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Category: New Questions

Photography Question 
Sr Telchilde Hinckley

Newbie questions about Nikon D70

I just inherited a Nikon D70 with a 28-200 lens. It is a big step up for me and I am trying to learn as much as possible. If I set the camera mode to M I am able to select aperture and shutter speed but there are some limits to my choices set by the camera. I thought that in this mode I could set both at any setting I wanted. I am also trying to understand the practical difference between spot metering and center metering and when it is appropriate to use one or the other.
thanks so much for any help. I think I'll have lots more questions.

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9/20/2007 2:51:47 PM

Donna K. Kilcher
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/5/2004
  here is a site that moight help some

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9/20/2007 3:26:01 PM

John Rhodes
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/24/2005
  As with any dslr in manual exposure, there is only one correct shutter speed for any aperture to achieve correct exposure. That is, if you obtain correct exposure (by dialing in thru your viewfinder) at one particular aperture, if you double the size of the apeture, you must halve the shutter speed.

If depth of field is your primary concern then determine the best aperture and dial in the corresponding shutter speed for correct exposure. Same if shutter speed if most important.

As for metering, you'll probably be able to successfully use evaluative or matrix metering for most situations. There are excellent books that explain which metering mode is best for different situations.


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9/20/2007 4:31:17 PM

Sr Telchilde Hinckley   Thanks for the helps. I am currently trying so many combinations that I think I am confusing myself!! the variables are infinite! What is the difference between P and P* mode?
Also, I take a lot of photos of animals. They are mostly black, black faces and bodies, but with a white belt around their bodies (Dutch belted cattle) and dark colored sheep. Is there any recommended metering or other settings for this? Particularly with the cows, the contrast of the b & w is dazzling. It would help me tremendously to have some suggestions of combinations or settings to use, and then I can depart from there with tryouts. thanks S T

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9/21/2007 9:42:12 AM

William Schuette
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/8/2006
  You have the best method to analyze changes already in the camera. Set your LCD on the back of the camera to show you a histogram when you play a picture. Go ahead and take a shot using aperture priority mode and note what the shutter speed selected is then check your histogram. If the graph is shoved to the right and cut off you are overexposing so try some faster shutter speeds or smaller aperture in manual mode or dial in some (-) exposure compensation. Alternatively, if it is shoved to the left and cut off you are underexposing so try a slower shutter speed or larger aperture or (+) exposure compensation.


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9/24/2007 5:12:31 PM

Sr Telchilde Hinckley   Thanks Bill, this is a big help. I can read what all the dials etc are for but sometimes I am not sure what they "do."
Just fooling around and looking at the histogram as you suggest is helping me to
"get it". It's a lot to learn at once.

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9/25/2007 8:50:23 AM

William Schuette
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/8/2006
  It's just like any other tool or musical instrument. Start simple with aperture priority mode with matrix metering you will generally get good results. Then play with shutter priority mode with matrix metering. Move on to learn how to change your meter to accomodate special situations such as backlighting, snow or sand and how to use the center weighted or spot metering options. By then, you will have most of the principles down.


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9/25/2007 12:06:31 PM

Sr Telchilde Hinckley   Thanks Bill, this kind of advice "start here..." is very helpful to me. I tend to be methodical in this kind of work and having some starting point that makes sense is a help. I have been trying things with changing EV and WB. I think I wil format the card and get rid of all the junk and make somr fresh experiments. I'll let you know how it oes.
thanks S T

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9/27/2007 9:51:22 AM

Pete H
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/9/2005
  "P" and P*

P is simply "program" mode. The camera will make (ALL) decisions concerning shutter speed and aperture based on the metering mode you selected.

P* is still "program mode" but now with the ability to raise or lower shutter speed and/or aperture.

If you turn the "command" dial while in Program mode, the small (*) will appear indicating you are overriding what the camera THOUGHT was the best combination of speed and Aperture.

So; if you increase shutter speed by dialing the command wheel, the camera will select the aperture for you to maintain a "balanced" exposure. The reverse is also true.
Rotating the "command wheel" from(CENTER) or "P" in one direction will change shutter speed while the other direction will change aperture.
Always remember to set the "command wheel" back to it's center position so only "P" appears.

all the best,


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9/27/2007 11:33:22 AM

Sr Telchilde Hinckley   thank you very much Pete

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9/27/2007 11:41:59 AM

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