SCOPE & INTRODUCTION There are a few points to mention that will give this article some context and hopefully guide the user in how best to make use of it... Copyright zOO iMAGING pHOTOGRAPHY 2010
The intention of this exercise is to increase the users understanding of what their camera’s important functions are, how to alter them, why they are important and when they may use them. The article assumes little prior knowledge. The content is largely generic as Camera’s are all different. Most of the terminology used is Canon- based, as the Author has little experience with other brands. Some models may not have certain functions discussed available. The Author has only been a practicing Professional Photographer for 2 ½ years and freely admits to having lots to learn. The article is the Authors own work and may contain personal opinion or philosophies that are subjective. Topics covered are listed in the next few pages, which is followed by a more detailed investigation of each one, including supporting photo examples where deemed helpful. This article is in no way exhaustive and the individual topics are barely touched-upon. SCOPE & INTRODUCTION Copyright zOO iMAGING pHOTOGRAPHY 2010
Users are advised to refer to their own Instruction Manuals to make these lessons relevant to their own Camera’s functionality. SCOPE & INTRODUCTION Copyright zOO iMAGING pHOTOGRAPHY 2010
Photography is full of Rules and Cliché's, which usually do make sense and should be studied, but don’t be scared to Break them :– DO IT YOUR WAY... and NEVER LET ANYONE PUT YOU OFF ! SCOPE & INTRODUCTION Copyright zOO iMAGING pHOTOGRAPHY 2010
CHAPTERS Mode Dial Settings i.e. Auto, Program, AV, TV, Manual... Focal Range i.e. 50mm Fixed (Prime), 17-85mm Zoom... ISO Range i.e. 100 - 1600, and manual control... Copyright zOO iMAGING pHOTOGRAPHY 2010
AFull Automatic. Camera sets Exposure Value and other parameters. PProgram. Camera sets Exposure Value, User can ‘shift’ aperture / shutter combinations and set other things manually eg. Metering / ISO... AV Aperture Value. User sets Aperture, Camera ‘meters’ to attain appropriate Shutter Speed for correct EV (Exposure Value). TV Time Value. User sets Shutter Speed, Camera ‘meters’ to attain appropriate Aperture setting for correct EV. MFull Manual. User sets all parameters manually. A-DepAutomatic Depth of Field. Camera sets parameters automatically for maximum DoF. Terminology and Symbology can vary by manufacturer. Various preset ‘Scene’ Exposure Modes are usually available but won’t be discussed here. i.e. Sport, landscape, night... Here is a Typical Digital Camera Mode Dial : MODE DIAL SETTINGS Copyright zOO iMAGING pHOTOGRAPHY 2010
WHY and WHEN ? Full Auto should be avoided as much as possible. (except with flash) AV Mode is excellent for general shooting as it allows the User to select Aperture (lens opening size) which is the ‘big player’ in determining how much Depth of Field will be in your shot. (front to back sharpness). A High ‘f’ number (e.g. f/16 ) will produce a narrow Aperture and large DoF. Typically used for Landscapes which almost always must be sharp. Will induce a SLOWER Shutter Speed !! A Low ‘f’ number (e.g. f/2.8) will produce a wide Aperture and correspondingly narrow DoF. Typically used for portraits and food Photography to blur the background and isolate the main subject. Will induce a FASTER Shutter Speed !! TV Mode is regularly used in Sports / Action and Wildlife, allowing the User to set enough Shutter Speed to catch the action. It is worth bearing in mind that if the fastest Shutter Speed possible is the objective, then the widest Aperture setting in AV Mode will achieve it ! MANUAL gives the user full control over the Camera’s settings. Good to use when there is time to set up a shot, and will give consistent exposures in the face of changing light. MODE DIAL SETTINGS Copyright zOO iMAGING pHOTOGRAPHY 2010
If you don’t take any control over your Camera and shoot in Full Auto Mode all the time that’s absolutely fine. You have as much right as anyone to enjoy your photography. What you learn however will be severely limited, and there’s no doubt you won’t get the best results from many situations. Only use the preset ‘Scene Modes’ if you need a ‘quick grab’, or if Post- Production isn’t possible. MODE DIAL SETTINGS Copyright zOO iMAGING pHOTOGRAPHY 2010
If you own a Compact, or Prosumer (Bridge) Camera, your Available Focal Range is fixed as per the Camera. If you own an SLR, the Focal Range is determined by the separate lens used. * note that some lenses have a fixed Focal Length e.g. 35mm, 50mm, 85mm... THIS IS A PRIME LENS Some span a Focal Range e.g. 16-35mm, 24-70mm, 70-200mm... THIS IS A ZOOM LENS (PRIME Lenses almost always deliver superior image quality to equivalent ZOOM Lenses.) FOCAL RANGE Copyright zOO iMAGING pHOTOGRAPHY 2010
Whichever type of Camera you have.. the Focal Range is normally listed at the front of the lens :- FOCAL RANGE Copyright zOO iMAGING pHOTOGRAPHY 2010 50mm (prime). Widest aperture f 1.828-300mm (zoom). Widest aperture f 3.5 (@28) – f 5.6 (@300)
In the case of Digital SLR’s, the size of the Camera’s Sensor affects the Effective Focal Length of a given Lens.. Sensors are commonly : FULL SIZE-Focal Length(s) as per Lens specification. 1.3x CROPPED-Multiply FL x 1.3 to attain Actual Focal Length. 1.6x CROPPED -Multiply FL x 1.6 to attain Actual Focal Length. Most have ‘Cropped’ Sensors as Full Size ones are currently only found on ‘high-end’ expensive Camera Bodies. Here are some examples of this effect... FOCAL RANGE Copyright zOO iMAGING pHOTOGRAPHY 2010
Canon EOS 40D + 28-300mm L small sensor (1.6x crop) Canon EOS 5Dmkii + 28-300mm L ‘full frame’ sensor 28 mm f/11 1/15 iso100 28 mm f/11 1/10 iso100 Copyright zOO iMAGING pHOTOGRAPHY 2010 FOCAL RANGE
AVAILABLE FOCAL RANGE 50 mm f/11 1/15 iso100 50 mm f/11 1/10 iso100 Copyright zOO iMAGING pHOTOGRAPHY 2010 FOCAL RANGE Canon EOS 5Dmkii + 28-300mm L ‘full frame’ sensor Canon EOS 40D + 28-300mm L small sensor (1.6x crop)
AVAILABLE FOCAL RANGE 135 mm f/11 1/15 iso100 135 mm f/11 1/10 iso100 Copyright zOO iMAGING pHOTOGRAPHY 2010 FOCAL RANGE Canon EOS 5Dmkii + 28-300mm L ‘full frame’ sensor Canon EOS 40D + 28-300mm L small sensor (1.6x crop)
AVAILABLE FOCAL RANGE 300 mm f/11 1/15 iso100 285 mm f/11 1/10 iso100 Copyright zOO iMAGING pHOTOGRAPHY 2010 FOCAL RANGE Canon EOS 5Dmkii + 28-300mm L ‘full frame’ sensor Canon EOS 40D + 28-300mm L small sensor (1.6x crop)
ISO is the modern equivalent of the older ‘ASA’ used to rate Film ‘Speed’. In digital terms ISO describes the ‘sensitivity’ setting of the sensor. What is your Camera’s ISO Range ? and How do you change it quickly ? ISO Copyright zOO iMAGING pHOTOGRAPHY 2010
ISO RANGE The Lower the number of the ISO setting (e.g. 100), your Sensor will deliver a higher quality image. This also means potentially slow shutter speeds. (relative to light available.) The Higher the number of the setting (e.g. 800), the more sensitive your sensor is to light. This means faster shutter speeds. (relative to light available.) This however comes at a cost : As the number increases so does Sensor ‘Noise’ This translates to your final image. ISO Copyright zOO iMAGING pHOTOGRAPHY 2010
Some other side effects of high ISO shooting include :- Loss of colour information Loss of Resolution Reduction in Dynamic Range. * Lower to Mid end Cameras may have an ISO Range of 100-800 or 100-1600. The latest high-end DSLR’s have anything up to ISO 102,400 and Noise Reduction Technology that, with the right Lens means it’ just about possible to get acceptable results shooting in the dark.. without flash ! Let’s look at some examples of these effects... Copyright zOO iMAGING pHOTOGRAPHY 2010 ISO
OK.. Spot the Difference ? 50 mm f/8 1/320 iso100 50 mm f/8 1/5000 iso1600 Copyright zOO iMAGING pHOTOGRAPHY 2010 ISO They both look pretty much the same at this resolution... * Note how the shutter speed has increased by the same factor as the ISO to give the same exposure value (EV) !
ISO RANGE`+ Let’s Look a Bit Closer... ISO 100 - 400% CROPISO 1600 - 400% CROP Copyright zOO iMAGING pHOTOGRAPHY 2010 ISO ‘Magenta’ colour noise (field) & loss of resolution (pylon, house, sheep..) Green ‘blotches’ on tree and fields.
ISO RANGE`+ ISO 100 - 400% CROPISO 1600 - 400% CROP Copyright zOO iMAGING pHOTOGRAPHY 2010 ISO The intricate, well illuminated tree hides the noise quite well and actually appears sharper and more colourful. Notice however, how badly the shadow and smoother-toned areas show up luminance & colour noise.
ISO 100 - 400% CROPISO 1600 - 400% CROP Copyright zOO iMAGING pHOTOGRAPHY 2010 ISO Again, both types of noise can be clearly seen here in the ‘smooth’ areas i.e. sky and green field, giving it an abstract / painted appearance. A large amount of recordable data (detail) has been lost forever !
So how to decide when to use different ISO settings ? Be aware that leaving ISO on Automatic can lead to Disappointing results ! For General Daylight Photography, it’s recommended leaving setting at ISO 100. Increase ISO in lower light / long Telephoto situations to maintain useable Shutter Speeds Increase ISO when faster speeds are required to freeze moving objects. (sports, wildlife etc...) Copyright zOO iMAGING pHOTOGRAPHY 2010 ISO
So how to decide when to use different ISO settings ? Don’t forget to put it back to 100 if you no longer need the extra ‘speed’ ! Highly detailed scenes can hide more noise than ones with Smooth-toned areas. Noise shows up most in shadows and dark-toned areas. Most noise is commonly found in the Blue Channel (shadows ). Copyright zOO iMAGING pHOTOGRAPHY 2010 ISO
It should be noted that acceptable Noise is relative to the intended output of your Digital File... Even fairly high levels of noise will be barely noticed in a 6x4 print nor a small web image. If it’s for a Billboard Poster Ad, and you shot at ISO 6400... You may have a problem ! At the same time... A noisy sharp shot beats one with camera shake Every Time ! Copyright zOO iMAGING pHOTOGRAPHY 2010 ISO
You Never Know Before You Hit the Button What You Might Capture or What You Might Need to Do With It One Day... ALWAYS STRIVE FOR THE BEST QUALITY CAPTURE in ANY GIVEN SITUATION ! Copyright zOO iMAGING pHOTOGRAPHY 2010 ISO
FOCUSING MODES ACCURATE FOCUSING is the MOST CRITICAL FACTOR in a good PHOTOGRAPH !! An average modern Digital SLR will have around 3 Focusing Modes. Canon’s are called : ONE - SHOT This will Auto-Focus once when the Shutter is half-pressed, and hold Focus at whatever distance it’s locked at.. until the Shutter is released. AI – SERVOFull time Tracking Mode ! Constantly re-focuses (on centre point) from the moment of ‘half-press’.. up to Shutter release. AI – FOCUSIn this case single Auto-Focus is achieved, but if the subject moves the camera switches to ‘AI-SERVO’ so that the subject can be tracked to maintain focus. * Note that the AI Focus and AI Servo modes only utilise the Central Focus Point ! With this in mind, you must track the (moving) desired point of Focus with the Centre of the Viewfinder. FOCUSING MODES Copyright zOO iMAGING pHOTOGRAPHY 2010
SO WHAT ARE THESE MODES CALLED ON YOUR CAMERA ? and HOW DO YOU SWITCH BETWEEN THEM ? FOCUSING MODES Copyright zOO iMAGING pHOTOGRAPHY 2010
Focus Points were mentioned on the previous page... These are usually either ‘cross-hair’, or ‘single hair’ targets arranged in a diamond shaped array over the frame (shot / scene) that the camera uses as positions for achieving Focus. The average Canon DSLR has 9 of these ‘targets’. Typically these are viewed as red squares overlaid in the viewfinder. Copyright zOO iMAGING pHOTOGRAPHY 2010 FOCUSING MODES
If you are able to select a single one of these ‘points’, and do so.. then at the ‘half-press’ stage the Camera will Focus on whatever is behind that ‘point’. In ‘One-Shot’ AF Mode, the Camera will use all of the ‘points’ available. (unless the User selects a single one or localised array). * note that the Centre AF Point is normally much more sensitive than the others !! * depending on Camera settings, some Cameras may not ‘fire’ if AF is not achieved. This can lead to missing shots if e.g. - You’re too close *, it’s too dark, or you’re trying to focus on a featureless part of the Scene with no ‘ edge contrast’ that AF needs to lock onto. * with this in mind, be mindful of your lens’s Closest Focusing Distance ! Copyright zOO iMAGING pHOTOGRAPHY 2010 FOCUSING MODES
Three Typical Focusing ‘Situations’ could be :- LANDSCAPEUse ‘One Shot AF’ and either all the Focus Points, or a single one roughly 1/3 into the Scene to achieve maximum Depth of Field. * with a small aperture of course ! (e.g. f-11 to f-16) RUNNING CATUse ‘AI-SERVO AF’ utilising the more sensitive ‘Centre Point’. With half-press enabled, track the head of the animal by panning, and maintain the Centre Point over the eyes, head or the animal at least. ( and hope it’s not a Cheetah..) * shoot wide open for max shutter-speed, and this may be a good time to up the ISO... * a slower shutter speed can be used to increase the background blur effect. BIRD ON A WIREUse ‘AI-FOCUS’ (Centre Point only), and Focus on the bird. Focus is now ‘Locked’. If our feathered-friend shuffles up the wire a wee bit, the Camera detects this movement and switches to AI-SERVO Mode, enabling the User to maintain Focus by Tracking. Copyright zOO iMAGING pHOTOGRAPHY 2010 FOCUSING MODES
SO WHAT ARE YOUR FOCUSING OPTIONS ? A NOTE ABOUT MANUAL FOCUS (MF).. Don’t be afraid to use Manual Focus – it has advantages in many situations :- low light, landscapes, architecture, portrait, macro shooting through vegetation... When combined with ‘Live View’ and LCD magnification (tripod mounted) it offers an incredible amount of high-accuracy Manual Focus control. FOCUSING MODES Copyright zOO iMAGING pHOTOGRAPHY 2010 FOCUSING MODES
End of part i To Be Continued... FOCUSING MODES Copyright zOO iMAGING pHOTOGRAPHY 2010