Help for an old Photographer

Discussion in 'Education' started by cindimiller, Feb 15, 2008.

  1. Can anyone help a very old-school photographer who has finally decided to go

    All of my work been done with very simple set ups, natural or improvised
    lighting, 1 or 2 fixtures.

    I have shot with my all manuel Nikon for 35 years and still have an old Beseler
    enlarger of the same vintage that still produces beautiful black and white for

    I understand film, processing and this age of photography well, but am
    completely an idiot in the digital world...

    I need help, there is so much information to sift through, some is just plain,
    cr*p and I don't have time. I can not shoot with a glorified point and shoot! I
    will not be happy with my results.

    I have a Nikon D80, CS3 and all of my old equipment to use. I can read and am
    willing to learn but I learn quicker hands on. I am in Oklahoma and there seems
    to be nothing locally. Don't have the time to go back to college, did that

    Thanks for any suggestions right now I am feeling very lost!

  2. cindi, what are you actually confused about?

    digital is different than shooting film, but in the end it is also very similar ... the fundaments and basics (understanding lighting, composition, etc) are the same and at the heart of it all

    since you already have a lot of photographs in your portfolio, i would suggest picking one or two and try to replicate the same shot in digital ... this will help you see how your digital camera is responding & reacting to the light

    you said you learn better hands-on, so basically giving yourself assignments may help out

    if you really want some guidance, i would recommend that you either look for some books that will teach you more about digital or find a local photo club where you can meet other photographers and chat with them about digital ..

    hopefully this helps ...
  3. Hi Cindi
    I`m an idiot too in the big digital world. I`m 33 and have a old classical traditional darkroom setup, no digital camera and won`t learn photoshoping.
  4. Cindi - there's one very nice feature your D80 has that your previous Nikon doesn't have - if you look just under the mode dial on the back of the D80 - you'll see a button with a garbage can printed on it. Take a photo, if you don't like what you see in the LCD playback, push that garbage can button, and the shot is deleted. Make whatever adjustments to your aperture, shutter speed or ISO you want, and try another shot. Keep shooting and adjusting until you get the result you're looking for - it costs nothing to experiment - it's that easy.
  5. Why have you decided to go digital?

    Why do you want to abandon film capture?

    Film still works.

    Digital works.

    They are both possible mediums to express your vision of the world.

    How about scanning some of your film and work on the process and printing stages of

    Lots of information here as well as other places on the www. on both film & digital.

    Just my thoughts to help you.
  6. I bought my first camera (a Nikon F)in Okinawa in 71. After a few misadvaentures with modern (film) cameras, I finally realized that nothing made me as happy as I had been with an old manual SLR.

    Last summer I bought my first digital camera (Panasonic Lumix DMC -L1 = Leica Digilux 3) because it was about the closest thing I could find to my manual SLRs. I can use all my old Carl Zeiss lenses via an adapter. You could probably do the same with your Nikkors, althought he focal length is effectively doubled.

    Having the "retro" control (aperture & focusing rings on the lenses and a shutter speed dial) may not be important to you. If it is though, you might check this camera out.

    I got some great advice from a "Godfrey DiGiorgi" []. He used to contribute frequently to this forum. I hope I'm not doing something improper here by mentioning him, but I think he'd be a superb person for you to contact. He's likely knowledgeable about all the newer digital offerings as well as being firmly grounded in traditional photography. He helped me immensly.
  7. Oops,

    Next time I'll try actually reading the question. I thought you were asking for advice on what to buy. I see that wasn't so. Best of Luck!
  8. Pretend you're shooting slides. Digital is unforgiving of overexposure.

    Shoot RAW. All the wet-processing controls you're familiar with are there in the capture software, they're just labeled differently, and it's a matter of experimenting and finding them. For instance, instead of opting for different developer dilutions and agitation, you can use sharpening and UnsharpMask to control edge-effects and local contrast.

    Don't think you have to use CS3 and ACR exclusively. Download the evaluation of every digital workflow tool you can find, and try them out. If something doesn't make sense to you, go on to something else. Pretty quickly you can find the tools that work for YOU. Just trying out all that software is an education, and you can gain a pretty good feel for the entire digital workflow process.
  9. I am still so illiterate but know there is so much you can do with digital. Not to mention the money that can be saved.

    I have just learned how to shoot in Manuel Mode with my Nikkor lenses and this makes me happy! And I can now set my white balance manually, hallelujah!

    But I have a long way to go, I just learned that grain was noise! I need a faster way to learn than trial and error.

    Maybe this will help with a recommendation of a website, book or specific local organization that might help me. More specifically I would like to know how to utilize the functions in my camera, how exactly the image is being created and saved to a file (pixels, dpi, files, image size, etc.) and understand the terminology of digital, techniques and how it relates to the things I know so I can apply them to my work now. (ex: grain = noise)

    Is this a bit more helpful? Thanks again.
  10. Do you know the way to Carnegie Hall? Practice, Practice, Practice?

    I started in film and now work 90% of the time in digital. The biggest tip I can give you is
    do not think of digital as a completely new form new or alien form of photography think of
    it as a different format like slide, color negative or B&W. For the most part digital behaves
    very much like slide film, so when metering expose for the Highlights. White balance is
    like picking the right film for tungsten or outdoor shooting. You just have more options
    you can use the camera presets, auto or custom to set it. I recommend shooting RAW
    because that gives you the greatest exposure latitude and tonal range. Noise is similar to
    grain the higher the ISO the more noise or grain you get.

    The same concepts you learned with film transfers to digital.
  11. Cindi,
    Ken Rockwell has a great site with lots of information on it.
    I went to the site to see if he had any information on the D80, and he does.
    Here is the URL; if it does not work, just type in Ken Rockwell, and his site will come up, then under search, type in nikon d80 camera.
    Hope this helps you.
    Richard B.
  12. Cindi,
    One more thing, Ken Rockwell will let you download the manual he wrote for the D80.
    You are not alone to being lost in the very confusing world of digital cameras, I just bought a D40 a week ago.
    Richard B.
  13. you basically have to keep looking and experimenting because the answers aren't all in one place ...

    if you really want to learn fast, try going to the bookstore and kill a day in the digital camera section ...

    Nikon also just came out with a digital tutor for many of its camera models ... its a basic video tutorial that helps you learn the camera settings without having to read the manual
  14. Thank you Rajat Chopra, the information on the site you recommended was much easier for me to follow than the manuel that came with the camera.

    And now for feeling like a real fool... the answer to my question would be: yes, it is in the viewfinder just like your old camera!

  15. opps, that was another question! oh well... =)
    still a big thank you to all
  16. You might try enrolling in one of those corespondence courses such as NYIP. They usually start you off pretty slow, and you seem to have the right equipment and are willing to learn. Ooops, I forgot to mention, you still might need a printer and a scanner.
  17. stay film! I did and you will for sure have negatives 20 years from now, who knows what will
    happen to digital files on cds!
  18. Read up about bracketing. It was a big help to me. Best of luck with digital!
  19. Cindi,

    The tutorial on this page: was written with the intent of helping "film" photographers make the transition to digital. If you have any questions after reading the tutorials, please feel free to ask questions on the associated forums.


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