Check out our tips for getting good results in manual mode with a DSLR camera.In this article we will explain concepts like sensitivity, aperture and speed for those who are taking the first steps in manual photography.
Dismissing the help of automatic settings means that you are willing to understand more about your camera and the basics of photography.Congratulations!
Those who own an intermediate camera can also take advantage of our tips as they also offer manual controls for speed, aperture and ISO adjustment. Do not have any of these models? Check out the TechTudo story on choosing a digital camera and decide which model is right for you.
What is a DSLR Camera?
The DSLR is an advanced digital camera, with several manual adjustments and interchangeable lenses, that is, that can be changed.Among other differentials, it is possible to see the image taken by the lens in the viewfinder (“viewfinder”).
And what’s the benefit of that if the LCD monitor is larger?The image coming directly from the lens is not subject to any interference, and the image displayed on the LCD monitor is generated by the camera.So the “optical viewfinderview” offers more fidelity to the real image.
Another advantage of getting accustomed to the viewfinder is that you become more focused on photography, eliminating distractions from the environment.Bringing the camera closer to the face may seem uncomfortable at first, but you will notice the improvement of your photos over time by photographing this way.
Enabling manual camera mode
To activate the manual mode, turn the mode dial to “M”.
Exposure is one of the most important terms in manual photography and its elements are: sensitivity (ISO), aperture and shutter speed.
The diagram below briefly shows the effects of the different configurations of these elements.
The symbol “EV” stands for Exposition Value (EV).With the exposure level indicator on your camera you can check whether the composition is underexposed (too dark), balanced or overexposed (very bright).
Negative values indicate an underexposed image, and you should make the sensor pick up more light. Positive values indicate that your photograph is overexposed, ie you should decrease the amount of light captured by the sensor.
Stay tuned!Your camera does not know what your creative mind is planning.Therefore, negative and positive exposure levels do not always result in bad photographs.Read the story about “Low Key” and “High Key” , techniques in which excessive shade or light is intentional.
Understanding aperture, velocity and ISO measurements
Initially, there is one important definition that you should understand: image is light.We see why light is reflected in the environment and objects and this reflected light comes into our eyes.If there is no light, we see nothing.So when it comes to photography, measurements and settings are always related in some way to light.
Understanding the measures: Aperture
Every lens has a kind of “barrier” with a hole that increases and decreases.The unit of measure of the aperture is symbolized by the “F”.To increase the size of this hole decrease the value “F”, and to decrease the hole increase the value “F”.
In the diagram below, we show the effects of a small aperture (F / 16) and a large aperture (F / 2.8).
A large depth of field results in a clear photograph throughout your area.While a small depth of field results in a partially clear picture.
Understanding the measures: Speed (“Shutter Speed”)
The capture of an image in digital cameras is done by a sensor.This sensor is hidden behind a “curtain” (shutter) that covers the light.
When we shoot the photo, this “curtain” opens, stays open for X seconds, and then closes.This value X is the speed (“shutter speed”).
In the camera, velocity values are defined by fractions.For example, “4/1 = 4 seconds”, and “1/125 = 0.008 seconds.”It may seem insignificant, but fractions of a second make a big difference in the images.Check out the schematic below.
Understanding the measures: ISO (Sensitivity)
The sensitivity of the camera sensor is measured in “ISO”.The higher the ISO value, the sensor becomes more sensitive to light (captures more light).The smaller the ISO value, the less sensitive it is (it picks up less light).
This type of measurement is inherited from traditional film cameras because the sensor simulates the sensitivity of film patterns.
For dark environments, we must use larger ISOs to capture more light (ISO 400 to 6400), while in well-lit environments we should use smaller values (ISO 50 to 400).
Notice in the image of the bridge, that the image obtained with ISO 3.200 presented granulation.Ensure the quality of your images by choosing smaller values.
Check out the TechTudo story about night shots and how to shoot by day .
Preparing to take pictures
What should I set up first:sensitivity (ISO), aperture or exposure?This will depend on your goal.Check out the following tips on how to set the prority setting.
Priority – Shutter speed
Let’s consider that there is movement in a scene.If you want to capture the movement in the image, with a slight “stain” on the moving object, you should opt for smaller speeds (longer exposure times).
And to capture a frozen image, you should use higher speeds (shorter exposure times), such as 1/125 second speed.
And when there is no movement in the scene?If the objects are not moving, you can use smaller speeds and still get clear images, with the freedom to increase the depth of field, reducing the aperture.
After setting the speed, adjust the sensitivity (ISO) and aperture.
Priority – opening
Use smaller openings (more closed diaphragm) to obtain images with greater depth of field, that is, to capture sharply objects that are near and far.
Use larger openings (more open diaphragm) for shallower-depth shots.In this type of image what is closer is sharper, and what is far less clear.
After setting the aperture, set the sensitivity (ISO) and speed.
Priority – Sensitivity (ISO)
ISO values greater than 400 should be avoided.Up to this value it is possible to obtain good images with low noise level (granulation).
But why do cameras have ISO sensors larger than 6400, if high-ISO photos are grainy?When lighting is poor, using high ISO sensitivity may be the only way to get good images, especially when you can not slow down or increase the aperture to capture more light.In addition, advanced cameras allow shooting with ISO over 1,600 with excellent quality.
First, set your camera to ISO 400 and set aperture and speed.If the image is still dark (underexposed), increase the ISO and test again, choosing the lowest sensitivity you can to avoid graininess (noise).
Balance of aperture and speed
The same exposure value can be obtained by adjusting the aperture (F) and the shutter speed proportionally according to the table below.
Two different settings, even with equal exposure values, will result in two different images.This is because faster speeds leave the photograph looking “frozen” and larger apertures decrease the depth of field.
On the other hand, smaller speeds give the appearance of movement and smaller apertures with greater depth of field.
In practice, it is enough to have notion of this relationship, it is not necessary to decorate.Keep an eye on your camera’s exposure meter and choose the setting that best meets your need.
Testing your knowledge!
Join the CameraSim SLR simulator right now to test your knowledge of sensitivity, aperture and speed.
In the first column, you choose the lighting conditions, the distance of the object, and the focal length.In the middle column choose Manual Mode!And in the right column, set the sensitivity (“ISO”), aperture (Aperture) and shutter speed (“Shutter”).
Do not forget to check the exposure level of your image.To take a picture, click the “Snap photo” button.Have a good time!
The moment you decide to shoot in manual mode is a watershed.You stop accepting what your camera “does on its own” and gains mastery over the results.
Investing in knowledge and study is as important as investing in the right equipment.And now that you already have a DSLR, make your acquisition worth it!
DSLR manual photography exposure cheatsheet
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