Artist-How-To

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*All images and words copyright of Diane Dobson-Barton dba as Barton Studio 2002-2007

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Useful tips for choosing the right SLR camera

1. Focusing:

Check to see if you can select a manual focus on your lens. The Automatic setting is whenever your focusing standard can be in question. But there are still times when a manual focus can come in handy. So it is a good idea for the lens to have both.

2. Exposure:

The model should have:
Full Manual control mode
At least one shutter/aperture priority mode

It is sometimes useful to have an additional automatic mode. It helps in taking a candid shot where you might not have enough time to adjust the shutter speed or aperture and loose the shot while doing so.

3. Shutter Speed Range:

It is better to go for a model which has a shutter speed range around 3-4 seconds in the lower side and 1/1000 sec at the higher side. Lower speeds work well for low light/night photography. In the faster side you will need any faster those 1/1000 seconds only if you do action photography.

4. Auto Exposure lock:

An exposure memory lock is not absolutely necessary but will help you in a tricky light situation, especially if you are shooting a backlit subject.

5. Film Handling:

Your camera should be able to handle films of sensitivity if ISO 12-3200. Most new models will read the DX code on the purchased film canister. But for push processing film you will need to be able to change the ISO setting.

6. Viewfinder Information:

The viewfinder should be sufficiently informative, the more information you get in the viewfinder, the better (as you will spend less time fumbling around to see the chosen shutter speed/aperture setting). Ideally it should show you the selected aperture, shutter speed and flash ready signal, if you are using a dedicated flash.

7. Availability of lenses/attachment:

Be sure your camera lens can be switched to other sizes and not molded to the body. If you choose a second hand model it should have the lenses and accessories available. Check out the local shops and the internet to see what brands of accessories are easily available. You never know when you may need another lens or battery. And if they are difficult to come by it can keep you from using the camera to its full extent.