How to know what settings to use?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by whtge8, Dec 18, 2009.

  1. whtge8

    whtge8 TPF Noob!

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    I've been trying to expand my photography and get better. But I was mostly wondering how do you guys know what kind of settings to use? Like shooting in aperture priority or manual, and how to pick aperture and shutter speed in different situations. Maybe an online tutorial or book I could read on this? I know the basic concept of what they do but not still not 100%. For example wouldn't shooting at 1/200 f/2.8 achieve similiar results as 2" f/22 for example? I know these are somewhat basic questions, but that's why I'm posting this in the beginners forum.
     
  2. Nikon_Dude

    Nikon_Dude TPF Noob!

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    Well for one thing shooting at 2" f/22 you will definitely need a tripod. And if you are trying to photograph a moving subject there will be blur. If that's the effect you're after, on the other hand, well there you go.
     
  3. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    You live in a nice,warm, bright climate area of the US. You have the luxury of being able to shoot at 1/500 second much of the year. The slightly faster shutter speeds, like 1/350 to 1/500, really do help stop subject motion blur, camera shake, camera vibration, and so on. If you look really closely at things in motion in your photos, you might see small amounts of subject motion at speeds like 1/125 second. When you really zoom in on an image shot at 1/125 second, there can easily be slight blurring...

    So, basically try and shoot at the higher speeds. Another thing you will find out soon is that your sensor might get dust on it, and the smaller lens apertures like f/11, will show every spec of dust on your sensor as a black dark dot on your skies and even-toned light areas. Shooting at the beach at f/16 to f/22 is an exercise in "pepper sprinkled skies" with a dirty sensor. With a brand new camera, you have about six months, maybe a year until the sensor gets so dirty you're going bonkers when you shoot sky scenes.

    Easy way to learn is to shoot in P, the Shiftable Program. The camera will pick the right aperture/shutter combo; with a Nikon,just use the thumb wheel to try alternate equivalent exposures. Slow exposures when panning the camera while photographing people driving by on motorcycles, like 1/8 or 1/15 second; fast speeds like 1/500 or faster when shooting seagulls diving for baitfish scraps a fisherman tosses off the pier.
     
  4. whtge8

    whtge8 TPF Noob!

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    Very informative, thank you. What about shooting people during the middle of the day using a flash? Would I want a small aperture to sort of darken the environment, and use the flash to expose the subject? And shoot at a higher speed?
     
  5. Daver123

    Daver123 TPF Noob!

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    Check out the book "Understanding Exposure" by Brian Peterson. I discovered this book from someone on this forum and it has helped me immensely in understanding... exposure.
     
  6. SimpleFoto

    SimpleFoto TPF Noob!

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    yes they would give the same exposure but since the shutter speed has been slowed down there will be more motion blur in the 2 second shot unless everything in the scene is standing still.

    the difference between f/2.8 and f/22 is the depth of field. in the f/22 shot lots (or all - depending on what lens you are using) of the scene will be in focus. At f/2.8 only when you focus on + a few cm front and back will be in focus, but again this depends on the lens you are using and how far away your subject is. Anywhere from a millimeter to a meter or two will be in focus.
     
  7. Dao

    Dao No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    This is a good book to start!:thumbup:
     
  8. IgsEMT

    IgsEMT No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    A lot of it has to do with experience and experimenting. Also has to do with gear used: if you can't boost ISO too high w/o sacrificing the quality, you keep it as high as possible w/o crossing the "oh crap" line and adjust flash, shutter, aperture.

    For Indoors:
    Generally, my settings are iso 400, 1/125, f/8 (5.6-11 depending on exposure and most sharpest aperture range for my lenses) with flash (sb600, sb800) at Manual 1/4+2/3 power bounced up or flash in A mode bounced +1ev. If need to, I readjust.
    For outdoor, sunny day:
    ISO 200, 1/200, f8-11, flash at 1/8 or A.
    These are my starting points and luckily with digital - readjust. This is where you must know your equipment.

    Ok so you know about exposures & relationship b/n SS, A, ISO but imagine this: shooting a portrait in front of a waterfall at something like 1/500 shutter speed will freeze the fall and give you a nice portrait (adjust aperture and flash power accordingly). Doing the same at 1/30, 1/15sec, etc will give you different effect of the background.
    So a lot has to do with what effect you want for specific image.
    good luck
     
  9. iolair

    iolair No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    If you need to freeze the action, try to get speeds faster than 1/100s at least, maybe as much as 1/400s for sports.

    If you're handholding, make sure you you don't exceed 1/lens-length s if you can help it. (For example, with a zoom lens at 300mm, don't hand hold shots slower than 1/300s).

    If you're using flash, especially external flash, don't go faster than 1/250s or whatever value is given for your camera. (the Sync Speed).

    On the other hand, there are good reasons to set aperture priority too. Set a wide aperture like f/2.0 to focus only on your subject and blur out the background. Conversely, set an aperture like f/11 to make sure everything in your scene is reasonably well in focus.

    That book recommended above, Understanding Exposure, is great.
    Experimentation is also great - try the different modes with different subjects and see what happens. Look at the EXIF data afterwards to remind you what worked best for what subject.
     
  10. IgsEMT

    IgsEMT No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 11, 2014
  11. manicmike

    manicmike No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I'm going to have to disagree with you. I've gotten great shots at 1/200 at 400mm.

    The problem with a slower shutter speed at long focal lengths is that any shake is more noticable. You just have to make sure your hands are steady enough or shutter is fast enough to get a clear shot.
     
  12. kundalini

    kundalini Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    If this has already been stated, sorry for the redundancy.....

    For a baseline, take a shot in Progam Mode to see what the camera "thinks" about the scene. From there, go into a creative shooting mode and adjust to taste.
     

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