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  1. 1. Nikon D5100: FromSnapshots toGreat Shots Rob Sylvan
  2. 2. Nikon D5100: From Snapshots to Great ShotsRob SylvanPeachpit Press1249 Eighth StreetBerkeley, CA 94710510/524-2178510/524-2221 (fax)Find us on the Web at www.peachpit.comTo report errors, please send a note to errata@peachpit.comPeachpit Press is a division of Pearson EducationCopyright 2012 by Peachpit PressSenior Acquisitions Editor: Nikki McDonaldAssociate Editor: Valerie WitteProduction Editor: Lisa BraziealCopyeditor: Scout FestaProofreader: Patricia PaneComposition: WolfsonDesignIndexer: Valerie Haynes PerryCover Image: Rob SylvanCover Design: Aren StraigerBack Cover Author Photo: Rob SylvanNotice of RightsAll rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form by any means,electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior written permission ofthe publisher. For information on getting permission for reprints and excerpts, contact permissions@peachpit.com.Notice of LiabilityThe information in this book is distributed on an As Is basis, without warranty. While every precautionhas been taken in the preparation of the book, neither the author nor Peachpit shall have any liabilityto any person or entity with respect to any loss or damage caused or alleged to be caused directly orindirectly by the instructions contained in this book or by the computer software and hardware productsdescribed in it.TrademarksAll Nikon products are trademarks or registered trademarks of Nikon and/or Nikon Corporation.Many of the designations used by manufacturers and sellers to distinguish their products are claimedas trademarks. Where those designations appear in this book, and Peachpit was aware of a trademarkclaim, the designations appear as requested by the owner of the trademark. All other product namesand services identified throughout this book are used in editorial fashion only and for the benefit of suchcompanies with no intention of infringement of the trademark. No such use, or the use of any tradename, is intended to convey endorsement or other affiliation with this book. Camera provided to author by B&H Photo (www.bhphotovideo.com)ISBN-13 978- 0-321-79384-3ISBN-100-321-79384-6987654321Printed and bound in the United States of America
  3. 3. DeDicationFor all of the teachers I have had in the past, and all of the ones I have yet to meet.Thank you.
  4. 4. acknowleDgmentsMy deepest thanks go to Jeff Revell, the author of a number of books in the From Snapshots to GreatShots series, and specifically of the book on the D5000, which I had the honor and pleasure of updatingfor the D5100. Jeff is a tremendous photographer and gifted teacher. Thank you for providing such asound foundation upon which to build.Any book that has reached the final stage of being published is actually the work of many hands(eyes, brains, and hearts too) behind the scenes. I owe everyone at Peachpit a great deal of gratitude,but specifically Nikki McDonald, Ted Waitt, Valerie Witte, Lisa Brazieal, Scout Festa, Patricia Pane,Owen Wolfson, Valerie Haynes Perry, Aren Straiger, Sara Jane Todd, Scott Cowlin, and Nancy Aldrich-Ruenzel, who were instrumental in getting this book finished, making it look so darn fantastic, andputting it out into the world. Thank you all.A special thanks to David Brommer and B&H Photo Video for help in securing the D5100 I used to writethis book.I am grateful for all that I have learned from my friends at the National Association of Photoshop Profes-sionals, from the fantastic instructors at Photoshop World, and of course from my fellow photographersat iStockphoto. You all have taught and inspired me over the years.I also want to thank my wife, Paloma, for being the love of my life and my number one supporter duringthis project; my son, Quinn, for assisting me on many shoots and being the model in many more; and myfamily, friends, and neighborsEa, Avery, Otis, Hayley, Mark, Adrienne, Emma, Julia, Paige, Kris, Gabby,Sabrina, Chris, Anna, Dan, Holden, Beth, and Brentfor being a part of the book in large and small ways.Also, a big shout-out to Crackskulls Coffee & Books and the New Hampshire Media Makers. Thanks, guys!
  5. 5. Contentsx12456791113151718222728303132333437424548contents v
  6. 6. 5556585960616364656671Why You May Never Want to Use the Auto Scene Modes Again 74chapter 4: the proFessional moDes79Taking Your Photography to the Next LevelPoring Over the Picture80P: Program Mode82S: Shutter Priority Mode 85A: Aperture Priority Mode89M: Manual Mode 93How I Shoot: A Closer Look at the Camera Settings I Use96chapter 5: moving target 103The Tricks to Shooting Subjects in MotionPoring Over the Picture104Stop Right There!106Using Shutter Priority (S) Mode to Stop Motion 109Using Aperture Priority (A) Mode to Isolate Your Subject 111The Auto ISO Sensitivity Control Trick 113Keep them in Focus with Continuous-Servo Focus and AF Focus Point Selection115Stop and Go with 3D-Tracking AF116Manual Focus for Anticipated Action117Keeping Up with the Continuous Shooting Mode 119A Sense of Motion121Tips for Shooting Action 123vi n i k o n D 5 1 0 0 : F r o m s n a p s h o t s t o g r e at s h o t s
  7. 7. 129 130 132 132 135 137 138 140 144 144 146 148 149 161 162 164 166 168 169 171 172 175 176 178 180 182 184 190contents vii
  8. 8. 205 206 208 210 212 214 217 218 221 223 226 228 228 233 234 236 238 239 239 241 242 245 246 246viii n i k o n D 5 1 0 0 : F r o m s n a p s h o t s t o g r e at s h o t s
  9. 9. 25125225425725926026126326626727011-1Bonus chapter 12: D5100 viDeo: BeyonD the Basics 12-1contents ix
  10. 10. IntroductionThe D5100 is an amazing bit of technology and a very capable tool for creating photographsthat you will be proud to show others. The intention of this book is not to be a rehash ofthe owners manual that came with the camera, but rather to be a resource for learninghow to improve your photography while specifically using your D5100. I am very excited andhonored to help you in that process, and to that end I have put together a short Q&A to helpyou get a better understanding of just what you can expect from this book.q: is every camera Feature going to Be covereD?A: Nope, just the ones I felt you need to know about in order to start taking great photos.Believe it or not, you already own a great resource that covers every feature of your camera:the owners manual. Writing a book that just repeats this information would have been awaste of my time and your money. What I did want to write about was how to harness cer-tain camera features to the benefit of your photography. As you read through the book, youwill also see callouts that point you to specific pages in your owners manual that are relatedto the topic being discussed. For example, in Chapter 6, I discuss the use of the AE-L button,but there is more information available on this feature in the manual. I cover the functionthat applies to our specific needs, but I also give you the page numbers in the manual toexplore this function even further.q: so iF i alreaDy own the manual, why Do i neeD this Book?A: The manual does a pretty good job of telling you how to use a feature or turn it on in themenus, but it doesnt necessarily tell you why and when you should use it. If you really wantto improve your photography, you need to know the whys and whens to put all of thosegreat camera features to use at the right time. To that extent, the manual just isnt going tocut it. It is, however, a great resource on the cameras features, and it is for that reason that Itreat it like a companion to this book. You already own it, so why not get something of valuefrom it?q: what can i expect to learn From this Book?A: Hopefully, you will learn how to take great photographs. My goal, and the reason thebook is laid out the way it is, is to guide you through the basics of photography as they relateto different situations and scenarios. By using the features of your D5100 and this book, youwill learn about aperture, shutter speed, ISO, lens selection, depth of field, and many otherphotographic concepts. You will also find plenty of full-page photos that include captions,shooting data, and callouts so you can see how all of the photography fundamentals cometogether to make great images. All the while, you will be learning how your camera worksand how to apply its functions and features to your photography.x n i k o n D 5 1 0 0 : F r o m s n a p s h o t s t o g r e at s h o t s
  11. 11. q: what are the assignments all aBout?A: At the end of most of the chapters, you will find shooting assignments, where I giveyou some suggestions as to how you can apply the lessons of the chapter to help reinforceeverything you just learned. Lets face itusing the camera is much more fun than readingabout it, so the assignments are a way of taking a little break after each chapter and havingsome fun.q: shoulD i reaD the Book straight through or cani skip arounD From chapter to chapter?A: Heres the easy answer: yes and no. No, because the first four chapters give you thebasic information that you need to know about your camera. These are the buildingblocks for using the camera. After that, yes, you can move around the book as you seefit because those chapters are written to stand on their own as guides to specific types ofphotography or shooting situations. So you can bounce from portraits to landscapes andthen maybe to a little action photography. Its all about your needs and how you want toaddress them. Or, you can read it straight through. The choice is up to you.q: i Dont see any chapters DevoteD to viDeo. Do you cover that?A: I know that one of the reasons you probably bought the D5100 was its ability to captureHD video. I have covered some basic video setup information in Chapter 2, but I reallywanted the focus of this book to be the photographic capabilities and possibiliti