Fine Art America unveils the world's most powerful
August 9th, 2012 - 02:19 PM
Using your Digital Camera
Point and Shoot - Features
Metering systems, which calculate the amount of light entering the camera
Variable shutter speed
Preset controls for various photographic situations such as:
close-up or macro
Size of image not standard usually 4 ½ x 6
Viewfinder may not be what camera sees. (see below)
SLR and DSLR Features
magnification (through the use of various lenses)
capability for add-on flashes
additional battery packs
Also usually has the basic presets that are set for point and shoot (landscape, portrait, night, and sports)
Not easily portable
File Formats to shoot in
JPG/JPEG Most common form. Lossy file format so each time you save file will be compressed a little.
TIF Lossless file format that does not compress.
CRW RAW files. Largest file at this time. Retains all information and does not compress.
NOTE: You must have a raw file converter in your software to manipulate these. For adobe and canon there are plug ins.
How a digital Camera Works
Light enters the lens
It is bounced to a silicon sensor
Sensor photosites (called pixels) get excited by the energy and generate electrons sitting in wells
The electrons create a voltage
The voltage gets turned into a number.
The file gets stored as a set of numbers that represent the location and brightness vales of each square (pixcel)
NOTE: When these wells get over excited sometimes the voltage spills over into the next pixcel. Thus creating the star effect. (ie long exposures at night the lamp posts sometimes have halos or stars around them.
o Pixels are the small square picture elements that are recorded when you take a picture. The higher the number of pixels the higher the resolution.
For example if you have an image that is an 2400 pixels x 3000pixels. Then lets say you want to make it an 8x10 image. It would be a resolution 300 ppi (pixels per inch) image.
If you dont have enough pixels to make the image size you want and you make it anyway you will get the effect of pixilation (where small squares show up instead of solid lines).
Minimum requirements for sharp image printing is about 240 for like a 4x6 and 300 for anything larger. Below those amounts you will lose sharpness.
TIP: Shoot in the largest size you camera will allow. Then you have more pixels to use in case you want to crop and enlarge.
Is what you see what you get?
DSLR SLR Camera
o SLR means Single Lens Reflex. This camera uses a mirror so that what you see in the view finder is truly what you will take when you press the shutter.
Point and Shoot
o These cameras have two distinct problems:
1) Image is not what you see
o Viewfinder is not the same image camera sees because the lens is offset from where the viewfinder is.
o Even if you look at the LCD screen if may not be the image your camera will take.
2) Sensor on some cameras takes a 4 ½ x 6 image. This doesnt print 4x6 standard US size without part of the image being cropped. Instead youll have to buy 3 ½x5 because of the aspect ratio.
o Aspect Ratio is the ratio of the camera sensor width to the height. NOTE: Sometimes these ratios are multiplied by a factor so that you have whole numbers. For example 4:3 is actually 1.333333:1
o If you want to know if youll be able to print something or if your sensor will fit some papers without cropping. Try this
Item Size Aspect Ratio
Paper 4x6 1.50
Paper 5x7 1.40
Paper 8x10 1.25
Image size large 4368 x 2912 pixels 1.50
Image size small 640x380 pixels 1.68
RATIO 4:3 1.3333
When you have a ratio that is SMALLER than the paper or size you want then image will have to be cropped by the shortest side.
o For example a 4:3 ratio is a actually a 6 x 4 ½ print. Since theres no such paper you can either crop image to fit paper or print smaller than paper so image would be 5 1/3 x 4 and just leave border
Image in viewfinder Image taken and printed as 4x6
When you have a ratio that is LARGER the paper or size you want then image will have to be cropped by the longest side.
o For example a 1.68 ratio is a actually a 13.44 x 8 print. Since theres no such paper you can either crop image to fit paper or print smaller than paper so image would be 10 x 5.75 and just leave border
Metering Options in your camera
Matrix or Evaluative Metering
This is probably the most complex metering mode, offering the best exposure in most circumstances.
The camera will read the entire scene and then make an averaged judgement though an algorithm as to exposure. This is fine and general for evenly lit scenes. For example family, etc inside, a landscape where foreground and background evenly lit.
Center-weighted Average Metering
Probably the most common metering method implemented in nearly every digital camera and the default for those digital cameras which don't offer metering mode selection. This method averages the exposure of the entire frame but gives extra weight to the center and is ideal for portraits. Used for hard to figure lighting situations. For example, theres a person sitting on a covered porch with sunlight behind.
Spot (Partial) Metering
Spot metering allows you to meter the subject in the center of the frame (or on some cameras at the selected AF point). Only a small area of the whole frame is metered and the exposure of the rest of the frame is ignored. This type of metering is useful for brightly backlit, macro, and moon shots. Especially if you want to keep a single object metered properly.
The higher the number the faster the speed of the film.
Slower films will make the shutter stay open longer so you get better color saturation.
Faster films will help stop action.
100 bright sunny days
200 Bright cloudy days or indoor/outdoor when bright
400 sports action
800 night images
What are the modes of the standard camera?
Completely Automatic Modes
Aperature Priority (Av)
Shutter Priority (S of Tv)
Auto Modes Discussed
Automatic (Auto or green line)
Camera will examine scene and choose what it thinks the best option is based on light available.
o NOTE: This is usually ok but in some lighting situations it can be fooled. (ie when youre taking images of people in the shade with a bright background)
Generally good for people in even or LOW LIGHT (not dark) light settings. Helps even out flesh tones
Camera will open up aperture so that only items near the object being focused is sharp. The background should become soft. Try to move in on subject.
Film speed on camera is usually 100 by default.
NOTE: If in bright sunlight put on your fill flash so that subject is not dark. Dont use in dark if standing closer than 5 from subject otherwise flash will be too strong and subject may look washed out.
Taken with Portrait setting and flash Taken with Aperature priority on F22
In point and shoot cameras focusing distance is about 2-10cm.
Works similar to portrait mode where subject is sharp but background sharpness drops off.
NOTE: Try and take your subject at a parellell angle.
When taking macros your flash for fill doesnt work well.
Film speed varies on camera.
Generally a great mode for scenics or large groups.
o If in a dimmer light situation and taking a group, try to force on flash.
Tells your camera to focus everything from foreground to background
o Closes the cameras aperture to give you a better depth of field. This will take the camera a little longer to open and close the shutter.
o Usually uses an ISO (film speed about 200)
Good mode for fast moving subjects like sports wildlife, etc.
When shooting try to pan (move with subject) camera too.
Opens up aperture to make shot faster so less chance of blur.
Increases Film speed - usually uses about 400 film speed.
Kind of a fun mode. Used for illuminating subject in very low and dim lights.
Slows down shutter speed to get best light absorption. Try to use a tripod unless you want a blurred background.
Can be grainy
AV AV with flash
Night time Sports
Symbols of things on your Camera
Symbol Name Description
Monitor Turns on and off camera's monitor
PC Mode Set up the camera to view pictures.
Still Photo Sets the camera ready to start taking pictures.
Adjustment Adjusts the exposure brightness and darkness.
Tungsten Control Reduces the effects of standard light bulbs (Orange Color)
Custom Control By using a grey or white card you set the camera's light settings for optimal white balance.
Control Reduces the green effect from florescent lights
Control For recording under overcast, twilight or shady conditions
Close-Up Automatically sets the camera for objects near the lens.
Timer Sets timed shutter release so you can be in the picture. Time varies from camera to camera. This setting reduces the effects of you pushing the shutter release in extreme low light settings.
Playback Shows the pictures stored in the camera
Menu Enables the menu to change the settings on your camera.
Mode Allows you to shoot successive images while the shutter button is pressed fully.
Delete Removes unwanted images
Wide Angle Changes the built-lens to take scenic pictures.
Telephoto Changes the built-in lens to take pictures of far off objects.
USB Port Connecting site for your camera to the computer.
On/Off Switch to turn the camera off and on.
Mode Allows you to use your camera as a digital movie maker
Meter In this multi-zone mode, matrix metering or average metering, the camera analyzes the total scene and sets the exposure settings.
Meter In this mode the camera sets its exposure on only the center of the frame
Metering In this mode the camera judges the entire frame but gives priority to the center of the frame.
Infinity Focus locks on the far end of the auto focus range so that the subject at a distance appear in sharp focus.
Mode In this mode you can take pictures of individual or small groups.
Mode In this mode you can take pictures of mountains, prairies or any large scene.
Mode In this mode you can take pictures of any moving object.
Mode In this mode you can shoot pictures with very little light.
Color Effect You can change the color mode the camera will take such as black and white, sepia, vivid or neutral.
Video Mode Sets the camera to take very short videos. Some even can record the sound. Uses a great deal of memory in your Flash Card.
Flash This mode allows the camera to decides whether a flash is needed
Flash The flash will fire regardless of whether the camera feels it is necessary.
No Flash Turns off the flash.
Reduction This is suppose to help reduce the problem of red-eye by initiating a series of small flashes just before the main flash ignites.
Battery Tells you how much power is left in your battery