Monday, January 19, 2015

Understanding Buttons and Knobs on Your Camera

So many buttons, so many knobs, so much confusion right? If you're new to your camera or you've put off getting friendly with yours, this post will help put you in the right direction. This is actually the first step in learning to shoot in manual.

Sounds so basic, B-O-R-I-N-G!!! No, really this is an important thing to learn. The fact is if you're going to shoot in manual, you'll need to know where all those buttons are and how to change the settings on your camera. It can be one of the most difficult things about shooting in manual (remember when you first learned to drive?) but once you practice it becomes really easy.

Don't worry about trying to understand what these buttons and knobs do just yet. For now you just need to be able to change them and locate them on your camera. So grab your camera, manual and find the following items...  you'll need to be able to change:

  • aperture

  • shutter speed

  • iso

  • white balance - change to auto white balance (aka AWB)

  • metering mode - change to SPOT metering*
    *not all cameras have spot metering, so the next best thing is "center weighted" metering.
Again, every camera is different. How to change your aperture / shutter speed etc. will depend on your camera. Here are a few images of a Canon Rebel XSi to give you a general idea of what you're looking for...

Another thing to be aware of, is there are different types of lenses for cameras. Not all lenses are compatible with all cameras. Brands do not mix (you can't shoot a Nikon lens on a Canon body.)  Also be sure to take note of the attach points. Red dots attach at the red dot and white "squares" at the white ones. The Nikon I have here, for example, has a white dot. Basically this is the where you would line up the lens before attaching it to the camera. If you feel like you're fighting a wild horse while changing lenses... that might be why.

And when you start to get different lenses for your camera, here are ways to differentiate lenses:

Examples for the Nikon crew!

I haven't figured out where to change the ISO on this Nikon and I don't have the manual.  Soooooo.... check your manuals. Beginner camera bodies are notorious for having one button with multiple functions.

Hope this post on buttons and knob helps out! Remember the more you change the settings on your camera, the easier it will become. Soon enough it will be like you've done it all along and you'll be able to change settings without even noticing. Being able to easily change settings will make your journey into shooting in manual a piece of cake.