Can someone please tell me what the settings for Shutter, Aperture, Aspect ratio mean

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by txmom08, Feb 6, 2009.

  1. txmom08

    txmom08 TPF Noob!

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    I'm confused is it better to use the larger numbers or the smaller numbers?
     
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Whoa...slow down for a minute ;)

    Shutter speed is a number the represents the time the shutter is open. It's usually displayed as a fraction of a second. So when you see 125 in your viewfinder...it means 1/125 of a second. For most things, you want a higher number (shorter time, faster shutter speed).

    The aperture is the pupil opening in the lens and is represented by the 'F number'. This is a ratio between the diameter of the pupil and the focal length. A smaller number means a larger aperture...and a larger number means a smaller aperture. The aperture affects the depth of field...so I can't say that bigger or smaller is better...it depends on what you, the photographer, wants to do.

    Aspect ratio refers to the shape of the images. For example, 2:3 is a common ration because it matches the ratio of a 4 x 6 inch print. Other common print sizes have different ratios...5x7 and 8x10 for example.

    It's not a matter of using 'larger or smaller' numbers. It's about using the correct combination of settings to give you the results that you want.

    I'd suggest picking up a book like 'Understanding Exposure'.
     
  3. fwellers

    fwellers TPF Noob!

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    Yea he probably should read it too.
    LOL. Sorry, I just couldn't resist. :lol:
     
  4. Ins3rtNam3H3r3

    Ins3rtNam3H3r3 TPF Noob!

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    It depends on what you want to do, but in general, this is what the numbers are for:

    Shutter Speed: If you want to freeze motion, you want a bigger number(such as 1/500), if you want to blur something you want a smaller number(such as 1/60)

    Aperture: If you want to have a smaller depth of field, less in focus, you want a smaller number (f/1.8) this also lets in more light, allowing you to use a faster shutter speed, if you want a larger depth of field, you want a larger number (f/11), this also lets in less light, causing you to have to use a slower shutter speed to compensate.

    Aspect ration is the width of the picture compared to the height, which you shouldn't worry about because you can[t change it unless you get a new camera.
     
  5. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Definatly pick up a copy of Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson - it will help answer many of your questions and give you a better understanding of how the numbers ralate to each other.
    Also The Digital Photography book by Scot Kelby would be a good read for you as well - this book does not do as much explaining, but rather the author gives you recomended settings and ways to shoot certain types of subject in differing lighting - its a good place to get some starting settings.

    Also read any photography books or websites where the exif (shutter speed, aperture and ISO) are listed as well as any other shooting data as this will give you an idea of how others are seeing, shooting and reacting to a scene before them
     
  6. bigtwinky

    bigtwinky No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I consider aperture, shutter speed and ISO as the basics / foundation of learning how your camera works to achieve the ideal photograph.

    I would highly suggest the book mentionned above. I got it myself and it was a great read to understand the basics.
     

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