Saturday, May 6, 1995

Good cameras, iso aperture, shutter speed?

i'm really into art and i just started learning digital photography.
I understand what ISO and aperture and shutter speed basically do but i was wondering
what are the "normal" settings for these functions.
and also what is a good camera for me to learn how to manually set these functions with.
thank you so much:)

Answer on Good cameras, iso aperture, shutter speed?

To learn about photography you need to understand the basic fact that an image is simply the exposure of light onto a sensitive surface from which the image thus captured can be reproduced. In pre-digital days this was the film which digital has changed to a CCD that captures the image in an electronic format.

The quality of light is essentially a combination of the 3 factors that you mentioned :

ISO : represents the sensitivity of the film / CCD receiving the image. In digital terms it also affects image quality because the higher the ISO number (image sensitivity) the greater the potential for noise (aka film grain). The problem of noise can be reduced by buying the higher priced cameras where the software can handle the processing required to obviate noise but the level at which noise disappears depends much on the ambient light of the subject.

APERTURE : represents the quantity of light being allowed onto the film / CCD noting that the lower the "f" number the wider open is the lens. This governs depth-of-field which actually improves the higher the "f" number (i.e. the less the quantity of light being allowed).

SHUTTER SPEED : represents the length of time that light will be allowed to pass onto the film / CCD. This is important when taking photographs of moving objects when the image must be taken sufficiently fast to "freeze" the action..

In simple terms the combination of shutter speed and aperture control the amount of light allowed onto the film / CCD whilst the ISO controls the quality of the light allowed. Together all 3 combine to create an image with known light and image quality.

The "normal" settings will depend on the subject matter ranging from the extremes of architectural subjects where detail is important thus utilises a slow shutter speed and high aperture value ( minimum aperture) to give high depth of field whereas photographing high speed movement requires a fast shutter speed with consequent lower aperture value (maximum aperture) to concentrate on the moving subject.

The combinations you require will be found by (a) trying the various combinations to find which gives best results for your satisfaction (b) talk with photographers already photographing the subject to find out what combinations they use / recommend in any given situation (c) look at books / magazines on the subject to find out how photographers composed their image(s) and the techniques used to create the particular images and (d) submit images to forums / persons for honest opinions and guidance on how to improve your picture-taking.

To a certain extent the camera choice will depend on the subject matter and that is best found by talking to the staff in a camera shop / camera club where images can be shown and discussed. If possible try and find an old-fashioned shop where staff are happy to discuss this rather than visit a shop where the important factor is the sale rather than selling you the camera that fits the need.