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Camera Novices: What to Look for in your Camera Manual

If you don’t have your manual, these days they’re all online.

The basics that you need to know about your camera — what you want to look up in your manual first of all (beyond the REAL basics like how to turn it on and charge the battery!): most cameras have various dials and menus. You want to find the following settings or functions:

  • formatting your memory card
  • completely auto shooting (with most cameras, this is the one of the first topics in your manual)
  • focusing
  • zooming
  • controlling the flash: auto; always on; always off
  • setting the ISO
  • setting the file size (pixels) and compression
  • switching between still images and movies (if your camera does this)
  • reviewing your images in the camera
  • downloading images to your computer

Then the next functions you’ll need to find — not quite so basic:

  • Exposure compensation
  • setting the shutter speed
  • Auto focus selection — may be called AF Frame
  • Macro mode or close-up mode — usually indicated by a little flower icon
  • White balance  control– often your camera will say AWB (auto white balance)



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Lightroom 4 Beta out and Free

Lightroom 4 beta is publicly available, and free.  Good not only for people who’ve been using Lightroom, but those who want to try it for free.

Lightroom is widely used and loved for managing photos (metadata, collections) and for editing.  It does a lot (but not all) of what Photoshop does, but easier.

I recommend that anyone at all interested in photography use Lightroom — the academic price is generally around $100.

Don’t buy Lightroom 3 — it’ll be obsolete soon, and academic version does not allow discounted  upgrading.

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