Top Deck: Exposure Control
Our first kind of major section up here is dealing with exposure controls. As we talk about the controls of the camera, if there is a button or dial on the camera, that means it's probably a pretty important feature, and in this case there's a lot of dedicated buttons and dials. And the first one we're gonna talk about is the ISO, which is the sensitivity of the sensor. Now, this has a new lock, and I kind of think of it like a pen, it's one of the click pens that you click to turn it on and you click to turn it off, and so it's either a locked position or it's unlocked. And so if you like to keep it locked, you're gonna have to unlock it and then relock it, and get used to those little finger movements if you are moving back and forth between different ISOs. So we have a whole list of different ISOs. 200 is the base or native sensitivity, and you can raise it up to higher settings if you need to brighten your image essentially. Essentially it's adjusting the sensitivity of the sensor,...
making it more sensitive. Now it does have a couple of kind of unusual settings. Let's start with H. H stands for High, and you can set this either to be 25,600 or 51,200. They only have space for one High on there, and you can go into the setup menu, you can see the little shortcut down there, and you can select which one. So for most people you're gonna want to have that at 25,600, but if you have a need for 51,000, you could input that. Next up is A, A of course stands for Automatic, Auto ISO, and this is where the camera will choose the ISO for you. Now there is a number of parameters that you can go in and customize the Auto ISO setting. We'll talk more about that when we get to it in the menu system, but you can select the base ISO, you can select the maximum ISO, and the minimum shutter speed. Because when you have your camera in Auto ISO, the way it bases choosing which ISO for you to use is it assumes that you're handholding the camera, and you need about 1/60th of a second. And so anytime you're on a tripod or you want a slower shutter speed, Auto ISO doesn't make a lot of sense because it's not choosing what you would want to have on your own. So, it's something that I will use, but only from time to time when I just need simple basic photos. There is an L setting. Now the lowest setting on the camera, 200, is the base sensitivity. Let's go ahead and bring that one up here. 200 is your base or native sensitivity. This is where you're gonna get the best performance from the sensor. Low is if you do want to go down to 100. If you were needing to shoot let's say a waterfall photo, and you wanted to get down to one second, but your camera at 200 would only get down to a half second, you could put your camera at Low and then go all the way down to one second to get that one second longer exposure. But it's not something you want to do on a regular basis, because it has less dynamic range than ISO 200. So I always like to throw the cameras through a little test to see how good they are at different ISO settings. And so let's take a look at the X-T2 results. We'll start off with the Low setting and going up to 1,600, and if you don't see much difference here, that's because this camera is really good at all of these ISOs. Everything 200 through 800 is extraordinary clean. 1,600 is still very clean in my book. As we work our way up, everyone's gonna kind of have their limit of where they think things have gone over the edge. Now I think clearly 51,200 is not very good. It's also a little bit darker than everything else, and so I don't know that that ISO is totally accurate. I think 25,000 is pretty bad as well but I could see using 12,800 in extreme cases, and everything up to 6,400 is looking pretty usable. The rule on ISOs has always been and will probably always be, the lower the better if you can get away with it. But I can very well see using this camera at 6,400 for a number of issues. So I wanted to take a look at some of the sensor performance of the camera, because there is something that's kind of unique about the sensor, and so I shot this test image at ISO 200, and you can see we have a playing card in the light, and a playing card in the shadow. Now what's wrong with this image is that overall it's pretty dark, and if you wanted to brighten it up, one way of doing that would be to bump the ISO up to ISO 1,600. Now we have a brighter image but unfortunately the king of clubs has gotten a little bit too bright on that side. Now, little too bright there, so what are we gonna do about this? Well we can go in and I can darken the highlights, and try to resurrect some of those highlights to hold some of those highlights from going back, and that works out okay. The other option is I could just shoot this at 200 and I can raise the shadows up in Photoshop or Lightroom, or whatever program you have. The question is is, what's gonna get you the overall better result? Well this camera uses a sensor that is kind of unique in the sense that it's kind of an ISO-less sensor in that you can shoot at lower ISOs and boost it afterwards. And so what I wanted to take a look at was the quality of the shadow and highlight area between ISO 200 and 1,600. And you'll notice the shadow areas of both are about the same, but the highlights of ISO 200 are much better. Look at those yellows, they are much more vibrant yellows than at ISO 1,600. And so like all digital cameras, what does this mean when you're out shooting? You want to protect the highlights. You do not want to overexpose, and with the Fuji X-T2, you could have areas that are lost in the shadows that you can do a lot of recovery on. And so pay attention to the histogram, pay attention to your light meter, but that histogram is really important. Don't overexpose the highlights. Keep those protected, and this camera will do a phenomenal job at being able to raise those shadows. So, probably better to use a slightly lower ISO and boost it later than to shoot in a high ISO and blow out any of the pixels. All right so that's the ISO, and you know what? I am gonna do an on the spot demo here, because I want to show, because I know some people have a question about ISO 200 and 100, and I want to shoot a little live demo here of the difference between ISO 100 and 200. So to start with, I am gonna put my camera in ISO 200, put my camera full manual. Let's zoom in on our little prop table here. And, if I shoot a picture at ISO 200, I want to take a look and see if I'm blowing out any of the highlights. And let me change my displays. I'll get to everything that I'm doing here. Need to change it a little bit more. Let's take a look at the images here. And so what I'm doing is I'm pulling up this screen, and up here you can see a little tiny blinky, those are some pixels that are overexposed. And I shot that at ISO 200 at a half second. So what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna go down to the Low setting, and I'm gonna go to a one second exposure, which should be the exact same photo. And we're gonna look at the results, and we can see that I have blown out, let's make sure I got the right pictures here. So I got a half second at 200, and then I went to double the shutter speed and I cut the ISO in half, and now that entire back wall has blown out. So at ISO 200, I have blown out just a few little pixels there, and ISO 100 I've blown out a lot of pixels, and so this is the reason why you do not want to use ISO 100 all the time. And let's take a look at the histogram. Look at the histogram over here on the right, and you'll see in the ISO 100 there is a spike way over to the right side, and we get a little bit more of that information at ISO 200. So only use 200 ISO, or excuse me 100, the Low setting, if you absolutely have to in order to get the shot, or if you're dealing with a fairly low dynamic range scene that you're photographing. All right the next topic under exposure control is the shutter speeds. Now I'm gonna warn you folks right now, the slide that we're gonna look at is my least favorite slide in the whole class. It gets very, very cluttered. It's awkward, it's ugly. I can't do anything about it because there are so many things going on when it comes to shutter speeds. All right, it's got the push lock/release just like the ISO, so you can lock it in to a particular shutter release. Let's look at the different options we have in here. We have an A for Automatic. You can let the camera choose shutter speeds for you. That is essentially aperture priority, or the program mode depending on how you have the other settings set. And then you can actually dial in the old shutter speeds, just like some of your old manual cameras. The top shutter speed here is 1/8000 of a second and we don't have third stops. We go in full stops. We go down to 250x. Now it's 1/250 of a second of course. The X means it's the top shutter speed that you can use with flash. However I have found that you can actually use something a little bit faster from time to time depending on the flash. But officially 1/250th of a second is the flash. Now all of these are of course fractions of a second, and we dial ourselves down to one full second. So these are the full shutter speed increments that we can do on the camera. And then we get into some letters. The first letter is T. T stands for time. It's long and specific shutter speeds. If you want to go to two, eight, up to 30 seconds, you can set that time by putting it in T, and then you're gonna need to control them. Oh and you can also get to the third stop shutter speeds, and you will do this by the back dial of the camera. And so you can adjust third stops all the way down to the shutter speed, or down to 30 seconds. Some people prefer the tactile control of the full stop shutter speeds on the top. Some people like the expanded range and the detailed control of using the back dial on the camera. Your camera, you get to choose, I love having that option. Next is a B setting. B stands for Bulb, and it's long shutter speeds up to 60 minutes. Now, Bulb comes from the term bulb release. Back in the old days of view cameras photographers would have an air bulb release, and when they squeezed it, it opened the shutter on their camera, and as long as they were squeezing in on the bulb, it would leave the shutter open, and so that's where the word bulb comes from. So as long as we leave our finger down on the shutter release, we press down on the shutter release, it opens the shutters, exposes the sensor as long as you want. This is a good reason to use a cable release so that you're not moving and touching the camera. And then when your finger comes off is when the whole process ends. So if you want to do a really long exposure, you could do it in a number of different ways on this camera, but using that Bulb will get you something longer than 30 seconds. I'll just put a word of warning, leaving the camera or the sensor open for a long period of time, it will heat up, it'll have noise, and you'll probably get some fairly poor results with anything over five or 10 minutes. I haven't tried to push my camera to see how far I can get it, but usually five minutes is as long as you're gonna want to do it in most cases. Now we do have some electronic shutter speeds, and we'll talk more about the electronic shutter as we get later on into this class, but you can shoot up to 1/32000th of a second for exposure control. If you have a lens like the 35 1.4 or the 56 1. or another very fast lens, and you're shooting in a bright environment, you're trying to shoot a portrait, you're trying to shoot with your lens wide open, you need a shutter speed faster than 1/8000th of a second from time to time, and that's where these electronic shutter speeds come in handy. They're also nice because they have no vibration and they're really, really quiet, and so if you want to be very discreet you can choose to use these. Now in order to get access to the electronic shutter speeds, you need to dive into the menu system under the Shooting Setting and go into the Shutter Type and select what you want there. We'll talk more about that when we get into the menu section. So obviously you're gonna select shutter speeds for stopping motion or blurring motion if you want it you might need 1/1000 of a second. If you've got an eagle coming into the river, you can use a slow shutter speed like one second to blow the scarves, or to blur the scarves moving around in the wind. And if you want to do a long bulb exposure, two minutes, you can get the headlights of cars streaking down the streets. So there's a lot of fun that you can have with different shutter speeds in photography. So, as I said it's a cluttered slide, there's a lot of things going on on that shutter speed dial. I do love the tactile control of the full shutter speed. So in normal photography I try to use it there, but quite often I am flipping it over to the T setting so that I can get those third stops and I can get longer shutter speeds and kind of have that full access range from 1/32000 of a second down to 30 seconds. All right next up on the exposure controls is the apertures. Now this is gonna be on the lens of course, at least in most cases. Many lenses will have a specific aperture ring. Sometimes they'll be labeled with your aperture settings like the one pictured, or my 18 to which has a ring, but no numbers on it. It will vary from lens to lens. And you will see that, these are known as R lenses, which means they have a ring for controlling the aperture. And there will be an A setting that you can set if you want to have apertures automatically set. So you'd have the camera essentially in shutter priority, or program, letting the camera figure out the aperture for you. Now there are a couple of lenses, the XC lenses, and you could think of C as cheap or consumer, or something else. They're kind of their lower end lenses. They do not have aperture rings on them, so you have to use the back control dial for controlling the apertures. Now of course you're gonna use the apertures for controlling how much depth of field along with letting in the correct amount of light. You could use f/22 if you want everything in the foreground to the background to be in focus. You can shoot with a shallow depth of field at something like 1.4. And then when you press halfway down on the shutter release, that activates depth of field preview. So if you want to see how much depth of field you're gonna get, just simply press halfway down on the shutter release, and you'll hear your lens kind of close down. If you want to look in the front of the camera, you can see that aperture closing down when you press halfway. And so it's an instant check on how much depth of field you're gonna get in a particular scenario. So that's just half press on the shutter, stopping the lens down. So that's yet another thing that it's doing besides metering and focusing, and waking up the camera, and getting it out of the menu settings. All right so if you wanted to put your camera in full program, what would you do? Well you could put the shutter speed to A, so that shutter speeds are totally figured out for you. On your lens you would set it to A as well, either turning the dial or flipping the switch depending on which lens you have. And you would see in the camera your shutter speeds and apertures are gonna be automatically set for you. And so there's a couple different displays that you might see, but the SS is the shutter speeds, the F is for F stop or apertures, and then the ISOs will be listed as well. And you'll see that in the different types of displays that you might see. And so one of the things that you can do with this camera is something called program shift by turning the back dial on the camera. This is gonna shift shutter speeds and apertures for you. So let me give you a little demo on that myself, and so I'm gonna make sure that my camera is flipped into A for apertures, A for shutter speeds. Turn my camera on so we can see what's going on, and by turning the back dial of the camera, you can see that my shutter speeds and apertures down here are changing. Now at anytime I like those numbers, I can fire a photo and I'll change it to something radically different here. And then I'll change it to something again different here. Three second exposure, so this will take a little bit of time, and we're gonna play back these three images and see how even their exposure is. And let's get out of this display where we can see it pretty clearly here. And actually, right here, there is, let's see, we want to see the image numbers which is right here. And so there's the third image and the second image, and the first image, and you can see down here the different numbers, the shutter speeds and apertures that I was at. So, the program mode is a simple quick way of just having the camera ready for pretty much anything that you might want to shoot. So, I prefer not to be in the program mode because I kind of like to get my own settings in there, but it is an easy way to work with the camera for sure. Now depending on which mode you're in, you may see these numbers coming up as blue or red. And, that's gonna indicate whether you have control of it and whether it's an available setting or not. So let me go back and I want to show you a couple of the other modes on the camera. So I am going to, let's see which one do I want to do first? I am gonna take my aperture, and we can turn our camera around here so you can see what I'm doing. I'm gonna go down to Manual aperture on this one so I have manual control over the aperture. So now by turning the dial, you can see in blue my aperture setting. And so, maxed out at f/4 right there, goes down to f/22. The numbers are in white at shutter speed, and I'm gonna get my, I'm gonna throw my ISOs just at 200, just a basic setting there. And so, anytime I want to shoot a photo, I can get a decent photo here. And if I play that back, getting a decent result there. Now, this is the one main reason I want to show this to you, is I'm gonna flip my camera into automatic aperture, so the camera has control of the apertures. And on the top of the camera, I'm gonna start selecting different shutter speeds. I'll start off with a fairly basic one of 1/60th of a second. Let's get this lined up, right there. Actually let's, I'm gonna, it's not too bright in here, I'm gonna bump this up to 800 just to make this simple on us. Okay, so at 1/4 of a second I'm getting f/16. All is good with the world. I can shoot a photo, and that is gonna come out fine and dandy. Okay, but if I decide that I want a faster shutter speed, it's gonna change the aperture for me. Okay, that's nice, that's good. Uh oh, we've got it to the red settings. The red settings means that the lens has maxed out at f/4, and it needs to go further but there's no place for it to go. So if I want to shoot a picture at 5/100 of a second, well I can do it but that red is a warning that that picture is not gonna come out correct. So if we play this back, yeah we can see that image is a little bit on the dark side. If I do this, I can actually do this on the long side too. If I'm gonna go down to Time and select an extremely long shutter speed. So, five seconds, if I want to do a five second exposure, f/22 is not small enough, and the picture is gonna come out too bright. So if you do like to use shutter priority, be aware of any sort of red symbol because that means your lens cannot go far enough. Now this doesn't happen if we do the reverse, so if we go back to manual settings of the aperture, and set our shutter speeds to automatic, the thing about shutter speeds is that we have a lot of shutter speeds to use with the camera, and so with apertures I can change the aperture from one extreme to the other and I never get a red shutter speed. There is always a shutter speed available. Now it's possible under highly unusual situations that you might get a red shutter speed where there isn't one fast enough, or there isn't one slow enough. But it's highly unlikely because there are so many different shutter speeds. And this is why, personally I prefer aperture priority, and I know it's a lot more popular than shutter priority. Having said that, there are reasons to use shutter priority, and if you did want to use shutter priority, here's how I might think about doing it. Let me flip my lens back, and let's say I wanted to set a shutter speed of 1/500 of a second here in the studio, and I want it to be pretty simple. I'm just gonna select the shutter speeds. What I would do is I would move my ISO dial to Automatic. And so then the ISO would jump up. Now it's not jumping up high enough right now because I don't have my auto ISO setting set to allow a high enough shutter, or ISO setting, and so we'll get into customize that in a little bit in the camera. So that's a little bit on the exposure control of the camera, and how you might want to work things for different types of photography. Over on the left-hand side there is an exposure compensation scale, and so let's talk a little bit about the exposure compensation in this camera, because that's kind of its own dial right there on the top of the camera. So we have a dial on the top of the camera which can brighten or darken your images according to the minus or the plus side that you have it set at. So let's look at the examples of what you can get. You can go up to three stops underexposed or overexposed by just dialing where you want this. Now in order for this to work, the camera needs to be in control of something, whether it's shutter speeds, apertures, or ISO. And if you need to go further than three stops, we have a C setting, which stands for Custom. You would then use the front dial to turn and adjust to minus five or plus five or anywhere in between. Now if you accidentally bump this a little too easy, what you can do is you can press in on that button to lock it, and then press in again on it to unlock it, and so it's a feature that you can lock and unlock as need be. And once again, if you do want to use this exposure compensation, you're gonna be using this with one of those three settings in A. You could have it with two or three of them, but at least one needs to be in the A mode. And so let me go ahead and put my camera into a full automatic mode, which means everything is on Automatic. And, I can go ahead and let's do a manual bracket series, and what I'm gonna do, I'm gonna make this really clear, I'm gonna turn it to minus two on the top, and you should be able to see over here on the left-hand side, I'm down at minus two. And so let's go ahead and take our first picture here. I'm gonna dial it and you can watch the scale on the left-hand side. I'm going up to zero, we'll take another picture there, proper exposure, and then I'm gonna go up to plus two. Take my third photo. We're gonna play this back. Two stops overexposed, and it's gonna actually say two stops right down here at the bottom. Normal exposure, underexposure, we can look at this by pressing the display and we can see the minus two up here. We can look at the histogram as it changes to the normal exposure, and to the overexposure. All right, and so that's the exposure compensation. There is a way of auto-bracketing. We'll deal with that when we get into the menu system. Now the most important thing to know about this is that that dial does not physically change back on its own. And so I am going to reset mine back to zero, because that is the default place that most people are gonna want to leave their camera at. So make sure that that's at either zero or C in your kind of standard setup, you're only gonna want to change that on an as needed basis. So for full on manual exposure you're gonna be changing your shutter speeds, you're gonna be changing your apertures, and you're gonna be looking at the light meter in the camera. So, on the left is a little light meter, and you'll see it either in the viewfinder or on the back of the camera. And as you make adjustments, you might have a one stop underexposed if it's at minus one. It does work in third stops, so that would be one and a third stops underexposed. And then although it doesn't say plus, it is overexposed, that would be two and 2/3 stops, and then of course zero is your even exposure. And, this is something that you would want to do in unusual lighting conditions where there's an unusual amount of dark or bright areas, or anytime you want to get consistent shots from image to image. So I like using manual exposure when I have kind of setup on a scene, and I want to get good exposures that are identical, because the light's not changing. So let's do full manual exposure here. Throw my lens into manual aperture, and we're gonna go to, let's just go to ISO because it's not super bright here in the studio. Turn the camera on, and right now I have an 1/8000 of a second chosen, which seems like a little bit fast for in here, and I can see over here on the meter that I am well at the minus side. So I'm gonna go ahead and just keep dialing down until I get my light meter. Okay now I can actually see what I'm doing. Get the camera pointed in the right direction. Let it focus, and, change the shutter speed until I get what I think is a proper exposure, and I can either go with what it says at zero, and you'll notice that I can't get to zero because I'm working whole stops. I can get close, and then I can use the back dial to dial third stops to get it right on. Now if I'm shooting something that's mostly white, let's say the top half of this, I'm gonna probably want to have, if I have my setting at zero, let's see. Right there, it's a little bit dark, that white backdrop is a little bit too on the dark side, and so I would want to have this a little bit more on the plus side, maybe a stop or 2/3 of a stop brighter. If I'm focusing on something that's a little bit darker, like down here, if I try to brighten this up, let's see, let's get to the right shutter speeds here. Try to set this at zero, it might be a little bit too bright. There's a lot of overexposed areas in there, and so if your subject is dark, you're gonna probably want to have it on the minus side, and so you can play around a little bit depending on what your subject looks like in there. And so that's the way I would work with the light meter, and it's something that you can actually turn on and off. If you don't want to see the light meter in the viewfinder, you could actually turn it off. You can go with a histogram and turn that on as well.