The instruction manual is probably the most boring thing you get with a new camera.
It’s funny: you spend a few hundred (or thousand) dollars on a nice camera so you can take brilliantly colorful photos, and all it comes with is a tiny, poorly printed and poorly written instruction manual full of black and white photos!
Your first instinct might be to just ignore that manual, or even throw it away before even peeking inside.
But, buried inside that thing might be some cool features of your new camera that you’re totally unaware of.
Sure, you could probably figure out the basics of your camera on your own (like how to change the aperture, shutter speed, or ISO). But, today’s digital SLRs keep getting more and more features or “custom functions”–and, it’s getting harder and harder to keep up with all of them.
For example, on Canon’s 7D, there’s a little feature that’ll display an electronic level on the screen. This can tremendously help you align your camera for landscape images, when you forgot (or don’t have) a bubble level. You can unlock this feature just by pressing the “Info” button a couple times. Here’s what the level looks like:
Yeah, you’re probably bound to find features like this eventually, just by pressing the “Info” button by mistake someday. But, if you read your camera’s manual, then you’ll learn about cool features like this a lot faster.
Another example is back-button autofocusing–something that can really help you get better control of your autofocus, but isn’t mentioned very often by camera manufacturers.
What about you? What cool features have you found on your camera by reading the instruction manual? Please share with us by leaving a comment below, thanks! 🙂
If you enjoyed this article, and would like to read more, please signup for free updates by email or RSS.
About the Author: Steve Berardi is a naturalist, photographer, computer scientist, and founder of PhotoNaturalist. You can usually find him hiking in the beautiful mountains and deserts of Southern California.