Today’s DLSR cameras are so complex and have so many different functions that it’s easy to become overwhelmed and never delve into the creative potential of your investment. DSLRs make very poor Point & Shoot cameras. You need to think about how to configure it for each situation and locale. This takes time and some familiarity with your equipment. I find that my experience is so much better when I have time to set things up properly before the pressure starts. Some of the camera functions are easy to find and set, some are more complicated, and some are downright mysterious. I’ve been thinking about the different basic camera functions and my familiarity (or lack thereof) with them. I have started to run through a short checklist each time I turn the camera on. I always check – ISO, Focus mode, Metering mode and Exposure Mode. These are becoming second nature to me, but there are a lot more that still cause me to scratch my head.

I decided to put together a list of basic functions that I can go through and begin to commit the procedures to memory in the hope that I might be able to quickly recall them if needed.

Basic Camera Functions:

Exposure modes (especially AP, SP, P, and Manual)
Auto-Focus Point selection
Metering mode (spot, average, others)
Burst Drive modes
Burst Focus modes
White Balance modes (and bracketing)
Exposure Compensation (and bracketing)
ISO Adjustment
Manual Focus and Stabilization
TTL Flash modes
Self Timer
Mirror Lockup
DOF Preview
Bulb Exposure
Saved Image Quality
Other Menu Features (custom functions)
Histogram Review

The custom functions I mentioned above are where you may be able to redefine some of the controls and features to work more intuitively. I was able to set my AutoFocus Point Selection function to utilize the almost useless joystick button (Canon) instead of the default modal buttons and dials. Now I can easily change the focus point without looking away from the eyepiece.

OK class, now get studying. There will be a quizz next week!

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