Category: Camera

Collecting Classic Cameras

The first thing we budding photographers had to learn was a sequence of f-stops (aperture sizes) – f2.8, f4, f5.6, f8, f11, f16, etc – and that each was twice/half the size of its neighbour, with f2.8 being the largest, and f16 the smallest. Similarly, the shutter speeds were 30th, 60th, 125th, and 250th (on my camera anyway), and each was twice/half the speed of its neighbour. The final bit of information came with the film; a slip of paper that said something like this (for 100 ASA film):

1/125th and f/16 on a sunny day with distinct shadows
1/125th and f/11 on a slightly overcast day with soft shadows
1/125th and f/8 on an overcast day with shadows barely visible
1/125th and f/5.6 on a heavily overcast day with no shadows
1/125th and f/4 on in open shade or at sunset

All the camera settings were guesswork, and some shots would inevitably be incorrectly exposed, or blurry. The solution was to learn from mistakes (give it a bit more/less exposure in certain conditions) and gain more knowledge via and understanding of aperture/shutter speed combinations, and depth of field.

The correct exposure setting can be maintained by corresponding adjustments of shutter speed and aperture choices. For example 1/125th at f/8 is the same as 1/60th at f/16, and the same as 1/250th at f/5.6, and so on. The most obvious application is using a higher shutter speed with a larger aperture is elimination of motion blur.

Depth of field (hyper-focus) is the distance over which all objects are acceptably sharply in focus. Many cameras had a handy scale of the lens that illustrated the depth of field for each aperture setting. The concept to be grasped was that large apertures have a small depth of field (only the subject might be in focus), while small apertures have a large depth of field (the foreground, subject and background could also be in focus). As distances had to be guessed, the best method of ensuring good focus was to use smaller apertures. However, good photography demands that differing apertures should be deliberately selected to expand or compress depth of field, so that backgrounds can be intentionally sharp, or blurred.

This was the point at which I moved up to a new camera to eliminate some of the guesswork: an accurately focus-able SLR, which dispensed with the need to hyper-focus, and allowed a more creative use of shutter speed/aperture combinations and depth of field. My camera didn’t have a built-in exposure meter, so I had to get a hand-held.

Taking a picture took a long time (composition aside). You had to take a light reading and transfer settings to the camera, think about the relative importance of freezing action and controlling depth of field, and adjust accordingly. Then the sun would go behind a cloud and you’d have to start over again.

Life was much easier when I moved-up to a camera with an integrated exposure meter. One of the joys of a simple viewfinder match needle metering system was that you could continually monitor the quality of the light, and easily make exposure compensations to over or under expose when necessary by not matching the needle pointer (when you knew better than the meter).

Better yet, the next development was shutter or aperture priority auto exposure (most cameras featured one or the other, but not both), where the user had to make one selection, and the other would follow automatically. While you still had to apply the same thought processes, there were a lot less knobs to twiddle, and most systems could be made to work backwards (e.g. manually changing a shutter speed would force a preferred aperture selection).

Automation started to get a grip on camera design, and not all of it was good. For example, exposure compensation might require changing the ASA setting to force a different exposure, or twiddling a dedicated exposure compensation dial. It wasn’t really progress, and it didn’t make operation easier. I was just a different way of doing things.

I guess increasing camera automation was largely aimed at new photographers. It allowed them to use the tool without knowing about shutter speeds, apertures, and depth of field, but for those of us who had started with a simple wholly mechanical camera, it felt like creative control was being lost.

The next big development was auto-focus. This was a very attractive proposition, since a necessary task could be performed by the camera freeing-up concentration on creative control. However, auto-focus came with auto everything else. Cameras had become the high-tech version of the point and shoot I started with in the 1960s.

My first auto-focus camera was a Pentax MZ-5n. This camera had various program modes, which essential addressed set-up decisions for the type of subject I was trying to photograph. Instead of thinking about shutter speed, aperture, and depth of field, I had to think about navigating menus to tell the camera what I was photographing so it could affect an appropriate set-up on my behalf. It wasn’t easier to use; it wasn’t better; it was just a different way of doing things.

My interest in photography (as opposed to operating a camera in the same way one might operate a washing machine or any other bit of electrical equipment) faded once I’d acquired the MZ-5n. I think it only ever had one film passed through it. More than that, film photography was dealt a death sentence shortly after when digital cameras came of age.

My next camera was actually a digital, and I easily acclimatized to the fact that it does everything for me, but I use it in a very different way. The digital camera is a tool in a multimedia age. I use it to captures images in a way that is factual, and unemotional. To be creative, I still reach for one of my old film cameras, and put some effort into capturing the moment.

Camera Aperture

Put quite simply your camera aperture is the opening in your camera’s lens that allows differential amounts of light through the lens to the cameras light sensitive sensor behind it. Together with the ISO value and shutter speed of your camera it controls the light exposure used to create your photograph.

The size of your camera aperture is controlled by settings called f/stops. An f/stop can also be likened to the human eye as the iris which controls the size of the eye’s pupil. Similarly the smaller the f/stop value (iris) the larger the camera aperture (pupil) and the more light that passes through the lens to the cameras sensor. The larger the f/stop value the smaller the aperture and the less light passes through..

Digital cameras will allow you to choose from an f/stop range dependent on your camera lens capabilities. For example purposes let’s say from f/stop 1.4 to f/stop 8. Imagine that you are sitting in a dark room, the pupil in your eye (camera aperture) will be fully open to allow enough light through to your eye’s retina to enable you to see more clearly. This would be f/stop 1.4 on our example scale. If you then walk out of the dark room into bright sunlight the pupil in your eye would close considerably to prevent you from becoming blinded by the sun. In our example scale this would mean the aperture would close to f/stop 8.

This example uses extremes at both ends of the f/stop scale but of course there are steps in between. If you change your aperture setting on your camera from f/1.4 to f/2 the camera aperture is smaller than it was at the f/1.4 setting and It lets half as much light pass through the lens to the cameras sensor than it did at the f/1.4 setting. This remains true each time you move to the next highest f/stop value.

If however you change your aperture in the other direction from f/2.8 to f/2 then the reverse is true and the aperture is now larger than it was at the f/2.8 setting and twice as much light passes through to your camera’s sensor. This is again remains true each time you move to the next lowest f/stop value.

Changing your aperture f/stop value has two different effects on the end result of the photo you take. It determines both how much of the photo will be in focus (the depth of field) and working in conjunction with your ISO and shutter speed values determines how bright or dark your photo will come out.

Depth of Field

The term depth of field refers to how much of an image is actually in focus. When you look through your camera and focus on a subject there will be some amount of material both in front of and behind the subject that is also sharp and in focus. After that focus will drop off and anything that is further away from your focal point will appear soft or out of focus. As a general rule approximately 1/3 of the range of material in focus falls in front of the focal point and 2/3 of the range of material in focus falls behind the focal point.

Photo Brightness

Photo brightness is affected not only by camera aperture settings but also by ISO values and shutter speeds. This though is how your camera aperture affects the brightness of your photo. The larger the f/stop number the smaller the aperture size. Therefore less light is allowed through your lens and your photo will be darker. The smaller the f/stop number the larger the aperture size. More light is let through the lens therefore your photograph will be brighter.

Select Digital Camera for Wildlife Photography

It should give good image quality

This is one of the first requirements when it comes to buying camera for any purpose, isn’t it? However, the amount of focus on good image quality differs from person to person. For example, land photographers would want good image quality with a wide dynamic range to cover the finer details. On the other hand wildlife photography does not focuses more on the subject than the details present in the surroundings. Even higher ISO settings are useful in wildlife photography.

Auto Focus ability

This kind of photography is often about animals in motion. When in motion, animals rarely give the photographers any chance to adjust the focus of their camera prior to capturing the picture, isn’t it? In such situations, it is important to have a camera with good auto focus ability that helps you capture even the smallest detail of the subject to perfection.

Long lenses

You can either opt for a camera with longer lens or simply buy the lens separately. Having a long lens with a good zooming ability makes it easier for you to capture the subject accurately particularly in situations when you can’t afford to get too close to the animal.

Durability

Wildlife photography is not about shooting from a tripod. On the contrary, a large part of wildlife photography talks about clicking the animals in the most unfriendly conditions. Therefore, wisdom lies in investing in a camera that comes with a high rating for durability and system ruggedness. You can always refer to the internet for suggestions on such models prior to purchasing anything.

Features of the Canon EOS 70d

Touch screen

The touch screen on the EOS 70d makes light work of changing almost any setting using the Q menu. The touch screen menu is highly responsive and crystal clear to look at. It even includes an option to pinch-zoom pictures for better clarity when viewing the latest snapped images. Besides the onscreen controls, the menus are backed up with standard physical controls to take care of the basic shooting options if preferred. The touch screen is also design to flip out to one side to make easier viewing. This is especially helpful when working with video format.

Auto focus

A high-quality auto focus system is essential to take sharp pictures. The EOS 70d is installed with the latest Dual Pixel AF technology to make it easier to shot fast-moving objects. This DSLR auto focus system includes a total of 19 focal points. This increases the cameras capabilities to focus on the subject. Also, the 70d comes with a bigger 20.2MP sensor to help improve the contrast and clarity of the picture quality.

Video

A further aspect of the Dual Pixel AF technology is the ability to increase the quality of video recordings. Earlier models of the DSLR cameras had issues with loss of focus as objects moved around. This problem is solved with the 70d due to its ability to swiftly auto focus as the camera is moved from subject to subject. The camera supports standard HD (50 and 60p) and full HD video (24, 25 and 30p) capture.

WiFi

The Canon EOS 70d includes WiFi as standard and a welcome feature for a number of reasons. WiFi access offers complete ease in connecting the camera to a computer, tablet or smart phone. This makes it easy to download and view pictures using the Canon EOS app. Pictures can also be printed to a wireless printer or viewed on a DLNA equipped TV. Another benefit of using the app is the ability to remote control the camera. This is certain to help the photo shots taking place in a studio.

Should Buy a Camera Strap

  • Stay hands free- A photographer subconsciously relies on this accessory usually to hold his treasured possession securely when they decide to stay hands off. Typically they are a substitute for the hands and allow you to perform other tasks even when there is no surface to rest the camera upon. For instance, on a shooting campaign in the muddy areas of a wildlife sanctuary, you probably would not let your camera struggle with the dust and scratches by making it sit on the dirty terrains. That’s where these accessories make a dramatic entry!
  • Safety- While letting the camera slip off your hands is a situation that often knocks a photographer’s door, these straps make sure that your equipment never falls off to the grounds and crashes into pieces. Of course after spending a fortune on your precious camera, you probably wouldn’t mind giving away a few more bucks to ensure its safety.
  • Ergonomics- One of the top reasons why professionals can never be spotted without these straps is that a strap such as harnesses distributes the heavy weight of high-end cameras all over the shoulders, chest and back. They eliminate neck/hand pains and allow you to work pain-free for long hours! The default straps furnished by manufacturers let the camera hang by the neck, making it ineffective in distribution of weight and ideal for owners who like to take it out for a shoot or two in a while. On the other hand, special straps like harnesses are specially designed to suit the ergonomic needs of professional photographers.
  • Recognition- Imagine you are on a professional wedding shoot, carrying a simple DSLR in your hands. People do not recognize you as a professional and stand in your way while you are struggling for those ‘perfect shots’! Sounds familiar? Thus, these straps are recommended as it makes the crowd recognize your role and steer clear of your way. It is kind of an identity card that makes you identified as a significant professional.
  • Stabilizer- Camera straps are often used as stabilizers in various ways. Whether you wrap it around your wrist or have it pulled tightly over your triceps, they can be used as a tool to stabilize the camera.

Guide To Tripods & Tripod Alternatives

For every situation where a tripod is needed, it is required in order to avoid introducing unwanted vibration into your camera, particularly during long exposure photographs, where the camera’s shutter will be open for a second or more, during which time any vibration will be picked up and, most likely, be represented as blurring of your subject(s) in your final image. Landscape photography is one such sub niche that always benefits from having a good quality tripod.

Another area of photography where you will want a tripod is if you’re exploring light painting – this time, not only are you going to be using longer exposure times, you’re also going to need to rest your camera on a stable platform, while you either stand off to one side with a flashlight, or go into the frame, painting light into your scene. Once again, a tripod is your friend for this task.

Anytime you need to keep your camera at a specific angle – whether it be absolutely horizontal (such as for landscape photos) or vertical (such as for portrait photographs of people) or any other angle in between – a tripod is the best tool for the job. Being human, there’s only so long you can hold your camera in a totally still position, before you start to fatigue… and that’s when you’ll wish you’d had a tripod to take the strain. Providing you have a solid tripod that can comfortably hold the weight of your DSLR camera (and possibly and external flash on top), then it will keep your equipment at the angle you want it, for as long as you need it.

It’s good to have a tripod when doing product photography – many times, I will take the photos without using a tripod. However, it can quickly become a chore to hold a bulky DSLR, and that’s when I’m glad I’ve got the option to stick the camera on the tripod, so I can just focus on arranging the products to get the best shot.

Tripod Type 1. Traditional Tripods

These have three legs (hence the term “tri”pod) stacked in sections that collapse down on top of one another, to keep the tripods compact when storing them or when travelling with them. When you are using these tripods, the legs can be eased out to a required length and then locked in place, for the specific height you need. Locking the legs is either done via a spin-lock system (where you rotate rings to lock the legs so your tripod won’t collapse unceremoniously to the floor), while others have quick-release locks (with flaps that can be flicked open or securely closed).

One of the key decisions you’ll need to make is whether to get an aluminium tripod, or one constructed from carbon fiber. Aluminium tripods will be cheaper to buy than carbon fiber versions, but the carbon fiber tripods will weigh less, making them the better option for those who like to go trekking with their camera gear and want to take a tripod along as well.

Just remember, because carbon fiber tripods are so lightweight, you’re likely to need something to weigh it down, so that the wind won’t introduce unwanted vibrations – good carbon fiber tripods, such as the 3LT “Brian”, which I own, have a hook underneath the central column, onto which you can sling your camera bag, for added ballast.

Tripod Type 2. Alternative Tripods

There are three different types of alternative tripod that may interest you; they have their pros and cons, compared with a traditional tripod, and I have one of each.

The first offering is the Gorilla Pod. The benefit of this style of tripod, over a more traditional tripod, is that, due to the unique construction of the legs, the Gorilla Pod is better suited to placing on all sorts of awkward and uneven surfaces – such as, rocks, grassy hillsides, etc. You can also wrap the three legs around tree branches, posts, railings and the like, to place your Gorilla Pod at all sorts of different heights… providing there are suitable objects available to do this. That’s one of the advantages of a standard tripod: you’ll generally have enough height variations (by expanding or contracting the legs), to set up your camera at a fairly decent height. One thing you should be aware of are the subtle variations of Gorilla Pods, as one type will only fit the mounting bracket of larger DSLR cameras. I have both a Panasonic FZ1000 (bridge camera) and a Panasonic GH4 (DSLR, but a micro four thirds camera, so smaller than larger, full frame DSLR, such as Canon’s 1DX) and neither of them will fit on the original Gorilla Pod. I had to purchase a Gorilla Pod Zoom, which fit both cameras.

The next option is the Ultra Pod II. This is the smallest tripod I’ve ever owned. It has three solid plastic legs, which are NOT height adjustable. However, what it lacks in height, it makes up for in both portability and versatility. This thing is super lightweight, so it’s great for hiking about with. But, its party-piece trick is the integrated Velcro strap, which allows you to secure the tripod to tree branches, gates, sign posts, and the like. The one slight downside is the Velcro strap isn’t all that long, so you’re limited to attaching it to things not much larger than the size of a thick man’s wrist. However, it’s so compact and lightweight, and is so brilliantly versatile, that it has a permanent place in my camera backpack; it comes with me wherever I go with my camera gear and, if I think I can get away with it, I will prefer just this one Ultra Pod II (and maybe my Gorilla Pod, which is also similarly compact, but is superior to the Ultra Pod II on uneven and awkward surfaces), than lugging about a bulkier, more traditional tripod.

The final tripod alternative is not actually a tripod, at all… it’s a camera beanbag. I have a 1kg variety (though different weights and sizes are available) and it’s great that you don’t have to fiddle about screwing in your camera… just plonk down the beanbag, mush your camera down on top of it so that you get it level (okay, so there is still a little bit of fiddling), and then you’re ready to start snapping. You can also put it on top of your car, for instance, and not have to worry about scratching the paintwork.

So, if you had to buy just ONE tripod, which would it be? I’m tempted to say the Ultra Pod II, because you don’t have to fiddle about with adjusting multiple leg sections before you’re ready to start photographing stuff. However, as much as I really like that lightweight tripod alternative, you can’t beat the height adjustability of a traditional tripod. If you find yourself wanting to take it out and about, and if your budget can stretch to it, a quality carbon fiber tripod is probably the one to go for. However, if you have extra cash going spare, I do find it great to be able to choose between using my Gorilla Pod Zoom, Ultra Pod II, and my more traditional carbon fiber 3LT Brian tripod – if I need the height, I will use the 3LT; if I think I can get away without this larger tripod, when going out with my camera gear, I do prefer to travel light and take both the Ultra Pod II and Gorilla Pod Zoom, which give me enough options to find a suitable solution for where to place my camera to get some interesting shots.

Nikon D3400 Autofocus

There are a couple of occasions when you might want to use manual. If, for example, you are shooting video and you have somebody who is fairly static, then I would recommend that you first of all use autofocus to ensure that the subject is sharp, and then switch it over to manual. That is just to prevent the possibility of, when the subject moves in or out of the frame or in and out of focus, it stops the camera trying to track. The other time might be if I am shooting landscapes. Now, again, I might well use the cameras autofocus system in order to make sure that I have everything in focus and then switch it off. That is really just to ensure that whilst I am either setting up or composing or while I am actually taking the picture itself which, remember, could be on quite a long shutter speed for 5 perhaps 10 seconds (perhaps more if it is a night-time shot) that the camera will not be distracted by something moving across the frame. It is a safeguard. The camera should not be distracted, but it is to ensure that nothing untoward does happen it is worth sometimes switching over to manual focus.

When you are in manual focus and you are looking through the viewfinder you have an option to help you here, which is called the rangefinder, and if you go into the menu and you go into the SETUP MENU then about halfway down just below BUTTONS you have an option for rangefinder. You also have the option below that to ensure that the MANUAL FOCUS RING is on, which of course is what you want. You switch that on when you are looking through the semi-automatic settings which are A, S and P, and you are looking through the viewfinder. You will see that there is a levels gauge at the bottom and it will move and will help you to discern when the subject that you are looking at is sharp. When it is sharp there will be a little green dot in the bottom left hand of the frame. When you are in MANUAL MODE that gauge is not there. It is an exposure levels gauge but the green dot will still appear when the subject is sharp. You do not get that when you are looking through the back screen and you are on manual. When you are looking through the back screen in MANUAL MODE, the best thing to do is to use the magnifying glass to magnify the image that you are looking at and so work on manually focusing by getting what you are looking at and what you are trying to focus on as large as possible on the back screen and that is fairly easily done through the magnifying glass + to go in and you can use the magnifying – to come back out again.

However in most cases, you will want to use the Nikon D3400 autofocus systems. The Nikon D3400 has two autofocus systems. The system that operates through the viewfinder is called PHASE DETECTION what that means essentially is that the beam that comes in through the lens is split and bounces around the back of the camera onto the sensor and at that point the camera tries to join the two images together again and in doing so it work out the length for the lens. It is very quick it is quite accurate and it is much quicker and far more accurate than the naked eye. For Liveview, it does not have the opportunity to split the beam coming through because the light goes straight through to the back of the camera. So the system used here is called CONTRAST DETECTION. Now actually this is pretty good too, because it gets right down to individual pixels where it can detect a contrast between different shades. However it can also be quite easily confused and that is more often than not when the illustrative light comes on here just to help the camera get a better idea of what it is looking at so that it can focus more accurately.

The Nikon D3400 DSLR camera essentially splits the focusing function, or the D3400 autofocus function, into two. It splits it into FOCUS MODE which essentially allows you to tell the camera whether the subject is static or moving, and then it also splits it into AUTO FOCUS AREA MODE, When you can tell the D3400 which part of the frame, or how much of the frame, the camera should be scanning in order to focus on the subject. That changes depending on whether you are looking through the viewfinder or whether you are looking through the back screen.

So lets take a look at them. Now, in this instance we are looking through the viewfinder. Of course, you can go in to the SHOOTING MENU and find FOCUS MODE and AREA FOCUS MODE on the back screen here, and make the changes accordingly, but that would be very complicated when you are trying to shoot things live, so fortunately they are on the back screen with the i button. So if I just come out of that and press ithen I will find them on the bottom line. The very bottom left is the FOCUSING MODE, so if we go into that one you find there are three options outside of manual. The three options are SINGLE SERVO which basically means that when you press the shutter button the camera will focus and it will remain focused until you either take your finger off the shutter button or you completely take the picture by pressing it all the way down. That can be quite useful because if you focus on the subject in the middle of your frame and yet you do not want the subject in the middle then you can move the camera so that the subject is off to one side and take the picture and the subject will still be sharp. The other option is AF-C which is CONTINUOUS. That is for things which are moving around, so again if you press the shutter button halfway down then you focus on the subject and if the subject moves then the focus will try to keep up with the subject and keep the subject in focus before you press the shutter. The third one is called AF – AUTO and that is kind of a mixture between the two. If your subject is static then it will just focus as if it is static and if your subject moves around it will effectively move on to continuous. However I do not recommend that last option because it is the Nikon D3400 making this decision, not you. I think you should make the decision so I would recommend that you either stick to single or continuous when you are looking through the viewfinder because you then have control over how the autofocus is working.

When you are looking through the back view screen there are two choices for this D3400 autofocus. They are SINGLE SERVO and FULL-TIME SERVO. Single servo just focuses when you press the shutter button, and is ideal for static subjects. Full-time servo will try continually to focus. Now this is quite interesting because unlike with looking through the viewfinder, when you have to keep the button pressed down, here it has a little green square on it and whatever is in the square the camera will attempt to keep in focus. That could be quite useful for when you are shooting video, for example, because it will try to keep whatever the subject is in the middle of the screen in focus. However it is quite slow and it does have to search sometimes, so it can be quite distracting. It is not as immediate or quick as you would hope and if you are shooting video then I go back to my original point. If it was me, shoot on single or shoot on manual. But it is not too bad. It does try its best and if you are going to shoot video where frankly the moving in and out does not really matter, then it can be very useful because of course it maintains that subject in focus.

So now lets take a look at the AUTO FOCUS AREA MODES for both systems on the Nikon D3400 DSLR. So if we look at the viewfinder first then again we go into the i button and this option is right next to the auto focus mode. If we, when we are looking through the viewfinder, look at AUTO FOCUS SINGLE, then there are two options options. The first one is SINGLE POINT AF and you will see the diamond of 11 points which are the 11 autofocus points that the camera uses and when it is on single point it will select the one in the middle, initially, to focus on the subject – and that will flash when you press the shutter button. If you want to change the point to one of the other 11 points then use the multi-selector to move that focus point around the diamond. That can be quite useful, particularly if you are on a tripod or you can not move the camera easily, because it means that you can then select a different part of the picture, a different subject perhaps, to be the focus point and to be sharp. So that is quite useful.

The next one then we get on to is AUTO AREA AUTO FOCUS and that essentially means that the camera tries to do everything for you – so it will use those 11 points in the frame to try and select the subject that it thinks should be sharp and in focus. It will very often be the one that is closest to the camera and that can be useful when you are trying to shoot things and you are not entirely sure what it is you are looking at. One of the disadvantages, of course, of looking through the viewfinder is that your vision is quite restricted. So if there are lots of things moving around or there are lots of things in the frame and you are not really sure what should be sharp on what should not, then this option can be quite useful.

Lets come out of autofocus single and look at D3400 autofocus continuous and see what the options are for the auto focus area modes there when you are looking through the viewfinder, because they are different. You get two which are the same: you get the single point and you get the auto area focus but you get two others, which are actually pretty interesting. The first one is DYNAMIC AREA AUTO FOCUS. What that does is that it tries to predict where the subject is going in the frame, so in other words, if the subject is moving diagonally through the frame so it is not just crossing the frame as on a single focal plane, if you like, it is moving in or out then the camera will try to predict that by gauging the movement that it has been doing between the focal points. So if it is moving towards you then obviously one focal point will have it so it 10 feet away another may have it at 8 feet away so it will predict that by the time it gets to this focal point it should be 6 feet away and that is what it means by trying to dynamically predict where the subject is going to be and that can be quite useful for obvious reasons because it means that it is trying to predict the focal length and the sharpness for you which is quite useful. The other one is 3D TRACKING. Now 3d tracking kind of does the same thing in that it does try to predict where the subject is going to be but it also allows you to move the camera at the same time so this is very useful for panning because it means that the camera does not get distracted by the background it just focuses on what it thinks is the subject of the frame and that can be very useful. Also bear in mind this is through the viewfinder so it is the faster of the two autofocus systems and so as a consequence of that it could be useful for things like sport or action photography. Now lets take a look at the autofocus area modes through the Liveview screen which is the contrast detection system. The difference here is that it does not actually matter in terms of your D3400 autofocus mode whether you are on continuous or whether you are on single, because the options are both same. So if we go in here then you have four choices and the two choices which you are going to come across most frequently are WIDE and NORMAL. Now if you click on wide and accept that then when you come into the back frame here you will see that there is a red square in the middle of the frame. That is your focus point and if you press the shutter button down halfway then it will focus and turn green – if you have got the beep on it will go beep – and that is essentially the limit of what it does. Now you can move that square by using the multi-selector you can move it to the right or up and down or left and if you want to return it to the center quickly you just press the OK button and it will return to the center, but that is your focal point within that square so if you go back into the i button and then back into AF area mode then coming out of wide and going into normal you will see that it is pretty much the same but that square is a lot smaller. In other words you can be far more specific when you are trying to choose your focus point and of course in either of those two settings you can press the magnifying glass to go further into the picture just to see whether you are actually pin sharp or just to check really that you are focusing on that thing that you wanted to focus upon. So those are the two more normal ones, those are the ones that you are going to use probably most frequently.

The D3400 autofocus option to the right is called SUBJECT TRACKING AUTOFOCUS and in some ways it is very similar to DYNAMIC autofocus for the system that is used through the viewfinder. But please bear in mind that you are looking through the back screen here and this system is much slower. So whilst it will also try to predict where the subject is going in the frame, it is not going to be as quick and it is not going to be as efficient as when you do it through the viewfinder. Then finally, and this actually is very useful, is FACE PRIORITY AUTOFOCUS. Now this is useful because it will automatically focus on and prioritize faces. It will detect faces in the frame automatically it will focus on one and if there are more than one face and you want to go to the other one you just use a multi-selector to push that on to another face. It is a really useful option particularly of course when you are taking group shots etc and it means that you can choose who to focus on and and it can actually do it quite efficiently. It is quite impressive if there is no face in the frame it just returns really to the wide option in other words you get a square in the middle of the frame that you can move around the frame as you would if you were in wide or normal. So those are your autofocus options with this camera there is quite a variety. You should be able to take pretty much any picture really and the autofocus options here would be able to help you take better pictures in almost any discipline. I would say as a rule of thumb that for normal everyday pictures I would be on – when looking through the viewfinder – on autofocus single and probably on single point. However if I was again using the viewfinder to shoot on continuous and to shoot something a bit more like action or sport, I might well go into dynamic area AF or even 3d tracking. But I tend to favor dynamic area because I am just more comfortable with that. If we go into the Liveview options then I would again tend to favor shooting on AF SINGLE just because it just makes it a bit more a bit more straightforward for me and also I think AF FULL TIME on the back is not as fast as CONTINUOUS through the viewfinder but on single again and here on the back I would be tempted to shoot probably on normal. I would not tend to use subject tracking on the back screen because it is easier to shoot that kind of stuff through the viewfinder but what I would say is FACE PRIORITY, when you are shooting group shots through the backscreen, is excellent and is well worth experimenting with. So those are the autofocus settings. Bear in mind that in autofocus settings it will not actually let you take a picture until it deems the subject to be sharp and so that could slow you down on occasion if you’re not careful. Also remember though that if you are on manual focus, this camera has no such control and if you press the button it will take the picture even if it is not sharp, because it has no control over focus you are then responsible for the focus. If you press the button at the wrong time then I am afraid if it is soft then that is your fault.