What camera settings? you ask. On my iphone I just touch the screen and the picture is there!

If you want to read on, then this article is about, Sensors,  Resolution(megapixels) Light,sources and types  


Well, lets start with the difference in sensor sizes.

As you can imagine the sensor on a smart phone is very small. Youve only got to look at the little hole on the back of your phone to see how small the opening is. But let's first look at the relative sizes and then discuss their purpose. Most phones have a sensor size of around 3.5mm by 4.5mm. Where your full frame dslr has a sensor size of 24mm by 36mm. So whats the big deal. Well the larger the sensor, the more light it can process. So as more light hits the sensor and is interpreted, the the greater the ability the camera has to shoot in low light conditions without the introduction of uncontrolled noise. The larger the sensor is also allows for clearer, larger prints. Again your smart phone images look great on the phone and on the net where resolution can be low. But use your smart phone in a poorly lit room, then blow it up a little and you will see what I mean. To put it bluntly, the larger the sensor, the more detailed and color controlled is the photo. As you can guess, there are sizes between these two types. And you cant really tell the sensor type or size by looking at the camera. The chart below illustrates relative sensor size. Remembering that your smart phone sensor is smaller again. Mirrorless cameras come in a variey of sensor sizes, with the dearer ones having larger sensors, while all full bodied dslrs are either full frame or alsc sized. As you can imagine, medium and large format cameras have larger sensors again.


What about the all talked about and apparently all important Resolution-megapixel count

The size in megapixels can be anywhere fro 2mp to 80mp and in many ways it is not as important as sensor size. For example the Nikon D4 Nikons flagship at around $6000 shoots at 16megapixels. My D7000 also shoots at 16megapixels. But there is a world of difference. I am simply saying that megapixel count doesnt make for better photography. Apparently about 5 megapixels will print cleanly to a3 size. In many ways the importance of megapixels is in its relationship to sensor size. Too many megapixels makes it hard to take a sharp shot. Ther are lots of sites out there that do the math on megapixel count. But for me I still want to buy the Nikon D810 with its 36megapixel count or if I win Tattslotto the Sony A7r11 at around 40megapixels. For me there is a reson. I one day hope to invest in a high end printer and produce large landscape prints. For that the extra megapixels will help. As far as printing resolution goes, 300 dots per inch is industry standard. If you are familiar with Lightroom or Photoshop, you can set your reolution output for print. Conversely the net needs only about 80 dots per inch and then when compressing the image to jpg it is small enough to load quickly on the web.

Where's the Light, without it we cant take photos, just like we cant see in the dark, neither can your camera...no matter how expensive it is. But there is light and there is light. Not all light is kind to your photo. For example taking a photo indoors under fluorescent lighting will leave a cold blue colour cast and shooting under incandescent lighting will leave an ugly orange tinge. Both of these problems can be fixed in Lightroom or Photoshop by adjusting the white balance. Or as I said earlier you could set the custom(scene mode to the appropriate setting)mode to compensate. As well direct sunlight on the face of whom you are photographing leaves unsightly harsh shadows and then if the sun is directly behind the person, the camera will try to compensate by under exposing the person in front of you. So in essence we have "natural lighting" and "artificial lighting". If you have pleny of money you could buy a light meter, like the sekonic L-758d for between $600 and $800. If not, then like me you try to use the cameras metering system. It is important to get a value for light as this is then used to adjust aperture, shutter speed and iso settings. But more of that later. Those three settings arnt JUST for light, they allow for creativity when adjusted correctly. For now it is generally just best to set your metering mode to matrix - simply put the metering mode that meters from the entire scene and then tries to balance exposure for a good shot. If you are using your camera set to "AUTO" or choosing from one of the scene modes then adjusting settings is not possible. I know this is really only a brief outline. But I think a detailed discussion of light falloff, flash strength and position, multiple lighting sources and reflected light and incident light can form part of a VERY lengthy article later on.

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0 #1 Michael 2015-10-25 00:31
Useful information, will help me decide on what camera I will purchase.

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