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Old Sep 3, 2010, 12:20 AM   #1
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Default Question about manual settings on DSLRs

I think I am very close to finally taking the plunge and buying a DSLR and am familiar with the settings as I have been playing with them more and more on my old G2. What I am wondering is, if for example you change the aperture, or change the exposure compensation, or ISO, can you tell what it is going to do to the photo before you take it? Or do you just have to take the picture, then view it, then change the settings if it is not what you wanted?

The other thing I am wondering is, lets say you are taking a picture of a still object or landscape or something. You have all the time in the world to change settings, etc. But if you are just walking around, and you dont know if something is gonna happen that you just want to take a quick shot of, what settings do you leave your camera on? I mean if something happens really fast and you just have time to pick up the camera and shoot, you dont have time to change anything, right? So what do you leave it on? I mean I can't even dream of doing that now because my camera takes forever to start up, but I notice with the DSLRs you can just turn them on and snap.
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Old Sep 3, 2010, 12:39 AM   #2
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It depends which dslr you are using to see a preview on the lcd.

On your second question every one is different. Some like to leave the camera in auto. Personally I know where my lenses are sharp. So I leave it in Aperture mode stop down to where I know the lens is sharp. I leave iso on auto. But there are a bunch of different things you can do.
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Old Sep 3, 2010, 1:26 AM   #3
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Ok thanks that is helpful. As far as the first question, lets use the T1i as an example. If it works with that one, are you saying you have to use live view in order to see what it will look like before hand?
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Old Sep 3, 2010, 1:30 AM   #4
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It is more apparent with liveview. But you can see the affect with the optical VF also with the canon.
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Old Sep 3, 2010, 1:48 AM   #5
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The way you can tell is from experience/understanding to know if changing a setting will over expose or under expose from what you have already. Also this experience will let you know how much (roughly). You also have the meter on the camera that shows how well the camera thinks it is exposed. You can also use live view as mentioned.

As for seeing in the view finder what is going to happen, all you can do (apart from the previously mentioned meter reading) is see the affect of depth of field with the DOF preview button, but that doesn't really tell you too much and nothing at all about exposure. The meter is the main tool in conjunction with the photographers knowledge. The best thing is to play around and you will soon learn these things and even if you don't decide to shoot manual it's very helpful to have this understanding.
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Old Sep 3, 2010, 2:23 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dj76 View Post
I think I am very close to finally taking the plunge and buying a DSLR and am familiar with the settings as I have been playing with them more and more on my old G2. What I am wondering is, if for example you change the aperture, or change the exposure compensation, or ISO, can you tell what it is going to do to the photo before you take it? Or do you just have to take the picture, then view it, then change the settings if it is not what you wanted?
When you're using any of the modes except M, and you change a setting, the other settings will adjust accordingly so that you'll get a properly exposed image, and you'll see the new settings in the viewfinder. For instance, if you're using A (Aperture Priority) mode, and the settings are f/4.0, 1/250, and ISO of 200, and you change the aperture to f/5.6, the camera will automatically use the longer shutter speed of 1/125 to compensate for the loss of light due to the smaller aperture. And those settings will all appear in the viewfinder or the the LCD Display. This is true right up to the limits of the camera. For instance, if you're using f/8, 1/4000, and ISO 200, and you select an aperture of f/5.6, if your camera can't do a shutter speed of 1/8000, then it will continue to use the shutter speed of 1/4000 and the image will be overexposed.

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Originally Posted by dj76 View Post
The other thing I am wondering is, lets say you are taking a picture of a still object or landscape or something. You have all the time in the world to change settings, etc. But if you are just walking around, and you dont know if something is gonna happen that you just want to take a quick shot of, what settings do you leave your camera on? I mean if something happens really fast and you just have time to pick up the camera and shoot, you dont have time to change anything, right? So what do you leave it on? I mean I can't even dream of doing that now because my camera takes forever to start up, but I notice with the DSLRs you can just turn them on and snap.
As time goes by, there are settings that you'll be comfortable with, that you'll leave your camera on, and on the spur of the moment, you'll point your camera at a subject and be comfortable where you are and/or how to get where you wnat to be. For instance, I prefer to use A (Aperture Priority) mode and generally have a large aperture selected. If, without warning or preperation time, I want to take a shot, I'll know what my camera is set at, and I can make adjustments quickly.
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Old Sep 3, 2010, 9:11 AM   #7
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Practice and getting a good grasp on what differnt scnarios will do to the final image gos a long way. Shooting any type of automated mode whether it be full auto, aperture priority or shutter priority is going to let the camera decide for you and unless all conditions are perfect it wont yeild the correct exposure. Example...If you have the camera set to aperture priority and lets say you are shooting a soccer game (ill use this example as I do a lot of soccer games) one team has white jerseys and the other has black jerseys. If exposure compensation is set to 0 the everytime you are focused on a white jersey the image will be underexposed as the metering is collecting more relflected light and will adjust the shutter speed down to account for the extra light. Now the inverse is true for the black jerseys, the image will be overexposed as the metering is collecting less reflective light and will adjust the shutter speed up. If you introduce exposure compensation and set it for the white jerseys then that will work with the white jerseys until a cloud rolls up and will cause the black Jerseys to be even more overexposed, inverse again if Ev is set for the balck jerseys. This is taking into consideration that the background light will remain the same. If you are somewhere where the background is a wooded area on one side and an open field on the other a new can of worms just opened up and will compound the issue of black vs white with shade vs well lit that will also be in the metering equation. Shooting full manual allows you to pick a neutral object and meter off that (I use the grass) and set accordingly. The only drawback is if clouds are rolling in and you you might have to go back to your neutral object and remeter and adjust with a a few clicks of the adjustment up or down which takes all of about 3 seconds to do. Some prefer adjusting exposre so faces are the neurtal object so they are exposed correctly and let the rest fall where it may. In the end whenever you allow the camera to adjust anything you have narrowed down the chance of getting the correct exposure, In some instances like the extreme that I noted the chance of correct exposure for every shot is pretty much nill in any mode other than full manual. After you play with it a bit and get used to what the outcome will be you wont need to think about anything else, you will know that when its really bright harsh light and all the reflected colors are present you will have to go a or two notch up on the metering display with your exposure setting or down a notch or two if all the reflective colors are dark. Of course you will have to adjust ISO up and down to keep your shutter speed in the desired range but this will be a set once deal for any given venue normally. Other than a bit of advice before you get started the best way to learn is by practicing, taking images of the same subject with different settings to see what yeilds the best results then change to a different scenario and do the same etc. In a short while you will find yourself very comfortable with full manual opertaion.
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Old Sep 3, 2010, 9:20 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dj76 View Post
The other thing I am wondering is, lets say you are taking a picture of a still object or landscape or something. You have all the time in the world to change settings, etc. But if you are just walking around, and you dont know if something is gonna happen that you just want to take a quick shot of, what settings do you leave your camera on? I mean if something happens really fast and you just have time to pick up the camera and shoot, you dont have time to change anything, right? .
In this scenario Im still shoooting full manual, the camera is at the ready with all the exposure parameters already set. If the scenery changes I pull the camera up remeter then back to the ready again. Worst case you might have to roll on the shutter speed a click or two, which isnt going to take much more time than framing and getting focus. With the DSLR you leave the camera on, it will sleep and restart the second you depress any button with all settings held where you last left them. All this is still faster than wiating for the P&S to power up.
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Old Sep 3, 2010, 9:25 AM   #9
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You have had some good advice but one of things I do is take a shoot look at it with the histogram and as long as its not peeking to much at either end its pretty much exposed ok
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Old Sep 3, 2010, 9:30 AM   #10
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You have had some good advice but one of things I do is take a shoot look at it with the histogram and as long as its not peeking to much at either end its pretty much exposed ok

Yes, the basic rule of thumb will be learning the use of the histogram for correct exposure. For the long winded reposnse I had above I cant believe I left this out! Thanks for taking up my slack!
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