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The Camera

Lesson 1 from: The Photography Starter Kit for Beginners

John Greengo

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Lesson Info

1. The Camera

Get a beginner's introduction to the anatomy and functions of your DSLR camera.

Lesson Info

The Camera

well, welcome everybody to the photography starter kit. Let me give you a little kind of primer on what this class is. This class is going to be covering all the basic ideas and concepts that I think anyone who's getting into serious photography wants to know about. Maybe you've got a brand new camera that's maybe a little bit more sophisticated than you were expecting or than you imagined it could be. Or maybe you have a camera that you've been using for quite some time. It could even be your phone even these these days, and you just want to learn how to use it better. We're gonna be covering these topics in this class now, this is a relatively short class for me. This is actually one of the shortest photography classes I've ever taught. Usually I need several days to explain these things. So we're gonna be covering information fairly briefly and then having to move on. And so it if you want to explore these subjects more, there is plenty more in every topic that we go through now wit...

h my classes. I think they're a little bit different in Susan. You might even be able to attest to this here a creative life. I'm a strong believer in visuals. And so this class and I know we have our in studio class, but the people at home was what I'm concerned about because I've watched and done a lot of online classes and I know what you do at home. You often make the screen a little bit small and you throw it down there in the corner, and then you open up another window. When you start doing something, you start shopping, browsing the Internet or working on another project. When you're thinking, well, I'm going to do double duty, I'm gonna multitask. I'm gonna listen to this instructor and I'm gonna do something else. And in this class, you're not gonna learn very much if you do that because I have a lot of visuals. And in the classroom you got a nice big screen here in the studio at home. This class wants to be full screen. I I am really requesting your full attention. I need your eyes in orderto learn, because I do a lot of graphics. They do a lot of visuals, and if you're not watching this class you're not going to be learning. Secondly, you should have your cameras out and see all of you. Got your cameras here. That's great. We're gonna be having hands on the camera. I like you to be playing with the camera to be figuring out What are these buttons and I see pointed at something? Is this where I do it on my camera? That's perfectly fine. Something else that we didn't mention in the pre show is that as part of the class, you do get this. PdF. And this does not have everything I'm going to say in the class, but it's got a lot of the visuals that I've created to help explain things in the class. And so there's one page on each of the subjects that we go through, and it's mostly designed for you to print out and put your own notes on here and add your own annotations to what you think is important. And that's just kind of a nice visual reminder of what we were going through in the class. Now this class does move pretty quickly, and for those of you who have downloaded the class, what I highly recommend is Watch it through, pay attention, watch all the graphics, put it aside, go out, play, have fun, shoot. And then somewhere down the road, it could be a couple of weeks. It could be a couple of months. Come back and watch the class again, because the way we learned is that there's a certain level of information that we're able to absorb it one time. And if we go back and we learn those things and we go out, practice them, we come back. We can kind of harvest another layer of information. And so I think a lot of beginners could watch this class three times and pick up new information, valuable information each time. And that's one of the the great things about online learning being able to download the class and watch whenever in a smaller chunks as many times as you want. So with that, you guys ready to get started. I got some enthusiasm. You guys ready? Get started. All right. So I've broken the class down into 14 different segments, and it actually just kills me to think that we only have 10 minutes or 15 minutes on each one of these segments, but I've broken everything down into very logical sections that we're gonna go through, and we'll have a little bit of time for answers or questions and answers at the end of each one. And so, if you're watching online, have something ready, type it in and we'll see if we can get Susan to get me that question. So we're gonna start right at the very beginning, the heart of this whole thing, the camera. Let's talk about some of the different cameras that are out on the market and some of their benefits and drawbacks, so things that you have to be aware of if you are using these types of cameras. There's a lot of different types of cameras far and away. The most popular has been the single lens reflex for about the last years. For a number of very good reasons, I imagine a number of you also have little point and shoot cameras. Nice, affordable, easy pocketable cameras to bring around, and the new and growing trend in photography are these new muralist cameras. So let's talk about each of these three cameras, all right, This is the mainstay of the serious photographer. The Digital SLR camera. This has been the most popular camera for the serious photographer for about the last years for two good reasons. The size of the image sensor or the film that it used and the viewing system on it. So these cameras have very high quality, very sharp lenses on them. Within the lenses is an aperture unit that is our first control for how much light comes in the camera, and we can control how open or how small of the of opening we have on the aperture. There's always light coming through the aperture. It's a matter of how much now digital single lens reflex single lens is pretty obvious. The reflex is the mere. When it's reflecting light upward, it becomes a reflex camera. And so, in order to see through the camera, we're gonna bounce light upward to a focusing screen. And some of you of an older generation, like my age or older, might remember cameras where photographers looked down like a hassle bladder or a roly. And actually, you can still find him out on the market brand new and used these days, and that's the system that they used a very small, simple system. But in order for easy viewing, especially if you're trying to photograph like a bird in flight or sports or action, we bounced the light up through a prison system and out the viewfinder. The benefit is is that you get to see exactly what's going on with the lens. You get to see the angle of view. You get to see whether it's in focus or not. You get to see whether you have your lens cap on the camera or not, so you can see exactly what the picture is going to look like in many ways now, in order to take the picture that mere needs to get up and out of the way so that light can get back to the image sensor in the modern digital camera. Before it can get to the image sensor it needs to get past the shutter unit. Now the shuttered unit is actually in two parts. There's a first curtain and a second curtain right now on your cameras. The first curtain is blocking the light to the image sensor. When you press the shutter, the mere goes up, and the first curtain will then open toe. Allow light into the sensor for that brief, quick moment of time that shutter speed and then the second curtain will come down. And the reason they have to curtains like this is so that each pixel is exposed for exactly the same amount of time. And we'll have a large number of shutter speeds that we'll talk about here in just a few moments. So the single lens reflex camera these air great cameras for a variety of reasons. Number one. We have really sharp image viewing you can really see through the camera whether your subject is in focus or out of focus. It's very good and easy to see through the camera under low lighting conditions. And so, if you are in your living room and there's just a single candle illuminating the living room, you're probably going to be able to look through an SLR and see what you're pointing. The camera. And it's extremely good with action. Photography show. If you shoot sports, photography or dance things like that. Wildlife in action, the viewfinder experience, you can see where your subject is. It also has a very good focusing system which is kind of another section that will get to, but it's extremely good for that type of work. This is not so good because we have this mere in the camera that isn't really completely necessary. And it takes up a lot of space, and it makes the camera a little bit bigger and heavier now. The viewing, as sharp as it is, is only a preview. So when you shoot a picture with an SLR camera, you should often go to the back of the camera to see what does it look like that I have my white balance set properly. Is there something else going on that I didn't see in the viewfinder? So what you are looking at is a very nice preview, but it is still just a preview. And finally, there is a number of new cameras that have digital. It's kind of like a heads up display for a fighter jet, where it will give you special information right where you can see it, and we don't have as many options with the SLR because of its traditional design. Let's move on to the point and shoot camera, so this is probably the most popular category, but it's also the quickly ist dying category. The this is being replaced by everybody cell phones because the cell phones have gotten veteran better quality, they're going to continue to get better quality. These cameras are better quality cameras, and they will give you better quality image results. But it's by a smaller and smaller margin. They do give you much better zoom lenses. That's kind of one of the main areas. The second area is that they have much better controls. For somebody who wants specific controls for shooting pictures, the design is much simpler. Here. Light goes through the lands and go straight back to the sensor because you look on the back of the camera and that's what you see. That's kind of the same way the phone works now. In the lends itself is a unit called a leaf shutter that is also the shutter and an aperture unit at the same time. So when you take a picture, what happens is it has to close down the sensor charges up, and then the shutter unit opens again. So this is the actual picture, and then the shutter unit needs to close again that turns the light off the sensor. The picture is recorded, and then it needs to open the shutter again so that you can see what's going on. So there's a lot of little movement. It happens very, very quickly, probably won't even notice it. So the big difference here is the viewing experience. You don't have an eye level viewfinder, your viewing it on the back of the camera, and I like looking on the back of a camera at an image because I get to use both eyes and I'm a better judge of composition is the horizon level. Is this overall look like the right content that I want? But it's terrible under bright sunlight. And so if you shoot a camera like this outside, even on a cloudy day, you're not getting a very good view of the image. Secondly, it's not a very sharp and detailed image. There's just not enough pixels, and the screen is too small for you to be a good judge of really critically sharp pictures. And so you could be shooting pictures with this all day long, and your lens could be a little out of focus and you wouldn't see it on the back of the camera. You'd have to do go home and download it to your computer, or you would have to play it back in camera and zoom in, which is one of the options for checking the sharpness on it. And so I'm not a big fan of these because they're not a good view finder experience. They're hard to work with their challenging to shoot pictures with out in the field. So the small size and the small weight and the small price is obviously a big advantage. And these cameras do fit a lot of people's needs. I know when you're traveling and you're just going out for dinner and you're not expecting, you know, a lot of to take a lot of pictures. They're very convenient for something like that. But for doing more serious photography, you will find these cameras very challenging to use. They tend to have a little bit lower resolution. There is, I mentioned, they're very difficult to use in bright light, and they have a very limited set of manual controls, and so if you want to select shutter speeds and apertures, they often have them not always, but they're in a very, very limited supply. You might say it so they get very frustrating for anyone who's familiar with all the tool sets that we normally have in the other cameras. Now, kind of a combination of the SLR and the point and shoot is this new camera called the Muralist Camera been around for a few years now. They really kind of got resurged, you might say, or there's been a resurgence with the micro 4/3 system. This is a Panasonic and Olympus camera, and what they've done is they've taken the mere out as I'll show you in just a moment. And there's been a variety of other companies that have added their own to their own system. Out here, you will sometimes see these referred to as evil cameras Elektronik viewfinder with an interchangeable lens So they've taken out the mirror. So let me show you how these cameras work. Like the SL ours. They have a high quality, interchangeable land, so there's lots of good choices on lenses thes days with the muralist cameras. They have an aperture unit that works just like that in the SL ours, but the light comes straight back to the sensor, we no longer have the mere and the prison system in it. We also have a shutter unit that works the same way as it does in the SL. Ours. What's different about this is it's like the point and shoot in that it will send the information to the back of the camera so that you can see what's going on. Many of these cameras, the better ones, in my opinion, have an electronic viewfinder. So they're sending the information up to, AH, high resolution electronic viewfinder that allows you to view with the camera under very bright light situations. And this is critical for any type of serious photography. And so I would definitely look, if you're looking at Marylise cameras to get something with this high equality E V F. It's possible now the E V F is still not as high quality as I would like, but it's pretty good. It's good enough for general photography, in my opinion. And so these cameras are kind of nice because with the mere gone, there have been able to reduce the size of the cameras into a smaller size package. They've even been able to reduce the size of the lenses in many of these cases. So it's relatively a very compact camera. We're gonna have Digital and Elektronik focusing AIDS in the viewfinder because in it, so it's an electronic viewfinder. They're gonna add special information about how to turn the lens for best focus or all sorts of other information about achieving better focus or better exposure information right in the viewfinder. The final. The image that you look at with the IV e f. That's basically your final image with my Marylise camera. I've turned off the playback of the image after I showed a picture, because when I look at before is basically the picture I get to see the white balance. I get to see the color. I get to see the exposure information. I don't need to check the back of my camera anymore, and so it actually makes shooting a little bit more efficient for me with the muralist camera. The problem is, is that the E V F is not quite a sharp, so for critical sharpness. If you're shooting portrait's and you have very shallow depth of field, it's a little bit harder to check that in this case there is a little bit lower performance when you get to the higher I ISOS with many of these cameras because they're using a smaller size sensor, which is a topic will cover in a few minutes here. And because we're using an electronic viewfinder, the camera uses a bit more battery power. And so you're not gonna get quite as many shots per battery charge. So you have to want to be a little bit more aware about having that extra battery with you if you're gonna be out shooting lots of pictures as we end up the section on the camera. This is where we're gonna do a little test in in in class. I want everybody to pick up your camera in class, and I want you to hold the camera as if you are ready to take a picture and we're going to see I want to see how you are holding the camera, and so is everybody holding. Let's see what you were doing. And folks, we have hit 100% in this class. You guys are all holding it correctly because what you want to do is. You want to have your thumb on the top of the lens. Nice job. We don't have beginners in here. Ah, lot of people will grab their camera like this. Let me grab a camera. And so a lot of people just kind of well, okay, that feels normal in that goes on there like this, right? Well, what's the problem with this? The problem is, is that your elbow is kind of flapping out here in the wind. It's not in a very steady position. If you put it like this, your elbow goes by your torso and it's a steadier place. So if you hold it up like this, it's gonna be in a steadier position. Also, if you have a longer lens, you can support the camera with the base of your hand. And now you confined to in the focus and the zooming without trying to support the weight of the camera and doing that movement as well. And so that's the proper way toe hold the camera, and for some people, it feels a little awkward at first. Don't worry about it. You'll get used to it. You'll notice that that's the way all the other professional photographers are holding their cameras. So, Susan, this is where we're gonna take a quick break. We're going to see if anybody in class has questions about the different types of cameras. SL ours Looks like we have a question. Go ahead and grab a mic. I'm curious if you can use the lens from an SLR on a mirror lis body in theory and in practice, Yes, but it doesn't work out too well right now, in my opinion, because the people who make SL ours aren't the same companies that make the muralist cameras. And so, while you can adapt the limbs and there are lots of adapters out there, you start losing a lot of the functions. So, for instance, many of them can be adapted, but you lose auto focus or you lose exposure control as far as controlling the aperture. And so there's a lot number of people that are using older manual focus lenses on these muralist cameras. But it's kind of being hobbled together, and I haven't really gotten into it just because I like a system to really work throughout without any kinks in it. So it is possible It's not something I recommend for a beginner photographer, but because of the the SLR is a little bit bigger in size. They have to have this adapter in there. Another question in class. What are the primary differences between, like a consumer SLR and professional between a consumer and a professional camera? It's gonna be features and controls. And so features. Think of them as Elektronik options that you can either turn on or turn off controls. One of the controls that I like about ah more serious camera is having a specific control for the shutter speeds and a specific control for the apertures. And a lot of the entry level cameras only have one dial, and so you end up having to press this button and press this button. It's kind of like a keyboard on a computer that has less keys, and you have to press the shift key and the Ault key and the control key to get to all the things that you want it to dio. And the more you know about the camera, the more you want a direct button or dial to do that. One thing that you want it to Dio John, one from the online audience here. A steep land would like to know what Marylise cameras would you recommend. I don't know if you want to get into camera recommendations. That's that's a dangerous category. You know, every camera on the market today has an end user that it is perfect for, and so it could be any camera. I have been in photography for more than 30 years, and I would be hard pressed to think of a camera that was a lemon. That was just Oh, that was a bad camera. Nobody should have had that camera there just kind of fit different niches of the market. And so, uh, I have a few favorites. I really like the Fuji system. I think their new X T one looks great. I like the Olympics all in one. I think one of the most underrated cameras is the Panasonic GX seven. Sony's got their new full frame camera, which I've got some issues with, but it looks like it's got really good image quality. There's there's something for everyone out there. Just you have to know what's important to you and then just kind of compare that with style and features of the camera

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

The Photography Starter Kit Course Outline

Ratings and Reviews


I'm not sure my first review posted. But I LOVE this class! John Greengo is a great, engaging teacher who is really adept at representing the concepts visually and excellent at explaining them verbally. I love how he goes through examples with photographs he has taken. Even though I only have a Nikon Coolpix digital camera, it does have Manual, Shutter priority, and Aperture priority modes. Through his class I've gotten a really good sense of how to balance ISO, aperture, and shutter speed. It's a great overview for me especially since I am new to photography, I can play around with some of these settings, and I have a greater understanding of what I might need in a higher level camera in the future. Money well spend! (For $29, this is an absolute steal). John Greengo is an awesome teacher and I hope to take more of his classes in the future!

Megan Wagner

John is extremely articulate and is a great teacher with lots of visual aids and metaphors to help understand photography. I have been doing photography for a few years now and this class was a tremendous help in boosting my knowledge and refreshing my memory in multiple aspects of photography. The graphics that John uses are helpful and he even goes through images and asks which settings would be best to use and will go through the why. He makes things easy to understand and is very clear about the information he provides. I am so glad I took this course and I would highly recommend it even to an experienced photographer. Thank you John Greengo!

a Creativelive Student

Bravo!!! I am an adventure traveler and have been to many places in the world. I recently completed hiking the ancient Inca Trail in Peru to Macchu Picchu with only my Canon Power shot camera. Even though I have some great photographs, I found that I wanted better quality and decided to buy an upgrade to a SLR camera. I have had no idea how to shoot in manual mode and even when I improved quality by shooting in Automatic mode with my new camera on a trip to Jerusalem, I knew I needed to get to manual as soon as possible. I have an upcoming trip to hike to Mt. Everest Base camp and so I decided to check into this course via Facebook. I am so glad I did! I now have enough information to begin to practice as I prepare for my trek. I am confident that if I need further information as I learn, that I can participate in future courses to improve my knowledge and capabilities. Thank you!

Student Work