The thing to remember when you look through the viewfinder of a DSLR is that what you see is what you get, well normally around 95% actually. You usually get a little extra when you see the image on a computer screen which is not such a bad thing. It is easy to crop part of an image away but impossible to add detail that you missed when shooting.
Of all the numbers and flashing lights inside a viewfinder, the main one you need to concentrate on is the focussing points…focussing is critical for most types of photography.
A good DSLR will have 4, 5, 9 or more focussing points (up to 45 in a pro DSLR) around the display, how and when you use those we will cover next and in more detail in the next module (advanced). For now, all you need to look out for is the led to light up to display focus has been achieved which is normally accompanied by an audible beep.
Other information in the viewfinder is:
- Shutter Speed – This is good to see whilst you are shooting so that you know you are not shooting with too low a shutter speed, which can cause camera shake and blurry images
- Aperture Value – This determines how wide the aperture on the lens is. Good to know so that you can be aware of and/or control the depth of field (how much is in focus).
- Light Meter – Indicates whether your shot will be underexposed, over exposed or correctly exposed. It can be in the form of a small row of lines, i.e.:
-2 = 2 stops underexposed
-1 = 1 stop underexposed
0 = correct exposure
+1 = 1 stop overexposed and
+2 = 2 stops overexposed (we will cover stop values later).