Friday, 30 August 2013

using an SLR

removed this from my personal site as it's more likely to be read here...

 

Using a Canon DSLR Camera

Some brief instructions on using a SLR camera. 

 

 

Adjustable Options on the Camera 

 

1. Turn the camera onto manual (M on the dial). P is point and shoot. 

 

2. F-stop or depth of field: Default is 5.6. If you want to hyperfocus on something and make everything else blurry, use a lower number like 3.0-4.5. If you want everything in focus, including foreground and background, set it higher like 8 or 12. The lower the f-stop the lower you can make your shutter speed, so in darker conditions, lower the f-stop. If this setting is wrong, the picture will be flat and lack depth. Or too blurry. Note that you can't force the f-stop to be a certain number; the camera may automatically adjust it upwards depending on the light. Hold down the button nearest the eyepiece and turn the dial on the right to change the f-stop.

3. Shutter speed: How long the lens stays open to let in light. Default should be about 125-250 milliseconds in normal daylight. You turn the dial next to the the shoot-button to change shutter speed. The stronger the light, the higher you can make the shutter speed. If you want to capture an animal or bird in motion, you need a high shutter speed, like 1250-2500. If this setting is wrong, the image will be too dark or too light or blurry. 

 

4. Film grade/ISO. The ISO is the old measure of the film sensitivity. Default film was ISO 200. The ISO choice is on the right hand side on the back, top right. I recommend leaving the ISO on 1600, which is very sensitive, unless you're outside, in which case set it to 400. The more sensitive the film, the faster the shutter speed has to be. If you set your shutter speed slow, and use a sensitive film, the image will get a motion blur or be over-exposed (light). Vice versa, if you set your shutter speed high, and use a high-sensitivity, the image will be crisp. If this setting is wrong, the image will be too dark or too light or blurry. If it's too dark, it will also be very grainy and pixelated. 

 

5. Focus. The front lens has an MF/AF focus switch. Tap the shoot button once to autofocus (AF). Switch to MF if you want to manually turn the lens to focus. The crosshairs that come up are the focus points. You can have the camera focus on multiple points. I tend to leave it focused on the centre only. Obviously if this setting is wrong the image will be blurry. 

 

Some example settings.

A flower: ISO 400, shutter speed 250, f-stop 5.6

A cheetah: ISO 800, shutter speed 2500, f-stop 5.6

A flower vase inside the dark interior of a house: ISO 1600, shutter speed 125, f-stop 4.5

These numbers are complete guesses - you'd have to experiment with them to find out what works best under the lighting conditions you find yourself in. The most important thing is to look at the exposure dial, aka the shutter speed. The line should be in the middle or slightly above. It looks like this on your camera screen: 

 

|-----|-----| 125

-1    0    +1 

 

You need to have it at about 0.2. The shutter speed next to it, 125, shows the shutter speed that will give you that level of exposure. The important thing is to get the exposure right. It must look like this: 

 

|-----|-|---| 125

-1    0    +1

 

with the exposure slightly over mid-way. I find that the canon needs it there, otherwise images are too dark. 

 

Some finer points about the Canon 

 

You can adjust the colour using the menu button. I find it necessary to push it towards green and cyan (G/C), because the Canon, by default, takes pictures which are too yellow. It also doesn't cope well with fluorescent colours, like super-bright-coloured flowers; it dulls the colour. This is also where you set it to Sepia/Black and White. 

 

The Canon can also do multiple shots - where you hold down the trigger. This is useful for capturing moving things, so you can select the best image of them. You would need autofocus for this to work. 

 

The images are about 20 MB - suitable for 300 DPI A4 printouts. For the web, you need to downscale them to about 1024 pixels wide; their original 3888 pixel width is too high.

Using a Canon DSLR Camera
Some brief instructions on using a SLR camera. 


Adjustable Options on the Camera 

1. Turn the camera onto manual (M on the dial). P is point and shoot. 

2. F-stop or depth of field: Default is 5.6. If you want to hyperfocus on something and make everything else blurry, use a lower number like 3.0-4.5. If you want everything in focus, including foreground and background, set it higher like 8 or 12. The lower the f-stop the lower you can make your shutter speed, so in darker conditions, lower the f-stop. If this setting is wrong, the picture will be flat and lack depth. Or too blurry. Note that you can't force the f-stop to be a certain number; the camera may automatically adjust it upwards depending on the light. Hold down the button nearest the eyepiece and turn the dial on the right to change the f-stop.
 
3. Shutter speed: How long the lens stays open to let in light. Default should be about 125-250 milliseconds in normal daylight. You turn the dial next to the the shoot-button to change shutter speed. The stronger the light, the higher you can make the shutter speed. If you want to capture an animal or bird in motion, you need a high shutter speed, like 1250-2500. If this setting is wrong, the image will be too dark or too light or blurry. 

4. Film grade/ISO. The ISO is the old measure of the film sensitivity. Default film was ISO 200. The ISO choice is on the right hand side on the back, top right. I recommend leaving the ISO on 1600, which is very sensitive, unless you're outside, in which case set it to 400. The more sensitive the film, the faster the shutter speed has to be. If you set your shutter speed slow, and use a sensitive film, the image will get a motion blur or be over-exposed (light). Vice versa, if you set your shutter speed high, and use a high-sensitivity, the image will be crisp. If this setting is wrong, the image will be too dark or too light or blurry. If it's too dark, it will also be very grainy and pixelated. 

5. Focus. The front lens has an MF/AF focus switch. Tap the shoot button once to autofocus (AF). Switch to MF if you want to manually turn the lens to focus. The crosshairs that come up are the focus points. You can have the camera focus on multiple points. I tend to leave it focused on the centre only. Obviously if this setting is wrong the image will be blurry. 

Some example settings.
  • A flower: ISO 400, shutter speed 250, f-stop 5.6
  • A cheetah: ISO 800, shutter speed 2500, f-stop 5.6
  • A flower vase inside the dark interior of a house: ISO 1600, shutter speed 125, f-stop 4.5
These numbers are complete guesses - you'd have to experiment with them to find out what works best under the lighting conditions you find yourself in. The most important thing is to look at the exposure dial, aka the shutter speed. The line should be in the middle or slightly above. It looks like this on your camera screen: 

|-----|-----| 125
-1    0    +1 

You need to have it at about 0.2. The shutter speed next to it, 125, shows the shutter speed that will give you that level of exposure. The important thing is to get the exposure right. It must look like this: 

|-----|-|---| 125
-1    0    +1

with the exposure slightly over mid-way. I find that the canon needs it there, otherwise images are too dark. 

Some finer points about the Canon 

You can adjust the colour using the menu button. I find it necessary to push it towards green and cyan (G/C), because the Canon, by default, takes pictures which are too yellow. It also doesn't cope well with fluorescent colours, like super-bright-coloured flowers; it dulls the colour. This is also where you set it to Sepia/Black and White. 

The Canon can also do multiple shots - where you hold down the trigger. This is useful for capturing moving things, so you can select the best image of them. You would need autofocus for this to work. 

The images are about 20 MB - suitable for 300 DPI A4 printouts. For the web, you need to downscale them to about 1024 pixels wide; their original 3888 pixel width is too high.

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