Thursday, 3 March 2011

Turn it off auto.

Morning all, well that was a bit of a let down wasn't it, how in the name of all that is sacred in the world did Ireland beat England yesterday in the cricket? My life is gonna be intolerable for a while as my wife is Irish and I have many Irish friends.
Anyway the cricket aside I would just like to encourage people who have bought a digital SLR camera to please turn it of it's auto setting. You have paid a lot of money for what can only be descibed as a big point and shoot camera whilst ever you leave it on auto and your photography will not improve whilst it remains on auto.
The 2 main settings that you will want to be setting it to are Tv shutter priority, and Av which is aperture priority. With shutter priority (Tv) you select the shutter speed and depending on the light conditions the camera will set the aperture for you to give you the best exposure. This is particularly usefull if you are taking photographs of fast moving subjects or you want to blur a moving subject. It is also worth remembering to set a shutter speed that works with the focal legnth of the lens you are using. This means that if you are using a 200mm lens, idealy you should be using a shutter speed of 1/200th of a second to help prevent camera shake.
The other setting would be aperture priority or Av as marked on many cameras. This means that you set the aperture and the camera sets the optimum shutter speed to give you the correct exposure. Now this is where it can get a little confusing. The aperture is the size of the hole in your lens that lets the light through to the sensor, these sizes are measured in F stops, typically on a lens they can range from f 5.6 to f22. Now  is where it gets confusing as some bright spark decided that the bigger the number....... the Smaller the hole. So why does changing f stops matter. Well f stops have an affect on dof or depth of field. With an f stop of f22 everything from a few feet infront of you to the horizon will be in focus, (good for landscapes although f16 is probably better as lenses don't function to their best at their extreme ranges) and with f5.6 only a small part infront and behind the point of focus will be sharp.
Another thing to consider when using Av is the levels of light you have available, if there is not much light about the camera will set a very low shutter speed which may not be suitable for hand holding the camera. In these circumstances you can either use a tripod or use a higher iso setting.
Anyway peeps, hope at least a very small part of that was helpful to somebody im now going to eat everything I can see. Day 26 with no cigs and no bodies have been discovered yet. :)

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