Although I have had other cameras before the D7000 I've always used automatic settings to take my photos, with mixed results. I've just today begun to practice pictures using Aperture mode. Here are test shots using the totally program mode vs aperture priority mode using my D7000 on a tripod with the 20-700VR2 lens at 85mm.
The results are dramatically different with the f10 being the better photo.
I'm going to keep on experimenting. I've ordered the "Understanding Exposure by Brian Peterson" to help me out. No wonder I've always had so many fewer keepers that always seemed out of focus to me when I was not using my camera properly before.
#1. "RE: Never used Aperture Priority before" In response to Reply # 0 Mon 24-Jan-11 08:10 PM by JosephK
Seattle, WA, US
The second shot at f/10 is not necessarily better, just different with a larger depth of field.
In the first shot at f/2.8 you have a shallow depth of field centered on the white fish in the back of the collection. This renders the front of the collection out of focus as well as the blinds out of focus. Shifting the focus to the red ball in the center of the group would more evenly spread out the shallow in-focus range.
In the f/10 shot, your larger depth of field covers both the white and green fish but also the window blinds, which might not have been your intention.
There is no right and wrong in this except for measuring the results against your artistic intentions. Try taking the shot at f/4 with the focus on the red ball in the middle.
---------+---------+---------+---------+ Joseph K Seattle, WA, USA
#2. "RE: Never used Aperture Priority before" In response to Reply # 1
Port Washington/New York, US
I know how to place the focus square on the object I want to concentrate focus on in Live view. How using the 39 points in the main viewfinder do I get the focus on the object I want to concentrate on? It seems to pick a point at random.
#3. "RE: Never used Aperture Priority before" In response to Reply # 2
I've never shot with anything BUT Aperture Priority. Why? Because I can control the "depth" of focus, I can deliberately stay inside the lens' sweet spot (typically 1.5-2 stops down from wide open), AND by paying attention, I can still get the minimum shutter speed I need to prevent blur or stop action...
Let's say at f/5.6 my lens is sharpest, and that f/5.6 gives me the depth of field (focus) I want... well, under a wide-range of conditions, anything from 1/60th to 1/2000th shutter speed may be fine, without any particular speed being crucial.
So, even when shooting action, my bias is to set Aperture first, because most times, if I can help it, I'd rather not have the camera choose a wide-open lens setting...
Also, keep in mind that when you get smaller than f/9 or so, diffraction sets in and the lens you're using will not be achieving the best resolution possible (which is why we don't just set the lens at f/16 and forget it).
#4. "RE: Never used Aperture Priority before" In response to Reply # 2
If you take it out of 3D focusing, once you touch the shutter release to focus, you can use the multi-selector on the back of hte camera to select the focus point in the viewfinder. I've not had an SLR for a long time, so I've been learning quite a bit recently. For instance shooting soccer games, I've gone to 9 points vs. 39 points as the camera was locking on to background elements sometimes. With the smaller autofocus matrix, I have fewer problems, especially when my disciplice breaks down.
#5. "RE: Never used Aperture Priority before" In response to Reply # 4 Tue 25-Jan-11 09:42 AM by briantilley
Remember, you're shooting digital, so if you are not sure take the Fisher Price option and have a play about with it, as it costs you nothing to see the images (try having a go on film and shooting transparency, you quickly learn what a mistake in exposure makes).