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Aperture and Shutter speed priority
#1
Hi to all members, I am using a Fujifilm SL1000 bridge camera and have stuck to the Auto settings. Now I would like to progress, and understand Aperture, Shutter Speed priority as well as ISO settings. I have looked at a few examples on social media, and I find it quite daunting (I know, a thicko). In view of this I would like a DUMMIES explanation on this subject, as I am struggling to comprehend. Many thanks in advance.
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#2
Hey Mantone.

I always think of the three main manual settings - shutter speed, aperture, and ISO - as having two main functions each. One is to let more or less light in, or in the case of ISO, to be more sensitive to light which kind of amounts to a similar thing. And then we have the second function... which I'll talk about in a sec, but let's just say for now that second function is more artistic, it's more about you getting the effect you want.

So firstly, let's think about that light. Every photo has a point at which it can be declared a good exposure. Like everything, this is subjective. I prefer dark shots, and people say my work is under-exposed, but let's assume we all appreciate something approaching a nice light, but not too bright, shot. When you're on you're Auto settings the camera will give you this. Every one's happy.

If you're on manual settings, then you have to adjust those settings yourself to give you that nice exposure. I know you're asking about aperture or shutter priority, not manual, but bear with me. If your image is too dark you have three choices - slow the shutter speed (the shutter is open longer, it lets more light in, your image is brighter), open the aperture wider (the hole is bigger, it lets more light in, your image is brighter), or set the ISO to a more sensitive level (for any given amount of light the sensor picks up more of that light, hence the image is brighter). So you choose one of those options and hey ho, a nicely exposed image.

But now let's consider the second functions of aperture and shutter speed (more on ISO later). In addition to letting more or less light in they will also do this:

Shutter Speed - will allow you to blur images, or make images sharp. What I mean by this is that a slow shutter speed, whilst letting more light in, will also mean your images are more likely to be blurred. A high shutter speed, whilst letting less light in, will mean any movement in your picture is frozen. Now, which is best? In generally people like sharp images, so they tend to go for high shutter speed so the images are more likely to be sharp. If you're holding the camera by hand then a high shutter speed is a must to stop your natural hand shake ruining the picture. However, if you want to capture movement, say a dancer and you want the image blurred for artistic reasons, then a slow shutter speed might be just the job.

Aperture's second function is depth of field (how much of a picture is in focus, depthwise) - a big aperture let's more light in but also means that the depth of field is reduced. A small aperture means less light gets in, but the depth of field is good throughout. Which is best? If you're taking a portrait and want the background nicely blurred use a big aperture (small depth of field). If you're taking a landscape and you want as much of the image in focus as possible (i.e a largedepth of field ) then you'll need a small aperture. (As an aside, big aperture have small numbers e.g. f/1.8, small apertures have big numbers f/11. It's just the way it is!).

So you can see you have a light decision to make (do I need more or less light) and an artistic decision - what depth of field do I want, do I want the image blurred or sharp? Or a mixture of both.

So, let's go back to your question - priority mode and shutter speed mode.

Set your camera on Shutter Speed Priority and you're basically saying, I want control over the shutter speed so I can get the artistic effect I want (blurred movement, or sharpness) and I'll let the camera do whatever it needs to do with Aperture and ISO to get the right amount of light. i.e. you're in control of the artistic bit, the cameras in control of the nice exposure.

Set you're camera to Aperture priority and you're saying I want to choose my own depth of field, but I'm happy for the camera to do whatever it needs to with shutter speed and ISO to take care of the overall exposure.

It's a halfway house between auto and manual.

Now if you want to control the depth of field and the blurred / sharpness effect then you need to go full manual...

Regarding ISO, what you might find your camera doing in these priority modes is pushing the ISO up - i.e. making it more sensitive. This a safe bet for the camera - can effectively let more light in (or be more sensitive to light) without changing shutter or aperture very much. The downside, is that the higher the ISO the more grain/noise that you get in your image. Get too high an ISO and even if the picture is perfectly exposed the grain and noise can spoil it. More on that another day!
Cheers
Derek
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#3
I would echo Del's point on Aperture Priority. I shot this way for many years (and still do at times) and felt it gave me good control over an image, while still being somewhat autonomous. It's a good starting ground on getting out of fully auto.

The way shutter speed, ISO and Aperture interact is known as the "Exposure triangle" and I would suggest looking that up on YouTube as a good starting point, there are some very good, easy to follow tutorials on there.
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#4
(Jul 26, 2017, 14:35)EnglishBob Wrote: I would echo Del's point on Aperture Priority. I shot this way for many years  (and still do at times) and felt it gave me good control over an image, while still being somewhat autonomous.  It's a good starting ground on getting out of fully auto.

The way shutter speed, ISO and Aperture interact is known as the "Exposure triangle" and I would suggest looking that up on YouTube as a good starting point, there are some very good, easy to follow tutorials on there.
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#5
Many thanks for your response, will take a look on YouTube.

mantone
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#6
(Jul 27, 2017, 01:46)mantone Wrote: Many thanks for your response, will take a look on YouTube.

mantone

There are many good videos, but I personally find Mike Browne and Tony Northrup have great easy-to-understand explanations. Good luck with it.
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#7
Many thanks for all your input on this matter, I am now much better able to master the "[b]Exposure triangle[b].
Feel much more confident now thank you all.

mantone
Tony
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#8
Some of you may find these posts interesting:

https://grahamsword.wordpress.com/2013/1...-tutorial/

https://grahamsword.wordpress.com/2013/0...-tutorial/
GrahamS
Take my advice.  I'm not using it.Wink

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#9
(Jul 26, 2017, 08:39)mantone Wrote: Hi to all members, I am using a Fujifilm SL1000 bridge camera and have stuck to the Auto settings. Now I would like to progress, and understand Aperture, Shutter Speed priority as well as ISO settings. I have looked at a few examples on social media, and I find it quite daunting (I know, a thicko). In view of this I would like a DUMMIES explanation on this subject, as I am struggling to comprehend. Many thanks in advance.

Try looking up Joshua Cripps on YouTube, who in my opinion does excellent and easy to understand videos on your topic.
Reply
#10
(Aug 9, 2017, 13:39)Joe Beard Wrote:
(Jul 26, 2017, 08:39)mantone Wrote: Hi to all members, I am using a Fujifilm SL1000 bridge camera and have stuck to the Auto settings. Now I would like to progress, and understand Aperture, Shutter Speed priority as well as ISO settings. I have looked at a few examples on social media, and I find it quite daunting (I know, a thicko). In view of this I would like a DUMMIES explanation on this subject, as I am struggling to comprehend. Many thanks in advance.

Try looking up Joshua Cripps on YouTube, who in my opinion does excellent and easy to understand videos on your topic.
Reply
#11
Delb0y has given an excellent explanation.

Here is a classic situation he describes.  I was shooting bees going about their business in a lilac bush on a very windy day.  I normally shoot in manual mode, but on this particular day I was struggling to get anything right as the blooms were bouncing all round the frame in the wind, moving in and out of focus and the bees were being totally uncooperative.

I switched the camera to shutter priority, set the shutter speed to 2000th sec to capture movement and concentrated purely on the composition of the subject, letting the camera do everything else.

This is one of the images I managed to capture.  In this case the camera set an ISO of 400 and an aperture of f/3.5.  I was using a 90 mm prime lens.

[Image: 36101437690_f745ce3aab_b.jpg]Bee 2 by Jeff Watson, on Flickr
Jeff
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#12
Hi mantone,
I too am new to digital photography and am struggling with some of the 'tools' available in the modern camera! I tried the favoured method of AV (Aperture priority) & messed up,so I'm going to use 'Speed' settings for a while & see if I get any better results! I must admit I tend to stick with ISO 100 and just experiment with the other 2 settings.If you have Lightroom or Photoshop then they can sometimes help with rescue-ing a shot,particularly now that rolls of film are not used very much and an average memory card can hold many,many shots and costs nothing to develop! Keep the 'junk' before deleting it, as you will learn more from your mistakes ! Don't use the term 'thicko', even Fox Talbot would have been flumoxed by even my simple setup,the main reason you're asking these question is because you're interested.
Final thought; make lots of mistakes and enjoy making them deliberately,THEN you'll learn.Have fun.
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#13
(Aug 12, 2017, 05:44)Grandpappy Wrote: Hi mantone,
I too am new to digital photography and am struggling with some of the 'tools' available in the modern camera! I tried the favoured method of AV (Aperture priority) & messed up,so I'm going to use 'Speed' settings for a while & see if I get any  better results! I must admit I tend to stick with ISO 100 and just experiment with the other 2 settings.If you have Lightroom or Photoshop then they can sometimes help with rescue-ing a shot,particularly now that rolls of film are not used very much and an average memory card can hold many,many shots and costs nothing to develop! Keep the 'junk' before deleting it, as you will learn more from your mistakes ! Don't use the term 'thicko', even Fox Talbot would have been flumoxed by even my simple setup,the main reason you're asking these question is because you're interested.
Final thought; make lots of mistakes and enjoy making them deliberately,THEN you'll learn.Have fun.
When I was learning I used Aperture priority for landscapes and the like and shutter priority for moving subjects.  Worked for me.
Jeff
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#14
(Aug 12, 2017, 05:44)Grandpappy Wrote: Hi Grandpappy,
With your approach to AV and using ISO100 you are fixing 2 or the 3 variables and leaving the camera only shutter speed to adjust.  Although there is more range in shutter speed (1sec to 1/4000 is 13 stops, as apposed to 6 stops from f2.8 to f16) fixing ISO at 100 when you are learning can cause extra long exposures, and hence camera shake.

 eg I'm using a 100mm lens and want f8 for a photo of children playing but its in shade.  Because ISO is fixed at 100, the shutter speed is likely to be in the vicinity of 1/15s - much too slow for anything on the move and too slow for a 100mm lens even with image stabilisation.  End result - very blurred and/or camera shake.  F8 is fine, but a rule of thumb suggests the minimum shutter speed needs to be 1/focal-length - using a 100mm lens then at least 1/100, or more for action images.

I would suggest that until you get the hang of it, leave ISO at auto.  The camera then has 2 of the 3 parameters to play with. With the scenario above, I fixed aperture at f8, the camera knows I've got a 100mm lens (or zoom at 100mm) so will set a shutter speed of 1/100 to 1/200 (at least with Canon which seems to follow the focal length rule-of-thumb).  The ISO will then be set at about ISO 800  Result a reasonably sharp image, properly exposed.

I would suggest that while you are learning, whether you are using AV to control depth of field, or TV to control shutter speed, leave ISO on auto to give the camera processor 2 variables to adjust when meeting your primary requirement (AV or TV whichever you set)

Its also important to remember that ISO for digital cameras does not have the same effect as ISO for film.  ISO800 film would be very grainy and less sharp compared to ISO 100.     This is because with film, more sensitive emulsion has bigger grains of silver compound which must then be spaced out more - result less sharp images. (imagine covering an area with grains of sand or pebbles.  There would be significantly more gaps between the pebbles than the sand and hence more of the image that falls in the gaps and is not recorded.)

  With a DSLR sensor the pixel count and hence the density (closeness of the pixels) remains the same no matter what the ISO setting, the sensitivity is varied electronically - result sharpness stays about the same but as ISO is increased (say 1600 and above)  then the pixel may not get enough light to confirm what colour it is recording.  So we get noise when a pixel that should have recorded red (say), records a different colour.
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#15
The acutance ability of high speed film exceeds all but the most densely populated large format sensors.
GrahamS
Take my advice.  I'm not using it.Wink

Reply
#16
(Jul 26, 2017, 10:58)The Simplest way I find, especially if you\re relatively new to DSLR photography is to leave the ISO setting for the camera to sort out because that is a whole new world. Re Aperture setting: Simplest way to start is this. A Big number for the Aperture equals a big depth of field so everything in the shot will be in focus from the close up to the far distance. A Small number aperture equals a shallow depth of field so the subject will be in focus but the background will be blurred which is useful for making your subject 'stand out' in your shot.If you leave the ISO for the camera to decide, based on your settings you will nearly always come out with a worthy shot.Best M delb0y Wrote: Hey Mantone.

I always think of the three main manual settings - shutter speed, aperture, and ISO - as having two main functions each. One is to let more or less light in, or in the case of ISO, to be more sensitive to light which kind of amounts to a similar thing. And then we have the second function... which I'll talk about in a sec, but let's just say for now that second function is more artistic, it's more about you getting the effect you want.

So firstly, let's think about that light. Every photo has a point at which it can be declared a good exposure. Like everything, this is subjective. I prefer dark shots, and people say my work is under-exposed, but let's assume we all appreciate something approaching a nice light, but not too bright, shot. When you're on you're Auto settings the camera will give you this. Every one's happy.

If you're on manual settings, then you have to adjust those settings yourself to give you that nice exposure. I know you're asking about aperture or shutter priority, not manual, but bear with me. If your image is too dark you have three choices - slow the shutter speed (the shutter is open longer, it lets more light in, your image is brighter), open the aperture wider (the hole is bigger, it lets more light in, your image is brighter), or set the ISO to a more sensitive level (for any given amount of light the sensor picks up more of that light, hence the image is brighter). So you choose one of those options and hey ho, a nicely exposed image.

But now let's consider the second functions of aperture and shutter speed (more on ISO later). In addition to letting more or less light in they will also do this:

Shutter Speed - will allow you to blur images, or make images sharp. What I mean by this is that a slow shutter speed, whilst letting more light in, will also mean your images are more likely to be blurred. A high shutter speed, whilst letting less light in, will mean any movement in your picture is frozen. Now, which is best? In generally people like sharp images, so they tend to go for high shutter speed so the images are more likely to be sharp. If you're holding the camera by hand then a high shutter speed is a must to stop your natural hand shake ruining the picture. However, if you want to capture movement, say a dancer and you want the image blurred for artistic reasons, then a slow shutter speed might be just the job.

Aperture's second function is depth of field (how much of a picture is in focus, depthwise) - a big aperture let's more light in but also means that the depth of field is reduced. A small aperture means less light gets in, but the depth of field is good throughout. Which is best? If you're taking a portrait and want the background nicely blurred use a big aperture (small depth of field). If you're taking a landscape and you want as much of the image in focus as possible (i.e a largedepth of field ) then you'll need a small aperture. (As an aside, big aperture have small numbers e.g. f/1.8, small apertures have big numbers f/11. It's just the way it is!).

So you can see you have a light decision to make (do I need more or less light) and an artistic decision - what depth of field do I want, do I want the image blurred or sharp? Or a mixture of both.

So, let's go back to your question - priority mode and shutter speed mode.

Set your camera on Shutter Speed Priority and you're basically saying, I want control over the shutter speed so I can get the artistic effect I want (blurred movement, or sharpness) and I'll let the camera do whatever it needs to do with Aperture and ISO to get the right amount of light. i.e. you're in control of the artistic bit, the cameras in control of the nice exposure.

Set you're camera to Aperture priority and you're saying I want to choose my own depth of field, but I'm happy for the camera to do whatever it needs to with shutter speed and ISO to take care of the overall exposure.

It's a halfway house between auto and manual.

Now if you want to control the depth of field and the blurred / sharpness effect then you need to go full manual...

Regarding ISO, what you might find your camera doing in these priority modes is pushing the ISO up - i.e. making it more sensitive. This a safe bet for the camera - can effectively let more light in (or be more sensitive to light) without changing shutter or aperture very much. The downside, is that the higher the ISO the more grain/noise that you get in your image. Get too high an ISO and even if the picture is perfectly exposed the grain and noise can spoil it. More on that another day!
Cheers
Derek
Reply

#17
(Sep 25, 2017, 09:36)tigerd Wrote:
(Jul 26, 2017, 10:58)The Simplest way I find, especially if you\re relatively new to DSLR photography is to leave the ISO setting for the camera to sort out because that is a whole new world. Re Aperture setting: Simplest way to start is this. A Big number for the Aperture equals a big depth of field so everything in the shot will be in focus from the close up to the far distance. A Small number aperture equals a shallow depth of field so the subject will be in focus but the background will be blurred which is useful for making your subject Wrote: Hey Mantone.

I always think of the three main manual settings - shutter speed, aperture, and ISO - as having two main functions each. One is to let more or less light in, or in the case of ISO, to be more sensitive to light which kind of amounts to a similar thing. And then we have the second function... which I'll talk about in a sec, but let's just say for now that second function is more artistic, it's more about you getting the effect you want.

So firstly, let's think about that light. Every photo has a point at which it can be declared a good exposure. Like everything, this is subjective. I prefer dark shots, and people say my work is under-exposed, but let's assume we all appreciate something approaching a nice light, but not too bright, shot. When you're on you're Auto settings the camera will give you this. Every one's happy.

If you're on manual settings, then you have to adjust those settings yourself to give you that nice exposure. I know you're asking about aperture or shutter priority, not manual, but bear with me. If your image is too dark you have three choices - slow the shutter speed (the shutter is open longer, it lets more light in, your image is brighter), open the aperture wider (the hole is bigger, it lets more light in, your image is brighter), or set the ISO to a more sensitive level (for any given amount of light the sensor picks up more of that light, hence the image is brighter). So you choose one of those options and hey ho, a nicely exposed image.

But now let's consider the second functions of aperture and shutter speed (more on ISO later). In addition to letting more or less light in they will also do this:

Shutter Speed - will allow you to blur images, or make images sharp. What I mean by this is that a slow shutter speed, whilst letting more light in, will also mean your images are more likely to be blurred. A high shutter speed, whilst letting less light in, will mean any movement in your picture is frozen. Now, which is best? In generally people like sharp images, so they tend to go for high shutter speed so the images are more likely to be sharp. If you're holding the camera by hand then a high shutter speed is a must to stop your natural hand shake ruining the picture. However, if you want to capture movement, say a dancer and you want the image blurred for artistic reasons, then a slow shutter speed might be just the job.

Aperture's second function is depth of field (how much of a picture is in focus, depthwise) - a big aperture let's more light in but also means that the depth of field is reduced. A small aperture means less light gets in, but the depth of field is good throughout. Which is best? If you're taking a portrait and want the background nicely blurred use a big aperture (small depth of field). If you're taking a landscape and you want as much of the image in focus as possible (i.e a largedepth of field ) then you'll need a small aperture. (As an aside, big aperture have small numbers e.g. f/1.8, small apertures have big numbers f/11. It's just the way it is!).

So you can see you have a light decision to make (do I need more or less light) and an artistic decision - what depth of field do I want, do I want the image blurred or sharp? Or a mixture of both.

So, let's go back to your question - priority mode and shutter speed mode.

Set your camera on Shutter Speed Priority and you're basically saying, I want control over the shutter speed so I can get the artistic effect I want (blurred movement, or sharpness) and I'll let the camera do whatever it needs to do with Aperture and ISO to get the right amount of light. i.e. you're in control of the artistic bit, the cameras in control of the nice exposure.

Set you're camera to Aperture priority and you're saying I want to choose my own depth of field, but I'm happy for the camera to do whatever it needs to with shutter speed and ISO to take care of the overall exposure.

It's a halfway house between auto and manual.

Now if you want to control the depth of field and the blurred / sharpness effect then you need to go full manual...

Regarding ISO, what you might find your camera doing in these priority modes is pushing the ISO up - i.e. making it more sensitive. This a safe bet for the camera - can effectively let more light in (or be more sensitive to light) without changing shutter or aperture very much. The downside, is that the higher the ISO the more grain/noise that you get in your image. Get too high an ISO and even if the picture is perfectly exposed the grain and noise can spoil it. More on that another day!
Cheers
Derek
Brief description of Aperture and Shutter Speed. Agree with you.
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