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Old 03-15-2018, 09:10 AM   #1
tgil
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Default Ok, so where do I start?

Time for me to take the step from "Auto" settings to the big boy stuff! What is a good source, preferably on-line, where I can read up on which settings to use and when?
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Old 03-15-2018, 09:13 AM   #2
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"auto" setting as it relates to what? What type of info are you looking for?
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Old 03-15-2018, 09:15 AM   #3
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You really shouldn't use the auto settings, be a big boy and keep your hands on the wheel and drive the car. Auto settings make you run into parked fire trucks and what not...

Tesla reference if anyone didn't catch that . Other than that, we need to know what auto settings you are referring to.
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Old 03-15-2018, 09:32 AM   #4
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Been on auto so long might aught to leave it that way. Whatever it is...
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Old 03-15-2018, 09:36 AM   #5
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Subscribed. I always shoot in auto or 'green' mode as I call it. Thinking about taking some classes to learn the ins and outs. My camera can do way more than I know how (which is green mode )
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Old 03-15-2018, 09:43 AM   #6
tgil
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patton View Post
Subscribed. I always shoot in auto or 'green' mode as I call it. Thinking about taking some classes to learn the ins and outs. My camera can do way more than I know how (which is green mode )
Exactly! When I say auto, I'm talking shutter speed and such. I have no clue what shutter speed, f-stop and such. I monkey with the little symbols flower, portrait, sports, and mountains, but that's it. I end up getting some pretty good pics, just by blind luck, but I know there are better shots waiting to be taken if the nut behind the wheel knew where to start.
Thanks

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Old 03-15-2018, 09:54 AM   #7
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I found a thread I posted this on a few years ago. Copy and paste here (I added some to it as well)...

The analogy that I use for the 3 main settings (ISO, shutter speed, and aperture) is this....

The aperture, designated by f/stop number, is similar to the pupil in your eye. The bigger the aperture/pupil, the more light comes in. The only thing that can be confusing is that lower f/stop numbers equate to bigger aperture openings. So f/22 is a really small opening that lets in only a tiny amount of light while f/2.8 is a really large aperture that lets in a lot of light. If you are shooting a scene in bright sunlight, then you can choose a small aperture setting (bigger f/stop number), because you have a lot of bright light to work with. If you are shooting a scene in dim light conditions, then you will probably need to set the f/stop to a low number so you'll have a big wide-open aperture to let in as much light as possible.

The other thing that aperture size will do for you, besides regulating the amount of light passing through the lens, is that it will vary the depth of field. Depth of field is the depth of what is in focus in your image. A tiny aperture opening will bring more things into focus. Things that are both near and far away, relative to whatever you focused the lens on when you take your shot can generally be more in focus with a smaller aperture. If you want to have a narrow depth of field so that only your subject is in focus while everything else is blurred out, then you need to use a larger aperture (low f/stop number).

Next we get to the 2nd setting: shutter speed. The shutter is similar to your eyelid. The longer it stays open, the more light it lets in. If it opens and shuts really fast, then only a small amount of light gets in. If you are in bright light, then you'll likely need to use a faster shutter speed. If you are in low light, then you'll probably need to use a slower shutter speed.

Shutter speed variations do something else as well. If you want to freeze fast-moving objects, like stopping the action in sports photography, then you need a fast shutter speed. But if you want to show the blurred action of moving objects, then you need the shutter to be open for a longer time in order to pick up all the movement that you are after. Also, if you are holding your camera in your hand rather than using a tripod or something else to support the camera (and keep it still), your photos will likely be blurred from your hand movement if you use a shutter speed that is too slow.

The 3rd setting is ISO. A high ISO number (1600, 3200, 6400, etc...) is like your naked eye. It is very sensitive to light, and it picks up detail very easily. You may need to squint or open and shut your eyes really quickly when it is really bright.

A low ISO number is like your eye behind sunglasses. It makes your eye less sensitive to light, so you don't have to squint and you can leave your eyes open longer in bright light. But in dim light you may not be able to see very well, so you'd need to remove your sunglasses.

ISO also has another effect on the photo. Higher ISO numbers will make photos in low light situations brighter, but it comes with a price. Higher ISO settings cause the image to have more "noise" or grainy appearance.

Everything about choosing camera settings is a trade-off. You have 3 different settings that you could adjust to make an exposure brighter or darker, and each of the 3 have side-effects. Which side-effect do you want? Which one do you NOT want? Which one can you live with if you have to, even though you'd prefer not to have it?

I start with the side-effect that I want, and then I work from there. If I am shooting sports, then I definitely want to stop fast action. That means I must have a fast shutter speed. That costs me light, so if I am not shooting in bright sunlight then I have to open up my aperture and/or move to a higher ISO setting. I go to higher ISO as a last resort, because I want to minimize noise. But once you open up your aperture all the way, if you still need more light in order to get a good exposure with a fast shutter, then you have to start boosting ISO.

If I am shooting a portrait or something and I want only my subject to be in focus while everything in the background is blurred out, then I must shoot the shot with a large aperture (low f/stop). That lets in a lot of light, so if I have fairly bright light to begin with, then I will need to shoot a low ISO and/or a faster shutter speed to keep from over-exposing the shot.

For landscape shots, you typically want everything in the scene to be in focus, from the foreground close to your camera to the distant views on the horizon and the sky. For a wide depth of field where everything, or at least almost everything, will be in focus, you need to use a small aperture (higher f/stop number). That means you'll be letting in less light. Also, if you're wanting a really sharp image, you need to use the lowest ISO setting you can so that you don't introduce noise into your photo. Lower ISOs mean less light as well. So, that means that you have to use a slower shutter speed setting so that your camera's sensor will have enough time to gather enough light for a good exposure. If you're shooting at sunset or in a shaded forest or on a really cloudy day when the light is relatively dim, you may need a shutter speed that is so slow that you can't keep the camera still during the capture. You'll need to use a tripod to rest the camera on so that it doesn't move while you're taking the shot.

There are always more than one combination of settings that will give you a proper exposure of light in a given situation. But the side-effects will vary, depending on which combination of settings you use. It's all about the trade-offs.....

Last edited by Shane; 03-15-2018 at 09:57 AM.
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Old 03-15-2018, 09:56 AM   #8
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On that old thread, Casey mentioned online DSLR simulators. Snakelover posted this link. It's pretty cool. You can change the settings and see how the resulting image is affected. You can do the same thing with your camera as well, of course. Take it out and just take a bunch of random shots using different settings, and you'll begin to see what each setting does when you change it.

http://camerasim.com/apps/original-camerasim/web//
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Old 03-15-2018, 10:01 AM   #9
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Buy this. I will be the best 18 bucks you spend on photography.
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Old 03-15-2018, 10:16 AM   #10
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A little more....

There are 4 basic modes to choose from on your camera: Auto, Manual, Aperture Priority ("Av" on Canon, "A" on Nikon), and Shutter Priority ("Tv" on Canon, "S" on Nikon). These allow you to change how much or how little the camera does for you in choosing the settings.

In Auto mode, the camera does all the thinking and chooses all the settings. It may or may not choose the settings you need to accomplish the end result that you're looking for, but it will almost always choose settings that will give you an exposure that is fairly balanced.

In Manual mode, the camera doesn't do anything for you. You are in full control to decide how to set everything. When you understand what ISO, aperture and shutter speed settings do, and you know how to read your camera's light meter and the histogram, you should have no trouble using manual mode.

Aperture priority and Shutter priority modes allow you to set 2 of the 3 settings and then let the camera choose the 3rd setting. You choose the ISO setting in both of these modes.

In Aperture priority mode, you also choose the aperture or f/stop setting. Then the camera will decide what shutter speed is needed to get a balanced exposure with the ISO and f/stop settings that you have selected. You might use this to make sure that you are controlling the depth of field in your image when the light is varying during your shoot. The camera can then change the shutter speeds any time the light changes, which will ensure that all your images are exposed properly (not too bright or too dark).

In Shutter priority mode, in addition to setting the ISO, you also choose the shutter speed. Then the camera will decide what f/stop setting is needed to get you a balanced exposure with the other 2 settings that you have selected. You might use this setting when you want to maintain a fast shutter speed to stop moving action in varying light situations.

In Av or Tv mode, if the camera isn't exposing the images the way you want them exposed and your results are either too bright or too dark, you can then go to the Exposure Compensation setting to tell the camera to increase or decrease the exposure however much you want it to change.

There are lots of controls and settings that you can use to achieve different results, and it definitely takes a while to learn about all of them. But start with the basic 3 settings that determine exposure first - ISO, f/stop, and shutter speed. Then work with Manual, Av, and Tv modes some. Once you get familiar with those things, then you can start digging in to the other more advanced bells and whistles.


edit: Actually there are 5 modes. I forgot about Program mode ("P" on the dial). Program mode is like Auto, except you get to choose the ISO and then the camera does the rest. I never use that one, so I forgot about it.

Last edited by Shane; 03-15-2018 at 10:20 AM.
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Old 03-15-2018, 10:19 AM   #11
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Good stuff.


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Old 03-15-2018, 11:15 AM   #12
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Thanks Shane & David, this is the kind of info I needed. I've been interested in photography for at least 32 years. I got my first slr camera back then, went through a tutorial that the seller provided with the purchase. I got interested in other stuff and started using pocket cameras for any pictures I wanted "to remember the occasion". Fast forward past the introduction of phones that have cameras and finally ten or so years ago, I picked up a 2nd hand Canon dslr. That was way different as far as picture quality over the 35mm I was most familiar with, but I still didn't take the time to really learn about all of those features.
That camera finally started to disappoint me (my phone took better pics at the Grand Canyon, than my dslr did) and I upgraded again to a more advanced camera I got from Snakelover.
I've shot some flowers, and will take some shots at my daughter's game on Sunday with the new, to me, camera. Not sure I'll be ready to try messing with settings Sunday, but you both have given me a starting point.
Thanks again!

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Last edited by tgil; 03-15-2018 at 11:30 AM.
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Old 03-15-2018, 11:21 AM   #13
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Here are a few of the flowers.

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Old 03-15-2018, 01:32 PM   #14
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Holy pixels, Batman! Those are huge! Sorry about that, they don't look near as good that big!

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Old 03-15-2018, 01:58 PM   #15
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For your daughter's game, here's my suggestion on settings. Sports = action and moving targets. So you need a fast shutter speed. Minimum shutter speed should be 1/500th. Anything faster than that is even better for sharp images. Next, you want to use the lowest ISO possible. Set the camera to ISO 100 to start with. If the game is during the daytime, and it's sunny that day then you are golden. You may even need to use a really fast shutter of 1/1,000th or even faster. If it's at night or inside a gym, then ISO 100 probably isn't going to work unless the lighting is WAY better than average. But you can try to start with. With shutter at 1/500 and ISO 100, adjust your f/stop to lower numbers (larger aperture) to let in more light. If you get all the way to the lowest f/stop number your lens has and the pics are still too dark, then you will have to start increasing ISO. Move to 200, then 400, then 800, if necessary, until you get good exposures. If you are at a night game or a dimly lit gym and you get all the way to ISO 6400 (or your camera's max ISO setting) and the pics are still too dim, then you can move shutter speed a little slower. I've had to shoot at f/2.8, ISO 6400 and 1/250th second before in really dark venues. The pics aren't nearly as sharp as they are in a day game outside with faster shutters and lower ISOs, but you do what you have to do.

For your auto focus settings, you need to have the camera set to AI Servo for sports. That will allow you to follow your subject and hold focus while she is moving around. Set your focus points to the middle grouping of points, as opposed to the full array or just a single focus point. If you have all the focus points turned on, the camera will focus on something in the background of your intended target more often (bad). If you have just a single focus point turned on, it's too hard to keep that one little red dot on your subject as she's running and jumping. The full array is kinda like a cylinder choke on a shotgun - sometimes there can be holes in the pattern. The single point is like a rifle - sometimes it's hard to hit a moving target with a single projectile. The center group of focus points is more like a modified or full choke in a shotgun - still a broader pattern, but more focused on the target.

Then, if you're really ambitious in wanting to learn, google "back button focus". You can set the camera so that one of the buttons on the back of the camera (near your right thumb when you're holding the camera) can be used to auto focus the lens. Then, you set the shutter button to ONLY trip the shutter and take the picture and NOT be involved in focusing. That way, you can hold the back button down while you're following your daughter around the field and the camera will stay focused on her. When you're ready to take a shot, you just hit the shutter button with your index finger while your thumb is still on the back button focus. It sounds more complicated than it is. It will quickly become 2nd nature once you use it a little. It helps a lot in keeping focus on moving targets in sports or flying birds or whatever.
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Old 03-15-2018, 02:00 PM   #16
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Shane has already given you a bunch of great info and knows way more about photography than I ever will. When I first got off of auto, somebody recommended this book to me:

Beyond Point-and-Shoot: Learning to Use a Digital SLR or Interchangeable-Lens Camera https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00VB46C9C..._FjSQAbANHXKHN

I downloaded the kindle version and read it here and there at night. It broke everything down simple enough to understand and was a huge help. One other thing I’ll say (which Shane referenced) is it was a lot easier for me to fine tune my use of each setting by first switching to one of the other settings (for example, Shutter). Isolating down to learning one or two variables at a time was easier for me to learn the ins and outs of each and then put it all together in Manual.
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Old 03-15-2018, 07:04 PM   #17
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Thanks, y'all! I'll take those pointers to the field, Shane!

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Old 03-16-2018, 07:30 AM   #18
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Tons of videos on Youtube that helped me get into shooting manual.

https://youtu.be/EYbTEB2mQX8

Good luck - don't be afraid to take bad shots, it's going to happen. Good thing about digital, just erase and try again!
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Old 03-16-2018, 10:43 PM   #19
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Great info. Tagged for more review later
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Old 03-16-2018, 11:23 PM   #20
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Thanks. Tagged for review.
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Old 04-17-2018, 06:17 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tgil View Post
Time for me to take the step from "Auto" settings to the big boy stuff! What is a good source, preferably on-line, where I can read up on which settings to use and when?


Tgil, you are more than welcome to join me when i head out to shoot. I know sometimes the best learning tool is doing it first hand with someone else.


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Old 04-30-2018, 03:24 PM   #22
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The other thing is you can read all you want, but the best thing is to just get out and take pictures. I found researching to give me an idea of where to start, but every scene and every lighting condition is different outdoors. Practicing and shooting 1000’s of pictures gets you used to where the adjustments are on your camera so that changing them becomes second nature. L

Sometimes changes have to be made extremely quickly to get the right shot.

I would recommend going to a local state park and just taking pictures. Most of them will not turn out great, but a few will be good. The more you go and the more pictures you take, the more “keepers” you’ll have. Photography is truly a practice makes perfect experiment.
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