Understanding Exposure & Moving Away From Auto

April 3, 2016



Sometimes a book comes along that explains how the camera works in such simple and clear terms that it just sinks in first time.


I read Bryan's book almost 6 years ago now and still find myself referring to his simple principles time and time again.


It's all about light, and the three ways we have of controlling light on a sensor, or the film plane. 


Shutter Speed controls how long the sensor is exposed to the light.


Aperture controls how "open" the window is.


ISO controls how sensetive the sensor is.


These three aspects are a simple formula and once you get the hang of controlling movement with shutter speed, depfth of field with aperture, and noise/grain with ISO, you're almost all the way there.


I say "almost" because I was teaching the other day and when I brought out the X-T1, people thought it was a complex camera. However most of the students didn't even know how to change aperture, ISO or shutter speed on their own cameras. We're talking "entry level" DSLRs here, that just have a dial on the top for "P" "M" and various symbols for plants and mountains.


On the Fuji, aperture is on the lens barrel, and shutter speed and ISO are on dials on the top. Everything is there - easy to reach and adjust on the fly. My "complex" camera actually makes my life so much easier. And to Fuji - I'm grateful for that.




Why do the likes of Canon & Nikon dumb this down? the Nikon Df at least tries to do this, but it all seems to be at the expense of this "retro" look. Why not promote it as a feature?


Of course - experienced DSLR users know how to control these things, but photography is for everyone and so perhaps Peterson's book should be part of the package when buying an entry level DSLR. Auto mode will only get you so far.

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