Setting up a natural light photography composition for your digital SLR camera requires infallible understanding of the way light works for certain details of the portrait. The use of light to highlight or downplay certain details is not enough. You also have to have the correct features set to allow the complete control of adjusting direction, bounce, and intensity of the natural light. If this seems like a tall order, simply mark the list of accessories mentioned below which can surprise you in the way it ups your portrait game drastically.
Before you begin with the feature list though, remember that with natural light portraits the time of the composition is quite vital. You have to hit the golden hour, which is the best intensity for the natural light. You have a soft version of the golden shades of light available this time and it is easier manipulating the light to add dimension to your portrait without harsh shadows intruding in.
Feature accessories that improve natural light photography
Reflectors – Use a reflector kit to help with bouncing the light off your subject or on a contrasting surface to add a soft light or dimension to your subject. The reflector can be positioned in different ways to control the bounce and direction of the light. You can also use bright silver reflectors to add some intensity to your scene, specifically if you are working off a play of light and the natural light is not playing to your satisfaction on its own. Gold sheen reflectors on the other hand, bounce warm light tones on to the frame.
Artificial Light kit -While playing with soft natural light is amazing, too soft an intensity on the light can actually bring down the whole effect of your composition. Portraits do require some highlight and unfortunately, without some sheen or dynamic lighting, it is just not possible to get that detail right. With an artificial light kit though, you can create a world of difference to help the natural light actually dominate your portraiture perfectly. No more flat lighting for that perfect frame it takes you hours to set up just right.
Shoot – Through Umbrellas – These are the perfect feature addition to help you diffuse the natural light to reduce any harsh glares off reflective surfaces within the frame. The only con with the feature is you need another person to hold the umbrella in the right angle and position. As such, this feature is rarely used for any other shots except the close up of the face or the upper body shot off the subject.
Undoubtedly, in their price brackets both the Canon DSLR camera and the Nikon DSLR camera have forever launched various models that give a tough competition to the other. The features are carefully designed to grab the maximum percentage of the target audiences. Every model has its unique selection of USPs while dealing with a set of disadvantages that affect their overall performance and adaptability to the users. The Nikon D3300 digital SLR and Canon EOS Rebel digital SLR series have been pitted against each other in the current available selection of digital SLR in their range. Here is a breakdown of the major comparison points to help you make a sensible purchasing choice between the two.
Comparing the Sensors
The sensor size is probably one of the primary indicators of the type of compositions and performance that you can expect from the model. The sensors can be of a variety of sizes and generally, the bigger the size of the sensor the better the clarity and quality of the shots captured, since a bigger surface area of the sensor allows for more light being captured. The Nikon D3300 has a sensor surface area of 366.60 sq.mm while the Canon EOS Rebel stands at 333.37 sq.mm. This gives the Nikon D3300 an edge over the competitor even while both of the series have CMOS sensors. The Nikon series was also launched about 2 years after the Canon Rebel T4i. However, the newer models of the Rebel series might have an edge over the Nikon D3300 in some cases, since newer sensors usually outperform the older versions.
Comparing the pixel features
The pixel features of the Canon DSLR camera vs. the Nikon DSLR camera mainly compare down three main areas.
The Pixel area – This photo site or pixel area has a huge impact on the amount of the light control per pixel the device allows. Larger areas are preferred in this case. The Canon Rebel T4i has at least a 22% higher advantage over the Nikon D3300 in this aspect.
The Pixel Density – The density refers to the number of millions of pixels that can fit on per unit measurement (sq.cm) of the sensor. Higher pixel density is preferred for smaller pixels in the images. The Nikon D3300 is leading with a 22% increased pixel density range over the Canon Rebel T4i.
The pixel pitch – This is the distance between the centers of a single pixel to the center of the adjoining pixel in a composition. A bigger pixel pitch ensures a higher dynamic range and better quality images. The Rebel T4i has the leading edge of 10% of higher pixel pitch over the D3300.
Any new model launched for the popular Nikon DSLR camera series always has many eyes on it. The question is always whether the new features justify the upgrade. It is also important to know the comparative features to decide whether an upgrade is the right option for people already in love with the pre-existing model. With Nikon’s D3300 and D3400, the competition has been fierce because both models of digital SLR are an instant fan favorite with their respective launches. Yet, a comparative feature review would give you a unique perspective for you to make a choice of your own.
The advantages of the D3300
The D3300 has the sleekest core features and in all fairness, the series shares some distinct similarities with D3400 series. However, the D3300 does gain some extra point with some added features. This includes the in-camera panorama feature. This allows the device to stick together multiple frame shots in to a single panoramic composition. The D3300 has a more effective ISO, which allows the device to be more ingenious during low light photo capturing. The device also has an external microphone jack, which actually improves the captured sound fidelity when shooting any kind of HD video with the Nikon DSLR camera.
The advantages of the D3400
Along with the similar core features, this Nikon DSLR Camera also has its shares of added features, which include the built-in Bluetooth, which allows for consistent wireless connectivity on the device. The 1200 shots capacity gives the D3400 an edge on the stills life for the battery on the device. Further, a 12 shot buffer capacity gives the more sustaining burst mode to the device for the RAW shots.
Common core strengths
Both the D3300 as well as the D3400 share some unique core strengths in features, which elevate both devices as excellent options for the category of entry-level digital SLRs.
–The viewfinder is positioned on eye level for both the devices. This allows for convenient frame compositions even when the sun is full out.
–The internal flash feature is a great fill in for regular flash when required.
–The HDMI output allows you to connect your digital SLR directly to larger screen during display or editing sessions.
–The Hot shoe or the off-camera flash is an added lighting option, which truly opens up many composition options even in a pinch where you cannot carry an external flash with you.
–The bulb shutter feature allows you to manually control the duration of the shutter exposures for better composition variations where you want to play with exposure and lighting details to create a unique effect.
Instead of opting for a higher-end camera, start with a reliable entry level digital SLR and build on the performance with some of the most game changing accessories. If you are confused about how to apply this principle for your Nikon D3300/3400 series camera, here is a list of accessories that will truly take your performance to the next level. You can get the performance level of a much higher end Nikon DSLR camera but within a much more affordable budget. You also have a higher control on customization of your device, depending on the changing demands of the composition or type of photography at any particular time.
Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor Lens – 35mm
The go-to lens for every digital SLR user just on the cusp of experimenting with a range of image frames and compositions- the 35 mm is a definite must have in your lens kit. The Nikon AF-S is a dedicated lens completely compatible to the Nikon DSLR camera D3300/D3400 series, which makes it a reliable choice even for the total beginners in the field. The f/1.8 also has the perfect aperture to give you a wide range for amazing shoots in low light.
Nikon 4814 SB-500 AF- The Speed light option
The built -in flash in any digital SLR cannot do much beyond adding light to the shadows within the frame shot. For any additional experimentation with lighting or even controlling the intensity of the light for your compositions, you need an attached flash. The 4814 SB-500 is an affordable speed light, which also includes tilting or rotation to give more control to the light bouncing options for your image frames.
The Medium DSLR gadget bag by Amazon Basics
A sturdy gear bag can be a small detail that can be the core foundation to the safety of your precious camera and accessories. You need to have a bag that can carry the device as well as have plenty of room for a few of the extra accessories. The medium DSLR bag from Amazon Basics is perfect for any Nikon DSLR camera in that it is compact, easy to carry while still providing the convenience to carry added lens and flash features along with the device.
Aluminum Tripod Kit by Vanguard Alta Pro
Having a steady tripod is the key to adjusting the correct light exposure as well as the frame to take consistently great composition pictures. The trick is to find one that is easy to carry and yet sturdy while adjusting on an uneven surface. Vanguard Alta Pro 263AB 100 ticks all of these boxes while being super affordable at the same time.
Long exposure has probably one of the most versatile applications in photography compositions. The principle is based on decreasing the speed of the shutter exposure to create a certain magical effect, which is otherwise not possible without computer graphics. You can literally turn your average portraits in to something of a masterpiece with just this one simple effect, yet creating the long exposure effect requires a prep with certain essential camera elements. Here is a list of the primary elements exclusively for this purpose.
Camera -this is a no brainer! You need a good quality digital SLR to start the foundation right. Point and shoot, cameras will have a hard time dealing with the noise which is a necessary result of the long exposure technique.
Sturdy Tripod – Without a sturdy structure supporting your digital SLR camera, it would be very hard to concentrate on regulating the shutter speed to the extent that you need to get the right effect for your long exposure shots. You might need a balance of one-second to a minute long shutter speed regulation, so the camera is just not allowed to shake at all to allow for a complete capture of the frame for that entire duration. It need not be expensive. All you do need is a sturdy aluminum tripod which is easy to carry and can support the camera weight steadily on uneven surfaces.
Correct filters-The neutral density filters work best for this effect. The ND filters are perfect for setting up long exposure frames during the day. The shutter speed can be easily regulated while freeing up the aperture to monitor the light intensity during the shot. This allows you take perfect long exposure shots of even reflective surfaces during this time. Ditch the filter if you are setting up for a night shot though you might experiment with added light attachments instead.
A wireless optical remote – For setting up frame shots for less than 30 seconds, you probably do not need this feature. However, for any shot above a 30-second exposure limit, setting the speed to bulb is a delicate technique. Resting your hand on the camera for this long can inadvertently shake the device resulting in a blurry shot. Avoid this entirely by investing in a high quality optical remote for adjusting your camera shutter lock for various durations for effortless long exposure setup. If your budget allows, go for the attachments that have a dedicated timer to further automate the process.
Natural landscapes have forever attracted aesthetic photographers as sensational backdrops and captivating focal subjects alike. The idea is to prep your gear to capture the right essence of the natural landscape without compromising on the light or the colors. Playing with natural light can elevate your final compositions to the next level. The lens filter is the most effective camera element to master this technique.
Main types of landscape filters based on attachment
Screw- In – The exact product you choose in this category will depend on the size of the screw threads of your digital slr camera. These threads are usually measured in mm. Usually these are the easiest to use and are available in a wide range of options. However, the ND grads are not available usually as screw in options.
Slot – In – These types of filters can only be used after you purchase an additional attachment to aid the fix with your particular digital SLR camera. This additional attachment is called an adapter ring and it is screwed on to the camera. You have to measure the thread size on your camera to choose the correct adapter ring. However, the actual filters will be slot-based options that you choose according to the size of your adapter ring. All filters are available in the slot-based option.
Two main lens filters based on effect
Polarisers – By far the most versatile filters that can have a huge effect on your landscape compositions, the polarisers are necessary for every amateur or professional kit. These enhance the color contrast, the saturation and also remove any harsh glare due to direct sunlight or reflected light. Therefore, with this filter in place, the blues and greens are in crisp contrast and you can combine compositions with water surfaces or glass without getting the very distracting shine off the various surfaces. With this filter, always remember to prep the shot with the sun on one side instead of directly in front or back of the camera.
ND Grads (Graduated Neutral Density) – These filters remain neutral for the color but have a great impact on the lights within your composition. The ND Grads reduce the light effect on a consistently even scale throughout the composition changing in intensity from top to bottom. This filter can thus reduce the uneven light effects for scenes where you shoot with a bright sky but a comparatively darker backdrop. You capture every detail in a more balanced light effect with all highlights and shadows intact.
Choose your filter option based on the combined types above and depending on the composition, you want to set for your shot.
In one word, the Nikon D3300 digital SLR can be described as impressive. It was intended to target the entry-level market for the digital SLR and it has delivered on its promise. The device has a power packed performance backed by a wide range of lenses, accessories, and a sustained battery life. It is also quite easy to handle so new users do not have to flounder when gradually leveling into the digital SLR field. This Nikon DSLR camera has stood strong in the face of the increasing demand for mirrorless cameras on the dint of its strong 24 MP sensor and great value for money.
Sensor – The Nikon D3300 series features a strong sensor resolution of 24.2 MP APS-C. In fact, the series shares this sensor type with the much high end model of the D7200 series, which is a serious bargain or entry-level enthusiasts. They can get the sense and feel of a high caliber sensor right with the first DSLR they try out. The sensor does have a low-pass type filter range that allows crisp image detailing for each photo.
Processing Engine – This Nikon DSLR camera comes packed with the EXPEED 4 engine that transforms the D3300 in to a continuous shooting machine. The device can log in images at 5fps max rate while maintaining a burst rate consistent at 100 HQ jpeg images. With the EXPEED backing its performance the camera can also capture a full HD movie at a decent frame rate range of 50p/60p that with a continued auto focus capability. The built-in microphone aids in complete sound recording during any video capture with the device.
Viewfinder – The viewfinder does not cover a 100% of field view. This is quite common for most of the competitive DSLR devices within this range. However, this is one of the few points where the D3300 probably comes up short. Users have to be aware of this feature when framing compositions to ensure that the final image does not have a few elements in the background, which were not covered with thin image set up.
Special effects – The D3300 has a list of 13 new special effects allowed for users, which include the color saturation control, toy camera, and retro effect creation. The ‘Easy Panorama’ and ‘Pop’ feature are also quite heavily used for jazzing up regular JPEGs in to a new age composition for social media and personal album collections. You can view each of these effects with the LCD screen and adjust them accordingly.
With high-end connectivity and extremely convenient user controls, it is hardly a wonder that the D3300 series has emerged as a strong contender even giving a competition to higher end models for a variety of different brands.
The biggest draw every holiday season is to plan for the perfect gift for each of your loved ones. Having a photography enthusiast in your list just means that you will be spoiled for choices when planning for a gift for them for any occasion. The trick is to know the wide range of cool options suitable for any photographer, amateur or pro, among your connections.
Neutral Density Filter
The neutral density filter for digital SLR is the ideal filter available for that amateur photographer looking to discover the range of long exposure compositions. The filter is an ideal gift for any occasion but the biggest draw is it is available at a very reasonable price. ND filters enhance the grey exposure to bring out the contrast of the colors and light in the composition.
5 in 1 Reflectors
Any photographer experimenting with portraiture would be delighted with the gift of a reflector kit. This 5-in1 pack has an added punch of versatility with a range spanning from translucent diffuser to black anti-reflectors as well. You can also find a soft gold and a soft silver variation for playing with the light and color correction for your compositions.
The Wireless Camera Remote offered by Amazon Basics
Whether you are a professional or an amateur photographer, having a wireless remote for your digital SLR camera allows complete flexibility during shoots. Since you can trigger the camera shutter without even being near the device, it just means lesser jostling and sharper image capturing every time. The fact that the remote from Amazon Basics is super affordable just ups its quotient as an amazing stocking stuffer.
Tiltpod – innovative camera stand
This tiny tripod can elevate your photography game by a huge notch. It is not a conventional tripod since it does not have three legs but it does attach directly to the camera strap. The camera is always ready to be mounted in just a few seconds for jostle free, clear composition setting. It is also an inexpensive product, which makes it a great choice as a gift for any occasion.
The 50x zoom
This one is probably an expensive gift choice, so reserve this for really special occasions. However, you have a wide range of options from Nikon, Canon and other digital SLR brands from which to choose. This is the transition digital SLR camera for amateurs to start perfecting their pro game with far away compositions.
You can add different combination gifts or build on a theme with the choices above. Simply set your budget and start browsing to pick the perfect photography gift today!
The onset of cold weather can mean a wide range of natural photography backdrops and cool shots-capturing opportunities for you. Do not let the frost laden outdoors scare you into packing away your digital SLR gear for the winters. Instead, embrace the difference in the textures and lighting and add a bit of foresight to create some truly extraordinary compositions this season. All the common sense and maintenance techniques, you will need to know to protect your gear while prepping for cold weather photography, are curated below for your convenience.
Know your camera battery in the cold
Most digital SLR cameras are built to withstand temperature drops of up to 0 degrees centigrade (32 F). However, if you are going to be shooting in sub-zero temperatures, know that the camera batteries do die faster in the cold weather. However, the batteries can recover quite fast when brought back to a warmer temperature or indoors and insulated. Make sure you carry a couple of spare batteries with you during the sessions.
A useful tip is to rely mostly on non-rechargeable batteries during these sessions. However, in terms of rechargeable batteries, prefer Li-ion batteries to the NiCad or the NiMH versions. You can also opt to carry a 10K battery kit with you, especially if you are shooting at higher altitudes.
The camera LCD woes
The LCD screen of your camera is super sensitive to the changes in the temperatures. You should expect sluggish refresh performance in very low temperatures. Your screen can also lose the contrast performance and in worst case scenario a complete blackout of the scene is just as possible. You will need to up your game to master photography without the benefit of screen viewing, if you truly want to handle cold weather sessions like a pro. However, the good news is your screen will return to absolute normal performance as soon as the camera adjusts back to an ambient temperature.
Adjusting to temperature changes
Your camera is extra sensitive to moisture and you have to be extra aware of moisture inducing phenomenon during transitions from colder to warmer temperatures. DO not expose you camera to a temperature change immediately. When exposing to a colder temperature protect your gear in insulated bags during the intervals. When getting back to an ambient temperature, carry your camera in a Ziploc plastic bag and do not expose it to the warmer temperature immediately. Allow the temperature to come up gradually for your gear to avoid a build-up of condensation and protect the temporary transition of the various camera parts.
Finally, wear insulated gloves that also allow free movement for your hands to handle the camera efficiently during the cold weather photography sessions.
Canon EOS Rebel series of Canon DSLR Camera has strongly carved a niche of loyal users who have been in love with the features since day one. The launch of the Canon EOS Rebel T5i followed by the T6i range has quite literally restored the balance in the series yet again. The T7i is the digital SLR upgrade on the T6 series. The new model comes with the pre-existing lineup of features from the earlier model and adds a punch of its own with the added Dual Pixel AF sensors to elevate your A-game even further, if that is possible.
The T7 series is similar to the T6 in all of its core features. This includes the design elements. There is however, a slight change introduced with the new series for the rear controls. The rear control measurements now stand at 3.9 x5.2×3.0 inches. This digital SLR is only available in a black color option. The device currently means the main body of the camera. However, to reinforce the various setups you have a wide range of lens kit choices. The EF-Sseries of IS STM lenses in 18-55 mm of retractable and compact design can help you reinvent your Canon DSLR camera in to any type of setup, as you want. The new EF-S 4-5.6 is also smaller in design as compared to the 3.5-5.6 version.
The front control options have been minimized with the lens release feature, a field preview feature, flash release button and the availability of an IR receiver for compatibility with any variation of optical remote. The left side of the hot shoe has been left button free while the top plate only features a single light indicator to signify when the camera Wi-Fi is n and receiving uninterrupted signals for the optical wireless remote
The right side of the hot Shoe has the built -in flash, which comes in the standard mode of dial system and pops up when in use.
The On/Off or video recording switch is also placed right by the side of the flash.
Right ahead of the flash lie the ISO, display and obviously the focus point selection button.
The control dial is also located right alongside of the panel of buttons and you can find the shutter release in this particular area.
The Viewfinder features
The Canon EOS Rebel series is unique in its use of the pentamirror viewfinder, which is much lighter than the glass pentaprism. While the pentaprism is still being used for the higher end pro models such as the 80D, the Rebel series are decidedly up on their quality image quotient while ensuring a lighter device.
The Canon Rebel series has always been a favorite for amateur photographers on the cusp of an upgrade and the T7i is definitely a step ahead in the right direction.