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Aperture setting

Don Harris , Jun 25, 2003; 04:37 p.m.

I know I should do a search of previously asked questions, but it is not working. What are the basic settings for outdoor/landscape photography? I am using Canon Elan 7 with 28-80 and 70-300 Tamron lenses. I also have various filters along with a circular polarizer. I am trying to venture deeper in the world of all around photography. A cheat sheet list would be great points to start with (i.e. f/16 @ 1/250).

Very much appreciated,

DH

Responses


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Stephen H , Jun 25, 2003; 05:02 p.m.

Lenses usually give best results optically around f/8 or f/11. If depth-of-field and camera shake are not concerns, I'll use f/11 and whatever shutter speed that gives me.

Tom Emerson , Jun 25, 2003; 05:04 p.m.

A cheat sheet list would be great points to start with (i.e. f/16 @ 1/250).

Such a general purporse cheat sheet doesn't exist, nor does it need to. I would start with a book on exposure so you can get a feel for the relationship between aperture size, shutter speed, and film speed.

Often for outdoor photography you want a long depth of field, which implies a smaller aperture. Put your camera into aperture priority, select the smallest aperture you can, and let it figure out the shutter speed given the filtration on your lense.

"f/16 @ 1/250", by itself, is meaningless.

Rob Bernhard , Jun 25, 2003; 05:38 p.m.

What are the basic settings for outdoor/landscape photography?

Whatever settings produce photos you like.

It seems silly but it's true. Some people will tell you landscape photography is "x", while others will tell you it's "y."

Why not use your camera and figure out for yourself what you like and don't like? Take notes of your settings when you're shooting. Learn what works and what doesn't. Get a print back that's way over-exposed, look at your notes and see what's different from the ones that did turn out.

There's no "right" way for photography.

Don Harris , Jun 25, 2003; 06:09 p.m.

Thank you all for the help you have provided. I will jus thave to burn lots of film and take notes. God I love photography...

Sergey Oboguev , Jun 25, 2003; 08:15 p.m.

Best thing you can do is to get some decent books, like those by John Shaw. (Check amazon.com, http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/081743710X and books listed down the page).

For landscapes, you normally want as much DOF as you can get, meaning stopping down as much as possible (since usually blur created by diffraction is going to be less than due insufficient DOF -- unless things are swinging in the wind or you shooting something like waves crashing at the shore).

Brian Y , Jun 25, 2003; 08:18 p.m.

Don, the above answers don't really answer your question, tough they come from good photographers. The "cheat sheet" is well known. This link came from a google search for "Basic Daylight Exposure"
http://www.garageglamour.com/tips/bdeguide.php
You still have to know the relationship between aperture and shutter speed, so that you know that shooting f/16 @ 1/125 is the same as shooting f/5.6 @ 1/1000. But the above chart is a good starting place, especially if you A) don't have a meter and B) are using print film.

That's not the case for you, so it may be less helpful, unless in extreme lighting where your meter may be fooled. Select either the aperture you want (if you want a particular depth of field) or shutter speed you want (if you want a motion effect) and let your camera set the other value (I'm assuming it can; I use Nikon). Also, make sure your shutter speed when handholding is faster than 1/(focal length), e.g. 1/250 for a 200mm lens.

Philippe Gauthier , Jun 25, 2003; 09:38 p.m.

Speed and aperture are only two terms of a quatuor. What's missing in your equation is the film speed and the actual amount of light - which can vary by as much as 8-9 stops between full sunlight and deep, deep shadows in a dense forest. An all around sheet would imply that you know the actual amount of light at all times.

The first thing to do is the meter the light. Once you know it for whatever film speed you're using (ie, 1/125, f/8 @ ISO 100) you can play with shutter speed and aperture as much as you like. If you open the lens one stop (f/5.6) and let the shutter open for half the time (1/250) you'll get the same amount of light on your film, resulting in another perfect exposure, but with a different optical outcome.

The more you close the lens, the more DOF you'll get. The longer the shutter is open, the more camera shake (and motion blur) you'll get. Normally, you should expose for 1/60 at most on the 50 mm lens, or 1/250 with 200 mm to prevent shake (1/focal lenght of the lens). You'll soon find yourself facing tough choices, never having wide enough lenses or enough DOF within the alloted time. Why do you think photographers carry these heavy tripods? Many, many shots (if not most) are just impossible to figure out without them.

Brian Kennedy , Jun 25, 2003; 09:40 p.m.

Wow, there is a cheat sheet after all. FWIW, I agree with the others, especially about looking for some John Shaw books.

Your Elan 7 has a very good through-the-lens meter. I recommend shooting in Av (aperture priority) mode on a tripod. Compose the shot, focus on the subject, choose f/11, and let the meter select a shutter speed for you. You'll probably find that the shutter speeds are generally in agreement with the cheat sheet. Read the John Shaw books and experiment, and you'll learn when you want to shoot at f/4 and when you want to shoot at f/22.

Frank Uhlig , Jun 26, 2003; 10:22 a.m.

The cheat sheet is built into your elan 7: set the camera to automatic mode, P mode, or whatever it is called, and the camera will give you a valid set of numbers for f stop and speed. Now it is up to you to go higher in speed, lower in aperture or vice versa. But you have already paid for the cheat sheet; just look at it for guidance.


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