Many have invested significant money (400-900 euros) in a good SLR camera which they are giving a fully automatic use, as if it were a compact digital camera. This happens because at the beginning we want to buy a good camera and we opt for a SLR, but once we have it in our hands it gives us a little respect, both button, many acronyms and so much technical terminology. So we decided to use it automatically the first few days with the intention of later starting to give it a more experienced manual use, but many never see that moment. They accommodate to take photos in automatic mode and period.

If you feel identified with the previous paragraph, continue reading the rest of the article. Today we are going to get rid of that fear of our SLR camera. You will see how easy it is to use it in manual or semi-manual mode once we have understood its operation. I will try to make this article as technical as possible, since my intention is to simplify it so that we can all give our SLR camera the use it deserves.


If you are starting on this of SLR photography it is important that the camera is a range made especially for beginners. Not for that reason the photos will be of lower quality , you would miss the great power they have. On the contrary, precisely the one made for beginners facilitates the task. You can take a look at this link where I recommend some of the SLR cameras for cheaper beginners .


The first step in losing your fear of a reflex camera is to know what it is made of. Unlike digital compact cameras, SLRs basically have two parts: body and lens. The body is the camera itself, with all its components except the lens or lens that is separated and is interchangeable.

There is an unlimited variety of lens types for SLR cameras. If at the time of buying your SLR camera it has come with a lens already included, it will surely be 18-55mm. There are more varieties but the most expanded is that.
I invite you to visit the following link if you want to learn more about SLR camera lenses , it will dispel any doubt you have about the objectives.


Modes / Dial of a SLR Camera

Just turn on our camera and to take a picture we need to select a mode. Generally, SLR cameras are equipped with a dial (like the one shown in the image) that allows you to select the mode you want to use. Most SLR cameras, if not all, offer the following modes:

  • 1- Automatic mode: To aim with the camera and shoot, without major complications.
  • 2- Predefined modes: These are modes programmed especially for specific occasions, for example for portraits, landscapes, sports, etc. They are usually represented with a mountain symbol for landscape, sports corridor, person for portrait, etc. These modes are more appropriate each for your situation and give better results than the generic automatic mode.
  • 3- Manual and semi-manual modes: These are the modes that allow us absolute control over the camera. With automatic (1) and predefined (2) modes we can only take normal photos, generally good but nothing impressive. If we want to go a little further and get an excellent, impressive, original and outstanding photo we would need to take control of our camera and tame it to be able to drive it as we please.

The difference between automatic and manual modes is like leaving a plane running with the autopilot or piloting it manually.

To use the manual and semi-automatic / semi-manual modes of the camera, it is necessary to first understand some very simple basic concepts that make a huge difference when taking a photo.

In the next articles I will explain these basic concepts (very simple I insist) and then we will explain the semi-manual modes and how to control them. I will also give you some very easy tricks to apply with which you will always obtain outstanding photographs that will impress your friends.

Update: We have already published the following chapter of this series of basic initiation in the use of SLR cameras, this time: on manual and semi-manual modes . Check it out.