Camera Blog Posts

November 24, 2021

Manual Exposure Mode

Most Cameras have four common-mode settings: Program Auto, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, and Manual Exposure Modes. Otherwise known as PASM.

Over the next few weeks, we'll do a deep dive into each one of these modes. The goal is to better understand when it's best to select that particular mode.

This week we look at the Manual Priority mode, otherwise known as the M on the camera mode dial.

Manual Priority Header

Manual Priority Mode

M is for Manual and M is also for Max Control. So when you want maximum control of your camera, using the 'M' mode is the way to go.

Manual Exposure Mode is when the photographer manually sets the aperture, ISO, and shutter speed all independently of each other in order to adjust exposure. This gives them full creative control over the output of the image.

Advantages of using the Manual Priority Mode

This mode gives you the most power over their camera. It's great when you want total control of the Aperture, Shutter Speed, and Exposure.

When to Use the Manual Priority Mode

Once you mastered using Aperture, ISO, and Shutter Speed, you'll want to switch it to Manual mode to get more control over your shots.

This is a great mode to use when testing cameras at the store. You'll be able to see the limits of the camera without looking at the manual.

This is a great mode to use when taking photos of the fireworks show at Disney World. Make sure to play around with the settings - know what dials do what when you are in Manual mode. (Each Camera is different.)

Use this mode when you're looking for a particular effect that Auto isn't letting you do. For example, if you want a better motion blur of highway car headlights from a highway overpass.

November 17, 2021

Shutter Priority Mode

Most Cameras have four common-mode settings: Program Auto, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, Manual Exposure Modes. Otherwise known as PASM.

Over the next few weeks, we'll do a deep dive into each one of these modes. The goal is to better understand why someone would want to select that particular mode.

This week we look at the Shutter Priority mode, otherwise known as the S on the camera mode dial.

Shutter Priority

Shutter Priority Mode

S is for Shutter and S is also for Speed. So when you have a high-speed shot, you should think of moving the mode to S.

"S" is an automatic mode to set the shutter speed. Use this mode to freeze a moving subject (fast shutter speed) or convey the impression of movement (slow shutter speed).

Advantages of using the Shutter Priority Mode

Use this mode when you have an action scene and you want to have more control. Using "Auto" mode isn't going to help because the camera isn't going to know your intentions for the particular shot.

If you have multiple cameras, you should know the shutter speed upper/lower limits of the camera. You can find this by simply moving the mode to "S" and then making the speed adjustments to see what the limits are.

If you're going to take pictures of runners at a Marathon, you want to make sure that you pack the best camera for the shot. You may be surprised at which camera has a fast shutter speed.

Here's a useful graphic to illustrate what happens at the various speeds:


When to Use the Shutter Priority Mode

Fact Action Photos - If you are shooting moving cars or a soccer game, you may be better off using a high shutter speed. A speed of 1/2000 is considered to be good.

Night Time Photos - While your better off using the Aperture Priority to have the best shot, but there maybe times when having a slow shutter speed may add some cool effect.

Waterfall Photos - If you want to add a blur effect to a waterfall, you'll want to see the 'S' setting. Simply select a slow shutter speed on your camera to get the motion blur effect.

November 13, 2021

Canon Explains Exposure

Are learning how to use a DSLR camera? Hate taking all the complex classes? Wish there was a better way to learn all the manual components of taking a picture? There is!

Cannon has a cool site called Canon Explains Exposure where you play around will all the various setting and see what happens.

You simply adjust the various settings and get a "live view" of the changes. It is a good way to learn how simple adjustments can change a photo.

Canon Explains Exposure

November 10, 2021

Aperture Priority

Most Cameras have four common-mode settings: Program Auto, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, Manual Exposure Modes. Otherwise known as PASM.

Over the next few weeks, we'll do a deep dive into each one of these modes. The goal is to better understand why someone would want to select that particular mode.

This week we look at the Aperture Priority mode, otherwise known as the A on the camera mode dial.

aperture Camera

Aperture Priority Mode

When your camera in in mode A, you choose the aperture and let the camera automatically adjust the shutter speed for optimal exposure. Rotate the mode dial to A to enable the Aperture-Priority AE mode.

Think of Aperture Priority mode as the same functionality as the iPhone's Portrait Mode - but way better. DSLR cameras have more control over the Aperture than iPhones.

Advantages of using the Aperture Priority Mode

Most camera experts mention that this is a great mode to force the background to be out of focus.

This is a great mode to use when you want to open up the lens in low light condition - just remember to keep the camera steady or use a tripod.

The camera aperture settings, otherwise known as "f-stop," determines the amount of background blur. This is a handy chart to help:

Aperture Info Sheet
Quick Guide to F-Stops

According to the above guide, it looks like Apple defaults to 5.6. That might be a good selection to start.

When to Use the Aperture Priority Mode

Object Photography - When you want to focus on something that may have a busy background. Such as a person in a field.

Reduce Glare in Night Pictures - If a street light is overpowering a night shot, you can use Aperture Priority to reduce the shine from the street light.

Duplicate iPhone Portrait Functionality - When you are trying to take a portrait picture like you would with the iPhone. Remember: In the DSLR world, you do have more power than a point-and-shoot smartphone.

November 3, 2021

Programmed Auto

Most Cameras have four common-mode settings: Program Auto, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, Manual Exposure Modes. Otherwise known as PASM.

Over the next few weeks, we'll do a deep dive into each one of these modes. The goal is to better understand why someone would want to select that particular mode.

This week we look at the Program Auto mode, otherwise known as the P on the camera mode dial.

Camera P Mode

The "Point-and-Shoot" Program Auto Mode

In Program Auto mode, the Aperture]( and [shutter speed are adjusted for optimal results. Users can make the adjustment of the combination of aperture value and shutter speed while keeping the correct exposure.

Terminology Check:

  • Nikon calls this Programmed Auto.
  • Sony call it Program Auto
  • Canon, Fujifilm calls it Program AE.
  • Olympus calls it Program shooting.

Advantages of using the Program Auto Mode

The Program Mode is a great next step in-camera control from the Auto functionality. You would use the Program Auto Mode when you want a bit more control over adjusting the aperture and shutter speed but don't want to adjust them individually.

The Program Mode is useful when you want to add more depth of field, to a shot. Using the Auto mode, you may not have the flexibility.

This mode is perfect when you want to take a low-light photo without the camera forcing a flash. Using the Auto mode, the flash is an automatic action when it detects low light.

When to Use the Program Mode

Taking daytime pictures of snow - Sometimes the white is too bright. In Program mode, you can adjust the exposure, which you can't do in Auto mode.

Tweek Auto Mode - When you want to make a quick change to the auto mode. Start with the auto mode, then flip to "P" to make some minor adjustments.

Time Constraint - Best when you need adjustment but don't have much time to adjust all the settings.

September 12, 2021

Apple iPhone 13

This week Apple is expected to announce the next iteration of the Apple iPhone. The next version is 13 but some analysts predict Apple will not call it 13 as that is an unlucky number.

What we know

Apple has announced that there is a shortage of some chips so this may impact the distribution of many iPhones.

It's expected that phones won't ship until October. Preorders will start as early as this Friday.

Apple has indicated that there is going to be an upgrade to the camera in this version. They have said that they have worked hard on making camera changes in this release.

Sales of the Apple iPhone 12 have been great - even though a new iPhone will ship soon.

My Wish List

I currently have an iPhone X Max. I am excited to see the changes in the new iPhone. Here's what I think will get announced.

  • Portrait Mode for Videos - now you can blur out the background in your videos.
  • Better Low Light Camera - You'll be able to take better night time photos. Android cameras are taking better night shots than iOS.
  • Larger Sensor - Will Apple break away from the 1/2.55-inch camera sensors.
  • Faster Smart Phone Processor - Applications will load up much quicker. A15 Bionic Chip
  • Cheaper Memory - The storage space should get a bump - at least in the pro version.
  • Faster Wireless Charging Support - Users can wirelessly charge their phones just as quick as plug in power.
  • Smaller Notch - You should see more video on the Home Screen.
September 7, 2021

QA Fail: Product Listing on Amazon

This week is yet another fail by - at least by a merchant and not a specific issue with the company Amazon. (See the "Amazon Deals" fail)

Video Camera

This week fail is by Kimire Store. They have a video camera with the following title: "Video Camera Camcorder kimire Digital Camera Recorder Full HD 1080P 15FPS 24MP 3.0 Inch 270 Degree Rotation LCD 16X Digital Zoom Camcorder Camera with 2 Batteries(Black)"

This is a pretty neat camera with lots of functionality. Its listed for $64.99 - which is an awesome price point.

In the product description is this:

Amazon Camera Fake Photo

Great Photo Quality!

The camera takes amazing pictures! Look at that mountain photo - this is an awesome camera.

QA Fails

That mountain picture is unfortunately a stock photo. You can find it on Shutter Stock:

Amazon Shutter Stock

How can you trust this listing when they use a stock photo for the description? Is the video quality really bad that you can't find a decent place to take a photo with the camera?

The listing is full of questionable wording that indicates that its a really bad translation. Here's an example:

The camcorder come with two NP-FV5 batteries. It allows you to keep recording around 60 to 90 minutes when it's fully charged. For the first time use need to charge more than 8 hours. The camcorder support the recording while charging, good to record long videos anytime.

September 5, 2021

Packing Cables

Recently I took an overnight trip and had to bring various cables with me for a video project. I needed to make sure that I had enough cables to charge all my various camera devices.

Electronic Storage Bag

I purchased a small electronic storage bag to help organize my cables. My thought was to get something small so that I wouldn't overpack and bring a lot of cables that I wouldn't use

Cable Bag Trip

Six Things I Learned

This particular unit has ably 9 cable compartments and it seemed to be the right number of cables that I needed.

When packing, I discovered that I have too many cables that look alike. I thought that it would be a problem when it came time to find a cable, as I would be confused about picking the right one. I ended up selecting different color cables to make my life easier later.

I packed some MicroUSB adapters for lightning cables and USB-C. I didn't end up using these but thought they would be handy to have - just in case I needed them.

I think for future trips it would be better to actually label the cables. That way I know what cable is for what. It would help figure out if I actually have enough cables. I thought I wouldn't need to do that, but looking back it would make it easier to certify that I have a cable for a particular device - instead of thinking I do.

The storage bag has sockets to keep the cables organized. I don't really need twist ties to keep the cable together.

I am considering buying another electronic storage bag just for audio cables. I think it would help find particular cables. The bag comes in black and green. Having two colors will make it easy to find the cable category I need.

Great Investment

A electronic storage bag is very useful to have when traveling with various cable types. It makes it easy to find a particular cable instead of searching for the bottom of the bag.

August 16, 2021

Commute to Boston

Today I had to drive into Boston for work. I decided to hook up my GoPro Hero 9 camera to the dashboard and record a time-lapse of my morning and evening commute.

The video starts at Temple Street in Framingham and ends at the Christian Science Center Parking garage. The evening commute starts in the Christian Science Center garage and ends on Route 9 in Framingham.

The traffic wasn't all that bad as many people are still working from home. In a few weeks, more people will be going back into the office.

Framingham to Boston via Mass Pike

July 11, 2021

GoPro Heat Issue

On June 30th, I. noticed that my GoPro Hero 9 was acting a bit weird.

The problem was that It wasn't recording. Basically, the recording would stop seconds after I hit the record button. I then looked at the front of my screen and notice something weird.

Bad Go Pro Mobile
Bad Go Pro Desktop

I took this picture using my iPhone thinking that something was going on with my camera - it worth noting the issue I saw on the front of the camera. There was no issue with the back display.

After a few minutes the "condensation" went away. I don't think it was real condensation.

What Happened?

I think my GoPro was suffering from being in the heat too much during the last recording. According to Dark Sky it was nearly 100-degrees during the last recording.

Prior to the failure, I had the GoPro doing some time-lapse recording on a very hot day. The camera was in the sun the whole time.

There was some rain in my last recording, but I don't think it was that as I had the GoPro do a lot of wet recordings - including snow and rain..

Optimal Enviroment

According to the GoPro Manual

The operating ambient temperature range of your HERO9 Black is 14- F ~ 95- F (10- C ~ 35- C). High temperatures will cause your camera to use more power and drain the battery faster.

What's happing now

Over the past few days the GoPro won't respond to the power button. When I put in a battery it stays on until I remove the battery.

The video recording stops after a few minutes. I have to put the battery and push it back in to record.

I am unable to connect the camera wirelessly or via USB.

While the camera still works, it is not that reliable.

Returning Device

I have to GoPro Subscription service. I will take advantage of the no question as a device replacement. I will return the device for a new one.

This isn't a free replacement as it will cost $99 to get a replacement.