book explaining the settings – and you can learn piece by piece. I usually have my camera in P mode. Then it does everything automatically, but you can still change the settings.
    I also use Nikon cameras (but a much older model) and I learned everything piece by piece. So I took one thing after the other (like ISO, Shutter speed, etc) an experimented with it.

    Editing I do with Lightroom and Photoshop – but both programs are very complex. If you use a Mac I can recommend iPhoto and Pixelmator – it is not expensive and not complicated to learn. Otherwise you could try Gimp – it is a free program (originally Linux – but also available for Win and Mac) – otherwise I think Photoshop Elements is not so expensive. It is something like Photoshop light.

    • Thank you so much for taking the time to share your thoughts with me. I don’t think I’d be serious like for a career or anything. I have found that I have loads of fun taking pictures and trying to see things differently. I have Windows, not a Mac. I’ve actually downloaded Gimp but haven’t tried to do anything with it yet. That’s a great idea about just picking one thing and learning and experimenting with it. Your suggestions are appreciated!

      • rabirius says:

        Yes, taking it one function at a time is probably the best. And I think a good book might do. For most of the Nikon DSLRs there should be a specific book that explains the functions and how to use them with the camera.

        Gimp might be a big complicated at first – but I think just trying will help.
        I think Photoshop elements would be about $ 100 – but there might be other programs for Win as well.

        I’m also not professional – but love taking pictures and once you get used to it you will see how many possibilities you have with a DSLR.
        I only use the iPhone when I see a good motive and don’t have my camera – but I usually think that with my camera the picture would have been better.
        I also have a tumblr blog where I only post photos taken and edited on my iPhone:
        If you compare it to what I post here you will instantly notice the difference.

        • Well, I just signed up for a free class on GIMP next week at my library branch. I checked out your photos on tumblr. I’ve never been on tumblr before. You’ve got some great photos on there! 🙂

      • rabirius says:

        Well, honestly I like WordPress more – somehow you get a lot more feedback.
        If I hadn’t started with this site some time ago I would probably have done it on WordPress.

        It is maybe a bit easier to upload pictures via mobile devices, but that is the only advantage I found.

        But now I’m waiting to see some of your new pictures here…
        …once you’ve played around with the camera you will see that it is different from a phone and then you will know what suits you best.

  2. Rosemarie says:

    Congratulations. There is somewhat of a learning curve. I have the Nikon D3100 and that is the camera I took to Europe last summer. Since I was still a novice I used the Automatic mode and the Program mode the most. The camera store runs classes and I took a general DSLR class and one more specific to my camera. I still use my little point and shoot when I can’t carry around a big camera. Now that I am anticipating my safari next July, I am getting serious about learning all the bells and whistles. Sometimes I’m successful and sometimes not, but I am having fun learning and I think you will too.

    • Thanks, Rosemarie! Ah, maybe I’ll check out the Program mode next since I don’t know what it is! LOL! There are a couple of local places here that offer classes but I think they’re pretty expensive. I suppose I could begin with YouTube! I did just sign up at our library branch for a class on using GIMP!

  3. Rosemarie says:

    P.S. I don’t have an iphone. I have an ipad, and I don’t use it for photography.

  4. I shoot with a Canon 50D and only use my iPhone in a pinch. I started with taking 3 short classes through my camera store, one on digital photography in general and two specific to my camera. Once I did that then I took some photography classes at the Community College. As far as editing, I use Photoshop, but I am also taking a year long class to learn how to do that. Before that I was using Aperture which is a Mac application that cost about $90? I used GIMP, but found it to be complicated, but it is free. I also read some books with camera in hand about ISO, shutter speed and the like. It was a big step from a point and shoot to a DSLR, but to me it was worth the time investment.

  5. Dave Robison says:

    I’ve taken your poll but I’m afraid my advice would be fairly useless… I answered that I prefer my smartphone camera largely because I’ve never got to buying anything beyond my old 35mm. My step son took a photography class several years ago in a Continuing Education program and he seems to have learned a great deal. But that was a while ago, so even in this area, I’m not much help! I just wanted to participate so that you know I’m paying attention!!! HA!

  6. Chris Donner says:

    Linda, you’re going to get answers all around the board, but my advice is to first define what kind of photos you like to take and how large you’re going to print them out.

    If you are going to use your photography to document your genealogy, each camera has its purpose. Think about using video or capturing interviews or family events for the future. You’ll probably want to use the Nikon on a tripod, but you could also use the iPhone. If you want to grab shots of headstones or old family homes, you can use either. The images you capture on your iPhone would be sufficient to include in a memoir, but if you want to print them out to hang on your wall, you’ll want the better resolution of the Nikon.

    If you have an unfulfilled dream to explore photography, the Nikon will take care of you for years. There are plenty of classes you can take. Post processing software like PhotoShop is not only expensive but has a steep learning curve. I’d recommend Lynda.com for PS classes.

    My advice is to figure out your need first and go from there.

    Happy shooting.

    • Very good advice, Chris. At this point, I’ve just been doing point and shoot at whatever I liked just using my iPhone. I don’t plan to print out photos — well, maybe, but rarely. But I do like the idea of printing out favorite prints for my walls! I hadn’t thought of that. I’m just glad I’ve got some time to really figure this out. I’m loving and appreciating everyone’s thoughts. Thanks for sharing, Chris!

  7. I would suggest that you keep it. There are benefits to both. My Nikon DSLR 7000 is a gem; I adore it. My iPhone 4s also is a gem, but certainly has its limitations. While I believe strongly that it is not the equipment that makes a worthy image, a DSLR can be a teacher and produce a much sharper result. Usually I use both on photo shoots. Sometimes the DSLR (especially macro) is the answer. But I’ve gotten to love my iPhone and the few apps that I use. You also can use your new camera as a way to better understand photography. You have a much better chance with a DSLR when the lighting is poor. As Smartphones improve, even that maybe disappear as a disadvantage to them. Keep it. You’re sure to fall in love.

    • Thanks, Sally. I think that’s why I keep going back and forth. I can see advantages to having both. If this wasn’t my first DSLR and I knew what the heck to do with it, I doubt I’d be having this wavering! I’m glad I’ve got a little time to decide for sure! Besides, I’ve got to keep using my iPhone for the Phoneography challenges. 🙂

  8. cindy knoke says:

    I have no advice…….isn’t that somewhat refreshing??? Just go with what feels right for you, goof around and see what happens. Have a blast and I can’t wait to see your pics!

  9. Say WHAT?? Nothing?? LOL. I am curious, though, to know if you only use your DSLR that you carry nearly everywhere. Or do you wait and plan your photo shoots. I just love your pictures!

  10. AirportsMadeSimple says:

    I use both my Android and Nikon 5100. I use them both for different reasons. If you take nature photos or really want to zoom in (say, at an animal at Yellowstone), I like the Nikon.For close up pics, they are about the same. But, I’m fairly new at this. All the pics on my blog are mine. You can look and see if you can tell the difference. 🙂 Cheers, D

    • I can see where each would have their purpose. I like the pictures you have on your blog, especially your Chief Happiness Officer! 🙂 So, are most of your blog photos taken with your Nikon?

      • AirportsMadeSimple says:

        Actually, it’s about 50/50. I think the dog pic was my old iPhone from 2008!! but I cleaned it up a bit with my new Nikon software. The ones taken with the Nikon are the brighter and more clear pics. You also get the great software with the Nikon. And you can use the Nikon software with your smartphone. In the photo gallery, most pics are with the Nikon except the beach with red lifeguard chair. however, I used the Nikon software to sharpen the smartphone image and colors. For sunsets and for animals, I like the Nikon. That is just me. 🙂 The upside to the cellphones is they are always with us for that shot you may never see again. plus the technology is getting better anf better. BUT I would talk to some pro photographers on WordPress. I am not a pro, so, I respect their craft and am not in their league. 🙂

        • I think the general consensus is going to be keep the camera and use them both! I’m just glad I’ve got time to try it out. I haven’t used the Nikon software. I think you’re referring to the NX2 that comes with the camera. So much to try, so little time. But it will be fun! I’ll never be a pro and that’s just fine by me! 🙂

        • AirportsMadeSimple says:

          Yes the NX2 I really like as a beginner because it’s intuitive. Keep me posted on how it goes! 🙂

  11. I learned A LOT by watching Adorama photography tutorials on YouTube. I especially like Mike Wallace’s videos. I think he explains things really well. Use BOTH your Nikon and iPhone 5!

    • Hey, Lenore, thanks for that. I knew YouTube had to have a bunch of stuff. But sometimes it’s hard to filter out the stuff you don’t need. You’ve given me a great start. I know me. Now that I have the Nikon in hand, I’ll be hard pressed to let it go! Same way I got my first ever kittens. hee hee!

  12. I have a Nikon as well, given to me as a gift. I find the manual/user guide does not explain all, but have got loads of hints from Photography 101 and other tutorials on the web. Try learning first about the aperture and shutter speed, then the ISO. Running off photos at night in your living room, can help you learn what setting to use in low light. An iphone has the advantage of being ultra light and portable, but the DSLR camera will also do a better shot, if you use it right. But it is far more complicated to learn. For portraits, the DSLR will win hands down. Good luck.

    • Thanks, Amanda. I really appreciate your suggestions. I begin “experimenting” this weekend! I’m also getting ready to delve into some of those YouTube videos. I must learn patience. I find I get so impatient because I want to know it all now! LOL

  13. Imelda says:

    keep it, keep it, Linda. ISO is about the light you let in. Increasing the ISO will be good when there is low light. F stop is about the depth of field – how vague or how clear do you want the background to be? Low f stop (aperture or lens opening) makes for a vaguer one and increases your chances of having those lovely bokeh; a high f stop will give you crisper backgrounds. Shutter speed determines how fast you want the lens to close after a shot. I guess, better photographers can explain these things better. But keep the camera. You will get the hang of it soon enough. 🙂

    • So that’s how they get those pictures to focus on one thing with a blurry background! Sounds so simple when you say it like that. Well, if I can teach myself how to use a computer back in the 70’s (University job–couldn’t afford to send me off to the 3-day training!), then I should be able to learn this newfangled camera! 😉 Wish me luck. hee hee!

  14. Sheryl says:

    I just use a very basic digital camera. It’s definitely not state of the art, but it works for me.

  15. I hear ya, Sheryl. And the way technology is today, I figure in less than a year, this camera will be considered out-dated! HA!

  16. I only have my iPhone, it’s a bit hit and miss. My parents bought my brother a Nikon 1J3 this Christmas and like you he’s got to get his head around it. It’s white I liked that about it lol

    • I do love my iPhone! Almost all of my photos on here have been with my iPhone (except for the really older ones!). I think that’s why I’ve been so back and forth. The 1J3 looks like a great camera, too. The D3200 also came in a deep red (which was pretty gorgeous!) but didn’t come in the kit. So, naturally I picked the one with more for less! LOL By the way, you’re the perfect model for your brother and his new camera! 🙂

  17. Sherri Stone says:

    I use my DSLR alot but also my cell phone camera. It will depend on what you want photos of and if your love of photography is pushing you to learn something new. I have always loved taking photos. I was annoyed at the delay in my old digital point and shoot so I upgraded to the Canon DSLR I have now and I can’t imagine life without it. I have never taken a class – just learn tips and techniques online and ebooks. I invested in Photoshop Elements a year ago and am learning that as well.

    • Thanks so much, Sherri. I have a feeling I’ll be using both. But I’m wanting to use the DSLR for most pictures and have the camera as backup! It will take me some time to learn but I’m already working on it! 🙂

  18. RobynG says:

    Hi Linda. I recommend taking a beginner digital photography class. Once you learn how to use your camera in manual setting and adjusting your ISO, SS, and Aperture, you will fall in love with the control you have over creating an image. You will be able to be more creative and have much better quality images. iPhones are great tools for capturing things around you, but the resolution and over all quality do not compare. Good luck! I teach classes but not on-line classes or I would offer my class to you. Try your local community college. Or, try an online class. There are some good ones out there. Wendy Schulz is a fabulous teacher. Her website is: http://www.wendyschulzphotography.com. If you contact her, let her know I sent you her way! Blessings, Robyn

    • Thanks for coming by and sharing, Robyn. I’m checking into a couple of local classes here. Once we get past the holidays, I might even be able to reach someone! LOL I thought about online but I’m not so sure that’s best for me! Anyway, have a wonderful and safe New Year! Hugs!

  19. rommel says:

    Here’s my mini-photo lesson. http://thesophomoreslump2.com/?s=STILL Really cut and dry. I didn’t use to many technicalities on that post. I hope it helps. Have fun shooting with your new camera. You will have a newfangled prospective to everything you see now. 😀

    • Cut and dry is exactly what I need! Your photos are wonderful and inspiring. I’m really impressed that you were able to get them without a tripod. Since I don’t have one, I’m definitely encouraged! Thank you for sharing. Wishing you all the best in the coming year.

  20. I don’t have advice as I have a similar situation..but congrats on getting that snazzy camera 🙂

  21. Sonel says:

    I would use the phone and the camera but as you are more experienced by now with the phone camera I would say to learn the camera settings and play around with it. I always say it’s not the camera that does the trick but the person taking the photo’s but it sure is fun learning and experiencing with new hardware, so have fun Linda and congrats. You are one lucky lady! 😀 *hugs*

    • Thanks, Sonel. I’ve started taking easy auto setting shots (first few times) with my new camera. I’m watching YouTube and I’m trying to be able to audit a digital photo class at our community college. I attended a free intro class on GIMP photo editing software at our library yesterday. Omigosh, my brain is on overload with all the newfangled stuff to learn!! LOL

  22. smallivy says:

    I’m not an expert on the camera, but I do know the photos I take on the iPhone tend to come out really blurry a lot of the time. I do know what ISO is from film days – basically the higher the ISO number the better job it will do in dim light but the more blurry things will be if there is movement. Typically you would use ISO100 to take pictures of your kids soccer games on sunny days and ISO400 for candle lit dinners or the Pirates of the Carribean ride at Disneyland.

    The difference between the camera and the phone is like the difference between Linux and a Mac. You’ll have a lot more control of what the different settings are on the camera, and if you really learn to use it you’ll be abel to do things you cannot with the iPhone, but it won’t help you much if you set them wrong. The iPhone is easier to use and makes a lot of the decisions for you. Sometimes you won’t like the decisions it makes.

    • Thanks for commenting. The iPhone is definitely easier to haul around! But I think if I can learn and become familiar with the camera, I’ll be able to do so much more. Ah, time will tell, I’m sure! The nice thing about digital is that, if I don’t like what I get, I can delete it! 🙂

  23. I’m curious if you have come to a decision yet? I don’t have an I-phone but the pictures I have seen from it are amazing. I have a similar Canon I love but I print large prints and therein lies one of the biggest differences. This is a huge step from an I-phone and can be a lot to learn. If your main focus is genealogy this camera could easily soak up time from that. But it has manual settings and you do not need fancy editing software. Your pc probably has software that will suffice.

    • Hi, Dawn. I’m still debating but leaning more to keeping it. I just have to calm myself down and realize that I can’t figure the whole manual thing out in a day or two. There is so much to learn. But I think for the long term, I’m going to be happy with it. I’m starting slow. In a pinch, I find I still grab my iPhone for those quick catches but it will come. Plus, it’s not like I carry the Nikon around everywhere (yet!). Before Christmas, I had clicked on someone’s blog (who had visited mine) and saw a post on some really great looking camera bags that looked like purses. Of course, now that I’m interested, I can’t find it! Oh, well. Anyway, I discovered I don’t have enough family history to sustain a blog so I’ve combined it all! Right now, I’m having so much fun with the photography! 🙂 Looking forward to your challenges!

  24. Whoa, I can see why! They look great. Maybe it was one of your posts I had seen! I may just have to keep the camera to get one of these bags! LOL

  25. rommel says:

    What the verdict so far? I use both. It’s been proven time and time that phone camera can do the deed. Both I do usually take the big cam when I travel around. DSLR is especially better for events or moving objects and night time photography. Thing is once you have the camera, at least in my opinion, it becomes a cheap hobby. I do save other time and buy lens. But honestly, if you have nothing to do cameras can be your best friend.

    • I still waver while I have time to make up my mind. Knowing me, now that I have it, I will keep it. I’m discovering a fun hobby and I can see a use for both. As you say, taking the camera on trips and to events and using the phone for the unexpected, sounds like the best way to go! 🙂

  26. Ralph says:

    Hi Linda 😀 Try copying this and paste it into Google Search. “How do I use my Nikon D3200 camera”. There are loads of downloads and help sites. Ralph xox 😀

  27. Ming Wang says:

    Iphone is very convenient to take the photo, the photo quality is also OK. But I think you should keep the camera if you enjoy photography. Camera is more complicated to use, but lots of tutorials are available in web to show you how to use the camera effectively. Adobe has put their old version of Photoshop CS2 free for download, you can try it out if your computer is running Window XP. Photoshop CS2 has everything for image process although it is a bit old.

    • It seems the general consensus among a lot of the photographers I’ve heard from agree that both come in handy! I’m glad to know it because I can see the convenience of each in different ways. I must say that your iPhone photos convinced me that can definitely be used! I’ve started watching some tutorials online and plan on probably taking a class or two down the line. I’ll check out the Photoshop although I do not have Windows XP (I have Windows 7). Thanks so much taking the time to respond. I appreciate your thoughts.

  28. alangent says:

    No contest, take the DSLR. There is nothing like looking through the viewfinder and seeing a picture jump out at you. Sure you may tweak it, zoom in / out, bracket the exposures. But really, comparing that to an iPhone? (And I too have one) No, take your time and buy a good How To style mag and sit down, read, click, learn.
    I use my phone if Im out and see something. I take the pic go home, look at it, decide if its worth another shot then go back with my Canon and take a whole host of pics and work through them. Hope this helps.

    • Thanks for taking the time to comment. I appreciate it. I ended up having to return the Nikon because there was something wrong with it. But I haven’t given up. A photographer friend of ours said (after I had gotten the Nikon) that he felt the Nikon was too complicated in his opinion. Since I was finding it more confusing than I seemed to have patience with, I think I was glad there was something wrong with it. I still plan on getting a nice DSLR but I think I’ll do a lot more research! 🙂

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