Date registered: Sep 2004
Vehicle: 2014 E250 Bluetec 4-Matic, 1983 240D 4-Speed
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Quoted: 256 Post(s)
The shutter speed is analogous to how long a valve is open in a water line, and the aperture is analogous to how wide you open it, while the pressure in the water pipe is analogous to the the brightness of the light. The "exposure settings" are analogous to selecting how you will add a volume of water to a pail from the valve - if the water pressure is low, you can open the valve a crack and leave it open for an hour and have the water dribble in, or you can open the valve all the way and have the water run in as fast as it can. If the water pressure is high, you can open the valve a crack, leave it open for a fraction of a minute and hit the desired level, or you can open it all the way and shut it very quickly. To get an "exposure" you need some minimum volume of water and cannot exceed some maximum, like, say, overfilling it and having the water spill out.
In the old days with film, this was a real problem - if you did the calculations wrong with the light meter or setting the flash, you got a bum exposure and there was little or nothing you could do about it. Too dark a negative didn't get much better in the darkroom printing the photo, just like a washed out negative from overexposure was a loser - the washed out look was because the data that was recorded on the negative got burned away by the overexposure and the information was just gone.
An underexposed shot gives you an image with less definition and actual information. An overexposed shot gives you so much information that the subtle features of the shot are washed out. With a digital camera neither is a complete waste as you can, using software, make digital corrections, pixel by pixel. The format you record the image in has a lot to do with the changes you can make - .jpg images are encoded versions of what the chip recorded to save memory and the process ditches much of the original data, limiting the range of manipulations that might be attempted. This does not sound like something you care about at this time, however, since memory is relatively cheap, make sure you use a giant capacity memory card (2 to 4 GB, minimum) and record your images in the best quality jpg setting you can, then use your PC to shrink or otherwise adjust the photos as you desire. Over time you will get more adventurous and do more. If this becomes a real obsession, you will want to record your images in RAW format, but that means even larger capacity memory cards....
I have Canon hardware because I found their A2E model autofocus system that followed the eye much better than the competition a decade or more ago, and my investment in lenses and flash equipment worked fine with their first full 35mm chip camera, the EOS 5D. Today I would buy the second generation version of that camera as it also does video in high definition.
I second or third the recommendation that you get a UV filter to cover the outer lens element surface. These are typically multicoated lenses and routinge rubbing them even with a lens cloth will adversely affect the lens surface. The UV filters are cheap. I also think if you buy the Canon lenses with motion compensation the jiggling effects are reduced unless you are one of those guys who can't drink coffee without spilling it because you have the shakes. That adds very little weight compared to a tripod, and my experience is it works very well. The system is in the lens, not the chip, so it does not necessarily degrade the image.
Good luck, and have a blast.