For this lesson, the examples will be with the Canon EOS 350D.
The AF(autofocus) mode is the autofocusing operation method. The 350D and most Canons have 3 AF modes: 1) One Shot - suitable for still subjects; 2) Al Servo - suitable for moving subjects; 3) Al Focus - suitable for still subjects, but if the subject moves, the camera switches to AL Servo to track the subject. You should set the AF Mode depending on whether your subject is still or in motion.
The AF Point or Points - The EOS 350D has 7 AF focusing points. Nikon and the more expensive Canons have varying numbers of AF points. Select the button that initiates the AF points. On the 350D, its the right button on the upper right back of the camera. After you push that button, use the shutter wheel to switch to any one of the AF points or if you select all of them, they will select the AF point.
Autofocus Lock - You can lock autofocus only when you're in One shot Mode by placing the active AF point over the subject, pressing the shutter button half way, and then recomposing the shot by placing the subject where you want it in the frame. Just remember to keep the shutter button pushed half way from the time you move the camera to compose the shot until you shoot the picture.
Metering Mode - The metering mode of the camera chooses where the camera looks in the frame to achieve proper exposure. The Canon EOS 350D has 3 metering choices: 1) Evaluative - The camera looks at all light coming into the sensor (main subject, brightness, background, front and back lighting). This is suited more most subjects; 2) Partial Metering - Cover about 9% of the center of the viewfinder. This is good when background is much brighter than the subject; 3) Center Weighted - this uses the center area of the viewfinder and then averages it with the rest of the frame. Some Canon and Nikon cameras use another metering mode called Spot metering. This is like Center weighted but it uses an even smaller % of the center of the frame. Both center weighted and spot metering are good to use when it is very important for the subject to be properly exposed.
Drive Modes - The 350D has 3 drive modes. They can be acessed by the 2nd button on the right of the LCD screen. The 3 modes are: 1) Single shooting - This is one shot at a time; 2) Continuous shooting - This is great for action shots. It allows you to shoot continuously as long as you keep the shutter button pushed down; 3) Self-timer - When pushed, this gives you 10 seconds to get into the frame before the picture is taken. Some cameras also have a 2 second and a 10 second choice for the self-timer.
Hope this helps everyone understand these aspects of the dSLRs. There will be no assignment for this lesson. There's not really anything to shoot. If you practice and have a question, feel free to ask and post pictures if necessary in this thread.
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