Monday, July 21, 2014

Samsung NX300 - Quick Shutter Speed Tutorial

Shutter Speed shooting mode is exactly what it says and for speed shots this is the favoured shooting mode by many.

Before going into this tutorial I would suggest taking a look at the Program Tutorial and Aperture Priority Tutorial.  I know it sounds irritating but my reasoning is because I have explained settings and so on in further detail.  It also means I don't have to keep on repeating the info.

With Aperture Priority, the f number was controlled by you and the shutter speed adjusted by the camera.  But in Shutter Speed, the roles are reversed and you control the shutter speed while the camera adjusts the aperture.  Another reason why I wanted you to check out the Aperture Tutorial first.

As always, just selecting a shutter speed and shooting won't get you the photos you want.  In order to maintain what the camera believes is correct exposure it needs to compensate by opening the aperture blades wider to allow more light in (the smaller the f number the more light but less is in focus).  So you can lose out on depth of field (what is kept in focus).  That is why you also need to keep an eye on the f number while changing the shutter speed.

Also if the shutter speed e.g. 1/2000 shows as red instead of blue, then exposure is incorrect and the photo will be dark.  The shutter speed number needs to remain in blue and the slightest shift in light can change this so don't neglect the shutter speed in anyway.

You may want to push it and increase the shutter speed to what you want, underexposing the photo and then use Exposure Compensation to lighten the photo.  Give it a try and compare to a correctly exposed photo.  Noise will increase greatly and you may only be allowed to add a certain amount of Exposure Compensation.  It will look terrible so I wouldn't recommend trying this out.

To increase the camera's sensitivity to light and therefore increase the shutter speed you can increase the ISO.  I'd say 800 is the highest you can safely go without too much noise although up 1600 can work but higher and you get visible noise in the background.

I haven't had much of a chance to travel and would have loved to get some speeding bike action in but used Newton's Cradle Balance Balls for this tutorial.

You can use anything with movement e.g. toy car, pinwheel, water etc.  A simple experiment is to half fill a glass or jar of water, add glitter and stir.  While the water is moving take a photo looking down on the glass/jar.

Ok, let's get started.

1. Switch on the Samsung Nx300 and turn the shooting mode dial to S (in between the A and M).  Don't confuse it with the Smart Mode small S in a black camera silhouette.

2. Quick check of the settings:
Autoshare - on or off is your choice, I keep it Off.
Photo size - 20M 5472 x 3648 (this will be greyed out if RAW is selected under Quality)
Quality - I usually use RAW but for the tut I changed to JPEG Super Fine
ISO - start at 100, avoid using Auto
White Balance - set for now to AWB
Picture Wizard - for now keep this Off, I will later go through each setting
AF Mode - Single AF
AF Area - Multi AF
Touch AF - Touch AF
MF Assist - Enlarge x5
Framing Mode - Off
Drive - High
Metering - Multi
Dynamic Range - Off
Flash - won't be using flash for this tutorial, so don't worry about this setting.

3.  As mentioned above, watch both the Shutter Speed number (e.g. 1/200) and the Aperture (e.g. f4). The shutter speed number needs to remain blue to keep correct exposure.  Depending on your light available, the higher the shutter speed goes the wider the aperture (smaller the number) becomes.  In shaded areas the shutter speed might not go higher than 1/200 and aperture may be the widest the lens allows f2 (depending on the lens).

This means that while you may have a fairly fast shutter speed the area in focus will be very small and there will still be a chance of blur.

Before moving to Step 4 I want to show you examples of how changing the ISO and Shutter Speed in turn changes the Aperture.

The photos haven't been edited other than to make smaller for the blog.

Here are examples in a shaded area and direct sun to give you an idea before taking the shot.  I have also included 100% crops of two of the photos to show you the noise levels:

The highest shutter speed I could get while keeping correct exposure was 1/200 at ISO 100 but this meant the aperture was f2, decreasing how much was in focus.  Also, I used Continuous Drive and captured 4 photos, of which the last one showed the moving ball as being blurred.  So the speed was ok for 3/4 photos but that 4th may have been important in another situation so the speed wasn't as fast as it should have been.

You can also see that the depth of field was shallow so only the balls (and anything at the same distance) were in focus as this was where I touched the screen to place focus.

I increased the ISO in the photo below to 400, so the highest shutter speed allowed was 1/640 with a slight increase in the aperture f2.5.

Now that the shutter speed has increased I can play around with the setting to increase the aperture.

To increase the aperture to f4 and get more in focus I had to decrease to 1/200 but as you can see the slower shutter speed didn't capture the photo fast enough.  If I wanted to I could increase the ISO to 800 which would increase the shutter speed fast enough to capture the shot clearly.

In direct sunlight I reached a shutter speed of 1/6000 with aperture f2.8 on ISO 400.  Each photo taken in direct sunlight with ISO 100-400 produced shutter speeds over 1/2000, which was fast enough for clear shots.

The high shutter speed gave me room to play and I was able to get a clear shot with ISO 400, aperture f8 and by decreasing the shutter speed to 1/640.

If you are taking a photo of a bird in flight or a plane against a bright blue sky then you will be able to achieve a shutter speed of over 1/3000 with aperture f8 and up.  As said before, it depends on your lighting.

4. Once you have found the correct settings depending on your lighting, press the shutter half way to focus and touch the screen if you want to place the focus elsewhere.  Once you are happy with the focus, press fully to take a photo.

5. Sometimes the camera doesn't always get the exposure right so you can use the Exposure Compensation to make the photo darker or lighter.  Go to Program Tutorial and scroll down to where the article says But what happens if the photo appears too dark?  

ISO, Shutter Speed and Aperture all work together besides the influence of light.  It might sound complicated but if you just pay attention to the Shutter Speed and Aperture, then it's more than a good start.  Unlike Manual Mode the Program, Aperture Priority and Shutter Priority mode have settings where the camera acts as an assistant.

It's why I always suggest starting with Program mode. The camera still has more control than you do in Program mode but you can still decide on the combination of settings although limited.  When you move onto Aperture or Shutter Priority the camera hands over the reigns of one of the settings i.e. full control over shutter or aperture.  

As you move through these shooting modes, you choose what suits you best or use each one for different modes.  Aperture was my favourite until I tried Manual and have stayed there ever since.  But I only reached manual by going through each mode and learning what works where.  Some will tell you to go straight to Manual, and if you want to why not?  But if it seems to much for a first go, just start at the beginning and work your way through.

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