Camera

Cameras – How To Get Off The AUTO Mode

Learn the three basic camera settings to control the exposure so you can get off the Auto Mode and switch to Manual.

  • AV (Aperture Value)
  • TV (Time Value) also called Shutter Speed
  • ISO

AV (Aperture Value)

The aperture is a small set of blades in the lens that controls how much light will enter the camera.
The blades create an octagonal shape that can be widened or closed down to a small hole.

A wide aperture will let more light into the camera as opposed to a closed down aperture which will only allow a tiny hole of light to enter the camera.

If you take a picture that is too bright, simply choose a smaller aperture.

Camera Aperture Image

Aperture sizes are measured by f-stops.  
A high f-stop like f-22 means that the aperture hole is quite small, and a low f-stop like f/3.5 means that the aperture is wide open.

If you take a picture and it’s too dark at f/5.6, then you would choose a lower f-stop number, which opens up the aperture to let in more light.

The Aperture also controls the Depth-of-Field.
Depth-of-field is how much of the picture is sharp (in focus), and how much is blurry.
If you want to take a picture of a person with a blurry background, you’d use a shallow depth of field.
If you want to take a picture of a sweeping mountain vista, you’d want to use a small aperture size (high f-stop number) so that the entire scene is in sharp focus.

Wide Open Aperture

  • Brighter Picture

  • Shallow Depth Of Field

  • Low F-Stop like f/3.5 or f/5.6

Wide Open Aperture

  • Brighter Picture

  • Shallow Depth Of Field

  • Low F-Stop like f/3.5 or f/5.6

Both of these shots were taken with a low Aperture setting of 5.6, so we get a nice blurry effect on objects that are not in focus.

The focus point on a Flower.

Flower In Focus with Duck in BG
  • ISO: 100

  • AV (Aperture Value): F-Stop 5.6

  • TV (Time Value/Shutter Speed): 1/320

The focus point on the Duck.

  • ISO: 100

  • AV (Aperture Value): F-Stop 5.6

  • TV (Time Value/Shutter Speed): 1/320

TV (Time Value) also known as Shutter Speed

The shutter is a small “curtain” in the camera that quickly rolls over the image sensor (the digital version of film) and allows light to shine onto the imaging sensor for a fraction of a second.

The longer the shutter allows light to shine onto the image sensor, the brighter the picture since more light is gathered.
A darker picture is produced when the shutter moves very quickly and only allows light to touch the imaging sensor for a tiny fraction of a second.

The duration that the shutter allows light onto the image sensor is called the Shutter Speed and is measured in fractions of a second.
A shutter speed of 1/2 of a second will allow more light to touch the image sensor and will produce a brighter picture than a shutter speed of 1/200 of a second.

So if you’re taking a picture and it is too dark, you could use a slower shutter speed to allow the camera to gather more light.

Just as the Aperture affects the exposure as well as the depth-of-field, the shutter affects more than just the exposure.  The Shutter Speed is also principally responsible for controlling the amount of blur in a picture.

At a faster shutter speed, you can completely freeze the action of a moving subject. Conversely, when you use a slower shutter speed, you can blur the subject in the direction of motion, and therefore capture the motion of subjects such as flowing water.

Slow Shutter Speed

  • Brighter Picture

  • More blur

  • Larger fraction like 1/60 or 1/80

Fast Shutter Speed

  • Darker Picture

  • Less blur

  • Small Fraction like 1/1000 or 1/4000

Example of Slow to Slower Shutter Speed

The three shots below were taken with the same ISO and AV (Aperture Value).
Only the TV (Time Value) shutter speed value changes.

I wanted a high Aperture setting F25, to get the background scenery in focus.
After I took each photo, I changed the Shutter Speed from a shorter to longer time frame.
The photo in the middle was the closest to what my eye was seeing in reality.

Shutter Speed: 0.25

Shutter Speed - 0.25
  • ISO: 100

  • AV (Aperture Value): F-25

  • TV (Time Value/Shutter Speed): 0.25 second

Shutter Speed: 0.5

  • ISO: 100

  • AV (Aperture Value): F-25

  • TV (Time Value/Shutter Speed): 0.5 second

Shutter Speed: 1.0

  • ISO: 100

  • AV (Aperture Value): F-25

  • TV (Time Value/Shutter Speed): 1.0 second

Example of Slow to Fast Shutter Speed

I took these photos of a swinging golf club with 3 different shutter speeds (TV or Time Value)

In the 3rd photo, I had to increase my ISO to let more light in as I was using a very fast shutter speed of 1/8000.

Shutter Speed: 1/250

Golf Club - Slow Shutter Speed
  • ISO: 200

  • AV (Aperture Value): F-16

  • TV (Time Value/Shutter Speed): 1/250

Shutter Speed: 1/1000

Golf Club - Medium Shutter Speed
  • ISO: 200

  • AV (Aperture Value): F-16

  • TV (Time Value/Shutter Speed): 1/1000

Shutter Speed: 1/8000

Golf Club - Fast Shutter Speed
  • ISO: 6400

  • AV (Aperture Value): F-16

  • TV (Time Value/Shutter Speed): 1/8000

ISO

The ISO controls the exposure by using the software in the camera to make it extra sensitive to light.

A high ISO such as ISO 1,600 will produce a brighter picture than a lower ISO such as ISO 100.

The drawback to increasing the ISO is that it makes the picture noisier.
Digital noise is apparent when a photo looks grainy.

Have you ever taken a picture at night with your cell phone or your pocket camera, and noticed that it looks really grainy?
That’s because the camera tried to compensate for the dark scene by choosing a high ISO, which causes more grain.

Low ISO

  • Darker picture

  • Less noise

  • Low number like ISO 100 or 200

High ISO

  • Brighter picture

  • More noise

  • High number like ISO 1600 or 3200

Video Tutorial by Mark Hemmings

I was searching on YouTube for tutorials and found this cool video by Mark Hemmings.
With easy to understand real-world examples, Mark helps you get off the AUTO mode on your camera, so you can start being creative.

Video Tutorial by Mark Hemmings