Digital cameras: what the manual doesn’t teach you

Digital cameras: what the manual doesn't teach you

How to use Focus Modes

 

The three available focus modes are used to help you focus automatically or manually on both stationary and moving subjects…

Single-servo AF
In this mode, your camera focuses and stays locked onto the subject for as long as the shutter button is pressed halfway down. Beware: if either you or the subject moves, you’ll have to refocus.

Continuous-servo AF
This is perfect for photographing birds in flight or shooting sports. As long as you keep the shutter button pressed halfway down, the servo will continue to re-focus as the subject moves.

Manual
Bad light conditions, subjects with fine detail and shooting through glass are all situations where even the most expensive lenses will struggle to focus. This is where your camera’s manual focus option comes to the rescue. If your autofocus fails to lock onto a surface, simply switch to manual (MF) and turn the focus ring to get sharp shots (learn more about how to use manual focus in our complete guide).

How to use Focus Points

 

Don’t just rely on autofocus (AF), specify exactly where you want to focus. There are two main choices here: let the camera take control by searching the scene, or you can select an area manually.

Digital camera tips: how to select focus points

Single point AF
This mode is best used when shooting a portrait or any subject that stays relatively still. It enables you to select a focus point manually, which doesn’t have to be in the centre of the frame.

Dynamic area AF
This mode is perfect for shooting fast-moving or erratically moving subjects. Some D-SLRs now have up to 50 AF points, so you choose one, but if the subject briefly leaves that point, the camera will re-focus on a point near to the one you’ve chosen.

How to use Drive Modes

 

Whether you need a single shot or a burst of frames to capture your subject, the Drive mode controls the shutter.

Digital camera tips: how to use Drive modes

Single-frame shooting
The camera will only fire once every time you press the shutter. This is best used for still subjects such as landscapes and portrait shots, where you don’t need a burst of frames to catch the moment.

Continuous shooting
In this mode, the camera will fire off shots at the maximum frame advance, for as long as the shutter button is held down. It’s ideal for action or sports.

PAGE 1: What’s on your top dial, Best camera settings
PAGE 3: Exposure, Aperture and Shutter speed

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