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Total beginner steps

edited October 2015 Posted in » Nikon D3200 Forum
Hello, I have a D3200 with a Tamron 18-200mm lens. For a while I've just used the guide setting. I've gone through your beginner guide videos, and I'm not sure what to try next. I find if I play with the settings I just get a blurry mess! What should I do next to learn something?


  • edited October 2015
    The first thing you should probably do is to go to the playback menu, and enable the "overview" setting, so that you can determine what has gone wrong with the pictures you're having problems with.

    The overview setting will tell you shutter speed, aperture, iso, auto focus settings, and so forth, and from there it might be possible to determine what has gone wrong.

    If you have not noticed, the printed guide that comes with the D3200 is incomplete. The complete instructions are in a PDF file on the accompanying CD, along with the program View NX2, which is useful for post processing, especially if you shoot Raw files. I suggest you put that PDF on your computer, easily accessed, so you can refer to it whenever you need it.

    Read up on the basic operations, especially the various auto focus possibilities.

    If you're having issues with other settings, but want to take more charge of things than the auto setting allows, I would suggest that you begin by putting the camera in "P" mode, which sets shutter speed and aperture together, and make sure that you have also enabled Auto ISO, which will allow the meter to adjust ISO as needed as well. Set your Auto focus to A and Dynamic area, and make sure the focus point stays centered (use the [OK] button to center it). This should give you decently exposed pictures, with the ability to focus on what you're aiming at.

    If your lens has vibration reduction, make sure it's turned on. If your lens does not have vibration reduction, make sure that your shutter speed does not go too low. At the wide (18mm and thereabouts) settings, you can use just about any shutter speed. At the long (200mm and thereabouts), you need a much faster shutter speed. At 200mm, you should probably keep it up in the 1/300 range or faster.

    Read as much of the instructions as you can, experiment a lot, and check the information on playback. Try to figure out what settings differ between the ones that work and the ones that don't. If you have a particular picture that went wrong and you don't know why, note down the settings and maybe someone here can advise you.

  • edited October 2015
    That's great, thank you.
  • edited October 2015
    I just got a new anniversary gift, the Nikon D3200. Following videos is difficult for my ADD. I've been told I have an "eye", but I've never used a real camera. I'm totally intimidated by this camera. I'm use to an iPhone camera!

    I found that beginners should start with auto setting, and I cannot focus on any close up shots at all. I'm not used to looking through a view finder, and when I try to take a picture, I just hear a low clicking, but it's not taking the photo. Ok, there you have it, I have no idea what I'm doing with this thing.
  • edited October 2015
    When you are in any auto focusing mode, the camera works in "focus priority". This means that if it cannot focus, it will not take a picture.

    The first thing you should do is try taking a picture of a distant object, and if it works then, you will know the camera is working. I believe the 18-55mm kit goes to .28 meters, which is pretty close, but not true macro. If you try to get closer than that, it will not focus, and will not shoot when in auto focus.

    Make sure when you're playing with this that you do not try to manually focus the lens when the switch on the lens is set to "A" or it will damage it.

    You can make sure the camera itself is working, by switching the lens to manual focus, and trying again to take a picture. If the camera clicks and takes a picture, the camera is working. It does not matter if the picture is a blur. This is just a test, and you can erase the picture.

    Auto setting will work, but it will not give you a lot of control. By all means stick to that as long as you must, but do look around and study up, and experiment, and try to learn what things you can vary, and why. Much of the fun in having a real camera is the ability to do this and not to depend on the camera's brain, even though its brain is pretty smart most of the time.

  • VivViv
    edited January 2016
    I am still in auto mode, but just reading what you said here "Make sure when you're playing with this that you do not try to manually focus the lens when the switch on the lens is set to "A" or it will damage it." Oh my! I am so frightened of trying the 'A' mode now in case I damage my lens if I try using manual focus. I had no idea about that.
  • edited January 2016
    Don't be afraid. It's not fragile despite the use of plastic parts. You have to force it to break it, and just wiggling or touching will not harm it. If it does not turn freely, simply don't turn it. It's just that there have, on rare occasions, been people who assumed that there was a jam or something, and did force the lens and break it. On the kit lens the focus ring is very small and not easy to engage accidentally anyway. Auto focus has no relation to zooming, so you can always operate the zoom.

    Most of the more expensive auto focus lenses do, in fact, allow manual adjustment when AF is engaged. The switch on one of these will usually say "A-M" and "M" instead of "A" and "M".
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