beginners book for Nikon D40

Discussion in 'Beginner Questions' started by adam_earley|1, Jul 18, 2009.

  1. Hello everyone Im new to photography, and bought a Nikon D40 with kit lens and 55-200 lens. I keep reading to get a good book to start learning more. So my question is who makes the best book for the D40. Or should I just get a general photography book? I have a lot to learn, so dont use big words with me lol.
  2. You are talking two different subjects here.....if you want to learn to use your camera, yes, the above mentioned magic lantern guides are great. There are also DVD's about your camera also available on Amazon.
    If you want a photography book, I would start with Bryan Peterson's "Understanding Exposure" which is available on Amazon and most bookstores. You get through that book, you will be taking some decent pictures.
  3. The digital field guide up top is good for telling you what your camera does, like an extension of the manual. Worth buying for sure. Got one for my 40D and it helped since I was new to photography. DVD's are also made for specific models. Check B&H Photo for them. I got two great books the other day. From Scott Kelby. Titled "Digital Photography" more or less. Search on Amazon. There is a part one and a part two. Both are great books. A third edition is coming out Aug 2 in fact. Great books. Just great. Read the reviews on Amazon. Tons of them.
  4. I like any of several by Kodak or by John Hedgecoe. Look for a recent copyright and for a lot of pictures. It's a lot easier to learn photography from pictures than from 1000s of words. Also, the manual that came with the camera has a wealth of information. The two Jim mentioned are good supplements to the manual.
  5. I have a D40, but I wouldn't buy a book on the D40. I can't imagine what you could learn from a book specifically about the D40 that you can't get from the manual and some experimental shooting.
    I'd cast the net wider and buy a book on photography in general. I happen to like Scott Kelby's style, but there are other books. A chapter on, say, the effect of aperture setting applies to any camera, so you don't need specifics for Nikon D40 when it comes to aperture.
    The D40 has some special mode settings like landscape, portrait, child, sports, etc. Nothing exclusive to Nikon. The best way to learn about these is by experimentation. Shoot a landscape shot with the camera set to "Auto" and then immediately take the same shot with the dial mode set to landscape. Compare the difference (if any) and see if you want to bother with these modes again. Do the same for all of them.
    The M, A, S, and P settings are also common to all dslrs. Read about these in general photography book and anything you learn applies to the D40 and any other brand or model of camera
    After a few months of ownership of my D40, using it, and reading the manual, there's nothing I need to learn about the D40. I have much to learn about photography, though.
  6. Well I found a guide to the D40 written my Ken Rockwell and did pickup a few things there. I think I will get a book about photgraphy. I need to learn more about f-stops too. I seem to see that everywhere. Thanx for the help
  7. Adam, I personally wouldn't recommend anything written by Ken Rockwell. Instead just do some searches online about understanding exposure, composition, dof etc. There are lots of informational pages available that isn't rubbish like Ken Rockwell's. Good luck!
  8. If the light bulb in your head hasn't gone on yet with F-stops, ISO's and shutter speeds, for sure try Bryan Peterson's "Understanding Exposure" I did it the hard way of trying to learn from reading complicated articles on the internet. It's one of those things that one day the whole thing will just click for you, and you will look back and say, wow, that wasn't so difficult, and it will seem plain as day, but getting to that point just reading a bunch of articles can seem like the day will never come.
  9. The manual. It's small print, it talks about a lot of doodads, and it's confusing. You can download a PDF of it and make your own minimanuals for specific things you want to learn, using a PD screen grabber for illustrations and cut-and-paste for the text. They're much handier out in the field.
    Chimpery. Pick an entirely boring daylit scene, find the correct exposure by reading it off the viewfinder, then set your D40 on manual and fire off a series of exposures, varying the shutter speed only, from four times the recommended exposure to one-fourth. Check them out in the LCD, and particularly note what happens to the sensitometric curve. When done, don't erase them--load them into Photoshop and see what you can do to rescue over- and under-exposure with Curves and Levels.
    The same thing goes for hands-on testing of things like varying the DOF, shifting to different focal points, and any other way of checking out a given feature you can cobble up. What you do, you end up understanding. After you've come up with your dumb ways of doing things, you're in a much better position to appreciate the smartness of the ways pros do things.
    In regard to reading matter, don't stop at the D40. You can read a number of general-purpose guides that will bring you up to scratch, each with its strengths and weaknesses. Spend some time in the bookstore-cum-coffee-shops, and bring assorted guides and magazines back to the coffee shop for an afternoon of browsing, drugstore cowboying, or Collins Street squatting. Only you can prevent forest fires--er, um, decide what's right for you.
  10. For some reason, Ken Rockwell really rubs some people the wrong way. He has a certain style & humor and some opinions that not everyone agrees with. I'm pretty sure that not even he believes everything he writes. On the other hand, his pages & tips can be useful as a counterpoint and I wouldn't say to ignore them out of hand--just don't make them your only source (good advice for any source!).
    I'd stop in the bookstore and page through a couple of these books. Petersen's Understanding Exposure is a good book but isn't written for the person who doesn't know what the buttons & dials on their specific camera do--it is generic in that sense. Most manufacturer camera manuals are not particularly written for learning photography basics--they are really more for cataloging what all the buttons and dials do and barely touch on why you'd want to do this or that. Digital cameras (and film cameras as well) aren't really all that different, so a non-model-specific book that speaks to you in a voice you can understand is probably fine as long as you can refer to your manual to find how to change a particular setting on your particular camera.
  11. Well thanx alot guys. Im going to look for Petersons Understanding exposure book as soon as I can. I know how to change settings on my camera but just dont know what I need to change them to. Thanx for all the help and Im sure you will hear more from me

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