How to Use a DSLR Camera Cheat-Sheet [Infographic]

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If you are a beginner and have just brought a new DSLR camera, you are bound to be intimidated by the huge number of dials, buttons, and features. Of course, understanding those settings may not come easily to you, and sifting through that manual can be a truly difficult task.

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how to use a dslr camera infographic

Most of us get tempted to flick the AUTO option and begin shooting right away. Of course, that would be a simple and easy option for most of your needs, but what if you want to gain expertise in how to use a DSLR camera?

How to Use a DSLR Camera?

  • Learn the different shooting modes

The best option to learn how to use a DSLR camera would be to learn to use the different shooting modes. The DSLR may have multiple shooting modes and each of them may vary across different camera models.

The AUTO mode lets the camera decide everything for you and shoot your images and videos. The other modes such as AV, TV, P, and M offer you minute control over the settings. Shoot a few images and videos using the available modes and check how the images have come up. The best option would be to click the images of the same object in different modes and find how do they work. That would give you an idea into how each of the modes works and which model is best for each of the shooting requirements.

This can be a hit and miss or trial and error method to master your shooting modes.

  • Learn ISO

ISO is one of the prime requirements in shooting outstanding videos. ISO determines how sensitive the sensor will work with your source of light. The ISO sensitivity is normally indicated by a number.
The ISO value of 100 indicates low sensitivity to light, while the high ISO value will be dependent on the DSLR model. The ISO value can be a great option to help you arrive at and control the light required for the sensor to achieve the required exposure.

The low ISO numbers would be an excellent option for your needs in bright light conditions. That would ensure that the sensor does not need to be too sensitive in such lighting conditions. You can opt for the ISO value of 100 to 200 in those conditions. The High ISO values are needed when the light conditions in your shooting locations are darker. The ISO sensitivity of up to 3200 may be a great option.

  • Learn about the exposure triangle

The exposure Triangle refers to aperture, shutter speed, and ISO are part of the exposure triangle. These will determine the amount of light entering the sensor or the amount of light required by the camera.

Using the right combination of the options can prove to be effective and efficient. This will need to be practiced by trying out different options. All these factors are interrelated and work quite efficiently with one another.

  • The best Metering

The camera will always assess the entire situation and then determines the exposure so that all the regions have the middle grey tone. This is referred to as metering in the DSLR terminology. The scene is always averaged by the camera. Thus a dark scene you shoot will look brighter as compared to how you would see it. The same would be the case with a bright scene.

There are three modes in metering – Average, Center-weighted, and Spot metering. The center weighted metering totals up 80 percent of the screen ignoring the corners. The spot metering uses a small part of the screen.

  • Learn more about focusing

The focusing would be one of the prime factors you need to focus on. Well, sorry for the pun there, but that remains a fact. The Autofocus Mode can be one of the excellent options, to begin with. There can either be Autofocus Single or Autofocus Continuous. The Autofocus single mode can be an excellent option for shooting people, landscapes, and buildings. The Autofocus continuous mode can be a great choice in shooting wildlife and sporting activities.

Focusing would be dependent on the focus points. The DSLRs today come with more than 50 focus points. While you can pick the focus point as per your preference, you can even leave it at the Autofocus mode if you are still learning.

  • Understand the file sizes and types

The file size can have a bearing on the quality. The large, fine, and super are a few simple terms used for the largest file sizes. These sizes would consume most of the megapixels you may have. You may also have an option to choose between RAW and JPG files. A RAW file is completely uncompressed and can have a huge size. A JPG file, on the other hand, is a compressed file and is processed by the camera.

When you have just begun using the DSLR, it is recommended to use the JPG format. As you get yourself acquainted with the techniques, you can explore the RAW format. Post processing the RAW files can become a little complicated.

  • Learn white balance

Setting up white balance can be your best option before beginning shooting your movies and images. White balance is one of the best options to configure the color tone of the final video or image.

Different light sources of different light emit radiations of different wavelengths. They have their own color temperature. Setting up the white balance can prove to be an effective option to ensure a very great experience in shooting the best images.

Well, these were a few parameters that you need to master. Any tutorial worth it’s salt will not be able to help you learn these techniques in one go. You need to keep practicing until you are able to understand the basics of each of these elements.

We assume we have made you understand the individual elements of how to deal with the DSLR and its settings if you have started off just now!