Nowadays, DSLR cameras are very affordable,which means that there isn’t a barrier to entry as there might have been 15 years ago. DSLRs are great, not only because of the picture quality being better but because they allow you to set them to manual and have more control over the settings. In this series about photography, I want to share with you the basics of how a camera works. I do not pretend to be a professional by any means, but I know enough that I can show you how to use a camera in manual mode.
Today I will be giving you a brief overview of what we’re going to cover in this series. I will then go more in depth about each point in future posts. So let’s get started!
There are three major and fundamental settings to know: aperture, ISO and shutter speed. I am sure you’ve heard of them before and if not, it’s okay. I am here to help you. The way I like to explain this is like a triangle. Each angle is one of these settings and when one changes it, affects the others. You could not have a triangle if you are missing one of the three angles, right? Well, it’s the same here. If you are in full manual mode on your camera, you cannot change one of the three settings without considering the other two.
Thankfully, all DSLR cameras today have modes where you can set one of the three to manual and then the camera adjusts automatically the other two. I will go into more detail in the coming weeks, but here is the definition of each setting. I tried making them as simple as possible:
This is how much or little the diaphragm opens to let light through. The more open it is, the more light gets in. It is measured in “f stops”. An aperture of f1.8 is very big and an aperture of f8 is very little.
It is technically the sensitivity of the film, back when photography was done on film and not digital. A more sensitive film would be more receptive to light and therefore better in low light situations. However, you have the downside of grain.
It is how long the diaphragm stays opened. The longer it stays open, the more light it lets in, but the more movement there will be on the picture. If your shutter stays open for very long, it will be a lot easier to have a blurry or “moved” picture.
I hope this helps you and I will go more in depth about these three settings in the coming weeks. Let me know in the comments below if you have any questions, and I will do my best to answer them!