Tag Archives: ISO

Top Camera Settings Checklist What to Set Before You Shoot

Learning cameras can be fun, entertaining, and challenging. With the new found ability to take remarkable pictures comes a hefty checklist of camera settings, lighting worries, and framing issues. While most DSLRs have a plethora of settings, there are a few that constant constant monitoring and changes as your shooting environments and subjects change.

Shutter Speed

The shutter speed is one of the first items I think about before I snap a picture, and while I rarely keep a camera set to shutter priority, I must have a mental priority of the shutter speed needed to freeze motion. In most cases, I am fine with the fastest shutter speed my camera may obtain at a given exposure, but in my mind I need to have a minimum shutter speed (which I wish was a setting on my camera), that if I go below that number, I need to make a change. For portraits, it may be 1/60-120th of a second while for candid photographs I may strive for 1/250th of a second. I am always looking and paying attention to this number in almost every circumstance.

Aperture

There are a few less applications where not paying attention to your aperture may ruin your photos, but they exist nonetheless. Think about how much depth of field you need in any particular photograph to get all necessary objects in focus. If you are shooting single portraits, wide open apertures of >f/2.8 may be perfect for keeping those eyes in focus while a group photograph of several rows of people may require f/5.6-f/8 to keep everyone sharp.

ISO

While accidentally having your ISO set to 800 while photographing outdoors in bright light (guilty) may not render your photos useless, you will lose detail and sharpness at higher ISO settings. I typically keep a base setting for each environment and fine tune those settings as needed. If I know I’m going outside for example, I will go ahead and set my camera to 200-400ISO, even before checking my exact lighting conditions. This should allow me to shoot perfectly in the sun or in the shade without having any issues. Even though I may end up eventually lowering it to 100ISO if my lighting is bright enough, at least if I forget my pictures will still be great.

Focusing Mode

This is a setting that is frequently overlooked unfortunately because there is no current method of correcting out of focus images. While you can reduce grain from high ISO or alter your exposure in post, missing focus will ruin every photograph. If your subject is reasonably still, single shot modes will suffice. Pick a focus point (chose the center if you do not already have a composition in mind) and lock focus on your subject. Feel free to recompose after locking focus as long as your subject is not moving towards or away from you. If your subject may move, focus using a servo focus mode and position your focus point to the position of the frame you would like your subject. You may need to change your aperture to give you extra depth of field. Chose your focus points carefully as you will not be able to recompose after locking focus though as the camera will continually adjust focus.

Choosing a Digital Camera DSLs Compacts Or Bridge Cameras

Choosing a digital camera is a lot easier when you consider the three types of digital cameras: the digital SLR, the bridge (or prosumer) and the point-and-shoot or (compact automatic). This article introduces you to the advantages and disadvantages of each, so that you can narrow your choices down to the type of camera you want.

Digital Single Lens Reflexes (DSLRs)

Digital SLRs (DSLRs) were almost exclusively used by professional photographers until recently when the prices started to come down. Prices have come down considerably over the years for an entry level DSLR like the popular Canon Rebel. However, just remember that when you get a DSLR you also have to buy lenses to use. Some do, however, come with a basic starter lens or kit lens. If you want to take telephoto pictures, you can’t just push a button to zoom, you need a telephoto lens. These come in all sorts of sizes to fit the photographer’s needs. Many photographers also buy quality used equipment to keep costs down.

One of the great benefits of DSLRs is that you can get telephoto lenses that will let you take a close up of a bird on the top of a tree and you’ll never be able to tell from the picture that the bird was so far away. And they’re fast! So you’ll never have the problem of missing an action shot because your camera took too long to record the picture.

DSLRs also work with accessories like external flashes and filters to give you more options when shooting. DSLRs are great for taking action pictures in low light situations where a flash isn’t allowed or won’t reach.

Because of their large sensors, you can increase ISO to get pictures in low light while still having a high shutter speed to capture action. With other types of cameras you can’t do this because they have smaller sensors and end up producing pictures with unsightly graininess called digital noise. Digital noise can often be removed with software but with the DSLR you never have this problem.

These days, the main disadvantage of a DSLR is the higher price tag when you compare it to other types of cameras. It’s a nice camera to upgrade to if you discover you really love taking pictures and want to advance. Most people just start out with the camera body and a kit lens and then add more specialized lenses as they go.

Point & Shoot Digital Cameras (also called compact or automatic cameras)

Digital compacts or points and shoots are the most popular cameras in the Western world and for good reason. A compact is so easy to pack around and can take such good quality shots that many a pro with an expensive DSLR and a bag of big lenses has a small compact tucked in a pocket. (Pocket size compact digital cameras are often called subcompacts).

As mentioned above, compacts biggest benefits is their small and compact size. Unlike DSLRs which usually require a small bag of camera gear (if you have a couple of lenses) these cameras can go virtually anywhere.

And while you can just point and shoot with these cameras, many have all sorts of modes from which to choose, and plus some also give you some manual controls, such as Aperture Priority and Shutter Speed Priority. And if your camera has an optical zoom, you can also get some great telephoto pictures too!

Bridge Cameras

These digital cameras are designed to bridge the gap between DSLRs and compact (or point and shoot) cameras. Bridge cameras are also called prosumer cameras because they are often used by both professionals and consumers. Bridge cameras almost always have higher price tags than compact cameras but are less than most DSLRs (as you don’t have to buy extra lenses with bridge cameras).

Bridge cameras have larger sensors and offer more mega pixels than most compacts. With bridge cameras you can increase ISO more than on a compact but not nearly as high as with a DSLR. If you don’t need to get action shots in places without good lighting, this may never be an issue.

Many bridge cameras let you get better indoor pictures by having hot shoes that work with an external flash. Bridge cameras also have movie mode and allow you to compose shots on the LCD. Many are super zooms. This means they have optical zoom ranges of 10x to 20x. Plus bridge cameras often have as many manual controls as DSLR cameras.

Once you decide what type of camera you want (DSLR, bridge or compact), selecting a camera will be a lot less confusing. So no matter what type of digital camera you get, take time to learn how to use your camera and you’ll be sure to start taking some great pictures.

LEICA S2 Camera Test Amazing Value For

Functionality

The LEICA S2 camera is surprisingly functional. Leica Camera involved professional photographers in designing the user-friendly camera body, which includes only what you need. That’s refreshing because especially top-class cameras tend to have a lot of bells and whistles that actually are more in your way, instead of adding value.

Ergonomics

Important functions that you will use often, like shutter speed and ISO value, can be reached through just a few (ergonomically smart designed) buttons and control wheels on the S2 camera. Save reading the massive manual for a rainy Sunday, and start shooting pictures! Warning: you’ll be addicted for life in less than 15 minutes…

Screens

The LEICA S2 camera body includes two efficient screens. The top one is an efficient color display that shows you the current settings such as the exposure mode, aperture setting and shutter speed. A major eye-catcher is of course the huge and bright color LCD screen, protected by a strong and scratch-free layer of sapphire glass.

Navigation

One control wheel and 4 buttons are your navigation tools for a menu that is being displayed on the LCD. The wheel is used to scroll through (and select items from) the menu of the S2 camera, while the 4 buttons have flexible functions depending on the current menu mode. Using the various functions becomes a routine over time.

Speed

Speed is another benefit of the LEICA S2 camera. Considering the file size of 37.5 megapixel photos, previewing recorded images is easy as they show up on the screen very fast. The same applies to zooming into pictures to check their quality on a detailed level, thanks to the huge processing power of this DSLR camera.

Comfort

Real-life testing fulfills professional photographer’s expectations, based on the ergonomic design of the S2 camera. It’s a very comfortable and, with 1.4 kg (including battery) relatively light device. It feels really great in your hands. Personally I have not seen another medium-sized, digital single-lens reflex camera with that same ‘wow’ factor.

Flexibility

The LEICA S2 camera has a weatherproof camera body that makes it possible to shoot under challenging conditions. Really practical is the large eyepiece with its interchangeable focusing screen. The camera’s viewfinder also shows you the most important settings in light green color on the bottom of the image.

Resolution

A large image sensor of 45 x 30 mm (3:1 ratio) creates pictures of 7504 x 4984 pixels – that’s a resolution of almost 37.5 megapixels. This should be a perfect format for many high-resolution print purposes and keep the S2 camera up-to-date and widely usable for many years. The average file sizes are between 30 and 50 MB.

Quality

More important of course, is the quality of images. An outside photo shoot (using Leica’s SUMMARIT-S 70 mm F/2.5 ASPH lens) unveils the real secret of this magic box: the optical performance. I have never seen such crystal-clear, distortion-free, contrast-rich and colorful images than those taken with a LEICA S2 camera.

Editing

The great thing of this device is that post-processing pictures often isn’t necessary. If you still would like to edit photos, the Adobe-compatible DNG files (the S2 camera doesn’t produce RAW files) include a lot of detailed image data. You can easily adjust things like exposure and saturation of the pictures that you’ve taken.

Investment

If you buy a LEICA S2 camera, it is an investment. The sales price is not exactly on the low end. However, when you consider its high usability and impressive optical performance, resulting in stunning colors, great focus, amazing sharpness and correct tonality, you have a magic tool in your hands with a LEICA S2 camera.

Should You Upgrade to a DSLR Camera

Technology is changing everyday. Cameras are no exception. The average person owns a digital Point and Shoot camera. You turn the camera on and snap the photo. After a few years or so, thousands of photos have been taken but yet most aren’t printed, mainly because the photos aren’t worth printing. Eventually the desire to take higher quality photos begins to grow.

To take higher quality photos a photographer will need to have more camera control and control over the exposure of the photo. Normal photos can become beautiful photos when you have the ability to adjust the ISO, Aperture, and shutter speed. To create these beautiful photos most will upgrade to a DSLR or Digital Single Lens Reflex Camera.

Here are the top reasons to upgrade to a DSLR camera.

Speed – DSLR’s are faster when starting up and focusing. Shutter lag, the amount of time it takes from when you press the shutter button to when the photo is actually recorded is generally a second to second and a half when using a regular point and shoot camera. Shutter lag on a DSLR is almost non-existent and closely resembles a non digital SLR.

I’ve had cameras that would take 5-10 seconds to start up and be ready to shoot, an additional 1-2 seconds to focus and then finally another 2 seconds to take the photo and record it to the card. While this may seem like a small amount of time, its enough time to miss a special moment.

Lenses – DSLR’s give a photographer the ability to use different lenses. Lenses can provide so many more photo possibilities than a normal point and shoot camera. DSLR lenses range from wide angle to super long focal lengths.

Image Quality – DSLRs contain large image sensors that allows for larger pixel sizes. The more pixels that are captured by the image sensor the clearer and more detailed a photo will be.

Optical Viewfinder – Digital point and shoots use to come with an optical viewfinder but many times what you saw in the viewfinder wasn’t what came out in the photo. Nowadays most digital point and shoots come without an optical viewfinder and instead just have a large screen. While this may be convenient for most, the screen does not correctly display how the colors and sharpness of the photo. This is why all DSLR’s come with both optical viewfinder and the screen. The optical viewfinder can better represent exactly how the photo will appear when you press the shutter.

Manual Controls – Many point and shoots come with a manual mode. The downfall of this manual mode is that it is not control manually where you can adjust the focus using your hand. Most manual controls are changed digitally through menus. A DSLR allows the photographer to control their settings at will and on the fly. This allows a photographer to adjust his photo from shot to shot without any time being wasted trying to fumble with the digital settings in the menus.

Depth of Field – This is one of my favorite aspects of a DSLR. The ability to adjust the depth of field allows the photographer to control what part of section of the photo is in focus. It gives a dramatic effect when you can focus solely on your subject in the photo while the rest of the photo is slightly out of focus. You bring attention to the subject in your photo and your eye automatically is drawn to it.