New to photography, please help with questions

Discussion in 'Digital Discussion & Q&A' started by alexeys, Dec 4, 2008.

  1. alexeys

    alexeys TPF Noob!

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    Hello everyone, just joined the forum and new to photography. I'm trying to do my research and purchase a good point and shoot digital camera that takes good quality pictures. My 1st digital camera was a Sony about 7 years ago, then a bought my gf a 4.0 mp Canon about 4 years ago and recently purchased a 10 mp Canon PowerShot SD880IS that I ended up returning because of poor image quality indoors. Still shopping and doing research. Here are some questions that I have. This entire time I was mistaking and I though that shutter speed measures how fast the camera takes the picture after you press the button. I was told that I was wrong and later found online - "Very short shutter speeds are used to freeze fast-moving subjects, for example at sporting events. Very long shutter speeds are used to intentionally blur a moving subject for artistic effect". Is there a way to change shutter speed on a typical point and shoot cameras? Also when I’m buying a camera and reading the spec. is there any measure that I can look for that will tell me how fast the camera will take the picture after I press the button. I'm noticing that digital cameras are getting faster at this as the years go on and technology progresses. But I don't know the proper name for it and how to find it in the spec. Thanks
     
  2. bigtwinky

    bigtwinky No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    For the shutter speed your camera shoots at, I guess you could find that info in the manual or on the manufacturer's website. Or maybe just a quick google. Depending on which auto mode you are in the camera will set a different shutter speed.

    ie - sports auto mode would have a faster shutter speed than a landscape mode.

    As to how to change the shutter speed, on a Canon camera, look at the dial you have.
    There are the pre-set modes such as auto (green square), sports (guy running), lanscape (some scenery) and so on.

    On the other end you have a P, Tv, Av, M and sometimes ADep.
    Tv = shutter priority where you set the shutter speed you want and the camera will chose the apeture
    Av = apeture priority where you set the apeture (lens opening size) and the camera sets the shutter speed.

    So if you have a Tv function on the dial, you are good to go for setting the shutter speed.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2008
  3. bigtwinky

    bigtwinky No longer a newbie, moving up!

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  4. Big Mike

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

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    To elaborate on that. The shutter speed that the camera uses (or can use), is largely dependent on how much light you have. If you are in a low light situation (indoors) the light is probably low, so a longer shutter speed will be required. You can compensate for this a bit but turning up the ISO setting but that also increases the digital noise in the image. You can also add light (use the flash etc.)

    Some P&S cameras do have modes that will lean toward a faster shutter speed but it's still dependent on the light.

    The lens also plays a part. A wider lens aperture (lower F number) will allow you to get faster shutter speeds.

    As for the delay when you press the button, that's called 'shutter lag'. It's a bit of a misnomer because these cameras don't have a physical shutter. The delay has been getting better with newer cameras but it's still not perfect. You can make it faster by pre-focusing.
    I'm not sure if shutter lag is listed in any spec sheets.

    Most of the problems that people have with these cameras, is user error...and part of that is that people don't understand the limitations of their cameras. They are great for some things and not great for others. If you want to shoot in low light without a flash, then you may have to buy something better, like a DSLR camera with good high-ISO performance and a 'fast' lens.
     
  5. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    What you are describing is the lag time in a point and shoot and its fixed. Unfortunatly point and shoot cameras have this lagtime and you cannot alter it - the only way to test it is also to try out the camera in the store.

    Shutter speed is how long the camera sensor (or film in film cameras) is exposed to light. A fast shutter speed means that light is only touching on the element for a very short space of time so it can freeze motions (even fast ones) since only the light from the motion reaches the sensor. Of course this also means less light gets through to make an exposure so sometimes it can give darker shots if you don't have enough light in the scene.
    A longer shutter speed gives you blur as the sensor/film is open to the light for longer and thus you get light from a broader set of motions in a shot (povided that there is motion in a shot) and thus you get blur since the motion is not isolated.
     
  6. alexeys

    alexeys TPF Noob!

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    thanks for all the replies, very helpful
     
  7. BeemerPhotography

    BeemerPhotography TPF Noob!

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    You can adjust shutter speed, ISO, and aperture in the 'manual' mode. Or you can go to a 'shutter' priority mode, and it will choose the ISO and aperture, and you can select the shutter speed.

    Shutter speed can be used to do many different things, mainly based on how much light you have. (as can ISO and aperture)

    BTW, I also purchased a Canon P&S earlier this year and returned it due to poor indoor quality without flash (even with plenty of light).
     

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