Manual Camera Settings: Using Manual Mode

When your smartphone camera isn’t enough, a DSLR camera can be perfect.

Sometimes, your mobile phone isn’t quite enough for your photo. You might want to move up to a basic DSLR camera instead or, at least, have one handy in the car. When you know how to use manual DSLR camera settings, you’ll be able to take even better mobile shots in some situations.

Using manual DSLR camera mode can seem like a daunting prospect but it’s a great camera to travel with. In this mode, the camera gives the user full control of all settings, and there can be a fair amount to remember. But if you’ve practiced using aperture-priority and shutter-priority modes, then it’s a simple step to move to the process of using manual camera settings.

Let’s look at the three key components of using manual mode.

Aperture

Aperture controls the amount of light that enters the camera through the iris in the lens. These amounts are represented by “f-stops,” and a large aperture is represented by a smaller number. So, for instance, f/2 is a large aperture and f/22 is a small aperture. ​Learning about aperture is an important aspect of advanced photography.

However, aperture also controls depth of field. Depth of field refers to how much of the image surrounding and behind the subject is in focus. A small depth of field is represented by a small number, so f2 would give a photographer a small depth of field, while f/22 would give a large depth of field.

Depth of field is extremely important in photography, and it should be one of the first things that a photographer considers when composing a photograph. For instance, a beautiful landscape shot won’t be quite so pretty if a very small depth of field is accidentally used!

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