Some advice and tips on use of f stops please.

Discussion in 'Film Discussion and Q & A' started by beadgirl87, Jun 30, 2010.

  1. beadgirl87

    beadgirl87 TPF Noob!

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    Hello everyone,

    I have recently started out using a film camera. I have a Canon AE - 1 program with a 50mm lens and have been practising with it.

    I have been using the camera by adjusting the shutter speed and focusing at the moment. I have read up about f stops and apertures but need to apply the knowledge to get my head around the concept.
    Can anyone reccommed any excercises to do to see and compare the effect of a range of f stops?

    Also I have found that not all of my photos are completly in focus. I am thinking this is just due to my lack of experince and not being used to manually focusing a camera?

    I am going on holiday next week, so hoping to have lots of opportunities to try it out.
    So far, I am enjoying film photography. I thought it would be best to go back to basics and learn using film rather than digital.
    Also enjoying the camera itself :)

    Any suggestions or help greatly appreciated.
     
  2. Big Mike

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

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    Many people recommend the book 'Understanding Exposure' by Brian Peterson.

    In a nutshell, there are three things that we use to control the making of an exposure (a photo). The shutter speed, the aperture (F-stop) and the sensitivity of the medium (the film ISO).

    The shutter speed is the length of time of the image is recorded, besides exposure, it controls how motion is captured. For example, if the shutter speed is on the slow side, (say 1/15), then motion of either the camera or the subject can result in visible blur in the image.

    The aperture is the size of the opening in the lens. It can be opened or closed down to specific sizes which are represented by F-stops. Lower F numbers mean a larger aperture...and higher F numbers mean a smaller aperture. Read that again and remember it.
    Besides exposure, the aperture of the lens will affect your Depth of Field (DOF). The DOF is the range of distance that will be in focus. If you use a large aperture (small F number) you DOF will be more shallow. For example, if you set the aperture to F1.8, then a photo of a person might have a blurry background. If you set the aperture to F8, the background will be less blurry and more in-focus. If you set it to F22, both the person and the background might be in focus.

    But you have to remember the exposure relationship. As you make the aperture smaller, you need a longer shutter speed to compensate. And as we know, a longer shutter speed can cause blurry photos.
     
  3. MarkF48

    MarkF48 TPF Noob!

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    Along with what Big Mike said, here are a couple of "Virtual" online cameras that you can play with the various settings to get a sense of how they interact without using up your film.

    In this one note how the DOF(depth of field) changes when the f/stop is changed. Put the "Exposure Mode" to "Manual" to really get the feel of what the control settings do.
    cameraDemo

    And another one...
    The SimCam: Film and Digital Camera Simulator - Photonhead.com
     
  4. beadgirl87

    beadgirl87 TPF Noob!

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    Thank you :)

    The explaination was useful and the online camera, a good way to see all of the effects without wasting film or money.

    Off to practise now!
    Thanx again.
     
  5. djacobox372

    djacobox372 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I would guess that your focus problems are due to not being used to shooting with such a fast lens. At f1.8 you only have a inch or two of forgiveness.
     
  6. carvinrocks2

    carvinrocks2 TPF Noob!

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    I've had the focus problem as well with the Nikon N2000. It takes a little while to get use too how MF works.

    Also, this thread has helped me out!
     

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