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post #31 of 62 (permalink) Old 01-28-2009, 01:15 PM
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Originally Posted by GermanStar View Post
I don't know what ISO is (or why 200 is less than 100), but it was at 100. The camera has another mode called Automatic Depth of Field. Maybe I'll try that instead.
ISO is the sensitivity to light that used to come from the chemistry and grain size of the film's emulsion. Smaller numbers are less sensitive to light, higher numbers are more sensitive to light. The details of this in digital photography are beyond what I actually know (meaning I don't know how they set the values, specifically). But, an ISO 100, I believe, is going to give you something most like the way a "normal" human eye sees things. When you increase sensitivity (raise the ISO or DIN or ASA numbers) the image can be recorded satisfactorily on the film, but the details of the image begin to depart from what you saw with your eyes. The further you go in either direction the greater the difference, and, eventually it becomes apparent. Manipulating this is part of the art. Some of the most amazing nature shots in B&W by artists like Ansel Adams are with large format films that had very fine particle sizes, meaning very low ISO/DIN/ASA numbers. The detail in those shots and the dramatic lighting, are all part of the artist's setting up the photo, including the selection of film, depth of field, and shutter speed. Obvously in a photo of a mountain miles in the distance there is no special effect from lighting by the artist - the result is all from manipulating the variables of camera/format, lens, film, shutter speed, aperture and focus. And of course the subject of the photo.

Jim
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post #32 of 62 (permalink) Old 01-28-2009, 01:21 PM
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Okay, so here's what I find the practical difference between Aperture priority and Shutter priority to be.

I use aperture priority by default, and adjust the setting based on how much of the scene I want to be in focus versus how much should be blurry. If I want to make a person stand out sharp against a blurry background, I use a very low f/stop (aperture) value..like f/4 or less if you can. If I want everything to be in sharp focus, or shooting buildings, I'll use f/11 or f/16. If you have a lens that does f/1.4 or f/2.8, you may literally have to pick a point on someone's face to be in focus, as everything else will be blurry - like do you want the eyebrow or the eye or the tip of the nose. I don't mess around with in-betweens. Either wide-open, f/8, f/11, or as small as possible depending on the lens (you probably have an f/22 I think).

The only three uses I have for shutter priority are as follows, but I'm a simple guy.

1) Stop-motion. Hot babe in the surf frolicking about, and you want to stop every droplet of water around her. Use a shutter of 1/2000th or faster.
2) Moving water. Creek, stream, river, waterfalls. Turn the water into a soft, foggy milk while the ground around it stays in sharp focus. 1/5th, 1/2nd, 1.3 seconds, or slower.
3) Race cars on-track. Following the car with the center of the door in the crosshairs, holding the shutter release down, making the car appear razor sharp while everything around it seems to be 'moving'. 1/30th to 1/60th.

The camera will figure out aperture to make sure the picture gets properly exposed.


If you want to do a little of both, you have to go into manual mode, where you set the aperture and shutter. You can use one mode or the other to get in the ballpark, or if your viewfinder is like mine, it will tell you if the shot will be over/under exposed based on your settings and available light with a little graph-like readout...probably has a + at one end and a - at the other.

Hope you get those books I recommended soon, because they're a lot better at this than we are.
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post #33 of 62 (permalink) Old 01-28-2009, 01:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimSmith View Post
ISO is the sensitivity to light that used to come from the chemistry and grain size of the film's emulsion. Smaller numbers are less sensitive to light, higher numbers are more sensitive to light. The details of this in digital photography are beyond what I actually know (meaning I don't know how they set the values, specifically). But, an ISO 100, I believe, is going to give you something most like the way a "normal" human eye sees things. When you increase sensitivity (raise the ISO or DIN or ASA numbers) the image can be recorded satisfactorily on the film, but the details of the image begin to depart from what you saw with your eyes. The further you go in either direction the greater the difference, and, eventually it becomes apparent. Manipulating this is part of the art. Some of the most amazing nature shots in B&W by artists like Ansel Adams are with large format films that had very fine particle sizes, meaning very low ISO/DIN/ASA numbers. The detail in those shots and the dramatic lighting, are all part of the artist's setting up the photo, including the selection of film, depth of field, and shutter speed. Obvously in a photo of a mountain miles in the distance there is no special effect from lighting by the artist - the result is all from manipulating the variables of camera/format, lens, film, shutter speed, aperture and focus. And of course the subject of the photo.

Jim

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post #34 of 62 (permalink) Old 01-28-2009, 01:33 PM
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My first "real" SLR with Through-the-Lens (TTL) metering was a Pentax ESII that was, in default mode, aperture priority. As QBN has noted, it is the most practical as I found it a lot easier to judge on the fly (while peering through the eyepiece) whether the shutter speed was reasonable than the aperture. Other exposure modes were possible, like manual, but I never got that adept at manipulating the controls, and in the old days there was no autofocus, so most of my concentration with my -8 diopter prescription glasses on was directed at the act of focusing on the subject.

Today the focus challenge is more than handled with the electronics of the cameras, so you can actually get into the other stuff, and digital cameras are set up so you can either get into it or ignore it, regardless of their sophistication. This allows you to take great photos and learn. And the digital nature of the process lets you dismiss the issues with how many photos you take. Used to cost money to make those extra, experimental and typically really bad photos. Not any more!

Your camera also likely includes a "bracketing" function where the over and underexposure shots can be "taken" at the same time and recorded. Another good feature for complex lighting situations and for learning.

Jim

Last edited by JimSmith; 01-28-2009 at 02:49 PM. Reason: Inadvertently left out the distinguishing model designator for my Pentax Electra -Spotmatic II or ESII
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post #35 of 62 (permalink) Old 01-28-2009, 02:01 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the great info. I'll be ordering one of QBN's book recommendations this weekend, I'm sure that's the way to go. I'm also thinking I should just stick to the automatic modes for now to get a baseline feel for everything. That way, when I start tinkering later, I'll have a better feel for my ability to make things better or worse.

Also, I've since picked up a wireless remote ($20 - sweet!) and have a UV filter on the way.

My immediate goal is to shoot crystal clear landscapes. It seems a more daunting challenge than I had imagined.

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post #36 of 62 (permalink) Old 01-28-2009, 03:42 PM
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Originally Posted by GermanStar View Post
I took the camera out today, and had trouble holding it steady with the telephoto lens. I can hold it fairly steady at full strength, but not while I'm out pushing myself. Any tips besides a tripod?
Double shot of JD and a Xanax.

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post #37 of 62 (permalink) Old 01-28-2009, 03:50 PM
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Ronaldo, if you're an internet-reader, you really should visit photo.net as well.
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post #38 of 62 (permalink) Old 01-28-2009, 04:07 PM Thread Starter
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Double shot of JD and a Xanax.
Hahaha.

Here, you try it.
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post #39 of 62 (permalink) Old 01-28-2009, 05:10 PM
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^ You holding it right, off the tripod? I typically rest the body in the fat part of my left hand, and prop up the lens with my index finger and thumb of the left hand, where I can adjust the zoom. My right hand goes where it has to, with the butts of my hands coming together. This seems the most stable for me.
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post #40 of 62 (permalink) Old 01-28-2009, 07:35 PM
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Originally Posted by GermanStar View Post
OK, this sounded worth exploring, so I did just that. My camera has an Aperture Priority mode, which I chose, then shot one landscape with highest aperture setting and one with lowest aperture setting using the little 18-55 lens set at 18. The first shot was awful, a white-out with very little detail. The next shot was dark, colorful, and uniformly blurry. Even had I been using a tripod the high aperture value pic would have been worthless due to overexposure. What to do?
I will go online and read the manual for your camera and see how the meter functions in AP mode. Sounds to me like it chose one item on which to lock and, while that might be perfectly exposed, everything else was washed with light.

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