How to read the shutter speed on a Nikon D40x

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by WardPhotography, Mar 23, 2010.

  1. WardPhotography macrumors newbie

    WardPhotography

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2010
    #1
    I am still pretty new to using a DSLR and for some reason I cannot grasp how to read or adjust the shutter and/or aperture speeds on the display. People list the shutter speed as 1/200 but how do they get that. Same with the aperture.

    Any help would be great, thank you.
     
  2. leighonigar macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 5, 2007
    #2
    I don't have a D40, and I've only touched one once (and I've never used a camera with only one control wheel) so I can't give specific advice, but generally speaking, you put the mode dial into 'M' (manual) 'A' (aperture priority) or 'S' (shutter priority) and then use the control dial and your thumb to change either the aperture or shutter speed, depending on the mode. There must be a button used to switch between the two in manual, perhaps the exposure compensation button, I don't know.

    The number will (I guess) read out on the main screen, and on the little screen inside the viewfinder.

    It will all be in the manual. Do you understand what aperture and shutter speeds do, and what 'aperture priority' etc. mean?
     
  3. M-5 macrumors 65816

    M-5

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2008
    #3
    [​IMG](Click to make larger)

    I believe your display looks like this. I'm sure it's possible to change how the display is formatted so it might be a little different.

    Red - What is circled in red (1") is the shutter speed. In the photo it would be a shutter speed of 1 second, which is a pretty slow shutter speed. Slow shutter speeds mean that more light will enter the camera, but because it's open for a longer period of time, camera shake might be captured if you don't use a tripod or something to stabilize the camera.

    Green - This is the meter. This is how you adjust the shutter speed. The goal is to move the tick marks to the center where it shows a zero. Generally if the ticks are more towards the +, then the image will be overexposed. The minus means underexposed.

    Blue - this is the aperture. Lower numbers mean a larger opening of the aperture. The lower the number, the more light enters the camera and the shallower your depth of field (what is in-focus) becomes. Faster lenses will allow you to open the aperture more.
     
  4. Doylem macrumors 68040

    Doylem

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2006
    Location:
    Wherever I hang my hat...
  5. toxic macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2008
    #5
    that is incorrect. the scale is exposure compensation, which ranges from +2 to -2. when you use an auto mode, like P (program), A (aperture priority), or S (shutter priority), the camera meters the scene and guesses the proper exposure. by default, the tick is in the middle (0). you can modify the meter reading if you find (or know) that the meter is wrong. going to the left (+) increases the exposure and brightens the scene, and the opposite happens when you go right (-).

    if you shoot in manual mode, you ignore the scale entirely.

    f-stop (e.g. f/5.6) works with shutter speed to achieve a series of equivalent exposures. I suggest you search for some articles or buy a book about exposure to figure out why you should use one setting over the other, like 1/1000 at f/2 vs 1/8 at f/22.
     
  6. M-5 macrumors 65816

    M-5

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2008
    #6
    But it is your meter. Moving this to the center changes your shutter speed. It tells you whether the photograph would be under- or over-exposed at your current settings. And yes, going to the right will increase your exposure, but it does this by lowering the shutter speed. And no, you don't ignore the scale when shooting in manual mode.
     
  7. toxic macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2008
    #7
    it does not tell you if anything is over- or underexposed. the camera does not know what is properly exposed, it can only guess. all it knows is middle gray. if the camera's guess is incorrect, you correct it using EC.

    in manual, the scale shows how far you are from what the camera thinks is the proper exposure (0). if you just follow the tick mark back to 0, you just wasted time doing what P, S, or A could do for you instantaneously. the point of manual is that you know what the proper exposure is and don't need any assistance from the camera. its only use in M is in zone metering, but most people don't know what that is.
     
  8. pdxflint macrumors 68020

    pdxflint

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2006
    Location:
    Oregon coast
    #8
    :D I don't know about all of them, but my D300 came with a 400 pg :eek: manual. Someday I might try to read it...:cool:
     
  9. leighonigar macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 5, 2007
  10. Doylem macrumors 68040

    Doylem

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2006
    Location:
    Wherever I hang my hat...
    #10
    True... my D200 came with quite a tome too. A lot of it still reads like gobbledegook three years later. All these programmes and features and modes and stuff... when there's really only a couple of controls to sort out. I think the camera manufacturers are just trying to outdo each other by seeing how many pointless features they can cram into a DSLR... :confused:
     
  11. mrkgoo macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2005
    #11
    I shoot in 'M' 99% of the time, and I find the meter still to be pretty useful. Sometimes I go for the zero, sometimes I don't.

    Regardless, it's still tell you about your current settings and what the camera is seeing. It is not a waste of time to set it back to 'zero', because sometimes the lighting is changing around you, but you want to set a fixed exposure regardless, so you decide, based on the meter, what settings. You don't necessarily want it to be in A or S.
     
  12. WardPhotography thread starter macrumors newbie

    WardPhotography

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2010
    #12
    Thank you

    Thank you for all of your comments. It really helped.
     
  13. RHVC59 macrumors 6502

    RHVC59

    Joined:
    May 10, 2008
    Location:
    Eugene, Oregon
    #13
    My D80 came with two, one in English, and one in many additional languages...
    I have read it twice, and still ended up buying an after market "Nikon D80 Digital Field Guide". I must say the field guide explained how to clean dust off the sensor a heck of a lot better than Nikon did. As wells as doing a better job explaining different field situations in understandable language.
    I am still going back to them both after two years worth of shooting.:D
     
  14. WardPhotography thread starter macrumors newbie

    WardPhotography

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2010
    #14
    Thank you! I have ordered it for my camera.
     

Share This Page