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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre General Photography Talk 
Thread started 31 Aug 2016 (Wednesday) 14:16
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Helping others quickly learn some concepts

 
Nathan
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Post edited over 2 years ago by Nathan. (2 edits in all)
     
Aug 31, 2016 14:16 |  #1

I am trying to help a couple of people around me to quickly get up and running using their DSLRs. I always advise people to start learning how to use their camera and begin by taking their camera off of automatic or P modes. I'm typically reluctant to point them toward using M immediately. For some people, it's too much, too soon. For the same reason, it's not sufficient to tell them to read their manual.

People often ask for help with only a couple of weeks or even days before when they need to use their cameras, e.g. they are about to go on vacation, so I've often found it helpful to put them on Av mode with a couple of pointers. Only when the situation brings me to it do I take them into Tv mode. After they've understood aperture and shutter speed independently and ISO simultaneously, I suggest they go into full Manual and use a speedlite.

What do you think about this little cheat sheet I've put together? Have I oversimplified things or totally wrong about anything? I borrowed a couple of existing images on the Internet.


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BigAl007
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Sep 01, 2016 03:06 |  #2

Mostly looks good to me. Personally I would prefer the aperture diagram to have big apertures on the left, and small apertures on the right, since that is the normal way to progress from large to small. Of course it then has the denominator of the f/number fraction running backwards, which is IMO I think the important thing to understand, I'd like to see the / between the F and the number, so that the numbers were then really running in the correct order too, from a pedantically mathematical point of view. I guess it still works pretty well though as it is. I'm guessing that is the graphic you "found".

I'm sure you are aware of this, but remember that you description of the operation of the EC control only applies to the Canon XXXD/Rebel/Kiss line of cameras, other Canon's have differing control operations, not to mention other brands. I know most newbies buying Canon will most likely buy from that line of cameras, but other brands will differ.

Alan


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Nathan
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Post edited over 2 years ago by Nathan.
     
Sep 01, 2016 10:29 |  #3

Thanks. I stole the image off Google. Bottom right corner attributes it.

I wrote this specifically for an SL1 owner. I'm wondering if the whole EC description is just too much.

Do you think this is helpful or would you give different tips?


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PJmak
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Sep 01, 2016 10:34 |  #4

Great now we need something to get people to be more creative so we can see photos with more thought in them instead of fancy snapshots :D


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MalVeauX
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Sep 01, 2016 10:35 |  #5

Heya,

Understanding what a stop is and how it works I think is absolutely essential to learning what those numbers even are, so that someone can use them effectively without guessing.

Very best,


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kjonnnn
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Post edited over 2 years ago by kjonnnn.
     
Sep 01, 2016 11:17 |  #6

I think the first chart is showing examples of depth of field moreso than blurriness because of slow shutter speed. If the camera was choosing a shutter speed too slow, based on the aperture as stated in the test, the foreground figure should show various stages of blur too.




  
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Nathan
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Post edited over 2 years ago by Nathan.
     
Sep 01, 2016 12:59 |  #7

MalVeauX wrote in post #18113593 (external link)
Understanding what a stop is and how it works I think is absolutely essential to learning what those numbers even are, so that someone can use them effectively without guessing.

I don't disagree, but I think people should learn how ISO, aperture and shutter speed are generally related before they are asked to understand how they are specifically related.

kjonnnn wrote in post #18113635 (external link)
I think the first chart is showing examples of depth of field moreso than blurriness because of slow shutter speed. If the camera was choosing a shutter speed too slow, based on the aperture as stated in the test, the foreground figure should show various stages of blur too.

Oh the chart illustrates a different point and I don't even discuss background blur. I can see why there's confusion. I didn't intend to create a chart that shows motion blur. I should be clearer in the narrative.


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Nathan
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Sep 01, 2016 13:02 |  #8

BigAl007 wrote in post #18113318 (external link)
Mostly looks good to me. Personally I would prefer the aperture diagram to have big apertures on the left, and small apertures on the right, since that is the normal way to progress from large to small. Of course it then has the denominator of the f/number fraction running backwards, which is IMO I think the important thing to understand, I'd like to see the / between the F and the number, so that the numbers were then really running in the correct order too, from a pedantically mathematical point of view. I guess it still works pretty well though as it is. I'm guessing that is the graphic you "found".

I may create my own graphics, then!


Taking photos with a fancy camera does not make me a photographer.
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MalVeauX
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Sep 01, 2016 13:11 |  #9

Nathan wrote in post #18113733 (external link)
I don't disagree, but I think people should learn how ISO, aperture and shutter speed are generally related before they are asked to understand how they are specifically related.

They are absolutely related because each represents stops of light. If they don't understand that, it will make no sense why they're increasing ISO, or opening aperture, etc.

Very best,


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Nathan
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Sep 01, 2016 13:19 as a reply to  @ MalVeauX's post |  #10

Not saying they aren't related. I'm saying it's a concept better saved for their next lesson. I don't think they need to understand stops yet. I think it's enough to understand the general idea that each value controls the amount of light the sensor receives. I believe in conceptual before technical teaching. Ironically, I'm a technical learner... so perhaps it depends on the student. I wouldn't introduce stops too early for the majority of people who "want to take better pictures" versus "want to learn photography."


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Snydremark
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Sep 01, 2016 14:14 |  #11

Nathan wrote in post #18113749 (external link)
Not saying they aren't related. I'm saying it's a concept better saved for their next lesson. I don't think they need to understand stops yet. I think it's enough to understand the general idea that each value controls the amount of light the sensor receives. I believe in conceptual before technical teaching. Ironically, I'm a technical learner... so perhaps it depends on the student. I wouldn't introduce stops too early for the majority of people who "want to take better pictures" versus "want to learn photography."

If they don't know why they need to increase/decrease the amount of light, or why they're getting the results that they are that require said changes, what use is the knowledge of how to do so? "Blurry from movement" is a much less common situation than "too dark/too bright" is going to be if all you do is tell folks to set it to Av and then see what comes out. If folks are shooting bright light (which a lot of folks do when just taking travel snaps), they're going to get a lot of dark images as the camera tries to "push" the bright light down to avg gray and the opposite when shooting in shade with, bright light in the background.

Which leads to the problem that each setting controls light in a different manner and also has a different, secondary effect. At the very least, I'd suggest calling out those secondary effects a little more explicitly.

Shutter: TIME that light is sent to the sensor; controls motion blur in the subject as well as minimizes effects of camera shake
Aperture: AMOUNT of light that is sent to the sensor; controls DoF
ISO: Increases signal gain to amplify effects of light sent to the sensor; directly affects amount of noise visible in image

Overall, the whole things seems too brief and isn't *really* going to result in folks taking better shots than if they just leave their camera in Auto or P and do their thing. For example, nothing covers *why* they would choose a particular aperture, to begin with, for example. So, there is no real basis for the rest of it. And, since aperture does a lot more than just allow the camera to choose a shutter speed that may or may not be "appropriate" they aren't likely to choose one that is right for what they're wanting to begin with.

Setting up a cheat sheet is a great idea; but, making sure that the concepts being presented are actually useful and will lead to better shots than they will get from shooting a P&S needs to point them to solid base concepts first.


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Nathan
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Post edited over 2 years ago by Nathan.
     
Sep 01, 2016 15:12 |  #12

I appreciate the feedback. This is intended to be brief. It's not meant to be a lesson in photography. I've tried coaching detailed method and I guess I wasn't very good at it. Even among those who caught onto the concepts forget them very easily. What I'm trying to do here is create some very fast tips to remember. The "tip" itself is only a few lines. The narrative I'd like to keep at half a page to get a little better understanding.

So let's put it a different way. If you had someone who just bought a DSLR, what are the 3 things you would tell them to help them get some decent result immediately?


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Nathan
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Sep 01, 2016 15:18 |  #13

Snydremark wrote in post #18113793 (external link)
If they don't know why they need to increase/decrease the amount of light, or why they're getting the results that they are that require said changes, what use is the knowledge of how to do so?

I'm not sure if my point is getting across. I'd like them to understand the "why" in conceptual terms. That is, the idea of opening and closing a window for a short period of time lets in less light than more light. I am not as concerned with them knowing that full stops are at 1.4, 2, 2.8, 4, 5.6, etc. To me that's technical knowledge that they don't need to get started.

I'm not opposed to explaining what aperture, iso and shutter speed do specifically... but I think that can be handled on a different page. This page here simply reduces things down to a couple of actions the user can physically do to help produce a decent exposure.


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Snydremark
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Sep 01, 2016 15:30 |  #14

Nathan wrote in post #18113848 (external link)
I'm not sure if my point is getting across. I'd like them to understand the "why" in conceptual terms. That is, the idea of opening and closing a window for a short period of time lets in less light than more light. I am not as concerned with them knowing that full stops are at 1.4, 2, 2.8, 4, 5.6, etc. To me that's technical knowledge that they don't need to get started.

I'm not opposed to explaining what aperture, iso and shutter speed do specifically... but I think that can be handled on a different page. This page here simply reduces things down to a couple of actions the user can physically do to help produce a decent exposure.

I think the problem is that the "why" concept is missing or off target in your graphic. You don't choose an aperture, primarily, to get a fast enough shutter speed to avoid blur/camera shake; the choice of aperture is primarily for getting the depth of field necessary for your image. That is what aperture is for, aside from allowing more/less light into your image.

The shutter speed being "high enough" or not is purely a side effect of using Av mode. If the primary desire is to have a shutter speed fast enough to prevent blur, then you would use Tv mode and let the camera choose the aperture.

So, something along the lines of "choose an aperture that allows for enough depth of field to have all points of interest appear in focus", along with the aperture/result diagram (or preferably a new graphic where the effect isn't as obscure) would be better and more accurate than telling them to choose an aperture that results in the camera choosing a high enough shutter speed.


- Eric S.: My Birds/Wildlife (external link) (7D MkII/5D IV, Canon 10-22 f/3.5-4.5, Canon 24-105L f/4 IS, Canon 70-200L f/2.8 IS MkII, Canon 100-400L f/4.5-5.6 IS I/II)
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Sep 01, 2016 16:04 |  #15

I think the information on the sheet is correct, but perhaps presenting part 1 in a different order would help. I do agree with previous comments that there should be some text/explanation that Av mode controls depth of field (how much of the image front to back is in focus). Then show the chart. After the chart, then explain that the camera picks the shutter speed which may be so slow that is results in a blurry image, etc.


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Helping others quickly learn some concepts
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