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  • Writer's pictureIan Miller

Three basic thing you need to know about your camera.

If you want to take good pictures with your camera, there are three basic things you need to know: aperture, shutter speed and ISO. These are the main factors that affect the exposure, or how bright or dark your image is. Aperture is the opening in the lens that lets light in. It is measured in f-stops, such as f/2.8 or f/16. A lower f-stop means a wider aperture and more light, while a higher f-stop means a narrower aperture and less light. Shutter speed is the amount of time the shutter stays open when you press the button. It is measured in seconds or fractions of a second, such as 1/60 or 1/2000. A faster shutter speed means less light and less motion blur, while a slower shutter speed means more light and more motion blur. ISO is the sensitivity of the sensor to light. It is measured in numbers, such as 100 or 1600. A lower ISO means less noise and more detail, while a higher ISO means more noise and less detail.

APERTURE

Aperture is one of the three main factors that affect the exposure of a photograph, along with shutter speed and ISO. Aperture refers to the size of the opening in the lens that lets light into the camera sensor. Aperture is measured in f-stops, such as f/2.8, f/4, f/8, etc. The smaller the f-stop number, the larger the aperture and the more light that enters the camera. The larger the f-stop number, the smaller the aperture and the less light that enters the camera.

Aperture is important because it affects not only the brightness of the image but also the depth of field, which is the amount of sharpness or blur in the foreground and background of the scene. A large aperture (small f-stop number) creates a shallow depth of field, meaning that only a small part of the image is in focus and the rest is blurred. This can be used to isolate a subject from a distracting background or to create a sense of intimacy and closeness. A small aperture (large f-stop number) creates a deep depth of field, meaning that most or all of the image is in focus and clear. This can be used to capture a wide landscape or a complex scene with many details.


The aperture also affects the quality of the image, especially at the edges and corners. A large aperture can cause some optical aberrations, such as vignetting (darkening of the corners), chromatic aberration (colour fringing), and distortion (bending of straight lines). A small aperture can cause diffraction, which is a loss of sharpness due to the bending of light waves around the edges of the aperture. Therefore, it is important to find a balance between the aperture and other exposure settings to achieve the desired effect and quality for each photograph.


SHUTTER SPEED

Shutter speed is one of the key elements of photography, along with aperture and ISO. It refers to the amount of time that the camera's shutter is open, allowing light to reach the sensor and create an image. Shutter speed affects both the exposure and the motion of the subject in the photo.

Shutter speed is measured in seconds or fractions of a second, such as 1/60, 1/250, or 1/1000. The faster the shutter speed, the less light reaches the sensor, and the darker the image will be. The slower the shutter speed, the more light reaches the sensor, and the brighter the image will be.


However, shutter speed also has a significant impact on how moving objects appear in the photo. A fast shutter speed can freeze motion, making the subject appear sharp and crisp. A slow shutter speed can create motion blur, making the subject appear soft and smooth.


The choice of shutter speed depends on the creative intention of the photographer, as well as the available light and the speed of the subject. For example, if you want to capture a bird in flight, you might need a fast shutter speed of 1/1000 or higher to freeze its wings. If you want to capture a waterfall, you might need a slow shutter speed of 1/10 or lower to create a silky effect on the water.


There is no definitive answer to what is the best shutter speed for every situation, but there are some general guidelines that can help you choose. For example, if you are handholding your camera, you should use a shutter speed that is at least equal to or faster than the reciprocal of your focal length. This means that if you are using a 50mm lens, your shutter speed should be at least 1/50 or faster to avoid camera shaking. If you are using a tripod, you can use slower shutter speeds without worrying about camera shake.


Another factor that affects your choice of shutter speed is your camera's mode. If you are using manual mode (M), you have full control over your shutter speed and aperture settings. If you are using aperture priority mode (A or Av), you set your desired aperture and your camera will automatically choose a suitable shutter speed for a correct exposure. If you are using shutter priority mode (S or TV), you set your desired shutter speed and your camera will automatically choose a suitable aperture for a correct exposure.


Shutter speed is an important concept to understand and master in photography. It allows you to control how much light reaches your sensor, as well as how much motion is captured in your photo. By experimenting with different shutter speeds, you can create various effects and express your artistic vision.


ISO

ISO is one of the three main factors that affect the exposure of a photograph, along with aperture and shutter speed. ISO measures the sensitivity of the camera's sensor to light. The higher the ISO, the more light the sensor can capture, but also the more noise or grain the image will have. The lower the ISO, the less light the sensor can capture, but also the less noise or grain the image will have.

ISO is important in photography because it allows you to adjust the exposure of your image according to the lighting conditions and the creative effect you want to achieve. For example, if you are shooting in a dark environment, you may want to use a high ISO to brighten up your image and avoid blurring due to camera shake or subject movement. However, if you are shooting in a bright environment, you may want to use a low ISO to preserve the details and colours of your image and avoid overexposure.

ISO is also important in photography because it affects the depth of field and motion blur of your image. Depth of field is the area of your image that is in focus, while motion blur is the amount of blur caused by moving objects or camera shakes. A high ISO allows you to use a smaller aperture (higher f-number) and a faster shutter speed, which can result in a deeper depth of field and less motion blur. A low ISO allows you to use a larger aperture (lower f-number) and a slower shutter speed, which can result in a shallower depth of field and more motion blur.


Therefore, ISO is an essential tool for photographers to control the exposure, quality, and artistic expression of their images. By understanding how ISO works and how it interacts with aperture and shutter speed, you can master the exposure triangle and take better photos in any situation.


To master your camera, reading its manual is essential. It will teach you the features and functions of your device and how to use them effectively. Experiment with different settings, modes and lenses, and learn from your errors. This way, you will improve your skills and creativity.

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