Diamond P Photography
by James Gault of Park City Utah 801-755-6737
on our Blog
T H E R E S O U R C E P A G E
These numbers engraved on the lens barrel are NOT referred to aperture diaphragm, but rather just a numeric settings which help to let you determine and control how much light you would require to let into the camera by way of selecting an aperture diaphragm ( lens opening inside ). Technically, these numbers refer to the relative physical opening of the lens diaphragm
Modern Autofocus SLR cameras may have a different ways in manipulating the aperture. One of the trend is - the aperture value is now control via a thumb wheel on the camera (usually near the shutter release button) and the AF lens has no aperture ring to alter the value. Each camera manufacturer usually has their own series of lenses under a trade name to verify its usage, various compatibility issues with their previous camera model's function etc. For an instance, Canon manual focus lenses are called " FD " or "FL"; while their newer series of autofocus lenses ( AF ) designed for their Canon EOS Series cameras are referred as " EF " (Electro Focus). Each of these MF/AF lenses has their own respective way to illustrate the control of aperture in the camera. When you turn the aperture ring on a lens to vary the aperture, you will be able to check visually the set opening of the lens diaphragm (Opens bigger or stopping smaller) . * here in this section, I am confining the discussion within the MANUAL FOCUS lenses ONLY because the proportion of used equipment forms the basis for a cheap, easy entry for potential new serious photographers.
Reminder:- the key to an theoretical good EXPOSURE = Aperture + Shutter speed
Remember : For a theoretical "perfect" exposure to be formed i.e. nice colour balance, every details shown or simply a photo that you are happy about, take a good combination between using an aperture with the appropriate matching shutter speed for any given film speed (ASA/ISO) are required. The latter refers to the film speed of the film roll used. i.e. ASA 100, ASA 200, ASA 400 etc. the faster the film speed used, you can use to capture lower lighting situation but at the expense of grainer output of prints / slides. Next, a little confusion may create for you to learn here: - each step increment in the use of film speed will also indirectly correspond with one step of aperture OR shutter speed .
About aperture and its direct relation that might affect in your photography:- i.e. Other than controlling the amount of light entering into the camera, What else does "apertures" do ?
When the shutter button is released, light passes through the aperture diaphragm and hit the film, an exposure is formed. Basically, aperture, along with duration/timing of the shutter curtain opening, BOTH contribute to a the formation of an exposure. But aperture also affects an important photographic element called " depth of field " (short form "DOF"). You may ask, what is hell is this " Depth of Field " ? Depth of field is just technical term used to describe the 'zone' of sharpness' between nearest and furthest of a subject in focus (to be more exact, distance of sharp focus in front and behind, subject on which the lens is focused).
There are a few elements that will affects Depth of Field in a picture
In fact, if you still don't understand, just memorize this: Other than it can be used to regulate amount of light entering into camera for an exposure, aperture also will affect the degree of depth of field. When combined with other essential elements that may also contribute to depth of field changes, such as focal length of the lens in use, the distance of your object in focus, you can make use of depth of field for creative control in your photography. For example: use larger aperture (Smaller number like f/2.8, f/2.0 etc.) with a long focal length to isolate or emphasis on expression, such as in portraiture photography ; or use a smaller aperture (Bigger number like f/16 or f/22 etc..) to ensure pin-sharp details in both the foreground and the background .
Another factor you need to know is: All the markings on the lens barrel are double in effect . i.e. f/11 doubles the amount of light of f16, f2 allows 1X more light than of f2.8 does into the camera etc.
With a mechanical SLR camera, with the proper exposure GUIDE suggested by the built-in meter in a camera, you need to adjust both aperture and shutter speed yourself (it is termed as " MANUAL " setting in an automatic camera) . Usually in the case of an automatic camera, you will still have manual control operating as if you are using a mechanical camera. Typically, a few extra choices of exposure control methods may be provided:- the first is called " Aperture Priority " (some camera uses a symbol " Av " - short for "aperture value"; the next is " Shutter Priority " ( Tv - short for "Timing value". Aperture priority means you select the aperture to determine the depth of field yourself and the camera will set to the appropriate shutter speeds to match your aperture selected for a optimum exposure suggested by the camera's built-in electronic metering circuit, while shutter priority will let you select the preferred shutter speed setting and the camera will select the matching aperture values to match your choice. The third option is called the " Programmed Mode"( P - short for "Programmed Auto", where the camera select both the aperture value and the shutter speed for you and you may have no control in determine the depth of field yourself. (some cameras offer a another mode called flexi-program - I think it is too complicated to explain here).
Some examples of how an APERTURE PRIORITY AUTO SLR-type cameras shutter speed ring look like
I strongly advise you to consume this section first before you think of proceeding to the next segment on shutter speeds . If you can't ,or finding difficulties digesting what I have prepared here, I'm sorry for my failure in explaining the essentials. In such cases, I would suggest you to buy a better illustrated photographic reference book or join a local photographic club. But if you do understand and have picked up something from this section, you are encouraged to click at the button underneath and continue...
T H E R E S O U R C E P A G E
Before the advent of LCD, multi-modes electronic SLRs such as Canon A-1 has a dual input dial for shutter speed ( B ) and aperture control (Green). But again it depends a lot on camera design. For an instance, ALL Olympus and mechanical Nikkormat SLRs have their shutter speed scales located just next to the lens mount, you have to make use of a grip designed to turn the scales ( A ) !
But ALL these may not be applicable to a new wave of modern AF SLRs which use a different kind of input to control shutter speed in the camera. Most would have use thumb or finger wheel(s) such as illustrated earlier on the aperture control section. Well, it is hard to cover and satisfy everybody's desire all in a single page, and my prime interest is still to selling you the idea of how to make use of an old, cheap manual focus SLR of yesteryears. As for an modern AF SLRs, there are plenty of useful resource sites on the Net for you to browse through and gather such information. At this moment in time, I won't be able to offer too much of a help here in this site. But whatever it is, basic principle remains.
What does shutter speeds do ?
In principle, shutter speeds, like aperture value detailed on earlier section , contributing as the next half of the main components for any exposure process - the interval at which the shutter opens to allow a specific amount of light (also depends on the opening of the lens diaphragm) to pass through and expose the film inside. .
Different selection of shutter speeds will yield different kind of visual effect on a final photograph. Generally, a fast shutter speed can freeze action while slow speed can blur your image . I am not indicating these are fixed rules. If you understand the nature of how various shutter speed(s) will affect an exposure, you may put them to creative use to enhance the effect - like other than freezing a fast action scene, a slow shutter speed can also put to good use in portraying movement. You can try on to " PAN " a moving subject by following its direction or simply generates a sense flow of movement. But MOST people relates SLOW means BLURRING AN IMAGE which leave little for them to select this alternative to try them out. Well, it is excusable because in most PR -type of photography ( photo session on public relation matters like wedding, gathering, seminars, or personal domestic duties for some privileged group - includes your wife, mistress or girl friends ..), who would appreciate a defocus or blurry images ? BUT - for the creative minded photographer, slower shutter speed sometimes may create a more powerful visual impact than images taken with action-freeze high shutter speed (s), say, a free flowing river, traffic, a flock of birds taking off or even speed-demons on a race track.. etc..
OFF-TOPIC SUPPLEMENTS: " Shutter Speed Priority AE ": An exposure mode with an automatic or autofocus camera that lets you select the desired shutter speed; the camera will then set the matching aperture value for a proper exposure. If you change the shutter speed, or the light level changes, the camera adjusts the aperture accordingly " Aperture Priority AE ": An exposure mode on an automatic or autofocus camera that lets you set the aperture while the camera sets the shutter speed for a proper exposure. If you change the aperture, or the light level changes, the shutter speed will change automatically. Apart from the sport or action photography, aperture priority is the most common & effective automatic mode used in photography. It can also explained as: An automatic exposure process in which the lens aperture is set by the photographer, and the camera sets the shutter speed. It can also be used in the stopped-down mode with any lens that does not interfere with the metering system e.g. bellow unit or non-auto extension rings etc. " Programmed AE ": An exposure mode on an automatic or autofocus camera that automatically sets BOTH aperture and shutter speed for a proper exposure. " Intelligent / Flexi-Programmed (flexible-Programmed Auto) AE ": The camera's electronic circuit will determine based on the information gathered from the lens coupling to provide HIGHER shutter speed in a program mode if a long focal length lens is used to minimize chances of image blur caused by slow shutter speed. In most cases, Aperture Priority AE is usually represented by a " A "; Shutter Priority AE is represented by "Tv" or "S"; while Programmed AE is denoted as a simple "P" or "P H " in a high speed program AE mode.
Picture courtesy of Vincent Thian , AP; Nick Kalatha , US and Swan pictures by David Hofmann , Germany
Some SLR cameras like the FD-mount Canon Canon T-80 even has LCD's "pictograph" to help the photographer in each of the exposure control mode or progress status. IF you owns a modern autofocus SLR camera, the display can even be more confusing (but most often the LCD willnot shown all the info except for related characters for any particular shooting modes used):
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Well, All you need to digest from this SHUTTER SPEED section is:
Shutter speed is, apart from aperture, the other main component required to form a proper exposure. It is control by the shutter speed dial. Shutter speed means timing and duration of opening and closing of the shutter curtain at the back of the camera. A fast shutter speed will freezes action while slower speed creates blurring effect. A shutter speed of 1/125 will allow one time more the amount of light to reach the film than 1/250, the amount of light is double on the next scale of 1/60 to 1/125 etc.
Since both the aperture and shutter speed control amount of light reaches the film for a exposure, there is a very strong relationship between the two :
Although mechanically it differs in function and operation, but the objective is the same - both control and regulate light reaching the film plane to provide a proper exposure.
So, the next section, we will talk about exposure.___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
T H E R E S O U R C E P A G E
What is an Exposure ?
It can be explained as the quantity of light allowed to act on a photographic material; a product of the intensity (controlled by the lens opening) and the duration (controlled by the shutter speed or enlarging time) of light striking the film or paper (darkroom or in the color-lab).
First, you MUST understand a fact, i.e. there is no such thing call a " perfect exposure ". It is all a matter of personal preference - well, only the photographer who did the image capture process will "hold" the rights and judge whether it is or it is not a "good" exposure. Virtually all modern cameras have a reflective photo cells (see SPD or Cds ) built in to give you a indication what a recommended proper exposure is - basing on the brightness of the scene with the type and speed of the film in use. The term "proper exposure" is built around a reference where the photo cell read a 18% gray reflectance (most neutral in photography and resemble most outdoor environment) and give you the "suggested" reading (you may override those values).
If you trust the meter reference and happy with it, just trip the shutter release button, and here you go, you got a photograph with proper exposure (don't worry, unless you are using slides, most modern print film have enough exposure latitude in tolerance of your mistake in exposure reading).
The correlation between shutter speed and aperture size is a direct one. Since both the aperture and shutter speed (forget about the elements of depth of field, action freezing or movement by blur factors) control the amount of light reaching onto the film. And since both double or reduce in a scale of one time ( 1X or 100%): It means you can FREELY interchange the settings on shutter timing and lens opening for respective effects and YET retaining your preferred exposure setting.
* Referring to older manual focus-type SLRs only. Newer series of AF SLRs may have it controlled via camera body via Sub-Command Dial
For an example, let us just take an example with a scene of waterfall, the camera meter reading suggested a exposure of f/8 at 1/125 sec., your preferred effect is to freeze every single droplet of water to show the power of the waterfall, with a setting of 1/125, you may not achieve that kind of effect, but a shutter speed of 1/2000 may be able to convey that effect. Just set the camera's shutter speed dial to '2000' (1/2000 sec - just compensate it with five steps in shutter speed scale ) with the reduction of light of five steps by open the lens aperture bigger by five steps; in this case, i.e. f/2.0. Now you are using a alternate combination of f/2 at 1/2000 sec. while the exposure is still equivalent to f/8 at 1/125 sec set earlier BUT the eventual effect of the photograph varies now with what you have envisioned to achieved. On the other hand, if the same scene needs to portray a sense of poetic movement, you may adjust the speed down to, let's say, 1/8 sec to make the waterfall have a sense of flowing water. The uncompensated figure for aperture might cause over exposure (from 1/125sec to 1/8 sec., there are four step down, more light will reach the film and cause overexposure).
Depth of field ("DOF")also plays an very important part of the creative segment in photography. It has a direct relationship with aperture value selected (the other two factors affecting depth of Field are being the focal length of the lens in use plus distance of the subject from the camera). When you understanding these factors, creative use of depth of field can add a lot of depth in your photography especially involve very much in the field of portraiture, travel, product and scenic photography. You can select a bigger aperture (Smaller number such as f2.0, f1.4 etc.) to throw undesirable background out of focus and thus put more emphasize on your subject of interest in a photograph. On the other hand, if the background of a scene is equally important or the subject is a group of people or objects at different distances from the camera where each one must appear sharp, a small aperture (f16, f22 etc.) can be used to make sure from near to far will appear in pin-sharp focus.
You MUST understand the compensated combination between apertures and shutter speeds in order to put them to good use. Most often, we always heard photographers complaining: "what turned out are different from what I saw inside the viewfinder during that moment...". Although it forms only a segment of how it can influence a eventual image, but you can get close to your desirable effect in your photography if you have a good knowledge of how each of these elements may affect your photography. Still confuse ? Let take an example, e.g. to throw all the undesirable background out of focus, select a larger aperture. We use a meter reading of f/8 at 1/125 sec. for discussion here, an aperture of f2 might achieve better result than a f8 for this purpose, but the selection requires you to compensate for the increase of light by four steps, it means unless you reduce the light by means of increasing the shutter speed to four steps in equivalent, your photograph will be over exposed. Thus, from f8 at 1/125 sec, the exposure is the same as f/2 at 1/2000 sec while you can have your background blurred out.
Lastly. after all this explanation; all you need to know is, for an example, a photograph taken at 1/4000 sec. and f/1.4 and one taken at 1/30 sec. and f/16 will have the same exposure value. However: the eventual effect in your photo taken with the respective choices on shutter speed selection (on camera) and/or aperture selected (on the lens) will be totally different.
A short Summary on the few sections in this site :
Shutter speed ( s ) (Duration/timing of the shutter curtain closing inside the camera section) :
Aperture ( s ) (lens section) :
1)Q:Want flowers in foreground with a mountain in the back?
2) Q: Take a picture of Bull Riding.
3) Potriat hints. A solid background with put the focus of the viwer on the subect. you can use all kinds of colors as long as it is ust one color =)
Please use the contact us button with suggestions on how to best organize these for easiest page search =) Thanks for your help.
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