Recommend to me some training materials for understanding DSLR cameras

Started Dec 2, 2009 | Discussions thread
Rakumi Veteran Member • Posts: 6,256

Some basics for shooting in particular conditions. This also helps you choose a lens.

Also you want to have a camera with an ISO of at least 1600 or better with little noise at high ISO.

Basic controls for manipulating your camera:

(Each control yeilds a positive and negative effect, so the right combination is vital)

Shutter speed (Natural control) - Slow shutter speed increases the amount of light taken in (like recording over the same image). To slow your shutter speed down means you need a steady hand. Stabilization helds steady your handholding shots and allows you to slow the shutter speed between 2 to 4 times slower than shutter speed you would use if you did not have stabilization. (shutter speed has incriments). Or you can use a tripod and slow down your shutter speed as slow as you want. Shutter speed can be slowed down so much, it can make a dark room look bright. The negative to this is when you are taking a picture of subjects that are moving. Slowing down the shutter speed will cause a blur image with moving subjects. Stabilization only stops camera shake and not subject movement. 1/1000 and up is great for stopping motion. 1/15 and below are great for taking in large amounts of light.

Now if you increase shutter speed, you can freeze action. So much so that you can make a sprinkler's drops visible as individual drops. This is how you catch movement with out motion blur or blur picture in general. Yet the negative is sometimes not enough light is taken in when you are shooting in a dim room or night setting. This will cause a dark image, sometimes not even viewable at all.

Aperture (Natural control) - The aperture is the hole that lets in light on the inside. If the aperture is wide (lower f value), you collect more light. If the aperture is narrow (larger f value), it collects less light. The max aperture is the largest it can open. Some common aperture values are f5.6, f4, f2.8. All lenses can narrow their aperture to levels you will probably never use, such as f22 or 30 something. Common use range is from f8 and larger. If it is too bright outside you want to use a more narrow aperture to avoid a super bright or all white image. Also a smaller aperture sometimes creates a different depth of feild effect than a wide aperture. On the flip side, if it is dark out, a wide aperture will increase the light intake and allow for a better picture in a dim or dark setting. Because this increases the intake of light and does not need a slow shutter speed to make the picture brighter, you can maintain faster shutter speeds and still get some dim lit images with out a flash source.

ISO (Unnatural control) - This increases the sensors sensitivity to light. If you increase the the ISO higher, it becomes more sensitive and utilizes its light more so than in lower settings. The negative to this is it causes what is known as "noise" creating a grainny factor in the picture. Some cameras control for noise better than others, but none the less experts suggest using ISO levels at 100 and 200 levels. ISO is a great option to have though you should use all the "natural" control methods to get your picture right before the need to increase your ISO.

Picture taking situations:
Assuming clear skies in all cases and sunny outside.

9am in a park of a moving dog?
ISO low, fast shutter speed, mid aperture

7pm (dim) on the street person walking?
ISO mid, mid shutter speed, large aperture

9pm inside regular lit room of a flower on the table?
ISO low, slow shutter speed, large aperture

9pm inside regular lit room of a person sitting?
ISO high, mid shutter speed, large aperture

Lenses - Some lenses have fixed apertures and changing apertures. Some lenses have stabilization (IS, OS, etc = Image Stabilization, Optic Stabilization). Some lenses have sonic motors which give faster auto focusing (Hypersonicmotor = HSM, Ultrasonicmotor = USM). All lenses have a different focal length range and can or may not be macro based. All of these things are written in the name of the lens so you know what you are looking at just from what it is called and if that lens is right for you. Example. The canon kit lens is called, canon 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 IS. This means it starts at 18mm and can zoom to 55mm and that at 18mm, the f value is 3.5. When you zoom to 55mm, the aperture becomes f5.6. This is natural for a lot of consumer level lenses. Most pro lenses have a fixed aperture meaning it is the same thru out the entire focal length. Example, Canon 24-105mm f4L IS USM. This lens stays at f4 all the time which is good for when you need a constant aperture for the long end. The "L" stands for their pro line.

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Quickly shooter, draw your lens or prepared to get shot.

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