How to use a camera on manual mode
Posted on 12/11/2011
Digital cameras still operate the same as film cameras. The difference is the capture material - sensor vs film. Digital cameras also give photographers flexiblilty to change your ISO (remember film speed) for each frame. With film (depending on type of camera) you had to use the whole roll before being able to change ISO.
The goal of taking a photo is get a good exposure. That means enough light gets to the sensor or film so that an image is created. Adjustments can be made in printing but for the best image possible the right amount of light must enter the camera.
There are three ways to control how light exposes the film aka sensor. ISO, Fstop, and shutter speed. The aperture is the mechanism in the camera that allows light in to make the exposure. ISO measures how sensitive the sensor is to the light.
Shutterspeed is the easiest one. It's how fast that little click in your camera operates. It is measured in fractions such as 1/60, 1/125, etc. Or it can be held open as long as a few seconds, minutes, or hours. Fstop is how big the aperture opening is on the inside. It is usually stated as F2.8 F4.0 F5.6 etc. The smaller the number the bigger the opening. Which seems contradictory but just go with me on this for now. The ISO is sensitivity. Use a lower ISO such as 200 on a bright and sunny day and a higher one for cloudy days such as 400.
How do you know how much light your sensor needs? Well inside your camera is a light meter. For general purposes you want your settings to bring you to zero. If it says "plus" then it's too much and your image will be too bright. If it is "negative" then your image will be too dark.
Before we go further, read through the above information several times. Then check your camera manual for how to change these settings on your camera. Be brave! Take it off program and give it a try. It takes practice.
More blog posts to come! ~ Tricia