Going to focus, heh heh, more on my photography

The weather is good, I’ve charged my batteries, and I’m going out to concentrate on making better exposures of my own. I have known how to do it for decades, but over the past few years, I’ve been lazy, letting the automatic camera features take over. This has given me generally poor results.

I will take a tripod or monopod and a decent lens. Today, I’ll work on aperture priority and white balance. We’ll see where this goes…


Please do share the results!

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Mike from The Online Photographer has been talking for years about the one camera, one lens approach (or something like that… I can never remember acronyms). It works for me too whenever I feel disconnected from the joy of photographing; this, together with forcing to use for example the camera in full manual mode (while I normally use aperture priority). For a while I have been using only a 50mm lens for everything, maybe try that!

PS here’s one article about the one camera, one lens thing: The Online Photographer: 2020 OCOLOY: The Joy of Looking and the Satisfaction of Seeing

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Ok, I didn’t do very well. My wife wanted to go shopping for yet more plants, so that took a few hours. I couldn’t find the tripod nor the monopod (my son shares them with me, and there’s no telling where he has put them). On top of all that, my bad eyes make it difficult to read the camera’s meter settings and determine the literal focus. Out of six images, only one was reasonably focused; the rest are all crap. I’ll try again, tomorrow.

Here is the one I am partly satisfied with.

DSC_4315.NEF.xmp (9.5 KB)

If you are using Aperture Priority or Manual Mode, you must be careful that the exposure is low enough that you don’t get motion blur. Also learning how to use and trust the autofocus is a good skill to learn early on.

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Sometimes it is good just to see things for what they are and how they photograph, without fussing about pixels and algorithms.

To get my second jab, I had to visit a town I haven’t been in for years, so I could see it with fresh eyes. I took one camera with one (prime) lens. Here’s an OOC JPEG.

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I can only agree: I took (and will sure take) my best pictures with a fully manual 35mm f/1.4 lens, and it’s so much more satisfying than just doing P-mode photography. :+1:

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Yep. Back in the day, I used a Nikon FA with a 50mm 1.4 AIs and a 28mm 1.8 AIs. I still have all of that equipment, but I haven’t shot film for years.

I’m not at all sure that this piece of advise/insight is in any way going to be helpful to you and/or if you are already aware of the things I’m going to say. But just in case I like to put this out here.

I’ve noticed that this isn’t the first time you mention your bad eyes (not talking about your retina surgery) and problems arising from just that. Coming home and finding out that many shots aren’t focused correctly is surely a downer. This got me thinking and wondering…

Would it be an option for you to upgrade to a new body?

If I’m not mistaken you shoot with a Nikon D3300, which is a nice camera but, from a technologically point of view, somewhat dated. In general this isn’t that much of a problem, I shoot with a D750 which is from the same era, but things have progressed nicely in the last 10 or so years.

  • Focus related technology; Auto focus, focus peaking, low-light performance etc have come a long way.
  • Viewfinder technology; The current electronic viewfinders are rather nice and crisp and are definitely more helpful then the “old fashioned” version.
  • Live view (or equivalent); You are, like me, from a viewfinder only generation and I know that it took me a while to see the benefits from using the monitor on the back instead of the viewfinder. Still a bit of a hassle with the older models (like my D750 or your D3300). The newer generation camera’s makes using this a lot easier (touchscreen) and the info shown/given is also more to the point/clear. The larger size, compared to the viewfinder, should also be welcome if one has eye problems.

Those three points would make your shooting experience a lot more pleasant, and that is just looking at it from your eyes point of view.

If you are in any way looking for a camera that incorporates the above and is also able to use the current DX lenses you have at the moment maybe have a look at the Nikon Z 50 or, if you want to go full frame, the Nikon Z 5.


Thanks, and I have been thinking along the same lines. Sure, I would really like to have a new camera body and better lenses. But even a used D750 body is around $1200 (the last time I looked), and full frame mirrorless cameras are around $2000 (or, $3000 as a kit). We had to buy a new heating and air conditioning system a month or so ago, and we had just bought a new car in January. Right now, I have to stop spending so much for a while.

PS - Ok, I see a used Z6 for $988 in excellent condition. That is much less than I was expecting.

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Yeah, money is always a problem…

A new Nikon Z 50 +FTZ adapter can be bought for € 900,-- and a full frame Z5, also incl. FTZ adapter, for € 1350,-- And that’s all nice and well until you realize how much money that is. Not sure how much they are second hand, might be worth looking into when/if the time arrives.

Do keep it in mind though for when finances allow for it.

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Do realize that you have DX lenses and the Z6 is full frame. You can use the DX lenses on it but it makes the camera a bit handicapped. And (FX) lenses are expensive…

I know, right? At this point, I would rather have a cheaper full-frame system than a more expensive DX system (what is the generic term for the smaller sensors?). My son uses a D750, and like I said above, I was used to shooting 35mm film for decades.

I think its clear: use your parental powers to annex this camera! :smiley:

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The ground-glass screen on modern DSLRs are not optimised for manual focus. For folks (like me) with less than perfect eyesight, this is a nuisance.

My Nikon D800 has arrows and a dot, that tell me when a square on the image is in focus. I find this useful.

In the UK, secondhand D800 bodies can be found from about £429 (US $600) upwards.

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I’m a bit more zoned in today, and I got these and a few other pretty good shots. Maybe I went a little overboard with some of the editing, but what the heck!