Camera Buyer's Guide


Lesson Info


Let's move on to exposure. All cameras have exposure systems and they're not that different from camera to camera to be honest with you. Most of the cameras these days are using a mode dial. Very easy dial to see the difference between some of the automated settings and some of the manual settings. So all cameras will have a full automatic setting and this is where the camera is setting shutter speeds, apertures, ISOs, focusing, everything for you and it's very very easy. This is gonna be very handy when you learn how to use your camera, you're not gonna want to use this but if you hand the camera to a friend, who doesn't know how to work your camera, it's the perfect mode to put it in. Now, if you wanna have a little bit more control, you need to give the camera a little bit more information about what you're shooting. The camera has a number of different scene modes. So for instance we have portraits, landscapes, close ups, sports, and these are all adjusting shutter speeds, aperture...

s, metering system, focusing system, and many other little adjustments in the camera, to make it a little bit more ideal for that particular scenario. Now, from someone who's shot a lot of these things, I have found the problem I have with the scene modes is that they never go far enough. They kinda take you a little bit in that direction, but they never really go far enough. And probably the most important thing to know is that there is nothing the camera is doing that you can't do yourself. Now you have to know it to turn on and turn off, but it's not doing anything magic that you can't do yourself. If you wanna get into the more manual control, you're gonna get up into one of the letters. P stands for Program. It means the camera is setting shutter speeds and apertures for you, but beyond that it's not doing anything else. Simply shutter speeds and apertures and any other changes you wanna make, you can do. Shutter Priority also know as Time Value on some cameras, allows you to change the shutter speed and the camera will figure out the rest of the occasion. That might be good with sports photography, where you know you need a particular shutter speed, to freeze the action. You let the camera figure out the rest according to the light. One of my favorite modes is the Aperture Priority mode where you get to choose an aperture which will be how much depth of field you have, and then the camera will adjust the shutter speed according to your needs with what light you have. Now with any of these, Aperture, Shutter Priority, or Program modes, you can use something called exposure compensation. Because in all of the modes that we've talked about so far, the camera is in control of how bright or dark your subject is, the exposure compensation allows you to kind of step in and say I want this lighter or darker. And so if you don't like the brightness of your image, you can change that very easy with exposure compensation. That's a feature that all cameras have. How easy is it to access? That does vary from camera to camera. Finally, Manual Exposure. This is where you get to set shutter speeds, apertures, as well as anything else you want in the camera. If you want precise, consistent results, Manual Exposure is a great system to go with if you have the time to make sure that you're doing it right, right out of the gate. And so it's a good time to shoot a test photo, see if things are working, make a few adjustments and then go on from that. Alright, so the way this is all controlling the features on your camera. If you remember we have our apertures in our lenses, so we're gonna be opening and closing the aperture, to control light and depth of field. The shutter speed is changing the amount of time our sensor is exposed to light. We might be stopping motion with a fast shutter speed. We might be using a longer shutter speed to blur motion. And then we have our ISO, which is the sensitivity of our sensor. And ideally those numbers we're gonna keep nice and low, where we're getting nice clean information off the sensor, but sometimes we need to raise the sensitivity of our sensor under low light conditions when we're needing faster shutter speeds. So taking a look at the different ISO options available on different cameras. The Rebel T7i is a good entry level camera and it has a base ISO of but you can raise it all the way up to 51, and that is called the high setting, and it tends to be fairly low quality up there because it's receiving very little light. But it allows you to work in extremely dark situations. The E-M1 mark two from Olympus is their top of the line camera and you'll notice it does not go up to 51, and I would say and I don't know for sure cause I don't work for Olympus, but I would say that it's probably because it's using a smaller size sensor and that smaller size sensor is not as good at going up to high ISOs. And so you'll see a limited range with smaller sensored cameras. The Nikon D7500 is an interesting camera cause it goes all the way up to 1.6 million in its ISO. And the image quality at that high five level is absolutely horrendously terrible. It's there not for taking pretty pictures, it's there for technical reasons. Most people are not gonna go beyond 51,000, which is exactly where the Canon is because they use about the same size sensor with similar technology. Different but similar. The Nikon D850 is a camera that shoots at very high resolution and it can do that all the way up to 100,000. They didn't push it all the way up to the level of the and so it's not just the range of ISOs that you're looking at. You wanna look at how good it is at performing at those levels and because it's not directly related to how good the camera is, how good the sensor is, or even how much it costs. It just varies from camera to camera. You're gonna get a range of shutter speeds in all your cameras. For the most part you'll be able to change from 30 seconds all the way up to 1/4000 of a second. Many cameras do not have 1/8000 of a second, and it's not really a big deal. There's not much action that happens that you need 1/8000 of a second for. It's sometimes used just for exposure control. So you're gonna use those fast shutter speeds for stopping action. If you're gonna shoot sports you probably wanna be at 1/500 of a second or faster. If you wanna shoot a blurry shot, which sometimes look actually good if you do it right, you're gonna need those slower shutter speeds for that. So anything below 1/60 is what I consider a slower shutter speed and you also have to be careful about hand holding the camera below 1/60 of a second. And some cameras will offer the option of an electronic or silent shutter and this is where the mechanical shutter is no longer working at all and the camera is electronically turning the pixels on and off on the sensor so that there is no sound. And very few cameras are able to do this seamlessly right now and so it's kind of a feature that can be used in some cases but not all cases. Also in the exposure realm is the aperture range. And so the aperture range is gonna be determined by the lens you have on the camera. So if you have a camera and you're not satisfied with the aperture range, you can get a new lens that's gonna have a different range. Large apertures are gonna let in more light. For instance a lens that has an aperture of f/1. is gonna be very good under low light conditions. You're gonna be able to shoot with very shallow depth of field if you have a lens that opens up very wide open like a 1.4 lens. Small apertures are gonna let in less light, so if you stop your lens down to f/16 and that's gonna be good for getting maximum depth of field. So landscape photographers are often closing their lens down. As far as a toolbox for the photographer, it's very handy if you have one lens at least that you can shoot under very low light conditions. So having that fast lens can be very very helpful in many situations. With the ISO range, it's determined by the sensor on the camera. And so this is something you can't really change, but you can choose what you want from shot to shot. It's valuable to have as wide a range as possible. It's not really a big choice I think when making a camera, but it's good to know what it is and what it can shoot at. The lowest ISO setting is generally the best. It's the lowest solid number. Sometimes they have like an L or a low number, that's a special low setting, we're not gonna get into what that is there for. But it's the lowest solid number is where you're gonna get the cleanest, best amount of information off of the sensor. In general the larger the sensor, the better it's going to do with high ISOs, because it has larger pixels on it. We mentioned before, cameras with fewer pixels tend to do better than cameras with more pixels. There's a lot of exceptions to this rule because new technology will change the processing of these images and new technology beats old technology as well. I have found that most cameras that have a whole list of ISOs that you can use, the top two settings are usually pretty poor in quality and generally what you wanna avoid if good picture quality is important. There is also an option for Auto ISO where the camera will jump in and set the ISO for you. That can be very handy in situations where the light is changing very quickly. Some manual photographers don't like that cause they wanna maintain control of everything, so it's a good option and it's available on all the cameras that I know of that are out on the market today. So we have many different exposure modes on the camera. There's a lot of different auto modes and scene modes on there. They're simple but they are very limited into all the different things that you can change. If you wanna change your white balance, or your motor drive system, you can't necessarily do that in the full auto modes. The P mode is nice and simple cause it sets shutter speeds and apertures, but allows you to dive in and make small little manipulations as you want and see fit. Shutter Priority is good when you know that you need a particular shutter speed and you want the camera to do the rest of the work. I think Aperture Priority is one of the best all around modes for all types of photography. And when you really start honing in on a particular subject and you're gonna be shooting several photos of it, that's when I switch over to manual. And remember, you're smarter than the camera so long as you've done the education. So get yourself educated on what all these settings do and how to control them and you can end up with perfect exposures out in the field.

Class Description

Buyer's guide will be your guide to figuring out the best digital camera for your needs.

Gear expert John Greengo dives into the major brands and lenses that are currently on the market.

John breaks down some of the more confusing aspects of mirrorless and DSLR's from focusing systems to sensor size; you'll get a better understanding of what the gear does so you can make an informed decision.

At the end of the class, John gives his recommendations for different types of photographers from the aspiring student to the filmmaker and everyone in between.


Samantha Locadia

John is a great teacher, and I've learned allot in this lesson. I already had an idea what camera I want to buy next but happy to know it was also what he recommended (for my field). Really love his free classes by the way where he talks with other photographers and discusses photos of viewers. Awesome!

Michael And Dawn

John has a very good way of explaining things to make them both simple and complete. His makes great use of visual graphics in his explanations. I highly recommend any of his courses, the material presented is well thought out and flows very well.

Kevin Li

Amazing course. So much education provided in these free classes. I will definately be taking more. I am so glad I watched these before jumping in and buying a camera. This is a much watch for all people who are new to photography and are looking to buy a camera.