Terminology Questions
OK, I have bought a new Canon A720 - it's on the way. In the mean time I have printed out the book, to learn how to use it - or at least give it a good read. However, I am having trouble -.

I am TOTALLY new to all of this and want to use all of the features of this camera (when my old cameras mentioned things like this - IF THEY DID - I ignored them...but this time I am determined to learn).

So, could anyone point me to somewhere that might give a definition and how to use or WHY to use some of these?.

Things like noise, ISO, aperture, shutter speed and macro - I feel pretty stupid for asking but any help would be very well appreciated!.


Comments (13)

Look at the "Learn/Glossary" section of this website for good basic information and definitions...

Comment #1

Bryan Peterson - Understanding Exposure (Revised Edition)Might be the book your looking for...

Comment #2

There are a lot of good photography books that explain the basic concepts of photography which cover, in detail, the questions you are asking. Doing an intenet search on these terms will also yield many good articles/explanation on this..

But, so as not to leave you empty handed as you leave this thread in your quest for more information, here is a general definition of the terms you are referring to:.

ISO - in digital cameras, it is the sensitivity of the camera's sensor to light falling on the sensor. Low #'s give better quality, but makes the sensor less sensitive to available light. High #'s give better light sensitivity (for low light pic taking), but introduce more grain to the picture..

Aperture - how much light is allowed to enter the camera..

Shutter speed - the length of time that the light is allowed to enter the camera..

Marco - polo.

Oh, you typed macro (sorry, cheap joke .

Macro - a term used (along with micro) to indicate the taking of a close-up picture, usually for flowers, bugs, etc..

OK, now see how that gave you the definition of these terms, but really didn't explain what they do, how they're used, how they affect one another, when and how they should be adjusted to achieve a certain look, etc... it's too much informartion to answer in a thread..

All of that information can be found in books and/or online. So go and search for enlightenment (another cheap attempt at humor... sorry), and may the force be with you!.

Albert-OColoradoPlease visit me at

Comment #3

[edit: I didn't notice the post right above mine until AFTER I posted this. Sorry!].

I'm gonna actually answer some of the questions instead of giving links or book titles but I'm not a book so don't use me as a substitute for one!.

Jaz_trio wrote:.

Things like noise, ISO, aperture, shutter speed and macro - I feelpretty stupid for asking but any help would be very well appreciated!.

Shutter - Determines how fast your camera will take the picture. If you have a limited amount of light, it will be a long exposure, and a lot of light, it will be a fast exposure. For example, 1/20 of a sec is considered pretty slow, and you will have to keep your hands steady for that amount of time otherwise it the picture will be blurry (or use a tripod). In contrast, 1/1000 is pretty fast, and you won't have any problem. Having a faster speed will allow you to stop motion too, like sports. Making the shutter faster takes in less light, and gives you darker pictures however.

Aperture - Controls "bokeh". Large apertures (small f-numbers) let in lots of light and makes things more out of focus where you focus. Smaller apertures (large f-numbers) give you more depth of field, but at the expense of less light..

ISO - Determines how sensitive your camera is to light. Higher ISO, more light is let in. But turning the ISO up leads to noise..

Noise - Noise is small, seemingly random dots that are sprinkled onto picures.There is color noise (random colors where they don't belong) and luminance noise (spots that have the same color where they are, just darker or brighter). Even though it's small, it makes your picture look rough and you'll lose sharpness with noise present. Good thing noise removal is so easy (I use Noise Ninja and it's really good) but with your camera, try not to push ISO 200 to minimize noise..

Macro - basically means close up. Macro lenses or modes allow you to get much physically closer to an object and still focus correctly..

Knowing the "big three" (shutter/aperture/iso), it's really all a balancing of light and making sure you get enough light while still being able to take the picture easily. For example, what if I want to stop motion, but not increase the ISO so I still get a clean picture? Use larger apertures. Or I could forget ISO, and change that, while keeping my aperture small for a better depth of field and shutter speed high to still stop motion. Or I could ignore shutter speed altogether and keep the aperture and ISO what I want, while letting the camera determine the shutter speed. Your camera has modes for this, except ISO (well, it does have AUTO ISO I think). P - Camera chooses both shutter + aperture.

Av - You choose aperture, camera chooses shutter speed. M - You choose both shutter + aperture..

You didn't include it, but metering modes control how your camera will determine the big three. You can use this to your advantage, as different metering modes are prone to error in different situations (although all will somewhat struggle with very light/dark colored environments)...

Comment #4

Oops, another edit. A larger aperture will give you more out of focus-ness behind or infront of the place you focus...

Comment #5

You could also check out this tutorial site:.


Cheers ..

Comment #6

Thank you all so much for taking the time out to answer these questions!.

Does anyone know of a good beginner website that might have some answers as to why you use each of these different things and why? Or a book (I will look to see if I can find the one already listed) .

Thanks again!..

Comment #7

Jaz_trio wrote:.

Thank you all so much for taking the time out to answer these questions!.

Does anyone know of a good beginner website that might have someanswers as to why you use each of these different things and why? Ora book (I will look to see if I can find the one already listed) .

Thanks again!.

You're wecome! I like "Photography" by John Freeman. Also, the Scott Kelby books are very good (I don't rememer the title of the one I'm thinking of... but is a smaller sized book... something... photography... something - that helps, huh?), just remember Scott Kelby, his photography books are very good..

Albert-OColoradoPlease visit me at

Comment #8

Deals with DSLRs, but mostly covers the same things (if you have the technology, it should function very similar - the only thing is that DSRLs are more exaggerated when compared to P&S's - ie can increase the ISO more, faster max shutter speed, etc):.


Oh btw, I think the poster above is talking about the digital photography book. It's okay, but the tone is either love it or hate it. Almost too casual, and there first chapter is filled so many "gotcha's" that it's ANNOYING...

Comment #9

Thank you all again, I will have to look to see what I can find, I dont have to much time to play, though think I will be having some fun - from what I have read in the manual - I can play with the apature (Spd) and it will adjust the rest of the other things (LOL Things) to make a good pictures - for like blurry backgrounds with subjects that pop - which I love the look of....

With, 2 kids, owning my own business and being single - reading tons of books I fear is not in the cards (that's why I printed out the manual, instead of waiting, it might take me till the camera gets here to read though it all - though I am almost done with it now, I am just excited.).

So thanks a ton for the suggestions, I need to get to the bookstore! ..

Comment #10

Glitched wrote:.

Oops, another edit. A larger aperture will give you more out offocus-ness behind or infront of the place you focus..

With all due respect, I think a discussion of DOF (and brokeh) is the last thing he should worry about right now..

I submit that he should understand that "aperture" is the opening in the lens which allows in light..

AND ... he must understand that there is something "confusing" about it;.

1. The largest opening, (most light), is actually the SMALLEST number (f/2.8 or f/4 or f/5.6);.

2. Whereas the smallest opening, (least light), is instead the largest number, (f/8 or f/11 or f/16)..

He must understand that the aperture (lens opening allowing light to enter); is combined with a shutter speed (the amount of time the light is allowed to enter); to produce the correct "exposure" for a correct image. (Not too bright or too dark.).

He must understand that a LARGER lens opeing (smaller number) can be combined with a SHORT shutter speed (1/250 or 1/500 or 1/1000) .....

OR ....

He can use a SMALLER lens opening (larger number) with a LONGER SHUTTER SPEED (1/30 or 1/60) and get the SAME exposure. Albeit ... the longer shutter speed may result in a blurry photo due to camera movement/shake..

HOWEVER ... in very low-light ... you may have to use BOTH a LARGER lens opening (for the most allowable light) ... and also combined with a long shutter speed to get an acceptable "exposure"..

GOOD NEWS ... in the above situation ... there may be another option ... you can also change your ISO to a HIGHER NUMBER (more sensitivity) .... and get acceptable exposure in lower light levels. (albeit, the higher ISO will inideed produce more NOISE in the image ...

I would suggest that he begin by trying to stay in the shutter speed range of 1/125 to 1/250 .... and use whatever aperture allows that exposure..

Thanks for reading .... JoePhoto.

( Do You Ever STOP to THINK and FORGET to START Again ??? )..

Comment #11

ISO, Shutter Speed, Aperture settings to produce a 'properly' exposed image..

It is not my creation, but once I got a look at this chart, a lot of what folks have posted on this website and what is written in my camera's manual regarding these three variables started to make sense. You may also want to print it out..



Comment #12

On this link, you have an interactive demo where you can change the aperture and the f-stop and the iso.....and actually 'see' what is happening. I found it very helpful and I think you will, too. Hope you'll check it out and experiment. And good luck..

Note, you can change it from Aperture Priority to Shutter Priiority, to can change the f-stops, aperture, iso, etc. Play around with it and you can learn a lot..

Http:// 510, 14-150 and 14-54 lens!U ZI owner!Olympus C30-20Z Member #98, Oly Division'Photography is the art of seeing what others do not.'.

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window..

Comment #13

Click Here to View All...

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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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