Your Questions About Digital Photography Basics Aperture

Daniel asks…

What lens should I buy?

I have a Nikon Coolpix P500 with 36x optical zoom, 4x digital zoom, now I have decided to purchase a Nikon SLR. But the problem is I don’t have any idea about SLR operation and lens. I know the basics of photography like ISO, Aperture, Shutter Speed etc. I choose NIKON AF 70-300mm f/4-5.6G ZM-NIKKOR LENS. But from here I came to know that its zoom will not be equivalent to 36x coolpix. Rather it will be half of it. Now my question is what lens will be at least equivalent or better than 36x optical zoom.

Please Help

My budget is Rs. 100000/- (Indian Rupees, 1$(US)=48 Indian Rupees approx)

If it exceed my budget then also please mention the name as in future I can plane for it

admin answers:

SLR lenses do not have that kind of extreme zoom range. The main reason for having interchangeable lenses on the SLR is so the lens can be optimized for certain uses / focal lengths. In reality, prime lenses are the best quality, (NO zoom at all). Huge zoom ranges are a function of the point and shoot camera. Trying to have such a thing on an SLR would be trying to defeat the purpose of the SLR in the first place.

If you think you just have to have some kind of huge zoom range, (and resultant quality and speed loss), you can use one of the Tamron lenses. I think they make an 18 – 270 that is about as extreme as you can get on an SLR. But it has a slow, variable aperture and rather poor performance at each extreme focal length.

It is time for you to get out of the point and shoot mindset and begin to understand the principles of and how an SLR functions with it’s various lenses. Either that, or keep your Coolpix


George asks…

How do I put together a photography portfolio?

There’s an internship I want to apply for that’s related to photography, which has been a major hobby of mine for the past 6 years or so. I probably don’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of getting it, but I have less of a chance if I don’t even try, right? :)

What I’d really like to know, since I’ve never been taught by anyone in photography, or even had a close relationship with anyone with more knowledge of it than me, is the basics of what an organization expects when they ask for a portfolio. Do people do all digital these days? Or do I mail them something like a binder of prints? Should they have any text? Titles? Explanations? Stuff like what kind of camera I used? Aperture and shutter speed? Date taken?

I don’t even know where to start with this, but I’m guessing someone out there has been there, done that…

admin answers:

Go to an arts and crafts store and get a portfolio book. Then choose some images that are important to your target client so for example, if you plan on interning with a wedding photography studio then include wedding shots or portraits … They won’t be all that interested in macro shots of bugs. :)

Try to give a good range of shots and avoid having too many shots that are similar.

Get those printer at 8X10 or 8.5 X 11 (depends on the book you got) and voila.

When choosing your images and placing them in your book, try to have a logical progression in the order that the images are presented.

Laura asks…

Saved money for a year, Canon EOS 1DS Mark III vs. Nikon D3X, which one should I get as my first dslr?

Hello. I’m a college student, I was saving up money for a car because I was planning on commuting to school but due to changes I will be living on campus and won’t need a car. I saved up 9500 for a car, but now since I don’t need a car I decided to spend it all on something random. I want to get the best camera there is out there. My current camera is a Canon SD 750 digital elph.

I’m thinking of getting either the Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III or the Nikon D3X, I can get these and still have 2500 left over if i get the canon or 1500 if I get the nikon. Leftover money is for lenses, flash, etc. The nikon does have higher fps and megapixels, but is a 1000 more.

I do know basics of photography because I took one class and I recently started reading about aperture, shutter speed, WB, ISO, exposure etc online. So which would you recommend?

admin answers:

As a couple of others have said. Go for the glass.

Right now I have with my Canon 1DMII:
17-35mm f/2.8 L – - – - – - – - $1,450
24-70mm f/2.8 L – - – - – - – - $1.190
70-200mm f/2.8 L IS – - – - – $1,700
500mm f/4.0 L IS – - – - – - – $5,800

I sold my 85mm f/1.2 L ($1870 – $1200), my 100-400 f/4.5-5.6 L ($1460 – $1000 ), an older 28-70L, a 24-105, a 50mm, a 28mm, etc, as I built the current set.

As you can see even at Adorama discount prices, and even not counting the difference in purchase vs sold price on the ones I sold, that I have $10,140 just in glass. At some point I will probably replace the old 17-35 with a non-zoom 14mm f/2.8.

Michael asks…

translate to afrikaans please?

Camera basics

So what is a camera anyway? Your camera is a tool. No different than a wood carver’s chisels. The chisels do not make finely crafted artwork, the wood carver does. It is the same way with your camera. The camera does not make the photograph, you do. Never allow yourself to feel like the camera is in control. The camera is your tool and you must use it as a tool.
We need to take care of our camera

Whether you use a film or digital camera, there are some basic tenets of camera care that cross all spectrums. These basics are very similar to proper lens care.

the 3 main enemies of your camera are:


Photography Equipment

All art requires equipment of some sort and photography is no different. Where painters have paint and brushes, photographers have cameras and lenses. I am going to tell you about the equipment used to make photographs.


A camera is the most basic piece of equipment that photographer’s use to turn light into photographs. In order to take better photos it is a good idea to understand as much as possible about your camera and its capabilities.

Body: The camera body is the most basic part of a camera. It is the box that holds the film and the camera controls. The lens is either built-into the body or attaches to the body. The body also houses a battery that powers the shutter, flash, light meter, and other controls. There are generally rings to connect a strap to the camera for easy carrying as well.

Lens: The lens is the part of the camera (or an attachment for the camera) that focuses light into the body and onto the film. The aperture is also contained within the lens.


Photographic lenses are the eye of your camera. These conglomerations of glass and plastic focus light onto your film and control the magnification factor of your images.
Optical Lens: Filter Threads: Focusing Ring: Focal Length Ring: Aperture Ring: Aperture: Lens Mount:

Props and Backgrounds

Photography props and backgrounds are a photographer’s way of creating a scene when the actual location cannot be used or would be dangerous. Here is where you will find information on available props, backgrounds and other supplies as well as ways to create your own.

the sipix camera can only take pictures in the day light … it is AAA battery-powered, no memory card, it is roughly 5cm wide and long and about 1.5cm thick. it is the perfect size for a key ring

the Polaroid camera was Manufactured in the late 1990s … it has a fixed shutter and a built in electronic flash… Has built in “close up” lens for subjects less than 6ft away … i don’t know why but i think this camera looks professional … not really

About the size of a tin of mints, this Che-ez Snap is the smallest digital camera in the world! Take up to 26 to 104 pictures. Internal rechargeable battery, Self timer function,

admin answers:

Jeewizzz…. I’m from SA and Afrikaans speaking but I don’t think I would do this one just yet.

Anyways, I think you should email me later on if you still want it translated. Hopefully someone would give you the answer here if they have the time.

William asks…

Best 35mm film SLR for intermediate photographer?

I have been fascinated with the look and offerings of older, 35mm film cameras for awhile now, and I’m looking to buy one this month. I have experience with shutter speed, white balance, and a little bit of aperture and exposure from my digital GE-X5 that has what I would call a semi-automatic manual mode (if that makes sense..). I have also used DSLRs in the past for yearbook staff things, so I understand the basics of manually focusing a lens. But I would really like to try older cameras with completely manual settings so that when I do graduate from my X5 I will already have a foot in the door with SLR-grade tech.
The only thing that concerns me are prices and what the camera specializes in. I am a huge fan of macro photography and bokeh, so I need a camera that can provide this easily. I also like to take portraits with available and full natural lighting, and the camera needs to uphold that. Also, my budget to spend on the camera body and lens is about 120 USD. I have heard of many cameras like the Minolta SRT-101 which seem appealing to me in terms of what they have to offer.
I am “apprenticing” with a wedding photographer soon and would like to take my camera with me so I have something to work with while he shows me the ropes.
That’s pretty much it. An affordable 35mm SLR camera within my budget, that has many different lenses to choose from, that will shoot natural light and macro effortlessly in time.
Thanks in advance!

admin answers:

Hi there

Its good to hear that you are interested in film photography.

My choice would be a Pentax ME , ME super , or a Ricoh XR-5.
These all have excellent manual operation and you have a vast choices of lenses to use with the Pentax K mount.
Even the Ricoh uses the K mount.

Next best choice would be a Canon T70 , but the manual over ride is a bit less handy compared to the Pentax’s or the Ricoh.

I wouldn’t go with the Minolta as it is a 40 year old design with a cloth shutter , which can get holes in it.

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