Settings for photos?

Discussion in 'Sony E-Mount (incl. NEX, A7, A7R, A3000) Forum' started by IamPain13, Jun 21, 2012.

  1. IamPain13

    IamPain13 SC Rookie

    Apr 20, 2012
    Hi guys,

    I'm pretty new to photography and i recently bought the Nex 5n as my first camera. I've been taking pictures and it turns out great but so far i only used the Intelligent Mode. I've shot a few photos using other modes but it turn out really crappy. I was wondering if anyone can teach me a bit about photography and this camera.

    I mostly take pictures of family and friends, in and outdoor, night and day but don't really know which settings produce a good quality picture.

    Please shed a light on this newbie.


    Also, does anyone know if the Olympus OMD ME5 is any better than the sony nex 5n? It's one sexy camera and i've been wanting it.
  2. BBW

    BBW Administrator Emeritus

    Jul 7, 2010
    betwixt and between
    Welcome, IamPain13! I'm afraid I can't answer your NEX questions but wanted to say hello while you await some NEXites to give you some feedback.

    You might want to take a minute and introduce yourself over here in the Welcomes and Introductions forum where more eyes will spot your intro and say hello.

    There are quite a few OMD folks here... You might want to post a separate thread in the Mu43 forum and be sure to check out this thread:

    Glad to have you aboard!
  3. greyelm

    greyelm SC Top Veteran

    Oct 1, 2011
    London, England
    Welcome. Like BBW I don't have a Nex but I would advise getting some generic instruction on things like aperture, shutter speed, ISO etc. this will make it easier to follow advice found on this great forum.

    Take a look at this web site where you will find many free tutorials.

    Digital Photography Tips and Tutorials
  4. olli

    olli Super Moderator Emeritus

    Sep 28, 2010
    Metro Manila
    I do have an NEX but I would also advise getting to grips with the basics of cameras in general to start with. As well as the site Malcolm mentioned I would also suggest reading through some of the tutorials at Cambridge in Colour: Learn Photography Concepts.

    Regarding your OMD question my advice would be to forget about it. Too many people flit from one camera to another without ever getting to grips with the basics. Use the camera you have; learn how to use it well; get to understand the general principles; then you will be in a position to make a wise judgement about what kind of camera will best meet your needs. Buy an OMD right now and your photos will still be 'crappy'.

    Don't take this the wrong way but right now it doesn't matter if the OMD is better than the 5n because both are better than you! It's not personal, it's just my experience and I suspect the experience of many if we're being honest. It's only once you sufficiently understand photography and have developed and evolved your photographic abilities to the point where the camera is limiting you creatively that you should start thinking about changing the tool. In short, concentrate on photography, not cameras.

    Again, hope nothing I've said is out of order - just trying to give some honest advice.
    • Like Like x 1
  5. texascbx

    texascbx SC Veteran

    Jul 10, 2010
    Canton Texas
    You have a nice camera and just have to learn how to use it. The best advice I can give you is not to shoot in auto. I generally shoot in aperture priority because I use the Tamron 18-270 and it is a little sharper if I set the aperture myself rather than let the camera decide. I also set the ISO manually most of the time to. So between the two manual settings, the camera decides the shutter speed and if I see it is too low, then I will up the ISO a little.

    One thing about the Sony cams is you can pre-chimp your shots. That means you can see basically what the sensor sees in real time and that is a huge thing. Really it's bigger than huge, I guess it would be called monstrously big. And take a lot of shots with the cam not in auto mode and then you can see what worked and what did not work on your computer when you review them.
  6. IamPain13

    IamPain13 SC Rookie

    Apr 20, 2012
    Thanks for the advice guys.

    Olli - I don't take it personally at all. I understand what you are saying though. Since i'm a beginner i just look for that cameras i like then learn later. Like shopping for a car and learn the roads later. I've been reading those websites but really don't understand much. It's just confusing to me.

    Texas - thanks for the tips. I'll try and use those settings when i shoot from now. I'm still having trouble navigating the camera menus and remembering where everything is. I have an outdoor photoshoot this saturday for some friends i wonder which settings is best?
  7. HeatherTheVet

    HeatherTheVet SC All-Pro

    Apr 23, 2011
    Hello hello,
    I would back up what the others have said in terms of buying new gear before you can use what you've got, it's less like buying a car then learning the roads and more like getting a car before you've got a license! Don't get hung up on gear, there's a useful saying that the best camera is the ine you have in your hand!

    I bought the NEX to learn photography as well, its a great little camera for all sorts of reasons. But i had to do a bit of learning about general principles in order to get the best from it. The auto mode is great and creates lovely pictures, but i wanted to be able to do things differently and to understand.

    I found this clip really helpful YouTube - Photography Tutorial 1 (Fundamentals) for getting a handle on the fundamentals of aperture, ISO and shutter speed. I also bought Practical Photography magazine and went through lots of websites. Youtube is your friend! I found a lot of help here, mostly for specific questions like - i'm going to a gig in a nightclub, what settings do i use? How do I take pictures of the moon?

    But a lot of what i've learned is from getting it wrong, or from reading the metadata on photos that turned out well. Learning backwards!

    Enjoy the adventure :)
  8. Boid

    Boid SC All-Pro

    Dec 15, 2011
    Bangalore, India
    Gosh IamPain13, you're gonna have SOOOOO much fun! You have a great tool in the Sony Nex5N, hang on to it for a while. It'll teach you a truckload about photography. Do follow the advice and tutorials written about in this post.

    I just want to add one more thing to everything that's been said. The camera works differently from us. What looks good to us, might not make the best pictures. The camera flattens everything that is out there in 3D, into 2D. Things get squashed and compressed and distorted. And it does so by capturing light that bounces off surfaces. The camera LOVES light. In time you'll train yourself to see light the way your camera sees light. There are many different "kinds" of light (much like the eskimo can see a hundred varieties of snow, the photographer sees variations in light) and some photographers spend their entire lives chasing it. Some get up early in the morning and some wait for the precise moment that the sun dips down below the horizon, and there's only light left reflected off the clouds in the sky. Great photographers look at the world in a different way, they see the world in tonal values (much like painters) and then they makes pictures and USE the restrictions of the camera, its very nature of distorting reality and squashing it and compressing it, to their advantage.

    So, follow the light and have fun!
  9. Isoterica

    Isoterica SC Hall of Famer

    Dec 6, 2011
    Welcome to you IamPain13. There are a lot of people here you can learn from and some who are still learning themselves as well. Take your time and.. Boid seriously summed it all sans settings:

    A++ for Inspirational!
    • Like Like x 1
  10. norman shearer

    norman shearer SC Veteran

    Hi IamPain13,

    Can't add much to the good folks advice above but I will say that you should limit yourself to just one or 2 lenses for the moment. It's not only easy to get hung up on camera bodies/sensors but also the lenses. There are always better lenses out there and you can make a full-time hobby just researching/watching/buying them. Before you know it you have a fine collection of ornaments gathering dust. The best place to learn about photography is outdoors. with your camera in hand. It's digital so you can afford to learn by trial and error. Over time the instruction manual will suddenly begin to make sense..
  11. bilzmale

    bilzmale Super Moderator Emeritus Subscribing Member

    Jul 17, 2010
    Perth, Western Australia
    Bill Shinnick
    Hello and welcome. This website, Cambridge in Colour, has tutorials from beginner to semi-advanced.
  12. IamPain13

    IamPain13 SC Rookie

    Apr 20, 2012
  13. texascbx

    texascbx SC Veteran

    Jul 10, 2010
    Canton Texas
    If you don't reset the aperture, it does nothing different from auto. The lowest number aperture is with the lens wide open, which is generally what the camera will do on auto and will not always give you the sharpest picture.
    Like say the lowest aperture for a particular lens is 3.5. That is wide open. Like a door that is wide open. Now go up at least a couple of clicks, lets say 5.5, which would be 90 percent open. Generally the picture will be sharper. Less light. So our shutter speed if set on auto will go slower to let in more light and our picture will look less sharp, but it's not because of the aperture, it's because of camera jiggle. The picture is not sharp because of movement. The only way to make it work with aperture of say 5.5 is with a faster shutter speed and increased ISO. They are all related.

    The same principle applies when we have trouble seeing something in dim light or far away and squint out eyes and then we can see it. Make sense?

    The conditions those pictures were taken under would call for 1600 ISO. That would get your shutter speed up high. Also multi-shot noise reduction works good under lower light because noise is random in each shot and it stitches them all together, cancelling out the noise. Also face detect focus works good in those conditions because you always want to focus on the eyes.

    If your ISO is stated correctly, 5400 ISO is the reason they look like they do. Anything over 3200 with that cam is going to look noisy. Should have been set no higher than 1600 IMHO.
  14. IamPain13

    IamPain13 SC Rookie

    Apr 20, 2012
    Yeah I realized my iso was 25600 the entire day and they were all noise. Wasted a few hours but gained a very important lesson about iso.

    Are u really from Texas? I just went for a shooting at the Japanese garden in fort worth if u know where that is.
  15. texascbx

    texascbx SC Veteran

    Jul 10, 2010
    Canton Texas
    Yes, born and raised here in Texas.

    Gary Friedman sells a book for your cam. I have the A77 version and it goes into great detail about every little thing my A77 can do, good and bad. You might want to check that out since it's downloadable and he emails you if there is an updated version and updated versions are free. He has updated the A77 book twice since I bought it.

    NEX 3, C3, 5, and 5N Book
    • Like Like x 1
  16. HeatherTheVet

    HeatherTheVet SC All-Pro

    Apr 23, 2011
    Yep, ISO way too high, so the texture is grainy and fuzzy. Did you set it that high yourself or did the camera pick? Why don't you go out on your own and look for a similar set up in terms of daylight, and try a shot at 1600, 800, 400 and 200. If you want to try portraits, set the timer on the camera so you are taking pictures of yourself unless you have a willing model who understands that the aim is not to get a good picture today, but to better understand the camera. Then have a look at what you have got.

    To understand aperture I took loads of pictures just from the couch. It wasn't exciting but it was interesting and helped a lot.