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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I have some high-res shots with my nikon D5200 - i'm quite the n00b and would like some advice on how I can make the shots better.

I don't think the lighting is too impressive, but any comments would help.
Thanks ahead of time!

=Landscape Mode=


=The Rest is Aperture Priority=










 

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Use aperture priority when you care about DOF. Use shutter speed when you want to control motion and blur.
Use manual when you want the best shots.
 

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Don't use automatic modes. I'm finding that for my tank (medium light), I need to go to a pretty high ISO to stop motion. Figure out how high you're willing to push the ISO on your camera - it will get grainy at higher ISOs, so you need to experiment and decide how much grain you are okay with. I regularly shoot at 3200 with my 6D, but a 5200 is likely going to be lower than that. Then, as stated above, use aperture priority (Av) to control depth of field and shutter priority (Tv) to control motion. A decent macro lens is something that is helpful for fish; it looks like Nikon has a pretty inexpensive 40mm macro - although I'd think you'd want something a little longer (60mm or so).

'Understanding Exposure' by Bryan Peterson is a good intro to the relationship between ISO, shutter speed, and aperture.

-Justin
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Ahh thank you all. I will read up on the suggestions and test. I have very shakey hands so those shots were hard to take. Quite happy but the suggestions and info will add on. Thank you!!!

Sent from my SM-N900P
Excuse the typos
(╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻
 

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Your pics look pretty good. The best way to improve is to either increase lighting or use off camera flash over the tank. That way you can use faster shutter speeds, smaller aperture (DOF) and faster lower ISO. Fast lenses (wide apertures/smaller numbers) can also help if flash or additional lighting isn't available.
 

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Aquariums never have enough light to properly take good quality photos without using a strobe or flash. You'll need to buy one and a flash cord or remote trigger to get the light above the tank where you need it.

Without an external source of light in the correct position you won't be able to get the best photos you can. Also, the correct type of lens will help a lot, I use a 100mm macro lens, but I've seen some very good results from a 50 mm macro lens and I think the 50 mm is probably more suited for aquarium photography.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I had absolutely no flash on those pics btw =) I turned them off because the LED was blinding me as is.

I do want to invest in a macro lens but I have no idea how look for a good one.
 

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I realize you used no external flash, and your photos are decent, but you can get a lot more detail by using a flash.
 

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If you don't have flash you can really use any light that you have. You just need to get it on top of the tank. Clip on lights, other aquarium lights, etc.
 

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If you really want a tack sharp photo learn patience. Get a decent tripod. Get a remote release for the camera. Oh yeah. You also need a tack sharp lens. And while the kit lens is sharp for normal stuff it falls short on this type of shooting. And if you're chimping remember almost everything looks sharp at 3.5". In fact things look a lot sharper on most monitors than in print. If you really want to see how sharp something is print it at 11 x 14 or larger.

I've got thousands of dollars in lenses. If I know I won't be printing it I don't bother using the expensive glass. You'll never see it on a monitor.

Your shots are decent. They only thing I really see in most of them is a lack of focal point. DOF (actually lack thereof) will bring it out. House of cards is talking about a smaller aperture. That will bring more into focus. Opening up the lens (smaller number) decreases the area in focus. Full tank shot? Smaller (larger number) fstop. Bringing out an object like your last shot? Open that sucker up.
One other thing. Every lens has a sweet spot. Every lens' spot even on the same model will be different. Knowing \where it is will greatly improve your photos all around not just tank shots.
 

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Definitely agree with GraphicGr8s, each lens has a sweet spot. For my lens it is around F 9 give or take a little. You can do a google search and find out what aperture (F stop) is the optimal value to give you the most depth of field without losing any image quality. The problem is when you open the aperture up, you need brighter lighting (a flash/strobe) to illuminate the tank and objects in it otherwise the photo will be blurred or too dark.

You can increase the ISO value to a point. Anything after a certain value will brighten the photo but you will start getting noise in the image, little spots of color that aren't there in real life, almost like the flecks you see on a TV that is tuned to a static channel. Eventually this distortion will ruin the image. This is why you want to raise the F stop as high as your lens can handle, raise the shutter speed as fast as it will go and keep the ISO settings as low as possible. To balance these three things you can't rely on tank lighting, it just isn't bright enough after a point and your image will start to suffer.

A tripod will help and so will a remote release. They are certainly nice to have but I've found the most useful piece of equipment is a proper lighting source.
 

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Pretty decent shots! The newer Nikons are pretty decent handling noise in low light situations but sometimes you sacrifice sharpness. One tool that you can use while you're working on your technique, is a post production photo editor. You can easily brighten up the pic a full stop or add more contrast for sharpness. I usually use lightroom and I believe it has a 30 day full trial version.
 

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Definitely agree with GraphicGr8s, each lens has a sweet spot. For my lens it is around F 9 give or take a little. You can do a google search and find out what aperture (F stop) is the optimal value to give you the most depth of field without losing any image quality. The problem is when you open the aperture up, you need brighter lighting (a flash/strobe) to illuminate the tank and objects in it otherwise the photo will be blurred or too dark.

You can increase the ISO value to a point. Anything after a certain value will brighten the photo but you will start getting noise in the image, little spots of color that aren't there in real life, almost like the flecks you see on a TV that is tuned to a static channel. Eventually this distortion will ruin the image. This is why you want to raise the F stop as high as your lens can handle, raise the shutter speed as fast as it will go and keep the ISO settings as low as possible. To balance these three things you can't rely on tank lighting, it just isn't bright enough after a point and your image will start to suffer.

A tripod will help and so will a remote release. They are certainly nice to have but I've found the most useful piece of equipment is a proper lighting source.
You may have that backwards. When you close down the lens you aren't allowing as much light.
 

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I wouldn't get to crazy over this as a newbie. Light is the biggest issue, better light gives you the ability to quicken the shutter speed and you'll have generally sharper images of fish. Aperture is something that needs to be adjusted for light, but light is still key. Sweet spots on lenses are much further down the list. Your kit lenses can produce very good images with enough light.
 

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Haha, words! However you want to say it, when the aperture is a larger number like 9 instead of 2 you get more in focus and less light enters the lens because the hole is smaller.

Aperture is not the same thing as shutter speed. Shutter speed is the fraction, so 1/10 is much slower than 1/100. The 1/100 is only open for 1/100th of a second so less light enters and you "freeze" fast movements.
 

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In optics, the f-number (sometimes called focal ratio, f-ratio, f-stop, or relative aperture[1]) of an optical system is the ratio of the lens's focal length to the diameter of the entrance pupil.[2] It is a dimensionless number that is a quantitative measure of lens speed, and an important concept in photography.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F-number

The aperture determines how much light hits the sensor/film. Shutter speed determines how long that amount of light is allowed to hit it. One is quantity the other is time.
 
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