Fuji® X-T20 Fast Start

Lesson 3/20 - Exposure Controls


Fuji® X-T20 Fast Start


Lesson Info

Exposure Controls

All right. As we talk about the Top Deck, a lot of it is in dealing with the exposure control of the camera, so we're going to be controlling the brightness and darkness of our image with our shutter speeds, apertures, and ISOs. So obviously, we have a very, very traditional shutter speed dial on the top of the camera, which has the advantage of being able to just look down at the camera, even if it's turned off, and see what shutter speed we're at. But it does have some limitations, and it's got some creative ways of getting around those limitations. So let's talk about the shutter speed dial in detail. Kind of the top option is the A setting for automatic, and this is where the camera will automatically choose the shutter speed for you. Now it has no idea what you're shooting, so it's not choosing the appropriate shutter speed when it comes to action and movement, it's choosing the appropriate shutter speed according to light, whether it has a lot of light or very little light to wor...

k with. So that's one very simple option. As we dial down, we're going to start hitting our specific shutter speed, so 4000 actually is 1/4000th of a second. These are all fractions. And so, when you get to 1/80th of a second, the numbers kind of change because every one of them was doubling and cutting in half, and 1/80 is this kind of in between one and it's got an X by it. And what that means is that is the fastest shutter speed that you can use with the flash, and so the camera has a built in flash, you can also add on flash, and so if you're using flash, even if you set a faster shutter speed, it's not going to work out. You want to set it at 1/80th or lower because that's where it synchronizes with the flash. Down below 1/80th, we continue on with a variety of shutter speeds down to one full second, so that's a fairly long shutter speed in camera terms. After that, we get down to something called T. T is for time, and it is for long and specific shutter speeds. Because the dial is so small, they didn't have room to go to 2, 4, 8, 15, 30, and potentially even longer, so by just dialing it to T, you can get to these longer shutter speeds by turning the back dial of the camera, which will also allow you to get to the third stops on the shutter speeds, because most modern cameras, pretty much all modern cameras, have third stops as the options on shutter speed so that you can be very, very exacting in where your shutter speeds are. And now you can do that as well by putting this in the T mode. And I think there's a lot of people who use Fuji who do like having that really precise control and they leave it in T, because it's just really easy to get to all of the settings by turning the back dial on their camera, they'll get from 30 seconds to 1/4000th of a second and all those third stops in between. Another one that you'll find on there is B, and that's the last one on here. And bulb is for long shutter speeds, up to 60 minutes in length. And the way this works is when you put it in bulb, you can press down on the shutter release, but that might induce a little bit of shake in the camera, so it would be good to use a cable release for something like this, but you press in on the cable release, and it opens the shutter, and it stays open as long as your finger is on that shutter button, and then when you take your finger off, it closes the second curtain of the shutters and ends the exposure. So you could use that for a long time exposure, for instance. And so you can just turn the dial to set your shutter speeds or you can turn it to T and get to all those other settings. Now we also have a few more at the very top end. These are the electronic shutter speeds. So the camera has a mechanical shutter that is opening and closing in front of the sensor itself for most of these shutter speeds, but if you want to get up to 16/1000th or 32/1000th of a second, the electronic shutter will work. And this can be very good if you are using a very fast lens under bright light and you're trying to shoot it wide open at 1.2, for instance, you're going to need a really fast shutter speed like 16 or 32/1000th of a second. And so in order to get to those, you can also do that with the T setting but you do have to have your camera set up for getting into that type of shutter and you will do that by going into the Shooting Settings and go to the Shutter Type and turn it on to the Electronic Shutter in that case. And we'll talk more about the mechanical and the electronic shutter when we get to the menu section in the class. So shutter speeds are very important, you want to choose a fast one for stopping action like 1/1000th of a second here, or you might want to choose a slow shutter speed for blurring an action for artistic reasons, or other reasons. A bulb exposure of two minutes was used here so that I could get the tail lights of the car streaking. There wasn't enough cars in 30 seconds so I left it open for two minutes using a bulb exposure. So there's a lot of different options on the shutter speed. My preference is I do like to leave it in the T setting so that I have access to all the different shutter speeds, but sometimes when I'm just trying to go old school doing very simple visual looking at the camera, I do like having those shutter speeds all laid out there. It's very clear where I'm at and what's available to move to. All right. Next up, let's talk about our aperture. So the aperture is the opening in the lens. And so this is going to be a control that we're going to see on the lenses, and there's a variety of options out there. Some of the lenses have an aperture ring on it that you can turn, and it's very clear where your aperture setting is because there's a label right there on it. There's other lenses that do not have the aperture setting on it, and they'll just have a plain old dial. At the end of the options of the different aperture numbers, is often going to be an A. And so this allows the camera to automatically set the aperture for you. Some lenses will have a switch on the side of the lens that will have an A and then an aperture diagram, and so if you want the aperture to be controlled automatically, you would flip that switch over into the aperture mode. And so, it's all depends on whether you want to control the aperture or not. You can set it to wherever the setting that you want or put it into the A mode. Now there are a few lenses, the XC lenses, that do not have the ring on the lens at all. And so with lenses that have no aperture control, you're going to use the rear dial on the camera to control the aperture. And so you'll just be able to turn that dial and go extend the lens through its range of aperture settings. So apertures are very important, of course, for controlling the depth of field. F/16, 22, something like that, will give you lots of depth of field so you can have the foreground and background in focus. If you have a lens that goes down to 1.4, you can have very shallow depth of field, and so that could be very good for isolating a subject, for instance, in portrait photography. So little different controls on these Fuji cameras compared to other different types of cameras. Now one of the other things is that when you press halfway down on the shutter release, it's going to stop your aperture down to the working opening. And so if you have F/16 set, a small opening, you're going to hear a little click and you're going to hear that little aperture moving in your lens, and when you look through the viewfinder or in the back of the camera, you're going to see how much depth of field you're getting. So as an example on that, press down on the shutter release, and aperture closes down, and then you'll see how much depth of fields you are getting in that particular situation. And then when you release it, it returns back to its maximum opening to let in as much light as possible through the camera so it can easily focus and work its other magic. All right. Next up is full program mode. So if you want to have this camera in a very easy-to-work mode, what you can do is you can set the shutter speed to A, and set the aperture to A, and then the camera will be figuring out shutter speeds and apertures for you. And this is what is known as the full program mode. When you do this, all the other features of the camera are still available, all the focusing, all the menus, and everything else is going to be fully available to you. If you're interested in what shutter speeds and apertures the camera has chosen for you, you'll see that on the LCD or in the viewfinder pretty clearly labeled. SS will be your shutter speed, and then your F-number, your F-stop is your aperture opening. You may want to pay attention to your ISO, we'll talk more about that in just a moment. And so one of the things that you can do is you can do a program shift in this mode. And let's go ahead and get my camera set up in a program mode, and so let's make sure that my lens is in A, and my shutter speed is in A, and my camera is turned on, that always seems to help. Let's come in on our prop table here a little bit and let's just see what our camera is recommending on shutter speeds and aperture. So right now, it's recommending a 1/60th at F/4.0. And I'm going to take a quick check on my settings just to make sure that I don't have something...actually I had something set there that I didn't want to have set. Let's try this again. Okay. So we're at a shutter speed of 2.6 at F/4 or at ISO 200. All right. So I'm going to actually jump in real quickly here and I'm just going to change the ISO, something that's a little easier to work with here in the light that we have, which is ISO 200. Never mind what I did, I will talk about that later. Okay. So we are at a 1/40th of a second at 4.0. And if I turn the back dial here, you can see that I am changing in synchronization, my shutter speeds and my apertures. So if I wanted a faster shutter speed, at least in this case, that's a 1/40th of a second, I can take a picture there. And if I wanted more depth of field by changing it down to F/16, I could take a photo here. And if I play back those two images, I have my display here, we can see that the camera, I was set at F/16 at 1 over 2.6 of a second, so it's around a half second. And if I go to the previous image, it's 1/42 of a second, about 1/40th that it was recommending at F/4. And so, you'll notice the brightness between these two images is virtually identical, and that's because I have the camera set in the A mode up here and over here on the side of my lens, it's in the A mode as well. So aperture is being taken care of, shutter speed is still being taken care of, and the camera's allowing me to change that. But if I want to go ahead and I just want to tweak with that a little bit, actually I came in playback mode there, I can adjust it by just turning that back dial. So if you like the program mode, that's a quick way to have a nice little manual override whenever you're shooting photos and just want to tweak things a little bit. So one of the things on the numbers, when you see them, is white is kind of your general setting that the camera's going to recommend, blue means that you're manually setting something, and red means that there's a warning about something going wrong. And we're going to take a look at those colors here in just a moment. Over on the left of the camera, you might want to be aware or with the plus, minus, the exposure compensation, another topic we'll talk about, about making your pictures a little bit brighter or a little bit darker. Generally, you're going to want to have those set at zero until you specifically want to change them. All right. Next up is a full auto mode. Now this is similar to the program mode we talked about just moments ago. In this case though, the camera can be thrown into automatic shutter speeds, and apertures, and ISO with the flip of one switch. So by flipping that switch down to the auto setting, the camera is going to go to the most simplistic basic mode on the camera, and it's called SR+. It's the advanced Scene Recognition mode, and it is for the most basic of picture taking. So one of the warnings that you will see up on screen from time to time is something that changes things notably, and in this particular case, the camera does not shoot RAW images in this mode. It only shoots JPEG images. And so this is the type of mode I might put the camera in if I was giving it to a friend to shoot photos who didn't know anything about the camera or photography in general. It puts everything on the simplest possible settings and that might be fine to start with, but it's going to limit you, especially if you can't shoot any sort of RAW image, and it's going to limit the menu system and the other controls that you can get into the camera. So this is something that you want to be a little bit careful about using because it's very, very simplified. So the Scene Recognition mode, it will recognize a number of different scenes, but you can also tell it what you're shooting as well by turning the front dial on the camera and dialing through the different types of scenes. So let me show you what that looks like on my camera here. And so we have our camera up here flipped into the Scene Recognition mode here, and let it focus here, and then as I turn the dial, and I can dial through each of these different scenes, the camera is going to adjust shutter speeds, apertures, metering, focusing, and possibly a number of other items within the camera to get the best quality photos in that situation. And so it is the next step beyond just simply having your camera in the auto mode. This allows you to give the camera a little bit of useful information about what you are trying to do. It's not doing anything you can't do yourself without a little bit of knowledge and a little bit of time, and so don't feel like that's the only way of getting a good landscape shot is by putting it in the landscape mode. Not at all. You can do as good or much better than the camera depending on what your situation is. But it's a good simple way of being able to get the camera dialed in to a general type of shooting that you want to do. So that is the full auto mode. So in most of these modes, you're going to be able to control the brightness of your image by adjusting the exposure compensation dial. And so let's take a closer look at this one. It's going to be a dial with a zero setting and a minus and plus settings. And so when you set it to the minus, it produces pictures that are darker than average, and on the plus side, brighter than average. And so you can go three stops brighter and three stops darker. And because the dial is of limited size, but Fuji wanted to give you more options, it has a C setting, which allows you to change it by the front dial, and you can go up to five stops brighter or darker. And so if you want to have more control, you can do it by setting it to the C setting. And so let's go ahead and give that a try. I'm going to leave my lens in A, I'm going to leave my camera in A, and my exposure compensation is currently at zero, and I'm going to take it out of the full auto mode right now. And let me just confirm something. It does work in the full auto mode, but I prefer to use the kind of standard program mode. And so you can actually see in the back of the camera how dark I'm making it on the scale over here. I'm in minus two, minus three, and now I'm going to go all the way around to C, and it resets to zero. And so now what I'm going to do is I'm going to turn the front dial and nothing happens, that's because it's kind of inherently turned off. If I press in on that button, then it has control, so now I can go five stops darker and five stops brighter. And so, if I turn the camera around here so that you can see the front end of the camera, this is not only a dial, but it's also a button that you press in on and that's how you turn it on and off. And so it's a button and a dial at the same time, and that's how you get this to control, turning the dial, and I could lock it in right there, and I'm turning the dial on the front but it's not changing. If I push in on it, then I can control it. And so normally, a lot of people would just leave it locked in at zero and then if they want to change it, it's just a quick button press and it becomes active. So well-designed button, so I like that very much. Good job, Fuji. This will be most useful when you have the camera set to an automatic setting of some sort. So whether you have the shutter speeds , the apertures, or the ISO set to an automatic setting, or you have the camera in the full automatic mode, that is when you would want to be using this. You're not going to be using this in the manual exposure mode. That's the notable time you wouldn't be using it. Most important thing about that dial is make sure that it's either reset to C or zero. You don't want to leave it on any of the plus or minus settings unless you have purposely, intentionally, let it stay there for a specific reason. All right. Let's talk about manual exposure. So if you like to control the exposure in every regard and you want to take full control of the camera, you will do so with your shutter speed dial as we've mentioned before, your aperture dial on the lens, and then you're going to want to be checking out the light meter to make sure that you're letting in the correct amount of light. And so, this is going to be seen over on the left side of the viewfinder, and it's going to be similar to what we just looked at in the exposure compensation scale, we're going to have a minus. For instance, minus one stop is going to be notably darker than average. They're going to be in third stop increments so that you can be very precise about how much brighter or darker you're making it. So there we have two and two-third stops. And then normally we'd leave it at zero or try to get it to zero for even exposure. I like manual exposure for a variety of situations. Tricky lighting situations will make manual exposure an easy thing to use, because if you don't like the way it looks right in the camera, you can just simply adjust your shutter speeds and apertures to where it looks good to your eye. If you're going to be shooting in a series of photos and you want to have them all have the same brightness to them, you probably want to be in the manual exposure mode. Figure it out for the first shot and then take lots of consistent shots. And so you want to be working with that light meter over on the side of the camera. All right. Next up, on the top of the camera is a function button and this is one of many different programmable buttons on the camera that you get to choose for it to do what you want it to do. And so if you want to program it, you need to dive into the Set Up menu under the button dial setting and into the function setting. And this will give you a whole host of options that are available for that particular button. And so there's a long list, we're not going to go through the whole list right now. We will be talking about all these modes as we go through the class here. And so some people, let's see, what would be some good ones on there? Image quality, if you change that quite a bit, one of the focusing options would be a good one. I would like to have the ISO setting right there because that's something I change on a regular basis. And so you just look through that list, figure out how you like to use the camera, and then set that to do what the program button does. Right now, it's pre-programed to control the Drive setting which is something we're going to talk more about here right now.

Class Description

We know what it’s like to dive right into taking pictures with your new camera. But trying to understand the manual can be a frustrating experience. Get the most out of your new mirrorless Fuji X-T20 with this complete step-by-step walk-through of the camera’s features.

Join expert photographer John Greengo for a fast-track introduction, and unlock your camera’s full potential. In this Fast Start class, you’ll learn:

  • How to use the exposure control system
  • How to understand and use the 325-point autofocus system for great photos
  • How to shoot great 4K video with full sensor coverage

John is a CreativeLive veteran instructor and an experienced photographer. He has extensive experience teaching the technical minutiae that makes any camera an effective tool: aperture, ISO, the Rule of Thirds, and the kinds of lenses you’ll need to suit your camera body. This Fast Start includes a complete breakdown of your camera’s exposure, focus, metering, video and more. John will also explain how to customize the Fuji X-T20 settings to work for your style of photography.


Paul Reid

Excellent classes. Well structured. Easy to follow. Great explanations and practical tips. I've learned so much about my Fuji X-T20 since watching!

Eddie Maleterre

I use my X-t20 in full automatic mode since last February. I am really beginner in photo and the instructions booklet delivered with the camera is really boring. I am French and despite my bad English. I understand all these lessons. Today I use my X-T20 at 60% of these capacities and soon more... thanks to you, John Greengo to be that clear ;-) Just because of those lessons I don't regret y choice to had buy that Fuji X-T20