Every day I get email from audience members asking me simple things like, “How do I set my aperture on a Canon 1DS” or “How can I change lenses on my Nikon D70?”
Here’s how – Read Your Manual! That’s the first advice I am giving to new digital camera owners.
But there is plenty of help right there in the box. Read the manual! Digital cameras are far more complex on their face than film cameras. With film cameras, you can pretty much drop in a battery and a roll of film and press the shutter button and you get a picture.
Digital cameras on the other hand have menus. Lots of them. And they are often nested electronic menus meaning you get to one from the other.
And while some digital cameras are more intuitive then others, all can easily be deciphered if you JUST READ THE MANUAL.
I suggest that you give the manual a quick read from front to back before you even unpack the camera and install the batteries. This will give you a good idea of the camera’s overall capabilities.
Then, get the camera in your hand and practice all the basic functions by reading the instructions.
Now if you are an old pro, you may have decided this post has nothing for you. But wait. It does. I don’t care how familiar you are with your camera, in more cases than not, I can ask you a question about your camera that will stump you. Your defense will be something like, “But I never need that feature.” And my response will be, “How do you know?”
If you practice with all of the controls and menus and knobs and dials on your camera, when that million-dollar moment comes by, you won’t miss it because you were fumbling around with your camera, searching for the perfect setting.
I advise even old pros to spend a few minutes EACH DAY, reading one page of the manual for their camera. If you take this advice, your camera will start to feel more like an extension of your vision than a weight around your neck.