Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Report: the ESAC photo club Nikon D80

I had the pleasure to borrow the club's new Digital-SLR, a Nikon D80 over the holiday period. It was my first hands-on experience with a single-lens-reflex (SLR) camera. In principle anyone can start using it without any prior experience by selecting the AUTO mode (or one of the selectable scenes: portrait, macro, night, landscape). For me this worked pretty well in most circumstances. In fact, it became quickly evident that the basic quality of the images is already better than your average point-and-shoot compact.

Compared to a point-and-shoot the Nikon is quite heavy and I was forced to use a tripod in low light situations (which I would normally never have thought about! ;-p.

The focal ('zoom') range for the current lens (18-44mm) is not very large but it is quite sufficient for first use.

After a few hundred pictures (mostly taken in RAW format, which I now need to post-process. more on that experience later) I tried using the semi-manual functions (P,S.A on the program dial). This I found quite a challenge. To get a better feeling for aperture/shutter-speed combinations and the effect on e.g. you depth of field (blurring of background) you can use the depth-of-field preview button located on the front of the camera.

1 comment:

Neil... said...

Very good report Nick, as you pointed out one of the biggest differences when you use an SLR is that you can control depth of field, which for me is one of the most important aspects of creative photography.
I'm also really glad that you liked the camera, at least this is positive feedback that the club purchases are the correct ones..!

I also like this idea of the members making short 'experience reports' on their photographic endeavors and I really hope it will catch on and we start to see more and more entries of this type.

Once again, good job...