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DSLR Basic Settings Tutorial – Photography/Videography 101

Dan Eitreim
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January 26, 2015

Cameras have tons of little dials, knobs and meters. If you look long enough on a camera, you can find more ways to adjust your photographs than you can count, and for most of us, more than we can process all at once. But did you know that one of the most critical decisions you can make when preparing to shoot happens before you even load your film?

The speed of the film you use is one of the very few unalterable qualities of a photograph. There are lots of ways to play with aperture, focus and exposure. However, once film is in a camera, there is absolutely no way to change the way that film reacts to light. In every photograph you ever shoot with real film, you are adapting to the film speed. Film doesn’t automatically change to suit your needs, so it’s important to choose the right film before you start taking pictures.

What is ISO?

The film speed measures how sensitive the film is to light. Low film speeds mean that the film is less sensitive and needs a longer exposure while high speeds are very sensitive and need shorter exposures. The speed of a film is commonly known as its ISO. Any film will have the ISO listed on the box. Some common speeds are 400, 800 and 1000 with 400 being the closest to “standard.”

The ISO of your film affects every aspect of the way your camera works. Your light sensor (if you have one) has to be set correctly for the film you’re using, your aperture will be more or less limited depending, and your shutter speed will likely have to decrease or increase to accommodate the film. Even digital cameras have a simulated (and adjustable) film speed that they base their calculations on.

Choosing the Right Speed

The ISO of the film determines what you’re able to photograph and how. Because high-speed film (ISO 800 or above is a good general rule) requires less time to expose, you can shoot images with much higher shutter speeds than with a slower film. The end result here will be crystal clear action; fast film is wonderful for shooting sports or anything that moves quickly. When you see a photograph of a basketball player suspended in midair, you can bet that image was shot on high-speed film. With a slower ISO, the player in the picture would likely be a big blur. Faster film also requires less light and can be very useful in an indoor situation where a flash is not appropriate.

Lower speed film captures much more detail because it has more time to absorb light. It is important to keep the words “detail” and “blurry” separate here – more “detail” in a photograph can be thought of in a similar way to more “detail” on a high definition television – more of what was originally there will be visible in the photograph. The longer film can “see” a scene, the better the scene will be represented. Lower speed films are great for images like portraits where you want to show great depth of field.

Film Speed Experiments to Try

To get a good handle on how ISO works and what it does to your images, here are a couple of things to try out the next time you’re planning a shooting day:

Film speed is one of those great things to play with when you’re pretty comfortable with your camera and you’re looking for new ways to challenge your perceptions. Each speed has its strengths and weaknesses so it’s up to you to decide which one works best for you. Now it’s time to take some photographs!

Autumn Lockwood is a writer for YourPictureFrames.com and loves taking pictures. Your Picture Frames offers a large selection of picture frames so you can always find the perfect frame for your picture. Shop online and see our large selection of metal and wooden picture frames or call us toll free at 1-800-780-0699.

Article Source: EzineArticles.com

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