By John Steele
Most digital cameras today have a mode setting knob. It's probably the most important control on your camera. The nice thing about the mode setting knob is that you can set it on full automatic and forget it. When the camera is in full automatic it does four things for you; it will:
1. Focus the Lens
2. Set the Aperture (size of the lens opening)
3. Meter the Light and Distance
4. Set the Shutter Speed
All you need to do is snap the picture and you will get a decent exposure. But if we take a closer look at the mode setting knob we'll see it has other features as well. The typical digital camera will have the following settings on its mode knob.
Landscape: The landscape icon usually looks like a mountain with a cloud over it. This setting presets the camera with a small aperture and helps keep your image in focus. It also sets the shutter speed fast enough to eliminate a blurred image. This setting can also be used for night landscapes, though it is not the preferred method. As you become more proficient with your camera you will learn ways to customize the settings to get better low light photos.
Sports Setting: This icon typically looks like a figure running. It locks in a faster shutter speed to freeze the subject and background. The camera will use the center of the viewfinder for focusing.
Portraits: This icon is easy to find it usually looks like a persons profile. This setting opens the aperture for a shorter depth of field. It keeps your subject in focus, but blurs the background for a more pleasing composition.
Night Portraits: In this zone the icon usually has a star or moon in it. When shooting in this mode the flash mechanism fires to fill the background and correctly illuminate the subject. The night setting can be used when shooting in very low light conditions.
Close-up: The close-up icon often looks like a flower, usually a tulip. This setting is used when you want to take pictures with great detail like plants or insects. This area of photography is often called macro-photography and is an art form in itself.
Think of the different basic zone modes as tools to be used in different picture taking situations as they arise. You will get average pictures with the automatic settings. Some of them will be quite good. But the better cameras contain advanced settings sometimes referred to as Creative Zone Settings. These controls give you much more creativity in the pictures you take, and can be used to provide greater adaptability as changing circumstances arise. http://www.digital-id.info/
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