ISO, Aperture, and Shutter Speed?

Question by Carly C: ISO, Aperture, and Shutter Speed?
just got my camera about last week (its a Nikon D5000) and I’m having trouble with ISO, Aperture, and Shutter Speed. I know how to change all three of them but I’m confused on which ones do what or look best together. I want to be a photographer so I need to get this down pat. If you have any picture examples or links that would be awesome…Thanks again!

Best answer:

Answer by Sid_G
Ever thought of looking into your printed D5000 User’s Manual ? It gives precisely the info you need. As for your aspiration to be a photographer, there are zillions of web links to get you started at any level. Feel free to google it out – Some prefer some websites as a matter of personal preference – not that I don’t want to refer any to you.

To precisely let you know, ISO is higher for low light so set it accordingly, Aperture is set F value lowest value captures most light (biggest aperture allowed by lens) and vice versa. Shutter speed gives you ability to freeze your subject by setting fastest speed or lets you capture your subject in very low light situations by setting slowest shutter speed (counted in seconds).

Experimentation is key – it will teach you more than a website/manual. Also try learning what is manual focus – there is magic in there – look into it

What do you think? Answer below!

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6 Responses to ISO, Aperture, and Shutter Speed?

  1. Phi says:

    The second tutorial here has what you need to start.
    A good visual tool here . More good tutorials here .

  2. Kevin K says:

    ISO 200 is the best to use whenever you can. Leave it at 200, don’t adjust it unless it gets too dark.

    F8 is about the best aperture for general shooting. Use wider if you want less depth of field, use more if you want more DoF.

    Shutter speed will depend on lighting. Full sun, ISO 200 F8, shutter speed would be 1/800 of a second.

    Shoot an A, aperture priority, and check that the shutter speed is close to 1/800 during daytime. Once you get that down, start using manual exposure.

  3. photog says:

    There should be a rule that anyone buying a Dslr should also have to buy a book on basic photography as well unless they can show they have an understanding of the basics already.

    If you want to be a photographer then it will take a lot more than asking this question on here.
    Do yourself a BIG favour and go out and buy or borrow a couple of books on basic photography and composition etc.
    Also if you can get on a beginners photography course. Many places run them either free or low cost.

    To the question. There is no specific combination which “look best together” that is where the knowledge comes in. It is entirely dependent on the conditions and effects which are required at that moment in time.

  4. deep blue2 says:

    They all control the exposure of an image and work together. If you want to maintain the same exposure & you adjust one of them, you have to adjust one (or both) of the others as well.

    Can i suggest that you get this book?

    Ideal for beginners using DSLR’s and when read in conjunction with your camera’s instruction manual, will help a lot.

    ISO is the sensitivity of the sensor to light. For most purposes, you want to keep the ISO as low as possible. Higher ISO’s cause the image to be ‘noisier’, but are sometimes necessary in low light where you can’t open the aperture any more and can’t slow down the shutter further without blur from camera shake.

    Aperture and shutter speed control how much light falls on the sensor, but additionally, aperture is one of the factors that control depth of field (the others are focal length of lens and camera to subject distance). Depth of field (dof) is the amount of your image that is in focus, in front of and behind the actual point of focus. A shallow dof is where your subject is in focus, but the foreground & background are blurred, a deep dof is where the foreground to the background (incl. your subject) is all in focus.
    Aperture is measured in f stops – the smaller the number, the wider the aperture and the shallower the dof.

    Shutter speed controls how much motion blur there is in the image. Fast shutter speeds freeze motion, slow shutter speeds blur motion (ie like light trails). Its measured in fractions of a second, or for longer exposures, whole seconds. On your display, for example 4 means 1/4 second, 4″ means 4 seconds.

    Whether you choose to set the shutter speed & let the other parameters fall where they will, or do the same with aperture depends on you the photographer & what creative look you’re going for.

    The assessment of how much light gives a ‘correct’ exposure is done by your camera inbuilt light meter and again this metering mode can be quite critical. The default mode is matrix or multisegment, and this averages out the light across the entire scene. The problem is that strong contrasty scenes (with very bright or very dark areas) can fool the meter. Sometimes its best to spot meter – which meters on a smaller part of the image (usually the same as the focus point).

  5. John B says:

    All of the answers so far give you the info you need, but here’s the simple version:

    ISO: This controls how sensitive your camera is to light. A higher ISO means it’s more sensitive. On your camera, you can probably use up to an ISO of 800 if you need to, but you’ll start to see more noise the higher you go. Ideally this is the last thing you need to change, so leave it where it is (200) if possible.

    Aperture: This controls how big of an opening your lens has for light to enter the camera. Lower apertures (f/1.4, f/2.8, etc) are very large openings that let in more light. Higher apertures (f/16, f/22, etc) are very small openings that let in less light.

    Shutter: This controls how long your sensor is exposed to the light coming through the lens. Faster shutter speeds let less light into your camera than longer shutter speeds.

    For low light: You’ll generally want to use a high ISO (more sensitive sensor), low aperture (big opening for light) and slow shutter speed (allows more light in).

    For bright light: You’ll generally want to use a low ISO (less sensitive sensor), high aperture (small opening for light) and fast shutter speed (allows less light in).

    There is no perfect or correct combination, so experiment and see which combinations give you the best results or most appealing photos.

  6. mister-damus says:

    Your camera manual probably goes over this (I know mines does), but you can also get a book on general photography from the library. they will explain the concept of “equivalent exposure”. It’s actually not a hard concept to grasp after you fiddle with your camera for about an hour or so.

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