Tutorial and Workshop: Dull Picture Be Gone!

Started Sep 14, 2004 | Discussions thread
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David Chin Forum Pro • Posts: 11,670
Tutorial and Workshop: Dull Picture Be Gone!

I'm hoping to start something here in order to guide new users or even experienced D70 owners who're still having issues getting great out-of-the-camera pictures with the D70.

In my opinion, those having issues should start off from as common and basic a starting point as possible, and feel reasonably satisfied with the results before moving on to more fancy stuff.

Because, if you're like me, I bought the D70 primarily for capturing memories rather than for professional use.

So, try this for starters:

1. Do a camera reset
2. Switch to P mode
3. Set image quality to Fine, Large, JPEG
4. Set image optimization parameter to Normal
5. Set AF to AF-Single, locked on center bracket
6. Set camera on Matrix metering
7. Set EV +0.3 - will most probably cause blown highlights, but see !!! below

8. IMPORTANT Set Auto WB to -2. Auto WB 0 is the single biggest cause of dissatisfaction with the default colours coming right out of the D70.

9. IMPORTANT Make sure you try this only when the weather is good, and the sun has come out from behind the clouds, and there's no haze / pollution.
10. Take your favourite subject outside, and capture an image of it/him/her.

11. Make sure the sun is shining on your subject. If you feel a little adventurous, pop up our internal flash - don't worry, the D70 has awesome metering capabilities and will accomodate the extra light perfectly. If you can't think up of a subject, grab the most colourful, portable subject in your house.

12. IMPORTANT The sun MUST be out and shining on your subject. If you can't get the camera to give you GREAT picture under this lighting condition, you'll not be able to establish this BASELINE skill with your camera, and will not be able to proceed to the next stage of appreciating how different lighting conditions would necessitate different camera settings and/or use of additional accessories.

13 ALTERNATIVELY - If you want to shoot indoors, MAKE SURE YOU POP UP YOUR INTERNAL FLASH. We'll leave available lighting photography aside for now.

What we won't care about at this point of time
1. Composition and choice of subject

2 !!!. Blown highlights (you're probably more bothered now by dull, dark pictures than blown highlights, and that is perfectly fine) - hence the use of EV +0.3
3. Postprocessing
4. Advanced lighting setups
5. Custom curves

REMEMBER We're just establishing some baseline / reference point so that you'll be able to appreciate the more complicated / sophisticated methods of setting up your camera. Go and set that Auto WB to -2 and EV +0.3 and grab that picture!

If you don't mind, you're encouraged to post the results of your efforts here, and continue the discusion.

This is my attempt - we're wired differently, and some would say WOW! Look at those colours, now we're talking, and some would say Look at all those BLOWN highlights, but I'm sure we'd agree that this pic is NOT dull or dark. EXIF below the pic:

Focal Length: 28mm
Optimize Image: Normal
Color Mode: Mode Ia (sRGB)
Noise Reduction: OFF
2004/09/14 11:24:24.8
Exposure Mode: Programmed Auto
White Balance: Auto -3
Tone Comp: Auto
JPEG (8-bit) Fine
Metering Mode: Multi-Pattern
AF Mode: AF-S
Hue Adjustment: 0°
Image Size: Large (3008 x 2000)
1/60 sec - F/3.5
Flash Sync Mode: Front Curtain
Saturation: Normal
Exposure Comp.: +0.3 EV
Auto Flash Mode: Built-in TTL
Sharpening: Auto
Lens: Nikkor 28-200mm F/3.5-5.6 G IF-ED
Sensitivity: ISO 200
Auto Flash Comp: 0 EV

Hope this helps someone!

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