35mm photography for dummies... can anyone help me????

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by bmw, Oct 5, 2004.

  1. bmw

    bmw New Member

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    I'm currently enrolled in a basic 35mm photography class. I have a Nikon N65 that I really don't know how to use. The instructor of the class is not very good, and I am having a difficult time understanding the basic principle of good photos: how do I know when I've correctly adjusted the shutter speed and/or f-stop? Does my camera give me an indication of when I need to adjust these things? What am I looking for? In other words, won't my camera allow me to take a picture no matter what shutter speed and/or f-stop I have selected? Am I supposed to be relying on the light meter? I am so confused!!
     
  2. MDowdey

    MDowdey Guest

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    welcome to the forums!

    to answer your questions, yes and no. your camera will allow you to take a picture with the incorrect exposiure settings. but this will only happen in manual mode. in program mode or aperture priority, the settings will automatically adjust to fit your needs. for your particular camera, i wouldnt rely solely on the internal meter. i would say to learn Fstops and shutter speeds and try things out in manual. you will learn quicker and become more comfortable with your camera.

    heres a link to get you started :

    http://www.thephotoforum.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3362

    good luck!

    md
     
  3. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member

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    Welcome to the forum.

    I have found that most people have a tough time when they start to learn about exposure and how a camera works. It takes a while for the information and understanding to sink in.

    Once it does sink in...it gets easier...trust me.

    First of all, your camera has a built-in light meter. So when you half press the shutter button, it will give you a reading of the light coming into the lens.

    If you have the camera set in full auto mode, the camera will "suggest" both an aperture (F-stop) and shutter speed to get an average exposure. Since the camera doesn't know what it's looking at...it will always give a reading for an "average exposure" (correcting for this is a more advanced lesson)
    So in auto mode...you just point & shoot.

    If you have the camera in one of the priority modes (aperture priority or shutter proirity)...you will have to pick the priority value (let say F8 )...and the camera will give you the other value (lets say 1/250) to get "average exposure).

    If you put the camera in Manual mode, you have to set both the shutter speed and the aperture but the camera should still help you out by telling you when you have it set for "average exposure"

    You can still take the photo if it's not set right...but you will either overexpose or underexpose.

    Hope this helps. You might want to pick up a book or two about basic exposure...or try some internet searches.
     
  4. P Bailey

    P Bailey New Member

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    Try this; Select a subject, Set the shutter speed to 125 or something close to that. Now shoot 1 frame for each F/stop. Do not change the shutter speed. You can also select an F/stop and shoot through the range of speeds. If you try both of these, you should have a good idea how this works. A tripod is recommended for this project and you will need to keep a log of the settings used in each frame.
    Good luck
     
  5. bmw

    bmw New Member

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    Thanks for all the great information! My main problem is that my instructor was asking us to set our shutter speed and f-stop to certain numbers, and some of my fellow classmates were saying they "couldn't do that." What do they mean by that???? Are they getting a reading on their camera that indicates they don't have the proper settings? What exactly am I looking for my camera to tell me?
     
  6. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    You need to learn to read the meter display in your viewfinder. Find that info in your camera manual or the Nikon website. Your camera manual will teach you a lot about photography and your camera. Read it.

    With your camera in manual exposure mode (and maybe in other modes also) the meter display in the viewfinder will probably look like a strip of dots or small lines with a "+" (plus) at one end and a "-" (minus) at the other, and some sort of mark in the center.

    Both aperture and shutter speed can be used to control exposure. As you adjust aperture or shutter the meter indicator will move one way or the other; towards the "-" if you are decreasing the amount of exposure, or towards the "+" if you are increasing the amount of exposure. In most situations you are trying to get the meter to register at that center mark (this is a generalization, but that's for the next class).

    Take your camera outside and set it on an aperture of f/8 (just picking a middle of the range, it could be any aperture). Now adjust the shutter up and down. Notice how as you increase the shutter speed (reducing exposure) the meter indicator moves towards the "-". As you decrease the shutter speed (increasing exposure) it moves toward the "+". Now set the shutter speed on 1/125th (again just picking a middle of the range), and adjust the aperture. As you open up the aperture (small numbers like f/4, increasing exposure) the meter indicator moves towards "+", as you close it down (larger numbers like f/16, decreasing exposure) it moves towards the "-".

    Shutter controls exposure and how time is rendered in your photo. Aperture controls exposure and depth of field (DOF). Normally one of these aspects might be more important than the other. For instance with a landscape I want a long DOF so that everything is in focus, so I choose a high f/# such as f/16 or f/22. Then I adjust shutter to whatever is necessary to get the proper exposure (meter indicator in the middle of the bar). For sports photography I might want a high shutter speed such as 1/500th, so I adjust aperture until I get proper exposure (meter in the middle again). Sometimes I wish I could set both to whatever I want, but depending on what film speed I've chosen it may not be possible, and I'll have to compromise.

    Everything above is a quick generalization. There are exceptions, and a lot of other things that come into play, but it just takes some time to learn it all, and apply it all. Read your camera manual!!!!!
     
  7. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member

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    Maybe they did not have the camera in Manual mode...so when they tried to set both the variables...the camera would change to other value.

    It's possible that some people's cameras could not be set to certain values. For example, the minimum and maximum aperture are determined by the design of the lens. Most "consumer" zoom lenses will not open up any farther than F3.5 or close any farther than F22.

    But, the instructor should know this and therefore should not have asked everyone to set their aperture to F2. So, the problem probably is with the student's settings.
     

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