Why Didn’t I Think of That?

My photography homework today is simple: find and read my camera’s manual.  How is it that I haven’t done this yet?  I spent $250 on a camera and then proceeded to use it on it’s automatic setting for two years.  Because I hadn’t read the manual.  I already learned a few tips and tricks – even if I stopped following along with the “31 Days to a Better Photo” course, I’d be a better photographer.  But am I stopping there?  Oh no.  I’ve got too much cuteness to document!

Day Two: Find Your Camera Manual

After reading through my camera manual, I’m ready to answer the five questions set out for today’s assignment.  (I’m using a Sony Cybershot DSC-H20, in case you’re interested.)  The manual was very basic – it explained how to locate features and navigate the camera – but it didn’t do a great job of explaining just what those features are.  To go more in depth, I’ll have to find the Handbook CD Rom that came with the camera.  A job for another day!

How do you change the mode of the camera – auto / program, aperture priority, shutter priority?
Hmmm… interesting question.  I’m not even exactly sure what the question is asking, but I’ll give it my best shot.  On the top of the camera, there’s a wheel called the mode dial (on the bottom right of the picture below).  It has several choices:

  • Scene Selection (SCN) – choose from a variety of camera presets, such as fireworks, advanced sports shooting, and beach
  • Easy (EASY) – limits features and makes text larger (perhaps you’d want to do this if you were letting a grandparent or child use the camera)
  • Intelligent Auto Adjust (letter i followed by a camera icon) – automatically recognizes a scene to be twilight, landscape, portrait, etc.
  • Program Auto (P) – sets shutter speed and aperture automatically, but allows access to various settings from the menut
  • Manual Exposure Shooting (M) – allows you to manually set shutter speed and aperture value
  • Movie Mode (film strip icon) – record video

What do the icons on your camera mean? The flower, the running man, a face, mountains, stars, etc. What does each symbol represent?

  • ISO – High sensitivity.  Takes images without a flash in low lighting without blurring.
  • Two people – Soft snap.  Focuses on the foreground and blurs the background.
  • Running man – Advanced sports shooting.  Anticipates the movement of the subject and shifts focus there.
  • Icon of mountains – Landscape.  Focuses on a distant subject.
  • Icon of person with moon – Twilight portrait.  Shoots portraits in low light with flash.
  • Moon – Twilight.  Shoots a low light scene.
  • Fork and knife – Gourmet.  Takes a natural shot of food.
  • Palm tree – Beach.  Makes water photos bluer.
  • Snowman – Snow.  Makes a snow scene brighter.
  • Fireworks – fireworks.  Captures photos of fireworks.

Which wheel controls shutter speed?  Which wheel controls aperture?
In Manual mode, the left and right buttons control aperture value, while up and down control shutter speed.

How do you find the white balance menu and change it?
In shooting mode, hit menu and press the down button until you get to the white balance menu.  The white balance is set to WBAuto, but you can change it to daylight (sun), cloudy (cloud), fluorescent light 1, 2, or 3 (rectangle with lines coming out of it), incandescent (lightbulb), flash (lightning bolt), one push (two triangles below a square), or one push set (two triangles, a square, and the word SET).

How do you change ISO?
In shooting mode, hit menu and press the down button until you get to the ISO menu.  You can choose auto or a number from ISO 80 to ISO 3200.

Now I know how to find all of these features… maybe tomorrow I’ll find out what some of them do!


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