Understanding the Function Dial on your Camera

October 21, 2011 · 0 comments

in Equipment,Product Reviews,Tutorials

With the advent of digital photography, more and more people are buying dSLR cameras, however an enormous percentage of people are still stuck on auto mode! The function wheel on top of the camera has a selection of presets for a variety of photographic situations. Here’s a description of a selection of these presets on a Canon dSLR, and how to use them. Be sure to also read up about the basics of shutter speed, aperture and ISO.

Tv = Shutter Priority

Shutter Priority means that you select the shutter speed, and the camera will chose the appropriate aperture.

Av = Aperture Priority

Aperture Priority means that you select the aperture (represented by f/stop numbers), and the camera will chose the appropriate shutter speed.

M = Manual

When you select Manual, this mean that YOU must select both the shutter speed, AND the Aperture. I would not recommend using this function unless you’re shooting with studio lights and have a hand-held light metre.

Green Square (Auto) = Automatic

Automatic means that the camera is in control of exposure and chooses the shutter speed and aperture for you. If you have a pop-up flash, the camera will use the flash when it sees fit. This mode prevents you from using the other camera functions, like adjusting your ISO.

P = Program

Program is very similar to Automatic. The camera will still select the shutter speed and aperture for you, however you will be able to use the other camera functions such as ISO, exposure compensation, auto-focus lock etc.

B = Bulb

Bulb allows you to take longer exposures than your preset shutter speed in the Tv mode. A shutter release and tripod are required.

Lady = Portrait

With this mode the camera will use a larger aperture (represented by a small f/number) to produce a blurry background to assist in separating the persons face from the background.

Mountain = Landscape

With this mode the camera will select a smaller aperture (represented by a big f/number) to ensure that everything is in focus from the foreground to the horizon.

Person Running = Sport / Action

Using the Sport mode, the camera will select a faster shutter speed to freeze action.

Flower = Macro / Close up

With the macro setting, the camera makes adjustments for close up photography.

Person with Star = Night /Low Light

With Night mode, the camera selects a slower shutter speed to enable the camera to record more light. I suggest using a tripod with this setting to prevent camera shake.

Lightning both crossed out = Disable flash

This function uses the Automatic Mode, but disables the flash.

A-DEP = Automatic Depth of Field

A-DEP works by finding the nearest and furthest of all the auto-focus points, sets the camera’s focusing distance to optimally position the depth of field between these points, and sets the aperture so that the edges of the depth of field extend far enough to contain these points.

The auto depth of field feature is most useful for group photos where you would want everyone in sharp focus, but do not necessarily want to use such a small aperture that it causes the background to become sharp.

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