Time To Get Started
So here is my first post in a line of articles about what I have learned along my travels. From the basics to the more advanced. I am a big believer in you reap what you sow and you sow what you reap. I have talked with others and learned a lot over the last couple years. While my information many may know I hope that it will help others out along their way. Sorry for no photos on this post, I will be sure to have some going forward.
About 7 years ago I took the first plunge into digital and picked up a DSLR. Things happen and we’ll just say after two years, I was forced into early retirement. Just 2 years ago I finally got myself back into a position where I could get a DSLR again. I now protect all my gear with my life. I can only imagine where I could have been if I did not have that 5 year lapse, but things work out in the end.
You’ve now taken the plunge to get your first SLR, like I did many moons ago. Whether it was digital, film, new, or used. Many individuals will stay in that box of always shooting on “auto”. Not us, we bought this camera to get out of the “little green box” (if you have a Canon). These cameras have so much more potential once you make the jump. So let’s get started.
First thing I would recommend is look through the instruction manual that came with the camera. You will be very surprised on how much info is now packed in these manuals about your camera. If you bought the camera used and don’t have one, check the manufacture’s website. They don’t just give you the basics on what each button does, but they have advanced sections that tell you how things affect each other. If you have a library see what they have to check out. Kodak had some really great books and most books on film will translate well to digital.
On To The Camera Settings.
Most if not all SLR cameras you will find the following on the dial:
“P” – Program AE: This is very similar to the “auto” mode on the camera as it will properly expose the image for you. The difference is you have control over the other features such as Auto focus mode, flash, and other functions. The other benefit of this mode over auto is you can still change the shutter or aperture on the camera. If you turn your dial to change the shutter speed the camera will automatically change the aperture and vice versa to get a properly exposed shot. This also basically gives you the next two settings but combined into one.
“Tv” – Shutter Priority AE: With this you can control the shutter speed of your camera. The camera will automatically adjust the aperture for a correct exposure. Faster shutter speeds will freeze the action, this is great for sports, wildlife, and moving objects. Slower shutter speeds will give the effect of motion, such as moving water on a waterfall.
“Av” – Aperture Priority AE: You control the Aperture or F-stop. The camera will adjust the shutter speed to give a properly exposed photo. This gives you control of the sharpness/focus of items in the picture. With a larger F-stop (number) more items will be in focus of the frame, a smaller f-stop (lower number) less of the frame will be in focus. Small numbers are great for portraits or when you want the background to be out of focus providing the foreground to stand out. Larger numbers are great when you want more items in focus such as with landscapes.
“M” – Manual Exposure: You now have full control over the camera. You set both the shutter and the aperture. Due to this you can underexpose or overexpose an image. To minimize this when you look through the view finder you will see a meter at the bottom this is your exposure. Would look something like ” -3∙∙-2∙∙-1∙∙0∙∙1∙∙2∙∙3 ” you might only see down to 2 or you might see more. There will be an arrow or line below that graph that will move as you adjust your shutter or aperture. Most of the time you want it to be under the 0 or in the middle but some instances you will want it to the left or right (we’ll go into this later). The above meter is on a Canon, I believe on Nikon it is reversed.
At this point you might be thinking all this is a little over your head, I know I was. Don’t worry over the next few weeks I will be going into greater detail of each one, what I use if for (you might find other times), shutter speed, aperture, etc. If you have a question about any thing or would like to see something in specific feel free to contact me.
Tommy Hurt Jr.
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