A ShortCourse Book
Nikon D50 Photography

Nikon D50 Photography

Nikon D50 Photography

This clearly written and easy-to understand short course on your Nikon D50 explains step-by-step how, why and when you use your camera's controls for better pictures. This guide is available as a traditional 147 page large-format (8.5 by 11) spiral bound book printed in black and white, and as a full-color, fully searchable PDF eBook you can order on a CD or download instantly. The eBook also includes links to animations and other resources that bring to life the core concepts of digital photography.


Introducing Animations

The eBook version of this book has 55 interactive animations that illustrate and explain the core concepts of digital photography. Integrated throughout the eBook, these animations help you understand your camera better, and they are also a lot of fun.

To use the animations you need the eBook version of this book and an Internet connection.

Click to explore the light path through an SLR like the D50 then minimize or close the animation window.
Click to see how full color images are created from only three colors then minimize or close the animation window.


New, a Short Courses digital photography book for people who want to get better pictures with their Nikon D50 digital camera. This beautifully written and illustrated guide, drawing on the much more comprehensive information on the ShortCourses Web site, pulls together answers to the questions you might have about using the D50, including the following:
  • Taking a Picture in Auto Mode 9
  • Using Menus 15
  • Using the Two-Button Reset 17
  • Reviewing and Playing Back Images 18
  • Zooming Images 19
  • Deleting Images 20
  • Connecting the Camera to a TV 20
  • Displaying a Slide Show 21
  • Making Small Pictures 21
  • Changing Image Quality & Size 27
  • Changing Shooting Modes 35
  • Using Digital Vari-Program Modes 36
  • Using Programmed Auto (P) Mode 37
  • Using Shutter-Priority Auto (S) Mode 39
  • Turning Noise Reduction On and Off 39
  • Using Aperture-Priority Auto (A) Mode 41
  • Using Manual (M) Mode 42
  • Changing the Metering Mode 45
  • Using Exposure Compensation 53
  • Using Exposure Lock 53
  • Displaying Histograms 54
  • Evaluating Histograms 54
  • Using the Self-timer 64
  • Using the Remote Control 64
  • Changing the ISO with the ISO Button 65
  • Changing the ISO with the Menu 65
  • Increasing the Sharpness of Moving Objects 59
  • Using Focus Lock 73
  • Manually Selecting an Autofocus Area 74
  • Increasing Depth of Field 76
  • Setting the Hyperfocal Distance 77
  • Zone Focusing 77
  • Decreasing Depth of Field in Automatic Mode 78
  • Capturing Creative Blur 79
  • Setting White Balance with the WB Button 83
  • Setting White Balance from the Menu 83
  • Setting Preset White Balance 84
  • Using Bulb 91
  • Mounting a Lens 97
  • Unmounting a Lens 97
  • Zooming the Lens 100
  • Using the Built-in Flash 115
  • Using Red-eye Reduction Mode 117
  • Using Fill Flash 118
  • Using Slow Sync Flash 119
  • Turning Off the Flash 120
  • Using Flash Exposure Compensation 121
  • Using FV Lock 121
  • Choosing Continuous or Single Mode 128
  • Bracketing Exposure, Flash and White Balance 129
  • Optimizing Images 131
  • Optimizing Images—Custom Settings 133
  • Using the Setup Menu 134
  • Using the Custom Settings Menu 139
  • Using the Playback Menu 144

The book is designed to work with the www.shortcourses.com site. The book explains how to get better pictures but you'll find more on that subject on the site. In addition, there is lots of information on the site about what you can do with your pictures after you've taken them.


Chapter 1
Getting Started with your Nikon D50 ...7

The Nikon D50—An Overview ...8
Jump Start—Using Auto Mode ...9
Good Things to Know ...10
When Things Go Wrong ...12
Using Dials and Buttons ...13
Using Menus ...15
Restoring Default Settings ...17
Using Image Review and Playback Mode ...18
Using the Playback Menu ...20
Selecting Image Quality and Size ...22

Chapter 2
Controlling Exposure ...28

Understanding Exposure ...29
Understanding Exposure Displays ...34
Choosing Shooting Modes ...35
Using Digital Vari-program Modes ...36
Using Programmed Auto (P) Mode ...37
Using Shutter-Priority Auto (S) Mode ...38
Using Aperture-Priority Auto (A) Mode ...40
Using Manual (M) Mode ...42
How Your Exposure System Works ...43
How Exposure Affects Your Images ...46
When Automatic Exposure Works Well ...47
When to Override Automatic Exposure ...48
How to Override Automatic Exposure ...52
Using Histograms ...54
Using the RAW Format ...58

Chapter 3
Controlling Sharpness ...62

Eliminating Camera Movement ...63
Sharpness Isn't Everything ...66
How to Photograph Motion Sharply ...67
Focus and Depth of Field ...69
Focusing Techniques ...71
Controlling Depth of Field ...75
Capturing Maximum Depth of Field ...76
Using Selective Focus ...78
Conveying the Feeling of Motion ...79

Chapter 4
Capturing Light & Color ...80

Where Does Color Come From? ...81
White Balance ...82
Color Balance and Time of Day ...85
Sunsets and Sunrises ...86
Weather ...88
Photographing at Night ...90
The Direction of Light ...92
The Quality of Light ...94

Chapter 5
Understanding Lenses ...95

Nikon D50 Lenses ...96
Zoom Lenses ...100
Normal Lenses ...101
Wide-Angle Lenses ...102
Telephoto Lenses ...104
Tilt-Shift Lenses ...106
Macro Lenses ...107
Lens Accessories ...108
How a Photograph Shows Depth ...109

Chapter 6
Using Flash and Studio Lighting ...110

How Automatic Flash Works ...111
Selecting a Flash Mode ...115
Portraits with Flash ...116
Using Fill Flash ...118
Using Slow Sync Flash ...119
Using Available Light ...120
Controlling Flash Exposures ...121
Using an External Flash ...122
Studio Lighting ...123
Studio Portrait Lighting ...126

Chapter 7
Other Features and Commands ...127

Shooting Continuously ...128
Bracketing Exposure, Flash and White Balance ...129
Optimizing Images ...131
Optimizing Images—Custom Settings ...132
Using The Setup Menu ...134
Using The Custom Settings Menu ...139
Using The Playback Menu, con't ....144
Nikon Software ...146
Caring for Your Camera ...147


A great photograph begins when you recognize a great scene or subject. But recognizing a great opportunity isn't enough to capture it; you also have to be prepared. A large part of being prepared involves understanding your camera well enough to capture what you see. Getting you prepared to see and capture great photographs is what this book is all about. It doesn't matter if you are taking pictures for business or pleasure, there's a lot here to help you get better results and more satisfaction from your photography.

To get better, and possibly even great photographs, you need to understand both concepts and procedures; the "whys" and "hows" of photography.

  • Concepts of photography are the underlying principles that apply regardless of the camera you are using. They include such things as how sharpness and exposure affect your images and the way they are perceived by viewers. Understanding concepts answers the "why" kinds of questions you might have about photography.
  • Procedures are those things specific to one kind of camera, and explain step-by-step how you set your camera's controls to capture an image just the way you want to. Understanding procedures gives you the answers to the "how" kinds of questions you might have.
This book is organized around the concepts of digital photography because that's how photographers think. You think about scenes and subjects, highlights and shadows, softness and sharpness, color and tone. The procedures you use with the Nikon D50 camera are integrated throughout the concepts, appearing in those places where they apply. This integrated approach lets you first understand the concepts of photography and then see step by step how to use the D50 in all kinds of photographic situations.

To get more effective, interesting, and creative photographs, you only need to understand how and when to use a few simple features on your camera such as focus, exposure controls, and flash. If you've previously avoided understanding these features and the profound impact they can have on your images, you'll be pleased to know that you can learn them on a weekend afternoon. You can then spend the rest of your life marveling at how their infinite variety of combinations makes it possible to convey your own personal view of the world. You'll be ready to keep everything in a scene sharp for maximum detail or to blur it all for an impressionistic portrayal. You'll be able to get dramatic close-ups, freeze fast action, create wonderful panoramas, and capture the beauty and wonder of rainbows, sunsets, fireworks, and nighttime scenes.

As you explore your camera, be sure to have fun. There are no "rules" or "best" way to make a picture. Great photographs come from using what you know to experiment and try new approaches. Digital cameras make this especially easy because there are no film costs or delays. Every experiment is free and you see the results immediately so you can learn step by step.

This book assumes you've mastered the mechanics of your camera. It's about getting great pictures, not about installing batteries and connecting your camera to your computer. That information is well presented in the user guides that came with your camera.

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Click to order a printed copy of the book and a PDF copy on a CD at a special package price of $36.95US.

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