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Have you ever wondered how to manipulate
how much light enters the lens of your photo or video camera? By the time this
video was done, I’ll have taught you how and why to do it. This is the fourth
video in a series of seven total on basic camera functions that I’ve done.
I’ll link to those into many other videos on improving your videography and
photography skills in the comments section below and both during and at the
end of this video as well so stay tuned. If you want to learn more remember to
subscribe to my channel and hit that bell to be notified when I upload new
videos. I upload every week on Wednesday. By the end of this video you’ll have a
thorough understanding of your camera’s iris and how it affects your images. Hi
I’m Jim Costa. I’m a videography photography and technology guru & I
created this blog to help you to become a #techsavvysenior. My tips and advice are
useful to anyone but my specific focus is in helping senior citizens to become
more familiar with technology to improve and better their lives. If you have a camera
question leave a comment below. I do read all the comments that people leave and
yes I do personally respond to each and every one of them as well. The iris is an
adjustable opening known as the aperture or the opening inside the lens which
controls the amount of light coming through the lens to the film or image
sensor. Light inside the lens is controlled by the diaphragm. Essentially
the diaphragm is a set of metal plates or leaves that open and close to make a
larger or smaller hole. The diaphragm is mounted in between the glass elements of
a lens. When it’s open all the way the lens admits as much light as possible.
When it’s a tiny hole, obviously it doesn’t emit as much light. The diaphragm
openings or apertures are called f-numbers or f-stops.
They’re assigned numbers according to the diameter of the diaphragm opening expressed as a ratio of the focal length of the lens. The amount of light
coming through the lens is called the exposure. The video camera iris works in
basically the same way as a still camera iris. As you open the iris more light
comes in and the picture appears brighter. The difference is that with
video cameras the picture in the viewfinder changes brightness as the
iris is adjusted. Professional cameras have an iris ring on the lens housing
which you turn clockwise to close and counter-clockwise to open. Consumer
level cameras usually use either a dial or a set of buttons, something maybe
even in the menu. You will probably need to select manual iris from the menu in
order to control this, so see the manual for your specific camera for details. Now
how do you achieve the correct exposure? Here’s the most basic but informative
definition like an offer of exposure and why you want to correct it. It’s how
bright or how dark your image is. If a photo or video is too bright it’s
considered overexposed. Too dark and it’s considered underexposed. The Goldilocks
approved version of almost any picture is what’s known as proper exposure, you
know the one that’s just right. It’s neither too dark nor too light.
All other bits aside, when people talk about getting a properly exposed image
or tweaking the camera settings to get a good exposure, all it really means is
getting an image that’s not too bright or too dark. It’s up to you as an artist
to know not only how to get an image that’s properly exposed but how to adjust your camera settings to get the exposure that you want. Before using your
manual iris to achieve the exposure that you do want, you need to know what the
correct exposure looks like in the viewfinder. Now note, if your camera has
the option to adjust the viewfinder settings, you’ll want to do that first
then adjust the camera settings. A good start is to set your camera on an
auto iris and frame the shot with a nice even light.
Notice how bright the pictures is. Then set the iris to manual. Most cameras will retain
the same exposure as set by the auto iris feature, which you can adjust from
there as you go. Open and close the iris,then try to set the exposure where
it was before. Always say your iris so that the subject appears correctly
exposed. This may mean that other parts of the image may be too bright or too
dark, but the subject is the most important thing so it needs to be
exposed properly. Professional video cameras have an additional feature
called zebra stripes that appear in the viewfinder which can help you to judge
your exposure. Practice is the only way to get the exposure right. Record a
number of shots and different lighting conditions and then play them back to
see how good your exposure was. Remember, if you’re not sure about your exposure,
try flicking the iris to auto and see what the camera thinks, then go back to
manual control and this should give you an idea where you should be. In time,
you’ll come to trust your own instincts more than the camera itself. So, if this
is all making sense to you put #techsavvysenior in the comments
section below. Before I wrap up I just want to give you a word of warning and
that is to watch out for backlighting. A common difficulty with exposure is what
to do in uneven lighting situations. The strong backlight scenario is a headache.
This is where your subject is set against a much brighter background, say,
they’re sitting inside but in front of an open window and as such they look too
dark or in silhouette or the window is too bright.
Assuming that you can’t change your framing or add more lighting to the
subject, the only option is to open the iris up until the subject is exposed
correctly. This will mean that the background, the window, is too bright but
it’s better than the subject being too dark. Remember, the rule of thumb for iris
control is, set your exposure for the subject & worry about the rest later.
Everything else is secondary. My question of the day is, “When did you have
trouble shooting photos and videos because of exposure issues?” Go ahead and
leave a comment below and let us know. Do you want to see more videos like this?
Follow my youtube channel: JimCostaFilms for more. Think what you saw
always great? Go ahead like it. Do you have an opinion? Comment below. Do you know
someone who could benefit from the information I provided? Then share the
video. Do you want to learn even more? If so then connect with Jim Costa
films on social media and online on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube & on
the web. I currently have over 4200 videos on my YouTube channel: Jim Costa
Films, so feel free to check out many of my other videos for great tips and
suggestions. Now, I also have a new Facebook group, as well, called Video
Producers and Content Creators so look for that on Facebook to connect there,
join the group and get even more pro tips and tricks. you

7 thoughts on “Understanding Your DSLR & Video Camera Iris | Improve Backlighting | Camera Iris Settings

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  2. Jim, thank you so much for this uncomplicated explanation! Aperature and fstop always seem so hard to understand but you've totally clarified it! Thank you!!

  3. Great thing you point it out the exposure how bright or dark your image is. Overexposed & Underexposed. thank you for sharing

  4. Thanks for such a clear explanation of aperture settings…making a note of "adjust viewfinder settings first then adjust camera settings" Does auto iris mean setting the camera on automatic? Recently I used my M50 for shooting video footage and photos while on a 4 week vacation to NZ and decided to use the automatic settings because it took too much time to get exposure right with manual. How do you get the good video footage when shooting in direct sunlight (and no shade is available)?

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