What are the best camera settings?

To me the best camera settings are those I can leave alone once they are set! Too bad it don’t work that way, huh!?

So, instead I found the simplest system, which makes sense to me. At the same time that system offers the least messing around with the camera when I am trying to get that split second shot.

There are three interdependent variables in digital photography.

1) Shutter Speed

2) Aperture

3) Film Speed

Throughout the pages of this site I talk about how these three interrelate. For now just remember each will affect the other two. When you understand and find the correct balance you will leave the world of snapshots behind and enter the world of photographs.

The buttons on a camera can be intimidating.

You just got a new camera and you are so familiar with your old one that you regret getting another. Not to fret. While it takes a little time and effort to familiarize yourself with the new layout, you undoubtedly will be happy with your decision in the long run.

For zero adjustments, read on. If you want to learn my simple method that covers nearly every shooting situation one will encounter click here.

If you demand zero adjustments EVER,

set your camera to Aperture Priority; set the aperture to f8 and set your film speed to about 600 ISO. Also, find burst mode and turn it on. Because you're in aperture priority the camera will set your shutter speed automatically.

Now it’s just a matter of flash or no flash. With or without flash, the best time of a sunny day to shoot is when the sun is not straight overhead. With the sun lower in the sky [not so low that there is no light] your subjects look more 3 dimensional and it makes for more interesting shadows.

On the other hand, if you don't want to use flash, whenever you go indoors, set your ISO to 1600 and your aperture to about f-5. That will allow you to go “flash-less” in most indoor settings.

I realize this is not, "no adjustments, ever" but it is the best for avoiding the harsh flash. You see, you have three choices for the best camera settings for indoor shooting.

Tell me Carol, what are our choices??

Behind door number 1, we have the built in flash and the harshness that comes with it


Door number 2 holds a change of settings for indoors.

And, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, behind door number 3 is a professional lighting setup accompanied by - - - - bunches of money, equipment and training that all go with it!

Once you get to know me you will know I chose the lighting. I went through the effort of learning lighting because, to me, it is worth it.

All that to say you can still use the single, coverall, best camera settings. You just can't have the best of both worlds. It is not possible. You have to deal with the harsh lighting of direct flash or change settings for indoors. Now you can make an informed choice.

With experience I have found these to be the best camera settings for the greatest coverage with no adjustments necessary. These settings will slightly limit the pictures you can shoot but you will get a great cross section of shots while never having to touch your settings.

If you are less than proficient with electronics simply find someone who can set your best camera settings for you and give him your users’ manual and these instructions. You can even go to the store where you bought the camera and have them set it up.

The only problem with the store is everyone in every store knows a better way. They will invariably convince you of another method and it will get confusing for you.

The first method (above) is the simplest I have found. The second is the way I do it and the way I find works best to get the greatest variety of types of shots with the fewest adjustments.

You will be able to shoot moving subjects like children, sports and wild life. You will also be able to shoot stills like flowers, architecture and landscapes. And you will get good results.

At 4”X6” prints and on a digital screen, like a digital photo frame, your pictures will look great. Well, that ends that, huh!? One final note on this subject. I find that “Program Mode” does not work as well as “Aperture Priority” for blanket coverage.

That is all the information you need on this page unless you want to broaden your horizon to include the last 10%, or so, of pictures you will miss by always leaving your camera on the above settings. If you want those pictures read on.

In order to achieve the best quality for each individual picture I shoot, I choose to use certain settings. Then I adjust my film speed to make things work. You heard me, I change my film speed. Well who ever heard of such nonsense!?

Follow me and try it for a while. See if you don’t agree. These settings offer what I spoke of earlier. The least changes while shooting, yet coverage of all conditions without needing a tripod.

"Best Camera Settings" is 4 pages.

Continue here.