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Hi from complete beginner.

Discussion in 'Introductions...' started by Daniel Waghorn, May 17, 2018.

  1. Daniel Waghorn

    Daniel Waghorn New Member

    As the title state's I am a complete beginner with a canon 450d which I acquired cheaply for £50, it came with a 17-85mm lens which unfortunately was faulty the reason it was so cheap, anyhow I have had this repaired and have been out with it to Blackpool zoo, I shot everything in auto mode using manual focus as I am still trying to learn the settings, while I took some good picture's obviously the zoom range on the lens was to short so I felt I needed to take things up a notch. As I'm typing we are getting ready to go to the Welsh mountain zoo, I have managed to acquire a 75-300mm lens yesterday and I was wondering what settings I should use as I want to get away from auto mode and start learning, I was thinking of starting in program mode but from there I'm stuck any help and advice will be greatly appreciated.
  2. EightBitTony

    EightBitTony Well-Known Member

    Firstly, stop using manual focus. Auto focus is one of the most reliable features of modern cameras as long as you use the right mode (usually, single point focus).

    I use Av 90% of the time, it lets me pick the aperture I care about for artistic reasons, and then the camera handles the shutter speed (and in my case, the ISO). However, you can't entirely ignore those settings, because if I've chosen f/8 and that results in a shutter speed which is too slow, then I might get blur I didn't want.

    For me, the important bit is pick a mode (say, Av) and then use it for a few weeks, learning what changing the aperture does. Then start trying Tv (shutter priority) and see how that affects what you get. That'll help you learn about the effect of aperture and shutter speed. Some people will advise manually controlling ISO, personally, I let my camera do that (Auto ISO) most of the time as well. But once you've got used to how Av / Tv affect your images, try controlling the ISO with say, Av as well, and see what that does to the shutter speed.

    Fully manual is not a destination, it's an option if you need that level of control. Don't aspire to shoot in full manual. Aspire to understand the artistic and technical implications of shutter speed, aperture, ISO and then choose which you want to control.

    I wrote this - it may help - https://perceptionistruth.com/2016/08/the-exposure-triangle/
  3. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    Hi and welcome, how did you get on with manual focussing? It is quite difficult to do with modern cameras!

    I don't know the camera so hopefully the following isn't too far out.

    If you set the camera/lens to autofocus, then full auto usually does 4 things: it chooses where to focus, it sets the exposure time ( also called shutter speed), it sets the aperture and it sets the camera sensitivity called ISO number.

    If you set the camera to program mode: it sets the exposure time and aperture and gives you the freedom to set how a focus point is selected (one choice is auto) and the ISO value (one choice is auto)

    If you set the camera to shutter priority (Tv on a Canon): you set the exposure time absolutely, the camera sets the aperture if it can. There are hard limits imposed by the lens. You have .... etc.

    If you set the camera to aperture priority (Av on a Canon): you set the aperture value absolutely, the camera sets the exposure time. It has a huge range to choose from. If it is dark it will choose a long time and your results will be all blurred. You have .... etc.

    What I do is set aperture priority F8 on the lens. I look through the viewfinder at something mid-toned to see what the recommended exposure time is. For a 75-300 mm lens at 200 mm setting I need 1/320 s to hold the camera still ( 1/(200x1.6) where 1.6 is a factor for the camera). I'll set the ISO to a value that gives this, say 200 or 400 for a nice day. I'll set the camera to one-shot mode and single exposure. This means it will wait until it has focussed and only take one frame when the shutter release is pressed. I set the AF system to use a single, centre AF point. If what I want to photograph is off-centre I'll focus on it then, keeping the shutter button half-down, reframe the shot before taking it. This is a feature of one-shot mode.

    The main point with a telephoto lens is - have a short exposure time so there is no "wobble". It helps to brace yourself, press the shutter release smoothly. Don't move the camera when you hear click - it's the mirror going up and even though it's all over in a fraction of a second there is a tendency to think the picture is taken before it really is - so give it half a second. You have to pay a lot to get a zoom lens that is good at it's maximum aperture. Stopping down to F8 will give a better result. F11 is better but you need more light (1 stop down = 1/2 the light). Avoid high ISO values for best results.

    The above is for subjects that are not moving. If they move, the exposure time has also be short enough to catch the movement and you want to use either the A1 Focus or A1 Servo setting in place of one shot.

    If the lens is image stabilised then it will give you one or two stops on exposure time so you can use 2 or 4 times the exposure time but now younhave to be more carefuk for moving subjects. In the example above 1/320 s will freeze a lot of things but 1/160, 1/80s won't.

    Hope that helps. Enjoy, I hope you had a good day at Colwyn Bay.

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