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Old January 10th, 2011, 10:41 AM
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marko marko is offline
Administrator - Pet lover
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Montreal Quebec Canada
Posts: 12,073
Too funny - I see no promotion here, just an offer to help

For the future, individual threads, in this subforum will be easier for me to track so I ENCOURAGE you to start personal threads on any photography topic.

Here goes some answers to the questions in this thread but before I answer, Here is one of the most basic photography primers possible.

Here goes:

At the end of the day all a camera is, is a box with a flap (the shutter) behind a hole at one end and recording material at the other end. For digital photography, at the back of the camera is the sensor which records the scene coming through the hole. The LENS attaches to that hole. Inside the lens are blades and the way those blades are adjusted determine the size of the hole (that hole is known as the aperture or F-stop) the light will travel through the lens to the sensor. THE SIZE THAT YOU ADJUST THAT HOLE TO IS THE PRIMARY CREATIVE DECISION YOU CAN MAKE IN PHOTOGRAPHY. Most people DO NOT set that hole, they let the camera choose it. Behind the hole that you or the camera sets is the shutter which stays CLOSED (letting NO light reach the sensor until you press the shutter release button). Once you press that button then the shutter opens for the duration that the camera OR YOU set. The longer the shutter stays open the More light reaches the sensor and vice versa.

Back to Aperture (the hole for a sec)

In a nutshell - the smaller you make that hole the sharper your foreground and background. Great for landscapes. Because the hole is so small though, the shutter needs to be open LONGER to let enough light in.

The larger you make that hole, the blurrier your background will become. Great for portraits. Because the hole is larger, you can use a faster shutter speeds.

In terms of exposure which is the combination of shutter speed, aperture and film speed or ISO...cameras have NO brain. They are fairly simple. They have no idea if they are looking at a super-model or a bucket of KFC. All they do is AVERAGE out the tones in a scene and give you an average exposure (when you let the camera do the work). So long as that scene has a fair representation of light to dark tones, the camera's exposure should be fairly accurate. BUT, if the scene does not have tonal variety - your exposure will be wrong. ....and a GREAT test to prove this to yourselves is take a picture of bright white snow - fill the frame with it. your camera will NOT give you back white snow. It will be dull grey. Why? because the camera has no brain and it is averaging out all that white snow. The result....grey snow.

Okay - now we are ready to answer questions

I will be taking you up on that offer Marko! DH got me a Canon Rebel T1i for my B-Day last year. I have read the manual but still have really no idea what I'm doing lol. I know that even when I have it on the wrong settings it will take better pictures that the "best" setting on my point and shoot
The BEST DSLR setting for taking pictures of pets imo, is SHUTTER PRIORITY. This is when you tell the camera the shutter speed you want and it sets the aperture. Because pets move around SO much, you need a fast shutter-speed to catch or freeze the action. The faster the pet is moving, the faster the shutter speed needs to be. For me, the minumum speed I use is 1/125 a second and if the pet is moving real fast...I'd jack that up to 1/500 or faster.
(Just as an FYI - even for humans, you'll need at least a shutter speed of 1/60 in almost all cases. This is because humans have a natural move and sway (unlike a rock) )

We're actually in the market for a new camera. I came across the Canon Powershot SX30 IS 14.1MP Digital Camera as a possible option. Is this a 'point and shoot'? If so, what would you recommend for a DSLR (I don't even know what that means - total camera newb!) within that 500$ price range.
It's a point and shoot that may work perfectly well for other types of photography - but NOT pet photography. Nikon D3000, Eos rebel, canon 50D (look for a used version) all great entry level cameras.

So for a total camera new (such as ourselves! ), do you think someone with limited experience and is only used to 'point and shoot' could handle a DSLR? I'm worried if I get something like that, that I won't be able to figure it out
Yes! If you set it on totally automatic, it will be a cinch to use and will crush your point and shoot. The ONLY disadvantage that I see, is that the camera is heavier and takes up more space.

will you be posting every day Marko with some tips of the day sorta thing?? (that would be cool) even with a point and shoot camera??
I won't be posting daily but it's my pleasure to answer whatever comes my way.

Do you get a better quality picture by viewing your subject through the view finder rather then the LCD display?

2nd Question; What's the difference between a DC Lens and an Image Stabilizer (IS) lens? Is one or the other better?
How you view the image does not affect quality. It's really if the image is sharp or not. Normally for people I use viewfinder. But for landscapes I'll sometimes use the LCD screen and magnify my subject so I am sure of sharp focus.

I'm not familiar with the term DC lenses, are they particular to a specific brand? IS means image stabilization for Canon lenses and VR (vibration reduction) for Nikon lenses. These lenses let you handhold them at slower shutter speeds and they are more expensive that non VR or IS lenses in general.

Hope that helps!
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Last edited by marko; January 10th, 2011 at 10:55 AM.
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