5 digital camera features no photographer should be without

5 digital camera features no photographer should be without

If you only ever get to grips with five digital camera features, make sure it’s these…

5 digital camera features no photographer should be without

All images by Chris Rutter

Every camera has a plethora of different features and functions, but it can be bewildering to know which ones to use and when, so we’ve come-up with the five essential digital camera features you need to master to help you get perfect results every time.

Some of these, such as back-button focusing, take a little time to master, but it’s well worth taking the time to get to grips with them, as once you do, you’ll wonder how you ever managed without them.

No matter what subject you’re shooting, we guarantee they will change the way you shoot forever, and will result not just in better images, but images that you previously thought were impossible. Don’t believe us? Read on to learn more…

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Best digital camera features: 01 Highlight warning & histogram view

100 Secrets of Canon EOS Cameras: Highlight warning

What’s the feature?
These two image-review modes are essential for assessing the exposure of your images. The highlight-warning mode will show you overexposed areas as flashing pixels, while the histogram is a graph showing the distribution of the tones within the image.

How does it work?
In the playback menu you will have to select the option to display these two review modes.

Then, when you review your image, either automatically after you have taken a shot or by pressing the playback button, you can select the review mode by either pressing the info button or the top and bottom parts of the multi-controller.

If the highlight warning flashes, you will need to reduce the exposure (ie darken the whole image, so that the highlights are no longer blown).

The easiest and most intuitive way to do this is to find your camera’s Exposure Compensation button or menu, and dial in a compensation value of say, -1 (negative values make the image darker, positive values brighter).

A quick test shot will confirm whether you need to dial in more or less compensation.

While the highlight warning can be useful, however, using the histogram will give you much more information about the overall exposure – if the graph is bunched up at the right, with a gap to the left, the image is over-exposed, so again, you will need to dial in some negative Exposure Compensation.

If it’s bunched to the left, with a gap to the right, the image is under-exposed, so you will need to set the Exposure Compensation to a positive value.

SEE MORE: How to set up a camera for the first time – 11 things you need to do first

5 digital camera features no photographer should be without

When should I use it?
Both of these review options can – and should – be used by default, but the highlight warning is best if you need to quickly check the exposure, while the histogram is ideal for checking under- and over-exposure, and for fine-tuning things when the exposure is critical – such as when shooting landscapes, or architecture.

Anything else I need to know?
Both the histogram and highlight-warning displays use information from a JPEG image (even if you are shooting in raw), so if you are shooting in raw, leave any Picture Styles or Controls set to neutral to get the best indication of the exposure of the raw file.

Best digital camera features: 01 Highlight warning & histogram view
Best digital camera features: 02 Live View mode
Best digital camera features: 03 Manual AF point selection
Best digital camera features: 04 Back-button focusing
Best digital camera features: 05 Continuous shooting for static subjects


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