5. Sensitivity: Auto
The sensitivity or ISO setting determines how much light the camera needs to capture an image. At high ISO settings like ISO 6400 the camera only needs a small amount of light, but the image may be noisy and have some speckling visible.
Using a low sensitivity setting ensures high image quality, but it may require a slow shutter speed or large aperture setting. To save having to worry about this in the early days, set the camera to its automatic ISO setting.
6. White balance: Auto
Different light sources produce light of slightly different colours but our brains do a great job of correcting the colour shift. The camera’s automatic white balance setting attempts to do the same thing.
It may not always get it right, and it may sometimes over-correct, but it’s a great starting point.
7. Metering: Evaluative, Matrix or Multi-segment
Your camera’s light metering system measures the amount of light available and suggests (or sets) appropriate exposure settings.
The name of the multi-purpose setting varies depending upon the brand of camera, but it’s often called Evaluative, Matrix, Multi-area or Multi-segment metering and it is the best option to use when you are starting out in photography.
This setting tells the camera to look at several areas across the whole frame and suggest/set aperture and shutter speed settings that give a balanced exposure.
8. Focus: Auto
There are two main focusing options, automatic and manual. In manual mode you have to rotate the lens’ focusing ring to get the subject sharp.
In automatic focusing mode the camera will do the work for you. It will focus on the point under the selected autofocus (AF) point.
You may notice that there are usually two or three autofocus options options Single AF, continuous AF and Automatic AF mode. When Continuous AF mode is selected the camera will drive the lens focus mechanism as long as you hold the shutter release button down.
Many cameras also have an Auto AF mode in which it uses Single AF until it detects that the subject is moving and then switches to continuous AF mode.
In most situations you want to use Single AF mode so the lens focuses at one point and doesn’t change if you move the camera to recompose the image.
By default most cameras automatically set the AF point (where it’s going to focus) for you. It’s a useful option, but the camera often assumes the nearest object is your main subject.
In many cases its best to select a single focusing point that can be placed over the subject and used for more precise control. Look for a single point AF mode.