Sunday, November 8, 2009

Some pointers on using that "antique" manual camera

The day is here! You are in Fine Art Photography.
In order to be successful in this course, you will need a basic understanding of a camera (traditional 35mm) and how it works.
This is a great site to see if you're confused (and don't be hard on yourself-- this can be confusing stuff!)

common camera features
Exposure Controls

When you take a picture, you "expose" the film to light. The two parts which work together to control your exposure are the APERTURE and SHUTTER.


The aperture is an opening that changes in size to admit more or less light (similar to the iris of an eye). The numbers on the aperture control are called F-stops and referred to as F16, F11, F8, and so on. The aperture control may look something like this:

Here's how it works:
The larger the F-stop number, the smaller the opening.
Each number higher lets in half as much light as one number lower.
For example, F5.6 admits twice as much light as F8, while F11 lets in only half as much.

The aperture doesn't work alone, however. The shutter speed is responsible for exposure, too. It controls the amount of time light is allowed to reach the film.


The shutter is a device that opens and closes at varying speeds to determine the amount of time the light entering the aperture is allowed to reach the film.

Shutter speed is measured in fractions of a second. 125 means 1/125 of a second, 60 means 1/60. Typical shutter speeds range from 1 second to 1/1000. A shutter speed setting for a bright, sunny day - using an aperture of F11 - might be 1/125 second. A cloudy day might use 1/60 second with the same aperture, exposing the film to light for a longer period of time.

The settings for a good exposure are determined by a light meter. (Most 35mm cameras have a built-in light meter that shows you the appropriate settings, or automatically controls them.)

Aperture and shutter settings work together. Because the shutter (like the aperture) approximately halves or doubles the light reaching the film with each change in setting, a number of different combinations of settings can result in the same exposure.


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