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Jeff Jones
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About Digital Cameras

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Notes on digital cameras




About Digital Cameras

Jeff Jones
Miyamura High School
Gallop, N.M.

Title: About Digital Cameras

Overview and Rationale

  • Introduce the main aspects of digital cameras and how they work so students can begin making photographs for the newspaper.
  • Discuss the standard settings on a SLR camera.
  • Recognize why exposure is important.
  • Learn to read Histograms to show exposure information.
Overview and Timeline (55-minute class period)
    Activity

  • Display several digital camera models to students grouped in teams of three or four.
  • Ask what a digital SLR camera is and how the CCD (chip) inside a digital camera works.
  • Demonstrate the movement of the mirror inside the camera body.
  • Show segment of Nikon School instructional video
  • Have students take notes from the lecture (See attached notes.) identifying the key points and defining main terms. Continue looking at the cameras to see where the controls are as each is discussed.
  • Identify four main settings on a camera.
  • What is exposure and what control it?  How does the camera “know” what the exposure should be.
  • Digital cameras use Histograms to show exposure information.  Using the links below analyze what is is and how you read it.

    http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tutorials/understanding-series/understanding-histograms.shtml
               -or –
    http://tinyurl.com/mjo9j4
  • Students should draw histograms for good, under and over-exposed images; based on the examples displayed on these Web sites.
  Assessment
  • Frequently prompt for questions and check for understanding.  Move between small groups and ask students in each group to show me the various controls on the cameras. 
  • Do students clearly understand the exposure of a photograph? 
  • Do they know why having different ways of changing the exposure change the affect of the image?
  • Check student notes to see they have copied histogram representation.
Enrichment

Additional explanation for students includes showing free, short instructional videos from X-Train photography on-line courses (http://training.xtrain.com/free-classes) and Nikon School (http://www.nikonusa.com/Learn-And-Explore/Nikon-School/index.page).

Materials 
    LCD projector; digital cameras and lenses; sample photographs for showing what digital “noise” is; Nikon School video tape. Internet access to show examples of histograms from the sites listed.  Handout of basic camera exposure controls.




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