When I was first lent a DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflect) Camera I was terrified of it. I’m not of the digital age like my children. I know that I can’t do too much to it, but it wasn’t my camera and I wanted to make sure that I didn’t do any damage to it. It looked the same as my old film SLR, but it also had a lot more buttons, a screen at the back and about the only thing I recognised was the button to push to take the photo.
Silly really, because the reality is, is that there isn’t a lot of differences. In fact, the differences that there are, just mean you have a lot more versatility with a DSLR and can do a lot more than you could with the old film SLR’s.
So what is the same, well the lens fit on the camera the same way. You still press the shutter button down half way to focus and then all the way to take the shot. The shutter speed is still controlled by a dial. Actually, there aren’t a lot of things that are the same, but the camera does do the same stuff, but you do it all a little differently.
Once you can get your head around that, you start to realise that using a DSLR is the same, it just works a little differently. As with a film SLR you can still use the camera on Manual, or Shutter Priority, Aperture Priority or in Program mode. With some you still have the programs for taking different types of shots, macro, portrait, landscape etc. The top end cameras tend to expect you to know how to take photos and that you will want to control all those things yourself.
The aperture and shutter speeds still work the same way, so as long you understand what both are and they are used to get you great photos, then you won’t have any problems with them.
So what is different, well, what I’ve worked out so far. The ISO is different, what film you have no longer determines what your ISO will be. It is up to you now. You work out what speed the ISO should be according the conditions you are shooting under. You don’t have to worry that you will be going to the theatre on the weekend, want to take some photos, but you will need a film with 1600 ISO and all the problems that go with it. When you get to the theatre, you just change the ISO to what you want it to be.
There is this thing on the DSLR called white balance. You use white balance to make sure you get the photos that you want, rather than letting the available light dictate what the image will be like. In film SLR’s we used filters to the same thing. Who didn’t have the yellow, red and blue filters. All standard for a serious photographer.
Of course, the biggest difference, and the reason I feel in love with photography again, is how instant it is. When you take a photo within a second you can see the shot. You can work out whether or not you need to change any of the controls. You can work out what is wrong, if there is something wrong, or you can continue doing what you were doing. I don’t know how many times I used to get a roll of film back from the lab, only to find that none of the photos worked. It was so frustrating. Sometimes when you have traveled a long way to take the photos it can be hard to get back film and then discover that nothing worked because you had the wrong setting or you didn’t expose it long enough. That doesn’t happen with digital.
I have to say one of my all time favourite things with digital is that my memory card will hold over 2 and half thousand photos, and I like to take a lot of photos. I can experiment without having to worry how much money the processing is going to cost me. I take a lot of photos and I am always experimenting.
So if you want to have a lot of fun with photography then consider getting yourself a DSLR. The options and choices and endless. Try doing some photography that isn’t as bad for the environment, isn’t bad for your wallet and still gives the same results. Good luck.