Newbie - hello and help! ;o) (A priority mode)

edited September 2012 Posted in » Nikon D3100 Forum
I am the proud owner of a D3100 and have been keen on getting into photography for ages.

Anyhow, I've had my camera for over a week and have been taking some great pictures in Aperture priority mode.

Yesterday I wanted to take some backlit pictures of my children and I was playing with metering modes and got some ok pictures. But on finishing up I noticed that when I was in aperture priority mode the aperture was static whilst turning the lens and the shutter speed was changing as I was turning.

I have been through all the menus it seems and I have done both reset options, but still when I turn the lens in A mode the shutter speed changes but the f.stop number stays the same. This is probably why I'm not getting as sharp of pictures.

Any ideas? I am a complete newbie by the way and I think I have reset all my options, but I've clearly flicked something, somewhere.

Thanks in advance,


  • edited September 2012
    Dont worry we all have to start somewhere in life. :)
    So you're in aperture priority mode, which means you control what f/stop you require. You have not clicked anything or pressed any buttons so no need to worry. When your in (A) mode You select the aperture with the thumb dial (as I call it). If you turn it you will see it goes all the way up to f/36 if your zoomed to 55mm.

    The kit lens is an 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6; let me break that down. If your lens is at the widest setting (18mm) the lowest f/stop you can achieve is 3.5; f you were at 55mm it would be f/5.6. The lowest f/stop is the widest the lens will go (more light entering).

    So when you're in aperture mode the camera decides the shutter speed to determine how much light is required for the correct exposure, and you decide what f/stop to choose.

    Let's say you zoomed out to 18mm and were at f/3.5. If you then zoomed to 55mm you would see the f/stop change to f/5.6. Let's say it was f/5.6 at 18mm the aperture would not change as f/5.6 can only be used between 18-55mm.

    The shutter speed would change because you are making the lens smaller or wider. So it needs to meter how much light is coming in in order to select the shutter speed.

    Also your metering modes play a big part in the shutter speed too!

    Just a quick note, the kit lens is not that great in low light. You need a faster lens like the 50mm or the 35mm which are great in low light conditions and perfect for portraits.

    Sorry if I've given information you may already know.

  • edited September 2012
    Hi beaner:

    I am very new to this, as a matter of fact Riddelske is was helping me earlier. :)

    I think the first step is to really understand the concepts of aperture, shutter speed and ISO. I saw very useful videos on youtube about these.

    There are also nice videos explaining aperture priority, shutter speed, and how to play with manual settings (you see theses setting are not just for Nikon Cameras lot of cameras use similar settings).

    I took a different path when I got my D3100. I just got the body and a prime lens, Nikon 35mm AF-S 1.8f. I dont know if the lens that comes with the kit will allow you to adjust the focus. I tried a Canon Rebel with a kit lens and it was zoom only. I did not like that at all.

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