Finally got a DSLR

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So it's been quite a long time since I posted anything on here....I'm thinking like maybe 3 years or so!! Anyway, after many years of asking for one for Christmas, I finally got a DSLR the other week. My wife spotted an eBay flash sale on Adorama's eBay store page. I ended up getting a Red Nikon D3100 w/ 18-55mm lens. After using it a couple times I'm pretty happy, and I am definitely putting more thought into my shots that I had been with my 10 year old point and shoot, which by the way, had malfunctioned a couple of times and caused me to miss shots. I do plan on getting another lens soon...shooting with a max zoom off 55 is definitely limiting.

A couple of my shots have made it to

While I know there are strong opinions about, having my pics critiqued is welcome for me at least. So far, both pics I have entered only needed additional sharpening to be accepted (after being rejected once). I have to figure out the focus on this camera, although I am sure the lens has something to do with it.

Hopefully I get around to posting some stuff on here...need to represent the east!

Bill Anderson

Well-Known Member
Congratulations. The learning curve is quite steep with a dSLR as you can get instant feedback on your shots. The more shots you take, the better you will become and the quicker you can get out of P mode to start really planning your shots. I am looking forward to some beautiful Pennsylvania autumn leaves shots from you in the months ahead.
Don't worry, I never tried any of the Program modes. I took a few shots around my yard in full-auto when I first got it. When I first got trackside I switched it to Aperture Priority. The other day I was shooting full manual mode. One thing is for sure, I tend to like zoomed-in shots and not having a zoom beyond 55mm kinda sucks, although it does make me think more about a shot than I used to.
Nice pictures. Two for two on "that site" is a pretty good average! I like the fact that they accepted those pictures with the poles and wires. In other words, what a typical railroad scene really looks like. Like Bill said, I'm looking forward to more shots from "back east".
I don't get out much anymore for "big" trips like I used to. I will try to get some stuff posted up when I do go out. I am planning some stuff in October...I am taking a week off of work and hope to shoot some local shortlines and whatnot (Class 1s get kinda boring after awhile!).


Photo Critiques Welcome
I wouldn't say anything bad about RP. There are some useful guidelines on their site. The screening can be subjective but that's the nature of having your work judged. Getting posted there is a good exercise.

The D3100 should serve well.

I looked at the shot from Columbia for a minute thinking it looked familiar before the depot clicked. I've work in Columbia a few times. It's nice you pointed out the depot. Most people wouldn't realize that was what it had been.


5th Generation Texian
Congrats, you’ll enjoy the new hardware. Make sure you experiment with those settings. I’ve had way too many folks complain that they needed ‘ a better lens’ or even a ‘better camera body’ when they haven’t ever tried freeing themselves from the shackles of auto mode.

Bill Anderson

Well-Known Member
I am revisiting some old threads. Did you buy a new lens or are you still shooting with the 18-55mm "kit" lens? If you want a little more reach than the 18-55mm zoom but don't have the $$$$ or the need for for a high powered telephoto zoom, you might see if Nikon or an aftermarket manufacturer like Tamron or Sigma has a medium range zoom in the 18-135 range.

I have a Canon EF-S 18-135mm zoom which I keep on my Rebel XSi for the typical "tourist" shots I take on motorcycle trips. Being an EF-S lens, it won't fit on cameras which have full frame sensors like my 5DIII, but the lens + the Rebel is a small, lightweight package which packs easily in my motorcycle top case. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to - An online railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used railroad books. Railroad pictorials, railroad history, steam locomotives, passenger trains, modern railroading. Hundreds of titles available, most at discount prices! We also have a video and children's book section. - An online model railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used books. Layout design, track plans, scenery and structure building, wiring, DCC, Tinplate, Toy Trains, Price Guides and more.