Learn how to use an SLR camera – a neat simulator
I first learnt to take pictures on my Grandpa’s Ricoh XR-1s (which he then gave me, and still occasionally use). It’s totally manual, it doesn’t even have aperture or shutter priority. It was a really good way to learn about exposure. At first, all I knew was that I had to change the aperture and shutter speed until the two indicators lined up. It took me a while to learn about how to control depth of field and motion blur etc. but it was the best introduction. I even shot some bands on it:
The thing about learning on film is that you don’t know if the shot worked until you get it developed, and hopefully you can remember what you did to get the shot (I was never one for writing down settings). DSLRs have made this process a lot easier – one can see immediately the results of a given setting. However, it can be just as easy to leave the camera on automatic (or waiter mode as some like to call it – personally, I leave mine on aperture priority most of the time), especially if you don’t know how manual settings work.
That was all by way of an introduction to this neat little SLR simulator. It’s great if you’ve got an SLR but don’t understand what changing the aperture or shutter settings will do, or if you’re not aware of how things like ISO and focal length and the lighting level with impact the shot.