DSL- What?

Stands for: Digital Single-Lens Reflex Camera


And I am now the proud owner of one.

Oh wait –  I don’t know what aperture is? I’ve never heard of ISO? You need to know fractions to understand shutter speed? Well, shit.

As soon as I decided I was going to Europe I knew I needed a new camera. I love taking pictures, but in general, I am HORRIBLE at it. I have had a series of equally crappy point-and-shoot cameras, which is mostly the result of me being too cheap to buy a high quality one. Well, not this time. I went to Blacks and paid a whopping $399 for the fancy-shmancy Nikon D3100, which is what photography buffs call an “entry-level” DSLR. I actually got a really good deal on it because it’s normally $550 and mine also came with a free one-hour lesson. Which I desperately needed. But it didn’t make me any less sick to my stomach when I bought the thing.

The Nikon D3100 comes with an auto mode, so if I want it to be a basic point-and-shoot and do all the work for me, it can. It also comes with a guide mode, which walks me though the settings you need to do things like “soften backgrounds.” But I’ve been trying really hard to keep it set to either aperture or shutter speed mode so I can practice adjusting it manually.

SAMSUNGSo far, I’m really impressed with the Nikon D3100. I’ve mostly struggled with night photography and doing fancy things like blurring the background of a shot. I’ve been told part of that has to do with lenses. I have a wide-angle 18-55MM VR lens. To be honest, I have NO IDEA what that means. All I know is you can buy portrait lenses that are better for doing things like blurring photo backgrounds. And I’m told night photography is next to impossible without a tripod.

I was going to make this post into a tips guide for other beginner DSLRers, but everything was just way too complicated to explain. So instead, I’m going to post some links that I’ve found super helpful for understanding camera-speak.

Check out Digital Photography School.com for explanations on:

I also freaked out a bit when I got this camera because it’s a big, expensive thing to carry around Europe. A new point-and-shoot would have been a lot lighter and taken up a lot less space in my backpack. But I really wanted to be able to take nice pictures while I was away so I decided now was a good time to try to learn about photography.


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