Overwhelmed with New Camera

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by ccommins, Dec 26, 2009.

  1. For Christmas my wonderful husband gave a D300s. I was so excited, today is the first time I really got to look it
    over, browse the owners manual. Now my excitement has gone to being overwhelmed. I am use to a D80. Anyone
    else feel like this when you upgraded to a new camera.
  2. I don't read manuals! Seriously, just play around with it and then you will start looking up the things you want to know. Soon, the manual will not seem so foreign--and I seriously don't read manuals until I need to know something. Then, once I know the basics, I read the manual--things sort themselves out pretty quickly.
  3. Conceptually, Carol, very little is different. A big difference: many of the things you used to have to go digging into the D80's menu system to change are now right there on your camera as easy to use physical controls.

    Remember what really matters:

    1) The ISO setting makes the camera more or less sensitive to light (at the cost of some image quality as you raise the number higher, to make it more sensitive. You can turn on and off the camera's automatic adjusting of this parameter as you see fit.

    2) Aperture and Shutter settings do just what they've always done. You can adjust them manually, or put the camera into either Aperture Priority, or Shutter Priority mode. Or, you can just throw the thing in "P" mode so it will work on cruise control while you get accustomed to the camera.

    You have more options than you're used to for focus points and focus behaviors, but the default modes are very effective. Just take it one step at a time, relax, and enjoy that tremendous new camera.
  4. What the heck - it's a camera! What's different about f/stops and shutter speeds, auto-focus and which button makes it go POP.
    Skim the manual to see what new features are there, and bore in on details when you have time. By now, you know what you need to know.
  5. Put the manual down, pick the camera up and do some good old fashioned shooting - the camera differs in details from the D80 - and you can read up on those in due time.
  6. All new, modern digital cameras are "overwhelming". Just set it on "P" to start with and keep track of what it is doing. Carry the manual with you so you can look up any puzzlement about something unexpected. Underneath it's not a different creature than your older camera.
  7. Carol,
    I felt a little disoriented with my new Nikon D90 to begin with. I went through the manual, yellow highlighter in hand, while laying on the couch with the camera on my chest and a 50mm attached, so I could try operations out as I proceeded through the manual. Still, even after that grueling experience, I felt like I hadn't had enough exposure to feel completely confident, so I purchased, "Nikon D90 for Dummies", by Julie Adair King.
    Julie and I just hit it off, and after reading her guide, I'm feeling much more confident. I've purchased Thom Hogan's guides for my D70 and D80 in the past, and though they are very comprehensive, I usually fall asleep reading them.
    I recommend you try the "Nikon D300s for Dummies", also written by Julie Adair King.
  8. The new camera manual can be pretty intimidating if you try to read and remember it all at once. I have three ways of dealing with that.
    • Start using the camera after having read the basics
    • When I need to exercise a particular capability, look for that section.
    • Use it for bed time reading -- you learn a little and then it puts you to sleep.
    Also, some of the Nikons have a little short summary manual you can stick in your gadget bag, so you don't need to worry about beating up the full manual when you are out photographing. It also weighs less.
  9. No question. I had been shooting a long time with film Nikon's and Hasselblads when I picked up a pair of D200s last February. I'll probably get the menus right by February 2011. My RAW NEF stuff looks terrible and I have excellent lighting and exposure skills. So yes there is definitely a learning curve for some of us.
  10. Use the basics at first. Learn a little at on each occasion instead of all at once. You will know and be comfortable with the camera soon enough.
  11. The biggest difference is that everything you ultimately found annoying or limiting or frustrating in the wonderful D80 (I still love mine--my first DSLR and now my backup) is fixed in the D300 series. Give it a week or so. You are going to absolutely love it. And if you need to ease into it, just set it on P and enjoy it until you are up to figuring it all out a little. But really, it'll be fairly intuitive once you start.
    Reading the manual you are going to find yourself saying, "Omg! That's such a better way to do ____," and "that's all I have to do to change this or turn that on? Wow!"
  12. (1) Set the Mode to "P".
    (2) Make sure that the little switch on the front is set to C or S (not M).
    (3) Set the quality and size of image that you want. (JPEG Large is a good start.)
    (4) Presto! You're ready to go! Come back to the manual when you want to learn something new, but this should be enough to get you started.
  13. Carol,
    I'd also add to the good advise here that you should not be afraid to use the ISO at higher settings like 1250, 1600 to achieve faster shutter speeds if desired - the D300s produces significantly less noise penalised images at higher ISO settings than the D80 you have upgraded from.
  14. Dan's advice (among others') is good. Since you've already used a D80, I'd recommend Thom Hogan's guide <http://www.bythom.com/nikond300guide.htm>. It's not a basic intro book (like say the Magic Lantern books). Instead, it explains the controls and settings, makes suggestions for which combinations you should use, with explanations of why. The electronic version is long and the accompanying printed book is a briefer version small enough to fit into the camera bag. The book also comes with some additional guides (for example for the Nikon software).
  15. ...anything new is great for a few days...then the 'novelty' begins to wear off....it then becomes just another tool in the bag...
    ...dont brag about it and show off to your lesser peers - just make sure you use it to take even better shots....
  16. If you're already used to a dSLR, I'd just go straight into taking pictures, and if you can't find the functions that you are used to using from your other camera, then you look them up.
  17. Thank you everyone for your response. I think I'm just too comfortable with my D80. I'll try your suggestions and definally going to get the publications. Thanks again I can always depend on PN members to help.
  18. Carol, I found the digitour on Nikon's website helpful with that "overwhelming" feeling:
    D300s Digitour
  19. I've recently 'down-graded' to an old fuji digital camera and two old film cameras - they all take some getting-used to, with different ergonomics, operations, parameters, menus or whatever. Taking things 'easy' is the way to do it - like 'wearing-in' new shoes - rushing to press the new camera into service can lead to short-cuts and bad habits. As a memory aid, I use small sticky notes attached to the camera - masking tape is useful since it's easily removed.
  20. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Doesn't the D300S come with a Quart Start booklet? That should help. The biggest difference from the D80 to the D300/D300S is the Multi-CAM 3500 AF system.
    The video feature on the D300S is kind of dumb; essentially it is just on and off with little control. Figure out how live view works and video is merely one button push away.
    Otherwise, Aperture Priority and manual M are still available as on the D80. You should be able to take some pictures immediately.
  21. Carol, I went from the D70 to the D300 so while I could get to the basics (ISO, shutter speed, aperture) pretty quickly there were other features that I didn't understand as I went through the menu. I did read the manual but I also purchased the magic lantern book and DVD and found that watching the video with my camera in one hand and the remote control (so I could pause) in the other hand was helpful. While the video does not cover all of the features and functions, nor does it claim to, it still provided a quick and useful education.
    The D300s is a great camera and I know you will enjoy it very much after you use it for a while.
    Best wishes,
  22. I can feel Carol's pain. I switched to a D200 several months ago after decades of film shooting, and am still trying to figure out how to get the *most* out of the beast. These modern dslrs have so many features built in to satisfy different genres and shooting situations (and to prove that a programmer can go wild if given a chance!?). The key is to nail down the kind of shooting *you* do, and then figure out how to set the camera accurately for *your* needs. Yes, you can set a dslr up on auto modes and get reasonable results from it. But you won't be getting the *optimal* performance it is capable of. If you let us know how you have been using your D80, you may get better answers.
    For example, it took me months to figure out how to set the focus point on the D200:
    Another example is the operation of the flash's rear curtain sync. It took me many failures to figure out how it works (and doesn't work) with different exposure modes. Yes. it is spelled out in the 200 page manual. But I need to carry a cheat sheet just to remember where it is buried.
    Finally, you may find some presets like these for your body helpful. Why Nikon does not provide one for each body is beyond me.
  23. Hello, I'm on my 3rd dslr and luckily they were almost the same, the way the lay out that is. I haven't shot where I had to absolutely make a shot that many times in my photographic career. Recently someone ask me to photograph a birthday party and I realize at that moment I felt pressure to make the shots, and at that moment I didn't feel absolutely comfortable with my camera. Any ways my point is practice practice practice, as if it were a musical instrument and as some have said master what you need to know for the kind of shooting you do.
  24. Carol, congratulations on your new camera. I am shooting with a D80 and feeling the need to add a second body. Am trying to justify the D300s, but will probably go (settle?) for the D90 in a couple of weeks.
    Shortly after buying my D80, about three years ago, I purchased Blue Crane Digital's "Introduction to the Nikon D80" video. I like the way it explains things and found I could watch a section, go try the techniques/instructions, then watch another section and do the same thing again.
    Adorama has "Introduction to the Nikon D300/D300s/D700, V1: Basic Controls" for $19.99 with free shipping. OCD would lead me to run out and look for it locally. Either way, I think it would be twenty bucks well spent.
    As others have said, getting out there and shooting with it will probably give you the quickest way to become accustomed.
  25. A friend who upgraded from a D80 to a D300 (not 300s) was initially in the same position as you are now. He said it took him a week to start getting pics of the same quality as with his D80 - he mentioned something about setting up some profiles (not sure if that's the right term).
  26. .....any modern SLR has an overload of inbuilt scene and mode settings in order to cater for just about any possible situation (fireworks / snow / cat on a hot tin roof / ect :) BUT surely people who spend this sort of money on a new camera can understand and use the basics of manual shooting with aperture / shutter speed / ISO settings to get the depth of field, and look feel and quality of their shots...
    Forget all this overload - go back to the basics - learn to shoot in totally MANUAL mode and adjust aperture /shutter speed and (auto)ISO for each shot (or series of shots) manually as it comes....
    Once learnt - you'll never need to read a manual and can finally call yourself a person who 'really' understands photography not just someone who thinks they can take good photographs because they've got an expensive camera.... You will be able to pick up a D80 or D300 or any other camera of any make and model and use it IMMEDIATELY and know that you can obtain good results....
  27. Shooting with SLRs most of my life (1980s-present), I honestly find that most digital point and shoot cameras are far more confusing to figure out. You learn one SLR and you can pick up any one, set it to manual and get right to it.
  28. Just got back from a test run with my camera, it very much like my old one but the controls some what different. I set auto for a few shots then went to manual, thats what I'm use to using. It's bigger, more bells and whistles but I the one in control I seem to forget that for a brief instance. But from the posts I'm not the only one intimated by new equipment.
  29. congratulations carol! i've upgraded my camera from 350d to 5dii earlier this year and i still remember the feeling. by the way, i carry my new camera everywhere nowadays. cheers for sharing your happiness with us~~
  30. I remember when I upgraded from a 350D to a 5D. It took me about 5 minutes until I was happily shooting away with the 5D. It does exactly the same thing, in fact it does the same thing as an old film SLR, aperture priority is still aperture priority, and so on and so on. The only difference is improved controls (i.e., simpler, easier), better build quality and better high ISO performance. A camera is just a camera.... unless you want to delve into the gimmicky firmware side of things, but when sticking to Av, Tv, M, it is an old hat and nothing at all new. Enjoy your new camera and don't be intimidated!
  31. Been there! Leave the D80 at a friend's house and make yourself get used to your new D300s
  32. Carol, what a great gift from your husband. Good man!
    Now what your are experiencing is perfectly normal. Fighter Pilots call it Helmet Fire. When you become task saturated and have information overload. Just think about driving an unfamiliar car for the first time.
    To continue with the pilot metaphor....overcome this "overload" with "time in type" Pilots indicate experience with hours in a certain aircraft. So that's what you need to do....sounds like you are on your way!
    Enjoy your new Camera!
  33. Carol
    I upgraded from D80 to D300 about 18 months ago. The D300 has loads more customizable options which can be overwhelming. The key thing is though, even if you are a pro, it is unlikely that you will use all of the options. So just get used to using the features you find helpful.
    I went on a one day course to learn the basics and then another one day course to learn more advanced functions. I found these really helpful and confidence boosting at the time. Honestly though, when you get used to it, it's really simple. I know what menu settings I use regularly for the type of photography I do and mostly stick to those. (I mainly shoot in manual with picture control set to neutral as I do quite a lot in post-processing). I love the D300. It has amazing handling, build and image quality. The noise performance is truly outstanding next to the D80. Once you get used to a 'pro' body, you won't want to go back. Of course, you have the 300s which also has video - even better!
  34. A tip: Try to find the Acrobat version of manuals for your equipment. Having them on my laptop while traveling has saved me a few times.
  35. Hello Carol, congrats on the upgrade, i have found alot of info on utube, just type in Nikon D300s and there is alot info videos from beginning to advanced some are boring but they are not that long, the good thing is you you can watch them with camera in hand, good luck
    and have fun.
  36. Hi,Carol...I am convinced that manuals are written by crazies who love using doublespeak and enjoy messing with people's minds. You might like to check out the Digital Field Guide or Magic Lantern series of books dedicated to your particular model. Or enrol in a photography course where you will learn more in an afternoon from a great teacher than a year browsing books or the web. And as a bonus you may even make new friends to share your journey...By the way, buying you a Nikon indicates to me that your husband is clearly a discerning man who demands the best...I bet he drives a Bentley or similar...love from Downunder, Mark
  37. I have a question for those folks who upgraded to D300 or D300s from earlier bodies. I have been using D70s for last over four years and am in dual mind on going to D300s. My question is - would it give me good amount of improvement in terms of image quality over D70s ?
  38. I've gone from D80 to D300 too. As everybody says, just using it for a while makes it feel very at home. A different thing is finding some specific settings blind without taking the camera away from your eye; that took a bit longer since quite a bit on the D300 is in a different place.
    That said, after a month or 2, the D80 felt small, cramped and unlogical. It's very easy to get used to good things :)
    Anand, that would be a big yes for anything above ISO400 and/or anything that needs larger prints. The D70s also had a pretty cool colour rendering by default, a bit a love/hate affair. The more modern cameras have more saturated rendering. A non-issue if you use RAW, but if you use JPEG it can make a difference for sure.
  39. I have gone from a D50 to a D90 and my manual got dog's ears. After a year of reading I am still adjusting the presets and understanding the possibilities of the camera. Having studied engeneering it should be more easy for me, don't study too long.
  40. Congratulations Carol. A very fine camera indeed. When I got my D300 after being used to a D70, I got exactly the same feeling - and I have not dared opening the manual yet (got it 2 years ago....)
  41. Great camera, congratulations! you will be very happy with it. dont forget to read the manual its very important if you want to really understand to use it at its full potential. just becarefull on page 356 there is an OGER hidding and it bites if you wake him up! :]
  42. Getting new equipment is always a bit overwhelming at first! Have fun with it and play! I just got my first studio lights recently. Talk about being overwhelmed! But I just started playing and now I love them.
    Magic Lantern is about to release a D300s book. I love the Magic Lantern guides--so much easier to follow than the manual that comes with the camera. Here's the link on Amazon:
    Happy Shooting! And I'm envious, by the way. I only have a D80 :)
  43. its all been sais above
    Enjoy the camera. I a short time you'll know it inside out.
    Now go play with it
  44. Carol, I can relate, the Pentax on my desk has a shutter release, film advance, aperture ring and manual focus ring. One dial alone can do more that that. You might like a dvd or lantern book for it. Just shoot and shoot, it will become an extension of your vision.

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