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Old Jan 18, 2009, 7:12 PM   #1
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I am taking a photography class for college, I bought a canon rebel xs camera. We are not allowed to use flash and we have to use all manual settings. I don't understand a lot about the shutter speed, F stop and ISO speed. The text book just talks about processing the photographs on the computer. Is there any documentation that would be easy for a bigginner to understand that would help me understand some of these settings. The proff says we have to figure out our camera ourselves. Any help would be appreciated.

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Old Jan 18, 2009, 7:42 PM   #2
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The great thing about digital photography is that you don't have to pay for developing.

There are three things that affect exposure:
  • Shutter Speed - The amount of time the image sensor is exposed to light [/*]
  • Aperture - The amount of light the lens admits [/*]
  • ISO Setting - The sensitivity of the image sensor to light[/*]
You can vary any of these (within the limits of your camera) to obtain a correct exposure. When the Canon XS is in Manual mode, the Exposure Level Indicator indicates the exposure level up to +/-2 EV (Exposure Values) When you halvethe exposure time, that's -1 EV; when you double it, that's +1 EV. When you halve the aperture, that's -1 EV; when you double it, that's +1 EV. When you halve the ISO Setting, that's -1 EV; when you double it, that's +1 EV. Keep adjusting those settings until the Exposure Level Mark is aligned with the Standard Exposure Index on the Exposure Level Indicator. (See page 75 of the Canon EOSRebel XS Instruction Manual.) Once you've got that, you should have a properly exposed photo.

For more info, you can check http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exposure_(photography).
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Old Jan 18, 2009, 7:47 PM   #3
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Thanks for the explanation, the link that you posted does not work. I am just trying to do the best I can in this class. Am I right that if the meeter is in the middle then the photograph will be properly lit, or is that a misinterpretation.
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Old Jan 18, 2009, 8:03 PM   #4
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Tabbycat wrote:
Quote:
Thanks for the explanation, the link that you posted does not work.
Try this.

Tabbycat wrote:
Quote:
I am just trying to do the best I can in this class. Am I right that if the meeter is in the middle then the photograph will be properly lit, or is that a misinterpretation.
That is correct.
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Old Jan 18, 2009, 9:12 PM   #5
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TCav wrote:
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Tabbycat wrote:
Quote:
I am just trying to do the best I can in this class. Am I right that if the meeter is in the middle then the photograph will be properly lit, or is that a misinterpretation.
That is correct.
One thing to add - having the meter in the middle means the camera THINKS it's properly exposed. If you look in the manual you'll see there are different metering modes (evaluative, center weighted, partial) - each one has a different area of the frame it considers for metering. Depending on what subjects are in the metered area the camera could get it wrong. The areas that give the most trouble are a predominance of white or other brightness in part of the frame. Canon cameras are designed to try and protect highlights. So if you took a photo of someone standing in the snow, say and were using evaluative metering the picture would likely be underexposed as the camera would try to meter the snow as grey instead of white.

In addition to TCAV's link there are some other avenues. First though I'm baffled that a college level instructor (assuming we're talking 4 year college and not community college) expects you to figure out exposure on your own. That's what HE/SHE is there for. But, I might suggest the book Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson. Also, Canon has an on-line learning series that's a nice primer.

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Old Jan 19, 2009, 9:53 AM   #6
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The professor emailed me back and said to use the automatic settings on the camera but I am not allowed to use flash, is there a way to do that? (btw this is a two year college program.) He said that I need to work on composition, make the photo look like a photo not a snap shot. The assignment this week is to take 36 photographs of barriers, but the barriers can not be obvious, such as a fence post or a lock. This is hard, I am not sure I understand composition, he suggested that I get a good book on elements of composition, is there any suggestion what a good book might be to help me understand and to give me some ideas.
Thanks for the help
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Old Jan 19, 2009, 10:10 PM   #7
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Dear Tabbycat,

Here are some links that explain composition:

http://photoinf.com/

If your shooting in <p> mode, the flash won't go off unless you raise the flash by using the little "lightning" button - so no need to worry about flash.

Ask your prof what makes a photo a photo and not a snapshot - and please come back here and tell us his answer!

-- Terry
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