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08-30-2014, 11:34 AM   #1
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Complete introduction to using DSLR (k50) manually?

I have a K-50 with 18-135mm WR lens that I have been using strictly on full auto.

I would like to learn how to use my camera manually. Is there a complete guide that explains everything, preferably in the context of the K-50?

I have googled this but the guides I find are very lacking: ISO is how sensitive to the light, f# is how much light is let into the sensor etc etc. I have read that 10 times but still doesn't teach me how to use my camera.

A question that I still have is, why can't I always be at the optimal f-stop (F3.5 in my case)? What's the trade-off when you change the f-stops? I assume if I put the optimal f-stop then some other property cannot be at its optimal also etc and it becomes a balancing act, otherwise you just put everything on optimal. But again, none of this explained in the beginning guides I have found.

I would appreciate it if someone could direct me towards such a source.

Thanks!

08-30-2014, 11:41 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by Moropo Quote
A question that I still have is, why can't I always be at the optimal f-stop (F3.5 in my case)? What's the trade-off when you change the f-stops? I assume if I put the optimal f-stop then some other property cannot be at its optimal also etc and it becomes a balancing act, otherwise you just put everything on optimal. But again, none of this explained in the beginning guides I have found.
Aperture controls not only how much light the sensor gets, but also the Depth of Field. The wider the aperture the less DoF you have.

You can see the effects by setting the camera up on a tripod with a stationary subject. Put the camera in Av mode and take several pictures at different apertures.

Photography for Beginners

3 camera lessons every new photographer should learn (free cheat sheet) | Digital Camera World

photography cheat sheet - Digital Camera World

What is maximum aperture? Which lenses go widest (and why it matters) | Digital Camera World

What is aperture: everything you need to know about controlling light creatively | Digital Camera World

Annoying problems at common aperture settings (and how to solve them) | Digital Camera World

A layman's guide to depth of field: how to check and affect sharpness like a pro | Digital Camera World

What is maximum aperture? Which lenses go widest (and why it matters) | Digital Camera World

What is maximum aperture? Which lenses go widest (and why it matters) | Digital Camera World - page 2

Free f-stop chart: master your aperture | Digital Camera World

What is ISO: camera sensitivity settings (and the best ways to use them) | Digital Camera World

Last edited by boriscleto; 08-30-2014 at 11:49 AM.
08-30-2014, 12:36 PM   #3
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The most comprehensive guide I've found is the book "understanding exposure" by Bryan Peterson. It has all the answers to the questions you have. My library had a copy, so it didn't even cost me anything. I found it's written in a very practical way, showing the different choices for different types of shots.
08-30-2014, 01:39 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kozlok Quote
The most comprehensive guide I've found is the book "understanding exposure" by Bryan Peterson. It has all the answers to the questions you have. My library had a copy, so it didn't even cost me anything. I found it's written in a very practical way, showing the different choices for different types of shots.
+1 to this suggestion.

Many other books on beginning or fundamental photography would do as well. There are so many dodgy concepts drifting around out there regarding shutter speed, aperture, ISO, focal length, and the recently popular "equivalence" (a term coined as part of the FF vs. cropped frame religious struggles). A good foundation of the basics helps to keep things sane.


Steve

(...personally favors Ansel Adams "The Camera" coupled with "The Negative"...yes film photography, but absolutely manual and nicely generalizable to digital...)

08-30-2014, 03:46 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Moropo Quote
...A question that I still have is, why can't I always be at the optimal f-stop (F3.5 in my case)? What's the trade-off when you change the f-stops? I assume if I put the optimal f-stop then some other property cannot be at its optimal also etc and it becomes a balancing act, otherwise you just put everything on optimal. But again, none of this explained in the beginning guides I have found.
The 18-135 lens is a "variable aperture" zoom so it can only be set to f3.5 at 18mm. If you set the mode dial to Av and the lens to 18mm, you can adjust the aperture to f3.5 like you want. Then use the zoom and the aperture will change, going up to f5.6 at 135mm. The camera remembers that you really wanted the maximum aperture so if you zoom back to 18mm, it goes back to f3.5.

There probably isn't a guide specific to the K-50. It should be able to do nearly everything suggested in most guides, you just have to translate a little with your manual or ask here.

The best way to learn is one topic at a time, then stick them all together at the end. That's how Understanding Exposure does it. That way you can read a lot of different sources on one element, which don't have to be in one single book. A public library almost certainly has the Ansel Adams books, which won't have anything on the K-50.

For a while, your practice photos will be really boring and you might have to go back to Auto for real shots just so they'll come out.
09-08-2014, 09:13 AM   #8
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I like the Mike Browne tutorials. Really good down to earth instructions.

09-08-2014, 09:58 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by cardinal43 Quote
I like the Mike Browne tutorials. Really good down to earth instructions.
Yep I agree.
09-08-2014, 10:10 AM   #10
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if you're looking for more than just reading articles online, you may considering buying a Photography book, such as this one:

http://www.amazon.com/Photography-10th-Barbara-London/dp/0205711499/ref=sr_1...barbara+london

I have the newer edition of that book (11th edition) because I needed it for my Photography class that I took last year. I really like the book, it explains the concepts of exposure, ISO, f/stop and shutter speed very clearly and easily. There are tons of other chapters that go into all other aspects of photography.

I haven't seen the 10th edition myself, but i'm sure it's every bit as good as the 11th edition. When I started my digital photography class, I didn't understand how to use a DSLR at all. I didn't know what ISO, f/stop or shutter speed were. The class certainly helped a lot, but reading through this book was just as helpful.
09-09-2014, 04:45 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kozlok Quote
The most comprehensive guide I've found is the book "understanding exposure" by Bryan Peterson. It has all the answers to the questions you have. My library had a copy, so it didn't even cost me anything. I found it's written in a very practical way, showing the different choices for different types of shots.
The is the best books on exposure I've ever read. I re-read occasionally.
09-09-2014, 07:27 AM   #12
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I wish there was a magic lantern book for the k50. I bought one for my k10 and it really explained how to get the best out of your camera.
09-13-2014, 07:27 AM   #13
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Original Poster
Sorry for late reply.

The short articles posted by boriscleto have been excellent and now I finally understand the purpose of aperture, shutter speed and ISO. Although putting that to use has been hard. I never know what shutter speed to use or what aperture if I don't use the AUTO mode dial. But I understand that's where all the practice comes in.

Now when I get a chance I will watch the YouTube videos.

And yes, I would love it if I read something that was directed at the K50 specifically...
09-13-2014, 08:53 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Moropo Quote
I have a K-50 with 18-135mm WR lens that I have been using strictly on full auto.

I would like to learn how to use my camera manually. Is there a complete guide that explains everything, preferably in the context of the K-50?

I have googled this but the guides I find are very lacking: ISO is how sensitive to the light, f# is how much light is let into the sensor etc etc. I have read that 10 times but still doesn't teach me how to use my camera.

A question that I still have is, why can't I always be at the optimal f-stop (F3.5 in my case)? What's the trade-off when you change the f-stops? I assume if I put the optimal f-stop then some other property cannot be at its optimal also etc and it becomes a balancing act, otherwise you just put everything on optimal. But again, none of this explained in the beginning guides I have found.

I would appreciate it if someone could direct me towards such a source.

Thanks!
Almost any introductory photography book will explain the relationship between iso, aperture, and shutter speed - even an ancient text from the film era.

Understanding the relationship is important whether your camera is set on M(anual) or some more automatic mode. You don't get bonus points - or, necessarily, better results - by using M.
09-14-2014, 02:23 AM   #15
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All kinds of trial and error...
Do you want the airplane propeller to be a blur or for each blade to been clearly or each blade only a little blurry or etc. Do you want all in focus or very little

The extremes (stop the propeller in time or full blur) are usually pretty easy. The middle points (some blur but not all) are more difficult. If you do any type of picture often, you learn. For new types, digital review is immeasurably helpful.

Figuring out the right settings for you is what makes the art

QuoteOriginally posted by Moropo Quote
Sorry for late reply.

... I never know what shutter speed to use or what aperture if I don't use the AUTO mode dial. But I understand that's where all the practice comes in. ...


---------- Post added 09-14-14 at 04:43 AM ----------

I took 'never know what settings' to mean settings for the effect you want
But you mention 'unless Auto mode' is used... So, do you mean settings for good exposure ?

If for good exposure, in manual mode you can use the green button
Green button resets the camera aperture/shutter just the same as if you were in Program mode.

If you want to shift dials yourself until you have exposure set based on what the camera recommends, look at the exposure meter in the viewfinder. When the tick mark reaches the center, the settings you have chosen will give an exposure equal to what the camera recommends. You may have different shutter/aperture from what the camera would have recommended but the exposure (amount of light to sensor) will be the same...

The exposure meter is in stops. Center equals 0/metered with primary and secondary marks both above and below center. Each primary mark above or below is one stop. If you shift your dials so that the tick is one primary mark from center, you are one stop from metered exposure. Whether it is +1 stop or -1 stop exposure depends on which side of the center the tick mark is on. At this first primary mark from center, it is the same as if you have used 1 stop of exposure compensation in Program mode...

Manual can be easy if you follow the camera recommendations.
The camera doesn't stop metering in manual mode.
You can follow the metered recommendation or not.
Manual mode just means it won't shift anything for you

As far as how the green button shifts aperture/shutter to program exposure:
How the green button shifts exposure is determined by setting for exposure bracketing.

By default, exposure bracketing is accomplished by 'Program Shift' where both aperture and shutter are changed. 'Tv Shift' (shutter speed only adjusted) or 'Av Shift' (aperture only adjusted).

I also like the green button to leave my aperture alone. So, I have 'Tv Shift' set, myself. Really, 'Tv Shift' works better for bracketing, I think. I don't want aperture changed during bracketing, either. I don't want depth of field to change...

Exposure compensation can be used in manual mode. If you have added +1 EC, the camera will take this into account. The way this looks in the viewfinder is that when the tick is lined up in the center of the exposure meter, that will no longer be the program exposure... the center of the meter will instead now reflect program exposure with the +1 EC accounted for.. You will have basically redefined 'zero' or 'home base' exposure. When you use the green button in manual with EC set, the result is the same. The camera resets aperture/shutter to the same setting you would have had in program mode with +1 EC...

Last edited by Tan68; 09-14-2014 at 02:52 AM.
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