In the last photography tutorial we talked about point and shoot cameras. My point of that tutorial was that you don't have to spend the extra $$ on a SLR to get a good picture. Taking a good picture is about knowledge and skill. I'm going to first attempt to answer one of the questions that was asked on that post. What is a DSLR? (digital single lens reflex) It has a different processing system than a point and shoot. When the shutter button is pushed there is a mirror inside that flips out of the way to reveal the sensor. With SLRs you have a faster shutter speed, the ability to change lenses, more manual settings, and a higher image quality. This is the SLR I used before buying my professional camera. We also have a canon point and shoot. (that is currently out of commission because hubby accidentally broke it)
Ok, now onto manual settings. Some P&S have manual settings and some don't. Be sure to grab your manual to see if yours does. I don't want to overwhelm you with information, so we'll talk about one thing at a time.
First lets discuss ISO. ISO is how sensitive the camera is to light. In most SLRs your ISO can range from 100-1600. In P&S it can be 100-800. When you are inside you want a higher ISO and when you are outside you want a lower ISO. But know that the higher the ISO the more "noise" you will see in your photograph. (it will appear grainier) I usually have the ISO at 800 when inside and sometimes I have to go higher if I am away from a good light source. Outside depending on if I am in shade about 400 and if I am in direct sunlight 100. The ISO also affects the shutter speed but we'll discuss that later.
The ISO is just one of the eqation. It can not produce a good picture by itself. We will later dive into shutter speed and aperture. You need all three working together to get the picture you want.