At the risk of being labeled conventional, I suggest that you start your camera customization by opening this menu, shown in Figure 1-14.
Here's a quick rundown of each menu item:
1 Auto Power Off: To help save battery power, your camera automatically powers down after a certain period of inactivity. By default, the shutdown happens after 30 seconds, but you can change the shutdown delay to 1,
2, 4, 8, or 15 minutes. Or you can disable auto shutdown altogether by selecting the Off setting.
1 Auto Rotate: If you enable this feature, your picture files include a piece of data that indicates whether the camera was oriented in the vertical or horizontal position when you shot the frame. Then, when you view the picture on the camera monitor or on your computer, the image is automatically rotated to the correct orientation.
To automatically rotate images both in the camera monitor and on your computer monitor, stick with the default setting. In the menu, this setting is represented by On followed by a camera icon and a monitor icon, as shown in Figure 1-14. If you want the rotation to occur just on your computer and not on the camera, select the second On setting, which is marked with the computer monitor symbol but not the camera symbol. To disable rotation for both devices, choose the Off setting.
Note, though, that the camera may record the wrong orientation data for pictures that you take with the camera pointing directly up or down. Also, whether your computer can read the rotation data in the picture file depends on the software you use; the programs bundled with the camera can perform the auto rotation.
1 LCD Brightness: This option enables you to make the camera monitor brighter or darker, as shown in Figure 1-15. After highlighting the option on the menu, press Set to display a screen similar to what you see on the right screen in the figure. (The camera displays a picture from your memory card in the main preview area; if the card is empty, you see a black box instead.) Press the right and left cross keys to adjust the brightness setting. Press Set again to return to the menu.
If you take this step, keep in mind that what you see on the display may not be an accurate rendition of the actual exposure of your image. Crank up the monitor brightness, for example, and an underexposed photo may look just fine. So I recommend that you keep the brightness at the default setting, which places the brightness marker at dead center on the little brightness scale, as shown in Figure 1-15. As an alternative, you can display the histogram, an exposure guide that I explain in Chapter 4, when reviewing your images.
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Auto power off 30 sec. Auto rotate OnOS
LCD auto off Enable Date/Time 12/06/'07 OB:27 File numbering Continuous Format
Figure 1-15: You can adjust the brightness of the camera monitor.
1 LCD Auto Off: When the Enable setting is selected, as it is by default, the camera automatically turns off the camera monitor when you put your eye up to the camera viewfinder. (The little sensor underneath the viewfinder notes the presence of your eye and signals the camera to turn off the monitor.) You can deactivate this feature by choosing the Disable setting if you prefer. The monitor is one of the biggest battery drains on the camera, however, so in my opinion, the auto shutoff feature is a good thing.
i Date/Time: When you turn on your camera for the very first time, it automatically displays this option and asks you to set the current date and time.
Keeping the date/time accurate is important because that information is recorded as part of the image file. In your photo browser, you can then see when you shot an image and, equally handy, search for images by the date they were taken. Chapter 8 shows you where to locate the date/ time data when browsing your picture files.
i File Numbering: This option controls how the camera names your picture files. When the option is set to Continuous, as it is by default, the camera numbers your files sequentially, from 0001 to 9999, and places all images in the same folder. The initial folder name is 100Canon; when you reach image 9999, the camera creates a new folder, named 101Canon, for your next 9999 photos. This numbering sequence is retained even if you change memory cards, which helps to ensure that you don't wind up with multiple images that have the same file name.
By contrast, the Auto Reset option automatically starts file numbering at 0001 each time you put in a different memory card. I discourage the use of this option, for the reason already stated.
Whichever of these two options you choose, beware one gotcha: If you swap out memory cards and the new card already contains images, the camera may pick up numbering from the last image on the new card, which throws a monkey wrench into things. To avoid this problem, just format the new card before putting it into the camera. (See the next bullet point for details.)
Finally, if you choose Manual Reset, the camera begins a new numbering sequence, starting at 0001, for your next shot. The Continuous mode is then automatically selected for you again.
i Format: The first time you insert a new memory card, you should use this option to format the card, a maintenance function that wipes out any existing data on the card and prepares it for use by the camera.
If you previously used your card in another device, such as a digital music player, be sure to copy those files to your computer before you format the card.
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Compared to film cameras, digital cameras are easy to use, fun and extremely versatile. Every day there’s more features being designed. Whether you have the cheapest model or a high end model, digital cameras can do an endless number of things. Let’s look at how to get the most out of your digital camera.