Chapter 3: The Shooting Modes
ntil now I have discussed the basics of setting up the camera for quick shots, relying heavily on features such as AUTO mode to take pictures whose settings are controlled mostly by the camera’s automation. As with other sophisticated digital cameras, though, with the PowerShot S100 there is a large range of options available for setting the camera, particularly for taking still images. One of the main goals of this book is to explain the broad range of features available. To do this, we need to turn our attention to two subjects—shooting modes and the Shooting menu options. First, I’ll discuss the shooting modes. Whenever you set out to record still images, you need to select one of the available shooting modes: AUTO, Program, Shutter Priority, Aperture Priority, Manual, Scene, Creative Filters, or Custom. (The only other mode available is for movies.) So far, we have worked with the AUTO and Program modes. Now we will look at the others, after some review of the first two.
I’ve already discussed this shooting mode. This is the one you probably want to select if you just need to have the camera ready for a quick shot, maybe in an environment with fast-paced events when you won’t have much time to fuss with settings of things such as ISO, white balance, aperture, or shutter speed. To set this mode, turn the mode dial, on top of the camera 47
PHOTOGRAPHER’S GUIDE TO THE CANON POWERSHOT S100
to the right of the shutter button, to the green label with the word “AUTO” in it. When you select this mode, the camera makes quite a few decisions for you and limits your options in several ways. For example, you can’t set ISO or white balance to any value other than Auto, and you can’t choose the metering method or use exposure bracketing. You can, however, use Tracking AF, which is discussed in Chapter 4. To turn on that feature in AUTO mode, just press the exposure compensation button (top direction button) once. The inability to set white balance in AUTO mode can present a problem for certain types of shooting. In my experience, the PowerShot S100’s Auto White Balance setting does not do well with tungsten lighting. When I shoot with tungsten light bulbs illuminating a subject indoors, I have found that the Auto White Balance setting is considerably different than the Tungsten setting, which is available only if I switch to a shooting mode such as Program or Aperture Priority. So, if you need to shoot indoors under artificial light of this sort, you may want to avoid using AUTO mode. (If you use flash or another daylight-balanced light source, there should not be a problem, because the Auto White Balance setting does well with flash and daylight.) Perhaps most important, in AUTO mode you cannot select RAW for the image quality setting, which is set automatically to JPEG. I’ll discuss RAW later, in Chapter 4, but if you want to have the highest possible quality of images or intend to process them using one of the more sophisticated photo editing programs, like Adobe Photoshop, you won’t like having to do without the RAW quality setting. One interesting aspect of AUTO mode is that, in this mode, the camera uses its built-in programming to attempt to figure out what sort of subject or scene you are shooting. (See the chart of icons displayed and what they mean at page 206 of the Canon user’s manual.) So, if you see different icons, or the AUTO icon with different-colored backgrounds, that means 48
CHAPTER 3: THE SHOOTING MODES
that the camera is evaluating the scene for factors such as brightness, backlighting, the presence of human subjects, and the like, so it can use the best possible settings for the situation.
For the image on the left above, the camera used its generic AUTO setting, while, for the one on the right, where the subject was closer to the lens, the camera interpreted the scene as a macro, or closeup shot, and switched automatically into Macro mode,...
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