Monday, August 29, 2005

Digital Camera Tips

We haven't purchased any film since we went all digital three years ago. Since that time, digital cameras have come a long way. One annoying problem with digital cameras is the lag time when you push the shutter button, especially on inexpensive digital cameras or cameras more than a year old.

This happens because when you push the shutter button, the camera first has to focus, then it takes the shot. To overcome this problem, aim the camera, and push the button half-way down. Your camera will then focus on the subject. When you get the pose or picture you want, push the button the rest of the way. This is the best way to get a real-time shot.

Another thing to do is to try to anticipate the next move of the subject. I've practiced this technique when photographing bald eagles in flight. In surveillance too, when using a digital camera (versus a camcorder), you have to anticipate the subject's next move. If you wait until a couple's lips touch before you push the shutter button, you'll probably miss the shot. But, if you see them about to kiss, push the button half-way, and then a second before they kiss, push the button all the way down.

People are still enamored with the screens on their digital cameras, and thus often take blurry photos. I often see people holding their camera at arms length, trying to frame the subject in the screen. The monitor is really there to review your shots, not to frame your shot. Reviewing your photos on the screen before you print them can save a lot of mone and/or disk space on your computer.

To really get a good shot, use your optical viewfinder. (I know some new models don't even have an optical viewfinder. Avoid buying these.) This helps you in two ways. One, it's a lot easier to see your subject, in any kind of light. Two, by holding the camera up to your eye, you'll avoid camera shake, as you can take a steady shot as you'll be holding it up to your face, and not at arms length.

Finally, be sure your batteries are fully charged, or that you have extra batteries with you.

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