It ’s a ques­tion of pri­or­i­ties

Which of the set­tings you pri­ori­tise de­pends on what you’re try­ing to achieve

NPhoto - - Nikopedia -

Main pri­or­ity: fast shutt er speed The chef in this tep­pa­nyaki restau­rant wanted to show off his jug­gling skills with a pep­per grinder, but it was dusk, so there wasn’t much light. The show in­volved throw­ing the grinder up in

the air, so my pri­or­ity was to freeze it hang­ing in mid-air. Us­ing a wide-an­gle zoom – a 12-24mm set to 19mm – meant that the grinder would cross the frame more slowly than if it took up more space at a longer fo­cal length, but even so, the shut­ter speed needed to be 1/250 sec. The aper­ture was f/7.1, to en­sure ad­e­quate depth of field, and even open­ing up to f/2.8 would not have done much to help, so ISO had to pay the price – ISO12800 on a D4. Main pri­or­ity: rea­son­able shutt er speed

Pre-dawn at a busy fish mar­ket, work­ing with a wide-an­gle lens (in this case, 24mm). This is the most ac­tive time in a mar­ket like this, and light lev­els are low enough for there still to be street light­ing in use. Even though ex­po­sures for a shot like this can be kept darker than av­er­age in or­der to keep the pre-dawn feel­ing, the set­tings will still be chal­lenged. The main sub­ject is peo­ple in­ter­act­ing, so aper­ture can be wide open at f/2.8, pro­vided that the fo­cus is ac­cu­rately on the faces. The main pri­or­ity is to set a shut­ter speed that will stop most nor­mal arm, body and face move­ment, so about 1/100 sec. ISO5000, which on a D4 is not ex­treme, al­lowed this. Main pri­or­ity: very small aper­ture

This is a jux­ta­po­si­tion shot, taken with a mod­er­ate (80mm) telephoto lens, and be­cause it’s de­lib­er­ately com­par­ing tra­di­tional with new ar­chi­tec­ture, ev­ery­thing had to be sharp, from front to back, which meant a very small aper­ture (f/18). It was also im­por­tant to keep the ISO low, to cap­ture as much of the fine de­tail as pos­si­ble, with­out in­tro­duc­ing any grain.

Even al­low­ing for the fact it was quite bright, at f/18 I knew I’d have to set quite a slow shut­ter speed to let in enough light for an ac­cu­rate ex­po­sure – and be­cause this was a street photography walk­a­bout I wasn’t car­ry­ing a tri­pod. In this case, a shut­ter speed of 1/80 sec was needed – just fast enough to shoot hand­held (see Know your lim­its).

Two pri­or­i­ties: fast shutt er speed, but also low ISO

At this range, some­one doesn’t need to be mov­ing rapidly for a high shut­ter speed to be re­quired. Nor­mal move­ments travel quickly across the frame – and the min­i­mum shut­ter speeds for freez­ing mo­tion de­pend on speed in the frame, not on ac­tual speed. I de­cided to use se­lec­tive fo­cus­ing to make the sub­ject stand out, and the de-fo­cused ar­eas needed to be noise-free. An aper­ture of f/1.4 gave me the blur­ring I wanted. I then had to strike a bal­ance be­tween keep­ing the ISO as low as pos­si­ble, while keep­ing the shut­ter speed as high as pos­si­ble (to min­imise mo­tion blur). In the event, I set a shut­ter speed of 1/500 sec at ISO200.

Two pri­or­i­ties: small aper­ture, but also a rea­son­able

shutt er speed In this shot of a Chi­nese tea cer­e­mony, I wanted to in­clude both the mu­si­cian play­ing the guqin and the tea be­ing poured be­yond. I chose an im­mer­sive wide-an­gle treat­ment which de­pends on ev­ery­thing be­ing sharp, and so set a fairly small aper­ture (f/11) for a depth of field that extends from the near­est hand to the teapot. But the mu­si­cian’s hands were mov­ing, and so needed a mod­er­ately fast shut­ter speed, even though I timed the shot for the least amount of move­ment. The fi­nal set­tings were 1/80 sec at f/11 and ISO400. At ISO100 I’d have needed a shut­ter speed of 1/20 sec, which would have been too slow. Two pri­or­i­ties: small aper­ture and the low­est ISO pos­si­ble

In­te­ri­ors al­most al­ways de­mand two things: to­tal front-to-back sharp­ness (so a small aper­ture) and a low ISO that re­sults in no noise. This sec­ond pri­or­ity is all the more im­por­tant be­cause first, most in­te­ri­ors of­ten fea­ture smooth, mid-toned sur­faces, which re­veal any noise; and sec­ond, they are of­ten re­pro­duced large in books and mag­a­zines. This is just such an im­age: a wide-an­gle taken with a 12-24mm lens at 19mm. It makes some­thing of the depth in the scene, fea­tur­ing a statue close to the cam­era. The only op­tion was to set a slow shut­ter speed, so a tri­pod was es­sen­tial. The set­tings were 4 secs at f/20 and ISO200.

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