Nikon D5200 for Dummies PDF

Nikon D5200
®
™
Nikon D5200
®
by Julie Adair King
™
Nikon® D5200™ For Dummies®
Published by
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About the Author
Julie Adair King is the author of many books about digital photography and
imaging, including the best-selling Digital Photography For Dummies. Her most
recent titles include a series of For Dummies guides to popular digital SLR
cameras, including the Nikon D600, D3200, D7000, D5100, and D300s. Other
works include Digital Photography Before & After Makeovers, Digital Photo
Projects For Dummies, Julie King’s Everyday Photoshop For Photographers, Julie
King’s Everyday Photoshop Elements, and Shoot Like a Pro!: Digital Photography
Techniques. When not writing, King teaches digital photography at such
locations as the Palm Beach Photographic Centre. A native of Ohio and
graduate of Purdue University, she resides in West Palm Beach, Florida.
Author’s Acknowledgments
I am deeply grateful for the chance to work once again with the wonderful
publishing team at John Wiley and Sons. Kim Darosett, Jennifer Webb, Steve
Hayes, Virginia Sanders, and Katie Crocker are just some of the talented editors and designers who helped make this book possible. And finally, I am also
indebted to technical editor Dave Hall, without whose insights and expertise
this book would not have been the same.
Publisher’s Acknowledgments
We’re proud of this book; please send us your comments at http://dummies.custhelp.com.
For other comments, please contact our Customer Care Department within the U.S. at 877-762-2974,
outside the U.S. at 317-572-3993, or fax 317-572-4002.
Some of the people who helped bring this book to market include the following:
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Indexer: Steve Rath
Sr. Editorial Assistant: Cherie Case
Cover Photo: © Slobodan Vasic / iStockphoto;
camera image courtesy of Julie Adair King
Publishing and Editorial for Technology Dummies
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Contents at a Glance
Introduction................................................................. 1
Part I: Fast Track to Super Snaps................................... 5
Chapter 1: Getting the Lay of the Land............................................................................ 7
Chapter 2: Choosing Basic Picture Settings.................................................................. 41
Chapter 3: Taking Great Pictures, Automatically......................................................... 69
Chapter 4: Exploring Live View Photography and Movie Making.............................. 85
Part II: Working with Picture Files............................. 121
Chapter 5: Playback Mode: Viewing, Erasing, and Protecting Photos..................... 123
Chapter 6: Downloading, Printing, and Sharing Your Photos................................... 153
Part III: Taking Creative Control................................ 183
Chapter 7: Getting Creative with Exposure and Lighting.......................................... 185
Chapter 8: Manipulating Focus and Color................................................................... 237
Chapter 9: Putting It All Together................................................................................. 279
Part IV: The Part of Tens........................................... 295
Chapter 10: Ten Fun (And Practical) Ways to Manipulate Your Photos................. 297
Chapter 11: Ten Special-Purpose Features to Explore on a Rainy Day.................... 329
Index....................................................................... 343
Table of Contents
Introduction.................................................................. 1
A Quick Look at What’s Ahead....................................................................... 1
Icons and Other Stuff to Note......................................................................... 2
eCheat Sheet...................................................................................................... 3
Practice, Be Patient, and Have Fun!................................................................ 3
Part I: Fast Track to Super Snaps.................................... 5
Chapter 1: Getting the Lay of the Land . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
Looking at Lenses............................................................................................. 7
Choosing a lens....................................................................................... 8
Attaching and removing lenses........................................................... 11
Choosing a focusing method (auto or manual)................................ 13
Zooming in and out............................................................................... 14
Using a VR (Vibration Reduction) lens.............................................. 14
Adjusting the Viewfinder to Your Eyesight................................................. 16
Using the Articulating Monitor..................................................................... 16
Working with Memory Cards........................................................................ 18
Exploring External Camera Controls............................................................ 21
Topside controls................................................................................... 21
Back-of-the-body controls.................................................................... 23
Front-left buttons.................................................................................. 26
Hidden connections.............................................................................. 27
Ordering from Camera Menus...................................................................... 28
Displaying Help Screens................................................................................ 31
Viewing Picture Settings................................................................................ 31
Adjusting Settings Via the Information Display.......................................... 34
Taking a Few Critical Setup Steps................................................................. 35
Setup menu options.............................................................................. 35
Custom Setting options........................................................................ 36
Restoring Default Settings............................................................................. 38
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Nikon D5200 For Dummies
Chapter 2: Choosing Basic Picture Settings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41
Choosing an Exposure Mode........................................................................ 42
Choosing the Release Mode.......................................................................... 44
Single Frame and Quiet Shutter Release modes............................... 45
Continuous (burst mode) shooting.................................................... 47
Self-timer shooting................................................................................ 48
Wireless remote-control modes.......................................................... 49
Investigating other shutter-release options...................................... 50
Choosing the Right Quality Settings............................................................ 54
Diagnosing picture-quality problems................................................. 55
Considering image size: How many pixels are enough?.................. 57
Understanding Image Quality options (JPEG or Raw)..................... 59
My take: Choose JPEG Fine or Raw (NEF)......................................... 64
Setting Image Size and Quality...................................................................... 65
Chapter 3: Taking Great Pictures, Automatically . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 69
Setting Up for Automatic Success................................................................ 70
As Easy As It Gets: Auto and Auto Flash Off............................................... 75
Taking Advantage of Scene Modes............................................................... 78
Choosing a Scene mode....................................................................... 79
Checking out the Scene modes........................................................... 80
Chapter 4: Exploring Live View Photography and Movie Making . . . 85
Using Your Monitor as a Viewfinder............................................................ 86
Live View safety tips............................................................................. 87
Customizing the Live View display..................................................... 91
Focusing in Live View Mode.......................................................................... 93
Choosing a Focus mode....................................................................... 94
Selecting a focusing target (AF-area mode)....................................... 95
Choosing the right focusing pairs ...................................................... 97
Autofocusing in Live View mode........................................................ 98
Manual focusing in Live View mode................................................. 100
Shooting Still Pictures in Live View Mode................................................. 101
Shooting Movies........................................................................................... 103
Choosing the video mode (NTSC or PAL)....................................... 103
Setting video quality (frame size, frame rate, and bit rate).......... 104
Controlling audio................................................................................ 107
Manipulating movie exposure .......................................................... 110
Reviewing a few final recording options.......................................... 112
Recording a movie.............................................................................. 112
Screening Your Movies................................................................................ 114
Trimming Movies.......................................................................................... 117
Saving a Movie Frame as a Still Image........................................................ 118
Table of Contents
Part II: Working with Picture Files............................. 121
Chapter 5: Playback Mode: Viewing, Erasing,
and Protecting Photos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 123
Customizing Basic Playback Options......................................................... 124
Adjusting playback timing................................................................. 124
Adjusting and disabling instant image review................................ 125
Enabling automatic picture rotation................................................ 125
Viewing Images in Playback Mode............................................................. 127
Viewing multiple images at a time (thumbnails view)................... 128
Displaying photos in Calendar view................................................. 129
Choosing which images to view........................................................ 131
Zooming in for a closer view............................................................. 131
Viewing Picture Data.................................................................................... 133
File Information mode........................................................................ 134
Highlights display mode.................................................................... 137
RGB Histogram mode......................................................................... 138
Shooting Data display mode.............................................................. 140
Overview mode................................................................................... 141
Deleting Photos............................................................................................. 143
Deleting images one at a time........................................................... 143
Deleting all photos.............................................................................. 144
Deleting a batch of selected photos................................................. 144
Protecting Photos......................................................................................... 146
Creating a Digital Slide Show...................................................................... 148
Viewing Your Photos on a Television........................................................ 150
Chapter 6: Downloading, Printing, and Sharing Your Photos . . . . . . 153
Choosing the Right Photo Software........................................................... 154
Three free photo programs............................................................... 154
Advanced photo programs................................................................ 156
Sending Pictures to the Computer............................................................. 157
Connecting the camera and computer for picture download....... 157
Starting the transfer process............................................................. 159
Downloading using ViewNX 2............................................................ 160
Processing Raw (NEF) Files......................................................................... 165
Processing Raw images in the camera............................................. 165
Processing Raw files in ViewNX 2..................................................... 168
Planning for Perfect Prints.......................................................................... 172
Check the pixel count before you print........................................... 172
Allow for different print proportions............................................... 175
Get print and monitor colors in sync............................................... 176
Preparing Pictures for E-Mail and Online Sharing.................................... 179
Prepping online photos using ViewNX 2.......................................... 180
Resizing pictures from the Retouch menu...................................... 181
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Nikon D5200 For Dummies
Part III: Taking Creative Control................................. 183
Chapter 7: Getting Creative with Exposure and Lighting . . . . . . . . . . 185
Introducing the Exposure Trio: Aperture, Shutter Speed, and ISO........ 186
Understanding exposure-setting side effects.................................. 188
Doing the exposure balancing act.................................................... 193
Exploring the Advanced Exposure Modes................................................ 194
Reading (And Adjusting) the Meter........................................................... 196
Setting Aperture, Shutter Speed, and ISO.................................................. 200
Adjusting aperture and shutter speed............................................. 200
Controlling ISO.................................................................................... 203
Choosing an Exposure Metering Mode...................................................... 207
Sorting through Your Camera’s Exposure-Correction Tools.................. 209
Applying Exposure Compensation................................................... 209
Using autoexposure lock................................................................... 213
Expanding tonal range....................................................................... 214
Investigating Advanced Flash Options...................................................... 221
Choosing the right Flash mode......................................................... 222
Adjusting flash output........................................................................ 230
Controlling flash output manually.................................................... 232
Bracketing Exposures.................................................................................. 233
Chapter 8: Manipulating Focus and Color . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 237
Mastering the Autofocusing System.......................................................... 237
Changing the Focus mode setting..................................................... 239
Choosing an AF-area mode: One focus point or many?................. 242
Choosing the right autofocus combo............................................... 247
Autofocusing with still subjects: AF-S + Single Point..................... 247
Focusing on moving subjects: AF-C + Dynamic Area..................... 249
Using autofocus lock.......................................................................... 249
Focusing Manually........................................................................................ 250
Manipulating Depth of Field........................................................................ 253
Controlling Color.......................................................................................... 258
Correcting colors with white balance.............................................. 258
Changing the White Balance setting................................................. 260
Fine-tuning White Balance settings.................................................. 263
Creating white balance presets......................................................... 264
Bracketing white balance................................................................... 267
Choosing a Color Space: sRGB versus Adobe RGB.................................. 271
Taking a Quick Look at Picture Controls................................................... 272
Table of Contents
Chapter 9: Putting It All Together . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 279
Recapping Basic Picture Settings............................................................... 279
Shooting Still Portraits................................................................................. 280
Capturing Action........................................................................................... 286
Capturing Scenic Vistas............................................................................... 289
Capturing Dynamic Close-Ups.................................................................... 292
Part IV: The Part of Tens............................................ 295
Chapter 10: Ten Fun (And Practical) Ways
to Manipulate Your Photos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 297
Applying the Retouch Menu Filters............................................................ 298
Removing Red-Eye........................................................................................ 300
Straightening Tilting Horizon Lines............................................................ 301
Removing (Or Creating) Lens Distortion................................................... 303
Correcting Perspective................................................................................ 305
Cropping (Trimming) Your Photo.............................................................. 307
Manipulating Exposure and Color.............................................................. 309
Creating Monochrome Images.................................................................... 313
Playing with Special Effects......................................................................... 315
Retouch menu special-effects filters................................................ 315
Shooting in Effects mode................................................................... 321
Two Roads to a Multi-Image Exposure...................................................... 325
Chapter 11: Ten Special-Purpose Features
to Explore on a Rainy Day . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 329
Keeping the Image Sensor Clean................................................................ 329
Changing the Look of the Information Display......................................... 330
Keeping the Information Display Hidden.................................................. 332
Annotate Your Images.................................................................................. 332
Creating Your Own Menu............................................................................ 334
Creating Custom Image Folders.................................................................. 336
Changing the Function of the AE-L/AF-L Button....................................... 338
Assigning a Duty to the Function Button................................................... 339
Using the Shutter Button to Lock Exposure and Focus........................... 341
Reversing the Command Dial Orientation................................................. 342
Index....................................................................... 343
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Nikon D5200 For Dummies
Introduction
N
ikon. The name has been associated with top-flight photography equipment for generations. And the introduction of the D5200 has only
enriched Nikon’s well-deserved reputation, offering all the control a die-hard
photography enthusiast could want while at the same time providing easy-touse, point-and-shoot features for the beginner.
In fact, the D5200 offers so many features that sorting them all out can be
more than a little confusing, especially if you’re new to digital photography,
SLR photography, or both. For starters, you may not even be sure what SLR
means or how it affects your picture-taking, let alone have a clue as to all the
other techie terms you encounter in your camera manual — resolution, aperture, white balance, and so on. And if you’re like many people, you may be so
overwhelmed by all the controls on your camera that you haven’t yet ventured beyond fully automatic picture-taking mode. Which is a shame because
it’s sort of like buying a Porsche and never actually taking it on the road.
Therein lies the point of Nikon D5200 For Dummies. Through this book, you
can discover not just what each bell and whistle on your camera does, but
also when, where, why, and how to put it to best use. Unlike many photography books, this one doesn’t require any previous knowledge of photography
or digital imaging to make sense of things, either. In classic For Dummies
style, everything is explained in easy-to-understand language, with lots of
illustrations to help clear up any confusion.
In short, what you have in your hands is the paperback version of an in-depth
photography workshop tailored specifically to your Nikon picture-taking
powerhouse.
A Quick Look at What’s Ahead
This book is organized into four parts, each devoted to a different aspect of
using your camera. Although chapters flow in a sequence that’s designed to
take you from absolute beginner to experienced user, I’ve also tried to make
each chapter as self-standing as possible so that you can explore the topics
that interest you in any order you please.
Here’s a brief preview of what you can find in each part of the book:
✓
Part I: Fast Track to Super Snaps: Part I contains four chapters to help
you get up and running. Chapter 1 offers a tour of the external controls
on your camera, shows you how to navigate camera menus to access
internal options, and walks you through initial camera setup. Chapter 2
explains basic picture-taking options, such as shutter-release mode and
2
Nikon D5200 For Dummies
Image Quality settings, and Chapter 3 shows you how to use the camera’s fully automatic exposure modes. Chapter 4 explains the ins and
outs of using Live View, the feature that lets you compose pictures on
the monitor, and also covers movie recording.
✓
Part II: Working with Picture Files: This part offers two chapters, both
dedicated to after-the-shot topics. Chapter 5 explains how to review
your pictures on the camera monitor, delete unwanted images, and protect your favorites from accidental erasure. Chapter 6 offers a look at
some photo software options — including Nikon ViewNX 2, which ships
free with your camera — and then guides you through the process of
downloading pictures to your computer and preparing them for printing
and online sharing.
✓
Part III: Taking Creative Control: Chapters in this part help you unleash
the full creative power of your camera by moving into the advanced
shooting modes (P, S, A, and M). Chapter 7 covers the critical topic of
exposure, and Chapter 8 explains how to manipulate focus and color.
Chapter 9 summarizes all the techniques explained in earlier chapters,
providing a quick-reference guide to the camera settings and shooting
strategies that produce the best results for portraits, action shots, landscape scenes, and close-ups.
✓
Part IV: The Part of Tens: In famous For Dummies tradition, the book
concludes with two “top ten” lists containing additional bits of information and advice. Chapter 10 covers the photo-editing and effects tools
found on the camera’s Retouch menu and also shows you how to use
the Effects exposure mode to add special effects to movies and photos
as you record them. Chapter 11 wraps up the book by detailing some
camera features that, although not found on most “Top Ten Reasons
I Bought My Nikon D5200” lists, are nonetheless interesting, useful on
occasion, or a bit of both.
Icons and Other Stuff to Note
If this isn’t your first For Dummies book, you may be familiar with the large,
round icons that decorate its margins. If not, here’s your very own icondecoder ring:
A Tip icon flags information that will save you time, effort, money, or some
other valuable resource, including your sanity. Tips also point out techniques
that help you get the best results from specific camera features.
When you see this icon, look alive. It indicates a potential danger zone that
can result in much wailing and teeth-gnashing if ignored. In other words, this
is stuff that you really don’t want to learn the hard way.
Introduction
Lots of information in this book is of a technical nature — digital photography is a technical animal, after all. But if I present a detail that is useful
mainly for impressing your technology-geek friends, I mark it with this icon.
I apply this icon either to introduce information that is especially worth storing in your brain’s long-term memory or to remind you of a fact that may
have been displaced from that memory by some other pressing fact.
Additionally, I need to point out these extra details that will help you use
this book:
✓
Other margin art: Replicas of some of your camera’s buttons and
onscreen symbols also appear in the margins of some paragraphs. I
include these to provide a quick reminder of the appearance of the
button or feature being discussed.
✓
Software menu commands: In sections that cover software, a series
of words connected by an arrow indicates commands that you choose
from the program menus. For example, if a step tells you to “Choose
File➪Convert Files,” click the File menu to unfurl it and then click the
Convert Files command on the menu.
eCheat Sheet
As a little added bonus, you can find an electronic version of the famous For
Dummies eCheat Sheet at www.dummies.com/cheatsheet/nikond5200.
The eCheat Sheet contains a quick-reference guide to all the buttons, dials,
switches, and exposure modes on your camera. Log on, print it out, and
tuck it in your camera bag for times when you don’t want to carry this book
with you.
Practice, Be Patient, and Have Fun!
To wrap up this preamble, I want to stress that if you initially think that
digital photography is too confusing or too technical for you, you’re in very
good company. Everyone finds this stuff a little mind-boggling at first. So take
it slowly, experimenting with just one or two new camera settings or techniques at first. Then, each time you go on a photo outing, make it a point to
add one or two more shooting skills to your repertoire.
I know that it’s hard to believe when you’re just starting out, but it really
won’t be long before everything starts to come together. With some time,
patience, and practice, you’ll soon wield your camera like a pro, dialing in the
necessary settings to capture your creative vision almost instinctively.
3
4
Nikon D5200 For Dummies
So without further ado, I invite you to grab your camera, a cup of whatever it
is you prefer to sip while you read, and start exploring the rest of this book.
Your D5200 is the perfect partner for your photographic journey, and I thank
you for allowing me, through this book, to serve as your tour guide.
Occasionally, Wiley’s technology books are updated. If this book has technical
updates, they’ll be posted at www.dummies.com/go/nikond5200updates.
Part I
Fast Track to Super Snaps
\
Visit www.dummies.com for more great For Dummies content online.
In this part . . .
✓
Get familiar with the basics of using your camera, from
attaching lenses to using the Information display.
✓
Find out how to select the shutter-release mode, exposure
mode, picture resolution, and file type (JPEG or Raw).
✓
Discover tips for getting good results in the automatic exposure
modes.
✓
Start taking creative control by stepping up to Scene
modes.
✓
Switch to Live View mode to compose pictures using the
monitor.
✓
Record, play, and trim digital movies.
1
Getting the Lay of the Land
In This Chapter
▶Familiarizing yourself with the lens, viewfinder, and monitor
▶Working with memory cards
▶Exploring external controls and menus
▶Viewing and adjusting camera settings
▶Customizing basic operations
▶Restoring the camera’s default settings
I
f you’re like me, shooting for the first time with a camera as sophisticated as the Nikon D5200 produces a blend of excitement and anxiety.
On one hand, you can’t wait to start using your new equipment, but on the
other, you’re a little intimidated by all its buttons, dials, and menu
options.
Well, fear not: This chapter provides the information
you need to start getting comfortable with your D5200.
Along with an introduction to the camera’s external
features, including its fancy articulating monitor, I
offer details about working with lenses and memory
cards, viewing and adjusting camera settings, and
choosing basic camera setup options.
Looking at Lenses
One of the biggest differences between a digital pointand-shoot camera and a dSLR (digital single-lens reflex)
camera is the lens. With a dSLR, you can change lenses to suit
different photographic needs, going from an extreme close-up lens
to a super-long telephoto, for example. In addition, a dSLR lens has a focusing
ring that gives you the option of focusing manually instead of relying on the
camera’s autofocus mechanism.
8
Part I: Fast Track to Super Snaps
I don’t have room in this book to go into detail about the science of lenses,
nor do I think that an in-depth knowledge of the subject is terribly important
to your photographic success. But the next few sections offer advice that
may help when you’re shopping for lenses, figuring out whether the lenses
you inherited from Uncle Ted or found on eBay will work with your D5200,
and taking the steps involved in actually mounting and using a lens.
Choosing a lens
To decide which lens is the best partner for your camera, start by considering these factors:
✓
Lens compatibility: You can mount a wide range of lenses on your
D5200, but some lenses aren’t fully compatible with all camera features.
For example, to enjoy autofocusing, you need an AF-S or AF-I lens. (If you
bought one of the so-called “kit lenses” — the 18–55mm or 18–105mm
zoom lens that Nikon offers as a bundle with the camera body — you
own an AF-S lens.) Your camera manual offers more details about lens
compatibility.
The AF in AF-S stands for autofocus, and the S stands for silent wave, a
Nikon autofocus technology. AF-I lenses are older, professional-grade
(expensive) lenses that are no longer made but may be available on the
secondhand market.
✓
Focal length and the crop factor: The focal length of a lens, stated in millimeters, determines the angle of view that the lens can capture and the
spatial relationship of objects in the frame. Focal length also affects depth
of field, or the distance over which focus appears acceptably sharp.
You can loosely categorize lenses by focal length as follows:
•Wide-angle: Lenses with short focal lengths — generally, anything
under 35mm — are known as wide-angle lenses. A wide-angle lens
has the visual effect of pushing the subject away from you and
making it appear smaller. As a result, you can fit more of the scene
into the frame without moving back. Additionally, a wide-angle lens
has a large depth of field so that the zone of apparent sharp focus
extends a greater distance. These characteristics make wide-angle
lenses ideal for landscape photography.
•Telephoto: Lenses with focal lengths longer than about 70mm are
telephoto lenses. These lenses create the illusion of bringing the
subject closer to you, increase the subject’s size in the frame,
and produce a short depth of field so that the subject is sharply
focused but distant objects are blurry. Telephoto lenses are great
for capturing wildlife and other subjects that don’t permit up-close
shooting.
Chapter 1: Getting the Lay of the Land
•Normal: A focal length in the neighborhood of 35mm to 70mm is
considered “normal” — that is, somewhere between a wide-angle
and telephoto. This focal length produces the angle of view and
depth of field that are appropriate for the kinds of snapshots that
most people take.
Figure 1-1 offers an illustration of the difference that focal length makes,
showing the same scene captured at 42mm (left image) and 112mm
(right image). Of course, the illustration shows just two of countless possibilities, and the question of which focal length best captures a scene
depends on your creative goals.
Note, however, that the focal lengths stated here and elsewhere in the
book are 35mm equivalent focal lengths. Here’s the deal: For reasons
that aren’t really important, when you put a standard lens on most digital cameras, including your D5200, the available frame area is reduced,
as if you took a picture on a camera that uses 35mm film negatives and
then cropped it.
This so-called crop factor varies depending on the camera, which is why
the photo industry adopted the 35mm-equivalent measuring stick as a
standard. With the D5200, the crop factor is roughly 1.5. So the 18–55mm
kit lens, for example, captures the approximate area you would get from
a 27–83mm lens on a 35mm film camera. (Multiply the crop factor by
the lens focal length to get the actual angle of view.) In Figure 1-2, the
red line indicates the image area that results from the 1.5 crop factor, as
compared with the shot you’d get from a lens with the same focal length
mounted on a 35mm film camera.
Figure 1-1: I used a focal length of 42mm to capture the first image and then zoomed to a
focal length of 112mm to capture the second one.
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Part I: Fast Track to Super Snaps
Figure 1-2: The 1.5 crop factor produces the angle of view
indicated by the red outline.
When shopping for a lens, it’s important to remember this crop factor to
make sure that you get the focal length designed for the type of pictures
you want to take.
Not sure which focal length to choose? Here’s a really cool online tool
to help you understand the subject more: Point your web browser to
http://imaging.nikon.com, click the link for Nikkor lenses, and
then click the link for the Nikkor Lenses Simulator. Using this interactive
tool, you can see exactly how different lenses capture the same scene.
✓
Prime versus zoom lenses: A prime lens is one with only a single focal
length. With a zoom lens, you get a range of focal lengths in one unit.
For example, the kit lens I feature in this book has a focal-length range of
18–55mm.
Why select a lens that offers a single focal length when a zoom lens
offers a range of focal lengths? In a word, quality. Because of some lens
science I won’t bore you with, you typically see some reduction in picture quality at certain points in the range of a zoom lens. On the flip
side, a zoom lens is certainly more convenient than carting around a bag
of prime lenses with different focal lengths. And you can get exceptional
image quality from many zoom lenses, even with some so-called super
zooms, which offer a huge range of focal lengths.
✓
Aperture range: The aperture is an adjustable diaphragm in a lens. By
adjusting the aperture size, you can control the amount of light that
enters through the lens and strikes the image sensor, thereby controlling exposure. The aperture setting also affects depth of field: A wideopen aperture produces a short depth of field, so the subject is sharply
focused but distant objects appear blurry; a narrow aperture produces
a long depth of field so that both the subject and distant objects appear
sharp.
Chapter 1: Getting the Lay of the Land
Chapters 7 and 8 cover these issues in detail. For the purposes of lens
shopping, you need to know just a few things.
•Every lens has a specific range of aperture settings. Obviously, the
larger the range, the more control you have over exposure and
depth of field.
•The larger the maximum aperture, the “faster” the lens. Aperture
settings are stated in f-stops, with a lower number meaning a larger
aperture. For example, a setting of f/2 results in a more open aperture than f/4. And if you have one lens with a maximum aperture
of f/2 and another with a maximum aperture of f/4, the f/2 lens is
said to be faster because you can open the aperture wider, thereby
allowing more light into the camera and permitting the image to
be captured in less time. This not only benefits you in low-light
situations but also when photographing action, which requires a
fast shutter speed (short exposure time). So, all other things being
equal, look for the fastest lens in your budget.
•With some zoom lenses, the maximum and minimum aperture
change as you zoom the lens. For example, when you zoom to
a telephoto focal length, the maximum aperture generally gets
smaller — that is, you can’t open the aperture as much as you can
at a wide-angle setting. You can buy lenses that maintain the same
maximum and minimum aperture throughout the whole zoom lens,
but you pay more for this feature.
After studying these issues and narrowing down your choices, finding the
right lens in the category you want is just a matter of doing some homework.
Study lens reviews in photography magazines and online photography sites
to find the lens that performs best while still staying in your budget.
Attaching and removing lenses
Whatever lens you buy, follow these steps to mount it on the camera body:
1. Turn off the camera and remove the cap that covers the lens mount on
the front of the camera.
2. Remove the cap that covers the back of the lens.
3. Hold the lens in front of the camera so that the little white dot on the
lens aligns with the matching dot on the camera body.
Official photography lingo uses the term mounting index instead of little
white dot. Either way, you can see the markings in question in Figure 1-3.
Figures in this book show the D5200 with its 18–55mm kit lens. If you
buy a different lens, check your lens manual for complete operating
instructions. The mounting index on your lens may not look the same as
the one featured in Figure 1-3.
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Part I: Fast Track to Super Snaps
4. Keeping the mounting
indexes aligned, position
the lens on the camera’s
lens mount.
When you do so, grip the lens
by its back collar, not the
movable, forward end of the
lens barrel.
5. Turn the lens in a counterclockwise direction until the
lens clicks into place.
To put it another way, turn
the lens toward the side of the
camera that sports the shutter button, as indicated by the
red arrow in the figure.
6. On a lens that has an aperture ring, set and lock the
ring so the aperture is set at
the highest f-stop number.
Check your lens manual to
find out whether your lens
sports an aperture ring
Figure 1-3: When attaching the lens, rotate it in
and how to adjust it. (The
the direction indicated by the arrow.
18–55mm and 18–105mm kit
lenses don’t have this feature.) After locking the aperture on the lens, use the normal camera controls to adjust the f-stop setting.
To remove a lens, press the lens-release button, labeled in Figure 1-3, and then
turn the lens toward that button — that is, the opposite of what the arrow indicates in the figure — until it detaches from the lens mount. Put the rear protective cap onto the back of the lens and, if you aren’t putting another lens on the
camera, cover the lens mount with its protective cap, too.
Always attach or switch lenses in a clean environment to reduce the risk
of getting dust, dirt, and other contaminants inside the camera or lens.
Changing lenses on a sandy beach, for example, isn’t a good idea. For added
safety, point the camera body slightly down when performing this maneuver; doing so helps prevent any flotsam in the air from being drawn into the
camera by gravity.