Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Understanding the Functions of your Camera

What is Aperture? ISO? Shutter Speed? F-stop?

Many of these functions can be be simply explained and related to an eye, and you'll see what I mean soon.
First off: Aperture

Aperture (A) can be easily put how open or closed your lens is. Like the pupil in your eye, it opens and closes to adjust to the amount of light in front of you. Like when you walk from a dark place to a light place, your pupil goes from wide open to smaller. Aperture is another name for F-stop. So when you adjust the A to lets say 5.. you would say that you have an F-stop of F/5. In photography, the higher the number example, F/22 the less amount of light the lens is allowing in. It also means that more of your photo will be sharp. Using an F-stop of 22 would mostly be used during long exposure photography during the day, allowing for a longer exposure time.. I'll explain later. Using an F-stop of 2.8 is allowing a lot of light to come in. When A is adjusted to 2.8 it is ideally used for headshots, people, sports, macro, and various other types of subjects to create a "blurry background" aka as Bokeh. (I'll explain that later too)

This is a prime example of what your lens looks like through the stages of F-stops/Aperture
ISO: ISO? What is that? Better yet, how do you even pronounce it? ISO is pronounced like I.S.O. so each letter individually. Or quickly like (Ay-So). Now that we know how to say it, what is it? Easily said, ISO can be described as to how sensitive the light is to your camera. ISO ranges on digital cameras from 50-300,000 now and days. The lower the ISO, the less sensitive your camera is to the light. So having an ISO of 100 is very low and is often used for landscape day photography. Having a low ISO creates little Noise.. Noise is similar to film grain. Using High ISO numbers such as 2,000 are usually used in settings where flash isn't allowed or during low light functions and flash isn't available. Having a 2,000 ISO will create more Noise in your pictures and the quality of your photo won't be as good.

Still having a hard time understanding ISO??
Think of ISO like a bad headache or migraine. When you have either one you're eyes and head are very sensitive to light.. So the lower the # of ISO, the less sensitive it will be.. The higher the #, the more sensitive you will be and more painful.. Going to high up in the ISO will create Noise and 'increase your headache'. Just think of higher ISO being bad and try to avoid it!  

In the top left 1250 is the Shutter Speed, 8.0 in the center is the F-stop (F/8), and at the bottom 1000 which is the ISO

Shutter Speed
Shutter Speed (SS) or exposure time can be described as how fast your camera (shutter) takes the photo. Next time you take a photo listen to your camera taking a picture. Take one during the day with sun out and you'll here 'click click'..You may just even hear one click because it happens so fast. But then take a photo at night or inside in a poorly lit area and you'll hear 'click.........click', where there will be a pause in between. A shutter speed number might look like this: 1/125, 1/250, 1/1000, 1", etc.. and what those numbers represent are the amount of seconds or fractions of seconds it takes to take the photo. Having a fast shutter speed of 1/000 would be used during a bright day outside. Taking a picture of a person in shade for example, you would want to set your shutter speed to be around 1/125. Shutter Speeds can be even a few seconds long during the day or night. Sometimes they can be even a few hours! Having a few seconds of your shutter being open can create that water "misty moving" feeling.

This photo above had a shutter speed of 6/1 (6 seconds) to create the moving feeling in the clouds and water, an ISO of 100 (for good quality and to allow my camera to be less sensitive, thus allowing me to have a longer Shutter Speed), Aperture of 9 (F/9) allowing me to let in light have a sharp focus allowing light in but not too much.
A focal length of 18mm letting me get nice and wide. 

Focal Length
Focal Length is pretty easy. Simply it is how zoomed in you are on a subject. You can adjust your focal length by zooming in or out on your camera or your lens (depending on the kind of camera you have).
As you can see this picture is zoomed in quite a lot. There isn't really anything else in the photo except for the flower itself. This is zoomed or has a Focal Length of 200mm. 



In this photo I used a Focal Length of 14mm to really show the whole scene of what is going on instead of just a single person. Details: Focal Length: 14mm, ISO: 100, F/5, Shutter Speed: 1/160

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