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01-21-2007, 10:18 AM   #1
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Aperture and Shutter Settings

So I am new to using SLR's - the K100D is my first one and I have had it just over a week. I have only used the Auto Picture mode for maybe a dozen shots or so - want to learn how to shoot without using it. I understand what Aperture and Shutter Speed settings are - what each does and how to make the changes. I have been going back and forth from Av to Tv mode mainly using Av mode.

What I am trying to figure out or find is what Aperture setting to use for what kind of situations? Something like a cheat sheet to help me to begin with while I am learning. Something like f/8 to f/11 for any type of shot. Lower f/5.6 for FOD shots, etc.. I have read through Understanding Exposure and there are some great tips in there, but wondering if anyone else has general rules of thumb that they follow?

Also looking for the same thing for Shutter Speed. Playing round the other day with a tripod and no flash I had set a Tv of 10 seconds and then walked through the focus point a couple of times thinking I would create a "ghost" image. The only thing I accomplished was a "ghost" effect of my final standing spot - not the ghosting of a walking pattern I was trying to get. Also tried it with 30 seconds and got the same results - not what I was going for.

Any tips here would be great. Just a little point me in the right direction to make sure I am heading in the right direction and I learn everything.

Thanks,
Jon

01-21-2007, 11:11 AM   #2
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Shutter speed and aperture generally control two things each.

Aperture controls the amount of light that enters the lens. The faster the aperture, (like F1.4) the faster shutter speeds you can use. There are a few side-effects, however. Fast apertures are good for night photos in which sharpness is a concern- remember that show shutter speeds will result in a shaken image, and you definitely don't want that. Fast apertures also minimize depth of field (DOF), which is the range of sharpness in a photo. The slower the shutter speed, the more DOF you get.

For example, if you're using a 50mm lens and focus in on a subject that's 3m away, but you also want everything beyond that sharp as well, try using a very slow aperture. Many lenses have a DOF scale printed on the distance scale, so you'll be able to see what I mean (the DA zooms do not have the scale, however).

A third factor with respect to aperture is image quality. This varies from lens to lens, but fast apertures may soften your image up a bit. The same goes for extremely fast apertures. Most lenses are the sharpest from F5.6 to F8, so try to stay in that range when taking normal shots. Also, P mode won't choose the slowest aperture unless you're shooting something very dark (or if you adjust the program line).

Shutter speed fundamentally also controls the amount of light that the film/sensor is exposed to. It's a bit more self-explanatory than aperture, IMO. The faster the shutter speed, the less light is allowed onto the sensor, but the sharper (less shaken) the image gets. If you use a very slow shutter speed, your pics may end up being blurry- and that's what SR tries to minimize.

Show shutter speeds can also be used to achieve soft effects. For example, if you set up your camera by a river and use a very slow shutter speed, the water will look very smooth. If you use a fast shutter speed, you're likely to be able to see every tiny droplet

I hope this helps!

Adam
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01-21-2007, 11:21 AM   #3
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What I used to do (and still do now) is shoot a few shots in P (Program) mode. I do this when I'm in doubt about the lighting situation.

After taking the shots, I quickly review the exif data in playback mode pressing INFO a couple times. I can see a histogram there, and the Av and Tv values.

I use this to play in M (Manual), Av, or Tv Modes. This is how I'm learning about the effects of changing settings on my cam. I shoot a lot of misses this way, but I'm developing a feel of what not to do and what I can get away with.

Hope this helps.
01-21-2007, 11:37 AM   #4
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Thanks to both of you.

Alvin thanks for the tip there - did not even think of using P to have the camera auto set both and using trial and error that way.

Mo thanks for the point on where most lenses are sharpest - that is one thing I had no idea or clue on. One thing I am confused on though is the Aperture speed - I though Aperture was how far the lens open to let light in. Not sure how speed plays into how far a lens opens - or am I mis understanding that?

Thanks again,
Jon

01-21-2007, 11:49 AM   #5
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File this under "funny you should mention that..."

If you can find one, any recent printing of Kodak's Pocket Guide to 35mm (or digital) Photography would give you a fundamental set of 'cheats' as you suggested. A slight step up from that would be Kodak's Pocket Photoguide; it's badly dated with a lot of references suitable for flash bulbs and such. But it contains the fundamental starting points for 99% of ALL photography. A significant upgrade (although also somewhat dated) Is Kodak's Professional Photoguide. All of these are probably out of print-too bad, they were the standard for decades.
01-21-2007, 11:53 AM   #6
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I'm playing with a couple lenses right now that have aperture rings on them.

Here's a metaphor I thought of when I looked one of the lenses while fooling around with the aperture ring and I hope not to confuse you with this. I'm using a common garden hose. I'm sure it's been used by several people

The water going through it is your light.

The aperture would be like your trigger, squeeze it fully (big aperture) you get a stream. Squeeze lightly (small aperture) you get a trickle.

Now your shutter speed is controlled by how long you hold the trigger. if you squeeze quickly and fully, you are using a wide aperture and fast shutter. If you squeeze lightly and slowly, you are using a small aperture and slow shutter.

Different combinations will result in the different amounts of water being released. If you soak your grass for 15 minutes (long shutter) using a light squeeze of your trigger (small aperture), your lawn may not get a good soaking (under exposure). If you soak your grass for the same amount of time (long shutter) with a full squeeze (full aperture), you might lose some of your grass due to oversoaking (over exposure).
01-21-2007, 11:59 AM   #7
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I will look for the Kodak Books.

The garden hose is funny - but makes perfect sense. The only thing that confused me was Mo's mention of a "fast" aperture. Considering that I thought of it just like the hose - bigger and smaller - not faster and slower.

Thanks,
Jon
01-21-2007, 12:01 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by buckethead Quote
I will look for the Kodak Books.

The garden hose is funny - but makes perfect sense. The only thing that confused me was Mo's mention of a "fast" aperture. Considering that I thought of it just like the hose - bigger and smaller - not faster and slower.

Thanks,
Jon
Some people refer to fast lenses as lenses with a huge aperture. I get caught using the term too. Lenses can't control shutter speed.

01-21-2007, 12:04 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Alvin Quote
Some people refer to fast lenses as lenses with a huge aperture. I get caught using the term too. Lenses can't control shutter speed.
Ok - it is just how some lenses are referred to:

Big Aperture = fast

Small Aperture = slow

Now that makes sense and kind of what I figured, but was not sure so figured I would ask Thanks again for all the help here!

Jon
01-21-2007, 12:23 PM   #10
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just to elaborate a little bit more on the relationship between the 2, here's a little excerpt from the NGC field guide book (i recommend it to anyone, comes w/ a grey card too)

QuoteQuote:
For example, the camera may set f/8 @ 1/125. You may want more Depth of field for a hillside of flowers, so you may shift to f/16 @ 1/30. Or, you may want to "freeze" a high-speed motorcyclist, so you'll shift to f/4 @ 1/500. Since all combinations are equivalent, the exposure will not change - only the depth of field and the rendition of motion will be affected.
The book as a lot of illustrations showing how both depth of field and shutter speed will ultimately come out w/ the right exposure.
for examples sake, f/22 @ 1/4s is the same as f/1.4 @ 1/1000

finding the right balance between what you want to project with your image is up to you.
01-21-2007, 12:31 PM   #11
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Hi

I made really easy tutorial like posting to one of my wife's favourate sites.
It has nothing to do with how a DSLR works, but the basic concept of how apetures and shutter speeds work, as well as a basic chart from kodak on stopping action.
Why can't I "get it"? - Page 3 - Digital Scrapbook Place
It has helped people so far that knew nothing about the controls on their camera.
If you can get anything from it you are welcome to read it or print it.
I am logged under both kompressor (myself) and hattitudes (my wife)
It continues off and on through out the posting.


hope it helps

randy
01-21-2007, 02:24 PM   #12
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Hi Jon,
another bit of reading for you:
Lonely Planet "Landscape Photography" by Peter Eastman.

Very useful book & small enough to carry in the camera bag.

Cheers
Grant
01-21-2007, 04:43 PM   #13
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I'm new to the DSLR world (or SLR for that matter), so I picked up a few books. I started with David D. Busch's "A Quick Snap Guide to Digital SLR Photography," and have found it invaluable in really understanding the owner's manual and the capabilities of the camera. I read book, reference the owner's manual, and then try it with the camera. Takes a while, but it has gotten me up to speed pretty quickly on a lot of subjects.
01-21-2007, 04:48 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by GWP Quote
Hi Jon,
another bit of reading for you:
Lonely Planet "Landscape Photography" by Peter Eastman.

Very useful book & small enough to carry in the camera bag.

Cheers
Grant
will check that out...funny, i was thinking to myself yesterday "i need to practice my landscapes"
01-21-2007, 08:54 PM   #15
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QuoteQuote:
Some people refer to fast lenses as lenses with a huge aperture. I get caught using the term too. Lenses can't control shutter speed.
Yep, a lens can be said to be "fast", but an aperture is a size-related thing and should be referred to as large or small to avoid confusion. Oh, and don't get confused by "small f-stop", which is a large aperture.

Oh, some people say "bigger" shutter speed, that makes no sense either.

Think first :-).
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