help with aperture and shutter speed

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by simplyelegant, Feb 27, 2010.

  1. simplyelegant

    simplyelegant TPF Noob!

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    Hi,

    can someone give me some advice on understanding the aperture and shutter speed .... i just can not get it...

    Thanks
    Christina
     
  2. rallysman

    rallysman TPF Noob!

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    Aperture refers to the size of the hole that lets the light in.
    Shutter speed determines how long light comes in contact with the film/sensor.
     
  3. Without being quick or flip, get a book called [ame="http://www.amazon.com/Understanding-Exposure-Photographs-Digital-Updated/dp/0817463003/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1267304730&sr=8-1"]Understanding Exposure[/ame]. It is a great book, easy and fun to read, and well illustrated. Not geeky at all, a really good photography book.
     
  4. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    I know a good blog that covers this: Digital SLR Basics: March 22

    Ok, I'm partial since it's my blog. I linked you to the starting point, but what little is there covers the basics of aperture, shutter speed, ISO and how they are related to making good exposures.
     
  5. Big Mike

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

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    Good recommendations so far.
    Here is a good analogy that I've heard and related a few times.

    The aperture is basically the size of the hole in the lens. It's represented by the F number, which is actually a ratio between the hole and the focal length. The important thing to remember is that a lower F number is a bigger hole. So F2.8 is bigger than F5.6.
    The shutter speed is the length of time that the shutter is open to let light in, usually it's expressed as a fraction of a second. So when you see the numbers in your viewfinder, you might see 60 for the shutter speed, that means 1/60 of a second.

    The aperture, shutter speed and ISO (sensitivity of the sensor or film) work together to give you your exposure value.

    Think about taking a photo (making an exposure) as filling a bucket with water. If you use a large hose, the bucket will fill in a short amount of time but if you use a small hose, the bucket will take a longer time to fill up. You can think of the hose size as the aperture, the time to fill the bucket as the shutter speed.
    The smaller the aperture (higher number), the longer the shutter speed will need to be.
    Read that last sentence a few times.

    The precise combination of setting, will depend on how much light you have. The camera has a built-in light meter which can help you.
     
  6. hower610

    hower610 TPF Noob!

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    This is a good read as well.

    http://www.thephotoforum.com/forum/...9084-exposure-your-photographic-triangle.html
     
  7. gardy90

    gardy90 TPF Noob!

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    great book, got it and was reading it almost 6 months before i broke down and got a SLR
     
  8. Hikingman

    Hikingman TPF Noob!

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    First the terms. Examples in parenthesis: slow shutter speed (1/4 second), fast shutter speed (1/250 of a second). f stops relate to which opening is selected for the aperture inside the lens (f2.8 widest aperture to f22 smallest aperture on some lenses). The aperture is confusing in this point, because a small number is a big opening, and a big number is a small opening inside the lens! Keep reading...

    ‘Stopping down’ is movement of aperture to a smaller opening/setting. What is closest to the camera through the lens (or viewfinder) is the front in 3D. The furthest point from the camera is the rear or infinity. For a given recommended light meter setting, the shutter speed is say, 1/250 and aperture is f2.8. The f2.8 will result in a narrow focus or out-of-focus background in picture. Think of a portrait with a group of people 10 feet in front of the lens, and trees out of focus or a blur, (and the trees are beyond the distance marked as infinity on the distance scale on top of the lens-for this example).

    There are corresponding, or balanced settings if using an equivalent setting from the light meter (1/250, f2.8). As the shutter speed is slowed to 1/30, the equivalent aperture setting is f8, and at 1/4 second, the resulting aperture is f22. The f22 setting on the lens gives you a subject (front) and background (rear) in focus. So, the corresponding slow shutter speed (1/4 and f22) makes it very difficult to capture without a tripod-if this background or the ‘deep’ depth of field is what you want-in focus subject and background.

    The inverse relationship that confuses many as beginners is this: as the balanced settings above are considered, the shutter speed number gets slower/lower number-the aperture setting f number gets larger. It's difficult at first! Here’s the concept stated another way: Faster shutter speed and larger aperture opening vs. slower shutter speed and smaller aperture opening.

    Hope some of this helps…
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2010
  9. the iconic image

    the iconic image TPF Noob!

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    I think you should be asking about aperture, shutter speed, AND ISO, to get the full meaning of any of them.. The relationship between all three affect the other and without that knowledge there is no point in asking about any one of them individually..

    the Iconic Image
     
  10. Bitter Jeweler

    Bitter Jeweler Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    It would help if you noted to which you were refering, the setting, or the hole. :p
     
  11. Hikingman

    Hikingman TPF Noob!

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    No, don't think too much about ISO until you've shot some 'film', and practiced exposures on auto if so equipped, and flipped to manual for bracketing exposures close to the one recommended by the meter if you want to vary the exposure by third, half, or full stops.

    In the beginning, remember two things about ISO. #1 It must be set correctly before the first shot if you want reliable meter readings/recomendations. #2 100 ISO 'film' is less grainy and works better for 8x10 or big prints; 400 or 800 ISO 'film' produces more grainy and less desirable if blowing up prints larger than 5x7.

    I've never understood the desire for 400 or faster ISO 'film' unless low lighting or the given lighting dictated it for certain camera settings, or the flash was going to work better with it by comparison with lower ISO 'film'.

    Practice handholding the camera a slow speeds-with rigid stance or leaning on solid objects, hold your breath or use a tripod, use low ISO film or settings. Practice the art of photography, and pride yourself on clear, sharp pictures through practice!
     
  12. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    Close, but no cigar!

    Smaller aperture (bigger number)= less light and a darker picture with more in focus

    Bigger aperture (smaller number)= more light and a lighter picture if the shutter speed isn't changed, less in focus.
     

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