Reading a camera’s operating manual is about as much fun as reading the legal mumbo jumbo we are forced to read when signing up or buying anything today. This type of reading is guaranteed to put a person to sleep in a matter of minutes. So far I have never read the legal mumbo jumbo and everything seems to be going well. Dudes in black suits could arrive at my doorstep any minute! However there is no way to get out of reading your camera’s manual.
Whenever a new camera is purchased I recommend sitting down, with the camera and manual and going through every button and function until you fully understand the purpose of the button or function. I recommend you do this before taking your first click, because the first time out with a new camera you are going to see Bigfoot and you will for sure screw up the shot unless you read the manual.
Let’s take the photo below for example on the importance of knowing your camera’s functions.
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This shot requires quite a bit of messing around with the camera’s functions to make it work. I shot this creek click (say that 10 times fast) in shutter priority mode, exposure composition +5, 5 second timer, and with a 25 second exposure. This is a tricky setup! Now add the fact as I was taking this photo I heard a ruckus behind me and saw three young raccoons running down the creek towards me. I had about 10 seconds to go from long exposure mode to raccoon shooting mode, (read your manual to find out more about raccoon mode) before the raccoons were on the bridge I was shooting from and not more than 15 feet away. Raccoon shooting mode is way different than long expose, creek click mode. The raccoons, and I thought this was quite rude, didn’t stay on the bridge for very long to pose. I did a great job getting the camera into raccoon shooting mode all except for removing the ND filter on my lens. That is why I am not proudly posting amazing raccoon photos!
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Now after you read your new camera’s incredibly dull manual. Get some time behind the lens. Then I recommend you buy another expanded version, tailored for your camera model, manual. I know you probably think I am torturing you. You already sat through several hours of boring manual and now I want you to read a long version of your camera’s manual. Yep, because I am twisted like that, but mainly because the manual your camera comes with sucks! There is in other way to put it! It sucks! The camera’s manual gives you the basics, but there is much more to learn about your camera. An expanded manual will not only tell you what the button or function does, but why you want to use it.
Even after owning my camera for over two years I still go back to the expanded add on manual from time to time to refresh myself on the functions and buttons I don’t use very much or may have forgotten about. Usually with the aid of an adult beverage!
Next topic: TRIPODS ARE NOT ALL THE SAME!