Basics of a Using a DSLR Camera for Dummies

When ever you are taking a photo, 3 elements should balance:

  1. Shadows - any thing black without detail
  2. Highlights - anything white
  3. Midtones - in between the black and the white
There are three kinds of lenses:

1. Prime lens are fixed lens
  • Pros:
    • lighter because it has less glass elements
    • sharper
  • Cons:
    • f is set
    • can't zoom
2. Zoom lens 
  • Pros:
    • allows you to set f
  • Cons
    • More expensive
3. Fast lens
  • Pros:
    • Lower f
  • Cons
    • Very expensive
Three Settings of a DSLR (This triangle should always be balanced)

1. Shutter Speed 
  • Controls the speed of the second shutter curtain
  • The slower the shutter speed leads to longer exposure and more light coming in 
  • When set to 1 it is the whole number and photo tends to blur because more sensitive to movement but can be reduced to fractions
    • Slower shutter speed more light
    • Faster shutter speed  less light
2. Aperture (f stop or opening) 
  • Controls the blade behind the lens
  • Usually you can control this in your DSLR by pressing AV then scroll
  • Number is in decimal
  • Smaller f means more opening and that you are zooming out and it will produce sharpness in all layers
    • Smaller f number = more light
    • Bigger f number =  less light
3. ISO
  • Controls behind the mirror of your camera
  • This is the light sensitivity
  • The higher the ISO, the more sensitive it is to light 
    • Higher ISO = more light
    • Lower ISO = less light
Functions You Should Understand
  • Close up or Macro/Micro (Nikon)
  • Portrait 
    • blurs the background
  • Landscape 
    • Infinity
      • focus until the deepest depth 
      • smallest aperture
  • Sports
    • faster shutter
  • Semi-manual or Semi-Auto 
    • AV (Canon) / A (Olympus or Nikon) - aperture priority
      • Control ISO and aperture
    • TV 
      • Control shutter and ISO
    • P
      • Control ISO
  • Manual (M) - Control everything like the white balance, ISO, aperture and shutter speed
    • Always use the lightmeter to control brightness
Metering Modes

1. Matrix or Evaluative
  • balance whole frame
2. Center weighted or partial 
  • almost the same as matrix but focus on the center
3. Spot
  • Suggested metering mode to get best results since you don't change the metering modes often
White Balance Modes
  • Tungsten or Incandescent (Nikon) - yellowish and is used to contrast blue
  • White Fluorescent -  bluish with shades of green which turns white to yellow
  • Cloudy - Yellow which turns white into yellowish
  • Flash - Yellow to add effects
Image Formats
  • MF - not used often
  • Raw - for clear editing but occupies a larger space; best used for printing in high resolution
  • JPEG - for common editing

Other Terms You Should Know
  • Focus
    • sharp part of the photo
  • Bokeh
    • blurred part of a photo
    • creamy or soft
How to Use Speedlite 580 EX II
1. The Master Mode Button can be activated by pressing the Zoom Button.
2. Flash modes: (Press MODE button)  
    a. ETTL - considers the following: 
  • focal length
  • distance
  • apeture
  • shutter 
  • ISO
    b. Manual 
    c. Multi
3. zoom (harsh or spread)
4. high speed sync (3rd button) - override camera speed
5. flash output power(Turn the wheel) 1/1 (full power), 1/2, 1/4 (ideal), 1/8, 1/16... 1/128 (lowest power) - estimate light with distance to ceiling
6. Shutter Speed affects background