DSLR Cameras: A Quick Lesson on Exposure

Cellphones today have amazing camera capabilities, but there is just something about a DSLR that a camera phone can never compete with. With a DSLR camera, you are given complete control over the exposure of your image by allowing you to adjust the aperture, shutter speed, and the ISO sensitivity. If this sounds like a whole bunch of words with no meaning, don’t worry, it is easier to understand than you think!

Here is a quick guide on exposure for newbies using a DSLR camera:


The aperture, measured in F-stops, gives you the ability to control how much light enters through your lens. It may seem a little backwards, but the higher the f-stop number, the smaller the aperture, and the less light enters your lens. The best time to take an image with a high f-stop number is if you are wanting to achieve a softer, more diffused look, or if you are taking an image with a lot of natural light (during high-noon, for example). The lower the f-stop number, the bigger the aperture, and the more light enters your lens. The best times to take an image with a low f-stop number is when you are wanting an image with very clear, sharp details, or if you are taking an image with low light (at night, for example).

Shutter Speed

The shutter speed allows you to control how much light enters your camera. The longer the shutter speed, the longer the shutter stays open allowing light to stream in. The resulting image will be blurrier then an image taken with a quick shutter speed, especially if a tri-pod is not used. A quick shutter speed allows a very small amount of light to enter through; this is recommended in bright daylight to avoid an overexposed image.


The ISO sensitivity measures how the camera sensor reacts to the light. A DSLR camera allows you the ability to shoot in conditions with much lower light by allowing you to shoot with a higher ISO, often eliminating the need to use a flash.

Now that you’ve got the knowledge, it’s time to shop! Head to gumtree.co.za or your Gumtree app (click for Apple & Android).

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