My first camera Nikon D3300

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by karishma_yalamanchili, Jun 2, 2016.

  1. Hi, I bought my first camera Nikon d3300 a week ago. I got 50mm and 200mm lens. I want to try Bokeh effect in my room with the Christmas lights. Could you please let me know what lens do I need to use and what is the shutter speed, Aperture and ISO I need to set up. Do I need to use flash for Bokeh effect? Please help me with this.
    And could you please tell me some beginner tips.
    Thank you.
  2. For beginner purposes, "bokeh" just means that the backgound is out of focus.

    Use either of your lenses, zoom in to its longest lenth (50 or 200) and shoot wide open (the lowest number on the aperture setting, probably 3.5 to 5.6 on your lenses)

    Put the camera on aperture priority (A in the series of PASM on the adjustment dial) and the camera will choose the shutter speed for you. ISO should be on maybe 200. There will not be enough light inside in a room lit with only Christmas lights. Try this outside (preferably in the shade, not harsh sunlight) first until you get some practice. Photograph a person. Frame a head and shoulder shot. Focus on their eyes.

    Flash has nothing to do with it.
  3. Hi Karishma - congratulations on your new camera!

    I'm interpreting "bokeh effect" to mean "show blobs of light in the background of a shot" - Nikon have an introduction here. I'd not really heard it called an "effect" (bokeh describes how the out-of-focus areas look), but I gather that's a new piece of lingo I need to learn!

    Basically, you probably want to be shooting at or near the widest aperture your lens supports in order to make out-of-focus objects (like the Christmas lights you presumably mean to set up in the background) look as out-of-focus as possible. If your "50mm" and "200mm" lenses are zooms (are they an 18-55mm and 55-200mm, or do you actually have 50mm and 200mm prime lenses?) then you'll also want to be at the longer end of the lens, all else being equal. Pick the focal length you need for your subject, but if, for example, you have a subject in the foreground and you're framing them to fill the frame, if you're at 200mm then the background will be magnified more than if you're at 50mm. (You'll also be farther from your subject with a 200mm lens, so you'll be playing with the effect that moving your shooting position has on the background.) The more magnified the background is, the larger out-of-focus blobs in it will be. On the other hand, if you want to get more lights into your image, you'll have to use a wider angle (shorter focal length). I'm guessing that you want to have a relatively dark background, other than the Christmas lights. Also, the bigger the distance between your subject and the lights in the background, the more out of focus they'll be.

    I'm assuming that you're planning to put something in focus in the middle of the frame - which could be a conventional subject, or could just be part of your lights (if you're being abstract). If you're trying to place a person in the middle of the frame, just focus on the face and use the shutter speed/ISO that the camera tells you. Hopefully matrix metering should work with this, but if it gets confused by the darkness of the background, you might want to try spot metering mode; you may have to tweak exposure compensation a bit, depending on your subject. It's easier to make the background appear relatively dark if you have some kind of light shining on the subject, but you won't want too much if you're trying to make Christmas lights show up (especially if you're blurring them by making them out of focus, which spreads their light out). Using the camera flash is one way to light the subject, but it's generally not very flattering - unless you have external flash guns, I'd think about trying to arrange some window light to fall on your subject from an angle (and maybe reflect a bit with a reflector/bit of tin foil to fill in some shadows), depending on the look you want.

    There are no rules. If you find the lights are too out-of-focus, reduce the aperture a bit. (Learner tip: aperture is a fraction, so f/16 is a smaller aperture than f/8, because 1/16 is smaller than 1/8. If you make the mistake of trying to remember that "f-8 is bigger than f/16" you'll always have something in your brain telling you apertures are backwards.) Christmas tree lights aren't very bright (at least when out of focus), so you might want to prop the camera on something (tripod, table, etc.) so you can take a longer exposure without camera shake being a problem - at least try to lean on something. Lower ISO always gives less noise, but also makes the exposure longer (for the same exposure), so if you have to hand-hold the camera you'll be more likely to have problems with shake.

    Finally, most prime lenses (such as a 50mm f/1.8) have wider maximum apertures than zoom lenses. This means they can blur the background more - which is why you can get very smooth backgrounds separated from the subject with, say, a 50mm f/1.8 lens. If you really like the effect and you've currently got zooms, you might want to think about one as your next purchase. (The 85mm f/1.8 is another good example on a reasonable budget, and the 50mm f/1.4 blurs the background even more than the 50mm f/1.8. Huge, long lenses like the 200mm f/2 and 400mm f/2.8 really make the background disappear - which is useful if the background is ugly, but not so much if you're trying to make an "effect" out of it.)

    Basically, experiment, and have fun. Good luck, I hope that essay helps, and let us know how you get on!
  4. @Andrew Garrard Thank you for your valuable suggestions.
    Yes, I have 18-55 mm and 55-200 mm lens. I have tried in a small room. I think I have to maintain some distance between the object and lights. I can set the aperture only up to min of f/3 in Nikon D3300 (18-55 mm and 55-200 mm).
  5. @Craig Shearman Thanks for your response. Also cloud you please let me know if Nikon D3300 is a good camera for the beginners?
  6. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    The effect is more dramatic with a faster, f1.8 or f1.4 lens with a larger aperture. See some of the sample images that accompany my review of the 85mm/f1.8 AF-S lens:
    For example, pay attention to the out-of-focus lights in the background:
    The D3300 and the two lenses you have are fine for beginners.
  7. Glad to help, Karishma, and I hope you enjoy your experiments. As Shun says, while you can get more extreme (and possibly smoother) bokeh from different lens choices, you'll get the effect from what you have, and they're perfectly good places to start (and more flexible in other ways). As for the D3300, it'll take just as good photos as any other modern camera, bar some extremely minor details - its biggest restrictions are that you have to dive into the menus in order to make some things happen, whereas the bigger, heavier and more expensive cameras let you make changes a bit faster. Unless you're in a rush for an assignment or you're actively being frustrated by it, there's absolutely nothing wrong with the D3300 - far better you save your money (or spend it on other things in photography that you find you want!) than be worried about the camera.
  8. to make this simple, you'll see the most dramatic bokeh shooting wide open --f/3.5 -- at 18mm with the 18-55. at 55mm, the max. aperture is 5.6. that setting isn't especially conducive to bokeh, but depending on the framing, it is possible to get interesting out of focus backgrounds. the same thing goes for the 55-200, except at 200mm, the backgrounds will be more compressed than at closer focal lengths. so if you shoot something at 200mm with a foreground subject and a distant background, the compression should give you a "bokeh effect," even though the max aperture of 5.6 @ 200mm doesnt allow for too much subject isolation, compared to a "faster" lens with a 2.8 or 1.8 max aperture. if you want to experiment with out of focus renderings or bokeh shots, i recommend getting the 50/1.8 G lens and shooting at a wider aperture than is possible with either of the kit lenses.
  9. To make Eric's "simple" statement more complicated... it's true that variable-aperture lenses confuse the trade-off between using the shorter end of the zoom with the wider aperture (18mm f/3.5 in your case) or the longer end with the smaller aperture (55mm f/5.6).

    This may be blinding you with details, but with a big disclaimer of "just pick the widest aperture the lens lets you have at the focal length you want and try it", here's a bit more information:

    At f/3.5, the maximum aperture of the 18-55mm lens at the wide-angle 18mm end is 18/3.5 = 5mm (remember I said the f-number is a fraction?) At the 55mm end of the zoom, the same lens will only let you get to f/5.6, but that's a 55/5.6 = 10mm aperture. That means that the lens can still blur a background more at 55mm f/5.6 than at 18mm f/3.5 - but it depends how far the background is from the subject. Thinking of it another way, the size the background lights are blurred to at f/5.6 is smaller than how blurry they are at f/3.5, but the 55mm lens magnifies the background more than the 18mm end, which compensates for the difference. If the background lights are near your subject, you'll make them look more out of focus with 18mm at f/3.5. If they're farther away, you'll make them look more out of focus with 55mm f/5.6. I've never worked through the formulae to work out where the cross-over is, I'm afraid! Also bear in mind that if you're taking a photo of a person, they'll probably look more "natural" if you're nearer the 55mm end (or you're using the longer zoom), unless you deliberately want a distorted effect.

    It all comes back to "try it". There are maths that explain it, and drawing a load of triangles on the back of an envelope can help, but basically Eric's right - and you'll probably do better blurring the background with your 55-200mm if you have room. (It's also slightly faster - wider aperture - at 55mm than the 18-55, as f/4 rather than f/5.6.) But you'll certainly blur the background more with a 50mm f/1.8 (AF-S - the older AF-D version won't autofocus on your camera) - or, if you want to spend more, with an 85mm f/1.8 or one of the f/1.4 lenses. Good luck!
  10. the lens can still blur a background more at 55mm f/5.6 than at 18mm f/3.5 - but it depends how far the background is from the subject.​
    trying to make this non-technical as possible, but @ 3.5 you have a shallower depth of field than @ 5.6. but you will have more compression at 55mm than at 18mm. if you look at the sample shots from the photozone 18-55 review, there's one shot at 55mm and 6.3, and another at 18mm and 3.5 which show the blur/bokeh characteristics of this lens. The shots show subject isolation, but the bokeh isn't particularly great, as expected. as others have stated, a lens with a larger max aperture would offer more in the way of bokeh, if you are trying to get that specific effect.
    it's helpful, i think, to know what is and isn't possible with those two lenses, neither of which is going to be particularly great in the bokeh department. you wont be able to achieve the melted-away backgrounds the same as with a 1.4 or 1.8 lens, but you should be able to arrive at a reasonable approximation of blur with the right technique and framing, especially with the 55-200 @ 200mm. another thing to keep in mind is that the 18-55 has pretty decent close-focusing ability (1:3.2, which is almost semi-macro), which could help when framing shots.

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