Each Digital SLR or Single Lens Reflex camera model is different, with different locations for the various buttons and Menu Function. Your camera’s manual will be your greatest resource to understanding your particular camera. If you do not have a Manual, a Google search of the Make and Model will often yield one. If you can’t locate a Manual via Google, go to the manufacturer’s Web site and search for your Model. They will often have a download area of camera drivers and manuals. Generally, you shouldn’t have to pay for a Manual.
Here is an image of a camera with the items we are going to address in this presentation and workshop indicated in red.
Notice the Focus Ring,the Zoom Ring and Command Dial on your camera. You will be turning these to adjust your camera for your exercises and compositions. The Focus ring does what it says, allowing your to focus the subject more clearly.The Zoom ring also is indicative of its function, allowing your to zoom in or get a tight/closer image.The Command Dial we’ll will be addressing shortly.
A key feature of your camera that will be useful to you as you begin the Exercises, is the LCD Readout display. The display provides a wealth of information about your camera, but since we are learning the basics of Camera Operation, we will only be looking at a few of them.
First your camera Readout should provide you with information on the Aperture, which is represented in the form of a number –sometimes with a decimal point. It will often have an F for F-stop before the number. F-stop and Aperture are interchangeable terms.
Second your camera Readout should provide you with information on the Shutter Speed, which is represented in the form of a fraction –this is a fraction of a second.
Third, your camera Readout should provide you with information on the ISO. ISO relates to the light sensitivity of the Image Sensor. This number represents what used to be film speed. ISO is represented in the form of a number ranging from 32 (sometimes lower depending on the camera) to 3200 or sometimes as high as 6400. For this workshop you will work with an ISO of 200, which will give you a fair range for shooting indoors or out. This is usually found in the Menu System.
Finally, though we only address it here, your camera provides information on your EXPOSURE. The Exposure Readout tells you whether your image is correctly exposed.
A Readout toward the MINUS sign indicates your image is under exposed and you should therefore adjust your Aperture or Shutter Speed to bring your Exposure back to the middle.
A Readout toward the PLUS sign indicates an overexposed image, and again you should adjust your Aperture or Shutter Speed to bring your Exposure back to the middle.
A Readout in the middle most times will be correctly exposed, and therefore provide good image quality.
In many cameras, this information is also available through the Viewfinder, so that you can compose your images and see the information at the same time. Though you might see image in the LCD Display, I recommend looking through your Viewfinder when taking an image.
After that bit of background, lets begin.Set the CameraMode Dial to M, sometimes this is also a menufunction, so be sure to review your manual on this topic. Also set your lens to M. Setting the Camera Mode to Manual will gain you the most control of your camera. This will allow you to adjust the Aperture, Shutter, Speed, ISO.
In Manual Mode, the Aperture is set by turning the COMMAND DIAL and pressing the EXPOSURE COMPENSATION/APERTURE BUTTON.
Your readout will show whether you are letting more light through the Aperture or less.A smaller number indicates the Aperture is open MORE, and a larger number indicates the Aperture is open LESS. A smaller number provides less focusing range or Depth of Field, and a larger number provides greater Depth of Field (a term you will be learning about shortly). When you change the Aperture, you may want to adjust your Shutter Speed...checking that your camera again indicates a correct exposure.
Shutter Speed is accessed by simply turning the COMMAND DIAL right or left.
The Readout will indicate the Shutter Speed.
When you change the Shutter Speed... you may want to readjust your Aperture. Always check that your camera indicates a correct exposure.
ISO is accessed through the Menu Function. One exercise will include changing your ISO to 200, 400, and 800. For much of the Workshop, you will keep your ISO set at 200 however.
Through theexercises you will begin to seehow each of these 3, Aperture, Shutter Speed, and ISO act upon one another in what is often referred to as the Exposure Triangle.
Finally, before moving to the Exercises, consider how to hold your camera. When holding it, you want to stabilize the camera as much as possible so your images won’t appear blurred from moving the camera as your take your shot. This is best accomplished as shown keeping your elbows close to your body, with one hand holding the grip, and finger near the Shutter Release Button, and the other hand cradling the lens, ready to adjust the Zoom or Focus Ring.
You may now proceed to the Exercises!
Getting to Know Your DSLR
Welcome to the Getting to Know Your Digital SLR Camera Workshop!<br />By Jean Haefner<br />