Digital Cameras The Crutchfield Guide to Your New Digital Camera The Crutchfield Guide to Your New Digital Camera This guide represents knowledge that Crutchfield has gained over many years. It also represents input that our Product Support staff has received from millions of shoppers. I am very proud of the work that our editors and writers have done in putting this information together. Because of their hard work, I am confident that this guide will provide you with the expertise needed to get the most out of your new digital camera. Sincerely, Free Lifetime Technical Support: 1-800-955-9091 Table of Contents Getting Started . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Know your camera basics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Opening the package . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Shutter speed . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Sensitivity (ISO) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Ways to set exposure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Using Your Camera . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Using a Digital SLR Camera . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Taking your first pictures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Common camera features you’ll be using . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Beyond Auto: Shooting modes and scene modes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Portrait . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Landscape . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Night & Night Portrait . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Action or Sports . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Beach & Ski . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Fireworks or Candlelight . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Face Detection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Movie . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Viewing, transferring, and deleting images . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Using the LCD . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Lenses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Focal length, sensor size, and 35mm equivalent . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Manual control . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . RAW mode . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 14 15 16 16 Tips for Better Photographs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Choosing & Using Accessories . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Printing, Sharing & Storing Your Digital Photos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Making photo prints that will last . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Enjoying and sharing photos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Storing your photos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Controlling the Exposure of your Photos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Frequently Asked Questions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Glossary of Terms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 Copyright© 2008 by Crutchfield Corporation. All rights reserved. Crutchfield ® is a registered trademark of Crutchfield Corporation. Although all reasonable attempts are made to verify the accuracy of this information, it is presented without warranties or guarantees of any type due to the constantly changing nature of this information. Any person or entity using such information does so at his or its own risk. Crutchfield recognizes all manufacturers’ trademarks contained herein and disclaims any proprietary interest in their use. The photographic triangle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Aperture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Getting Started Today’s digital cameras offer a wide range of features and capabiliViewfinder ties. Some of these features may be familiar from other digital cameras or film cameras, while others may be brand-new to you. In addition, there may be aspects of storing, reviewing, editing and using your photos that you’ve never explored. That’s why we’ve developed this guide. In it, we’ll walk you LCD through the basics of using your digital camera. We’re also going to look at some of the advanced features found on many cameras today. You’ll find shooting tips to help you take great-looking pictures in some common, but hard-to-photograph, settings. And finally, we’ll give you plenty of pointers on how to safely store, print, and share your photos. Check the glossary We’ve put together a glossary for many of the terms used in this book. If you’d like a definition of an unfamiliar term like “SLR,” “viewfinder” or any of the other camera words we use, check out pgs. 21-23. 4 Know your camera basics Whether you have a compact “point-and-shoot” camera, or an advanced SLR model, there are some basic terms that are good to know. These terms will be used as we get started in this guide, and are often also in the owner’s manual for individual cameras. We’ve explained some of the most common below. To the right, you’ll see a diagram of some of the key camera parts we’ll be mentioning. • LCD: The screen on the back of the camera that lets you review the photos you’ve taken. In most cameras, it will let you frame shots as well. • Viewfinder: The little window you look through to frame a shot. (Some cameras lack viewfinders entirely these days, so you simply use the LCD to frame shots.) • Shutter button: The round button you push in order to take a picture. • Mode dial: Sometimes called a command dial, this circular dial lets you select camera functions as well as some common shooting and scene modes. Power Shutter button Mode dial Zoom DC input USB jack Memory card slot Free Lifetime Product Support: 1-800-955-9091 • Zoom: This feature often takes the form of a rocker switch or a circular dial that can be used to extend and retract your zoom lens. It’s usually marked with a “T” or “+” at one end for telephoto (zoom in), and a “W” or “–” at the other end for wide-angle (zoom out). • Power button: Many cameras have a power button for turning the camera on and off. (Some particularly slimline models are powered up and down by manually sliding a faceplate open or closed.) • USB jack: Where you’ll connect the camera’s included USB cable in order to transfer photos to a computer. • DC input: Where you’ll connect the power cord in order to charge the camera’s battery or power the camera directly. (Not all cameras offer a direct power connection, and many use a separate battery charger to refresh the battery.) • Memory card slot: The opening where you can slide a memory card into place. The memory card is where you’ll store most or all of the photos you take before transferring them to a computer. Opening the package We recommend starting off by checking that what’s actually in the box matches the list of included items sent by the manufacturer (it’s often a part of the manual, although it may be a separate piece of paper). Though it’s rare for there to be a discrepancy between what the manual describes and what you actually find, it’s useful to know as soon as possible. The most common items found in the package are the camera itself, a battery or batteries, a USB cable for transferring photos to a computer, an audio/video cable for displaying photos and movie clips on a TV, a battery charger or power cord, a wrist strap, and a software CD-ROM. Some packages may also include a low-capacity memory card. And with higher-end cameras and SLRs, you may get even more things, like a separate lens, a lens hood, and a neck strap. Next, follow the manual’s directions on getting your camera set up and ready to go. Most manuals recommend the same basic series of steps: charge the battery, insert the memory card if one is included, and set the date and time. By the way, although charging the battery can take a few hours, it’s not always a necessary first step — some cameras don’t use rechargeable batteries, while others come with the battery mostly or fully charged. Using Your Camera Did you know? Forgetting to switch back out of “playback” mode is one of the most common problems folks experience when using their new camera. So if your camera is on but won’t take pictures, always check that you’re not in playback mode first. Once your camera is powered up and your memory card is in place, you’re ready to start snapping photos. It’s amazing how little effort is involved to capture your first photograph with your new camera. Taking your first pictures First, make sure the camera is turned on. Next, move the mode dial so the camera icon or the word “Auto” is in the selected position. If your camera has a separate switch for “Camera” mode versus “Play” mode, make sure it’s set to the icon of the camera, not to the triangle. Point the camera at your subject, framing the shot using the viewfinder or the LCD screen, and push the shutter button. The camera will briefly autofocus on your subject and then snap the picture. Your LCD screen should show you the resulting image for a few seconds. And there you go — you just snapped a picture with your new digital camera. When you choose “Auto” mode, your camera sets exposure and focus for you — you just point and click. Many cameras need you to switch to “Camera” or “Shooting” mode to start taking pictures. 5 Common camera features you’ll be using Did you know? There are two kinds of zoom — optical and digital. We recommend always sticking to optical zoom, because digital zoom degrades picture quality. See the FAQ on page 20 for more info on optical vs. digital zoom. A picture taken with no zoom at all. A picture taken with 2X zoom. Even if most of the pictures you snap are taken with no more fanfare than aiming the camera and pressing the shutter button, there are a number of features that you’re likely to use before you take a picture, while you’re shooting, and after you’re done with a shot — even if you usually use pure automatic shooting mode. We’re going to discuss those features below. Zoom These days, just about every digital camera has some amount of optical zoom. Almost all of them have at least 3X zoom, but some go up to 6X, 10X, 12X or more. If you’re wondering what the number actually means, it’s pretty straightforward. 3X zoom will get you photos that are three times closer to the subject, visually, than when you stand in the same spot and use no zoom at all. At left, you’ll see some photos that illustrate different levels of zoom. (You can do this same calculation with focal length, which we’ll discuss more on page 15, but the zoom ratio number is more commonly found on digital cameras — especially those with a built-in lens.) Autofocus A picture taken with 5.5X zoom. 6 Every digital camera today offers an autofocus mode, and that’s what most people use for everyday shooting. With autofocus, the camera looks for contrast in the scene before it, makes an educated guess at what the subject is, and adjusts the lens for a crisp focus on the subject it has selected. Most cameras offer more than a single, central point of focus, so that you can shoot subjects that aren’t dead center with ease. In general, your camera will look for a subject and set focus when you’ve pushed the shutter button down halfway. If this causes too long a pause for you, though, you can probably set your camera to “continuous AF” mode. In this mode, the camera constantly assesses and resets focus. Continuous AF shortens lag time between pushing the button and snapping a picture, but it can use up your battery power faster. One trick folks often use when shooting with autofocus is to push the button halfway down to focus when aiming at a scene or subject, and then hold their finger there until the perfect moment arrives and they’re ready to snap the picture. This is particularly useful when you and your subject are going to be staying in the same places, and you’re simply waiting for the right facial expression or event before you take the picture. Setting resolution Resolution is the term used to describe picture quality in a digital photograph. Your camera’s maximum resolution is determined by the number of megapixels of its image sensor. Most cameras offer a range of resolution options for JPEG files (the type of picture files that your photographs are saved as), from very low resolution settings to high-quality settings that max out your camera’s capabilities. Today’s cameras come with ample resolution for large prints — historically one of the most demanding tests of a digital camera’s resolution. If you’re not planning on making large prints, you may wonder if you should bother to take pictures at a higher resolution, especially since each high-resolution photo takes up more memory than the same picture snapped at a lower resolution. However, given the relative affordability of memory, and the fact Free Lifetime Product Support: 1-800-955-9091 Resolution and Print Size Type of image Web Image Minimum resolution Megapixels needed 640 x 480 1-megapixel cameras* and up 4" x 6" 2048 x 1536 3-megapixel cameras* and up 8" x 10" 3072 x 2048 6-megapixel cameras and up 16" x 20" 3264 x 2448 8-megapixel cameras and up * Top counts of 1, 2 or 3 megapixels are mainly seen only in today’s cell phones and camcorders. that you can transfer photos onto a computer, clear your memory card, and start over, we recommend shooting at one of the highest resolution settings your camera offers. That way, you will never take a photo that you’d like to print, but can’t, because it’s just too blocky and pixelated on paper. There are a couple of situations in which you might choose to go with a low photo resolution. • If you’re running out of space on your memory card. If you’re far from a computer and you don’t have much space left on your memory card, setting your camera to take photos at a lower resolution will give you more pictures before you fill up your space entirely. • If you’re taking photos for a very specific use online (where you can get away with a lower “web-friendly” resolution of 640 x 480 or 1600 x 1200). Just don’t forget to switch the camera back to a higher setting when you go out for a hike or head to that family reunion. If you’d like to know how your camera performs at its specific resolution settings in advance, we suggest you shoot the same scene at each resolution, then look at the photos on your computer, and (if possible) print them. You likely won’t see huge differences on your computer screen, especially when comparing similar resolution settings, until you zoom in on the details. But the lower settings should look quite a bit different from the higher settings when printed as 5" x 7"s or 8" x 10"s. Some cameras — notably digital SLRs — can also shoot in RAW mode. This mode often uses no compression at all, but requires additional processing after the picture has been transferred to a computer. You can read more about RAW mode on page 16. Beyond Auto: Shooting modes and scene modes Along with Auto mode, your new digital camera offers a range of shooting modes and scene modes to let you take pictures in specialized settings. We’ll run through the most common here, but please keep in mind that each camera is different. Your camera’s manufacturer may have included additional modes, or named some of these modes a little differently. The owner’s manual should offer useful details about what your exact options are. • Macro mode: Lets you capture photographs of small objects with a level of detail that’s not possible in standard automatic mode. It’s good for closeups of flowers, insects, leaves, and other small items. When you switch into Macro mode, that tells your camera you’re going to be focusing on something very close to the lens, and it adjusts the focal range accordingly. Some macro modes let you shoot objects as close as a half-inch away. • Continuous/burst mode: Good for shooting fast-moving subjects like pets and toddlers. Continuous shooting mode lets you press and hold the camera’s shutter button to capture a series of shots in rapid succession. Along with its helpfulness when getting great shots of high-energy kids, pets, or sporting events, it’s a nice option if you want to make sure you don’t miss the exact moment your nephew is handed his diploma. Did you know? A few digital SLRs also offer the ability to shoot TIFF files. TIFF files use “lossless” compression and are a great way to capture extremely highquality images, although they take up a lot more storage space than JPEGs. 7 Check the glossary We’ve put together a glossary for many of the terms used in this book. If you’d like a definition of an unfamiliar term like “aperture,” “shutter speed” or any of the other camera words we use, check out pages 21-23. • Manual mode: Many point-and-shoot digital cameras offer some manual control over your shooting. You might have full exposure control (which lets you set aperture and shutter speed yourself), or helpful features like aperture or shutter speed priority modes, or a combination of these options. All digital SLRs offer full manual control of your photography, along with an automatic shooting mode. (To learn more about manual control of exposure, see pages 10-14.) In addition to shooting modes, many cameras offer what are called “scene modes” — settings optimized for the demands of certain kinds of photographic scenes or subjects. Here are some of the most common: Portrait Portrait mode was created to give you great photos of people. The camera focuses on a central subject, and blurs the background. That way, your attention is drawn to the person being photographed, rather than the scenery behind them. Landscape When you’re using Landscape mode, the goal is not to have artistic blur in the background, but to capture the entire scene with maximum detail. As a result, the camera sets exposure to achieve clarity and focus from the front to the back of the scene. 8 Night & Night Portrait When you try to take a photograph of a cityscape at night, especially with people standing in front of it, it’s not unusual for your camera to leave the background dark and overexpose your subjects. That’s why most cameras offer one or more modes for nighttime shooting. In general, the camera slows shutter speed down in order to capture the background as well as possible, but also sets off the flash in order to capture a crisp and realistic photo of your subject in the foreground. Of course, there are a few minor sacrifices when using such a mode. The main drawback is that hand shake is more likely to produce a blurred final image. If you find that your images look too blurry, just try using a tripod or resting the camera on a stationary surface. Action or Sports Shooting fast-paced sporting events or other action-filled scenes is tricky in regular Auto mode. If your camera has an Action or Sports mode, it will increase sensitivity (also known as film speed or ISO) so it can capture crisp shots of intense action without blurring the subject. It may also activate a “burst” or “continuous” shooting mode to let you snap several photos very quickly. The higher sensitivity setting can mean more graininess or “noise” in the picture, but unless you’re also shooting in lower light, it shouldn’t be a dealbreaker. Free Lifetime Product Support: 1-800-955-9091 Beach & Ski Because snow and sand reflect so much light, many photos taken at the beach or on the slopes end up with backlit subjects whose faces are darkened and unreadable. To avoid this problem, the camera adjusts exposure to accurately render both the subjects in the foreground and the clear skies and blinding snow or sand of the background. Sometimes these are two separate modes, in which case the Ski mode may make an additional adjustment to avoid the bluish cast that can be pervasive in snow scenes. Fireworks or Candlelight Some cameras offer this option as one mode, but a few offer these choices as two separate modes. Generally, in this scene mode, flash is disabled and exposure is adjusted to capture atmospheric shots of bright lights in a dark or darkened setting. Face Detection One slightly less common feature that some cameras have is face detection technology (check your owner’s manual to see if your cam has it). Switching on Face Detection mode gives your camera the ability to recognize when there are one or more human faces being photographed and set focus accordingly. For example, with regular automatic shooting, a potentially cute shot of the kids peeking at you from between fence posts may be marred because the camera insistently focuses on the fence posts and leaves the faces blurry. With Face Detection, the camera zeroes in on the faces instead. With face detection off (left), the camera focused on the window rather than the intended subject. With face detection on (right), the girl is sharply in-focus. Movie Most point-and-shoot cameras offer one or more Movie modes that capture short videos and their accompanying audio as digital video files. Though these Movie modes can’t replace the video capabilities of a full-featured camcorder, at their highest setting they record decent, watchable video. They’re a great way to capture a moment that you just don’t want to miss. As you use your Movie mode, keep the following in mind: • a higher resolution setting means better video, but will also take up more space on your memory card • zooming while shooting in Movie mode usually involves only digital zoom, with the result that your video will rapidly become blocky and pixelated. (See the FAQ on page 20 for a discussion of the merits of optical zoom over digital zoom.) Viewing, transferring, and deleting images Most digital cameras are set up so that as soon as you’ve snapped a picture, the image appears on the LCD screen for a few seconds before disappearing. However, it’s usually best to enter Play mode in order to review all of the photos stored in your camera’s memory. To do so, you’ll generally hit a button or flip a switch marked with the universal “Play” symbol of a triangle. On some cameras, you may turn the command dial to enter Play mode. 9 Did you know? If you want to be sure you don’t accidentally delete an important photo, check to see if your camera can “protect” individual images from deletion. This feature is usually represented by a key icon, and can be very useful if several family members are using the same camera. Once you’re reviewing your photos, you can usually call up information about the camera’s settings when a photo was taken, review videos, and even zoom in on a single photo. Your camera may also have different view modes, letting you see more than one photo at once, so you can jump through your photos faster. Some cameras also offer a slideshow mode, and you can use this when simply reviewing your pictures on your LCD screen, or when your camera is connected to a TV screen. Finally, Play mode is also a chance to apply any in-camera editing features your camera might possess, such as red-eye reduction, and to protect or “lock” photos to avoid accidental deletion (see left). Transferring photos to a computer able USB A typical USB connection. 10 Digital cameras come with a built-in USB jack and an included USB cable for connecting them to a computer. In most cases, this cable has a standard mini-USB connector on one end, and a regular, full-size USB connector on the other, although some cameras use a proprietary jack and connector for their USB connection. It’s worth noting that there are two different types of USB ports — full-speed USB and high-speed USB — and your computer may have either one. The cable included with your camera should be compatible with both types, though the camera may or may not take full advantage of high-speed USB’s faster transfer rate. In most cases, your computer should have the tools to immediately recognize your camera once it’s been connected and turned on (the camera may also have to be in Play mode). The details of the transfer process will depend on whether you’re using photo management software that came with your camera or software already present on your computer. It’s up to you. Whatever you do, make sure your photos have been successfully transferred and are intact on your computer before you delete any files from your memory card. Deleting photos The most-used symbol for deleting photos is an image of a trash can. Camera manufacturers have made an effort to prevent you from accidentally deleting photos, so you’ll usually have to identify a photo as one you want to delete, and then confirm your choice again before the camera will remove it from the card. Some cameras will let you identify a group of photos you want to delete, but you’ll still need to confirm your selection before it will remove them. Reformatting your memory card While deleting photos is a good way to quickly clear space on your camera’s memory card, it’s important that you reformat your card regularly as well. When you reformat your memory card, you wipe away any lingering data that may have remained after photos were stored and then deleted. Our experience has been that cards that are regularly reformatted are less prone to file corruption, and a resulting loss of photos, than cards that are never reformatted at all. You can learn more about safely storing photos on pages 18-19. Controlling the Exposure of your Photos No matter what your experience level with photography, you’ve probably heard the terms “underexposed” and “overexposed.” Chances are you also know that an underexposed photo is too dark, while an overexposed photo is too bright. With that in mind, then, it’s easy to understand that on the most basic level, good exposure means taking a picture where there’s a good balance of light and dark, so details are retained and color and lighting are realistic. (A successful exposure can also break away Free Lifetime Product Support: 1-800-955-9091 from a traditional look — such as a clearly lit face on a subject — in favor of interesting and mysterious shadows, for example.) When a camera is in automatic mode, it checks light and dark levels in the scene before it, and makes an educated guess at what the “exposure value” should be. Most of the time it gets it right. But automatic mode is optimized for the most common shooting situations — which makes it harder to use when shooting a dramatic scene with carefully preserved highlights and shadows. Using different exposure settings can result in more interesting or engaging photos. Even if your camera doesn’t have full manual control, chances are it offers some options for specialized shooting with adjusted exposure. So in this section, we’ll explain the basic principles of exposure, and then discuss some of the common camera controls that will let you make exposure adjustments. The photographic triangle When you take a picture with a digital camera, light enters through the lens via an adjustable opening called the aperture, and strikes the image sensor for as long as the camera’s internal shutter remains open (the shutter speed). Therefore, the size of the aperture, the length of time the shutter remains open, and the sensitivity (how much light energy the sensor can absorb) all determine the ultimate exposure of the photograph. Now, because both aperture SENSITIVITY ISO size and shutter speed have an effect on the amount of light that enters the camera, they need to work in sync with one another to get a properly exposed photo. If you have a small aperture, not much light is getting into the camera from moment to SHUTTER APERTURE SHUTTER APERTURE SPEED SPEED moment — so you’ll need to have the shutter open a longer time for the sensor to absorb enough light. Or, if you have the aperture set very large, a lot of light will come in — and the shutter only needs to open for a tiny fraction of a second in order to get enough light for a good exposure. Though sensitivity may change little from photograph to photograph, it’s also a crucial partner. Higher sensitivity settings can make low-light photographs possible that wouldn’t be an option by just adjusting aperture and shutter speed. Now, the combined art and science of setting exposure is a larger topic than this guide can cover — in fact, there are many excellent books available that discuss exposure alone. But we’ll give you a few examples of typical exposure settings, so you can start experimenting. We’ll also show you how you can achieve the same amount of exposure in different photos of the same subject, while getting markedly different effects. Aperture If your camera has manual control of aperture, or you look at your camera’s specs and what kind of aperture it can set automatically, you’ll see a range of numbers associated with specific aperture sizes, or “f-stops.” Some common ones are 4, 5.6, 8, 11, The picture at left was taken with an aperture setting of f/2.8, while the one at right was taken with a setting of f/22. You can see that the large aperture of f/2.8 resulted in a very narrow depth of field, while the small aperture of f/22 kept most of the scene in focus. 11 Did you know? Along with the “full stop” numbers we’ve described for aperture and shutter speed, there are additional “one-third stops” that some cameras now offer, to give you more options for adjustment. and 16 (also denoted as f/4, f/5.6, f/8, etc.). Because these numbers originate in fractions, the smaller the number, the larger the opening actually is. Another thing to remember is that from one f-stop to another, you are either halving or doubling the amount of light permitted to enter the camera; f/4 permits twice as much light as f/5.6, and f/8 permits only half as much light as an aperture of f/5.6. What does changing aperture give you? Generally, it gives you control of “depth of field” — that is, the depth of the area where the picture is in focus. Using aperture adjustments, you can take a picture in which there is only a narrow band of in-focus subject, and a blurred foreground and background — or you can capture a picture in which focus extends from the front to the back of the scene. Shutter speed Shutter speed is notated in fractions of a second or seconds (1/500, 1/250, 1/125, 1/60, 1/30, 1, 2, 4, 8, etc.). Most cameras denote the fractional shutter speeds using only the second number, so if you select 1/250, the number 250 will show up on your LCD. The shutter speeds expressed in seconds are denoted 12 The top picture was taken with a slower shutter speed of 1/60 of a second, while the bottom photo was taken at a faster shutter speed of 1/250 of a second. The faster shutter speed made it possible to capture the moving subject more crisply. with quotation marks following them, so a shutter speed of one second will appear as 1". Just as with aperture settings, shutter speeds halve or double the amount of light as you move from one setting to another — at 1/500, the shutter remains open for only half as long as it does at 1/250, and so on. What does changing shutter speed give you? Mainly, photographers use shutter speed adjustments to control how their photographs record objects in motion. A slower shutter speed will let you record a moving subject with the blur of its motion intact; a faster shutter speed can freeze the moving subject in crisp detail. Sensitivity (ISO) In film cameras, sensitivity, or ISO (sometimes also called ASA), was an indicator of the film’s sensitivity to light. Photographers generally chose their film based on where they would be shooting — if they were planning on taking pictures in bright light outdoors, 100 was fine, but for indoor photography with the occasional help of a flash, they would often opt for 400 or higher. With a digital camera, the same numbers have stuck around, but they now reflect the sensor’s ability to record light. It’s not unusual to see 100, 200, 400, 800, and 1600 in the range of sensitivity settings, even on cameras that are fully automatic. And as in the past, a less sensitive setting can be used when the camera is receiving ample light. Finally, as with aperture and shutter speed, you’ll notice that the sensitivity settings available tend to halve or double as you step up and down — 100 is half as sensitive as 200, while 400 is twice as sensitive as 200. What does changing sensitivity give you? Generally, a higher sensitivity setting offers an increased ability to capture properly exposed photos in indoor or low-light situations, often without a flash. One additional note on sensitivity: because an increased ability to absorb light is achieved by amplifying the sensor’s output, Free Lifetime Product Support: 1-800-955-9091 The picture on the left was taken with a sensitivity setting of 1600, while the picture on the right had a setting of 100. The colors are more vibrant in the left-hand picture, but the right-hand photo has less graininess and noise. a side effect of using a high sensitivity setting (such as 800 or higher) is increased “noise” in your photos. Practically speaking, this can mean a much grainier look to photos taken at such settings. Ways to set exposure Some cameras don’t offer any user control over exposure; they set aperture, shutter speed and sensitivity themselves. However, most cameras offer some ways to adjust exposure to achieve certain effects, along with offering full autoexposure. Here are some of the most common ways to control aperture, shutter speed and sensitivity. Check out your camera’s manual to see what it offers. Full manual control With full manual control, you can set aperture, shutter speed and sensitivity independently. Most cameras require you to switch out of Auto mode and into Manual mode to set exposure manually. Many people rely on their camera’s built-in light meter to ensure that they’re exposing the picture properly. A light meter measures the scene and offers recommendations on which direction to adjust aperture and shutter speed in order to achieve an “ideal” exposure. Even if you don’t always follow the light meter’s recommendations, it can be a good guideline to use, especially when you’re learning how to manually set exposure. Your camera may also offer a histogram view. A histogram is a graph that reflects the levels of brightness and darkness in a photograph. If your camera has a histogram mode, it will probably appear for photographs you’ve already taken, though it may also be visible for shots you’re framing and have not yet recorded. In general, in a properly exposed shot, the histogram will show the data grouped together in the middle, without too much emphasis on the left-hand (or dark) side, or the right-hand (or bright) side. Priority modes Check the glossary We’ve put together a glossary for many of the terms used in this book. If you’d like a definition of an unfamiliar term like “sensitivity,” “exposure” or any of the other camera words we use, check out pages 21-23. Most cameras include priority modes, even if they offer full manual control as well. • Aperture priority mode (often marked as AV or A): In aperture priority mode, you set the camera’s aperture, and the camera selects an appropriate shutter speed to or go with it. This approach lets you determine depth of field — that is, whether your background is blurry or in focus — without requiring you to find the appropriate shutter speed to ensure a properly exposed image. • Shutter speed priority mode (often marked as TV or S): In shutter speed priority mode, you choose a shutter speed and the camera sets aperture to match it. Shutter or speed priority mode is a good option when you want to control how the camera captures movement — for example, whether a galloping horse is a blur of motion, or frozen mid-stride with a blurred background — but you don’t want to try to set aperture correctly at the same time. EV compensation EV, or “exposure value,” compensation doesn’t let you achieve the artistic depth of field and blurring effects you might get from setting aperture or shutter speed manually, but it is a quick way to adjust 13 the overall exposure of your photos. If you find that your camera is taking pictures that seem under- or overexposed, you can use the EV compensation button to tell the camera that you want your next photos to be a little more or less exposed than the previous ones. Almost everyone encounters some kind of shooting situation that their camera’s Auto mode just can’t make sense of, so this is a great way to adjust photos while you remain in that environment. Generally, you can play with this option and review the results on your LCD screen until you get a sense for how much EV compensation will work best. Using a Digital SLR Camera Almost everything we’ve discussed so far is true for both automatic “point-and-shoot” cameras and SLRs, but in this section, we’ll discuss some functions and features that apply only to SLRs. An SLR, or single-lens reflex, camera usually consists of a camera body and one or more detachable lenses. It’s called “single-lens reflex” because its viewfinder uses the reflection of a 45° angled mirror to let you see your subject through the camera’s lens while composing your picture. The mirror lifts out of sight briefly when you press the shutter button, allowing the sensor to capture the photo. But what SLRs are really known for is their ability to shoot topquality pictures and accept plenty of different lenses. So let’s jump into some of those details. Using the LCD 14 First, let’s look at how using the LCD is different with a digital SLR than with a point-and-shoot camera. Due to the internal construction of an SLR, these kinds of cameras can’t preview your shot on the LCD — you’ll be framing your photos with your viewfinder. There are a few SLRs that let you use a Preview mode, but there’s a downside to this mode: it results in the same kind of lag time that’s common to point-andshoot cams, but almost unheard of on SLRs. Our suggestion is to go ahead and get used to the viewfinder as your main method of framing a shot. Along with preserving the responsiveness that SLRs are known for, shooting with your viewfinder up against your face also prolongs battery life, and adds stability (and a resulting decrease in blurred shots) to your photography. Pentaprism Viewfinder Mirror Shutter Sensor At top, you can see how light passes through an SLR while you’re framing a shot. At bottom, the mirror lifts out of the way and the shutter opens to expose the sensor. Lenses Thanks to its ability to accept different lenses, your SLR gives you much more flexibility. You can choose to use a lens that does a lot of different kinds of shooting well — this kind of lens often comes in an SLR kit, as a good “starter” lens. Or you can specialize and choose a lens that excels at extreme close-ups, a lens with massive telephoto power, and a lens just for portraiture — to name just a few options. Choosing new lenses If you’re in the market for additional SLR lenses, you’ll need to make sure you’re only looking at lenses that are compatible with your SLR. Be sure that they will work with your specific camera’s lens mount; Free Lifetime Product Support: 1-800-955-9091 otherwise, you could end up with a lens compatible with many cameras by your brand, but that doesn’t offer full functionality with your specific model. Your owner’s manual should tell you what kind of mount you have. This zoom lens has a focal length Once you’ve started browsing of 55-200mm and a maximum lenses, you’ll see that they’re typiaperture range from f/4 to f/5.6. cally identified by their focal length and their maximum aperture. If they offer any kind of image stabilization, you’ll usually see that indicated as well. (If it’s a zoom lens, it will show a focal length range and two maximum aperture numbers.) As you compare lenses, you’ll find that as their optical quality and speed increases (that is, their maximum aperture), so does their price. The advantage to a “fast” lens is that you can more easily take photographs in lower light, without a flash or a tripod, than you can with a similar lens with “slower” glass. You may be able to find some inexpensive lenses that are still quite responsive, though. Although these lenses will probably not offer the heft and precision that pros look for in lenses costing thousands and thousands of dollars, they can be an affordable way to increase your experience level and shooting options — and they’ll still provide excellent photos. To the right, we’ve included a chart to show you some focal lengths, and what a lens with that focal length is generally used for. Using older lenses Your new digital SLR may also be able to accommodate older lenses that you or a family member used on a film SLR. However, these lenses often lack the built-in motors or electrical contacts that permit present-day lenses to do autofocus as well as manual focus. That doesn’t mean they’re broken — it just means that you’ll have to shoot with manual focus only when using these lenses. There’s one other thing to consider when choosing lenses for your SLR, and that is what their 35mm equivalent is. Read on to find out about what 35mm equivalent means for you and your SLR. Typical Focal Lengths & What They’re Used For Size Format Best used for < 20mm Super Wide Angle Dramatic shots of large scenes 24mm - 35mm Wide Angle Large scenes or groups of people 50mm Normal Lens Everyday shots; portraits 80mm - 300mm Telephoto Everyday shots of people & objects > 300mm Super Telephoto Shots of extremely far away objects Did you know? If you’re not sure whether or not your camera is an SLR, there’s an easy way to find out. If the owner’s manual has instructions for removing the entire lens and attaching other lenses, it’s probably an SLR. If not, it’s a regular point-andshoot digital camera. Focal length, sensor size, and 35mm equivalent Focal length is another situation where a standard for measuring that originated with film cameras must be adjusted to apply to digital cameras. With a film camera, focal length is the distance from the optical center of the lens to the film, when the subject is in focus. Film photographers came to be very familiar with focal length measurements and how much they reduced or magnified a scene. However, the equation behind this measurement depends on the use of 35mm film, and the sensors in most digital cameras are smaller than 35mm. (A few top-quality SLRs do offer full-size sensors, so there’s no need to calculate a 35mm equivalency for them.) As a result, the “true” focal length for a digital camera can be misleading on its own, whether the camera is a point-and-shoot or an SLR. For instance, an SLR may come with an 18-55mm lens, which could mislead a traditional film photographer into thinking they would gain super-wide-angle capability with that lens — but when used with the digital SLR’s smaller sensor, the practical focal length, or 35mm film equivalent, is actually 28-90mm. 15 Check the glossary We’ve put together a glossary for many of the terms used in this book. If you’d like a definition of an unfamiliar term like “focal length,” “wideangle” or any of the other camera words we use, check out pages 21-23. To help avoid confusion, manufacturers usually publish a 35mm film equivalent for a built-in or included lens. (You can also do this calculation yourself when buying a new lens or using an older lens on your new SLR; see the FAQ on page 20 for details on the equation you’ll use.) Manual control While some point-and-shoot cameras offer manual control of exposure settings, as we discussed on pages 10-14, all digital SLRs offer this kind of manual control — and they tend to offer a wider variety of settings, too. Even if you start off shooting in automatic mode, it’s worth trying out manual shooting to see if you have a knack for it. One tip: you can use your SLR as a photography teacher. Every time it snaps a photo, it stores info about the settings it used, even when shooting in automatic mode. By looking at that info, you can duplicate the settings and retake the shot in manual mode, then adjust slightly and see what happens. This kind of hands-on exploration is one of the best ways to get a feel for manual photography. RAW mode Though a few point-and-shoot cameras offer RAW mode, it’s more commonly found on digital SLRs. RAW mode stores mostly or entirely uncompressed photo info to your card before any in-camera processing can take place. Saving your photos as RAW files gives you the potential for better image quality and more creative control than you get with the JPEG format. And compared to TIFF, a lossless method of compressing image files, a file shot in RAW mode takes up only about half the storage space. However, shooting in RAW mode has one disadvantage — to be seen as photos, these files must usually be processed on a computer later, using software specific to and provided by your camera’s manufacturer. For that reason, RAW mode is generally only used by professionals or very serious enthusiasts. 16 Tips for Better Photographs Want to learn how to take better pictures? We’ve put together these tips to help you. With these tactics, you can start snapping photos that are more compelling and lifelike, without adding expensive accessories. Ready to set your sights on better-looking photos? • Remember the “rule of thirds.” This is guideline that you can use when composing your shot. It’s based on the idea that photographs are more aesthetically satisfying and visually interesting when your The fence posts line up with the rightsubject isn’t located in hand intersections, not the center of the the dead center of the image. Instead, you can image, for a more intriguing picture. think about any shot as being broken into nine equal-sized squares by four intersecting lines. By aligning key elements of the shot with the lines, and especially with the points of intersection, you may end up with a more dramatic or creatively balanced shot. Explore what this guideline means for your photos, but feel free to center your subject if you think that delivers more impact. • Get close to your subject. If you’re taking a photo of your family in front of the Pyramids, you probably don’t mind if the people are almost too small to see — after all, the point is the location. But when you’re photographing people and you don’t need to capture a famous landmark behind them, use your camera’s zoom to get close for a more compelling photo. • Take candids. Capturing candid photos, instead of posed shots, may result in some of your best photos. Yes, we’ve all taken Free Lifetime Product Support: 1-800-955-9091 pictures of people standing stiffly, aiming their best smiles at the camera. But a photo of the same If you’re trying to take a picture of people, get close. group cracking up afterward will likely prove a much more memorable shot. • Get down on their level. When you’re shooting kids, animals, or even people sitting down, get on their level and shoot from there for a much more personal, natural view. • Let people group naturally. If you need to take a posed group shot, let your subjects sit or stand naturally. A row of people with their arms at their sides isn’t that engaging, but a cluster of people standing around in a more relaxed way, some with their hands in their pockets, can be very pleasant. • Don’t photograph people with harsh sun on their face. Sunshine might Using a flash in the photo seem key for great outdoor photogra- below helped compensate phy, but direct sun can actually result for the harsh sunlight. in stark photos of people squinting. Instead, take advantage of cloudy days for good people photos — or, when the sun’s out, position your subjects in the shade and turn the flash on. Then you get the benefit of the sunny scene around them, but they look more natural and comfortable. Choosing & Using Accessories Did you know? Although you don’t need a wide array of accessories to start shooting with your camera, there are a few things you may want to add to your photographic arsenal after you’ve gotten to know your new camera and your shooting habits a little better. In this section, we’ve discussed some of the most common accessories, and why people choose to add them. • Memory cards. It’s not unusual for folks to find that the memory they started out with just isn’t enough. That’s partly because today’s cameras take such highresolution photos that you can’t fit lots of them onto a memory card — and partly because using a new camera seems to generate increased enthusiasm for picturetaking in a lot of the people we talk to. Fortunately, memory cards have gotten remarkably affordable. See the chart below to decide how much memory makes sense for your shooting habits. Using your camera’s zoom to get closer to people, rather than walking up to them, can give you more flattering portraits. A portrait taken without zoom can result in an unflattering rounded effect. Using zoom is also a great way to get candid shots of cameraaware kids. Average Number of Photos Per Card Picture resolution 1GB 2GB 6-megapixel 64MB 21 128MB 43 512MB 170 338 674 8-megapixel 16 34 136 270 540 10-megapixel 14 28 112 224 448 • Batteries. Most cameras come with batteries, but having extras on hand makes a lot of sense. If your camera takes “AA”-size 17 Did you know? Using your viewfinder can mean less camera shake, especially if you don’t have a tripod. That’s because holding your camera against your face, as well as in both hands, adds an extra level of stability. Using a tripod can help you get sharp, blur-free photos, even in tricky low-light situations. 18 batteries, we recommend investing in some NiMH rechargeables — they’re a bit more expensive than regular alkalines, but they’ll save you money in the long run. In a pinch, you can also use “AA”-size alkalines. If your camera uses a model-specific rechargeable battery, then you may want to think about getting a spare to carry with you, especially if you anticipate long days of shooting without time for a recharge, or access to electricity. • Camera bag. Although many cameras are small enough to slip in a pocket, a camera bag makes sense if you do a lot of traveling and want to make sure your camera is protected from bumps and jostles. It’s also a great way to keep your charger, spare memory cards, and camera all in one place. • Tripod. Even for casual photographers, a small, lightweight tripod can be a helpful thing to own. Along with being ideal for taking group photos with your camera’s self timer, a tripod is invaluable when shooting low-light scenes, when the shutter speed slows way down. Most people can’t hold their hands steady enough to avoid blur during these long exposures, even with image stabilization and Night scene mode technology. Tripods are also handy for folks who plan to do a lot of telephoto shooting. Printing, Sharing & Storing Your Digital Photos Thanks to digital photography, it costs virtually nothing to shoot innumerable pictures of a beautiful autumn day, birthday party, or vacation. The inevitable result, though, is that many of us have hundreds or thousands of photos crowding our memory cards or our computer hard drives — and we’re not necessarily doing what we need to do to enjoy them to the fullest, or save them for posterity. Making photo prints that will last Although there’s no way to guarantee that photo prints will last for centuries, it is certainly possible to make an excellent print that can last between five and fifty years. Here are some tips on how to make great prints and protect them: When using an ink jet printer: • use the highest-quality photo paper compatible with your printer; archival-quality “lightfast” paper is ideal • if possible, use pigment-based print ink, not dye-based • let ink jet prints dry for as long as possible before touching them; waiting 12 hours is a good idea When using a lab or photo service: • look for a lab that uses high-end professional printers, not a customer-operated kiosk, to print your photos • try more than one lab until you get the results you want; the service on digital prints can vary greatly No matter how your photos are printed: • always put prints behind glass or plastic to better protect them from moisture, chemicals, and light • avoid placing photos in direct sunlight, even if they’re framed You may have noticed that we didn’t discuss dye-sublimation printers. These printers are prized mainly for portability, bright colors, and continuous tone; their prints fade about as fast as prints from an inexpensive ink jet printer. However, you’ll still get longerlasting dye-sub prints if you follow our last two bullet points above. Enjoying and sharing photos One of the nice things about digital photos is that you’re not limited to prints when it comes to enjoying the pictures you take. Here are some of the things you can do: • View photos on your computer. You can use a digital photo as a background on your computer’s desktop or set up a photo slideshow as a screen saver. Free Lifetime Product Support: 1-800-955-9091 • Enjoy photos on an MP3 player. Many of today’s MP3 players, including the latest iPod models, can store and display photos. In order to load them on the player, you may need to add them to your player’s software and let that software convert them to the appropriate format. Some players can also be connected to a TV for large-scale playback of the stored images. • Use a digital photo frame. These frames vary in price, style, size, and screen resolution. But they all use built-in memory or a memory card to store digital photos, which they then play back as a slideshow. Some can also play short clips of video and audio. Digital photo frames are great gifts for family members who’d like to have access to current family digital photos. • View photos on your TV. Most cameras can be connected to a TV via an included A/V cable, so you can view the photos stored in the camera on your TV. You may also be able to use a wired or wireless network in your home to send digital photos from a computer to your home entertainment system, so you can watch slideshows of your photos on your TV (see right). • Use a website to share photos or create works of art. You can start a photo blog or upload images to photo sharing sites to let distant family and friends enjoy them. Most photo-sharing sites offer free photo storage, plus a range of pay options for creating calendars, greeting cards, photo books and more. You can also use digital scrapbooking sites or software to build beautiful scrapbook pages, print them, and put them together in a book. Storing your photos When people are asked what items they would rescue from their house if it were on fire, one of the most common answers is “my photos.” And yet many people are not doing what they need to do to protect their digital images for the future. Here’s the bottom line. Memory cards can break, get lost, or become corrupted, and hard drives fail eventually — and if they have photos on them, those photos may not be recoverable. Our staff has heard sad stories of lost photos from our customers, and we don’t want that to happen to anyone else. That’s why we’ve put together these recommendations for safe storage of your photos. 1. Use a hard drive to store photos from day to day. We suggest using a backup hard drive, since your computer’s main hard drive gets a lot more of a workout and is more likely to fail. 2. Burn copies of your digital images onto CDs or DVDs. Copy your photos onto CD or DVD (a DVD will hold more photos than a CD) on a regular basis, and store those discs somewhere safe, cool and dark. 3. Check for intact files before deleting the originals. Remember to check that files moved to a hard drive, CD, or DVD were stored successfully before you delete the original from a card or your computer’s hard drive. Sometimes, accidents happen in transfer that result in corrupted, unreadable files. 4. Consider a safe deposit box. It’s not ridiculous to consider storing backup hard drives, CDs, or DVDs in a safe deposit box, if you have one. After all, if you’ve switched entirely to digital photography, those files may be the only record of a wedding or a child’s birth. Of course, even recordable CDs and DVDs aren’t permanent — though they haven’t been around long enough for us to know for certain, chances are they will become hard to read in a decade or two, assuming there are still devices that use CDs and DVDs when that day comes. So we suggest re-copying your images every five years or so, just to be on the safe side. Even if you don’t carry out every recommendation listed above, following most of these tips should help you keep your photos safe and usable for years to come. And that’s exactly what we want for our customers and their pictures. Did you know? You’ll find more tips for printing, sharing, and safely storing your photos at crutchfield.com/photoprint Did you know? You can use a Media Center Extender, or video game system like the Xbox 360 or PS3, to wirelessly access digital photos stored on your compatible computer and display them on your TV. 19 Frequently Asked Questions the difference between optical and Q What’s digital zoom? Optical zoom uses the camera’s lens to zero in on a subject or scene. Digital zoom, on the other hand, is a digital technology that takes a real optical image and “zooms” it by blowing up each pixel and using interpolation — essentially, adding fake blocks of color to fill in the gaps that result, based on what colors it thinks would have been in those spots. For the most part, digital zoom results in an instant decrease in an image’s clarity and sharpness. Images rapidly become blocky and pixelated as you continue to zoom. For that reason, if you’re interested in sharp, crisp close-ups of faraway objects, always use your camera’s optical zoom, not the digital zoom. Q My camera has image stabilization, but I still get blurry photos sometimes. Does this mean the image stabilization isn’t working? With image stabilization, the camera moves either the lens elements or the image sensor to compensate for camera movement. Image stabilization is especially useful for maintaining crispness when it comes to long-distance zoom shots or pictures taken in low light, where the camera’s shutter speed slows down. However, image stabilization can only do so much. For instance, if you can’t hold the camera steady, due to handshake or because you’re shooting from a car or other moving surface, you still may get blur in your photos. (By the way, one of the best ways to correct for hand shake when taking a picture is to use a tripod.) 20 there’s a pause between when I specks on the photos I take Q Sometimes, Q Iwithkeepmyseeing push the shutter button, and when the camera digital SLR. They’re always in the same actually takes the picture. Is there anything I can do to get rid of this pause? Many cameras experience this kind of lag. In general, it’s the result of a point-and-shoot camera trying to assess proper focus and exposure and take a shot, as quickly as possible. Scenes that require more complex focusing or a major adjustment of shutter speed and sensitivity — such as low-light or action scenes — are especially prone to this problem. This lag can be particularly irritating if it causes you to miss out on a great shot. Fortunately, once you get to know your new camera, you’ll have an easier time adjusting for lag. There are also some cool tricks for getting around it. Many cameras offer a “continuous shooting” or “continuous AF” mode. When you turn this mode on, your camera constantly adjusts autofocus for whatever is framed, so that when you push the shutter button, it’s ready to snap a photo. You can also get in the habit of pushing the shutter button down halfway, and holding it there. That way, the camera stays focused and doesn’t have to pause to focus once you push the button. This is great if you know your subject is going to stay in the same basic place and you’re just waiting for the right moment to capture your shot. place. How do I get rid of them? Because it’s electrically charged, your image sensor can attract dust particles. Some cameras have a sensor cleaning mode you can use to remove these specks — your manual will walk you through the specific steps involved. But if your camera doesn’t have such a mode, we recommend against cleaning the sensor yourself. Specifically, you should never touch the sensor with anything, no matter how soft it is — a few specks are better than permanent damage to your camera’s sensor. Camera repair stores can often do a quick clean-out very inexpensively. do I calculate 35mm equivalent when Q How matching lenses with my new digital SLR? You’ll need to know the focal length of the lens in question, and the size of your sensor in millimeters (your camera’s manual should tell you, and may even give you the info you need to skip the formula below and just do some basic multiplication). The formula goes as follows: A/B=C A = 43.3mm (the diagonal of 35mm film) B = the diagonal of your camera’s sensor C = the focal length multiplier Once you have the focal length multiplier, or FLM, you can multiply your lens’ actual focal length with the FLM and get the 35mm equivalent focal length for your camera. Free Lifetime Product Support: 1-800-955-9091 Glossary of Terms 35mm equivalent See focal length. A/V outputs Video or audio/video outputs are found on most digital cameras; they let you send an image to a TV for easier viewing. A video output only sends images, while an A/V output will also let you send sound. Aperture A camera’s aperture works like the iris of your eye, expanding and contracting to adjust the amount of light that passes through. Aperture is measured in “f-stops.” A higher f-stop number equals a smaller opening, which admits less light. Aperture settings are directly related to exposure, which permits you to control the amount of light that reaches your camera’s image sensor. Some cameras offer manual aperture adjustment; others offer an aperture priority mode for changing exposure settings. CCD sensor A CCD sensor, or “charge-coupled device,” is one of two types of image sensor commonly found in digital cameras (the other type is a CMOS sensor). CMOS sensor A CMOS sensor, or “complementary-symmetry metal oxide semiconductor,” is one of two types of image sensor found in digital cameras (the other is a CCD sensor). Digital zoom The ability to magnify an optical image digitally, using interpolation. Digital cameras can come with quite high levels of digital zoom, but the image quality suffers noticeably as more digital zoom is applied. (Generally, you’ll want to stick to optical zoom to ensure a crisp, detailed photo.) Effective pixel count Film speed See sensitivity. Flash memory Flash memory is the form of digital file storage used by today’s digital cameras. Although some cameras offer small amounts of built-in flash memory, most people end up using flash memory cards to store photos. There are two different ways to think about the pixels on a camera’s sensor. “Actual” pixels is a simple count of every pixel present on the sensor. “Effective” pixels, however, is a count of all the pixels used to record an image and it’s almost always a tiny bit lower than the “actual” count, because some pixels on a sensor aren’t used to record picture information. Effective pixel count is widely used as a measure, because it’s a much more accurate way to assess a camera’s maximum image resolution. Focal length Exposure Digital SLR users must be especially attentive to 35mm equivalent focal length when it comes to pairing lenses with their cameras, because a lens that was an 18-135mm lens with an older film SLR may well be a 28-200mm lens with their digital SLR. (See our FAQ on page 20 for info on calculating your SLR’s 35mm equivalent focal length.) Exposure refers to the amount of light to which the camera’s sensor is exposed. Three factors go into exposure: aperture, shutter speed, and sensitivity. By adjusting these factors, either separately and manually, or by using predefined exposure settings, you can affect the way your digital camera handles photos taken in unusual settings (such as pictures taken of people running or at twilight). Different digital cameras have greater and lesser levels of control over exposure settings. Focal length is a measure of the distance (in millimeters) from a camera’s lens to the focal point, which is located on its image sensor. Because digital cameras’ focal lengths are measured differently than traditional film cameras, manufacturers usually give a “35mm equivalent” focal length in their specs. A digital camera’s 35mm equivalent focal length might be 27-105mm, although the lens’ actual focal length might be only 18-70mm. With a long focal length, like 300mm, a camera is better able to capture far-off subjects (such a lens is known as “telephoto”). With a short focal length, like 28mm, a camera can capture the scene immediately before it more completely (this kind of lens is considered “wide-angle”). 21 Focus (auto & manual) Nearly every digital camera features some kind of autofocus capability, a technology which lets the camera focus automatically on a subject in the frame as you press the shutter button. Many offer multipoint autofocus, which makes it easier to take off-center portraits. Multipoint autofocus uses several points (often between 3 and 9) to assess a framed shot and set focus. Selectable multipoint autofocus gives the user control over which point is used as the focus point. More sophisticated cameras may also offer manual focus, either as a set of predetermined focus settings, or as a manual focus ring. Manual focus gives you increased control over the detail and clarity of your photos, especially if you plan on taking non-traditional shots and close-ups. LCD viewscreen Color LCD viewscreens are the norm on today’s digital cameras; they can operate in place of, or in addition to, viewfinders. Most cameras’ LCDs measure between 1.8" and 3.5" diagonally, with resolutions between 100,000 and 240,000 pixels. The higher the LCD’s resolution, the more clearly you will see images and menus. Macro mode Many digital cameras offer a “Macro” mode. This mode changes the focus setting to let the camera focus on subjects that are very close to the lens. Macro mode is perfect for shooting close-ups of flowers or insects. Megapixel F-stop See aperture. One million pixels. The more megapixels a camera has, the higher its maximum resolution — and the better its potential picture quality. Image sensor Movie mode All digital cameras have an image sensor, either a CCD or a CMOS sensor. The sensor’s job is to convert light to electrical energy, which can then be stored in digital form in the camera’s memory. A sensor’s photo-capturing power is measured in pixels, and will usually be seen expressed in megapixels. (Sometimes, you may see two slightly different pixel counts listed for the same camera’s sensor. These numbers represent effective pixel count and actual pixel count.) ISO See sensitivity. 22 Most digital cameras, with the exception of digital SLRs, let you record video either as an MPEG movie or a Motion JPEG movie. Most record audio too. Although these movie modes cannot replace the high-quality video and versatility you get from a good digital camcorder, they can be another fun way to capture faces or events. Optical zoom The ability to magnify a subject for close-ups, by adjusting the camera’s lens assembly (thus the name “optical”). Most current digital cameras include an optical zoom lens of some kind. The amount of zoom commonly varies between 3X and 18X, 3X being less zoom and 18X being considerably more. Although optical zoom specifications may look low compared to digital zoom specifications, remember that optical zoom is preferred because it doesn’t result in image degradation. Pixel Short for “picture element.” A digital camera’s image sensor consists of millions of pixels, each one building up a tiny charge of electricity in response to the light it “sees.” The more pixels a sensor has, the higher the camera’s potential resolution. Priority modes Aperture and shutter speed priority modes are a shortcut to easy exposure adjustment. To set exposure manually, you would need to separately adjust aperture and shutter speed settings. With priority modes, when you adjust aperture, the camera automatically sets shutter speed appropriately — or vice versa. Resolution The number of pixels used to capture an image. Resolution ranges from low (640 x 480) to high (2592 x 1944 and up). High resolution makes for sharper pictures; however, high-resolution photos take up more flash memory than lower-res photos. See pages 6-7 for more info on resolution settings and which ones are appropriate for different uses. Free Lifetime Product Support: 1-800-955-9091 Sensitivity With traditional film cameras, sensitivity, also known as ISO or ASA, represents the film’s sensitivity to light. A lower ISO number means that the film needs more light to take a picture than film with a higher ISO. Because digital cameras do not use film, manufacturers created “sensitivity” settings. Most digital cameras use 100 as their standard ISO sensitivity setting, and offer a range of other settings from 200 to 3200, or more, to mimic the effects of using film with speeds of 200, 400, 800, 1600, etc. Higher sensitivity settings can be very useful in low-light shooting conditions. However, because higher sensitivity is achieved by amplifying the image sensor’s output, they can result in an increase of visible “noise,” giving your pictures a somewhat grainy look. Some cameras let you adjust these settings manually; others will only do it automatically. Shutter speed The speed at which a digital camera’s shutter exposes the sensor to light. A shutter speed of 1/60 means that a sensor is exposed to light for 1/60th of a second. Faster shutter speeds are good for “freezing” fast-moving action; slow ones allow you to intentionally blur the movement of your subject to emphasize motion, such as water traveling over a set of falls. (These types of shots may require a tripod, since the human hand cannot hold a camera steady for very long.) Simple digital cameras may have very little shutter speed adjustment; more sophisticated cams often have between 9 and 15 shutter speeds. Many cameras also offer shutter speed priority mode. Single-lens reflex (SLR) An SLR, or single-lens reflex, camera is named for its picture-taking mechanism. In an SLR, the viewfinder uses a 45°-angled mirror to see through the lens; that mirror snaps out of sight quickly when you open the shutter, to let light enter and strike the image sensor. SLRs are used by photography enthusiasts because they permit the use of many different specialized lenses and flashes, and provide faster response time and higher continuous shooting speed than most point-and-shoot cameras. Telephoto A telephoto lens makes it possible to capture crisp, close-up shots of far-away subjects. The longer the camera’s 35mm equivalent focal length, the more telephoto shooting ability the camera has. For example, a 38-300mm equivalent lens has more telephoto power than a wide-angle lens with a 28-140mm equivalent focal length. (Often, digital camera users refer to optical zoom measurements, not focal length, to indicate a camera’s telephoto ability.) USB USB (Universal Serial Bus) is a “plug and play” interface commonly used on digital cameras, because it allows for quick, easy transfer of digital photos between a camera and a computer or printer. Viewfinder A viewfinder is the small square on the back of a camera that the photographer holds up to his or her eye. Using the viewfinder is the traditional method of framing photos prior to shooting. Many digital cameras offer an optical viewfinder, just like the ones found on film cameras, although a few cameras have electronic viewfinders that use a small color LCD, and some cameras have given up the viewfinder altogether. Although a viewfinder doesn’t provide as big an image as an LCD, it may be preferable when shooting outdoors in direct sunlight, which can wash out the image on an LCD. Using a viewfinder can also provide greater freedom from camera shake because the camera is being held against your face for added stability. White balance White balance is the electronic adjustment of light levels to remove unrealistic color tones or hues, so that objects that appear white in person are rendered white in your photo. This process helps recorded images to retain their true colors. All digital cameras offer automatic white balance, and most feature some additional levels of manual white balance adjustment as well. Wide-angle A wide-angle lens can capture an extra-wide view of the scene immediately before a camera. This allows you to more easily photograph panoramic landscapes, for example, or take big group shots without forcing everyone to squeeze together. The lower the camera’s 35mm equivalent focal length, the more wide-angle shooting ability the camera has. For example, a 28-140mm equivalent lens has more wide-angle capture ability than a telephoto 38-300mm equivalent lens. 23 Our highly trained Product Support Specialists stand ready to answer your camera questions — from basic setup to everyday use — for as long as you own your gear. Use this space to keep important information handy: Crutchfield customers enjoy a one-of-akind convenience — toll-free product support from our highly trained Product Support Specialists, available 16 hours a day, seven days a week. What’s more, you get this exceptional technical support for as long as you own your camera. You can call for setup help the day your camera arrives, when you buy a new photo printer three years later, and when adding a new lens six years after that. Visit crutchfield.com/productsupport or call 1-800-955-9091 Camera Make: Model Number: Serial Number: Invoice Number: Revised 04/08 20M Digital Cameras Real help. For free. For the lifetime of your camera.