Camera’s can be extremely complicated especially if you don’t know what you want and how to use it. To make life easy I have written a few things to know before buying a DSLR Camera that can be quite easy and a handy guide especially if you are new to its terminologies.
The human mind has always been inclined towards visual learning and time and again it has been proven that we make more memories through our sensory route of vision than any other. Early humans drew on walls to keep their visual memories alive and ever since the art of visual representations has spread its branches to many different forms of arts like sketches, paintings and photography. While the latter two have stood their ground of putting imaginations and creativity onto a paper using colouring mediums, photography has evolved through many changes from being single-shot films through to point and shoot, SLRs and DSLRs.
The era of consumer cameras or the easy to operate point and shoot cameras has ended thanks to smartphones which house exceptional cameras, which are getting better with time and which also offer the convenience of sharing our photos instantly over the internet, the real deal for recognition. However, the real photo enthusiasts and professionals still rely upon professional pro-grade cameras to showcase their skills. So if you are a photography enthusiast, read along. Below you will find out from basic to extremly important things that you should know about a DSLR camera.
The initial introduction to an SLR or Mirrorless cameras will include some photography jargons like APERTURE, SHUTTER SPEED and ISO (pronounced as “eeso” or “eyso” as it is not an acronym), the three factors which comprise the exposure triangle. Also understanding the mechanics of an SLR camera is necessary as with using any other machine.
Things to know before buying a DSLR Camera:
1- Understanding the mechanics of an SLR or a Mirrorless camera.
SLR stands for Single Lens Reflex wherein light enters through the lens aperture and is reflected through a system mirrors, prism and lenses to the view-finder through which the photographer establishes his shot. When the shutter button is pressed, the first mirror flips up and the light is let through the shutter hole which opens for a desired amount of time(shutter speed) to capture the image on a recording medium. The aforementioned mechanics, however, belongs mostly to the classic versions of SLR cameras which are mostly antiques.
DLSR or Digital Single Lens Reflex is the modern-day machine where every step of the above mechanics is assisted by onboard computers and digital recording mediums which when used properly delivers marvellous results.
Mirrorless cameras are the modern-day professional-grade cameras which look, feel and work the same at the user end. However, the internal mechanics have been overhauled and use minimum mechanical moving parts to eliminate image distortions caused due to the flipping of the mirror. But there is much debate amongst professionals if mirrorless camera sensors are as capable as DSLRs and camera manufacturers are racing with radical technological upgrades to make this new invention sell. Who knows, if you are reading this post in the year 2030, there may be a good chance that DSLRs have become antiques.
2 – Understanding photography jargons
- APERTURE (ƒ stops)– An aperture is an adjustable opening in the lens housing through which passage of light can be controlled to obtain different results, specifically of background blurring or sharpness. Referred to as ƒ stops, the diameter of this hole is controlled by at aperture settings by a ƒ-stop number like ƒ1.8 or ƒ22. The key thing to remember with ƒ-stops is that they work inversely. For example, a lower ƒ-stop number like ƒ1.8 will mean that the aperture is wide open and ƒ22 will refer to the aperture being at its minimum opening. Needless to say that the size of the aperture will regulate the amount of light entering the image sensor resulting in a bright or dark image. The above image is an illustration to show how the background blur is regulated at different ƒ-stops. At ƒ22 the Burj Al Arab hotel is crystal clear with the subject which is me but at ƒ2.8 the hotel has blurred out.
- SHUTTER SPEED – The shutter speed like the name suggests is the duration for which light is allowed to enter the recording sensor or film. This function is primarily used when the subject is in action. For example, a slower shutter speed like 1/25th or 1/10th of a second will capture more light and motion blur but a higher shutter speed of 1/250th or 1/320th of a second will freeze the motion again depending on how fast the subject is moving. I tried to capture this Beach Lifeguard Buggy in motion. Observe how at 1/250th second everything is frozen, including the spokes of the wheels, but the truck is moving too fast for a shutter speed of 1/5th second, hence everything is blurred. Also note, the long exposure to light has resulted in an overexposed image.
- ISO – The most common misconception amongst beginners is that it’s an acronym, but it’s not as previously mentioned. ISO is a parameter for image sensitivity on DSLRs only wherein the image sensor’s sensitivity to light can be regulated to achieve a properly exposed image. However, if overused, the images turn out to be grainy. Hence, professional photography always resorts to the usage of the lowest ISO possible for the amount of light available. For example, shooting in broad daylight, ISO 100 is the best choice, but during the night, ISO 400 to ISO 1000 should be the best option.
It takes a fair amount of practice to get the concept of the exposure triangle right, and once we have got it right, let’s read along to PHOTOGRAPHY PART 2.
There are many manufacturers like Canon, Nikon, Sony, Fuji, Olympus, etc., just go with your instincts as you would for a smartphone. If you haven’t invested in a camera yet, below are mentions of some entry-level DSLR cameras.
- Nikon D3500
- Canon EOS 200D (mirrorless)
- Canon EOS 2000D
- Fujifilm X-A10
- Sony A6000
Read about things to know before renting your first RV
- SLR stands for Single Lens Reflex wherein light enters through the lens aperture and is reflected through a system mirrors, prism and lenses to the view-finder through which the photographer establishes his shot.
- DLSR or Digital Single Lens Reflex is the modern-day machine where every step of the above mechanics is assisted by onboard computers and digital recording mediums which when used properly delivers marvellous results.
- Understanding Photography Jargons and applying the skills as explained above. It takes practice and the right skills and of course the willingness to learn to apply.
Check out the pictures of Taj Mahal: Click here
Hope this post has answered your basic questions and have added value to your learning basic on Photography. Remember this is the initial learning phase that is supposed to be enjoyable and full of fun. The more you make mistakes the more you will learn to make new ones. Practice makes a man perfect. Please feel free to ask any questions that may have arisen while reading I will be happy to answer all those questions. Remember there is no stupid question only stupid answers. Feel free to share some love and also follow my page Purnendu’s Passion Photography (3P’s like Ankita says it). and of course Travel Stacks. Till then happy photography and save travels. Make Memories.