Manual Exposure Mode – Explained

Manual Exposure Mode

In the manual exposure mode the whole camera settings are under your control. Manual mode gives you freedom to customise every single setting at the time of shooting – shutter speed, Aperture, ISO, White balance, Colour Temperature(Tint), Exposure bracketing, In-built Flash-light compensation, External Flash-light compensation, Image Size & Formats, Metering modes, Focus points – Single, Multiple or particular area on screen/viewfinder and many more.

If you want to become a pro or a serious hobbyist or just want to learn the creative photography techniques, you are to master all these above settings in order to get the desired photograph. So you need to shoot on Manual Exposure Mode Only.

There are some modules specially designed for you in order to practice and master the manual mode. Hope this will definitely work and give you wonderful results as you practice more…

Module 1 – Mastering Shutter Speed

Set your dial on Shutter Priority Mode (Tv/S). Stand at your favourite place at your home, most probably the window is the best place to experiment where you see people, vehicles moving around and kids playing in the street. Now you switch on your camera and start shooting with a shutter speed of 1/1000 then with 1/500 and so on…(1/250 – 1/125 – 1/50 – 1/25 – 1/8 – 1/4 – 1/2 – 1sec – 2 sec) upto shutter speed of 4 seconds. You can decrease no. of shots as you can take 5 shots only with the same shutter speed range (from 1/1000 to 4 seconds). In the Shutter priority mode only Shutter Speed of the Camera will remain under your control, rest all other settings will be on auto mode. So After capturing you will get an idea that “Why & Where to use faster shutter speeds(e.g 1/200 or as less as 1/8000 of a second) and Slower shutter speeds(e.g more than 1 second).

You will find Slower the shutter speed will result in less static subjects in photo as you can see the things which are static, and could not see the things in motion(blurry lines).

Second practical you can do with water streams.

You can shoot water stream, outside if possible or just start with a water tap at your home.

While shooting at faster shutter speeds you will see the crystal clear image of the even water droplets coming out of tap. And while shooting at slower shutter speed you will see some milky white shades of water and all other subjects very much clear in the photograph.

Module 2 – Mastering Aperture

For Understanding the work of aperture in a photograph you need to know whether you want Shallow Depth of Field(blur background) or Narrow Depth of Field(sharp background).

Or in simple words we can say the depth of the area in sharp focus is depth of field.

Example – Take the lens with the widest available aperture either it’s a kit lens with 3.5 or a 50mm with 1.8. Take one photo with the widest available aperture and compare the same frame with an aperture of atleast 22 or 16. In the photo with higher f-stop no. you will observe more area in sharp focus, and in the photo with the lower f-stop no. you will observe more blurred or defocused area.

You can practice these photos at any place whether it’s crowded or at table with different set of cups or at garden with flowers or landscapes. You can clearly see the difference in sharp focused area with changing the aperture value.

You can also use the aperture to control the amount of light coming into the camera.

For any questions please comment.

Controlling Light and Exposing Right

In the last post we came to know about What is right exposure and the factors affecting the exposure of a picture. To register a perfect tone image on your digital camera sensor, one must allow the correct amount of light to reach the digital sensor. The three factors that control the path of light are sensor sensitivity (ISO), shutter speed(SS), and aperture(f-stop).

When the film photography was dominant, exposure was an really important subject. The digital era has brought us light-years forward because we can now see the result instantly. Just as with film cameras, the DSLR takes into account the brightness of the frame, the contrast, the color of the picture and the area in focused. When automatic exposure is set, the camera calculates all the settings accordingly and much more instantly.

You can now review your pictures immediately after exposing, on the LCD screen on the back of your digital camera. If you are a beginner to photography, there are many other different aspects that have to be considered before you take each picture. How do I compose the picture? Is it in focus or not? What should be the background? Until all these elements start to become second nature, it’s good to keep your camera on auto-exposure. This will give you one less thing to worry about while you concentrate on all the others parameters. Then gradually, as you become more technically strong and have learned to hold the camera the right way, you’ll start to adjusting the small adjustments that are possible on your camera to get a perfect exposure as per your learning and experience.

On most of the DSLRs and high-end compact digital cameras, you have the option of setting the exposure manually(M-mode). This is time where we begin to play with the camera’s settings to get perfect exposure. Moreover we now start overexposing and underexposing the photograph as per our need.

  1. Camera Sensor Sensitivity(ISO)

In Film photography you need to change films if you want to change the ISO. Eg. If you are shooting at ISO100 film and suddenly the weather changed now you need ISO400 to get your desired image, So you need to change the other film of ISO400.

On the other hand in Digital photography, DSLR allows you to shoot a group of pictures, or even a single picture, at one ISO setting, then change the ISO setting on the same memory card and keep shooting. You can change the ISO as many times as you need.

  • Shutter speeds(SS)

Here are some basics about shutter speeds to begin with:

• If the light is really bad, try not to go below 1/60 second. If you must, hold your camera very still and don’t expect to freeze any action.

• For everyday pictures such as portraits and views, use speeds of 1/60 second to 1/250 second.

• To stop a racing car, or someone riding a bicycle, start with 1/1000 second.

NOTE: To avoid the camera shake, your shutter speed should not be less than the focal length of the lens you are shooting with.

  • Aperture (f-stop)

Here are some basics about Aperture/f-stops to begin with:

• As a general rule, f/5.6 gives a little bit of depth of field, provided the lens focal length isn’t too long, and is still wide enough to enable high shutter speeds.

• If it gets really dark, don’t be afraid to open your aperture to its maximum available aperture, for example, f/1.2 or f/1.8.

• If you need loads of depth of field, or you want a slow shutter speed, stop down to f/11 (when using a short lens) or f/16.

If your picture looks a little bit lighter or darker than it should, take another parameter to adjust the exposure. You can make your image lighter by increasing your exposure, or darker by decreasing the same. NOTE: f/8 can be used as a universal aperture perfect for any genre of photography.

Note: Your most of the lens usually gives the best sharpness at one stop down to the widest aperture available at your lens. eg. Lens with f/1.8 will give its best sharpness at f/2.8 not at f/1.8. anyone can experiment this and visualize the difference.

Types of Camera – Digital

There are various types of digital camera we found in the digital era. We tried to cover all the possible categories of the digital camera available in the market now.

Compact Digital Camera

This category consists a lot of camera forms. These are the cheapest camera available in the market. Digital compacts camera are very pocket friendly cameras and used widely by the hobbyists and amateurs. These camera have many other forms as well. Our Mobile phone Camera is an example of compact or point & shoot camera system. Although now a days the Mobile phones are having more advanced camera system than a digital compact camera. Moreover, all the small water proof and action camera are also an example of Compact Digital Camera System which are now having a lot of customized settings electronically not mechanically.

Bridge Camera is also a type of compact digital camera system with a lot more manual settings and a very high Optical zoom system. These camera look like a DSLR but do not have the capability of inter-changeable lens system.

All the tiny spy camera are also in the category of Digital Compact camera.

Mirror-less Interchangeable Lens Cameras

Basically these camera are the advanced form of point and shoot camera but with the professional interface and settings. These camera are Cost reductive forms of DSLR camera system. These are cost effective for Manufacturers only but are expensive for consumers having some pros and cons over DSLR system and are now trending the market for some more time. Because the DSLR system have more advantages over mirror-less system. These camera have less battery life as they consume battery for every function(electronic viewfinders – consume a lot of battery, a person can’t even see the optical view unlike DSLR’s view finder)whereas the DSLR are saving a lot of battery due to optical view finders, and DSLR gives more power to capture more on a single charge (Gives upto 1000 shot per charged battery).

DSLR – Digital Single Lens Reflex Camera

DSLR as their name suggests these are the camera like SLR system cameras, just addition of word “digital” is here. Unlike SLR camera, all other functions will remain same only the traditional film is replaced by Electronic sensor on which image is being captured and processed in camera to show a final result immediately on an LCD on the back of the camera. These are a bit expensive camera but having so many qualities also. DSLR gives freedom to change the Lenses as per need and a variety of lens are available in the market to suits an individuals requirements. DSLR gives High quality images. These shoot two forms of file system – JPEG (Compressed file) & RAW/.CR2 (A complete data file with maximum details possible – can be customised a lot in post processing like the traditional photography post processed in Dark room)

DSLR gave a revolution in the field of photography as the results can be seen on the spot of capturing an image, so these camera gave freedom of experimenting with the same frame and same composition in the field only. With all the benefits these camera gave birth to a huge data files which again results into more expenses of managing data files. But still this is the most accepted camera system by professionals and now a days by the hobbyists also as the Entry level DSLR are available in the market under US$ 400 or INR 30K with 2 lens combinations. The professional DSLR cost starting from 1.5 lakhs to upto 8 lakhs.

Medium Format Camera

Brands like Mamiya, Leica, Hasselblad, Horseman, Pentax, Fuji make these format camera and are totally used for commercial purpose only. Big ad agencies and corporates have these camera because of their work profile. Their working is still like the medium format negative cameras as the lens and the electronic plate chamber is still attached with a bellow in some models and rest have large electronic sensors and a interchangeable lens system. Some camera model are shown below to understand better.

Hasselblad X1D – 50C, Costing nearly 9000 US $ with a 35-70 lens (INR 7 lakh)

Medium Format Camera from Other Brands Pentax, Hasselblad, Fujifilm

Large Format

Hasselblad, Mamiya, LargeSense are the masters of Large Format Camera where a large electronic plate or sensor is present in place of large Negatives. The example of latest large format future ready camera is LargeSense LS911 having an electronic plate of 9×11 inches nearly 3 Gigapixel.

Looking Forward for your comments and queries…