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photo class ~ second assignment: shutter speed

During our second class, we learned about shutter speeds. Faster shutter speeds will stop action and slower shutter speeds will show motion. For our second assignment, we needed to keep the ISO set at 100 and the aperture set at F-8 if using a DSLR camera and F-5 if using at point & shoot camera. The only thing we would be manipulating was the shutter speed. We were told to take two series of photos - one showing motion (with shutter speeds 1/30th of a second and lower) and one showing stop action (with shutter speeds 1/250 and above). Each series of photos (one a normal exposure, one overexposed, and one underexposed) needed to be of something that could be repeatable.

I had fun with the stop action portion of this assignment. Instead of posting the set of three photos (normal, over, and under) like I did in my last photo class post, I have decided to post a few of the normal exposure photos I took for this assignment. The first photo is the one I turned in (along with the accompanying under and over photos of that shot, which I am not including in this post).
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I had a more difficult time getting all three exposures for the motion portion of the assignment. It may have been the time of day I shot or the limited range of my point & shoot camera. I took this photo, which shows motion, but was not able to get an overexposed photo with the correct shutter speed to show motion since the shutter speed for this photo was 1/20.
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We have had four classes so far. Next week is our final class! We have learned about aperture, shutter speed, five lighting styles for portraits, and ISO/shooting at night. I always thought it was so difficult to shoot manual and have been amazed at how much fun it is. I definitely still have a lot to learn but so far, it has been surprisingly easy to take photos that are in focus and exposed correctly when shooting manual (adjusting both the aperture in shutter speeds). I still need to figure out the whole depth of field concept.

Now that I understand the limits of a point & shoot camera (especially after our class learning about shooting at night) and because I am thinking about signing up for the second photography class that starts in mid-March, I have been seriously researching DSLR cameras. I thought about purchasing a one a couple of years ago, but ended up purchasing the Canon G9. It has been a great little camera and even survived a fall when running for a train in Pisa last summer but I think it is time to finally purchase a DSLR.

At this point the three cameras I am considering are the Canon Rebel T1i also known as the 500D (18.3 oz), the new Canon Rebel T2i also known as the 550D (18.7 oz), which is rumored to be released next week, and the Nikon D90 (24.8 oz). My teacher has recommended the Nikon D90 (he is a Nikon person). I like the viewfinder and the placement of the buttons and controls better on the Nikon but the lighter weight of the Canon cameras are even more appealing to me. I am leaning more towards the Canon cameras and probably the Canon T1i. The lens system is also an important consideration when deciding on a DSLR camera. I have been trying to read up on reviews of both Canon and Nikon lenses to help with my decision. At times it can get very overwhelming. I would be grateful for any advice anyone may have about cameras and/or lenses.

I have stopped in Best Buy but the people working in the camera department have not been very helpful. I did briefly hold the Canon XSi (another camera I was considering) and the Canon T1i while there but did not really get enough of a feel for either camera.

I also drove into town to a camera shop everyone talks about. They only had a much earlier Canon Rebel. When I told them I was thinking about the Canon T1i, they told me I should get the Canon T2i. This store seemed more interested in selling me the new camera when it came out instead of helping me understand and decide on which camera would be best for my needs. I later found out that they are no longer carrying the T1i and they do not sell Nikon bodies.

I have held an older Canon Rebel camera and the Nikon D90 at my photography class (cameras two other students own who sit near me).

I know all three cameras I have been considering are very good cameras (assuming the new Canon camera that has not yet been released gets good reviews). It is just such a huge decision. I know I will be happy with whichever camera I ultimately choose. I just need to decide on one and click that button pronto so I can start having fun shooting with a DSLR!

**EDITED 2-23-10 - I stopped at Best Buy again after work today. They had display models for both the Nikon D90 and the Canon T1i. I was able to get the guy to take off all the armor for each camera so I could get a better feel for the size and weight of each camera.

I found the Canon to be much smaller and lighter (as expected). The Nikon is better built as far as sturdiness (also probably why it weighs more). I liked the placement of the settings better on the Canon. I found it much easier to handle the Canon. I liked the kit lens on the Nikon better (18-105mm vs 18-55mm for the Canon), but the lens cost a lot more ($253 vs $50 more to the price for each camera). I thought that the Canon T1i optical viewfinder seemed to be better than the Canon XSi optical viewfinder (my experience on the Canon viewfinders came from past experience when trying out the XSi and a previous model). I did not find a huge difference between the optical viewfinders on the Nikon D90 and the Canon T1i, which was my main concern.

I liked the size, weight and the feel of the Canon T1i. I found the Canon to be a little easier to use (although I am sure I could quickly adapt to either camera). I think I have pretty much made up my mind that I will be going with a Canon. I just read that B&H and JR Music are already shipping the T2i so I guess I will wait a few more days to hear the reviews before making my final decision - T1i or T2i.

I will have to to try to not be such a klutz though with this camera. I don't think it will survive a fall like my G9 did.

Comments (7)

These posts are interesting reading, G. Can see how your teaching background brings a cohesiveness to your association of the lesson and examples. Your use of water is a way to illustrate the shutter speed differences.

I used to be very much into photography prior to the digital revolution and a significant person in my life at that time was considered an semi-professional photographer. So, it's sort of cathartic for me to read your posts about shudder speed and light, etc. I also took a continuing ed course 3 years ago as a 'refresher'. Unlike your experience, my teacher was not making a connection with me. Although he was a great professional 'portrait' photographer, his subject matter was a little too one-dimensional for me. It became more a focus on lightening and the use of a light meter, etc. (which I don't use).

I am a Canon person, but have no experience with their DSLR cameras. My only concern about DLSR's would be the ease of traveling with this camera, unless they have made them more compact -- but then there is always the issue of transporting lenses. I guess you could then just revert back to your G9, a fine camera indeed. I have a much older version.

Unless price is not an issue for you, I remember the Nikon always were more expensive. I think the Canon technology these days can compare with the Nikon's lens quality.

The one thing I have learned along the way is it takes lots of practice for composition...glad your enjoying your class!

menehune, I really appreciate your comments. From what I have seen, Nikon lenses do seem to be a bit more expensive. I have always been a Canon person but am not against moving to a Nikon. Price is definitely an issue though. It will be a while before I will be able to purchase some of the nicer lenses. I have thought about the hassle of traveling with a DSLR - one of the main reasons I ended up purchasing the Canon G9 the last time I was considering a new camera but now that I have taken this class, I think about how much better some of my photos could have turned out if I only had a DSLR. Even if I end up taking my G9 again on my next trip, I will have a DSLR for photos here in Hawaii. It is too bad you didn't have an inspiring teacher when you a class a few years ago.

Very interesting. I've toyed with the idea of taking the plunge to DSLR but I'm just not ready to invest the time or money yet. My friends who are semi-pro photographers are Nikon all the way (one has a D90 and the other has the model right below it, I forget the number). good luck!

sandrac:

Fantastic photos, Girasoli! I hope that you're able to take the next photography class in March, since you enjoy them so much and you do have a real talent for photography.

Are there any good camera shops in your area? Perhaps you'd find more useful sales people there, in terms of finding the right DSLR camera. I've all but given up on the Best Buy/Future Shop sort of stores. Maybe they're okay for buying iPods, but the lack of real experience and support in their staff is deeply annoying.

Annie, I know what you mean about the time and money. It really is a big commitment. I figure since I won't be going to Italy this summer, now would be a good time to invest some time into learning how to take photos with a DSLR. I won't be investing in any great lenses for a while but I can always dream. I have a bunch in my wish list on Amazon :)

sandra, thanks! I still need to sign up for the class. Hopefully it is not full. Unfortunately we only have one other camera shop on the island (that I know of) - Ritz Camera. I called and they are out of the Canon T1i and won't have any in for a few weeks. They do have the Nikon D90 though so I may try to get into town to check it out. I will probably have to go back to Best Buy to at least hold the Canon once again before making up my mind. I don't think Best Buy had the Nikon D90 though. It would be nice if I could try them out side by side. AND yes... the staff at Best Buy are very annoying!

**I just edited my post (bottom of the post) to add info about my visit to Best Buy this afternoon.

Kathy (Trekcapri):

Hi Girasoli, I've been off today and have been catching up with everyone. Your class assignments reminds me of the class I took. I actually took water fountain shots too when we came to our shutter speed assignment. I loved the stop and freeze effect that you can create. Your photos are excellent!

As far as camera choices go, you really can't go wrong with either a Canon or Nikon. They are both really great cameras and I think it really comes down to personal preference .

The lens you get it also important. For Nikon, I invested in the 18-200 mm VR lens and its the only lens I travel with. That is important if you travel by cutting down on having to bring additional lenses.

Weight is important. I don't have the D90. My first Nikon DSLR was the Nikon D72 which was heavy to carry so I bought a D50 which is lighter that I use when traveling. The lens I use is heavier than the camera itself but sometimes the lens can be just if not more important than the camera itself. Hand position and comfort is also important so go with what feels good for you. You really can't go wrong, quality wise in selecting either a Canon or Nikon.

Good luck and glad you are enjoying your class. I signed up for another series of classes but with work so busy, I may have to withdraw and hold off for when I have more time. I can probably go to class but the class assignments take up so much time and I don't want to start up and not have the time to invest...I will enjoy reading your posts though.

Hi Kathy, funny that you took the same type of shots for your shutter speed assignment! Thanks for your camera and lens tips. I appreciate your advice. I know just what you mean about taking a class while working. I found that if you don't have enough time for the assignment, you won't get as much out of the class. I am going to end up taking the second class in the summer. I procrastinated too long signing up for the class that starts in two weeks, missing out getting a spot before the class as full. I think it will work out better though. I will have more time to figure out which camera/lenses to buy, more time to learn how to use my new camera, and more time to work on my assignments during the summertime.

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