More About Your DSLR


William Lulow

As I mentioned in Monday’s article, there are many more ways of controlling the light that enters your digital camera besides varying the ISO, shutter speed and aperture. Some of them include the following:

1. The White Balance setting

2. The Auto-Focus points

3. The Auto-Focus mode

4. Night Portraits setting

5. Moving Pictures setting

6. Close Up settings

7.Using the “Live Shooting” setting

8. Red-eye Reduction setting

9. Image Stabilizer setting

10. Various Metering Modes and settings

11. Shutter Priority setting

12. Aperture Priority setting

13. Color Space setting

14. Copyright and other owner settings

15. Lens Peripheral Correction settings

16. Lighting Optimizer settings

17. Color Temperature settings

18. Picture Style settings

And you thought that your digital camera allowed you to simply point, and shoot your picture!

Let me address a few of these settings that might be encountered in the course of shooting some assignments.

The White Balance setting is important because it will determine the overall color cast of your pictures. Usually, I leave this set to AWB which stands for “Auto White Balance,” because I let the camera’s computer chip decide what is the appropriate white balance for the majority of my pictures. Sometimes, however, I want to decide what is registered by the camera as “white.” If I’m shooting a product on a white background, for instance, I want that background to register as pure white. This is done mostly by lighting, but I will aim my camera at the lit background and set a white balance based on it. This way, I’m assured that the whites will be the white I want.

The Auto-Focus Points settings are important if you intend to leave your lens setting on “Auto.” The camera will usually use lighter points in the scene to determine focus with AF lenses. There are nine possible settings for Auto Focus in most cameras. You can adjust these by following the appropriate pages in the manual. There are times when the AF settings on your digital camera might not work. The AF settings are often “fooled” by: (1) Low light situations, (2) Backlit situations, (3) Reflective objects in the field, (4) Repetitive patterns such as skyscrapers or other buildings and (5) any situation where you want to decide your own focusing points.

Picture Style Settings are included in most digital cameras. These settings allow you to change slightly, the SHARPNESS, SATURATION, COLOR TONE and CONTRAST of the images your camera captures. Changing these settings requires a knowledge of overall lighting effects and how the camera “sees” them. If they are not set properly, your pictures will not represent the items you photograph accurately. I have had to adjust these settings a number of times when I was shooting artwork or an object that has a definite color that I wanted to record accurately.

Copyright and Owner Settings are important these days because since there are very few prints or slides any more, they provide a way to imprint your copyright and other ownership data on the picture files themselves. This is commonly referred to as METADATA and when your images are brought up on a computer, they will be there for all to see, including such information as: title, your name, your website info, your email, your telephone number, etc. All of this information can be imprinted on each and every image you shoot with your camera. Also included is the kind and type of camera, the lens settings as well as some of the settings I discuss here.

You can easily see from these settings, that today’s digital cameras are quite a bit more complex than similar film cameras. If you want to control your images the way most professionals should these days, you need to understand much more about your camera than you ever used to. I will write more articles about some of the other settings outlined above.

Canon 5D Mark III