Fundamentals of Photography

 

Lesson Info

Lens System

Alright, next up, let's talk about the lens system. Lenses are very important, obviously. There's a lot of cameras that fit into the fixed lens category. You buy the camera, it comes with a lens, and that's it, story's over, alright. But we're gonna be talking about in this class mostly, are cameras with interchangeable lenses. Now that is different than add-on lenses. The fixed lens cameras, sometimes will have a dedicated add-on lens. Here's a screw-on add-on lens that you can add to this camera, and it's usually dedicated for one particular camera, and it's pretty hard to adapt it to another camera unless you get some sort of special adapter for that. So let's talk about cameras with fixed lenses, and when we talk about cameras with fixed lenses, we're talking about mobile devices. Yes, I know that there are more pictures being taken by phones and tablets and other things of that nature out there, than anything else. And so all of us users who use DSLRs, we're in the minority. Same ...

thing with mirrorless, this is how most things, most pictures are being taken these days, which is fine. I use my phone for photography as well. Not serious photography, but photography. You know, sometimes it's the most convenient thing. It's connected, there are some really good things about using a mobile device. And for most people, it's good enough quality. But I'm guessing, if you're here, you may be saying, "It's good enough, but not for me." You want something better, and so there is something out there than this. So obviously, the fixed lens is the thing that really troubles me. Some of them now have two lenses on it. Okay, that's a start, I have like six, but two's not bad, that's good. Marginal quality in low light. I'm gonna show you example of that here in a moment. The manual controls, and it's just the tactile feel. I like something that is comfortable in my hand, that I can hold steady. Change the ISO, right here, shutter speed, right here. Button for this, button for that. I can do it really, really easy. I like that tactile control on it. Oh, is there more bad things about the mobile device? I'm sorry. (audience laughing) Yeah, there's a lot of things that it has. Technology-wise, massive depth of field on most everything. This is something that they're starting to combat with technology now, and so they have these cameras that artificially give you shallow depth of field, and they're doing an okay job at it. Okay, and that'll get better, they are gonna continue to encroach on everything the higher end camera does, but it's still a device that doesn't have all those dedicated controls with the interchangeable lenses, so it'll never be as versatile, but it can still be a very good device for a lot of people's needs. The point and shoot cameras, these are the ones that are disappearing. I asked the guy at the camera store where I go in a lot, I go, "How are the point and shoot cameras doing these days?" He says, "Boy, if they don't have a really good sensor in them, they're just not selling." And so all the cameras with smaller sensors are just falling by the wayside, and so here are a few of my favorites, and a few of your favorite point and shoots out here. And I'm not gonna go into each and every one of these, but I will say, the thing about them that's in common, is that they have a bigger sensor than is gonna be found on any phone out there. Much larger than any phone out there. The lens lets in more light, which is gonna be better under low light conditions, and these are all gonna have, do all of these, I think here, yes, they're all gonna have a real optical zoom lens so that you can get high quality wide angle and high quality telephoto shots. And these are very popular, I know with some of the people on my tours, I lead photo tours, for when you're going out to dinner. It's like, I don't expect to take photos, but I might want to take a few nice photos in the dimly lit restaurant, and so as a backup camera, for a more serious photographer, these do make good little backup cameras. And so those are a few of the favorite. These are the really premium ones. There's a few that are actually using full frame sensors in them, or at least a 1.5 crop sensor in there, and so here we're getting the size of a sensor that you would find in an interchangeable lens camera, along with a dedicated lens, and usually that sorta system is a really nice system. And so, this is kind of the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the point and shoots. And so, the point and shoots are obviously gonna be very attractive for anybody who wants to keep things simple and small and relatively low cost. There are limitations, 'cause you don't have the lenses that you can switch out. The shallow depth of field is always a bit of a problem on this 'cause most of them have a little bit smaller size sensors, and the focusing systems on this are not really designed for action photography. So if you're into bird photography, birds in flight, BIF, that's what it's called, then this is totally the wrong system. But for casually going out with your friends and having a camera that's good under low light, these are gonna work out quite well. This is where the serious photographers have been for many, many years. The single lens reflex, now the DSLRs. And I'm just gonna take you a quick trip through the different brands I've used and owned, I think all the major brands out there, and so I tend not to be too much of a fanboy of a particular system. I'm a big photography fanboy, but I think there's a lot of different tools that solve a lot of different problems for different people, so I don't care what camera you use. Let's take a look at, first in the lineup, because it's first in the alphabet, but also 'cause it is the most dominant system out there right now, is Canon. Canon has a large collection of cameras that use a 1.6 crop frame sensor, and these are beginner enthusiast level cameras. They've got a lot of features, it's a well-honed system. They have a number of full frame sensors as well. They've got a huge collection of lenses. The EF lenses will work on both of their cameras. The crop frame cameras will also work with a special series of lenses, and we'll talk more about this in the lens section, these EFS lenses are designed for the smaller crop frame sensor. And so, if I knew very little about what somebody was going to do in photography, and they says, "I'm looking for a camera to get in there," right now there is kind of a backlash against Canon because they're just so big and dominating. There's a lot of people just nipping. Oh, I hate this, I hate this, but the fact of the matter is, is that there are a lot of professionals who shoot Canon, and they're not into what camera has what little bit better than the other. What works in field, a lot of people just love Canon. There's a lot of things out there. It's kind of the safest way to go in many cases. Now the big competitor to Canon is where I got started, is Nikon, I had Nikon for about 20 years in photography, and they're a very, very dedicated camera company to photography. Canon does copiers, and all sorts of other things, and Nikon does, mainly deals with photography. They have a few other divisions, but they have crop frame cameras, they have full frame cameras, like Canon, they have lenses that'll work on both, and then they have special lenses that work on their crop frame sensors. This is another very safe way to go. I ran a quick poll on my Facebook, so I'm on Facebook, how bout that, isn't that the coolest thing, that's just the latest thing the kids are doing. Ran a quick poll to see what are people shooting these days. 88% are still shooting between Canon and Nikon right now. At least in the small sampling that I did there, and so it's still very popular, and it's because it's a well-developed system. There's all the lenses and all the accessories you could need, and so sometimes I like to have unusual analogies, and so the analogy of Nikon and Canon, it's like living in the big city. You want opera, you got opera. You want professional sports, they got sports. You want parks, they got parks. They got everything here that you might want. Telephoto, wide angle, macro, 20 different choices of each of those in most cases. Now Sony, technically it's not a DSLR. Don't write me letters and tell me it's SLT, I know that, but it kind of fits into that category, 'cause you can use all the SLR gear that they made before, and back in the days of Minolta with them. They don't have much of a system here, and that's 'cause they're kind of just propping up this system that is slowly dying. But it's great stuff, it's not that it's bad, it's just that they don't have as many choices here. So they have some very good technology that you're not gonna find anywhere else, but it's a limited system here, and it's obviously not where they're putting their best efforts. Pentax is interesting 'cause they're a smaller company. They have some very dedicated users, but I just don't see people out there shooting with Pentax very often, One of the things that I really like about them is that a lot of their gear is very weatherproof, and so anybody who is outside, this is some of the best gear that you can get for weather resistance in the body and the lenses. They just don't have quite as many choices, obviously, with one full frame camera, not much to choose from, Canon and Nikon have like five choices apiece there. But it's good, it's just like moving to a smaller town. There's a few less options, but if you know what you want, that can be a great place to be. So, with the SLRs, image quality, just 'cause these are well-developed systems that are generally using larger sized sensors very good. Lots of options on most of these, especially the Canon and Nikon, and the system versatility is just out of this world with Canon and Nikon as well. The downsides is that they are large, and as I say that, Ansel Adams is rolling over in his grave right now when I say that this is a large camera. He would like to come strolling through that door with his pack mule filled with eight by ten equipment saying, "No, that's a large camera, this is not a large camera," but, by today's standards, a lot of people are like, "This is so big." Yes it is bigger than the other ones here, but you know what, it feels really good in the hand, and all the buttons and everything, just really, really smooth on it. And so there's a reason that cameras are the size that they are, is it works well. Chimping, does anybody know about chimping? Chimping. So back in the, I heard this first from the Nikon sales rep, and 'cause he talked about chimping, I'm like, "What's chimping?" He goes, "Well, with these new digital cameras," this is back when digital cameras were new, you'd shoot a whole series of photos, and a lot of sports photographers, they'd shoot a whole series, you know, some athlete doing something, and then they would press play, and it would go through all of the images. And so these photographers would pull out these cameras, and they'd shoot away, and they'd go, "Ooo ooo, oo oo oo ooooo oooo," and that's chimping. You gotta look at the image afterwards to know what you got, and the mirrorless cameras, you don't do that. Alright, so now we're getting to mirrorless, that's kind of the hot new market for cameras these days, and the leader in this, in my mind, is Sony. They make a large collection, or at least a pretty good collection, of these cropped sensor cameras, and they are coming away with more and more cameras in their full frame options here, addressing sports shooters, video shooters, people who want high resolution, people who want affordable cameras. They have lenses that'll work on both. The FE lenses, they have some special lenses that work just for the crop frame sensors in here, and this system is developing and, you know, if you're gonna place money on which company is gonna be big and dominating in the future, the stock is rising with Sony here. There are more and more people shooting with Sony, and it doesn't hurt that because of the whole mirrorless system, you can adapt lenses on here. And so there are people who are shooting Canon and Nikon, and they'll have all their Canon glass, but they have a Sony camera, and Sony's kind of making their in roads, but then they're coming out with all of their own glass that works even better, and so people are switching over one lens at a time, and they don't have to do an all, sell everything, and then completely switch over. They can just do it piecemeal, one at a time. And so what's going on is fundamentally different between the mirrorless and the SLR, is no mirror, that's why they call it mirrorless. It's a dumb name, I mean who drives a horseless carriage? Technically I do, but we've come up with different names. And so they've taken out the mirror in here, and they have reduced the flange distance, which is the distance from the lens mount to the sensor here. Now, they have their own lenses that are designed with this distance, 'cause this is a really important thing when you design lenses, is where is the image going to be formed? But if you don't wanna use that brand of lens, you wanna use something else designed for an SLR, those cameras are bigger, and it needs to focus back here, so you're just gonna get an out of focus picture if you were to mount it on the camera. It won't fit because they have different mounts, but if you did that's what would happen. So, what they have come up with is a lot of independent manufacturers have developed lens adapters that transfer the electronic information, any sort of mechanical change or connection between the two devices, and it sets it up perfectly so it's focused in the right area. And so you can take a Sony camera, put a Canon lens on it, and it's gonna auto focus, auto exposure, manual exposure, manual focus, do all the things that you want it to do. Now it may not do everything the Sony lens will do, but it will do most of the things. And this depends on which adapter you get. And so now you can start adding on a lot of different things, and when the first one of these came out, I was like, "That's gonna be a big thing." There are certain holy grails in photography, and this was one of them, the first full frame mirrorless camera, and we're well past that now, and so they're getting very, very developed, because I thought one of the most interesting things would be, what if I could buy a camera and use any lens on it? Not matter the brand, that would be really nice. That's what I would like as a photographer, but the manufacturers who make this gear, they wanna do everything for you. They want you to buy, stay dedicated to one system. So there's some really interesting options opened with the mirrorless cameras. So, lots of different adapters. Some of these are just really, really, dead simple mechanical adapters for 20 bucks. Other ones have lots of electronics, and sometimes optics in there that can do special things. If you go to a good camera store, there will be dozens, if not hundreds of different versions of these adapters, so we're not gonna get too far into it right now, but they exist to adapt all sorts of lenses. You wanna use an old lens from the 1970s camera system that no longer exists on your new modern digital camera? Get a mirrorless camera, and there's probably an adapter out there to make that happen. Okay, we'll talk about our special little friend Leica here for a moment. So they have traditionally made manual focus range finders. We can credit them with inventing 35 millimeter films. So they have a very strong history in photography. They've been around and they're very dedicated. They're slightly different, most of the companies are headquartered in Japan. Leica is in Germany, Japan and Germany think very differently about how things get done. And so these manual focus range finders are beautiful cameras, somewhat limited systems, but they do use this full frame sensor, which is really quite nice, and they have a very classic, limited, but classic and very, very elite line of lenses, you might say. But they are stepping into the future as well. So they do have a new full frame mirrorless camera that uses a completely different lens mount than their other range finder system, and they're shooting video, they're doing stabilization, they're doing everything modern here, and so it's a side by side system. They also have a smaller version of it with smaller size lenses as well. Limited lens collection, tend to be a little bit on the pricey side if you haven't checked into them, and they do make kind of their own, unique, stylized, different camera. Very nice for some people, but it's definitely something a little bit different for most. I do have some favorites, and I really like Fuji. Fuji, the reason I like Fuji, partly, is because they started fresh. Nikon, Canon, Sony, Leica, have all had existing systems, and they're like, "Okay, well we want this to work. That means we can't do this, and we're gonna have to hobble this and make it fit. Okay, so now this thing fits on here," and you can kind of feel where, why does it do this? Well, they're trying to adapt for the older users, and Fuji has been making cameras for a long time, and they had a kind of a clean break at digital. And they said, "Let's start with a fresh system." Everything's gonna work together, it's gonna be clean, they have one sensor, all the lenses work on all the cameras, no exceptions. And it's very, very simple, and they also decided, "You know, maybe we had it right 30 years ago when we had nice big dials, rather than LEDs and push buttons that go up and down. We're gonna put a real dial on our camera," and so they went with a retro design. And some people see this as just hipster-type stuff. Oh, they're just, looks like it's cool. No, there's a lot of photographers that really like to go, "You know, I need to be at 500th of a second, so I'm gonna set my shutter speed to 500th of a second." And the camera's not even turned on. I can do this with the camera turned off. And that really is kind of a nice thing for those photographers who are really tactile and visual about the way they do things. And so, they've done a really nice system in producing what they've done, and they've also kind of targeted, I kind of liken this, just a little above midstream. They're looking at the slightly higher end user, not super elite, but most of their stuff is a little bit more spendy, but it tends to be really good value, 'cause it's good stuff. Olympus has gone in a slightly different direction. They, in the beginning of digital, they decided to kind of go with a smaller size sensor. Olympus has always been into small size products. They have made some of the best quality small products out there, and so they work with Panasonic, that I'll talk about next, and they went with this smaller 4/3rd sensor, and their cameras and their lenses are notably smaller, right here, than your bigger cameras. I mean look at the size difference between that. These are not exactly the same, they're not 100% equal, but this is a really nice camera. It looks like a little point and shoot, but you can change lenses, and you can put on all sorts of really nice lenses on this. With Panasonic, they created an open forum where other companies could make cameras and lenses in this 4/3rd system, and so now if you buy an Olympus camera, you can use a Panasonic lens with virtually 99% of everything working fine. And so Panasonic has decided to also go with this smaller size sensor, 'cause there's just different points where there's a good trade-off of features. For somebody who wanted to carry a camera in a briefcase, or to travel and keep things lightweight, or maybe they just can't carry a lot of weight with them, but they still like using lots of different lenses. These are a really good system, and I know professional photographers who use these to take professional photos and make an entire career on photography. So it doesn't necessarily mean a limitation as to how far you can go with your photography. It's just a different direction, and there's a lot of great lenses in here, 'cause you can mix and match with Olympus. So there's a lot of fun stuff that can be done. Now, I do have to admit that Canon does make mirrorless cameras, barely, they're actually not bad cameras, it's just that they done make many lenses. They do make an adapter that you can hook up all the other Canon lenses. It's just clear to everyone in photography that they haven't taken the serious photographer seriously. They're kind of automated, and simple, and they're meant to be kind of a step up from the phones. As I say, you're gonna get good image quality, the menu systems are easy to work with, they're similar to the other Canons, which make everybody feel very comfortable, 'cause it's a well thought out system. It's just that they don't have all the cool lenses, and so it's a limited system, it's likely to continue to grow, everyone at this point in time, is, (tapping foot) come on Canon. Give us our full frame camera, please. We've been waiting, we've been waiting. And so everyone's still waiting at this point. Maybe we will see something this year, it's hard to say. Nikon, Nikon, Nikon, this is a disappointment. Nikon came out with a mirrorless system a few years ago, and the collective gasp, when they decided to come out with this little tiny sensor, could be felt around the world, that it was such a disappointment. They kind of went for a completely different market. Honestly, it's a really nice camera. It can take good quality photographs. It focuses and shoots faster than most all the other cameras in that type of category out there, but they just hampered it with a really small sensor, and a very limited set of lenses, and I haven't seen something new from them in about a year-and-a-half. I'm not sponsored by any of the camera companies, so you can obviously see, I'm gonna say whatever I want, but I think this thing is going South. I think it's not doing well, but on its own, it's a fine thing, and that's what you're gonna find out about photography is that there's a lot of good systems, and you gotta find out what's right for you. And so this one, that one's just kind of unusual. So looking at the mirrorless, in general, compact size, we have electronic focusing aids, which makes focusing and viewing very, very easy. Lots of good lenses that we can adapt onto it. They tend to have less accessories than SLRs, but that's gonna change over time. As these systems build out, more and more things are coming around. They don't tend to be as good with focus tracking. There is an exception on the field, the Sony A9 is phenomenal at that, and that is changing very quickly with the new models that come out. And there are certain limitations when using electronic viewfinder, 'cause it does use more battery power and so forth, and so that's my quick little preview of all the different companies, and all the different systems out there, and so it might be a good time to check in with Kenna, and see what sort of questions we have. Well Laurie has asked, "Is it possible to use Nikon glass on a Sony mirrorless?" So you talked about being able to use some on others, but it that a possibility? Right. Yeah, pretty much everything is a possibility. The real questions are what are the implications? And so with a Nikon lens, most of the Nikon lenses, because Nikon has been going through a lens evolution. So with Nikon, anything 10 years before and after, you're good, but if you like stretching 20 years back, either in bodies or lenses, something's likely not to work, so Nikon lenses traditionally have a little lever in the back of the lens that operates the aperture. It's a mechanical connection with the body. Their newest e-lenses have electronics, and this is the direction going forward, and so in any case where you have a mechanical connection, you're not gonna have aperture control on that Nikon lens on your Sony camera, so what you're gonna have to do, is you're gonna have to open it up to view your subject and focus, and then you're gonna need to stop it down, and then take your photo, and so for shooting a wedding, it's not, don't even think about it. Maybe architectural or landscape photography, you could do that, and so, there may be a new piece of technology that comes out tomorrow that I don't know about today that could change that, but for right now, it's not been the best of systems. And as much as I'm a fan of the option of using adapted lenses, I tend to like to use things that work. Just me. And so I don't like hobbling things together, I know, remember when it was first came about, somebody said, "You can use this great Nikon lens on your Canon camera." I says, "Wow, that is a good lens, let's give it a try. How do we do it?" We gotta do this, we gotta do that, we gotta do that, okay, now we take the photo. I'm like, "That's not gonna work on a regular basis." I mean if you want one shot, it's fine. And so I tend to just steer people towards systems that work without a lot of hassles and problems, and are prone to issues that you have to deal with.

As a photographer, you will need to master the technical basics of the camera and form an understanding of the kind of equipment you need. The Fundamentals of Digital Photography will also teach something even more important (and crucial for success) - how to bring your creative vision to fruition.

Taught by seasoned photographer John Greengo, the Fundamentals of Digital Photography places emphasis on quality visuals and experiential learning. In this course, you’ll learn:

  • How to bring together the elements of manual mode to create an evocative image: shutter speed, aperture, and image composition.
  • How to choose the right gear, and develop efficient workflow.
  • How to recognize and take advantage of beautiful natural light.

John will teach you to step back from your images and think critically about your motivations, process, and ultimate goals for your photography project. You’ll learn to analyze your vision and identify areas for growth. John will also explore the difference between the world seen by the human eye and the world seen by the camera sensor. By forming an awareness of the gap between the two, you will be able to use your equipment to its greatest potential.

Lessons

Class Introduction
Photographic Characteristics
Camera Types
Viewing System
Lens System
Shutter System
Shutter Speed Basics
Shutter Speed Effects
Camera & Lens Stabilization
Quiz: Shutter Speeds
Camera Settings Overview
Drive Mode & Buffer
Camera Settings - Details
Sensor Size: Basics
Sensor Sizes: Compared
The Sensor - Pixels
Sensor Size - ISO
Focal Length
Angle of View
Practicing Angle of View
Quiz: Focal Length
Fisheye Lens
Tilt & Shift Lens
Subject Zone
Lens Speed
Aperture
Depth of Field (DOF)
Quiz: Apertures
Lens Quality
Light Meter Basics
Histogram
Quiz: Histogram
Dynamic Range
Exposure Modes
Sunny 16 Rule
Exposure Bracketing
Exposure Values
Quiz: Exposure
Focusing Basics
Auto Focus (AF)
Focus Points
Focus Tracking
Focusing Q&A
Manual Focus
Digital Focus Assistance
Shutter Speeds & Depth of Field (DOF)
Quiz: Depth of Field
DOF Preview & Focusing Screens
Lens Sharpness
Camera Movement
Advanced Techniques
Quiz: Hyperfocal Distance
Auto Focus Calibration
Focus Stacking
Quiz: Focus Problems
Camera Accessories
Lens Accessories
Lens Adaptors & Cleaning
Macro
Flash & Lighting
Tripods
Cases
Being a Photographer
Natural Light: Direct Sunlight
Natural Light: Indirect Sunlight
Natural Light: Mixed
Twilight: Sunrise & Sunset Light
Cloud & Color Pop: Sunrise & Sunset Light
Silhouette & Starburst: Sunrise & Sunset Light
Golden Hour: Sunrise & Sunset Light
Quiz: Lighting
Light Management
Flash Fundamentals
Speedlights
Built-In & Add-On Flash
Off-Camera Flash
Off-Camera Flash For Portraits
Advanced Flash Techniques
Editing Assessments & Goals
Editing Set-Up
Importing Images
Organizing Your Images
Culling Images
Categories of Development
Adjusting Exposure
Remove Distractions
Cropping Your Images
Composition Basics
Point of View
Angle of View
Subject Placement
Framing Your Shot
Foreground & Background & Scale
Rule of Odds
Bad Composition
Multi-Shot Techniques
Pixel Shift, Time Lapse, Selective Cloning & Noise Reduction
Human Vision vs The Camera
Visual Perception
Quiz: Visual Balance
Visual Drama
Elements of Design
Texture & Negative Space
Black & White & Color
The Photographic Process
Working the Shot
What Makes a Great Photograph?
 
 
 
 

Reviews

  • Love love all John Greengo classes! Wish to have had him decades ago with this info, but no internet then!! John is the greatest photography teacher I have seen out there, and I watch a lot of Creative Live classes and folks on YouTube too. John is so detailed and there are a ton of ah ha moments for me and I know lots of others. I think I own 4 John Greengo classes so far and want to add this one and Travel Photography!! I just drop everything to watch John on Creative Live. I wish sometime soon he would teach a Lightroom class and his knowledge on photography post editing.!!! That would probably take a LOT OF TIME but I know John would explain it soooooo good, like he does all his Photography classes!! Thank you Creative Live for having such a wonderful instructor with John Greengo!! Make more classes John, for just love them and soak it up! There is soooo much to learn and sometimes just so overwhelming. Is there anyway you might do a Motivation class!!?? Like do this button for this day, and try this technique for a week, or post this subject for this week, etc. Motivation and inspiration, and playing around with what you teach, needed so much and would be so fun.!! Just saying??? Awaiting gadgets class now, while waiting for lunch break to be over. All the filters and gadgets, oh my. Thank you thank you for all you teach John, You are truly a wonderful wonderful instructor and I would highly recommend folks listening and buying your classes.
  • I don't think that adjectives like beautiful, fantastic or excellent can describe the course and classes with John Greengo well enough. I've just bought my first camera and I am a total amateur but I fell in love with photography while watching the classes with John. It is fun, clear, understandable, entertaining, informative and and and. He is not only a fabulous photographer but a great teacher as well. Easy to follow, clear explanations and fantastic visuals. The only disadvantage I can list here that he is sooooo good that keeps me from going out to shoot as I am just glued to the screen. :-) Don't miss it and well worth the money invested! Thank you John!
  • Wow! John is THE best teacher I have ever had the pleasure of learning from, and this is the most comprehensive, eloquent and fun course I have ever taken (online or off). If you're even <maybe> / <slightly> / <a tiny little bit> interested in photography, take this course as soon as possible! You might find out that taking great photos requires much more work than you're willing to invest, or you might get so excited learning from John that you'll start taking your camera with you EVERYWHERE. At the very least, you'll learn the fundamental inner workings and techniques that WILL help you get a better photo. Worried about the cost? Well, I've taken courses that are twice as expensive that offer less than maybe a tenth of the value. You'll be much better off investing in this course than a new camera or a new lens. I cannot reccomend John and this course enough!