Capabilities of my camera

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by little.dipper, Jun 28, 2007.

  1. little.dipper

    little.dipper TPF Noob!

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    Hello. I'm brand new here and just getting into photography as something I've always wanted to learn but never did. I've picked up 'Understanding Exposure' and I've been snapping photos like crazy every day, trying to learn more and more.

    My camera is a very basic digital - Canon Powershot A40. I've been using it strictly in manual mode, trying to learn as much as possible, and I've definetely noticed some drawbacks to my options. I'm only given two aperture size options based on my current zoom. I can manually enter the shutter speed as I wish, but there's nothing telling me that I'm at the correct exposure. Everything I've read makes it sound like my display should tell me, based on my aperture, what my shutter speed should be for correct exposure, but that doesn't seem to be the case with my camera.

    Is this just a case of having an entry level camera or am I possibly missing something? I spent quite a bit of time last night with the manual and the camera, but couldn't find anything that addressed this. Any ideas? Thanks very much.
     
  2. Big Mike

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

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    Welcome to the forum.

    I don't know that particular camera...so I can't tell you...but most of the 'digi-cams' are fairly basic when it comes to creative control of exposure. Does it have Aperture or Shutter priority modes? I would suggest using those, rather than manual mode, when you are starting...especially if you don't have an indicator for the exposure on the screen.
     
  3. Mufasa

    Mufasa TPF Noob!

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    I started off with a kodak point and shoot and i found that Starting in M was difficult. You might be better off (like Big Mike said) to use shutter priority and aprature priority modes. Each does almost the same thing just reversed. In shutter mode you choose the Shutter speed you want the camera selects the proper apreture (wont always work if there is not enough or too much light. Apreture priority works the opposite by you selecting the Aprature and the camera sellectng the shutter speed (once again light will limit you sometimes). Once you fool with these for a while you will learn how to manipulate depth of feild and motion blurr (or lack there of).
     
  4. AUZambo

    AUZambo TPF Noob!

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    I don't know a WHOLE lot about choosing correct settings in full manual mode, but I do know the "sunny f16" rule. When shooting outdoors on a sunny day, you can set the aperture to f16, then the shutter speed and iso should be reciprocals (or close to it). If ISO is 100, then the shutter speed should be 1/100. There's normally not a 1/100 option for shutter speed, so go with the closest thing - 1/125. If ISO is 400, then you'll want to go with a shutter speed close to 1/400.

    If it's not sunny though, I'm lost! I use aperture priority mode about 80% of the time, shutter priority about 15% of the time, and in rare cases when I need a longer exposure than the camera will give me in either of these modes I'll switch to manual and simply toggle 'til I get the picture I want.
     
  5. WDodd

    WDodd TPF Noob!

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    If you press the shutter button halfway down a number will appear in the upper left hand corner of the screen. Like -2, +1 1/2 etc. That is your meter reading. Also, it should give you a live preview as you adjust your settings to what the picture will look like. Granted it is on that little screen.

    Hope that helps.
     
  6. sabbath999

    sabbath999 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I am going to take an totally different approach than most people, and advise you to just forget about manual mode on that camera entirely and concentrate on what REALLY matters in photography... seeing the image.

    I think it is a grave mistake for people to concentrate on technical stuff (especially when their equipment is not well suited to), and would much rather see you working on learning how light works, how to compose your pictures so that your subject is emphasized and everything else melts away and learning how to "catch the moment" in a picture.

    It's not all about f.stops and shutterspeed. That is such a small part of it these days, with the amazing things that modern cameras can do.

    Do you need to fully understand them to consistently take great pictures?

    Not really. Check out this thread here on TPF (clicky).

    I am not opposed (obviously) to people learning that stuff. But the simple fact is the OP needs different equipment to really make manual modes work... but can still take some really great pictures with his A40 in auto mode.

    I prolly need to put on my flame retardant underwear here, because there are a lot of people who think photography must be learned on a fully manual camera... and who pine for the "good old days" of the Pentax K1000. I say "STUFF THE K1000", and to heck with learning on fully manual mode. Better to learn how to SEE your picture in your mind's eye than sit there fiddling with knobs.

    I learned on a Nikon F (I predate the K1000), which was so big and heavy that it was later melted down for scrap and turned into an aircraft carrier... if I do a workshop or teach somebody how to take better pictures, there is NO way I am going to advise them to start with manual mode... those days are gone, and that ship has sailed.

    IMHO.
     
  7. little.dipper

    little.dipper TPF Noob!

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    Thank you all for your suggestions. My camera does not priority modes. There's an auto mode, or course, a 'program' mode, and a manual mode. The program mode basically allows for exposure compensation from what it determines your aperture and shutter should be. I actually enjoy using the manual mode most and have gotten used to it, I'm just realizing the shortfalls of a camera like this compared to others I read about.

    I'm just focusing most on composing good photos and understanding how to deal with different lighting. Eventually, I'll be in the market for an upgrade, but for now I'm content. I was just hoping to confirm that my camera really didn't have what I thought it didn't have - and I appear to be correct.

    Thanks to all and I'm sure you'll hear from me again soon with more questions.
     
  8. sabbath999

    sabbath999 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    And hopefully we will see you post some of the pictures you are taking. Have fun with it.
     

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