From camera phone to-- what do all these buttons do??

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Carmel, Apr 23, 2008.

  1. Carmel

    Carmel TPF Noob!

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    Hello, I don't have much experience with cameras besides the simple point and shoot types. The other day, I picked up a DSLR-200a and I've been fiddling with it for a while. I tried reading the instruction booklets, but I am a hands-on type of person so all it did was confuse me even more.

    I hope that if I post some of my pictures and got some constructive criticisms, I might understand a bit more and better myself. I chased my dog around the house for better part of an hour... I hope that you can help me understand how I might be able to improve myself! Thank you in advance!

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    (I think this one is not focussed correctly, which sort of breaks my heart because I love this one)

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  2. prodigy2k7

    prodigy2k7 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Generally speaking, the lower the F number, lets say F3.5, the smaller he DoF (Depth of field) basically the smaller area that is focused.

    The larger the F number lets say F10 mostly everything is in focus.

    So your "favorite" shot, it looks like the tip of the dogs nose is in focus or near focus, maybe the F number was low, try turning it up a little...
     
  3. ZacMan1987

    ZacMan1987 TPF Noob!

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    On number 3, you aren't really focused incorrectly, your depth of field just is not sufficient. Depth of field (DOF) refers to how much of the "in and out" of the page dimension you can keep in focus.

    If you look, you can see the end of the nose is in focus, while the eyes are out. This happens because your aperture is not closed enough.

    At the distance you shot that, using (I assume) the kit lens, proper DOF can be hard to get.

    Hopefully, this was helpful but not too elementary.
     
  4. LaFoto

    LaFoto Just Corinna in real life Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Welcome to ThePhotoForum, Carmel, and congratulations on your new camera.

    We cannot save you from reading your manual, you will have to read it, and maybe read it and test things out at the same time. Since it is a digital camera, you can check up on the results you will have achieved at once.

    There are two things important: the size of the "hole" inside your lens (which can be a big hole, letting in a lot of light, or a small hole, letting in only little light). That's the aperture of your lens. And then the time for which this hole is opened up to let in the light. That's the shutter speed. That time can vary between tiniest fractions of a second to many seconds.

    If you open up that "hole" for a very, very short time only, not much light is allowed in.

    If you open it up for long, there's time and time again for the light to get in.

    Therefore you'd only choose very fast shutter speeds (as fast as or even faster than 1/500th of a second) when you have a lot of light for taking your photos (bright sunlight).

    And you'd choose long shutter speeds when you photograph in relatively dark surroundings.

    You can diminish the shutter speed required for darker situations by opening up your lens for as wide as it can be opened up. That aperture width is expressed by f-stops. The smaller the f-number (f1.8), the wider open your lens. F22 is a tiny hole! Though the number is big.

    But be careful: when you work with a wide open lens, that range inside your photo which gets into focus (sharp) is only very narrow. Things in the foreground will be out of focus, and soon behind your focused subject blurriness will start again.

    This may be a very desired effect when you want to clearly separate your subject from the background so the subject gets "the focus" (in all meanings of the word), and the background can no longer distract the eye from said subject because it's nothing more but some colourful blurs.

    When your focus has to encompass a wide area (landscape photography, for example), you have to choose a smaller aperture. The smaller the aperture, the broader the area that will get into focus.

    One thing needs to be watched when you start playing with shutter speeds ... you may very well get another sort of blurriness, even if you focused well in seemingly still bright-enough surroundings: your shutter speed may need to be too long for your to still handhold your camera safely. Which you couldn't in the case of the photo you like best: next to being a very short depth of focus (camera chose to go wide open! and I assume you had it on AUTO), you also have camera shake, which adds a second quality of blur to the one dictated by the wide open aperture. Often it begins to be difficult to hold the camera still at 1/50th of a second already. It sounds like an incredibly short moment in time (which it is!), but for a camera it may be too long already to still be producing sharp pictures. (Though you can teach yourself stability to SOME extent).

    Just a couple of thoughts here...
     
  5. crh428

    crh428 TPF Noob!

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    I would suggest getting a book... The manual probably assumes you already know what f stops are and automatic exposure bracketing and stuff like that. If you buy a book (someone will come along and recomend one) you will be able to understand the manual better...

    You could also go to your local community college and sign up for a photography class (if you are in the US)
     
  6. mrodgers

    mrodgers No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The book recommended will be Understanding Exposure. Until you order it or get it in the mail, start with these 2 links.

    Digital Camera Help

    ShortCourses

    These 2 are the first ones I first found and read. They explained all the settings quite well. Then the first few chapters of Understanding Exposure put it all together to allow me to understand how everything works together.
     
  7. Carmel

    Carmel TPF Noob!

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    Thank you for all the suggestions! I will definitely have to pick up a few books. I'm in Canada, but there is a community college in the area that does offer a course although it requires a portfolio and is difficult to get into. I think I'll have to stick with books and the first chance I get, I'll have to order them.
     

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