Let's start at the very beginning

I'm someone who likes to know, why the grass is green, why the sky is blue, and why the moon sometimes looks yellow.  When I got my first camera I HAD to know what all the cryptic numbers and letters meant on my camera and I felt sheepish that I didn't know it before hand.  When my husband was looking into buying a motorcycle I wanted to be a part of it too.  I researched what the cryptic letters meant, so when he pulled up a motorcycle listing that had an "R" as part of the description I was so happy I knew that "R" meant Retro when he had no clue.  I like to be able to walk the walk AND talk the talk.  So here's a little info just in case you didn't know.

EOS - Electro-Optical System.  Because the communication between your camera and lens is all electric with nothing mechanical in between.  AND its also a reference to the Greek Goddess of the dawn.  Either pronounced ee-oss like the goddess or ee-oh-ess.

SLR - Single Lens Reflex.  Pretty much it means when you look through your view finder you are looking down through your single lens and you see exactly what you're going to shoot.  Unlike a point and shoot where you look through a viewfinder which it displays what your camera sees.  When you add the D to DSLR the D just means Digital.

ISO - International Organization for Standardization - Taken from the greek word, "Isos" meaning: equal.  So before the digital world, ISO came on your film.  I first learned about ISO when I shot my family pictures years ago.  I didn't understand why my 8x10 was so grainy.  My film's ISO was 900.  Great for lowlight, indoors, sports.  But like our cameras today the higher the ISO the grainer my photo was.  With film, ISO was an indicator of light on the actual film with light sensitive crystals that either reacted and developed or didn't.  People would say that a certain film was "fast" meaning they had bigger crystals and reacted faster also resulting in graininess.  I should've gotten 200 ISO film.  "Slower" but less grainy.  Well back to the digital world somehow some pretty smart people were able to adapt the concept of ISO to the sensor in our camera.

D, like Nikon D700 - Means Digital but for Canon it's just another camera in the line up

AV or A - Aperture Priority.  This setting is semi automatic and when on this setting, you the photographer, chooses the aperture and ISO and the camera chooses the shutter speed for you.

TV or S - Shutter Priority.  This also is semi automatic.  You the photographer chooses the Shutter Speed and ISO and the camera chooses the aperture for you.

P - Program Mode.  In this setting your camera is thinking even more for you than in the others.  You set the ISO and your camera chooses your Aperture and your Shutter Speed.

Green Box - Auto.  The camera does all the thinking for you.  Fully Automatic.

B or start in Manual and dial down your shutter speed past 30 sec. and you should reach it - Bulb.  This is a fun setting to play with.  You, the photographer chooses the ISO and Aperture and you also choose how long the shutter stays open by how long you hold the button down.  This setting is best when your camera is on a tripod or else you'll get bad camera shake.

M - Manual.  You choose all your settings and you think for your camera.

This is just a little review on some of the many functions on our SLR's.  ;)  There will be more posts like this in the future and more in depth ones of the different settings like AV, Tv, etc.  If you have any questions about something with your camera I'd love to see if I can help!  I know this wasn't the most exciting post but we all have to start somewhere and the beginning is a very good place to start!


  1. I must be a nerd because I found this be a very exciting post! I guess I like to know the facts behind how stuff works too.

    I haven't made it back through all the posts to this blog, so you might have already posted about this, but I would like to understand more of the full photography lingual, such as "stops" and how to use it correctly in describing how I changed my camera settings. Like when photographers say "I stopped down." I always feel a little confused especially when talking about Aperature. That's a hard one for my mind to hold onto because the bigger the aperature, the smaller the number. It seems backwards to me. So is it a stop up or stop down if I'm making the aperature wider..that confuses me.

    I understand the mechanics behind what I need to do to achieve a shallow depth of field if that's what I desire but to talk the talk about how I did it, I'm missing the 101's of that.

  2. And "light distortion"...what does that mean?

  3. Thanks for the clarification on some of those acronyms!

  4. Thanks Learnt something there :D Love reading and learning VERY slowly about my camera!

  5. Thanks for the refresher. Made muuuuch more sense than my manual.

  6. I KNOW!! Seriously.., I know what they say ... READ THE MANUAL. I TRY TO READ THE FLIPPING MANUEL, I think maybe mine is in Portuguese though or perhaps it's been tainted with a rare sleeping powder - either way I never seem to make and sense out of it.

  7. Thanks. I liked this post too. "Bulb" has been such a mystery to me. I'll have to mess around with that one:)

  8. Thanks for this post Leah! I'm glad i'm not the only one who likes to know the details, because whats the point of having a DSLR if you don't use it's awesome features!?! I know you spend a lot of time researching but i have also found that this place has a fantastic beginner course for DSLR Photography:

    Keep up the awesome work!!!!!