This is a whole series of free modules about the most basic concepts in photography. It is designed for those who are just starting out in 'real' photography and have never used much more than a point-and shoot.

Basics was written because there is very little available on the web that answers beginners' questions, and we hope this will.


Of course there is nothing to stop the veriest beginner reading any of the more 'advanced' modules as well, or even subscribing to Photo School Extras -- but we'd recommend that you don't get too carried away, at least at first. If you hit something you don't understand, come back to Basics or take a look at the Glossary. There are also some modules in the How do I...? strand that you may find useful, especially How do I use a 35mm camera? and Zone Focusing. Then there are other free Photo School modules such as Welcome to Film and Black and White.

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1  The Camera

A basic introduction to what cameras are and how they work, demystifying the 'black box'. Covers all kinds of cameras from single-use to single-lens reflexes.


2  Lenses

The meanings of the basic terms, focal length' and 'aperture', plus an explanation of why some lenses are more complicated, expensive, big and heavy than others. Also some background information on lens design.

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3  The Box Brownie Leica

How to use a complicated camera as if it were a single-use camera -- or even a Box Brownie. Designed for beginners who want to get a few pictures with a fully manual 35mm camera. Not just Leicas: it applies to any camera where you can set shutter speed, aperture and focus, including the Samoca illustrated.


4  Focus and Depth of Field

How to use the lenses of manual-focus cameras, setting both focus and aperture.


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5  Shutters and shutter speeds

How shutters work, and how to choose shutter speeds, with unexpectedly numerous illustrations of shutter speed dials.


6  Exposure Guide

What do you do if you don't have a meter and want to try a new, old camera? Use this...

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Go to How Do I...?

Go to the unillustrated list of modules (in either alphabetical or date order)

or go to the illustrated list of modules

or go to the home page


© 2007 Roger W. Hicks