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Thread: Shutter Priority

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    Shutter Priority

    Hello
    I'm asking this question on the premis that the only stupid question is an unasked question!
    Having said that... I have used my newish Nikon d90 on Shutter Priority mode and a few times (on different occassions in different situations) the photos turn out black. Or at least appear black on the lcd. Does this mean I've chosen the wrong shutter speed? Or worse than that?
    theres no reference to this problem in my manual (its well thumbed but still needs more exploring!)
    Thanks if you have time for advice
    Natalie

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    Ausphotography Site Sponsor/Advertiser DAdeGroot's Avatar
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    When you take the photo, does anything blink in the viewfinder ? (for instance, the aperture value?)

    I'm guessing you've chosen a shutter speed that is too high for the ambient light conditions.
    Dave

    http://www.degrootphotography.com.au/
    Canon EOS 1D MkIV | Canon EOS 5D MkII | Canon EOS 30D | Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM | Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM | Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM | Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM | Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L USM | Canon TS-E 17mm f/4L & some non-L lenses.

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    It sounds like Dave may have nailed it. If the Aperture Value is flashing then either use a slower shutter speed or increase the ISO till it stops flashing. Although you are using shutter priority there are still limits to what shutter speed your lens will allow you to use.
    Canon 500D.....EFS 18-55 - EFS 55-250
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    Thanks so much guys.
    I'm not sure if anything flashed up, I'd have to try it again to check. I definately heard that fabulous 'I just took a photo' noise!
    I thought by using shutter priority the camera would pick the rest but obviously I pushed it too much. I thought it would adjust all the other bits for me to suit the speed I chose. I was worried there was something wrong with my camera. ahhh still so much to learn
    Thanks for not aking me feel silly!!

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    Natalie,
    I may be way off the mark here, but check to see what ISO setting you were using, if it is ISO 100 and your shutter is set fast (eg: > 1/1000sec) you may not get enough light with a slow lens in a low light area.
    Try setting the ISO on Auto and see if that helps.
    Cheers
    Darey

    Nikon user, Thick skinned and wanting to improve, genuine C & C welcomed.

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    Generally, I think you should use aperture priority. Nothing wrong with shutter priority 'per se', but I think it's more of a specialised semi auto mode. (I hardly or very rarely use it) It's that kind of mode where you really need to keep the shutter speed up to a particular level and really have zero choice in the matter or the image may just be a blur(shutter speed to low), or there won't be enough blur(shutter speed to high).

    D90 has a very well thought out Auto ISO mode for situations like this(but you have to be very watchful of the shutter speeds you choose).
    I recommend using AutoISO mode and learn(or ask) about the other variables it allows you set in the setup menu.

    If you give us some indication as to what type of photography you're trying to get into(sports?.. kids portraits?.. macro? landscapes?... etc) we can help you get the D90 setup to a decent point for the two of you to get along more harmoniously

    Finally, what lens(es) do you generally use or have at your disposal too? They can make a big difference in some of the settings you effect in the camera.
    Nikon D800E, D300, D70s
    {Nikon} -> 50/1.2 : 500/8(CPU'd) : 105/2.8VR Micro : 180/2.8ais : 105mm f/1.8ais : 24mm/2ais
    {Sigma}; ->10-20/4-5.6 : 50/1.4 : 12-24/4.5-5.6II : 150-600mm|S
    {Tamron}; -> 17-50/2.8 : 28-75/2.8 : 70-200/2.8 : 300/2.8 SP MF : 24-70/2.8VC


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    With the D90 in Shutter Priority mode, the camera will adjust the aperture to suit. However, there are physical, lens-related limits as to what apertures it can set. If the shutter speed is high, it may not be possible to use a wide enough aperture. (Sometimes, auto ISO can save the day, but there are still limits - something that works at 1/60th, f3.5, ISO800 would need ISO 6400 to work at 1/500, and most likely be too noisy. I am not sure what the max ISO is on the D90.)
    Regards, Rob

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    The most important question is are you looking while composing at the meter ?
    Darren
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    Quote Originally Posted by natalie View Post
    Thanks so much guys.
    I'm not sure if anything flashed up, I'd have to try it again to check. I definately heard that fabulous 'I just took a photo' noise!
    I thought by using shutter priority the camera would pick the rest but obviously I pushed it too much. I thought it would adjust all the other bits for me to suit the speed I chose. I was worried there was something wrong with my camera. ahhh still so much to learn
    Thanks for not aking me feel silly!!
    A question, when you said you selected the shutter priority mode, it sounded at least like you expected the camera to select the actual speed for you? It doesn't work like that in practice and as you haven't specified the shutter speed I can only assume you were under the impression that the camera already knew what to do about the shutter speed. This only happens in "auto" mode, in shutter priority you have to tell the camera the speed you want then it does the rest. Same for aperture priority, you tell the camera you want f8 or something like that and again the camera does the rest, hope I haven't made a fool of myself by over simplifying the situation
    Richard
    I've been wrong before!! Happy to have constructive criticism though.Gear used Canon 50D, 7D & 5DMkII plus expensive things hanging off their fronts and of course a "nifty fifty".

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    Richard is on the money, you must select what shutter speed in shutter priority mode and the camera will choose the aperture. Bear in mind that watching the meter as Darren noted is vital to ensuring your aperture as selected by the camera is adequate to correctly expose, and that may be an issue with slow or kit type lenses in lower light scenarios.

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    oh wow, thanks for all your ideas
    looks like I've been a bit of a fool myself!
    I chose Shutter Priority so I could dial in a fast shutter speed as I was taking some candid shots of little kids, darn things move quickly! I was also trying to branch away from auto! I don't believe I was checking the metering - I've taken that tip on for next time thanks. I know the aperture and ISO have to match up but don't have the kind of head that remembers numbers so find that tricky.
    Having said that, I dont just want a great camera, I'd also like to know how to use it well
    The (only) lens I have is a Tamron 18 - 270 so I guess my next challenge is to better learn the settings which work for the lens. I'd liek to do that before I buy a new lens
    Thanks again for so much advice, I appreciate you all helping me learn. Plenty more of that to do!

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    The camera does set the rest as stated above, but not always. It can be restricted for example by your lens. If you are in shutter priority and looking at the meter as Kiwi has said it will tell you by Flashing the aperture (3.5 to 6.3 depending on the focal length you are using on your lens at the time) if it can't set the right exposure. Then you need to adjust the shutter speed down until it stops flashing. This will make a correct exposure but it may be too slower a shutter speed to capture what you want to clearly. e.g. kids running around.

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    Amor fati!
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    i too have this camera... I thoroughly recommend the use of auto iso. works great! the d90 noise levels are good up to 1600 easy.

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    Ausphotography Veteran rwg717's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by natalie View Post
    oh wow, thanks for all your ideas
    looks like I've been a bit of a fool myself!
    I chose Shutter Priority so I could dial in a fast shutter speed as I was taking some candid shots of little kids, darn things move quickly! I was also trying to branch away from auto! I don't believe I was checking the metering - I've taken that tip on for next time thanks. I know the aperture and ISO have to match up but don't have the kind of head that remembers numbers so find that tricky.
    Having said that, I dont just want a great camera, I'd also like to know how to use it well
    The (only) lens I have is a Tamron 18 - 270 so I guess my next challenge is to better learn the settings which work for the lens. I'd liek to do that before I buy a new lens
    Thanks again for so much advice, I appreciate you all helping me learn. Plenty more of that to do!
    Not a problem to help you along the way....after all that's partly what AP's all about. Can I be so bold as to suggest a starting point....if you like shutter priority, by all means use it. Ving's suggestion about "auto" ISO will get you "out-of-jail" most times. To begin with, have a look in your op's manual and find out how to set your ISO to "auto" mode if you don't already know, once that is done do some test shooting with kids just mucking around, as long as you are outside then set your speed to 1/250 sec. and if its a nice bright sunny day this will probably be too slow, but take the shots anyway. Just before you are about to pack it all in, change your speed up to 1/500 sec. and take two shots only.

    Download your images to the computer and see what they are like, if there is too much "blur" in your 1/250 sec shots then I was right and that speed is too slow, now check your final 2 shots and if they are not too dark and the ISO is below 400 then bingo, thats what you use. However if the 1/250's are too dark then I was wrong and the ISO may not have helped the captures. It's a little like cooking really, a little more salt?? Oh wooohaaaa, that is TOO SALTY and so you go back and start over.

    Once you "crack" the nice sharp images, no camera shake and low ISO, write that formula down and look at it frequently, eventually it becomes embedded in your mind. I know this because I have a recipie for out-door shots on sunny days and using an external flash gun. Speed set to 1/160sec, flash intensity cut by 33% and hand held I get a 75% keeper rate at an ISO of 200 with f10 aperture.

    By the way, hasten slowly if buying a new lens, I don't have a copy of the one you are using but I do know it to be adequate in your circumstances, read up on a few reviews before you commit your hard earned
    Richard

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    Thanks Richard, appreciate your advice and I will try that next time I 'borrow' my sisters kids! Great idea and i do want to know this little machine of mine better!
    Thanks Ving, I think iso is on auto, but you've prompted me to check
    Thanks all for helping me understand this complicated business a little better

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    I think Auto ISO is on by default in the D90.

    With the lens you're using, you (may) get a lot of under exposure(that's what I noticed), so be careful when using AutoISO.
    If the lens under exposes the scene and the D90 has set a slightly higher ISO value(in AutoISO mode) then the images will come out a lot more noisy than they would have if you set some over exposure.

    Quote Originally Posted by natalie View Post
    ..... I was taking some candid shots of little kids, darn things move quickly! I was also trying to branch away from auto! .....
    In your camera's AutoISO menu you can set minimum shutter speed to 1/100s and set maximum ISO value to 3200. These settings should be good for chasing kids around in good light, and try to shoot in burst mode. If you shoot 4 frames in one second, at an average of 0.25s per frame you maximize your chances of getting one of those frames to your liking.

    Some things to know about AutoISO mode. When you set the parameters in AutoISO the camera tries to maintain those values to the best of it's ability, but don't simply assume that this is given. If you set a min shutter speed of 1/100s the camera will keep shutter at 1/100s for as long as possible before it starts to bump ISO values upwards. Once it's reached the ISO limit you set, as in my example ISO3200, it then has to start dropping shutter speed to keep the scene exposed correctly(if you're using Aperture priority).

    Also try to keep the lens zoomed out as much as possible too. I know this sounds counter intuitive, but you realize that this lens has a variable aperture? The more you zoom in, the more this lens naturally closes the aperture down due to it's design. Get closer and try sticking to a focal length not too far past about 70mm or so. I can't remember the exact numbers, but I think from about 70mm, the max aperture value is about f/5..... and that's quite a hit in terms of shutter speed.
    So you can understand how much of an affect this has, we'll introduce the ubiquitous 50mm f/1.8 lens into the equation:
    same scene, same ISO, same camera, different lenses and hence options in aperture values. Tammy 18-270 @ 70mm only allows f/5(maximum), 50mm f/1.8 allows up to f/1.8(but you don't need to be shooting at that aperture.. best to stop down by that 1/3rd, down to f/2. We're going to assume there's enough light available so you can shoot with a shutter speed of 1/125s with the 50mm at f/2, and with the Tammy@ 70mm and hence f/5) this will only allow you to shoot at about 1/20s by comparison, unless you bump up the ISO(which the camera is going to do anyhow).

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    thanks very much for your effort in replying arthur. I need some time to process all that info, which I'm running short of already this week.
    I'll be back

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