Buried deep in your camera are settings and functions that you have probably never seen before. I've had my camera for years, and I still don't know what some of the settings do. But there are several that you should know about that can make using your camera easier. Keep in mind that there are a lot of different cameras out there and yours may not have all of these functions. As boring as it might be, the best way to learn all the functions of your camera is to read the manual. But before you rush off to do that, here are a ten very helpful settings that you might consider changing.
Everyone knows that you can name files on your computer (or so I would hope), but did you know that you can name your files in-camera too? This can be particularly helpful in sorting through different jobs for different clients. If you have several photographers who shoot for you and use the same kind of camera, you can have them change their file names to start with their initials for easy sorting later on.
Long Exposure NR & High ISO NR
The NR here stands for Noise Reduction. Some photographers are not fond of the in-camera NR quality and prefer to do their NR in post-processing. This option is more about preference than anything else, but do keep in mind that more NR means less detail as the photo is “smoothed over” to get rid of the noise. With long exposure NR, your option is usually just on or off. With High ISO NR, you typically have a choice between high, normal, low, or none.
(Success Tip #1: 52 ways to learn photography when you have little time to spare )
Remote Control Mode
Remotes are great for taking photos without touching the camera and risking blurry photos. But did you know that you have a few options for changing the remote's function in-camera? These may vary by camera, but some will give you the option of a delay, allowing you time to pose without holding the remote if you're doing a self-shot or simply give you a few seconds to do whatever you need to do before the shutter goes off. There's also an option for mirror lock-up mode which is particularly handy if you're trying to get the sharpest image.
Monitor Off Delay
This may seem like a unimportant option, but it can save you a lot of battery life if you use it. Typically you don't need your back LCD screen on for very long. If you're using it, it of course won't go off. But as soon as stop pressing buttons, it counts the seconds until in needs to turn off. Some cameras may just have a single overall option for how long the screen stays on, but other will break it down into what mode you're using. This way you can set your screen to turn off after 10 seconds while browsing through the settings and 1 minute while looking at images on the playback menu.
Auto Image Rotation
Another small but important function your camera can offer is the auto rotation feature. This option will rotate photos you've taken vertically to the same orientation as the horizontal shots. This way you don't have to turn your camera 90 degrees every time you flip through your mix of portrait and landscape orientated photos. Despite this convenience, some prefer to keep it off so that the image fills the whole screen and they can get a better view of the image.
Assign Fn Button
Most cameras have a custom button, often designated as the Fn (Function) button. This button allows you to customize its purpose so that it better fits your shooting needs. Some of the available options are bracketing, AE lock, AF lock, viewfinder grids, quick access to custom menu, and quick metering changes. There may be more or less depending on your camera, but setting and using this button can making shooting less of a hassle by avoiding digging through layers of menus.
(Success Tip #2:How even the hobbyist photographer can make money with their photography )
This is a simple function that lets you put custom copyright information into your EXIF info. You are limited to a certain number of characters (about 40), but it's enough to put your name and “All Right Reserved” or something along that line.
Reverse Dials and Meters
For all of those with OCD that can't stand the way a dial spins or a meter measures something, you can reverse the way they respond in the menu. Handy if you're switching cameras with opposite handling styles.
Non-CPU Lens Data
This function allows you to put in some basic information about lenses that don't have an electronic chip. By putting in your focal length and maximum aperture, you can still use basic matrix, average, and spot metering modes. This is a helpful function for those photographers who still have manual lenses.
AF Fine Tune
On occasion, you may find that a third party lens has a bit of a front-focusing or back-focusing problem in which it is consistently out of focus. Using the AF Fine Tune setting, you can adjust the AF of most lenses and store a number of different lens profiles. However, I want to stress caution when using this function. The majority of lenses will focus perfectly fine, and if you feel that your photos are not sharp, there is most likely another explanation (low shutter speed, poor lighting, wrong focusing mode, etc.) Consider consulting a professional or another photographer before playing with this setting as you might make the problem worse.
Image credit: ginosphotos / 123RF Stock Photo
Written by Spencer Seastrom