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A basic explanation of my photographic philosophy...
Hi, DPFriends!.

I have begun writing out notes for teaching the basics of photography to friends and family. It will probably be a four part series, written from the perspective of my photographic philosophy called "Variable Balancing." It will probably include,.

-Definitions and Terms-A General Guide to Variable Balancing-The Fourth Variable - Lighting Adjustments-Interaction with Subjects.

Eventually I want to make these into free online videos, but for now you can check out the beginning of the first section....

Http://focusfirst.blogspot.com/.../01/basic-explanations-of-photographic.html.

Enjoy!.

PS:If you're a pro, this will be redundant... this is meant for newbies....

Http://www.theopenlife.com [my enormous personal site]http://www.focusfirst.blogspot.com [my photo blog]http://www.michaelspotts.com [My Pro site].

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Comments (9)

I did enjoy your writing. It's good to see people trying to help beginners!.

However, I find some of the old ideas and terms are less than helpful. For example, we should ALL stop using dumb terms like:.

"Shutter Speed"...it should be "Exposure Time""Fast" should only be used to describe the frame rate, not lenses!.

When you stated, "Shutter - The shutter is the mechanical device within the camera body which opens and closes to expose either film or a digital sensor." you were somewhat correct. However MOST modern cameras have an electronic shutter, not a mechanical one. Also, these same cameras always have a MECHANICAL shutter...but it DOESN'T do what you stated (has nothing to do with timing the exposure). You should explain what the "shutter" in a modern, electronic DC does and why. Even most professionals don't understand this!.

Charlie DavisNikon 5700, Sony R1, Nikon D300HomePage: http://www.1derful.infoBridge Blog: http://www.here-ugo.com/BridgeBlog/..

Comment #1

It looks like a great start. It's easy to understand, should be good for the beginner. You do have some faults in the f/stop discussion..

F-Stop Ratio- An f-Stop ratio denotes the aperture setting, and tells how "stopped down", or closed, the aperture is. The smaller the f-Stop ratio, the more open the aperture is during an exposure. Though not entirely accurate, it may help at first to think of f/8 as being 1/8th as open as f/1. Therefore, f/8 will allow four times less light into the camera than f/2, and half as much light as f/4..

Since the lens area is a square ratio to the diameter, the f/stops vary by the square root of two (1.4). Therefore f/4 is four times as much light as f/8. You have 1, 1.4, 2, 2.8, 4, 5.6, 8, 11, 16, 22..

Again, it looks great so far..

David..

Comment #2

Chuxter wrote:.

However, I find some of the old ideas and terms are less thanhelpful. For example, we should ALL stop using dumb terms like:.

"Shutter Speed"...it should be "Exposure Time""Fast" should only be used to describe the frame rate, not lenses!.

I have to disagree strongly. Given that these are the terms in common usage your crusade can only serve to confuse beginners..

"Shutter Speed" gives a reasonably accurate representation of what is going on. The fact that a shutter opens and closes faster inevitably means that it is open for less time. The fact that many shutters combine the mechanical with the electronic is of no consequence..

A "Fast" lens to my mind is one which allows a fast shutter speed. (And what is your suggestion for an alternative term?).

Nowhere is there a reference to exposure time in my Nikon manuals but there are several references to shutter speed..

Your suggestions have no place in a beginners's primer..

Chris Elliott.

*Nikon* D Eighty + Fifty - Other equipment in Profile.

Http://PlacidoD.Zenfolio.com/..

Comment #3

Chris Elliott wrote:.

Chuxter wrote:.

However, I find some of the old ideas and terms are less thanhelpful. For example, we should ALL stop using dumb terms like:.

"Shutter Speed"...it should be "Exposure Time""Fast" should only be used to describe the frame rate, not lenses!.

I have to disagree strongly. Given that these are the terms in commonusage your crusade can only serve to confuse beginners..

How predictable. Beginners won't know that all the "old" pfharts use "shutter speed" and will quickly accept "exposure time" since it makes good sense..

"Shutter Speed" gives a reasonably accurate representation of what isgoing on. The fact that a shutter opens and closes faster inevitablymeans that it is open for less time..

Since "shutter speed" is measured in units of time, it's an obvious oxymoron..

The fact that many shutterscombine the mechanical with the electronic is of no consequence..

In that sense, it is of no consequence that the shutter is even described! I just thought that one added sentence (or part of a sentence could cover all the amazing things that have happened since 1990. That way, the beginners won't turn out like you. .

A "Fast" lens to my mind is one which allows a fast shutter speed.(And what is your suggestion for an alternative term?).

I dunow? Since a lens is a receiver of radiation, like an antenna, why not use the description we use to describe antennas that are more "sensitive"? A sensitive lens seems OK to me..

Nowhere is there a reference to exposure time in my Nikon manuals butthere are several references to shutter speed..

All Japlish manuals are worthless, especially as references for correct English usage..

Your suggestions have no place in a beginners's primer..

I accept your judgment (for what it is), but want to hear from the beginners. After all, this forum is for them, not you. You don't have a clue what real beginners want and need. You just want them to grow up to be like you. .

If they were to grow up believing that a camera had 3 parameters that control exposure (ie, exposure time, lens sensitivity, and sensor sensitivity), they would be able to take fine pictures. All we have to do is to explain that some old photographers were taught that the three were called shutter speed, lens speed, and ISO/ASA, but that these terms are misleading and that they shouldn't use them. Soon, the old pfharts (like me) who learned these outdated terms will change, so that all the kids won't laugh at them..

Charlie DavisNikon 5700, Sony R1, Nikon D300HomePage: http://www.1derful.infoBridge Blog: http://www.here-ugo.com/BridgeBlog/..

Comment #4

Chuxter wrote:.

However, I find some of the old ideas and terms are less thanhelpful. For example, we should ALL stop using dumb terms like:"Shutter Speed"...it should be "Exposure Time""Fast" should only be used to describe the frame rate, not lenses!.

I have to disagree strongly. Given that these are the terms in commonusage your crusade can only serve to confuse beginners..

How predictable. Beginners won't know that all the "old" pfharts use"shutter speed" and will quickly accept "exposure time" since itmakes good sense..

"Shutter Speed" gives a reasonably accurate representation of what isgoing on. The fact that a shutter opens and closes faster inevitablymeans that it is open for less time..

Since "shutter speed" is measured in units of time, it's an obviousoxymoron..

It does not need a Japanese manual to murder the English language. You are doing a pretty good job by yourself. "Shutter Speed" is not an oxymoron - obvious or otherwise. An oxymoron is a figure of speech combining two normally contradictory terms often for rhetorical effect. There is nothing necessarily contradictory about a shutter and speed. The speed at which it opens and closes makes good sense to most of us with normal brainwave patterns..

In that sense, it is of no consequence that the shutter is evendescribed! I just thought that one added sentence (or part of asentence could cover all the amazing things that have happened since1990. That way, the beginners won't turn out like you. .

I have no problem with additions to help understanding..

A "Fast" lens to my mind is one which allows a fast shutter speed.(And what is your suggestion for an alternative term?).

I dunow?.

You're the one advocating change. Might be sensible to think things through before you post..

Since a lens is a receiver of radiation, like an antenna,why not use the description we use to describe antennas that are more"sensitive"? A sensitive lens seems OK to me..

Nowhere is there a reference to exposure time in my Nikon manuals butthere are several references to shutter speed..

All Japlish manuals are worthless, especially as references forcorrect English usage..

Your comment smacks of zenophobia and is out of place on an international forum. The English in my D50 and D80 manuals is perfectly OK (and far removed from the sometimes comical English of 40 years ago). The manuals do not go anything like far enough in explaining how to make best use of the camera describing only the bare functions and not the best application of them. But that has nothing to do with the English translation..

Your suggestions have no place in a beginners's primer..

I accept your judgment (for what it is), but want to hear from thebeginners. After all, this forum is for them, not you. You don't havea clue what real beginners want and need..

And what makes you think that you do?.

Chris Elliott.

*Nikon* D Eighty + Fifty - Other equipment in Profile.

Http://PlacidoD.Zenfolio.com/..

Comment #5

And I have read an awful lot of information on this website, in photomagazines, and in photography books so that I can take full advantage of what my camera can do to assist me in capturing images. Understanding the terms ISO, Shutter Speed, and aperture and how setting each one produces a certain result is difficult enough to grasp. But to replace new phrases to these universally accepted terms is totally confusing. (Perhaps the phrase "universally accepted" is wrong to use, I should instead say "world wide accepted" as I have no knowledge of what phrase is used in the universe outside of Earth.).

For example, until the International Organization of Standards came along and published standardsyou could go to Germany and buy DIN sensitive film. You can go to the USA and buy ASA sensitive film and if you were in the United Kingdom, you would buy ISO sensitive film. You had to bring along a chart when visiting Germany to figure out the ASA equivalent film speed and vice versa. So to avoid the confusion, I always bought several little yellow boxes of Kodak film and two camera bodies with different ASA speed film to accomodate in-door and out-door photography whenever I visited Europe. I also found out that unless my camera was German in origin, sometimes the German made film did not fit the sprokets of my made in Japan but sold in America camera..

Here is another example of confusionI have yet to find another country besides the United States that is not on the metric standard. Even though most of the products we buy is scaled in metricswhy can't my lens be 18 ft X 200 feet?.

I own a Sony A700 camera. The manual that came with this camera discusses ISO, Shutter speed, and aperture as part of the function of taking a photograph. As a beginner, I use the information in my camera's manual and the advise I've read on this website to understand the settings of my camera. So I am already being trained to use these phrases anyway..

In my world, photography is a fascinating hobby and if I were good enough and people would want to buy into my vision of the world around me and purchase one of my photographs, I would not spend my time talking about the ISO/shutter speed/aperture setting of the photographunless I was talking to another photographer. I would say something like I took this photograph in Texas when the sun was just peaking above the horizon. It was a cloudless day but towards the west the wind was blowing and stiirring the water surface.....

Mr. Davis, your idea of adding additional phrases to these terms is informative but to replace them outright with your teminology would be confusing..

I have read some of your other postings with regard to these photographic phrases and I too reacted to your use of the words 'Japglish' and 'dumb' in the same way as Mr. Eliott did, when he suggested that your comments were somewhat distasteful in this international forum..

It is ironic that you have nothing but Japanese made cameras. Do you loath the fact that there is no American manufacturer of photographic equipment? I do. I don't like the fact that Toyota is the number 2 provider of motorcars in the United States and it is fixin' to take away the number 1 spot from GM. I don't like the fact that Motorola can't make a cellphone like Nokia or Samsung. I don't like the idea that Boeing is number two to Airbus. And finally, I don't like the fact that the US Dollar is so weak that even Canadians and Europeans are flying into our country on their Airbus jet airplanes and buying all our stuff.



Sorry...getting carried away.....

Matt..

Comment #6

Mattwoelfsen wrote:.

And I have read an awful lot of information on this website, inphotomagazines, and in photography books so that I can take fulladvantage of what my camera can do to assist me in capturing images.Understanding the terms ISO, Shutter Speed, and aperture and howsetting each one produces a certain result is difficult enough tograsp. But to replace new phrases to these universally accepted termsis totally confusing. (Perhaps the phrase "universally accepted" iswrong to use, I should instead say "world wide accepted" as I have noknowledge of what phrase is used in the universe outside of Earth.).

My point is that, yes these phrases are generally used, but as a beginner gets into photography farther, terms like "fast" start to confuse them. How can there be a fast lens and a fast shutter speed? These questions appear every week! My belief is that if you had started with "proper" descriptions from the beginning, it would benefit you. I do understand that trying to change this is impossible..

For example, until the International Organization of Standards camealong and published standardsyou could go to Germany and buy DINsensitive film. You can go to the USA and buy ASA sensitive film andif you were in the United Kingdom, you would buy ISO sensitive film.You had to bring along a chart when visiting Germany to figure outthe ASA equivalent film speed and vice versa. So to avoid theconfusion, I always bought several little yellow boxes of Kodak filmand two camera bodies with different ASA speed film to accomodatein-door and out-door photography whenever I visited Europe. I alsofound out that unless my camera was German in origin, sometimes theGerman made film did not fit the sprokets of my made in Japan butsold in America camera..

Yes, it's a mess. Even with almost everything on a camera metric, the threads for the tripod on the bottom are 1/4" x 20 TPI..

Here is another example of confusionI have yet to find anothercountry besides the United States that is not on the metric standard.Even though most of the products we buy is scaled in metricswhycan't my lens be 18 ft X 200 feet?.

Because a lens that big could not be transported across country by anything other than a special 747? Heck, even an 18 in X 200 in lens would be a whopper... .

I own a Sony A700 camera. The manual that came with this cameradiscusses ISO, Shutter speed, and aperture as part of the function oftaking a photograph. As a beginner, I use the information in mycamera's manual and the advise I've read on this website tounderstand the settings of my camera. So I am already being trainedto use these phrases anyway..

Hmmm... you must be strange. Most people who buy a camera don't RTFM..

In my world, photography is a fascinating hobby and if I were goodenough and people would want to buy into my vision of the worldaround me and purchase one of my photographs, I would not spend mytime talking about the ISO/shutter speed/aperture setting of thephotographunless I was talking to another photographer. I would saysomething like I took this photograph in Texas when the sun was justpeaking above the horizon. It was a cloudless day but towards thewest the wind was blowing and stiirring the water surface.....

I can't visualize that. Do you have a pic? .

Mr. Davis, your idea of adding additional phrases to these terms isinformative but to replace them outright with your teminology wouldbe confusing..

Probably so. I just hate to see new photographers growing up to be as ignorant as the current crop is. .

I have read some of your other postings with regard to thesephotographic phrases and I too reacted to your use of the words'Japglish' and 'dumb' in the same way as Mr. Eliott did, when hesuggested that your comments were somewhat distasteful in thisinternational forum..

I fully intended them to be uncomplimentary. It's time to get the Japanese manufacturers to STOP shipping us worthless manuals..

It is ironic that you have nothing but Japanese made cameras. Do youloath the fact that there is no American manufacturer of photographicequipment?.

In fact, I grew up with Kodak. My dad had several Kodak cameras. I now own them. BTW, my first two digital cameras were Kodaks..

I do..

I loath the fact that Kodak could not find competent executives to lead it..

If you talk to businessmen that deal with Kodak, you will find that they don't like the way Kodak does business. I'm talking about camera stores (there aren't many) and drug stores/big-box stores that deal in photo services. They hate Kodak. I think their outside sales staff are rejects from the pharmaceutical industry..

Charlie DavisNikon 5700, Sony R1, Nikon D300HomePage: http://www.1derful.infoBridge Blog: http://www.here-ugo.com/BridgeBlog/..

Comment #7

I think for chuxter's suggestions, there are two things to look at. This is a beginner's guide. I'm fairly new, starting in July of 2007, so not long. One thing is why in the world would you put terms that are not industry standard into a beginner's guide? If you want to make a point that the terms as an industry should change, that's one thing, but to just start doing it on a beginner's guide is completely different. How would you feel, if this was the guide you read.. you think you have a handle on things, you learned all these great terms "Lens sensitivity, Exposure Time, etc etc" and you are ready to get to a more advanced level so you get a book, and NONE of these are talked about.

Plus communicating with other photogs would be even more confusing for the beginner and the experienced person. Why do this?? Like it or not, the terms are the terms and a beginner should learn the accepted, industry standard terms..

I do see your point on shutter speed - I wouldn't say it's an oxymoron but as speed is defined a some "unit" over time, shutter speed isn't technically a speed, like the speed of a car, miles per hour (or kilometers per hour for everyone else). However, it should be noted that unlike distance which is measured differently for just about everything (English vs Metric system, or even what it's measure - speed of a car, speed of light, speed a turtle), the "unit" that is being measures is important in those cases. however, the unit is a "constant" in the camera - no matter what, it's describing how long the shutter is opened and the sensor/film exposed. It doesn't change. So I don't think the term is necessarily incorrect, although it's probably different than what we normally think of as speeds. When we say the shutter speed is 1/60th of a second, it's shorthand for saying, the shutter took 1/60th of a second to move from closed to opened back to closed again.

If I say, the car moved 60 miles in one huor, that is also a speed, it's 60MPH. Or if you say, the car moved 30 miles in 15 minutes, that is also a speed. The difference is in a lot of other things, we normalize the time to a particular unit - distance moved per unit of time. It makes sense in those cases. The information is most helpful presented in this format.

In photography, it's normalizing the distance (in this case the shutter opening and closing) and measuring the time. Doesn't make it less valid..

Fast lens is one thing that to me, as a beginner, I was confused about. But that's okay. Part of the terminology. Part of the history. Now I know, and it's not hard. If you changed it to say, "Lens Sensitivity", then that may be more confusing b/c you also have ISO, which is sensor sensitity.

Fast lens makes sense once it's explained..

I guess I don't see these terms as outdated. And even if they are, they are still applicable and are certainly not obsolete. There are many instances of things being quoted a certain way simply for historical reasons. Nothing wrong with that..

In my opinion, I don't think the terms belong in a beginner's guide at all b/c it'll not serve the beginner. And I don't think a revolution in the terms used needs to occur b/c the terms used are fine as they are..

Just trying to learn.

Blog: http://novicephotog.blogspot.com/Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/9778447@N07/..

Comment #8

Mattwoelfsen wrote (completely off topic, but interesting):.

I don't like the fact that Toyota is the number 2provider of motorcars in the United States and it is fixin' to takeaway the number 1 spot from GM..

I think Toyota is already #1. I grew up with American cars. When I started buying cars, I wanted a "sports car" and there was nothing American made that qualified. Yes, I tried a Corvair (the worst car I had) and a Corvette (would not go around corners...but it got 13.5 MPG regardless of how I drove it.). I had a couple of British cars (which were fun, but unreliable). Then I bought a Porsche.



But a family car is a different issue. I had a Ford once. It was junk after 40,000 miles. All the Japanese cars were jewels (Datsun, Mazda, Toyota). I currently have a Honda with 185,000 miles (I finally had to replace the clutch recently! Still has the OEM water pump and alternator!) and a new Prius (which gets 46 MPG in the winter and 50 MPG in the summer). I had one Korean car...a Hyundai Santa Fe (it was a good car...my son is driving it)..

I do not only buy Japanese products. I try to buy the BEST product, regardless of the country of origin. I would LOVE to find an American car that is better than the foreign offerings! I would love to find Kodak actually building something in the US that takes good pix! Neither of these will happen during the rest of my life. .

I don't like the fact that Motorola can't make a cellphone like Nokia or Samsung..

We currently have two Motorola cellphones. But we won't make that mistake again!.

But part of the problem is that our phone service providers rent us @#$% systems. The once great AT&T is the worst! Have you noticed that instead of fixing what is wrong, these companies just change their names every 5 years! And Americans forget who they are and continue to give these worthless companies their business....

I don't like the idea that Boeing is number two to Airbus..

Why not? All they have to do is compete with a better product... .

Perhaps you should consider how the Europeans felt for years when Boeing was the only choice?.

And finally, I don't like thefact that the US Dollar is so weak that even Canadians and Europeansare flying into our country on their Airbus jet airplanes and buyingall our stuff..

That is a stupid reaction! Selling our stuff to other country's is EXACTLY what we need to be doing!!! Duh....

Did you hear the news last week that the CEO ofCitibank went to China to sell part of the bank to Chinese investorsto keep Citibank afloat? What is the world comin' to?.

No, I didn't hear that. Why would I be surprized? Citibank has been buying up smaller banks for years...just like all the banks. The former small banks are just "branches" of the mega-banks. Now, there are no more small banks to buy..

Sorry...getting carried away.....

No, I think you are typical. Most Americans don't have a clue. The truth is that our standard of living is unsupportable..

Did you hear about the North American Union (Canada, USA, and Mexico)? Do you understand why our borders are "open"? In spite of promises to close them, it will not happen. Do you know that politicians of both parties refuse to discuss these issues? Do you know why?.

Charlie DavisNikon 5700, Sony R1, Nikon D300HomePage: http://www.1derful.infoBridge Blog: http://www.here-ugo.com/BridgeBlog/..

Comment #9

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This question was taken from a support group/message board and re-posted here so others can learn from it.

 

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