Friday, January 24, 2014

DSLR Camera Basics Aperture, Shutter Speed, ISO

    Okay so you have purchased a DSLR camera, and now you want to begin your journey as a photographer. Some of you might want to start off as a professional photographer and some of you would want to click pictures a s a hobby. So, what’s your first reaction when you see a DSLR. WOW this is amazing. The DSLR works on auto mode so it’s really simple to use it that way, but the real fun in photography starts when you go on manual mode and start experimenting with it. The manual mode of a DSLR camera really differentiates it from all other cameras. So, what do all the numbers and digits , what do they mean. Well, there are lots of things in the DSLR and lots of settings, but the three basic settings you need to master in order to get better at photography are,

Shutter Speed

Let me try and explain these things one by one. Let’s begin with Aperture.  

    The aperture controls the amount of light that enters the camera through the lens. The higher your setting the lower the light and the lower your setting the higher the light. Its known as F/stop, so if your F/Stop is low let’s say  F/2.8 or F/3.5 that means more light is entering your camera and if you F/Stop is higher F/16 F/22 , then the amount of light entering is less. So in layman terms if you keep a low aperture then you will get a blurred background and if you keep it high then you will get a non blurry background.  Again,  if you didn’t understand it.

F/2.8 – Background Blurred
F/22- Background Clear

    Furthermore, since a high aperture rating means less light entering your camera, if you are shooting in a room which has low light, you will end up getting dark photos, unless you tweak the other settings and manage to get more light inside the camera, but still you might end up getting crappy photos. 

Okay, now that we know what Aperture is let’s move on to the other term, Shutter Speed

    Okay we already know that the aperture controls the amount of light , what the shutter speed does is it controls the time, that is it decides for how long the light will enter the camera through the aperture. The name itself says Shutter speed, so it basically is the speed at which the shutter opens and closes.  So the thing to understand here is that the faster the shutter opens and closes the sharper the image will be. A faster shutter speed generally helps you capture moving objects. It’s very useful when it comes to sports or photos of birds. The slower shutter speeds can be 1, 1/20, 1/50 higher shutter speeds are 1/125, 1/500, 1/1000. Now to put it in layman terms.

1/20 – more light , less sharp image
1/1000 – less light, sharper image

    Again, this is just a basic explanation, you can get creative by playing with the shutter speed. You can shoot motion blur images by keeping the shutter speed low. Further other fun things like light painting (Google it) can be achieved by using a low shutter speed. The thumb rule says that keep your shutter speed at 1/125 to get sharp images. But then its more fun to break rules, keep experimenting. 

Now, what is ISO

    ISO measures the sensitivity of the camera sensor to the light the Aperture allows in and the shutter speed controls. A low ISO means that the camera sensor is less sensitive to light.  ISO can also be termed as the sensor speed. Higher ISO’s tend to give you grainy images, so its recommended to keep it low, but then it depends on the amount of light available to you when you are shooting. A basic reference chart can be as follows.

ISO 100 – Very sunny day
ISO 200- Partly Sunny Day
ISO 400 – Evenings, Twilight
ISO 800 – Almost Dark or when your are shooting sports or action shots
ISO 1600 – Very bad or extremely poor lighting
ISO 3200 – Dark , this is definitely going to give you very grainy pictures, so it should be avoided if possible, if out of options or grainy is what you want for your concept then go ahead with it.
So basically,
Lower ISO – Less grain or Noise
Higher ISO – More Grain or Noise.

    Having said all this , it is very important for your Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO to be in perfect sync. They should complement each other.  What do I mean by this is, remember it’s not always necessary to have a clear and sharp or a blurred image, what is required is a good image. So keep playing with these settings and keep experimenting, that’s the only way you will be able to master these settings.  

    That apart, what is important in photography is to think from your heart and love what you are doing, there are lots of other things like, framing, lighting, etc . The list will never end, but remember the camera and settings apart, it’s you who are the photographer and if you think of beautiful pictures then you will be able to click beautiful pictures. The Camera is just the medium. . Hope I have been able to share whatever knowledge I have gained in a proper manner, I wish you all the best in your photographic endeavours. Happy Clicking.

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