If you’ve just bought your first DSLR camera, after unpacking, you may be surprised by the number of different settings and buttons on the camera.
As a result you also may just switch the camera to “AUTO” and no longer bother the rest right? But think about how many opportunities you will lose by doing so!
Now let’s try to at least understand how to use your sparkling brand new camera in the right way 🙂
How To Operate A Digital Camera
1. Shooting Modes
- Aperture (Av or A)
Aperture priority mode is actually a semi-automatic mode. In this mode, you set the aperture, and the camera sets the shutter speed automatically. Most would say that this is the best way to learn photography.
The larger the aperture, the more light reaches the sensor. Aperture is measured in feet and commonly referred to as f /
The larger the aperture, the smaller the number following. For example f / 2 is larger than f / 16.
Aperture is one of the key parameters of photography. It affects the depth of field. Depth of field determines how much focus you have.
Greater depth of field is achieved with a smaller aperture meaning that the focus would cover a wider range.
- – Shutter (Tv or S)
Shutter is also a semi-automatic mode. That is, the photographer sets the shutter speed and the camera sets the aperture automatically.
Shutter speed is measured in seconds (usually in fractions of a second) and determines the time during which the light passes through the lens. The slower the speed, the more light reaches the sensor.
In order to “freeze” the motion (when shooting sports, children, animals) you need to set a faster shutter speed.
- – Program (P)
Program mode is a cross between semi-automatic mode and full manual mode. In Program mode, you can set both the aperture and shutter speed and the camera will take care of the rest.
For example, if you set the aperture, the camera will adjust the shutter speed, and if you set the shutter speed, the camera will adjust the aperture.
This mode gives you the freedom to choose what to monitor: the aperture or shutter speed without changing modes.
- – Manual (M)
Here you set everything manually. The viewfinder indicators will help you with this.
Practical Advice: As a first step to avoid the AUTO mode, begin with Aperture priority mode or Shutter speed mode.
ISO determines light sensitivity of the sensor. ISO can have values ranging from 100 (low sensitivity) to 6,400 (high sensitivity) and higher. It controls the amount of light that is necessary to achieve the desired exposure.
At low values ISO requires more light, but at high ISO, respectively, you will need less light to reach the same exposure value.
DSLR cameras have several Auto Focus (AF) modes, but for understanding on how to use DSLR camera in focus mode two of them are most important: AF-S and AF-C.
AF-S is a single autofocus. It is ideal for static photography, such as portraits, landscapes, buildings, monuments, etc. Press the shutter button halfway to set the focus.
If after aligning the focus you want to focus on something else, then you need to let go of the shutter button, choose another subject and press again.
AF-C is a continuous (tracking) focus. This mode is ideal for shooting moving objects, such as sporting events or wildlife.
When you press the shutter button the focus in this mode will follow the object. This will continue until you fully press the shutter button.