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Which setting do you use on your dSLR?

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Old 09-16-2010, 07:21 AM   #1
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Which setting do you use on your dSLR?

Do you guys shoot in Auto? Use shutter/aperture priority? Manual?

If manual, how do you guys go about getting the right settings? Do you just eye it? Take a few test shots? Do you have you own "sweet spots" for certain applications (like a certain shutter speed at a certain f stop for say sunsets etc) that you start from and go from there?

I shoot a lot of pics, but sometimes just can't get what I am looking for. so i am looking for few tips on how to better use the shutter speed/apereture mix. Like why would I use a low shutter speed/wide f stop over a fast shutter/small f stop? Stuff like that.

Or point me to a book/forum that I can always fall back on? Would a class be my best bet?

Thanks!
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Old 09-16-2010, 10:24 AM   #2
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Use auto if you can't decide on the settings...

But for real. Mess with the settings until you get the image you want. I cant tell you what exposure/aperture to set yours at because we have different cameras, settings, subjects, eyes, lenses, etc.
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Old 09-16-2010, 10:28 AM   #3
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I use P on my XTi. It will allow me to set the shutter/aperature to what i want. Its a little more control than auto.
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Old 09-16-2010, 10:31 AM   #4
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I shoot in Av most of the time, as I always know what my Aperture needs to be, but not always how long it should be exposed. I switch to Tv when doing night shots, or long exposures under 30 seconds. When I do portraits with external flashes, I shoot exclusively in Manual, as the auto modes cannot accurately expose photographs with external flashes.
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Old 09-16-2010, 10:31 AM   #5
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The higher the f-stop, the more "in focus and background" you're going to have in your pic. Think of it as making a small hole (sm. f/stop) versus a big hole (higher f/stop). Shutter speed is going to capture whatever based on subject/action and available light (f/stop lets that happen), flash, etc.. In "auto" you're going to get a "smart picture" which is the best the camera knows how to do for you. But in a manual setting, you can "trick" the lens as at it will only do what you set it to do/see and you can get some "special" of different effects if that's what you hope to do.

As someone mentioned, try a few, number and write down your shutter and f/stop on each pic so that way you'll know what you did that gave you that result.
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Old 09-16-2010, 10:36 AM   #6
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Manual is all it shoot on really there in no set shutter speed and aperture the available light will always be different.

Depending on the camera you have using the exposure bar in your view finder in a good place to start then you can fine tune your exposure for the shot you want.

Really it's trail and error when you first start shooting in Manual but once you get use to it it's second nature.
And another thing if your not shooting in Raw start.
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Old 09-16-2010, 10:49 AM   #7
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right now i am set on aperature priority sometimes i shoot in manuel and some other times in shudder priority. Now to thread jack for a second, can anyone tell me why my shudder stays open too long when using the built in flash.
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Old 09-16-2010, 10:54 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by futuretacoowner View Post
right now i am set on aperature priority sometimes i shoot in manuel and some other times in shudder priority. Now to thread jack for a second, can anyone tell me why my shudder stays open too long when using the built in flash.
you probably have it in Av or Tv. P mode will keep your shutter speed down when dealing with built in flash.
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Old 09-16-2010, 04:25 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by futuretacoowner View Post
right now i am set on aperature priority sometimes i shoot in manuel and some other times in shudder priority. Now to thread jack for a second, can anyone tell me why my shudder stays open too long when using the built in flash.
Maybe it is cold and shuddering so bad the shutter can't close.
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Old 09-16-2010, 04:29 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by senna View Post
Maybe it is cold and shuddering so bad the shutter can't close.
its starting to get chilly here but not that cold!!!
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Old 09-16-2010, 04:40 PM   #11
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Try this site out to start with. A lot of good stuff in there.

http://photography-on-the.net/forum/

I agree that the more I shoot, the more I keep it on Aperture Priority. I want to control the aperture more than anything else, shutter is easy, look what the camera wants to set it and if its too slow, change the aperture or pump up the ISO some. Don't be afraid of pumping your ISO up, you can get some really cool shots that way.
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Old 09-17-2010, 09:52 PM   #12
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i shoot 100% raw in manual mode...

i been doing this a while, so my settings kinda just fall into place... i typically look at my subject surroundings, and start at a setting that i estimate and adjust from there... on average, i adjust maybe 2 or 3 stops from my starting point, so i have been fortunate...
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Old 09-18-2010, 05:48 AM   #13
rb11701 [OP] rb11701 is offline
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That is my problem, I just need to shoot more. I have a hard time figuring out where I should start. Always end up with either over or under exposed shots.
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Old 09-18-2010, 07:28 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rb11701 View Post
That is my problem, I just need to shoot more. I have a hard time figuring out where I should start. Always end up with either over or under exposed shots.
Good. Now find a perfect medium
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Old 09-18-2010, 07:59 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rb11701 View Post
That is my problem, I just need to shoot more. I have a hard time figuring out where I should start. Always end up with either over or under exposed shots.
If you feel like your settings are close to what you want but your still getting over/underexposed shots, you can move your exposure compensation a bit too. That helps me a lot when I know the Seattle sky will make things a darker than I like
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Old 09-18-2010, 08:30 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rb11701 View Post
That is my problem, I just need to shoot more. I have a hard time figuring out where I should start. Always end up with either over or under exposed shots.
A great book and well worth the $15.00 to $20.00 is Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson.

As far as settings.
I use Aperture Priority 95% of the time. I use manual if I feel it's needed but AP works well most of the time.
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Old 09-18-2010, 10:48 PM   #17
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Aperture Priority ('AV' in the Canon world) when shooting natural light.

If I'm shooting outdoors with a Speedlite on the shoe for fill flash, I'll shoot AV if the light is changing constantly (clouds) and about -1 FEC. If it's constant light conditions (bright and sunny), then I'll shoot manual if I need it.

Sample of AV with Speedlite on the hot shoe for fill:


If I'm shooting with off-camera lighting (strobes and/or small flash), then I usual manual. I set exposure for the background and adjust my strobes in order to light the subject according to the settings I have to expose the background the way I want it.

Sample of manual with off-camera strobe (set exposure to normally expose background, subject lit accordingly):


Sample of manual with off-camera strobe (set exposure to under expose background, subject lit for normal exposure):
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Old 09-23-2010, 02:41 PM   #18
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I shoot full time in Manual. For recommendations on settings, I would focus mainly on F-Stop, Shutter Speed, and ISO.

A basic overview (and correct me on anything that I am wrong about):
F-stop controls the size of the hole the the camera is taking in light, the the larger the number, the smaller the hole. The larger the f-stop the darker the picture will be. Also the larger the F-stop the deeper the depth of field which is how much of the picture is in focus. The shutter speed is how long the shutter stays open and takes in light. The longer the shutter speed stays open, the brighter the picture will be, but the down side is if the camera or the subject moves then the picture will be blurry. The ISO is the light intensity. The higher the ISO the brighter the picture will be, but the more noise will be in the picture.

I usually set the ISO to as low as I can to keep noise at a minimum and still get the shutter speed decently fast to freeze motion, and a large enough F-Stop (small aperture) to get a deep depth of field.

If I'm shooting sports in sunny conditions, I would set the Shutter Speed to around 320 or 400 and the f-stop to around 3.5 or 4.0. Which leaves me with enough light to keep the ISO low. But I've been told by fellow photographers to shoot with an even faster shutter speed and compensate with a higher ISO to freeze even the motion blur of say a football in the air.

For portraits, it would depend on if I want the background included in the picture sharply, or blurred out. If I wanted the background included, I would set the f-stop to around 8.0, a low ISO and whatever shutter speed to get an even exposure, but no slower then 60 in case the subject moves slightly. If the picture is too dark, then I would increase the ISO.

If I want the background blurred out then I would bring the f-stop down to 2.8 or 3.2 and do the same as above with ISO and shutter speed.

For landscapes I would set the largest f-stop reasonable to keep the ISO low and the shutter speed would depend on if the scene was windy or not. If it was windy trees or other things might sway back and forth so your shutter speed would need to be faster so it freezes the motion. If all is quiet then the shutter speed can be set slower and a larger f-stop.

If I'm taking pictures of something macro, I would set the f-stop to the smallest number for a shallow depth of field, keep the ISO low, and again keep the shutter speed faster then 60, unless there is a tripod involved.

For flash, I think it is a personal preference. I use it sparingly because the only one I have is the built in flash, which isn't very flexible in terms of functions. Just make sure the picture isn't to washed out by the flash if you use it.
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Old 09-23-2010, 02:46 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rb11701 View Post
That is my problem, I just need to shoot more. I have a hard time figuring out where I should start. Always end up with either over or under exposed shots.
The meter on the camera is usually pretty good at keeping the exposure even, to get it even closer to balance get a grey card.
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Old 09-23-2010, 02:50 PM   #20
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im sorry did you say something?
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