Camera Basics

 

Nikon® D500 Fast Start

 

Lesson Info

Camera Basics

I know some people like to have a little brush up on the basics, so let's just spend a couple minutes brushing up on those basics. This camera is a single lens reflex. D-SLR is what we often call them these days. So, we have interchangeable lenses. There are plenty of different lenses that you can put on, wide angle, telephoto, zoom, and many, many more. In each of the lenses is an aperture. The aperture controls how much light is getting through that lens. This is something that you can adjust and you can open it up or you can shut it down. Many lenses will have a maximum opening of 1. and they'll close down to around F22. These are our F stops and as we adjust them, we're either letting in half as much light or twice as much light, and this is the first of the ways, first of three different ways that we control the lightness of our photos. So, if you wanna make them lighter or darker, this is the first of the options. Now, beyond just controlling the amount of light getting in the ca...

mera, it also controls the depth of field. You'll notice on the image on the right, the top and bottom of that ruler is way out of focus but as we stop our apertures down, our depth of field, which is between those two red hash marks, is slowly growing, and as we eventually get this down to F22, we will have maximum depth of field. Not everything will be perfectly sharp but it will be as sharp as we can get it in this particular situation. So, that's what's going on in the lens. Next, light comes into the camera, it's gonna hit a mirror. That's the reflex portion in single lens reflex. Bounces the light upward onto a focusing screen and from there, we can see that focusing screen by the viewfinder and the prism system in the viewfinder. So, that's what we're looking at when we pick this camera up. When it's time to take a photo, we press down on the shutter release, the mirror moves up and out of the way, and the light moves back towards the sensor. Before it can get to the sensor, it's gotta get past the shutter unit and the shutter unit has two parts, there's the first curtain and the second curtain. So, the first curtain will drop away and this is our exposure time right now, and then the second curtain will come in and close, and it works in this manner so that each pixel is exposed for exactly the same amount of time. The mirror returns and then you can see what's going on. So, one of the important things to know about an SLR is if you saw it, you missed it because the mirror's in the upward position and you have to anticipate your moment by fractions of a second. So, shutter speeds also control the amount of light getting to the sensor. They control, also, the motion stopping ability and freezing of the action, so fast shutter speeds like five hundredth of a second can be used for fast human action or faster. 125th is kind of a pretty normal shutter speed, you might say. When we start getting into slower shutter speeds, we're gonna get blurriness if our subjects are moving very quickly. If you wanna get those nice blurry shots of the mountain rivers and waterfalls, you're gonna wanna get down to around one second. You wanna do nighttime photography, light painting, that might be around a 30 second exposure. All of which you can do on this camera. So, there's a lot of different cameras out on the market and one of the most important differences between all of these cameras is the sensor size in the camera. This has a big effect on the types of photos that you can take with it, what the camera is best at, the size of the system, the size of the lenses, and so forth. The D500 uses a reasonably large sensor but it's not the largest one on the market. The largest is based off of 35mm film and this is something that we call a full frame sensor, and so, in order to have smaller cameras, to have less expensive cameras, manufacturers came up with smaller sized sensors, and so, Nikon calls the sensor in this one a DX sensor but it is generally known around the industry as an APS sensor, sometimes an APS-C sensor, and it has a crop factor of 1.5 compared to a full frame camera, and so, if you're used to the old days of 35mm film and a 55mm lens, that lens is gonna have a little different look when you put it on this camera because of the smaller sized sensor. When attaching the strap on the camera, a lot of people have issues attaching the strap properly on their camera, the key thing is having the tail on the underneath side of that strap adjuster. That way the pressure keeps the strap in place and so it won't slip off of its good settings, there. Now, when holding the camera, gripping the camera in your right hand is pretty easy and obvious but what do you do with your left hand, and in that case, it's better to grab it with your thumb on the upward side, and I know a lot of people will pick up a camera like this and they'll just grab the lens like this, and it feels pretty natural, I gotta admit that. The problem is, look where your left arm is with no support at all. If you put it down here, it brings your arm down by your torso and I have found, just in my own testing that that means that you can hold the camera about one to two stops steadier and slower in low light situations, and so that's the technique you'll most commonly see, professional photographers because they've learned that technique, and so, it's a little less natural at the very outset but you get very used to it once you do that a few times. So, thumb up is good, thumb down is bad. Good luck remembering that. I'm not sure how you're gonna do that. So, as I mentioned earlier, you can work a lot of the settings in the camera, exposure, focus, and so forth, either manually or automatically and with a camera like this, it really wants to be driven manually, I mean that's the way it should be done in some ways, but I'm realistic and I know that sometimes we don't have the time. We just don't want to put out the effort to make that change for certain types of photography but I definitely wanna give you the knowledge in how to set it manually because then you can opt to choose it automatically when it's appropriate for your needs, and so, sometimes, it is perfect to put the camera fully automatic and let it do its thing, and you can concentrate on lighting, and composition, and all those other things involved in picture taking, but if you understand what's going on manually, then you're gonna have better control of your camera. Kenna, yes. Yeah, just a quick question before you keep going and that is, if folks at home, it's been seven years, like you said, since the Nikon D300. If somebody has an older version, then, of a similar camera, is this class gonna be good for them as well, or do you have classes on the previous cameras? Well, you know, I started making classes well after the D300S came out and I kinda thought about, well, should I go back and make a class on the D300S, and I had such a backlog of classes. I can't make classes on things that have already come out, I'm just gonna work on things that are new, and so, I have been making a lot of classes with different Nikons and there's a lot of things, like if you have a D750, or a D600, or maybe a D7000, there's a lot of the menu features that have carried forward. There's a lot of the auto focus systems. It's not exactly the same but it's very similar and so, if I do have a class that is specifically for a camera that you already have, well that is clearly gonna be the best class for that particular camera but, you know, I get people writing me all the time. John, I have this camera and your closest class is this one, how close is it? And in most cases, I would say there's about an 80% relevancy, in some cases it's 90% as far as, okay, they moved the button from here to here. If you can figure that out, it's gonna work for you, so just be aware that, you know, they've moved some things around and I guess the good thing going forward like this is that this is gonna have more features than your camera. So, whatever your camera has, this has and more. So it'd probably be included in there. Thank you. Alright. Alright, so those are some of the basics and if you wanna know more about that type of information of photography, you may wanna check out the Fundamentals of Photography. That's my full-in, all-end class here at Creative Live. It's an in-depth class that goes through each of the different parts of photography very, very closely. So, take a look at that.

Class Description


We know what it’s like to dive right into taking pictures with your new camera. But dense technical manuals make for a terrible first date. Get the most out of your new Nikon® D500 with this complete step-by-step walkthrough of the camera’s features.

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


  • How to use the D500’s various shooting modes
  • How to use and customize the D500’s menus
  • How to master the 4K video function
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 Nikon D500’s settings to work for your style of photography.