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"Photography" questions

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I'm not exactly a camera noob (been messing around with settings and seeing which makes the best picture for a while), but I'm not entirely sure what does exactly what. I know that a slow shutter speed is bad without a tripod, but makes a good picture most of the time with a good hand ... stuff like that. That's an easy one, though.

1) ISO. I keep my current camera (well, my sisters) at 100, and it goes up to 400. I know that it has something to do with color or RGB sensitivity or something along those lines (I think), but all I notice is that it makes pictures look grainy. When do you use it/what does it really do?

2) Aperture ... I think that has to do with how wide the lens opens for light, I have no clue. I usually leave it in the middle of whatever settings it gives.

When do I set what settings? IE, low light, do I do a low aperture setting or a high one? Lots of light? Light in the background/foreground etc?

Just a few questions for when I get my camera
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post #2 of 9
1) ISO is your "film" sensitivity to light- Using a higher ISO you can use a faster shutter speed- Tradeoff is grain. This happens even using real film. Digital noise in fact can be better at 800 than film. (On SLR's at least) Dont be afraid to use higher ISO's! In low light, a grainy photo is better than a blurry one. (Higher ISO + same settings = brighter, so you can use settings like a smaller aperature / faster shutterspeed)

2. Aperature is how much light gets through. When lenses are wide open they are NOT at optimal sharpness... I do not know much about this.,
Low light- low aperture # to let more light in and have a brighter photo.

Check out the official camera thread in this arts/graphics subforum- useful and has lots of people who know what they are talking about!
post #3 of 9
Piper is spot on about ISO, it's called "ISO equivalent" since the common speeds, 200, 400, 800 etc. originally referred to film. On digital cameras they just indicate how sensitive the CCD sensor is. Noise is common with high ISOs, especially in tiny sensors like you see in point and shoot cameras. DSLRs have larger sensors and better image processors and thus have less noise.

You would use higher ISOs in a situation where you can't achieve a fast enough shutter speed, i.e. low light. For any point shoot I would never use more than 200 ISO. Even for the best point and shoots, the noise is terrible above 200. For up to 200 ISO, the noise can usually be removed effectively with software (Neat Image, Noise Ninja, etc.)

The aperture is indicated by an f stop number. The lower the number, the wider the aperture. In low light or indoors, you use a wide aperture or low f stop number. However as Piper said, the focus is often soft. The other problem with wide aperture is that the depth of field is very narrow and you can end up with out of focus edges of a picture, but this tends to happen at very wide apertures, e.g. f/1.2.

You use narrow apertures (high f stop numbers) typically to slow the shutter speed and increase the depth of field. Most use narrow apertures for landscape shots to get the greatest depth of field. However this will significantly slow the shutter often, particularly when the f stop number gets above f/10

So for low light, use a low f stop number and high number for high light.

The other biggie is shutter speed, which most people understand well enough. If you want to really freeze action, such as in sports or jittery wild life, you go into fractions of a second; 1/60" is the minimum I use if I want to freeze action. Conversely, if you want to shoot a night scene or get nice silky flowing water, shutter speeds can go over a second, 10", 20", even hours.
Edited by GoneTomorrow - 6/1/08 at 8:48pm
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post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 
Low light = low number aperture and high(er) ISO, and higher shutter speed if using a tripod ...
Lot's of light = high number aperture and default ISO, and lower shutter speed (unless you want it over exposed...)

...right?
Thanks guys.
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post #5 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Pook View Post
Low light = low number aperture and high(er) ISO, and higher shutter speed if using a tripod ...
Lot's of light = high number aperture and default ISO, and lower shutter speed (unless you want it over exposed...)

...right?
Thanks guys.
For low light, open the aperture up first. If you still can't get a good fast shutter speed, then and only then should you raise the ISO. If the wide aperture is enough, then don't bother with ISO.
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post #6 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Pook View Post
Low light = low number aperture and high(er) ISO, and higher shutter speed if using a tripod ...
Lot's of light = high number aperture and default ISO, and lower shutter speed (unless you want it over exposed...)

...right?
Thanks guys.
Lower shutter speed = more light.

Lots of light- Short shutter speed (Low number- fractions usually..) I think you got it! (Shutter speed is shown in time- fractions of a second usually. Like 1/60)
post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
I meant lower as in like ... not as fast. Eh. That's what I meant ... IE, 2s = high, 1/60 = low, etc.

Cool deal
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post #8 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Pook View Post
I meant lower as in like ... not as fast. Eh. That's what I meant ... IE, 2s = high, 1/60 = low, etc.

Cool deal
LOL, the terms are confusing! Slow and fast for shutter speed, high and low for ISO and wide and narrow for aperture (or high and low if referring to the f stop number)
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post #9 of 9
Ooo, photo is fun!

ISO, SS (shutter speed), and aperture are all functions of each other. Here's how each works.

ISO: this is the sensitivity of the film (or virtual film in a digicam). Higher = more sensitivity to light. It will react faster to the light, so the higher this gets, the lower your SS will need to be, and the smaller your aperture will need to be. More sensitivity (higher ISO) will give you more grainy pictures.

SS: this is the amount of time your film will be exposed to the light. If you're going to be taking pictures of something in motion, you'll need a faster speed. If you want a lower SS, you need a tripod. You can do things like this with a low SS and a tripod:



vs this:



So it depends on your application. A faster SS (less exposure time) means you will need a bigger aperture (that's a smaller F/stop number). This way, you let in more light, but for less time, rather than less light for more time. If one goes up, the other needs to go down; they are directly proportional.

Aperture: this is the width or size of the hole that's going to open up to expose the film. A wider aperture (lower F/stop number, such as 2.8) will require less time to properly expose the film, since a lot of light is coming in at once. If you think about it in terms of electricity, you could say that you're using more current but less voltage to attain the same power rating. More of the "stuff" (light) is coming in but with less force. If you have a smaller aperture, less of the "stuff" (light) is going to come in at a time, but it's coming in for more time. That would be like more force, but less current. You'd still get the same power rating, though.

The trade-off when using different F/stops is depth of field. With a wider F/stop (lower number), you can't focus as far. This would be ideal for close-ups, where you'd like to capture the subject but blur the background. Also good for sports action, since with a wider opening, you can use a faster SS. You kinda want a balance, though, since it can be hard to focus action in time. With a smaller F/stop (higher number), you get greater depth of field. This is ideal for landscape and scenic pictures, where you want to capture a vast amount of depth. The smaller aperture opening would, of course, require that you expose the film longer, meaning you would probably want a tripod (ESPECIALLY!!! for landscape pictures).
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