Basic Digital Camera Modes E-mail

So someone bought you a digital camera for christmas, and now you're scratching your head wondering how to use it?  Or maybe you exchanged all those unwanted gifts for one?  In any case, there you are with a digital camera you know nothing about, and while you have a 1000 page tutorial, you just want to get started quickly.  This little tutorial will tell you what the various "modes" are all about, which will get you rocking in no time.

Digital cameras come with pre-defined "modes" that can be very helpful in setting up the right combination of settings such as shutter speed, aperture, white balance and ISO sensitivity.  You'll probably have noticed there is an "Auto" there, which basically means the camera will "guess" the best approach, however, you and your camera's auto settings might not always agree on what your intended picture should look like.  That's why all digital cameras come with a variety of "modes" which is just a way of telling your camera that "this is my intention, aim for this type of result".  So here they are, the most common camera modes:

  • Portrait mode indicates that you want a specific item (usually a person) in sharp focus, and will allow the background to be out of focus/blurry.  Helpful if there are other elements the camera could identify as focal points, e.g. other people in the background.
  • Landscape mode indicates that you want everything in the frame as sharp as possible, the scene as a whole, as opposed to an individual detail, is captured.
  • Macro mode will allow you to get very close (within inches/centimeters) to your subject, meaning you can take closeups of things like flowers/insects etc.  In other modes your camera won't be able to focus at such close range.
  • Sports or Action mode sets the shutter speed to very quick allowing you to freeze action movement, e.g. someone running or someone playing ball on the beach.
  • Night Mode basically increases the light sensitivity so that you can shoot in darker environments (e.g. indoors in lightbulb-light).

So, now that you know, you can capture the pictures you want as opposed ot the ones your camera tells you that you want.




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