Canon’s “Outside of Auto” online DSLR simulator shows how to get the most out of manual mode
posted Thursday, April 11, 2013 at 1:54 PM EDT
For someone who has just purchased a digital SLR, the whole prospect of shooting on Manual mode can be intimidating and leads to many newbie photographers never taking their cameras off Auto. But Canon has released an online tool, which simulates the various settings on an SLR, and clearly shows how they effect the resulting image. Outside of Auto is an online simulated SLR, which lets you play around with the aperture, ISO, and shutter speed in full Manual, Tv, or Av modes, and then snap a photo to see what the image will look like.
The tool starts with a "learning" section, which explains aperture, shutter speed, ISO, and how to read an exposure meter. And from there, you can read more into how to shoot well, or jump directly to "play," where the camera is simulated. You're presented with a scene where you can experiment with the interplay of those three settings, and then snap a photo. When you do so, you're presented with the final image, as well as notes on which of your settings resulted in the image being over exposed, too blurry, or overly noisy.
While Outside of Auto doesn't have quite as many settings to play with as sites like CameraSim, it does get major points for not using simulated images. The scene was shot with every possible combination of settings using a Canon Rebel T4i with a Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM Lens. So rather than mocking up the noise levels or motion blur that you will see, it's the actual image at those settings (though substantially reduced in size, which hides a myriad of flaws).
Strangely, you can only set the ISO when in Manual mode, with Tv and Av limiting you to just the titular setting. Once you feel like you have a good grasp of how the settings work, you can even trial your skills by matching Canon's "challenges." And if you complete all the challenges, you'll even net yourself a 5% coupon (though given that this is from a .ca domain, I assume that's for Canadian purchases)
So if you have a friend or relative struggling with their SLR, this site might be an excellent resource to direct them to.