8 camera features they make you think you need, but you really don’t

Nikon J2 features: what's new on the latest Nikon 1 camera

What is an essential camera feature and what is just a camera gimmick? Everyone will hold a different opinion, but here’s our list of some unnecessary features  which you can probably do without.

Words by Marcus Hawkins 8 camera features they make you think you need, but you really don't

Digital cameras are designed to appeal to as broad an audience as possible, and that means they come loaded with features that may not be relevant to the type of photography you’re interested in.

That said, even image stabilization, Live View and autofocus were undoubtedly seen by some as unnecessary camera features when they made their debut – could you imagine the world of photography without them today?

SEE MORE: 24 camera features every beginner photographer must memorize

However, here we’re more concerned with features that camera brochures make you think you need, but which you can probably do without.

Unnecessary camera features: 1. HDR mode

A controversial choice up front! HDR modes are increasingly common on digital cameras, and they can certainly dig you out of a dynamic range problem.

When you’re unable to record detail in both the dark and light areas of a picture using a single exposure, High Dynamic Range mode can be used to automatically take two or three at different brightness levels, then blend the best of each to create a final JPEG.

The trouble is that currently most of the in-camera HDR modes are only compatible with JPEG shooting, and even then they only save the finished image.

The HDR mode in the Canon EOS 5D Mark III does let you save the original source photos too – and the RAW files at that – so you can use HDR software to blend the exposures if you don’t like the image the camera has coughed up.

SEE MORE: HDR photography – set up, shoot and process your first high dynamic range image

Unnecessary camera features: 2. Full Auto mode on advanced camera bodies

Tips from our professional photographer: turn off auto mode

We get it. Full Auto makes it easy for beginners to move up the digital camera food chain, providing a stepping stone into more complex DSLRs.

But using a £1000+ DSLR in point-and-shoot mode? Fair enough if you use cameras as jewellery, but we’d imagine most people – you know, photographers rather than camera users – don’t.

SEE MORE: What camera should I buy? Pros and cons of each camera type

Program mode is always there if you need to grab a shot, so let’s see Full Auto’s place on the mode dial given to another function. And on the subject of automatic modes you probably don’t need…

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