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Subject: "Aperture priority question" Previous topic | Next topic
DarkHorse12 Registered since 21st Dec 2005Wed 21-Dec-05 10:15 AM
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"Aperture priority question"


AU
          

Hi folks,

I recently bought my D50, after upgrading from a P+S. I absolutely love the camera, but am aware that I am still only learning to use it properly!! I am writing to get some advise from everyone about how I can improve my skills.

I try to shoot in Aperture priority most of the time. I have an SB600 for indorrs shooting, which I always try to bounce.

The question is... I always tend to shoot at aperture settings between 3 and 8. This gives me nice portrait pictures, with nice blurred backgrounds. When I increase the apeture settings, I get more of the shot in focus, but I tend to get darker photos. Is this right?

Can anyone shed any light (pardon the pun) on how I might be able to remedy this 'dark' situation.... or maybe I should just stick to aperture settings between 3-8!!

Thanks,
DH.

  

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Replies to this topic
Subject Author Message Date ID
Reply message RE: Aperture priority question
Paul_Fisher Gold Member
21st Dec 2005
1
Reply message RE: Aperture priority question
D50Vette
21st Dec 2005
2
Reply message RE: Aperture priority question
dwig
21st Dec 2005
3
     Reply message RE: Aperture priority question
D50Vette
21st Dec 2005
4
          Reply message RE: Aperture priority question
soupdragon
22nd Dec 2005
5
               Reply message RE: Aperture priority question
DarkHorse12
22nd Dec 2005
6
               Reply message RE: Aperture priority question
Paul_Fisher Gold Member
22nd Dec 2005
7
                    Reply message RE: Aperture priority question
DarkHorse12
22nd Dec 2005
8
               Reply message RE: Aperture priority question
dwig
22nd Dec 2005
9
                    Reply message RE: Aperture priority question
soupdragon
22nd Dec 2005
10
                         Reply message RE: Aperture priority question
dwig
22nd Dec 2005
11
                              Reply message RE: Aperture priority question
soupdragon
22nd Dec 2005
12

Paul_Fisher Gold Member Awarded for his multiple article contributions Charter MemberWed 21-Dec-05 11:21 AM
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#1. "RE: Aperture priority question"
In response to Reply # 0


Perth, AU
          

G'day DarkHorse, welcome to Nikonians.

Forgive me if I simplify this too much, but we should probably review some fundamentals.

The amount of light reaching the film (sensor) is a function of a) the ambient light, b) the shutter speed, and c) the aperture. For a given ambient light level, a faster shutter speed will reduce the amount of light coming in, as will a smaller aperture (higher number).

When using flash indoors we can more-or-less ignore the ambient light and shutter speed (with some provisos) as the flash is the main source of light and is essentially instantaneous. So - for a given flash power - the aperture is the main thing which determines how much light reaches the sensor.

When using the TTL flash metering system, the camera will control the flash power to vary the amount of light coming in. It does this by measuring the actual quantity of light coming through the lens aperture. The amount will be influenced by the distance of the subject, brightness of the subject (eg wearing light or dark coloured clothing) and the amount of light reflected or absorbed by the room.

The light falling on the subject is subject to the inverse-square law: If the subject is twice as far away, it only gets one quarter of the light intensity. So if you're bouncing the flash, the light intensity is reduced because of the extra distance up to the ceiling and back down to the subject. A high ceiling reduces it even further than a low one.

In addition, the ceiling will absorb some of the light further reducing the intensity reaching the subject.

So by stopping down the lens, and bouncing the flash, you will reach a stage where the flash can't provide sufficient illumination, even when firing at full power. Your pictures will then start to look darker.

How to overcome this? Look at the variables within your control:

The aperture: As you say, a smaller aperture (higher number) will give you a greater depth of field - more of the subject in focus. But it does reduce the exposure. There can be a trade-off here.

The distance to your subject: For a given composition, this is likely to be pretty much locked in.

The distance the light has to travel: Direct flash travels a shorter distance, and thus provides higher levels of illumination. However it can produce quite harsh results. Do you have high ceilings? If so, can you shoot in another room with lower ceilings?

Room conditions: Do you have dark furniture, walls, drapes etc? All of these will tend to soak up the light.

ISO setting: You can adjust the sensitivity of your camera, so that it needs less light for a given exposure. generally speaking, lower ISO settings tend to produce better (cleaner) images, but the higher settings are there to be used when needed.

Whew! I hope the above makes sense to you, and is not too rambling. Please don't hesitate to ask further if I haven't explained things properly.

Paul Fisher
Nikonian in Perth, Western Australia
My home page

  

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D50Vette Registered since 08th Dec 2005Wed 21-Dec-05 11:26 AM
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#2. "RE: Aperture priority question"
In response to Reply # 0


Highland, US
          

I'm a newbie as well, and also been shooting in aperture priority.

The higher the aperture setting, the less light, and vice-versa.

One fix, would be to up the ISO a bit. Another option, if you are not playing with the exposure settings, would be to switch to manual, adjust the aperture to where you want it, and slow your shutter speed down. This will require a tripod most likely. You'll have to adjust a bit to get the desired effect, but you'll get your bright pictures again. Good luck, and hope my "rookie" advice helps.

______________________________________
Nothing fancy...Just a Nikon D50,SB600 with 18-200 VR,70-300 Nikkor glass and a Tamron 2x T-converter

I'm into cars too...see my ride, and friend's rides at my site... www.n2ovette.com

  

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dwig Registered since 30th May 2004Wed 21-Dec-05 12:23 PM
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#3. "RE: Aperture priority question"
In response to Reply # 2


Key West, US
          

>I'm a newbie as well, and also been shooting in aperture
>priority.
>
>The higher the aperture setting, the less light, and
>vice-versa.
>
FALSE !!!

While the higher the f/stop numbers, smaller aperture, reduce the light intensity, in Aperture priority the shutter speed will automatically be reduced by the camera's metering system to yield the same quanitity of light resulting in the same level of exposure. With flash, the shutter speed won't change as it doesn't affect exposure, but the flash will burn longer to get the same quanity of light. This is why adjusting between f/3 and f/8 yields good pix.

The probable reason why the exposures start to get darker when stopping bown past f/8 is that the SB600 is reaching its limit as to how much light it can put out. It is reaching its maximum burn time at f/8 and can't put out the additional light necessary to get the correct exposure at f/11 and beyond. Using a higher ISO setting and/or moving closer should allow proper exposures at the small apertures.

-----
dwig
nikonian in paradise
-----
use: cp8400, cp990, cp950
retired: F,ELW, 21mm, 45 f/2.8 GN
used to own: S2, SP, F2, F3, 20mm f/3.5, 35mm f/1.4, 35mm f/2.8, 43-86 f/3.5, 50mm f/2, 50 f/1.4 (for S2/SP), 55mm f/3.5 Micro, 105mm f/2.5, 105mm f/4 Micro, 300mm f/4.5, 180mm f/4.5 (for 4x5)

  

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D50Vette Registered since 08th Dec 2005Wed 21-Dec-05 02:12 PM
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#4. "RE: Aperture priority question"
In response to Reply # 3


Highland, US
          

>>I'm a newbie as well, and also been shooting in aperture
>>priority.
>>
>>The higher the aperture setting, the less light, and
>>vice-versa.
>>
>FALSE !!!
>
>>
>

Sorry for the "general" response. I failed to realize the setting he was in negated this rule. Told you...I'm a rookie too!

______________________________________
Nothing fancy...Just a Nikon D50,SB600 with 18-200 VR,70-300 Nikkor glass and a Tamron 2x T-converter

I'm into cars too...see my ride, and friend's rides at my site... www.n2ovette.com

  

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soupdragon Basic MemberThu 22-Dec-05 06:45 AM
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#5. "RE: Aperture priority question"
In response to Reply # 4



          

That's not strictly false, if you do not change the shutter speed then a smaller aperture does mean less light.

  

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DarkHorse12 Registered since 21st Dec 2005Thu 22-Dec-05 08:49 AM
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#6. "RE: Aperture priority question"
In response to Reply # 5


AU
          

Thanks for all the info everyone.

Another one for you.... I have my D50 set to Iso 200 all the time. I have tried fiddling with the settings and increasing that uptp 1600, and all this seems to do is make the images more grainy!

In what situations would I want to incease the ISO setting, and how would I be able to tell what it should be for the best shot.

Cheers,
DH.

  

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Paul_Fisher Gold Member Awarded for his multiple article contributions Charter MemberThu 22-Dec-05 10:36 AM
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#7. "RE: Aperture priority question"
In response to Reply # 6


Perth, AU
          

Turn off your flash, set up the camera in an evenly lit area outdoors, and select aperture priority. Set the ISO to 200, the aperture to (say) f/8 and note the shutter speed. Increase the ISO in steps, keeping the aperture the same. You will see that as the ISO goes up, so will the shutter speed. For every doubling of ISO, you'll get a doubling of shutter speed. (eg at ISO 200, the shutter speed may be 1/250. At ISO 400 it will be somewhere around 1/500. At 800 the shutter speed will be around 1/1000, and so on).

You can repeat the exercise in the other modes (shutter priority and program) and you'll see corresponding results.

As you noted, increased sensitivity does increase the noise (grain) in the image. So it's a trade-off (like everything in photography). When your shutter speed is too slow to get a sharp un-blurred image, increase the ISO. Alternatively, if you need additional depth of field, stop down the aperture and increase the ISO.

In general terms, use the lowest ISO you can for the conditions - this will give the cleanest image.

Paul Fisher
Nikonian in Perth, Western Australia
My home page

  

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DarkHorse12 Registered since 21st Dec 2005Thu 22-Dec-05 11:08 AM
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#8. "RE: Aperture priority question"
In response to Reply # 7


AU
          

Thank you so much Paul,

Your explanations make so much sense!

I will try to take a few pics with the amended settings and see what happens!

Have a great xmas!

DH.

  

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dwig Registered since 30th May 2004Thu 22-Dec-05 12:03 PM
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#9. "RE: Aperture priority question"
In response to Reply # 5


Key West, US
          

>That's not strictly false, if you do not change the shutter
>speed then a smaller aperture does mean less light.

It is FALSE, since the original poster clearly stated that he was using aperture priority; hence the shutter speed would change.

-----
dwig
nikonian in paradise
-----
use: cp8400, cp990, cp950
retired: F,ELW, 21mm, 45 f/2.8 GN
used to own: S2, SP, F2, F3, 20mm f/3.5, 35mm f/1.4, 35mm f/2.8, 43-86 f/3.5, 50mm f/2, 50 f/1.4 (for S2/SP), 55mm f/3.5 Micro, 105mm f/2.5, 105mm f/4 Micro, 300mm f/4.5, 180mm f/4.5 (for 4x5)

  

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soupdragon Basic MemberThu 22-Dec-05 02:50 PM
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#10. "RE: Aperture priority question"
In response to Reply # 9



          

I had hoped the "strictly" word would have been a bit of a clue here.
Whilst I understand the originator of this thread was in aperture priority, I was merely trying to point out that if nothing else except the aperture decreases, less light will reach the receptor.

  

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dwig Registered since 30th May 2004Thu 22-Dec-05 04:45 PM
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#11. "RE: Aperture priority question"
In response to Reply # 10


Key West, US
          

>I had hoped the "strictly" word would have been a bit of a
>clue here.
>Whilst I understand the originator of this thread was in
>aperture priority, I was merely trying to point out that if
>nothing else except the aperture decreases, less light will
>reach the receptor.

I fully understand your point, but the poster was confused about why is images weren't as expected and clearly stated that the Aperture Priority mode was used. Thus making a statement about the effect of altering the aperture in Manual without clearly stating that you are talking about something that doesn't directly apply to their problem only confuses the discussion and makes it harder for the poster to understand their problem and find a solution. I quickly "shouted" false in the hopes that the original poster would not get confused by attempting to follow a path that wouldn't lead to a solution.

I offer my apology to the original poster for any confusion this side discussion may have caused.

-----
dwig
nikonian in paradise
-----
use: cp8400, cp990, cp950
retired: F,ELW, 21mm, 45 f/2.8 GN
used to own: S2, SP, F2, F3, 20mm f/3.5, 35mm f/1.4, 35mm f/2.8, 43-86 f/3.5, 50mm f/2, 50 f/1.4 (for S2/SP), 55mm f/3.5 Micro, 105mm f/2.5, 105mm f/4 Micro, 300mm f/4.5, 180mm f/4.5 (for 4x5)

  

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soupdragon Basic MemberThu 22-Dec-05 05:11 PM
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#12. "RE: Aperture priority question"
In response to Reply # 11



          

I offer my apologies to you as no distress was meant to come from my comments.

  

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