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Crutchfield: The Podcast Ep. 10

Marisa and her DSLR camera

In this episode:

Marisa, a Crutchfield Advisor who decided to revisit her love of her photography, discusses the fun of her DSLR camera and the challenges of using manual mode. Here's some of her work, spotlighting the wildlife around her new home...


Marisa uses manual mode to experiment with depth of field.


Her DSLR captures action with energy and detail.

Marisa and J.R. also talk about the importance of a solid home audio system. Some of the gear discussed includes:

For more info on DSLR cameras for beginners, check out our shopping guide.

Explore more episodes

Read episode transcript

Hello and welcome to another episode of Crutchfield, the podcast. I am your host, Jr joined in studio with my co host ERic how you doing? Eric? I am Well, thank you in today's episode, We are going to talk to an advisor. Her name is Marissa. She is a relatively new advisor. She's she was hired about 2.5, 3 years ago. Yeah, there's a lot of experience for something we call new, but people tend to stick around here. We've got folks out there with a lot of experience. I mean a lot a lot of we have advisers that have been here 30 30 plus years easily. So yeah, someone that's only been here two or three years still feels very much like a newbie. She is, she's like sort of a renaissance woman, she does a lot of different stuff uh from what I know, she is a musician, she plays guitar and sings, she likes to go kayaking and hiking. Uh and she's also now into photography, which is gonna kind of be the bulk of what I what I talk about with her is her sort of getting into the world of photography and how she how it's impacting her life a little bit. Uh and we'll talk about cameras and all that good stuff. So, uh that's the whole point of this show anyway, is to is to take advantage of the fact that we've got a ton of cool people here that have access to pretty cool gear and what are we buying as employees with? Uh more access than, The average joe what products do we purchase and use for ourselves and how is it changing our lives and uh it is our hope that these discussions might actually help you, the listener figure out what you like, what you want. Maybe help you decide what to do with your life in the world of electronics. We're gonna get now into our interview with Marissa, I hear you're in a new place. Yeah. Yeah I have gone from a lovely house on 2.5 acres in er Leesville to a two bedroom cabin in the woods. How far into the woods? Um Well let's put it this way when I'm standing on my back deck or on my front entrance I can't see anything but trees, it's all hardwoods, it's poplars and oaks and thick woods and it's pretty awesome. I assume you like it this way. Yeah. Yeah it's pretty cool, it's like camping except you can take a shower. Yeah. Yeah camping with plumbing, yes camping with plumbing and lights. Yeah I was pulling up I was looking at your bio uh and realizing you've been here two years already, it seems like just yesterday that you were right over there in my training class uh and we were talking about all this stuff a lot of it for the first time for you most of most of the first time you didn't come to crutchfield with a huge ex experience level with consumer electronics. That's that's an understatement you've taken to it though? Huh? Yeah, I feel like it's my second language now. It's amazing. What two years talking about this stuff every day will do. I think I have more electronics now than I have clothes in this moving process. I mean it was so nice to, you know, walk into my new home the other day and you know, the first thing out of the car was my stereo receiver and my, you know, tower speakers, Will you need to set the stereo up to give you motivation to move all the rest of the stuff? Right? How can you move in or out? The stereo is the last thing to unplug and and pack away when you're moving out. And it's the first thing when you're when you're moving in. Absolutely, because who wants to do all that without music playing? No, the silence was deafening. Cool. So it looks like you have the harman kardon receiver and some polk speakers. Yes, I have the harman kardon HK 3700. I've got the little bee ta 10. Bluetooth adapter for it. Those things are great. That thing works like a charm. I mean it's it's flawless. I've had no problems with that little bluetooth adapter. Um And I have polk audio T. S. I. Four hundred's center channel and uh T. S. I. Two hundred's So like a 5.1 surround system? Nice. And do you watch tv watch movies? What do you what do you enjoy on that mostly? Um really everything from sports to movies to my mindless soap operas and you know, you name it. But I do um, I do listen to music probably more than probably more than I ever have. Actually. Thanks to all this stuff that I've gotten from Crutchfield, I probably listen to music more and more loudly now than ever before. Does the music that you play yourself and the music you listen too closely mirror each other? Or are they wildly different? What do you, what do you like to listen to? You know, when I'm talking to our customers and we asked them that question to help, you know, identify what products are gonna best meet their needs. Always really enjoyed talking to the people that say, I listen to a little bit of everything. You know, I listen to jazz. I listen to a little classical, I listen to, you know, hip hop, whatever E. D. M. What have you, my musical taste. I think I always say runs from morally to Mozart. And uh, and you told me you are a proud owner of a Nikon D 3400 DSLR camera, is that right? That's exactly right. Um, I learned photography originally, uh, when the dinosaurs roamed the earth in high school and digital digital photography wasn't wasn't even on the radar yet. So I learned how to develop film in the dark room and you know, print photos in the dark room. And was this the thing they taught in high school? Yeah, it was. And despite all the years that have passed since then, I never lost my love of photography, but was a little bit intimidated by trying to learn the nuances of digital photography. How is it different from what you remember from film photography? Um, well there, there are things in common, of course with film photography, you still have to think about your shutter speed, you still have to think about your aperture. Um, but there's a couple of other settings when you're learning to shoot on manual as opposed to automatic, that weren't part of the equation. Um, back when I was originally learning. So Marissa has a Nikon D 3400. Now this is not the most expensive DSLR, we sell the most advanced, it's, it's kind of like a beginner's, That's right, SLR right? And technically just before we get into that it has been replaced. So she bought it a little while ago. Nikon has come out with a newer model, the D 3500, you see what they did there? Yeah, they added 100 exactly. You got it, it's 100 better. What's different about it. Uh, let's see a few tiny little bits of extra megapixels basically, it's the same somehow they managed to use a different or make a different sensor, but it has pretty much the same. They change the physical grip on it, so it feels a little bit better in your hand, more secure. Uh, it's a little bit lighter and any time they can make a camera lighter, that's good, because it's one of the few products we sell that you literally have to hold it while you're using it unless you throw it on a tray or something, and she mentions the lens is the part that kind of adds the way too. Yeah, and when you're interchangeable lenses, if you got one of those telephoto lenses that can certainly add a lot if you're shooting photos, like all day at an event or something like that, the lighter, the camera the better. Absolutely. Uh, so, uh, so why is it good that she went with a, you know, not a crazy Advanced DSLR. So, I think that that's first off, it's a great quality camera. Um, but, you know, there's entry level DSLR, which I own one of, I actually have a Canon Rebel, which is kind of along the same lines, and Yeah. Right. Um, and, uh, you know, I've always compared it to riding a bike, You know, those entry level cameras, they have training wheels on it, which make it really easy to go and go out and take a picture. Right, so, the sort of finish your analogy here, the training wheels are kind of like automatic mode, right? Yeah, so that's the auto mode, you know, if you've never ridden a bike before you jump on it, you're gonna have confidence right out of the gate. Now, if you're an expert, you don't want those training wheels there. They get in your way. Yeah. That you'll you'll crash, you may crash, they will annoy you, you won't be able to go as quickly or you'll begin to rely on them and you'll never actually learn to ride and then you'll never take your camera out of automatic mode and you'll never get to be slightly more artistic and make choices with things like shutter speed, aperture and I. S. O. So you can do a lot of cool things with the camera if you get out of automatic mode. And she's discovering that that's great when you're learning to shoot manually and therefore have greater creative control. Um That was a little bit daunting, but, you know, Crutchfield offered a photography class here. Now, did you already have the camera when you took that class or did? Okay, so you took the class? Tell me, tell me about the class itself. The class itself was conducted by our staff photographers there, The people responsible for all the photographs of all the products that we sell, whether it's on the website or in the catalog. Uh those those two people, they are responsible for taking all those photos. Yeah, so they know a thing or two, they sure do. The objective of the class, was to get us off the automatic setting on a DSLR got it to get us um thinking for ourselves and you know, setting all the aperture and the shutter speed and the I. S. O. Manually and learning how all those things work together. And these cameras nowadays can do so much and they're great if you want to shoot on automatic all day you know you absolutely but the real fun comes from you know engaging your own decision making process and you know your own I and and um shooting everything on manual. So when you're on manual are you you're you're adjusting your own shutter speed. So if you're if you're on a tripod or handheld that will change things and you account for that. You adjust your own aperture and your own aperture. I so I see I trained on all this stuff but you clearly know you have surpassed my knowledge already because I mean I kind of understand it but I don't do it every day. I don't have a DSLR that I go out and shoot with every day. So that's one of the reasons we have folks like jay and martin doing these trainings because they can really help us all learn this stuff when you're out there shooting. Give me an example of where you might uh where manual mode might take, give you an advantage over automatic mode. Well for example if you're shooting wildlife, just one of my favorite things to do. Um you obviously want the focus the center of the photograph to be on the animal, whether it's a deer, you know fox, what have you and you don't want anything that might be in the background or the foreground to distract from the image from your subject. That's right. So learning to combine those three factors, the shutter speed in the aperture and the I. S. O. Um to control the depth of field. You know what part of the photograph is actually in focus and what is intentionally out of focus. Um That to me is kind of the fun part. So here we are again interrupting as we do that's what we do. And Marissa was talking about getting out of automatic mode and in the manual mode and what that means is that for every picture she takes, she has a lot of adjustments she can make. Um So in addition obviously she can focus right so probably she's in manual focus mode. That's one but there's three other big adjustments. Uh And so first off let's talk shutter speed. You could have uh some cameras will go all the way up to 1 8/1000 of a second and be as slow as a 15 minute shutter speed. That means the shutter is open for that period of time. The faster it is the better it will be a capturing like action, fast movement and stuff. The slower it is the better it will be at capturing slow movement like stars moving in the sky or traffic off in the distance. So that's a shutter speed things. You can you can adjust that shot by shot. Also Marissa can adjust the aperture which is measured in F stops. You're gonna see those numbers on lenses and such. Uh And the lower number is the faster the lens is what they call it and all that really means is how much light is being let in by the lens, right? Yeah, it's almost like a like an eye opening and it's getting larger to let more light into that. Typically a zoom lens when you zoom in or go more tell photo because you want to see something that's far away and bring it closer. Typically lenses aren't as fast. So then that costs a lot of money. Lights going through a nice lens that can have a low aperture at that distance because that light is passing through a tunnel. Then you think about those heavy lenses, those big lenses, you know, that's that basically looks like a tunnel. The light has to pass through that. So it takes a lot of glass to be able to let a lot of light through one of them. So the shutter speed is how how long the shutter is open in the DSLR the temperature is something that happens in the lens and the last piece of that puzzle is the I. S. O. Or how sensitive your sensor is. And you can think of this kind of like in the old film days when you would buy film at like 300 film, 400 film, 1200 film that was, how sensitive the film was to light. If you were gonna be in a low light situation, you wanted a higher sensitivity. And we have the same thing except it's all digital now on the actual sensor. So yeah so these are all things that can and wants to think about every time she takes a picture because you might want a different shutter speed when you adjust that. You've got to sort of deal with all of the other ones. Right? I like to shoot and uh what's called aperture priority which allows the camera to compensate for those other two pieces that you were talking about the ice and the shutter speed. And when I shoot in aperture priority, that gives you that portrait effect. Right? So I can pick what I want and focus if I want the whole shot in focus or if I really want I have an individual and focus and have the background blurry. Right? So that's me picking that effect and having artistic control over one aspect without getting into the weeds too much with all those other pieces, camera helps you figure out the other two aspects if you're adjusting aperture, it adjusts shutter speed. So for you so it's kind of like somewhere in between. Full automatic and full manual. It's just sort of an aid or an assistant to get you what you want? And then one of the really neat things is when I choose to shoot an auto um and it actually gives you that feedback. Right? So it'll tell you right on the display what it chose to take that picture so you can see, oh, the ISO was set at this, the shutter speed was set at this, the aperture was set at this. And if you just pay attention to that over time, you become more and more familiar with those terms, the effects it has on those particular pictures. And you can start to kind of dabble with some of those shutter priority aperture priority without going full on manual right away. It's the it's one of the beauties of photography being 100% digital now, right? Because you can literally take thous thousands of pictures all in the name of learning how your camera works. That one picture, it doesn't cost you anything. Just recharge the battery when the camera dies, empty out that memory card and take some more pictures. There's no film to develop. There's no waiting around for any of that stuff. So it's a it's a beautiful way to get good at photography and there's really no other way to do it than to take pictures. Yeah, A lot of pictures like you say, did you did you get a bunch of different lenses for your camera, Are you buying lenses all the time now To or just using the one that came with it or what's the deal there? Well I got the two lens kit. Okay and so I have the the standard um 18 to 50 millimeter lens and then I have a 70 to 300 telephoto. Which is great for wildlife between those two lenses. I mean that was just kind of the perfect starter setup. Um At some point down the road of course I'd like to add on more lenses. Maybe a macro lens or something like that. Um But for now that that kid gave me everything I need to kind of just jump into the world of digital photography. It was great. Yeah. Do you do you do any video recording with the camera or is it all still still photos? Um It's mostly stills. Um uh You know don't have that many interesting subjects I guess for video you know Dear don't stick around for very long. Yeah you definitely do. Um So yeah rarely shoot video but that doesn't mean that I'm not gonna experiment with it. I know a lot of people use D. SLRs for video recording because they're so good. You can do four K. 60 frames per second I think on the camera. You have not mistaken by the way it was available in two colors. Did you get the red one or the black one? I I got the black one I really wanted the red one but the red one looks so good. Yeah but the black one was the only one that was available at the time. So basically pictures look the same. They do look exactly the same end result. It's all a matter of how cool you look. That's right. The deer really don't care what color my camera. Uh So how long ago did you get the camera? It's been a couple of years. You got it pretty early when you started here now It's been about a year now. I think that class took place last summer, right about this time last summer and I was just gonna you know used the camera as a loner. I really had no intention of just buying it and making it mine until the end of about the first day. I was like this camera is awesome, I have to have it. So I bought it when you after you take the photos, what do you do with them? You have a computer that you put them on? Do you edit them? Do you print them? You just put them on facebook. What are you doing with the photos? You're taking kind of all of the above. Um The camera has Bluetooth so I can bluetooth right to my phone. Um if I want to or I can just pop out the memory card and stick it in the computer. Um Quickly download all the pictures. Um um in the process of beginning to experiment with editing software. Okay. Um photoshopped of course is the best best known but there are lots of other good programs out there for photo editing. I'm just kind of beginning to delve into that. I was reading reviews on this camera. People really like the way that you can send the photos from the camera to the phone. Do you do that a lot? I do that a lot. Yes. Um It's a little bit time consuming so it's nothing that you want to do if you're in a real hurry. Um But the Nikon software that allows you to do that is really good, you know just to do basic you know crop and um exposure adjustments and that sort of thing just to tweak a little bit with these cameras with as many megapixels as they have, you can take a picture that includes stuff around your subject and then crop it out and you're not losing resolution, right? So it's like you're zooming in on your image but it's still crystal clear. So you heard me ask Marissa there if she's doing video and I ask her that because a lot of people are using what you look at and think of as a still photography camera. They're using those four video now. Uh And that's mainly because they are they take excellent still frames and video is just a lot of still frames put together so but it looks like motion at 60 frames per second. So you're still you're still camera when it's doing video is taking 60 pictures a second at four K. So that's incredible resolution, incredible smooth motion and it looks fantastic. Movies have been shot with DSLR cameras. Uh And what's become something that's even more popular for video is a mirror list camera. You may you may have heard of DSLR versus me. Let's talk about that for a second here. One of the couple differences really. DSLR stands for digital single lens reflex. There is actually moving parts in there. That's what makes that noise. You've heard 1000 times right every time a camera shutter button is hit, you hear you hear that noise. That noise is the actual sound of a mirror moving out of the way that mirrors job is to send the image from your lens up to your viewfinder which is exactly what a photographer is. A photographer fist. That's a new word. Yes that's exactly what a pro photographer wants to see is exactly the image coming in the lens mirrored up to their viewfinder so that there's no doubt that at the end of the end result picture is what they saw in the viewfinder. They want to look through that lens. They wanna look right through that glass to see what that sensor is going to get at that moment. So that that's that benefit of the DSLR and if you're if you're not like a pro photographer you might be thinking that sounds annoying. I just want to look on that big window at L. C. D. Screen on the back of your camera. Well when you're looking at that you're not looking at the exact image coming into the lens, what you're looking at is the image rendered on the sensor so you're taking. And some people might say that that's better. Others might just not want to see it because they've come from a more analog film photography world. They want to see the viewfinder. So there's pros and cons to both the nice benefit of a mirror. This camera is it doesn't have that mirror that was moving parts which allows the camera body to be smaller to be lighter. Uh And uh and still have a nice big sensor in there that lets in lots of light. And so and now with the mirror camera you can do you can have interchangeable lenses. We actually all have muralist cameras in our pockets right now, all of our phones, all of our point and shoot cameras. All of those cameras are muralist meaning they don't have that moving shutter thing that you have in a DSLR. Uh And so we all have a mirror less camera but the mirror less camera category of cameras uh implies that there are interchangeable lenses. And the cam the camera companies are realizing this is sort of what everybody wants right now. So they're making a lot more lenses specifically for their muralist cameras. Uh, let's see, Yes, this year, Nikon was saying they're gonna come out with another, a whole bunch of new mirror list lenses made specifically for those cameras. So I tell you, that's a question. I think we get a lot, a lot of times here at Crutchfield is what's the right camera for me? And uh, I, I think we realize here that, have you ever heard that question, what's the best camera? There's no one answer depends on so many things. And that's why there's these options in the, you know, with cameras, are you trying to put in your pocket or are you trying to capture the kids doing sports? Are you trying to be able to have artistic creativity over your camera? Uh, these are the questions we would ask if you call and you're asking, you know, what's the best camera shooting underwater? There's, there's so many different ways of shooting pictures and different scenes and different lighting conditions. There is, uh, there's no one perfect camera for every situation. Now, that camera in our pocket in our phones pretty darn good these days. It's kind of a Jack of all trades, right? Especially the new iphone with three cameras on it, which is what I have. Uh, pretty much the same as two cameras, except it has a third camera that, that's the biggest difference, but it's pretty much, I mean it is more expensive? Oh yeah, there is that too. So, the benefit of that though is that it's a jack of even more trades. It can go more wide angle and more telephoto than the, than the two lens iphones that somebody else has. And uh, so it's uh, so it's a pretty good camera for a lot of things. It cannot compete with a high end DSLR or muralist camera where you can change the lenses and uh, if you're looking for a specific shot, uh, in a challenging conditions, low light situations, for example, it's pretty hard for your phone to beat a really good DSLR, a full frame sensor. There's so much more digital information captured. There's so much more light let in. It's significantly better. So yeah, the phone in your pocket is good for just about everything. The neat thing that the phone in the pocket is done too. I think photography is more accessible now than it's ever been because we're walking around with that. So, you know, people can build a passion with, you know, pretty good camera phone these days. And then when they want to take that next stop, that next step, that's when they're getting into a DSLR so they can have that creative control. They can, you know, change out lenses, they can add flashes. Uh, and and do those things to be able to create the different effects they wouldn't otherwise be able to get? So there is a newer model that replaced the 3500. Are you looking to get that one instead? Are you happy with the 3400 right now? I am so happy with the 3400. Um Do you find it's too heavy or anything when I have the telephoto lens on? Um and you know, and I'm out for a walk down the, you know, down the gravel road or something like that, it can get a little bit heavy. Um The standard lens is not bad at all. And that's also kind of helped me realize the draw of the new mirror less cameras because they are so much more lightweight and easier to haul around if you are going out on a hike or you know, shooting wildlife or something like that. So my next venture is probably gonna be into a mirror less camera. You're already thinking about the next model or the next thing you're gonna get. But I've taken it um every hike that I've been on, you know, since I've had it every evening walk. Um And I have just surprised myself with the level of pictures that I've been able to capture with this entry level DSLR. I just love it. There's a lot more information about photography on crutchfield dot com. There's lots of great resources out there. We've got an article uh several articles that will help you choose the right camera for you? Uh And so you should definitely go out and check on that. We've got a link to it in the show notes. Uh and as I spoke about with Marissa, I think I've convinced her to let us have access to some of her photos. So that will put some examples of Marisa's photography in the show notes for this episode. We're gonna have a lot of fun with that. Hopefully, hopefully she's taken some good pictures. I hope so. I have a feeling she lives in this new place out in crows that she talked about, which is sort of small town outside of out of Charlottesville. Very picturesque. She's out in the woods, lots of wild mountain, just scenic views. So she's got a lot of great stuff to take pictures of. I'm looking forward to seeing what she's come up with. Thank you so much for listening. We really do appreciate it. Maybe tell your about us. Uh we thoroughly enjoyed talking about uh the gear we have here at Crutchfield that we all know and love so much. That's really the point of this is to share that with you and hopefully help you, you know, figure out what you want to get or or just maybe educate you a little bit on different products that you maybe haven't thought much about. That's the deal with Crutchfield, the podcast. I'm your host, Jr thanks for listening.

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