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edited October 2015 Posted in » Nikon D5300 Forum
Hello all!
I'm a beginner to using a real camera. I'm very passionate about pictures. Ask anyone who knows me, I'm always photographing the sky/sun/clouds with my phone. It was time for an upgrade, and I now own a Nikon D5300. Does anyone have any helpful pointers or resources for learning how to use this amazing technology properly?

Thank you!


  • edited October 2015
    On specifics we forum folks can help much of the time. On more general grounds, I think you're best off reading as much as you can, visiting as many sites as you can, and, of course, for starters investigating this site's home pages, including hints for the various cameras, and the "cheat sheets" which address specific situations and provide settings that will provide a reliable result. Moose (the site's proprietor) provides ongoing support to cheat sheet users as well.

    There are a lot of web resources out there with some basic instruction on the fundamentals of aperture, shutter speed, and so forth. One that looks to be pretty good is Cambridge Colour on line. Not to be confused with the former retailer Cambridge, which once was good and then became very bad, this is a different Cambridge, a British one!

    Digital Camera World also has some good elementary stuff.
  • Thank you! Yes, I definitely have a lot of reading to do!
  • edited October 2015
    Meanwhile, here are a couple of very broad recommendations:

    Read the whole manual, and make sure you have the full one. The D3200 printed manual is not complete, but the PDF on the CD is. The same may be true of yours. Put that PDF on your computer, so you can refer to it frequently.

    Practice the basic procedures, getting menus, changing settings, setting AF points, altering ISO, reading and deleting files, etc., so that when you are learning the photographic ins and outs you do not also have to learn how to work the camera.

    Go to the playback menu and enable the "overview" in playback. Other settings are also interesting, but this one is vital. It will tell you the basic settings of every shot that is made, and show you a histogram of the exposure. See what settings both good and bad pictures had.

    Remember it's a digital camera, with a shutter good for something around 150 thousand shots on average, and every shot can be erased. If you want to know how a setting changes things, or how one mode differs from another, try them. Shoot shoot shoot, and erase your mistakes. If it takes ten thousand pictures before you get good, then take ten thousand pictures.

  • edited October 2015

    I wanted to know what is the ideal picture style setting for capturing portraits of people both outdoor and indoor - standard, neutral, portrait or vivid?

    Thanks! :)

  • edited October 2015
    This is a matter of taste, largely. My own preference almost all the time is standard. Neutral is rather bland, and meant specifically as a base mode for people who expect to do a lot of post processing. It is marginally sharper than the other modes, but you'll never notice, nor will you need that extra bit of sharpness for portraits.

    Standard gives you pretty decent color for most things. Vivid cranks up the saturation in all colors, and might not be the kindest to facial tones. Some people like the extra pop, but I find it a little too much sometimes.

    Portrait mode supposedly will be a little kinder to skin tones, at least Caucasian ones, without upsetting saturation for other things. It's worth a try.

    One thing you can try is shooting in Raw mode, and using View NX2 to post process some shots. You can choose any picture mode then, and switch back and forth at will, as well as playing with white balance (color temperature), all without cost, since you can either decide not to save the changes, or return a saved picture back to default.

    Try the different picture modes, and then you can decide for yourself which works best when.

    In direct outdoor light, if you're using the kit 18-55mm lens or some others, it may produce a color cast that's rather cold and bluish. For that, you may be better off changing white balance than changing the whole color set. Different lenses will have slightly different color casts, but the kit lenses run a bit cool.
  • edited October 2015
    Thanks a lot! I somehow learned so many things. From all the picture modes, I think I would prefer to use the standard style in raw mode than use the NX software to post process my shots. Btw, I'm using a 50mm f/1.8g Nikkor lens.
  • edited May 2017
    I'm also beginner in photography. I just bought Canon. Do you have any suggestions or tips?
  • Hey all; I just bought a Nikon d5300 and I am trying to learn the best ways to get the most out of this camera. I take a lot of nature shots ex. water, trees, wildlife, mountains.

    I really need a know how start from someone just because I feel like the you tube videos are very either minimal or very professional.

    The program I am looking at purchasing for editing pictures is Affinity, pros and cons?

    Thanks in advance.
  • Hi
    As you are a beginner, all of the tips given by @BRUTO above will apply and he really does know his stuff.
    I would advise moving straight onto P mode rather than the 'green' auto mode. By looking at the image information for your shots, you will very quickly learn which settings in terms of aperture, shutter speed etc. made for good pictures. From P mode you can then move to aperture priority for still subjects like landscapes or shutter priority for moving subjects like water or wildlife. As Bruto mentioned there are some very good online tutorials for aperture, shutter and ISO.
    I don't know the program Affinity, but I know it is the latest offering from Serif and I have used Serif's PhotoPlus software. No single program does everything (not even Photoshop), but it pays to get to know a program and its features and Affinity is probably one of the better ones out there.
    Please accept all I have said as my opinions alone and are not necessarily carved in stone.
    Best Regards
  • I looked up Affinity, and it looks as if it might be a pretty good program, and not very expensive. Before going too much further, I would double check that the program as offered is set up to open D5300 raw files, and that it will work correctly with whatever operating system you have. It's likely that any program will require some time and experience to give you the best results, and I'd advise first of all to be patient, and second of all ALWAYS work on copies of your files, and make sure you have the originals safely somewhere else. Otherwise, though, if it does what you believe you need to be done, it probably will work all right.

    There are a couple of other free programs also, which you might want to look into. One is called Raw Therapee, which is quite powerful but also a bit tricky to use. Another is called Photoscape, which comes in both a free and purchased version. The free "trial" version is perpetual, and though it lacks some sophisticated features, it's said to be very good. I have not tried this yet (just too busy at the moment) but probably will see if it does the job more easily than Raw Therapee (which I have used). Also don't overlook the Nikon Capture NX-D program, which is also free, and which is pretty well arranged to work with Nikon Raw files. There is no reason not to try them all. Race them and keep the winner.
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