“*I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”
This follows on from my previous posts:
Over the next few weeks I’m going to suggest some essential features you need to consider having when you are in the market for a new camera or even mobile phone with a camera.
At the end of each feature I’ll give a rating out of 10 – 10 being must have.
At the end of the series if you haven’t had time to read them all then you can scroll to the bottom of the last in the series and get all four in a PDF.
1. Being able to turn off Flash.
Controversially I used to rarely used flash, preferring natural light.
Yet the degree of control some of these cameras allow you to have over flash means that it can be used to enhance daylight and improve the image.
So I use it more and more these days.
There are options to use flash in several different ways, Fill in, Slow, Red Eye reduction, Auto, Off or On etc.
But it’s the option to be able to turn it off especially if the camera comes with an inbuilt flash that’s really important.
Speaking of inbuilt flash. Avoid using them as much as possible.
The ideal flash should be off camera. Something I’ll discuss in a future post.
Rating: On camera flash 4/10. Turn off flash 10/10
2. Focus targeting
Another option again almost universally supplied is focus targeting.
Looking through the viewfinder and the rear screen you can bring up a rectangular or square grid of around 30 boxes that you can select to use as a focus target.
Options usually include single, selected groups or all targets.
3. Exposure Compensation
Exposure compensation is great!
The ability with just a twist of a dial to alter the exposure or brightness without having to alter the aperture or shutter speed that you’ve already set is extremely handy.
Of course it has to adjust something so it should only be used for small incremental changes.
Metering, whilst another handy option to have, is not used much.
I think that’s because it’s not understood by most camera buyers.
That too is a post for another day but suffice to say it’s a must have for the future.
5. Image Stabilisation
Many years ago I met a photographer who was taking clear and sharp images of wildlife at dusk without a tripod.
That was my first introduction to image stabilisation.
Basically it compensates for camera shake caused by slow shutter speeds and is a must have.
Initially they were only available on the lens but nowadays most cameras have it inbuilt. So now you don’t have to worry about what lens to use.
Again a must have.
Rating: On camera 10/10
6. AEL/AFL Lock
(Auto exposure Lock/Auto Focus Lock)
I use this option all the time. The ability to be able to lock your exposure and/or focus is invaluable.
How does work?
Well usually there is a button on the camera that allows you lock the exposure and or the focus and then recompose.
When would you use it?
In lots of situations Landscapes, Portraits, Products, even macro work
7. White balance
What’s white balance I hear you cry!
Well it’s on every camera these days so if you leave the setting on auto you don’t have to think about it. But (always a but) there are times when auto doesn’t get it right.
For example, tungsten or fluoro lighting tend to confuse it a bit.
That’s when you take it off auto and set it to appropriate setting like, duh, tungsten or flouro
One phrase that is somewhat misleading is the term “Image quality”. Used for having the choice of what format to use i.e. JPEG or Raw.
I’m not about to expand too much on what the difference is but if you shoot in Raw then you will need to do some post processing whilst JPEG is mostly ready to go.
That’s simplifying it but to do the argument justice I like to use the analogy of cooking a supermarket bought ready to go meal that you sling in the microwave (JPEG) against a meal that contains the raw ingredients you have bought at the local farmer’s market and prepared and cooked from scratch (Raw).
The former is what you see is what you get (unless you can’t cook and cock it up altogether). Whilst the latter is a creation that you can manipulate to give you whatever flavour and presentation you like.
Clear? Another future post maybe.
Anyway most cameras will give you the option to select either and/or both and other variations.
But the option to be able to shoot in Raw is a must, if not to use now but in the future!
Rating: Raw Option 10/10
So did you understand all that? I’m happy to clarify anything you’re not sure of.
Just post in the comments section below. Don’t be shy.
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*U2, I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For