I need a jumping off point...


TPF Noob!
Jul 28, 2003
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So I got ahold of my father's 35 mm. Canon T50. It seems like a good camera to learn on. I have decided to learn how to really use the thing rather than just point and shoot. My question is, when beginning to experiment with aperture and shutter, where do I start? Lets say I go out on an overcast day (its overcast here today) and I want to shoot some pictures over a bay. How do I know what to set the shutter speeds and f stops at? Is there a general rule or basic rulings for different lighting settings?

For overcast days, its better to use a lower f-stop ratio like f/8 and set the shutter speed faster to compensate like 1/250 or something like that? I'm sort of pulling these numbers out of thin air and don't know much, but I've been reading a lot of literature about it and I want to get going, but don't want to just go about it 100% aimlessly. Any help?
hmmmm...i'll be more than happy to help out w/some suggestions, but everything i'm reading on the t50 indicates that it doesn't have a manual control setting. does your camera have a manual setting?
I was just looking over it, it has aperture controls as well as an automatic setting. I dont think it has shutter speed controls unless I'm overlooking something. Does this mean it is semi-automatic? Will it determine the shutter speed for me??

if it has an aperture priority mode then, yes; it will determine shutter speed for you. let me know what you have when you come across it in the manual.

another thing you can do is to manually set the film speed (asa) in the camera to an arbitrary 400. set the aperture to f8. look through the finder at something bright and note the shutter speed. do the same with a dark subject. did the shutter speed change? (you can and should do this experiment w/out film).
Here is where my ignorance shines...

There is about half a roll left in it right now, so I'm pretty sure I can't/shouldn't change ISO speeds. I am trying to download a manual because I don't know if we still have the one that came with it. Like I said, I've looked over the camera and can't seem to find a shutter speed setting. Where should I be looking to find the automated shutter speed?

Thanks for the patience.

no worries about the film still in the camera; leave it in and keep the current speed setting.

you should be able to find some sort of reading in the view finder when you depress the shutter button half way down. try this:

turn the camera on.

look through viewfinder.

depress the shutter button half way.

change your view to include different objects.

do any numbers change in the view finder? you should have an led reading when you look through it.

ah......now i see it. it does have an aperture priority mode. try the above to see what the screen looks like in camera.

Viewfinder Information: Information is displayed by way of LED digital display positioned to the right of viewing area.
( P ): Programmed AE indicator. 2 Hz flashing indicates camera shake warning; 8 Hz flashing indicates underexposure warning
( M ): Manual aperture setting. 4 Hz flashing indicates exposure may be incorrect.
I dug up some information and found that when you've selected to go into Manual Aperture mode, the camera defaults to 1/60 shutter speed.

The viewfinder doesn't offer much help, it merely shows you whether you've got enough light or whether you need a flash. I don't remember seeing any other indicators. I'm thinking this camera might not be suited for what I want to do, which is take pictures in most conditions.

I was thinking about getting a pentax k1000, would that be getting in over my head?

the pentax k1000 is an incredibly wonderful body. i don't think you will be in over your head at all with it and it will serve you well for many, many years (my pentax is still kicking).


it IS completely manual, but that is what i'd suggest. at one point or another, you will need to learn the basics of exposure and i think every photographer will agree; better sooner than later.
I'm glad to hear your recommendation. The reviews help confirm that this camera could be the one for me. They go for a little over 100$ on ebay, so I should be able to get one and some lenses inexpensively. One of the reviews said that they matched the pentax body with a 35-70 zoom lens. Is this more flexible (or better suited) than a regular ol' 50mm lens? I'll stop here with the questions and save more for later. Thanks again for all the help. I need it.

no need to thank me for the help; glad i can oblige.

give me the specs on the lenses that you are considering and i can let you know which is the better optically.

it will read something like (this is nikon coding) 105 f2.8 AFD

there are other things to consider w/a lens to which i will get when i know what you are considering.
I just wanted to add that since you already seem to have at least one FD lens, it might be better to go with a Canon MF body. The FTb could be had for around $75 on eBay. It's fully manual like the K1000 (has full aperture TTL metering, DOF preview, mirror lockup...), but has the advantage of working with any Canon FD lenses you might already own. Of course, if you just have the one lens, it's not as much of an advantage. It also uses 12% partial metering, which might help you to understand metering better than a center weighted average system. Personally, I don't see the point of limiting myself to no autoexposure for when I need it, so the two bodies I use right now are the AE-1 and A-1, which are decidedly more advanced (electronically and otherwise). They still have allow full manual too, of course.
and if i had my druthers i'd suggest a nikon body, but we're guiding him to a choice he is making based on his selection process and keeping him from choosing total crap, not waving the canon flag.
motcon said:
and if i had my druthers i'd suggest a nikon body, but we're guiding him to a choice he is making based on his selection process and keeping him from choosing total crap, not waving the canon flag.
His "selection process" so far seems to amount to "I've heard the Pentax K1000 is good..." I don't see what the problem with offering reasonable alternatives is. If he already has a selection of Canon lenses, it would not make sense to go buy a Pentax body when there's an equivalent Canon body readily available.
You guys crack me up. Yes, I do have a 50 mm. lens that came with the canon t50. Honestly I probably wouldn't take it since that camera belongs to my dad and he wouldnt be able to take pics with it while I'm at school with his lense. The pentax seem to come with a similar lense, no big deal.

McBob. If you have another suggestion for a beginner then lets here it. Like I said, the pentax are going for about 100 w/ one lense. I don't have a great deal of money to spend, maybe 250 max for a good body and a few lenses.
Motocon, Bob, Great reads. And well worded questions Pasternak. Apparently anyway. I feel learned when I finished this thread. Ah... I do love this forum.

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