A DSLR basic tutorial is needed for those who are only getting their first camera where they will learn things like DSLR basic controls for crisp, clear shots.
So, after saving up for many years, you finally bought your first DSLR camera. The question now is how you are going to be able to use it to its fullest potential. This DSLR basic tutorial should help.
To be clear, a DSLR is not comparable to a digital camera or a smartphone camera.
It comes with features that basically make it possible to take photos that you would not be able to even with the latest mobile devices. The tradeoff is that it is quite a bit more complex.
Even mastering the DSLR basic controls can be tricky if you don’t know what you are doing. To that end, let’s take a look at what you need to know about your first DSLR camera.
What is a DSLR Camera?
DSLR stands for Digital Single-Lens Reflex. It basically means that it is a camera with a prism system and an internal mirror. Those are what separates a DSLR from other cameras.
In digital cameras, you only get a lense and a digital sensor to capture the image via light information directly.
On the other hand, a DSLR has these mirrors and prism systems to bounce that light information off of and then send that through the viewfinder.
Normally, the mirror would be sitting at a 45-degree angle. However, whenever you push the button, that mirror will flip. When that happens, it is no longer reflecting the light, which then causes your view through the viewfinder to darken momentarily.
This is the main difference between a regular digital camera and a DSLR, though, there can be a lot more. Naturally, the features and basic controls can be more advanced, as well.
DSLR Basic Controls
Even your most basic DSLR camera is going to have a lot of buttons, dials, and features to familiarize yourself with. At first, it can be a bit daunting.
Fortunately, you can easily get used to all of them through this DSLR basic tutorial.
Auto Mode – Firstly, your DSLR will likely already be equipped with Auto Mode for your shooting setting, which should take care of about 80% of your shooting needs. This means that anything but the most complex or sensitive of shots will be covered by this one mode.
Feel free to tinker around with the rest of the modes at your leisure until you get more used to them using the Mode Dial, which should be on or around the shutter button. For now, you can just stick with Auto Mode.
Control Wheel – The control wheel is how you can mess around with the shutter speed and the aperture of your DSLR. It’s quite self-explanatory where you can basically control both those things by rotating the wheel as you please.
To control your shutter speed, you will want to switch the Mode Dial to Shutter Priority Mode, which should be denoted as “S” or “T” on the dial. Sometimes, it can also be represented by a “Tv.”
As for the Aperture, you can set the Mode Dial to “A” or “Av.” This is the mode you want if you prefer the half-auto mode where you can control things like ISO and exposure compensation.
ISO Button – ISO is basically the DSLR’s feature that is responsible for light sensitivity. This means that if you dial it up, your camera will get more light, as a result.
It should be noted that if you dial this up too high, though, the photo will increase in graininess. It is useful at night but can be disastrous during the day.
Focus – The way to control the focus of your DSLR is through the Focus Mode button and the Focus Ring on your camera’s attachment. The Focus Mode basically allows you to dictate how sharp your shots will look automatically. Meanwhile, the focus ring gives you manual control.
How to Use Your DSLR Camera
The first step to learning how to use your DSLR camera is by knowing how to hold it and the first thing you should always remember is to use both hands.
DSLR cameras tend to be quite heavy, so don’t even think about trying to use it with only one hand.
As for the hand placement, let’s assume that you are right-handed. If you are, the shutter button is likely going to be on the right-hand side. If so, you will want to place your left hand under the camera and lens, while your right is through the grip, with the fingers on the side.
This ensures maximum stability.
The next point of concern when using your DSLR camera is keeping the horizon in your shots level. This may take some practice, but it basically gives your photos more clarity and crispness. If the horizon is tilted, it basically causes the quality of the photo to degrade.
From there, we have the exposure triangle, which refers to the three settings that you can mess with to influence how the image is going to come out. These are the ISO, the aperture, and the shutter speed.
By fiddling with those settings, you can manipulate your DSLR camera to produce incredible shots. You will need to familiarize yourself a bit with this through experimentation, but it’s worth it.
Finally, you need to understand the composition and depth of field. In the case of the former, you need to take into consideration such things as color, lines, and framing. In the latter, the goal is to place the attention on your main subject and blurring the background.
How to Care for Your DSLR Camera
Your DSLR camera is a tough piece of equipment but it is also a sensitive piece of machinery and electronics. As such, it can be susceptible to getting damaged.
This is why you will want to buy a few necessary accessories such as a sun hood and a UV filter. These will be most responsible for the usual hits and bangs your camera will suffer.
You will also want to purchase protective items that will shield your camera from rain, mud, dust, and other pollutants. Of course, even with the best of preparations, you can’t completely avoid getting your DSLR camera dirty.
As such, you will also need to know how to clean it. For that, an air-blower and several pieces of microfiber cleaning cloths will be necessary.
You can find some good quality cleaning kits that can include brushes, bottles of solutions, and more. You can also check out some video tutorials regarding superficial DSLR maintenance.
One thing to remember is to never clean the internal parts of your DSLR camera. You can leave that up to the experts.