Tuesday, January 30, 2007
Your Guide To Camera Modes
Get better images more easily with your digital camera’s pre-programmed settings
Labels: Learning Center
Program. This all-purpose, mostly automatic exposure mode can be used for general photography. In this mode, the camera selects a median shutter speed and aperture based on the meter reading. Usually some fine-tuning of features like flash and white balance is possible. You can manually shift your aperture or shutter-speed setting in this mode after locking exposure (or while holding down the shutter release halfway on some models).
Most Program modes try to give some blend of shutter speed and aperture setting that will allow for handholding and be fast enough to freeze action, and still provide satisfactory depth of field. However, not all manufacturers design their Program modes in the same way. Learn how you camera's Program mode responds. As you become more experienced, you'll be better at guessing the combination of shutter speed and aperture that will produce the results you want. You then can set the Program mode more accurately using the program shift feature to favor a faster shutter speed or slower aperture as you may prefer.
Auto. Of all the modes on your digital camera, this one probably requires no introduction. If you just want to point and shoot, or hand the camera off to someone else and need a foolproof setting, this is it. When set to Auto, the camera does everything and locks out any adjustments to the exposure. Features like exposure compensation, white balance selection and ISO usually will be disabled. Note that if you find you're unable to make these adjustments when photographing, make sure your camera is not set to Auto.
Landscape. In Landscape mode, your camera will select the smallest aperture possible under the conditions to maximize depth of field in the image. Some cameras also will apply effects such as sharpening and color saturation when set to this mode.
While Landscape mode will attempt to deliver sharpness from the foreground to the background, this isn't always possible, and depends on the light and the capabilities of your lens and camera. For this reason, it's best to set focus on the most important areas that need to be sharp.
Portrait. Flattering portraits emphasize the subject by de-emphasizing the background. When you choose Portrait mode, the camera will select a wide aperture setting, minimizing your depth of field for a soft background effect, and also may adjust your zoom. The flash will usually switch to red-eye reduction when shooting in Portrait mode. More advanced cameras might even alter the in-camera processing of the image to accentuate skin tones.
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