Tips & Tutorials

In Focus: Camera Basics

Confused over what terms such as "shutter speed", "aperture", "ISO speed","exposure compensation","white balance" mean?  Have no fear - our Camera Basics series take you through each of these important fundamental concepts of photography, so that you won't only get to know your camera better, but also have a better idea of how you can tweak camera modes and settings to get amazing shots!

 
Camera Basics #1: Aperture

The first thing to consider when taking photographs with a digital camera is the effect that the aperture can have on your pictures. How will the photograph finish change depending on the aperture is widened or narrowed? In this article, we study the effects of varying apertures on depth-of-field by comparing several examples, and learn about the concept of f-stops.

 
 
 
Camera Basics #2: Shutter Speed

When taking photographs, you want to have a good grasp of shutter speed and its effects on your photographs. What kind of effects can you create with a faster or slower shutter speed? Let us examine the effects of different shutter speeds with the help of the following examples.

 
 
 
Camera Basics #3: Exposure

Exposure is one of the major factors that can make or break a picture. Let us talk about how we can go about make best use of exposure to get the best results from a shot.

 
 
 
Camera Basics #4: Exposure Compensation

Exposure compensation is a function you can use to change the exposure set by the camera (camera-determined correct exposure) into something of your own preference. Here, we find out more about the function, and learn how to identify subjects that require positive or negative exposure compensation along the way.

 
 
 
Camera Basics #5: ISO Speed

ISO speed plays an equally important role as aperture and shutter speed in its effect on exposure. Now let us learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of turning up the ISO speed.

 
 
 
Camera Basics #6: White Balance

White balance is a feature that ensures that the colour white is reproduced accurately regardless of the type of lighting under which a photo is taken. At a very basic level, it is common to use the Auto White Balance setting. However, this setting is no one-size-fits-all solution. For a white balance setting that best suits the lighting source, choose one of the preset white balance settings on your camera.

 
 
 
Camera Basics #7: Metering

The metering function measures the brightness of a subject and decides how much exposure is best for the photo. Let’s take a look at each metering mode available, and get a better idea of which of them to use is best to use under which conditions/scene.

 
 
 
Camera Basics #8: Establishing Focus

The one thing that enables the photographer to convey his photographic intent to the viewer is establishing the focus. What are the secrets to establishing the best focus? Let’s find out more about the special features of autofocus (AF) and manual focus (MF).

 
 
 
Camera Basics #9: AF Modes

When establishing focus on a subject, it is vitally important to anticipate the subject’s movement and capture it at the right moment. This means it is essential to know the appropriate autofocus (AF) mode to use for a stationary subject, and which to use when the subject is moving. Let us take a closer look at the 3 types of AF modes.

 
 
 
Camera Basics #10: Picture Style

With the Picture Style function, you can adjust the colour tone and the contrast to enhance the charm and appeal of the subject. By selecting the perfect Picture Style setting, you can get perfect results in expressing your shooting intent in a vivid photo.

 
 
 
Camera Basics #11: Phase Detection AF

Phase detection AF (also known as phase-difference detection AF or phase-difference AF) is the autofocus system used in viewfinder shooting on DSLR cameras. Its main feature lies in its rapid autofocusing speed. In the following, we will explain more about phase detection AF, and how Canon’s Dual Pixel CMOS AF utilizes the latest AF technology to enable phase detection AF even in Live View.

 
 
 
Camera Basics #12: The Viewfinder

When it comes to shooting, a vital part of the camera is the viewfinder. Nowadays, there are cameras that do not come with viewfinders, only with Live View shooting. However, as you get more experienced with photography, you will realise how much shooting with a viewfinder can affect your photos. In this article, we take a closer look at the viewfinder.

 
 
 
Camera Basics #13: Live View

The implementation of Dual Pixel CMOS AF in Canon's latest camera models have vastly improved shooting conditions in Live View. Live View, which features fast AF speed that measures up to viewfinder AF, is gradually becoming the choice method of shooting for many photographers. In the following, we will explain more about the characteristics of Live View.

 
 
 
Camera Basics #14: Position and Angle

The position and angle are two elements that greatly influence the outcome of your photos. Since they have such a significant impact, varying them ensures that you will be able to get a different effect in your photos. In the following, we go over 3 points each in relation to the position and the angle.

 
 
 
Camera Basics # 15: Program AE

The Program AE mode, a semi-automatic mode where the camera automatically sets the aperture and shutter speed, enables you to shoot quickly to capture sudden photographic opportunities, and yet still retain creative control over other settings such as white balance.

 
 
 
Camera Basics #16: Aperture-priority AE (AV mode)

Want to create photographs with a lovely background blur (bokeh effect), or perhaps ensure that everything in the image remains in focus? The Aperture-priority AE mode is a convenient mode to use for achieving those effects. Let’s look at this mode in closer detail.

 
 
 
Camera Basics # 17: Shutter-priority AE (TV mode)

Shutter-priority AE mode is a shooting mode that is useful for when you want to ‘freeze’ subjects in action, or conversely, photograph moving subjects with motion blur. Read on to find out how you can use it!

 
 
 
Camera Basics # 18: Manual Exposure (M mode)

If you want control over both the aperture and the shutter speed, Manual exposure mode is the way to go. It might be quite a tough mode to conquer for a beginner, but also can be very convenient to achieve certain shooting intentions. In this final article in our Camera Basics series, we take a closer look at this mode and what it can be used for.

 
 
 

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