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Simple Web Tool Teaches Beginners How to Use Manual Settings on a DSLR

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Simon Roberts, a London-based animator and designer, has created a great photography resource for beginners that is both simple and useful. It’s called Photography Mapped, and it allows you to play around with and better understand the manual settings you’ll find on a DSLR.

On the Web tool’s About page, Simon explains that “a big part of my day job is using design and animation to make complex things more comprehensible.” Photography Mapped is all about applying this same approach to photography. So while this tool isn’t the only such “DSLR simulator” on the Internet—far from it—it benefits from Simon’s simple animated touch.

When you open up the simulator, you’re greeted by the scene you’ll be photographing on one side—a helicopter flying in front of a cityscape—and the image you just snapped on the right side. Below the image, you’ll find your settings as well as a slider for controlling the time of day/ambient light you’re dealing with.

That last bit is our favorite, letting you change the ambient light all the way from the ultra-dark “Half Moon Only” setting to the ultra-bright “Sun on Snow” option.

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The little touches are what set this animated simulation apart, and we have to give Simon kudos for that. Not only can you control ambient light, but changing the aperture changes the animated aperture in the middle of the screen, the shutter actually opens and closes in time, and things like Image Noise, Motion Blur, and Depth of Field are previewed in their own boxes as you change settings.

And if the interactive aspect isn’t enough for you, the site also features a detailed, zoomable Infographic that dives into some of the technical aspects of photography.

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To check out the tool for yourself, dive into the infographic, or send Photography Mapped to a photography novice near you, click here.

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