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Your DSLR camera settings made simple (graph) (1 image)
I have made a chart for new people to help them understand how proper exposure is obtained and how your camera's exposure settings affect the way your picture looks. This chart also applies to non-DSLR cameras, but you may not be able to change all the settings listed, depending on your camera. Here is it:.

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Here it is full-size for printing on photo paper:http://www.pbase.com/ericsorensen/image/52955921/original.

Hope this helps. I will answer any questions you may have..

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Bossier City, Louisianahttp://www.pbase.com/ericsorensen..

Comments (41)

...has it helped anybody? I originally made it for my wife, so she could understand her camera settings, but it can really help anybody new to photography..

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Bossier City, Louisianahttp://www.pbase.com/ericsorensen..

Comment #1

I will be showing this to my wife.im just learning and am horrible at explaining it..

Thank you...

Comment #2

I only have a P & S with manual controls, but it sure helped me to have the info on one graph. I don't have all the settings of a DSLR, but am considering getting one in the future. Thank you for taking the time to make the graph and share it with the newbies...

Comment #3

I will direct novice users to your image!.

Awesome!!!.

Http://www.stan-pustylnik.smugmug.com..

Comment #4

Excellent... as one that must "see" to understand, this graph is wonderful! and no frustration trying to explain! Thanks!..

Comment #5

Very good graphic that gives one a bit more mass on those things. It would be awesome to make a part 2 of your thing and show them, aperture, and aperture/shutter combo (although that already sounds far bigger and more complicated). But yeah, something along this line...

Comment #6

Well, I've printed it and think I'll be able to use it. I'm struggling to learn all the settings. This is the best explanation I've seen. Thanks for sharing!!!Roses64068..

Comment #7



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Bossier City, Louisianahttp://www.pbase.com/ericsorensen..

Comment #8

Since I'm getting ready to venture into the land of DSLR cameras, I think this will be a great help. Thank you, Eric!LucyU ZI owner!Olympus C30-20Zhttp://www.pbase.com/lucyFCAS Member #98, Oly Division'Photography is the art of seeing what others do not.'.

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Comment #9

Eric:.

Your missive is exactly what many of the noobs that consult this forum need. I think back to some of the things I have written in response to noob questions, and I realize that they probably had no idea what I was talking about..

Jerryhttp://jchoate.zenfolio.com/..

Comment #10

Excellent this is the most simplist and easiest explanation ive come acrossand I'm really dumb .

Steve..

Comment #11

Two suggestion....

In order to better explain WHEN you should make various selections, I'd make the pictures relevent..

1. For TV, I'd show a moving subject (bicycle, motorcycle, auto, etc). Then you can show a nice blur and a nice stop-action..

2. For aperture, I might show some type of landscape. Perhaps a flower with a small DOF, and a typical landscape with pin-point DOF..

3. For ISO, perhaps a challenging indoor shot that shows a high ISO shot nicely exposed, but with noise.Warm regards,DOF.

P.s. There are 3 types of people in the world. Those that can count, and those that cannot...

Comment #12

I've seen other graphs that go into more detail, and take up several more pages. I don't have the link, but I think it was from Photo.net or somewhere. I was just going for the basics and trying to get it all on one page. Thanks..

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Bossier City, Louisianahttp://www.pbase.com/ericsorensen..

Comment #13

Thanks for the chart. It's great for the complete photographer newbie (like me)..

Cheers!..

Comment #14

Your Chart is awesome! I like it's reader-friendliness!~ The Real dj Tru ~.

'Image quality is not the product of the machine, but of the person who directs the machine.' - Ansel A...

Comment #15

...the chart realy helps to see what each setting does - how it effects the exposure AND the look of the picture..

Bossier City, Louisianahttp://www.pbase.com/ericsorensen..

Comment #16

Thank you very much for your hard work and generosity. This will come in very handy!A picture is the expression of an impression.If the beautiful were not in us, how would we ever recognize it?Ernst Haas..

Comment #17

Eric Sorensen wrote:.

...has it helped anybody? I originally made it for my wife, so shecould understand her camera settings, but it can really help anybodynew to photography..

I'm far from a beginner, but my wife is, and, like many spouses, she's not exactly sure what her lesser half knows what he's talking about, regardless of how I make a living. This will definitely help with the simple camera she gets for Christmas! If nothing else, it tells her why to hold it still. I may actuallys ee what I can do to custom tailor such a chart to her P&S..

Charlie Selfhttp://www.charlieselfonline.com..

Comment #18

Yea, a friend of mine has a hard time grasping these concepts. This chart will help..

Perry.

__________________________.

Http://hellabella.de__________________________..

Comment #19

This should be in the Learn/Glossary section or it will get lost as the post ages...

Comment #20

I guess my point with the images is to show how the settings affect the same image differently, and not when to use them. Thanks for the commments..

Bossier City, Louisianahttp://www.pbase.com/ericsorensen..

Comment #21

Great graph for this newbie, thanks!.

Would you please comment on how to best use the camera/lens combination that resides here?.

It is a Canon 20D camera and 17-55 f2.8 lens - sort of came by this pair by no design at all, just what was relatively cheap (used) and easily availiable (at the local store)..

Nothing too technical, just which setting on the dial after the green square would be the next logical step in the learning process. Guess I'm curious about the fixed "2.8" - how is this an advantage or is it a disadvantage? I do notice, as your chart mentions, not much depth of field when photographing a large arrangement of flowers..

Maybe you could pass on the name of a good book on learning about this camera besides the product manual..

Thank you in advance, TomyJ..

Comment #22

I find your graph very useful - thank you! My question for you is how do you just know the proper exposure/settings for a shot? Does it just come with a lot of practice? I understand your graph and the relationship between the three elements, and how to adjust between the three but I find myself working thru about five shots to get the exposure where I want it. Maybe as I do this more it will come faster and more naturally but right now I find myself all ready to take a great shot but stall out and miss it becasue it takes me so long to get the exposure correct. Since I am a beginner I have not even really ventured into post processing yet and am trying really hard to get the shot right the first (or 5th or 6th) time  .

Should I keep working in Manual as I have been to learn this camera (Rebel XT)?.

I think I just need to keep practicing - If I am really missing something please let me know!Thanks,Melissa..

Comment #23

I always leave the camera to choose one of the 3 variables. Most of the time I choose the ISO and F-setting, and let the camera choose the shutter speed (Av mode). I keep an eye on the shutter speed and if I need a faster shutter speed, I up the ISO and the camera produces a faster shutter speed. Manual mode is tricky because light conditions change so fast..

The only time I use manual mode is if I have a flash attached, when I set the sutter speed, ISO, and F-setting, and the flash automatically varies the light output to get the correct expsure..

Bossier City, Louisianahttp://www.pbase.com/ericsorensen..

Comment #24

Thanks for taking the time to post this chart.mead..

Comment #25

...if they want to use it. Thanks for the suggestion..

Bossier City, Louisianahttp://www.pbase.com/ericsorensen..

Comment #26

That is a great set up. The next step would be to put the camera in Av mode, and use the wheel by the shutter button and dial down the lens to f2.8. Set your ISO to 200 in daylight or 800 indoors, and let the camera choose the shutter speed. Make sure the shutter speed is at least 1/100 of a second if you are shooting people. The wheel in the back is now your exposure compensation, so make sure it is in the middle of the exposure line on the LCD. Hope that helps..

Bossier City, Louisianahttp://www.pbase.com/ericsorensen..

Comment #27

Many thanks to you for posting this. My fiancee decided she wanted my D50 when I bought my D200. She knows nothing about SLR photography and will listen to anyone but me. This should help her so much more than I could ever(unless she decided to listen to me for a change).Jeremy.

Everyone's an idiot sometimes, I just advertise.A few of my feeble attempts athttp://www.jeremyrwilliams.com/coppermine orhttp://s199.photobucket.com/albums/aa203/jrw1275/..

Comment #28

I've just made the leap to a DSLR and there is so much to learn! So your chart is extremely helpful and I do appreciate your making it available to the rest of us..

I've printed it out to tuck in my camera bag. Thanks again.LucyE- 510 w/2 lens kit!U ZI owner!Olympus C30-20Zhttp://www.pbase.com/lucyFCAS Member #98, Oly Division'Photography is the art of seeing what others do not.'..

Comment #29

Thanks Eric, I was reading my digital camera book last night...and thinking how am I gonna remember all this. I decided I would create a picture / graph to help me .....but you've already done it for me.Thanks again!I'll print this out and keep it in my camera bagJoB..

Comment #30

Can I make some suggestions?.

1. Although "shutter speed" is common, it's also wrong. Things that are measured in seconds are not speeds, but rather times. I suggest you change the heading to "exposure time"..

2. Your 3 selections of settings that are labeled "safe range' are not ranges, but rather individual values. A better name might be "sweet spot"?.

3. There is no such thing as an "ISO". The thing normally called "ISO" is "sensitivity" and it's units are defined by ISO, which is an organization that publishes specifications. ISO publishes thousands of specs, one of which defines several methods of measuring and specifying digital camera sensitivity..

4. It's normal in western cultures to proceed from L to R..

How about something like:.

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Charlie DavisNikon 5700 & Sony R1HomePage: http://www.1derful.infoBridge Blog: http://www.here-ugo.com/BridgeBlog/..

Comment #31

Thanks for the help, I write these tid-bits down in back of my camera manual, if I read a review and they give a sugestion, like better shots with noise filter off, it goes in the back of the manual for quick reference.Tim..

Comment #32

I'm a newbie to this and I want to make sure that I understand what the graphs are saying..

So basically, I just need to line up the shutter speed and the aperature based on that chart to get the proper exposure?.

So if I'm in full manual mode, I should pick an aperature of f/8, 1/250 sec or f/5.6 and 1/125 sec?..

Comment #33

Eric's creation is not designed to calculate anything, but rather to show relationships.

Sgt_Strider wrote:.

I'm a newbie to this and I want to make sure that I understand whatthe graphs are saying..

So basically, I just need to line up the shutter speed and theaperature based on that chart to get the proper exposure?.

No, his purpose is NOT to calculate exposure, but to show what ELSE, other than exposure, changes when you adjust the 3 "knobs" that affect exposure.

So if I'm in full manual mode, I should pick an aperature of f/8,1/250 sec or f/5.6 and 1/125 sec?.

I'd suggest that you need to first decide which of the 3 consequences of setting expsoure is most important. If you are trying to photograph fast moving objects, then you need to move the exposure time setting toward the "less motion blurr" end of the diagram. This will require that the sensitivity and/or aperture be moved in the opposite direction. The diagram predicts that these settings, together will allow you to photograph the fast moving object with less motion blur, but will also increase the noise (grain) and reduce the DOF..

Charlie DavisNikon 5700 & Sony R1HomePage: http://www.1derful.infoBridge Blog: http://www.here-ugo.com/BridgeBlog/..

Comment #34

Thanks, Eric. Your chart is very helpful.Tom JamesSilver Bay, NYPBase Supporter..

Comment #35

I kind of like it the way I have it. I read it from left to right. You don't add up the values to get a correct exposure - what I was showing is the direction (up or down) that will give you dark or lighter images based on the "key" at the left..

Anyway, thanks for your thoughts. They are good ideas, and are probably more correct..

Bossier City, Louisianahttp://www.pbase.com/ericsorensen..

Comment #36

I think this will help my wife greatly, also myself! lol, will be printing this out and putting it in her box! thanks again and hope wifey likes her xmas present! this will make her understand her camera better!..

Comment #37

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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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