Newbie - nikon d3200 help

M18mpaM18mpa Posts: 5Member
edited December 2014 in Nikon DSLR cameras
Hi guys I bought a nikon d3200 whilst travelling around and this evening I was trying to take pictures from a skyscraper of the city and it's lights but the pictures were terrible. Please could someone recommend the best settings? Also I'm heading Vegas and the Grand Canyon in a few days - what would be the best settings again for the images whilst in the park. Thanks Marc


  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    edited December 2014
    For night shots you need a tripod, a fast aperture lens (i.e. a 35 1.8G...not sure what lens you have) and then you setup your camera in Aperture Priority Mode or go Full-Manual @ about f/8.0 then you adjust your shutter speed to whatever it needs. I would keep your ISO setting to about 400-600.

    Shooting at night require some practice. Moreover, you will have a challanging time getting nice sharp clean images shooting hand-holding...hence, the need for a tripod.

    Lastly, spend some time understanding Shutter Speed, Aperture Setting and ISO. Those setting on your camera that have funny picture of seen setting are IMHO a joke.

    Welcome to NRF by the way.
    Post edited by Golf007sd on
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  • M18mpaM18mpa Posts: 5Member
    Thanks I've got the standard 18-55mm and 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G VR Lens. Was tempted to get a tripod but it's difficult to fit in my bag. I'll try the settings thank you
  • heartyfisherheartyfisher Posts: 3,181Member
    I like the scene mode settings.. :-) I would try them as a newbie as they are good generic setting for specific cases. The aim is to learn from them( try not to depend on them too much!). See what the aperture and shutter speed and ISO was used and use that as a base for your manual settings and a start for your tweaking. Once you get frustrated with manual settings .. the scene modes and the P mode may give you some relief from your frustrations :-).
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  • bald_eaglebald_eagle Posts: 98Member
    edited December 2014
    Hi Marc,
    Firstly, welcome to NRF ;)

    As Golf007sd said, for night time cityscape photography you will definitely need a tripod - (or at the very least rest the camera on something solid and enable the self-timer or exposure delay mode so any wobble from pressing the shutter button won't affect the picture).. Oh, and if using a tripod, don't forget to turn VR off

    As I haven't seen your pictures, I'm only guessing as to why they were "terrible".. It could be that you've used a fully auto mode (which would enable auto ISO, too), in which case the camera will try and "lighten" the image as much as possible - and so would set the ISO very high and most likely a slow shutter speed so the resulting images would be noisy and a bit blurry (from camera shake)..

    I do think manual mode is better, but if using Aperture Priority you might need to dial in a bit of exposure compensation (-1 or maybe even -2) to keep the sky dark..

    For ISO make sure that Auto ISO is turned off and if you're using a tripod, set it to it's lowest (I think that's 200 on your camera). Only increase it if you need a faster shutter speed (e.g. to stop something which is moving in the frame from blurring too much, or if your exposure would require more than 30 seconds..)

    As for aperture, well, if you're using the 18mm end of your 18-55 lens, at its widest aperture (f3.5) everything from about 4-5 metres to infinity would be reasonably sharp, but the lens will probably produce overall sharper images around f5.6-f8, so I'd probably start at f8 and then adjust the shutter speed (or exposure compensation if your in Aperture priority) to get the exposure I want.

    Baldy ;)
    Post edited by bald_eagle on
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    edited December 2014
    Well, no tripod here:
    Atlanta, Dusk

    But, wide lens, supporting with the glass, elbows, high ISO, several exposures, the results will work. D4, 16-35mmf/4 VR at 16mm, f/4, 1/15 sec, ISO 9000. I think the wide lens is one of the secrets so as to allow slow shutter speeds.
    Post edited by Msmoto on
    Msmoto, mod
  • zlikovski035zlikovski035 Posts: 6Member
    I have D3200, and a small table tripod Manfrotto PIXI - 25$. You can set it on a wall or on the ground. Keep iso as low as possible (100 ISO) because D3200 is not the best option for high ISO shots.
    Nikon D3200, 18-55kit; 55-200 kit; 50 1.8G; Sig 35 1.4
  • PistnbrokePistnbroke Posts: 2,217Member
    edited December 2014
    The figures to keep in your mind are iso 100 f8 and 1 second ..thats for standard street scenes and skylines . so if you go to 400 iso you reduce to 1/4 second ...if you went to F4 then 1/15th at 400 iso etc etc which puts you in hand held land even if you brace against a rail or lamppost. In the old days I carried a small plastic G clamp thing with a ball head on it and clamped it to anything handy..jaws opened up to about 2 1/2 inches ..If you are a jpeg shooter try your sharpness adjuster at +3 +6 and +9 and see if that improves your images ( applies to all images not just night shots)
    Post edited by Pistnbroke on
  • PhotobugPhotobug Posts: 5,133Member
    Thanks I've got the standard 18-55mm and 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G VR Lens. Was tempted to get a tripod but it's difficult to fit in my bag. I'll try the settings thank you
    Welcome. You did the right DO NOT WANT a TRIPOD that fits in a bag. Those inexpensive models have legs that are not stable. As people said above, you need a tripod for night photography.
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