Favorite Settings for Different Environments

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by rachell, Sep 23, 2006.

  1. rachell

    rachell TPF Noob!

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    Hi All! I'm still making my stumbling way through the mystery of shutter speeds, f-stops, and ISO, and trying to come up with the right combination for the different environments I shoot in seems like trying to crack a safe -- blind-folded.

    What are some of your favorite settings for day scenes, evening, indoor, twilight, product?

    I also shoot a lot of evening concerts and Flash is not allowed -- which means many of these photo's come out blurry at the automatic settings. Can the right combination of settings sharpen the image some even without the flash?

    Thank you so much!
     
  2. JDP

    JDP TPF Noob!

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    Regarding the concert pics - I take a lot of them, as well as studio pics, which are the same. And in general, really, I don't use the flash.

    Best thing is a fast lens. 50mm f/1.8 for your particular camera. Then shoot with it. Use Aperature priority at set it to f/2 (Usually get the sharpest pics around there) - now take some pictures. Adjust your exposure value when needed and there ya go.
     
  3. ksmattfish

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

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    ISO is how much light you need to get a decent exposure. Shutter speed controls exposure (how much light is reaching your film/sensor), and how movement is rendered: frozen sharp, or motion blurred. Aperture controls exposure, and depth of field: how much of the image is in acceptably sharp focus.

    Imagine you are filling a bucket of water at a faucet. The size of the bucket is ISO. An ISO 200 bucket is twice as big as an ISO 400 bucket, and half the size of an ISO 100 bucket. Proper exposure is filling the bucket to the rim without over or under filling. Aperture is how much you open the faucet. Shutter is how long you leave the bucket under the faucet. You could let the faucet trickle for a longer while to fill the bucket, or turn it to full blast for a short time, or anywhere in between.

    You have to balance shutter, aperture, and ISO to get the proper exposure, while achieving your goals: more or less DOF, freeze motion or blur, etc.... In many situations you won't be able to set each one where you would like; you have to pick the most important one, and adjust the others as necessary.
     
  4. rachell

    rachell TPF Noob!

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    Awesome example! And let me tell you, I can't thank you enough for brief, easy to understand definitions of ISO, Shutter & Aperture -- this actually makes sense to me!

    Now that you've got me started understanding, I have some more questions to try and make it more clear to me.
    I know the higher the aperture number the smaller the opening. So how do the numbers correspond with the shutter? Is it the higher the number the slower the speed?

    And the faster the shutter, the sharper the picture? So if you need a sharp, detailed close-up, you would want the shutter speed to be fast?

    The wider an aperture is, the more of the picture is in focus? If so, than wouldn't you want a wide aperature for scenics so the whole scene will be in focus, while you would want a narrow aperature opening if taking close-up product shots?

    And the darker it is, the higher the ISO needs to be?

    So if you were taking a night shot, you would want a high ISO and a wide aperture?

    And to take a night picture of a concert without a flash, I would want the shutter speed to super fast to help sharpen the picture, and medium ISO (400 -- they band on stage is usually well lit)?

    You don't know how beneficial this has been -- I have tried reading manuals and such, but just wasn't getting it (I think it was all the numbers ;) Thanks to you guys I'm not feeling so overwhelmed!
     
  5. JDP

    JDP TPF Noob!

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    The higher the aperature, the lower the speed - yes, usually. Since you're letting in less light, you need the shutter to be open longer.

    As for the faster the shutter, the sharper the picture - depends. If it's a moving subject, then that would generally be correct.

    The wider an aperture is, the more of the picture is in focus? - Actually, it's the opposite. The smaller the aperature, the larger your 'Depth of Field', or area that's in focus, is. If you were taking close up product shots, and wanted the background to be blurred, you'd use a larger aperature, f/5.6 and down, or a zoom lens focused in tight.

    And the darker it is, the higher the ISO needs to be? - Well, that's one way of doing it. If you're shooting at ISO 400 with an aperature of f/2, then you'll need a slower shutter speed then if you were using ISO 800. For concerts I usually shoot at ISO 400 is I can, or else ISO 800. I try to keep a shutter speed of 1/125. so I'll adjust ISO and aperature until I can get that.

    Matt, where was that analogy from? I remember reading that somewhere - from an Ansel book? Or an Amphoto guide? Mind is drawing a blank.
     

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