Reader Question – exposure

“Use manual”, I say. Easier said that done eh? A new student asks me this:

Michael – indoor, dimly light (one table lamp), ISO 200, f/3.5, shutter 2.5″. Just when I have my shutter speed set to get meter at zero, I am still getting a warning that the conditions are not right. When I move the shutter up to 1/50, the warning disappears and then the meter moves to the end of the negative scale. Help!

Ah. OK. So when you set the meter to zero, which may give you an OK picture, the warning says “your shutter is too slow for a steady picture”.

Take the picture. What do you see? The exposure is in fact OK (“the brightness is OK”), but the pic is totally blurred. But the exposure is OK. So your method in fact worked!

But the way you did this (slower shutter, 2.5 seconds) is not ideal: the exposure is OK, but this extremely slow shutter speed gives you blur.

What are the four ways to get a brighter picture?

  1. Turn on more lights
  2. Slower shutter
  3. Wider aperture (“lower f-number”)
  4. Higher ISO

So you tried only number 2 and it worked but had a drawback. So instead of a slower shutter, try a lower f-num,ber.

Oh wait. Your lens does not allow a lower f-number.

Well then… apart from buying a better lens (with a lower F-number), what’s left? More lights or higher ISO. You may even need a combination!

Once you understand it, exposure is simple – very simple. But to get to that understanding you need to do exactly the kind of experimentation you are doing here!


1 thought on “Reader Question – exposure

  1. And since he/she is at ISO 200, if they do not want to turn on more lights, then increasing ISO is the way to go, right? (Asides from buying a new lens)

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