Use a Nikon D3100
A few years ago I got into photography and learned how to shoot my P&S in manual mode. It wasn’t easy to learn, but with the help of photography forums I was able to gain some knowledge and started making progress with my images. Then I purchased a new P&S camera. The manual settings on this Panasonic Lumix DMC FZ35 were harder to figure out and I resorted to shooting in auto only.
Fast forward a few more years and I finally had enough money to purchase a DSLR and was excited to get back into manual shooting. My options were between the Nikon D3100 and an entry level DSLR Canon*. I chose the Nikon D3100 for a few reasons: cost was definitely one. Being my first DSLR, I knew I wanted an entry level camera because of the affordability. I also received an additional lens with this particular camera making it even more appealing. I also wanted the ability to record videos. I ultimately chose the Nikon over the Canon because of the extra lens. The Canon also had video capabilities and the price was comparable.
Then, I opened the box and the manual controls were even more confusing than the last. I read the manual multiple times and tried to refresh my mind on what each setting was for, but let me say, I have had this camera a few months shy of a year and have not shot in manual mode yet. Learning how to use a Nikon D3100 in manual mode has been way more difficult for me than it probably should be. It has been so much easier to flip the switch to auto and let the camera take control.
I like the ease of auto, but I prefer to be able to manipulate the settings and get the desired image. Today I took my camera to my niece’s birthday party…. and shot in auto.
I am ok with these images as “snaps”. But I want to take my images to another level. I want to be able to shoot in manual with this camera and do it quickly. After the party, I came home and devoured some information about the settings.
There were a few problems in particular that I wanted to learn how to fix. I’ve always had a problem with what seemed like shutter speed, white balance, and auto focusing in auto mode. It seemed to lag and jump around on the faces. Even when I tried to force it elsewhere, the focus would shift to the face. I am still not really sure how to turn the face recognition off, but I learned more about how to help combat the other issues.
Most importantly I have learned that I should be looking through the viewfinder (For one, it helps me fix the face recognition problem). My previous camera didn’t even have a view finder. Weird, right? This is going to take some getting used to. Next up is learning how to manually focus.
What kind of camera do you use? And have you found it easy shooting in manual mode?
All images in this post were shot today with the D3100.
*Except for the Panasonic Lumix DMC FZ35, I have always been a Canon girl. I have also broken every Canon camera I owned. They were all retractable lens and each was dropped to the point of the lens no longer working, some of them dropped only one time. I will say the FZ35 Panasonic camera has been dropped a million times and still works great. The lens is retractable, but at the same time protected. I definitely recommend that camera to anybody wanting something more than a P&S but not quite a DSLR.