What is ISO
ISO denotes is how sensitive the image sensor is to the amount of light present. For example, in solid daylight you should often never need to go over an ISO of 100. Whereas at night, you might have to set it to around 800.
The only disadvantage of having the ISO higher is that the images are subjected to much more noise.
What Is Shutter Speed?
Setting the Shutter speed to decide the camera how much light want to enter into the camera. A shutter speed of 1/100th of a second is better for shooting high speed action, most commonly sports, whereas as a shutter speed of 30 seconds will allow you to capture photos of light streaks.
The shutter speed is often the most important part of the shot - if you are without a tripod you might find that you cannot go below ¼ second without blurry pictures.
What Is the Aperture?
Aperture lets more or less light into the camera, the aperture sets the depth of field. When taking portraits you might want the background to be out of focus, so you simply select a larger aperture in order to do this.
In summary, as the iris opening decreases in size, the f-stop number increases.
What About a Flash?
A good photographer should be able to know when to use flash or when it is not suitable. Most cameras have a built in flash, but these are often restricting and only light the objects close to you.
What Is Image Stabilisation?
Image stabilizing is simply a technique to reduce the blurring effects camera shake can have on an image. The image stabilizing is done automatically by the camera or lens.
What Is a Telephoto Lens?
A telephoto lens is a lens designed to photograph long distances - an average telephoto lens can be from 70-200mm or 100-300mm, some even go up to 500mm. For Taking Sports Photos using a telephoto lens.
What Is a Wide Angle Lens?
Wide angles lenses are simply a lens which can photograph a wide area. Landscape photographers might prefer this in order to capture large fields or mountains. A wide angle lens tends to be around 12mm-24mm. The disadvantage is that they don’t really double up as anything else.
This image was shot at 18mm and allows for a large amount of the scene to be captured.
What Is a Macro Lens?
Macro photography is capturing a subject at life-size or larger. A macro lens helps us achieve this, and a photographer interested in flowers or insects might use one in order to pick up more detail than the human eye can normally see.
What Is a Fisheye Lens?
Fisheye lenses take extremely wide hemispherical images, and are often used for panoramic photography or to make sport photography more interesting, for example skateboarding. Dedicated fisheye lenses are quite expensive and not very commonly used.
If you want to play around with fisheye images you can get cheap adapters for less than $25 which attach to your current lens.
. What Is a Prime Lens?
A prime lens is simply a lens with a fixed distance, for example 50mm. These lenses are very fast and often have very low apertures. Most beginner’s have a negative view on prime lenses and think they are pointless compared to their 18-55mm kit lens.
Prime lenses teach you to move around and not just rely on your lens; you can often get a much better photo from moving a few steps than simply zooming in.
Have a look at 80 Awe-Inspiring Photographs Taken With a “Nifty Fifty
14. What Is Digital Zoom?
A digital zoom is zooming in on a spot using software on the camera rather than using a lens. Often this makes the images very pixilated and there is a very noticeable loss of quality. Digital zoom tends to be found on compact cameras as they often do not have interchangeable lenses.
If you can zoom in optically it is always the best choice.
16. What is RAW?
RAW is another mode you can shoot in, rather than JPEG. RAW offers many advantages over JPEG; it records all the details for exposure, white balance and more. It makes it easier to edit the photo afterwards if you do need to change anything.
Often RAW is a very rare mode to get on a compact camera but all SLR's can shoot it. For more detail on file formats check out An Introduction to Photo File Formats.
17. What Is Live View?
When purchasing a camera, you might come across the term “live view” this simply means that you view the image you wish to photograph on the camera's LCD screen, then you simply hit the shutter to capture that image. For some, this is preferable to looking through a viewfinder.
18. What About White Balance?
White balance is often ignored by most amateur photographers and just left on automatic. The reason we adjust white balance is to get the colors in your images as accurate as possible. Often the auto mode is good enough, but it can commonly get it wrong. You can set white balance manually, usually to:
- Tungsten - For indoor lighting, which cools down your photo.
- Fluorescent – For warming up your photo if under cool lighting.
- Cloudy – Tends to warm everything up.
- Flash – Warms up the cool light from your flash.
- Shade – This will warm things up slightly due to cooler light of the shade.
To the average "point and shoot" photographer, the auto mode is good enough, but keep in mind the other modes if your photos seem to have incorrect colour tints under different environments.
I took each of these photos from the same postion and same settings apart from the white balance. I didn't use a flash (other than on the flash setting):
What Is a UV Filter?
A UV filter is a brilliant piece of kit, which is again often overlooked by beginners. What is does it simply protect the end of your lens from dirt, water and scratches. For a small investment you can help protect your expensive lens.
Like all glass, it's worth buying the best one you can, a cheaper unbranded one from eBay may, in fact, reduce the quality of the images which your camera can shoot. I would recommend a Hoya, Cokin or LEE filter as they are currently the best on the market.