Saturday, September 13, 2008

DSLR 101

After 2 days of not touching my A700 at all (due to work overload, not because I didnt want to) I finally managed to invest some more time today with the camera, lenses and manuals.

First of all, this day was a reality check.

Even though I have a great control over my previous camera, Im making the same mistakes I did when I got the H1 almost 3 years ago, proving that I have to learn everything from scratch again in a new unit of time.

Welcome to DSLR 101.

Today I learnt that even though the A700 has a bigger sensor, better NR reduction and wider ISO range; APERTURE AND SHUTTER SPEED STILL MATTER. AND NO MATTER WHAT, LOW LIGHT IS LOW LIGHT.

I overexposed or subexposed a lot of shots, and some of them were blurry due to slow shutter speeds in low light.

I feel like a rookie, I still need to go back to the Auto mode to get a shot properly quickly; WHICH IS EXACTLY WHAT I DID WHEN I GOT MY H1 FOR THE FIRST TIME!

In theory Im not a rookie, but in practice I am. In theory Im not because I know how aperture, shutter speed, ISO, focal length, EV, etc. affect a photo, but in practice I am because I just screw up when setting those.

One problem Im having is letting go of the Live View.

My H1 has Live View and an Electronic View Finder, which means that using the EVF or the LCD screen, I can see the frame in real time and the adjustments I make are also displayed in real time, by adjustments I mean WB, speed, f number, and I used those all the time to frame my shots.

My A700 doesnt have LV (which is something it has been critiqued a lot about, but I dont mind), which requires me to drop the LV thinking and start thinking pentaprism.

In other words, I need to develop the skill to know the settings in my head and what effect they will have in the picture before taking it. With LV I depended on the changes taking place immediately in the LCD or EVF, with the pentaprism I just see the reflection of the scene infront of me, but not the changes the picture will have if I move a setting.

I really need to practice, I need to move the changes from the camera to my head, so when I move something, I already know what Im doing without screwing up.

I know A900 has Intelligent Preview, which I find it more handy than Live View since on DSLR's apparantly its something hard to implement and make it work without slowing things down. Theres the idea that IP could be implemented to the A700 through a firmware update, I would like a lot to have that, but I would use it when Im doing work that doesnt require fast shooting, like studio stuff. It would be more comfortable to have it under those conditions.

I personally want to learn how to shoot without any technical aid, like a lot of photographers did before digital cameras: Their instinct and creativity plus the camera and its tools.

One thing Ive experienced and proven to myself is that no matter if its film or digital, a photograph still relies on the techniques used in photography. Film and digital are two ways of presenting a photograph, but that doesnt change the fact that the bare basics of the subject HAVE to be learned.

Its like a car with manual gearbox and another one with automatic gearbox, different systems and different driving style, but you still have to wear the seatbelt, check your mirrors, change your oil and stop at any red lights.

The bare fact is that Im now working with another system, more professional, more creative, more allowing; and I need to learn about it, study about it, practice with it, get results with it.

That is going to take time and effort, practice and study. Im just beginning to know my camera and the system of SLR.

Right now Im at DSLR 101, and its tough, but no one said it was going to be easy or that I even had to upgrade my camera. This was my choice, and Im going through with it no matter what.

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