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Digital Camera World - - CONTENTS -

Bet­ter still-lifes, res­cu­ing im­ages and choos­ing a tri­pod head geared for you

Stop it!

Q I’ve bought a new Canon EOS 4000D and I’m just get­ting to grips with f/stops. Should I set my f/stop in­cre­ments to third- or half-stops? Shirley Hope

A I al­ways sug­gest third-stop in­cre­ments, be­cause it gives you much finer con­trol over ex­po­sure when you em­ploy ex­po­sure com­pen­sa­tion. That might not sound very much, Shirley, but there could be oc­ca­sions when ad­ding a half-stop plus or mi­nus ex­po­sure com­pen­sa­tion is too much, so thirds seems to be a much more re­fined ap­proach.

Cam­eras are typ­i­cally set to thirds by de­fault, so if yours is, just leave it as it is. The ex­po­sure level in­cre­ments ap­ply to aper­ture and shut­ter speed, so if you are work­ing in Aper­ture Pri­or­ity and use ex­po­sure com­pen­sa­tion, the shut­ter speed will change by a third or a half as you dial in the com­pen­sa­tion. If you are shooting in Shut­ter Pri­or­ity, the aper­ture will change as you com­pen­sate.

On the whole, I set a full f/stop as my aper­ture – f/4, f/5.6, f/8 and so on – but if you use f/6.3 in­stead of f/5.6, it won’t make a huge dif­fer­ence to the look of your im­age. Ul­ti­mately, tweak­ing ex­po­sure in third-stop in­cre­ments does give you greater con­trol over fine-tun­ing your ex­po­sure, and this is the main rea­son why I stick with them.

A mi­nor ad­just­ment to the ex­po­sure com­pen­sa­tion can make a no­tice­able dif­fer­ence.

An­drew James An­drew is a high­ly­ex­pe­ri­enced writer and pho­tog­ra­pher – if you have a prob­lem, he is here to help.

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