[Tweeters] Simple Camera Question

Marc Hoffman tweeters at dartfrogmedia.com
Mon Sep 29 13:19:13 PDT 2014

Hi Jeff,

Virtually all DSLRs have the setting you need. Depth of field is
controlled by aperture size: the smaller the aperture, the greater
the depth of field (note that the aperture size is inverse to the
setting: f/22 is tiny; f/1.2 is a very large opening). Of course, you
also get less light admitted with a tiny aperture, so there are very
few cases where you'd want maximum depth of field, since the camera
would have to compensate with a very slow shutter speed (more prone
to subject- or hand-motion blur) and/or very high film/sensitivity
speed (which increases the graininess of the image). On a DSLR, you
would set your aperture and set the mode to Aperture Priority and
you're there, though you might want to monkey around with the film
speed/sensitivity (the ISO).

That said, it's not all that complicated to shoot in some other mode.
Shutter Priority (sometimes designated as TV) lets you set the
shutter speed and will compensate by changing the aperture and/or
"film" speed. Shooting full manual you need only understand how
shutter speed, aperture, and film speed (sensor senitivity) affect
the amount of light, and how aperture affects depth of field. Unless
you were shooting film in full automatic mode, the DSLR's are no more
complicated than that. And if that's too complicated, you probably
don't want a DSLR and would be happier with a mid- to high-end
point-and-shoot, which will have many of the same modes as a DSLR.

I've been shooting in full manual mode for years now. I never
memorized any formulas other than understading, for instance, that an
aperture one stop smaller lets in half the light, as does a film
speed that's twice as fast, as does a shutter speed that's twice as
fast. Mostly I just know where to set things based on experience, and
shooting digital lets you take all the shots you want without
spending money on film and developing.

Good luck,

Marc Hoffman

At 12:09 PM 9/29/2014, Jeff Gibson wrote:

>I've had such good luck with the occasional query to tweeters I

>thought I'd try it again.


>Oh sure, I know I've been a wee bit snarky, in some of my posts,

>about digital technology at times, but I do have a simple camera

>question that maybe one of you nature photographers out there may

>have a simple answer for.


>You see, I used to do a lot of nature photography - back when

>cameras had film - and I really haven't made much of a transition to

>digital yet. Using my simple manual Nikon FM, I got real

>professional -like results. What I usually did was use my camera for

>landscapes, close-ups of nature , etc. I put my little camera on a

>tripod and went for max depth of field.


>And that's all I wanna do now. No bird photos for me - unless

>they're dead, or dumb as a Ptarmigan, and thus allowing easy

>artistic close-ups. For some reason bird photography - the process -

>has always left me cold. But that's OK because many of you tweeters

>already do a good job of it. I'll just look at your photos.


>Anyway, I'm wondering if there are now simple, and I mean simple,

>digital cameras that allow easy manual operation just like my ol'

>Nikon. An SLR that I can use like I used to - without having to have

>some sort of digital argument with the damn thing, go thru 5

>overrides, or whatever, just to get a simple in-depth photo. Is that

>too much to ask?


>As a family camera we have a point and shoot Canon Powershot SD850

>IS which is capable of some pretty good photos - I've taken some

>remarkably good insect photo's with the thing - but it doesn't have

>any depth of field control really. As near as I can tell.


>Anyway, if anybody out there has a simple digital SLR out there to

>recommend, I'd love to hear about it!


>Jeff Gibson

>digitally challenged person


>Tweeters mailing list

>Tweeters at u.washington.edu


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