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nikon coolpix 8800 vs dslr

8 May 2005 3:28PM
i am new to photography and i brought my nikon 8800 (prosumer), my question is would i need to get an dslr in time, considering that i want to take photography really seriously. i find my camera fine but i struggle on capturing moving birds unless the light is good so i can up the shutter speed, i have tried upping the shutter speed but comes out dark. i am a novice so any help shall be gratefully digested.

Luke j

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Fujiconvert 13 1.3k England
8 May 2005 9:34PM
Hi Luke,
There are a lot of variables to be taken into account.In order to get a fast shutter speed you could try using a wide aperture but of course this will limit the depth of field.
Another way would be to up your ISO setting,this again will give you a fast shutter speed but will increase noise a lot.
If you are a complete beginner I would suggest buying a couple of books on the subject and of course keep photographing because practice makes perfect.
If you are going to take photography seriously then you need to learn how shutter speeds and apertures and ISO settings work in relationship to each other.
Hope that I've helped you out a bit,
Good Luck, Phil
IanA 14 3.0k 12 England
8 May 2005 10:12PM
Hi Luke,
You could also have a look at the Techniques Section and some of the articles on this site. Learn what you can with the prosumer before you contemplate an SLR.
Hope it helps and good luck.
8 May 2005 11:11PM
thanks for you comments, i shall take them on board, i understand the variables but with mine im limited to 400 iso and f7 ish i think. anyway i shall keep with the prosumer get some practise then move on

mattw 13 5.2k 10 United Kingdom
9 May 2005 12:23AM
Luke - sounds like you are shooting on manual??

Try using the AV (Aperture Priority) or TV (Shutter Priority) modes. In this modes you can set the aperture (AV) and have shutter speed calculated for you, or set the shutter speed (TV) and have the aperture calculated for you.

I would recommend using the AV mode, and setting the smallest 'F value' - this will open up the aperture to its widest extent, and allow for the fastest shutter speed possible. (Is F7 the max or the min?)

Have a look at Marsa's portfolio for examples of what you can do with a prosumer.

9 May 2005 12:41AM
thanks all, the camera is f2.8-f8 oh and can you give me marsa`s portfolios name please mattwat? one last thing the manual says f2.8-f5.2 but when set in av the camera ranges from f2.8-f8??? confusing...
Hazard 14 1.2k United Kingdom
9 May 2005 12:45AM
Hi Luke
I bought the Nikon 8700 about a year ago, and although its a great camera for stills and you don't have to buy lens'
I found it almost useless for action shots so I know exactly what you mean. I was trying to photograph my sons football matches at the time and it was far to slow to focus and to write to the memory.
I've now moved on to the Nikon D70 SLR and although there are 2 million less pixels on the D70 (not that you would notice) its a much better all round camera.
I'm far happier with it than the 8700. Its also far easier to navigate around the different settings.
If you want to get serious then I would say an SLR is a must. if you just want to take stills and landscapes, your camera is fine.
9 May 2005 3:48AM
thanks for the advice and comments hazard, looks like im spending money now!!!!

strawman 13 22.1k 16 United Kingdom
9 May 2005 4:08AM
Luke The manual often states the widest aperture the camaera can manage. Sof if it says f2.8-f5.2 I would say that at the wide angle end it is f2.8 maximum while at the telephoto end it is f5.2 maximum, but you can close the aperture more if you want hence the option of values up to f8.

My son also has a prosumer type camera to learn on (S1 IS) at first he/we also had problems with action shots and we found a few things out then he was off and running.

First check the manufacturers web site for updates. His had an improved piece of software for focus tracking. Next look at the focus modes. Does it have a tracking mode? This may help. Next switch it to Av mode as the others state. At least in this mode you will start to learn how a camera works/reacts.

My advice to you is to use your camera to gain more knowledge. You can learn about exposure and depth of field and composition with it. It may be that action is not its strong point but there are lots of other areas it will do just fine on. Then when you are comfortable with what you want to do in photography then buy a new camera.

If you want to buy an SLR how about trying a manual focus SLR with a classic 50mm lens. It is a good learning tool and you could get one for not a lot of money.
Hazard 14 1.2k United Kingdom
9 May 2005 8:52AM
Also forgot to mention that although the 8700 should be able to focus in poor light I found that it couldn't do that very well, whereas the D70 has no problems there.
Maybe the 8800, is a little better than the 8700 though
9 May 2005 12:14PM
cheers hazardat, no the 8800 has the same problem, i was out yesterday it was nice and sunny, went into some slight shade tried to take some shots of a woodpecker but unfortunatley it took 2 years for it to focus and ended up loosing the shot... not happy!!

strawman 13 22.1k 16 United Kingdom
9 May 2005 3:24PM
If you half press the shutter can you get it to pre-focus? With action shots and the S1 it helps if you learn to pan moving objects with the shutter half pressed as it gives it time to work out what to focus on.

Can you move the AF point on the camera viewfinder. If yes try and place it on a it of contrast in the photo, e.g for your bird was their a definite change in colour between the bird and the background. If yes moving the AF to point at that edge may speed it up. How about using the manual focus feature to get it close. Again on the S1 you can bracket the manual focusing, just as well as I find it hard to judge focus on an EVF, even with the zoom in feature.

Sorry I have only experience of SLRs and the Canon S1, or Fuji 6900
10 May 2005 3:11PM
thanks strawmwn for your advice, still having problems on moving birds need some more practise..

thanks again


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