Most of today’s DSLRs (Digital Single Reflex Camera) are similar but the buttons and controls can be found in different places, depending on brand and style. There are a lot of settings available for you to use to capture unique photos but while there are many settings to choose from, not all are completely understood before being used. It is important to know about what your camera’s settings so that you can choose the best one for what you are seeking to accomplish. Now when there is an issue with our pictures not turning out the way we want, we need to go back and understand the basic modes, buttons, and settings in order to know your camera inside and out.
Basic Settings to Start Using Your Camera:
First off, read I got a fancy new camera, now what? for more detailed information on getting started with your camera.
Make sure the batteries are charged.
Make sure you have a memory card.
Turn your camera on.
Choose a “Mode” on Top
When you set your camera to automatic you let the camera figure out the exposure for you, and if it requires a flash the flash will go off unless you set it to the no-flash auto mode. This most often used for simple point and shoot photography.
Your shutter speed and aperture are set by camera. This mode is good for snapshots and when you don’t have time to adjust settings.
Shutter Priority Mode
You set the shutter speed, and the camera selects the best aperture. This setting is good if you are trying to freeze or blur motion. Also the shutter priority mode is good when you are first getting used to your settings.
Here you get to choose the aperture, and the camera sets the shutter speed. If you want the background blurry or everything in focus (Depth of Field) this would be your best option. Also for any beginner photographers this mode will help you learn how to control the depth of field and put you at a good start above others.
For more info see: Aperture Setting
With the manual mode you choose shutter speed and aperture yourself. You can do this by holding down the +/- button and moving the dial until you are satisfied with your setting.
Effects or Scene Modes
These modes are for special effects and optimizing the settings for the scene being photographed.
Information Display Options:
About the information display: Information Display
File Format and Compression Ratio(Quality): Set to NORM
For more info see: Quality
Measured in Pixels: Set to Large
Helps adjust the lighting and colors depending on the lighting: Set to Auto
For more info see: White Balance
This adjusts the amount of light let into the camera and for the picture: Set to 400
For more info see: ISO Sensitivity
How the camera will take the picture: Set to Single frame
For more info see: Shutter Release Modes
Changes how the camera will focus on subject: Set to AF-A
What type of focus will be used for autofocus: Set to Auto-area AF
For more info see: Af-Area Mode
Sets exposure depending on the setting you choose: Set to Matrix Metering
For more info see: Metering
Active D-Lighting (Nikon)
Changes the difference of shadows and highlights: Set to OFF
Takes pictures at different exposures: Set to OFF
For more info see: Bracketing Feature
Set Picture Control
Changes the color pallet: Set to Standard
Compensates for lighting: Set to 0.0
For more info see: Exposure Compensation
Helps compensate for flash: Set to 0.0
When the flash will be fired: Set to Normal