DSLR Camera Basics for the Beginner

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DSLR Camera Basics for the Beginner, everything you need to know before purchasing a DSLR Camera.

When shopping for a DSLR camera, purchasing a good quality camera lens is possibly even more important than the purchase value of the actual camera. So many people spend thousands of dollars on their cameras, neglecting to consider the quality of the lens they will use with the camera. Purchasing a good quality camera is necessary; however, set aside some funds in your budget so that you may purchase higher quality lens. Image quality is very important; the production of clear images will not be possible with lens of poor quality.

Understanding the DSLR and it Functionality:

For this example; we will examine the Canon 5D Mark II and explain its shooting modes and how it functions.

DSLR – stands for Digital Single Lens Reflex Camera

When you are looking through the viewfinder of the camera, the image is reflecting from a mirror which is blocking the sensor. After you press the shutter button, the mirror lifts up and exposes the sensor.

DSLR Camera Shooting Modes

Manual mode – User Controlled Settings:

When using the manual mode, the aperture and shutter speeds are controlled completely by the user. It is important to have a proficient grasp of exposure and picture taking. The Manual Mode setting is not a recommended setting for beginners.

• User selects the aperture & shutter speed
• User has full control over your exposure

Full Auto Mode:

In Full Auto Mode, the camera makes all the decisions regarding aperture and shutter speeds. This can be an advantage as well as a disadvantage. For example, the camera meter may be slightly off it with it settings selection due to the contrast in the scene appearing very bright. The camera will then give you an exposure that may not clearly represent the image you are seeing. In these instances, it may be necessary to override the automatic settings, and make and adjustment; changing the camera selected settings.

• Camera selects aperture and shutter speed
• Possibility of the camera not exposing the scene correctly
• Image appearance controlled entirely by the camera

Program Mode:

• Camera controls the aperture and shutter speeds.
• User can manually adjust exposure to improve results.
• Camera controls how images appear; can over and under expose.

Shutter Priority Mode:

This setting is good for shooting when shutter speed is very import; i.e. sports action shots, can set it for 1/1000 per seconds.

• Camera selects aperture.
• User selects shutter speed.
• User controls how motion appears in the image.

Aperture Priority Mode:

Use the Aperture Priority Mode when there is a need for depth of field or aperture, such as shooting landscapes. If aperture is a concern, the user can select the aperture. You would possibly select an F16 or F18 at the half stop or aperture. Good mode to shoot in when you are concerned with the aperture.

• User selects the desired aperture.
• Camera selects the shutter speed.
• User controls the depth of the field in the image

Exposure Compensation Dial:

It is important to indicate that with each of the AV & TV modes that you can compensate; you can under expose and over expose; using the Exposure Compensation Dial; selecting to over expose or under expose a half stop, full stop or even a third stop to micro adjust the exposure. Be sure to read your camera manual for more details regarding this function.

• Override auto exposure.
• This allows for the micro adjustment of exposure.

DSLR Camera Choices for Beginner Photographers

Making the step from an automatic point-and-shoot camera to a full-fledged single-reflex lens camera, or SLR, opens a variety of opportunities and new photography possibilities. Further, the number of good cameras available for entry-level digital SLR use, or DSLR, are plentiful, offering a number of good choices at affordable prices.

These cameras include all the tools to get started with, allowing users to migrate from automatic photography to skilled, advanced photography without being scared about it. Buyers just need to remember one thing: once a person is locked into one brand name of DSLR, it becomes very expensive to switch later on. All the lenses and accessories tend to be brand-specific and can’t be swapped out.

The next few cameras are worth looking into if making the DSLR for the first time:

• Canon EOS Rebel T3i (includes an 18-55 mm lens) – Canon probably has something like three dozen different Rebel cameras, so it’s important for a buyer to look for the right one, especially for a first-time DSLR. The T3i model provides a good starter model, but it’s not the best recommendation for an action camera. It works better as a still photo tool.

• Nikon D3100 (includes an 18-55 mm lens) – The Nikon D 3100 provides a bit of an advanced camera body design for a beginner SLR photographer. However, it’s put together in such a way that a beginner can easily utilize the basic tools and features within an hour of practice.

• Nikon D3200 (includes an 18-55mm VR lens) – One would think that with a higher number, the D3200 might offer a beginner a slightly better camera, and that’s part of the marketing strategy of labeling. Unfortunately, the D3200 isn’t much different from the D3100. It does provide a good, solid design, which is a benefit for a beginner who may be clumsy-prone. Otherwise, it’s a safe choice for a graduation from point-and-shoot models.

• Sony Alpha SLT-A37 (includes an 18-55mm lens) – Sony is not a normal name seen in the SLR market, but the company does build solid electronics. With the DSLR market being entirely void of film and film mechanics, the electronics are fair ground for Sony to enter and stake its claim. As a far as the Alpha is concerned, it provides another solid DSLR choice under $800. However, unlike the Nikon and Canon line, Sony doesn’t have an established lens line for expanded use. As a result, it has limited application for a beginner who wants grow into his camera over time.

• Pentax K-30 (includes 18-55 mm lens) – On the high end of the beginner spectrum price range the K-30 sits as an available option with fairly good ratings from photo magazine editors. A notable feature is how the camera is completely weather-sealed, which handy in rainy climates or near water. For the price paid the camera gives a very good image performance, and comes with a complete lens kit.

The best camera for a beginner will depend a lot on what a person is comfortable with and how much he can afford. A camera should definitely not be bought just based on how it looks on a box, but surprisingly a lot of people do exactly that. Beginners should definitely try out a use DSLR is possible just to get used to it. Then, when all the features are familiar, the person can go out and pick the package that works best.

Read more about Best Beginner DSLR Cameras.

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