Friday, December 26, 2008

Nikon D60

Merry Christmas to you and to me! I scored the most awesome gift ever this year, courtesy of my thoughtful husband. The way he put it: "Well, my hobby [of brewing craft beer] seems to cost me a lot more than your hobby [of scrapbooking with dollar store stickers]. I figured it's about time you get something nice to use for your hobby."

I love my shiny new Nikon D60. It's a digital SLR that seems to have come out fairly recently as an attractive entry level camera. I have wanted one for a long time.

So what does this have to do with computer science, you ask? Funnily enough, understanding photography has had a lot to do with my thesis lately. While trying to match panoramas, which have a rather small focal length, and regular photographs taken with a more standard focal length, I have had to get a more intuitive feel for such phenomena as perspective distortion. Fortunately for me, one of my two new lenses supports a wide-angle focal length (though it's not terribly extreme), so I can continue to get a feel for things.

Wide angle test

Take the above photo of my camera Santa, for example. The standard focal length's field of view would only be Andrew himself, but this wide angle shot contains much more of the scene. Things look pretty normal at first glance, but some objects may look a bit distorted when compared to a a shot at a regular focal length. (Based on the fact that I am not describing things very well yet, I have much to learn!)

I'm very much looking forward to playing with my new toy and learning all of its settings. I have no doubt that it will come in handy as I continue my grad school journey.

7 comments:

PhizzleDizzle said...

Congrats!!! I got a great camera for Christmas too - not a DSLR but one of those superzooms, and I LOVE IT. I am having so much fun playing with it :). Enjoy!

Puraz said...

Congrats on the camera. I bought a D80 about a year ago and love it. It's not as portable as a point and shoot, quality and versatility wise is unmatched.

I saw that you shot that pic at 18mm, and that's definitely wide-angle... With the small-frame sensors on the D60/D80, I think is around 30mm. With a full-frame camera you'd be looking at 55mm - to get the 'standard' human perspective.

One tip on really getting a handle on photography is to use either P, A, S or M mode... stay away from the pre-programmed landscape and sport modes. They do too much of the work for you which makes learning from your mistakes impossible.

Enjoy the shiny new toy. Let me know if you need help with any of the features.

Gail said...

Thanks guys! The latest update is that we actually traded the D60 in for a D90. More expensive, but it does video and has live preview on the monitor (among many other great things). I agree about using the more manual modes as much as possible, though for quick family shots I have been using automatic more often (just got the camera a few days ago!).

Puraz said...

Excellent choice trading up to the D90.
I would try and stay away from the live preview mode because you can't truly see all the colours and subtleties that you can through the view finder. Sometimes you want to line up something just at the edge of the frame, and it's hard to judge when you're looking at it on screen.

I'm really curious to see what the HD video from the D90 looks like... it's supposed to be 720p.. amazing.

Gail said...

Interesting that you say that about Live Preview... It appears to show everything that is recorded in the final photo (though I haven't analyzed it a lot yet), but sometimes if your eye isn't positioned straight onto the viewfinder, the composition can appear differently through the lens from what you actually get. I think the Live Preview might be most handy for zooming in to check focus - I have a hard time knowing whether it's correct sometimes in the viewfinder (I haven't tried this much yet either though). Finally, you can also position a pinpoint focal point using the viewfinder, which can be useful when the 11 provided focal points don't quite do it. It's pretty easy to switch back and forth which is great.

The video is pretty good. There's a sample on my Facebook profile, though I accidentally grabbed the focus ring when I shouldn't have ;) Very clear though otherwise.

saye.benci.kau.kopi said...

hye guys..

i would love to know more about the DSLR. just got myself a D60. but heck i had never have any better than a compact before, and that makes my shot lyk a total crap.

well,i'll be glad if u guys can tell me how to go with the thing personally.

Gail Carmichael said...

We actually upgraded to a D90, but it's similar enough... The way I learned was to read lots of stuff online, read the camera's manual, and try all the settings (usually I just tried one new setting each type I took pictures). You can also try this website:
http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/d60.htm

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