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Introduction to Exposure Settings and Modes in a DLSR Camera

Photography is very popular today, both as a profession and a hobby. It is a great medium of capturing rare and precious moments. With the advancement in image processing and optical technologies, photography has become even more advanced. Digital photography has been in existence since years, and now the introduction of the DSLR Cameras have brought the High speed Photography into action. These cameras might be a little expensive but the fact is that they ve brought an all new revolution in the science of photography.


Understanding the Exposure in a DSLR Camera You re interested in photography, you ve invested 20,000 bucks on a DSLR camera, now what? Here are some basic terminologies which together decide the exposure in a DSLR. Getting familiar with these will certainly help you get hands on any DSLR:
  • ISO - With respect to images, ISO refers to the sensitivity of camera to light. The higher is the ISO count, the lesser light is required to click a photograph which is properly exposed. Properly exposed means that the picture is neither too dark and nor too light. ISOs typically range between 100 and 1600. Sequential increase in ISO count is generally 100, 200, 400, 800, and 1600.
01_aperture_basics_2 source: pgphotoclub.com

Generally, since there is enough of natural light in the daylight, an ISO of 100 or 200 is used outdoors. However, there is quite less light in the indoors (in the absence of a flash), so you take the ISO up to 400 or even more in order to bring more light into the picture.

  • Shutter Speed - Shutter speed is how fast/slow a camera takes a picture. This depends upon how longer the shutter is open to allow the light to enter and reach the camera s sensor.
Shutter speed is measured in fractions of seconds. The shutter speed value in most of the DSLR cameras usually doubles (approximately) with each change in setting, like 1/500, 1/250, 1/125, 1/60, 1/30, 1/15, 1/8 etc .


To freeze a activity in an image (like in the bullet shot above) you ll have to choose a greater shutter speed and to blur a movement you ll have to choose a lower shutter speed Note: The larger is the denominator the faster the speed, like 1/500 is much faster than 1/15.
  • Aperture - Aperture setting is used to control the amount of light entering into the camera lens. Aperture is actually the diameter of the lens opening. The larger is the diameter (or aperture), the more light enters and reaches the image sensor.The value of aperture is given as F-Stop or F-Number , expressed as f2.8, f4, f5.6, f8, f11 etc.


Some Common Modes in a DSLR Camera The above mentioned exposure settings can be used manually in ISO priority mode, Shutter Priority Mode, Aperture priority mode or the Manual mode. However, in addition to these, there are a number of other preset modes in a DSLR camera. Mode_Dials_Nikon_D60 Modes Dial in a Nikon DSLR Automatic Mode - A newly bought DSLR is quite likely to be set in Automatic mode. This mode is used when you want the camera to choose the best possible exposure settings exposure settings and auto-focusing while taking a picture. 40d-dial Modes Dial in a Canon DSLR No Flash Mode - The no flash mode works similar to the automatic mode, but prevents the discharge of flash. This mode could be used if you want the camera to adjust the exposure without using any flash. This mode could also be useful at places where the flash is banned, like a church or a zoo.Using this mode could possibly lead to some interesting and sometimes annoying effects. Portrait Mode - This mode is used while taking portraits. In this mode the camera automatically chooses a larger aperture value which can separate the subject from the background. Portrait mode is preferred while shooting a single subject with minimum distractions from the background.


Landscape Mode - This mode is used for capturing Landscapes. Unlike a portrait, which has a single subject, landscape is a scene with a large depth of field. In this mode, the camera selects a small aperture value by default, thereby allowing lesser light to reach the camera s sensor, leading to a lower shutter speed.

Beautiful Best Landscape-045

Macro Mode - The macro mode on the camera is preferred for capturing subjects which are very close. This mode is generally used while shooting small insects, flowers etc. In this mode, the camera selects medium to small aperture values for widening the depth of field in the photo.


Sports Mode - This mode is used for freezing an activity in the picture. In sports mode, the camera chooses a faster shutter speed to freeze the moment or a fast moving subject, like a racing car. This is done by increasing the ISO speed and using a lower aperture (f-stop) number to allow more light to reach the sensor for increasing the shutter speed.


Night Portrait Mode - This mode is similar to portrait mode but is used in presence of lower light levels.

4526148694_69f0fae323_zNow that you have learnt about various modes in a DSLR camera, don't limit yourself to the "Auto" mode!

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KALYAN KAR 23/10/2013

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