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05-26-2016, 04:46 AM   #1
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Need help making sure I have a settings "conversion" correct.

Good morning! I just got my K50 on Monday, and I'm brand spanking new to DSLR's and photography in general, but I'm excited to start learning! I've started looking through photos to find things that I like, so I can try and figure out how to get the same effects and look in my own photos. In a photo like this one, when I'm looking at the EXIF data, I would need to do some adjusting. I have the kit lenses, and as such can't go down to a f/2.0. If I wanted to get a similar look to the photo, and I can go to a f/4.0, would it be reasonable to either increase the ISO 2 steps or decrease the shutter speed 2 steps? I know the depth of field would change with the different f-stop, I'm just trying to make sure I have it right in my head on how adjusting different settings can work together to produce a desired effect. Thanks!

05-26-2016, 07:29 AM - 1 Like   #2
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I wouldn't get hung up too much on the technical details and exact stops up and down. Yes, to keep the same exposure in the same circumstances you would need to adjust pairs of settings at the same time in opposite directions...but in the end what you will do is use the light meter to set exposure based on the light at the time.

The thing to take from that other image is that the aperture was wide - probably to achieve a narrow depth of field, or maybe because the light was low. Once that is decided, they would have set the shutter speed to achieve the exposure they wanted using their light meter. ISO is generally best left as low as possible, only increasing if low light is preventing you from using the settings you need for the shot.
05-26-2016, 07:42 AM   #3
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May I suggest going onto eBay and searching for "Pentax A 50mm", and then purchase either the f1.7 or f2.0 version? It's manual focus, but as long as you set the lens to the 'A' setting on the aperture ring, it will be a peach of a lens! (If you want to have autofocus as well, then hunt for a DA 50mm f1.8. Second hand copies can be found for 70 ish, 90 brand new. The bokeh is slightly nicer than the old 'A' series lenses)

That photo you linked to is heavy on the bokeh, which typically means using a larger aperture (ie the f number is smaller, so f1.4 is larger than f2.0). I'm assuming you have the 18-55 kit lens, in which case in the 50mm region, you'll be stuck with a smaller aperture (f4 or so). You can still get some bokeh, if you move as close as you can to the subject, but the image won't quite have the same dreamy fall off!

Aperture is pretty simple to understand. Stick a mug on a table in front of you. First set the camera for something like f22, and take a shot. This will give you a very small aperture, and almost everything in the background will be in focus. Now open the aperture as large as possible (the smallest f-stop value). Take a shot, and the background will now be blurred out (ie the depth of field has been reduced). With a really large aperture lens (such as the f1.4 lens the photo was taken with), then one danger is that you can have too little depth of field (ie if the photographer had used f1.4, the girls nose may have been in focus, but the rest of her face blurred). It's also generally accepted that most lenses perform best stopped down a couple of notches from their maximum aperture.

As a rule of thumb, try to keep the ISO as low as possible, whilst still being able to hand hold a shot. The lower the ISO, the less noise you have. Typically you may end up using ISO100 outdoors during daylight, maybe ISO400-800 indoors, and ISO1600-3200 indoors in the evening.

As for exposure, try to keep it properly exposed. A very good idea is to shoot using RAW rather than JPEG. That will let you adjust the white balance, exposure (to an extent), the shadow and highlight correction, and the colour saturation after you've taken the shot. Things like the picture modes (bright, vivid, natural, etc), are only really relevant when shooting JPEG.

One danger when taking a shot is that you can over expose the highlights. Personally, with exposure compensation, the main times I use it are when I want to reduce the exposure a little bit to prevent blown highlights. Dialling in -0.3 or -0.7 can sometimes help to avoid this (using the histogram display on the preview screen can help to identify whether this is a problem). I would assume this is the reason that the photographer has dialled in -0.7ev.

In something like Lightroom, or the software that came with the camera, it's always easier to pull details from the shadows (ie increase exposure later). It's virtually impossible to pull information from the over exposed highlights. So whilst it's fairly common to decrease the exposure a little, it's quite rare that people would increase the exposure (it does happen though, but very rarely)

Hope that helps!
05-26-2016, 07:45 AM - 1 Like   #4
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The best advice you can get is to read a book called "Understanding Exposure" by Brian Peterson. Been around forever, I think the 4th edition is current. It is not a large book but he explains in detail how exposure works in photography and what settings to use.

By all means ask questions here but I find that without a grounding in the basics I have trouble understanding things.

QuoteOriginally posted by Tookiedoo Quote
In a photo like this one, when I'm looking at the EXIF data, I would need to do some adjusting. I have the kit lenses, and as such can't go down to a f/2.0.
In that picture the depth of focus is important, but you could do that at f/4. What is most important however is the lighting. Note that most of the light is coming in from the window with the rest of the room dark. Camera settings are required but honestly the light is far more important. Same settings but taken with all the room lights on and the image would be completely different.

05-26-2016, 09:32 AM - 1 Like   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
The best advice you can get is to read a book called "Understanding Exposure" by Brian Peterson. Been around forever, I think the 4th edition is current. It is not a large book but he explains in detail how exposure works in photography and what settings to use.

By all means ask questions here but I find that without a grounding in the basics I have trouble understanding things.


In that picture the depth of focus is important, but you could do that at f/4. What is most important however is the lighting. Note that most of the light is coming in from the window with the rest of the room dark. Camera settings are required but honestly the light is far more important. Same settings but taken with all the room lights on and the image would be completely different.

In addition to the above mentioned reading, there is an article regarding the basics of exposure here on this site. Just search for it in the articles section. Also go to you tube and look up b&h photo as well as adorama as both stores have great video tutorials helping you learn everything from the basics to the advanced. Adorama has a basics series that I highly recommend.
05-26-2016, 10:37 AM   #6
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Thanks for all the help! Like I said, I'm brand new, but learning. I'll have to order a copy of the book, and I'll definitely be looking into the online help as well!
06-03-2016, 08:13 AM   #7
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I think getting the book is a great recommendation. I purchased a copy when I got my first dSLR, and I wasn't even new to SLR photography. It helped reinforce a lot of information, which I think hadn't been as important since in film photography ISO is essentially fixed.

Now, I will say, that depending on what your subject is, I wouldn't hold fast and steady on using the lowest ISO possible. That is great advice when your subject is still, but ISO with modern dSLR's isn't as bad of a thing as people suggest. Getting the sutter speed and aperture you need really should be more important only because if you end up using too slow of a shutter speed for any reason, you might find yourself with a ruined photo, especially if you don't have a tripod (motion blur, subject movement, etc). I've had learn to make ISO the last consideration since at least I can remove noise in PP and still have a decent photo (to a point of course)

This of course is where the book comes in. You can learn where you can give an take on. Usually only one of the three parameters will be most important, and you can often tweak the other two to the balance you want.
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