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Steps/Stops

by SX10 IS / January 28, 2010 1:44 AM PST

Can someone explain to me the meaning of step and stop? All this photographic jargon drives me wonky...

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Here's a pretty good explaination.
by Charles_Bronson / January 28, 2010 4:54 AM PST
In reply to: Steps/Stops
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I dunno - I heard the term somewhere.
by SX10 IS / January 28, 2010 4:56 AM PST

<i>Step</i> could've been a misprint.

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Hmm
by Charles_Bronson / January 28, 2010 5:07 AM PST

Possibly exposure value steps (EV). Some cameras exposure compensation can be changed to 1/2 or 1/3 EV steps.

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What're those?
by SX10 IS / February 2, 2010 10:39 AM PST
In reply to: Hmm

OK, ya got me. What are EV steps?

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Practical f stops
by hjfok / February 2, 2010 10:22 AM PST
In reply to: Steps/Stops

The above link gives a very good definition of f stops. In practice, this helps you to decide how to get the right exposure. As you can see in the link, there is a close relationship between f stop, shutter speed and ISO.
As mentioned above, step is used in EV (exposure value) terminology. Each increment of 1 EV equals to a change of one step, which for practical purposes is equivalent to one stop.

For example, when you photograph a bride in white gown using Aperture Priority, you know that your camera's metering is going to underexpose the photo (due to reflective metering) even when you use the max aperture f/1.2 for the bokeh effect. So you will need to increase the exposure compensation, which is the EV in the camera, say by 1 step so that you won't be underexposed. This will essentially maintain you aperture and increase the brightness of the photo, but will slow down your shutter speed. EV is essentially a logrithmic function of the aperture and exposure time (ie. shutter speed).
Flash also has a flash compensation, and you can adjust in +/- EV. Or you can manually control the flash power. For fill flash, I often dial down the flash to avoid a washout look.
F stops also help a lot in designing your lighting in studio portraits. I often meter the mainlight to f/11 and you can adjust the fill light or hair light to f/8 or other f stop depending on the effect you want.

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