Aperture priority, shutter priority, fully manual, fully auto.... help which one?
For the new photography it can be confusing, “I just want a great photo” you might say and yes I agree, sometimes it seems that there are too many and what’s the difference between then all.. let’s take a look.
While the range of settings on your camera at times seems to offer too many choices it’s really worth spending some time to investigate them to see the results possible, let’s look at the shutter choices first.
When you’re not sure and the light levels are good, you can always set the shutter to A and the lens to A and the camera’s computer will do the work for you. The camera will try its best to give you a ‘rounded’ result and thus leaving you to join in the fun with family and friends. It’s a great setting to use when faced with a range of age groups as it means anyone can grab the camera and use it with just a press of the button. However, you are missing out on the creative possibilities.
Now we can start to see improvements. By adjusting the shutter to Auto and picking one the settings on the lens aperture ring, you can start to control the amount that’s in focus. If landscapes are your thing then setting the lens ring to anywhere between f8 - f22 will give you greater control over the depth of field, or in other words the amount of foreground to background which is in focus. For portraits of family and friends and subjects in a closer environment, a setting of around f5.6 is general. If you plan to take close up pictures then the widest setting on your lens should be used for instance f1.8 - f1.2. So hopefully you can see that the amount of focus is controlled by the f-number on your lens (i.e. the f stop).
Is this the reverse of aperture?..well kind of. If change things around and set the lens ring too auto then you have control of the shutter speed. “so what” you might say. Your camera I guess has a range of shutter settings or speeds at which the shutter opens and closes. So if you set the shutter to be open for 1 second and a racing car goes past hopefully you’ll get a blur of an image. If on the other hand you use a speed of around 125-1000 of a second then you’ll have a sharp looking racing car. The other extreme is taking photos of water or a waterfall. If your aim is to make the water look like smooth silk then a speed of around 1/4 second will do the job; using 500th of second on the other hand should freeze the water into a sharp image.
You are now in total control, so buckle up, it could be a bumpy ride. This setting take practice and is a mode to work towards or one you can keep away from depending on your enthusiasm, the choice is yours. It gives you wide range of options and when combined a choice of exposure modes, you now have creative management of the situation.
As with all things technological, changes are upon us. In the camera market however, that last few years has seen the increased amount of mirrorless cameras hitting the market. This could be a permanent move away from the typical DLSR and I for one have not regretted going totally mirrorless
So there we have it. If by chance you are in process of choosing a new camera and you are interested in having easier control over these settings I would recommend looking closely at a ‘mirrorless’ model. In general this type of camera will give you access to all the important settings on the top plate of the camera.....happy hunting.
Thanks for reading
Terence Jones ARPS
A photography enthusiast with a long and varied interest in taking pictures.
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