Why Camera? Why? – Part 1

I am not getting a good image. I did everything right

 A common complaint by a lot of people who have just procured their SLRs

So you have picked up your camera from the shop and are wondering what the hell am I supposed to do with this piece now. Well, firstly I think you should sit down with someone who knows a thing or two about it and get a basic idea about the tool in your hand. Better still, join a Basics of Photography course to get to know about your camera.

Having said that, even after you’ve done both of the above, you need to keep on practicing continuously to really get tuned with your camera. 

The goal of this series is to be able to tell why your camera is behaving the way it is behaving. Take a look at the following image:

I got a dark image

If you notice, the image-2 is much darker than what it should have been or much darker than what you expected.

There are only 3 conditions under which the image can go so much darker than what you wanted

Condition 1 : You have accidentally dialled in a big negatve exposure compensation

Condition 2 : You are using spot metering and have a very very bright spot in the centre of the frame (Canon) or a very very bright spot wherever your focus point lies (Nikon) whereas the rest of the scene is much darker in comparison

Condition 3 : Either your shutter or aperture have reached their limits and still there is not enough light falling on the sensor. In such a case, the camera tells you by blinking the culprit value. 

For e.g. 

  1. The Aperture might be blinking at say f/4 (assuming its  a f/4 lens), telling you that it can’t be opened up larger even though it should, meaning that there isn’t enough light coming in thus leading to a darker image than desired
  2. The shutter speed is at 30 sec and is blinking, again the cameras way of telling that I want more light but it isn’t possible to go slower on the speed either.

Lets take the first point. A blinking aperture – There are two ways to rectify this – 

  1. Lower down the shutter speed till the aperture stops blinking OR
  2. Increase the ISO till the aperture stops blinking 

Similarly, a blinking shutter can be rectified by

  1. Widen the aperture till the shutter stops blinking (it is now achieving enough light)
  2. Increase the ISO till the shutter stops blinking

Please feel free to share this with your friends.

I will be sharing a few more of these ‘Why Camera…’ series so watch-out for them as well

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  1. Smita September 6, 2016 at 5:12 pm #

    When to use shutter priority and when aperture priority?

    • rahul.sachdev@gmail.com September 7, 2016 at 1:58 am #

      Will cover it in a blog soon, but for now, if you are starting off with photography I generally recommend a very simple rule
      “If capturing/depicting movement is important go for shutter, If controlling the Depth Of Field (amount of 3d area in focus) is more important, go for aperture”….more in the blog

  2. Nikhil Nerkar November 16, 2016 at 1:34 pm #

    Hey Rahul,
    Thanks for the blog. One age old question that can be googled, but want your perspective.
    About to buy my first DSLR. Should I buy Canon 1300D or Canon 700D both with default 18-55 mm lens? Ofcourse 700D looks better, but what camera & lens do you recommend to a begineer ?

    • rahul.sachdev@gmail.com November 21, 2016 at 2:58 am #

      Just go with the kit lens Nikhil. Its good enough to begin with and once you decide on what area works for you most, you can then invest in a lens. The D700 is a good purchase to start.

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