Canon Digital Cameras Tips

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Get the Exposure and the Focus Where You Want Them

What photographer hasn't had to compromise between composition and exposure – especially outdoors? All too often, if everything is in the frame where you want it, the critical element won't be properly exposed. And getting the camera to focus where you want it to can be maddening, if your main subject isn't in the center of the frame.

The Canon PowerShot line has an answer: FlexiZone AF/AE.

FlexiZone AF/AE allows you to move the focus point to various positions within the frame – so if you're subject isn't centered, it's no problem. And in spot metering mode, you can also select the area of the frame you want the camera's built-in light meter to use in determining the exposure. Now, even your most challenging shots can be exposed and focused exactly as you'd like.

FlexiZone AF/AE is available on three Canon models: the PowerShot Pro 1, PowerShot G5 and PowerShot S50.

   

Canon Offers a Strong Contender in the Super-zoom Category

If you're a super-zoom fan, there's one Canon camera that should definitely be on your short list: the PowerShot S3 IS.

The S3 IS boasts a 6.2 megapixel CCD (resolution enough for a good 11” x 14” enlargement), a 12x zoom (equivalent to 36 - 432mm in 35mm terms), tons of top-end features and lots of room for creative control.

The S3 IS uses tiny secure digital (SD) or multimedia cards (MMC), which helps explain how Canon packed so much into such a small package. The S3 IS measures only about 4-1/2” wide by 3” high and 3” deep. It's plenty small enough for even the most petite photographer with serious ambitions.

Features include Canon's Image Stabilizer, 20 shooting modes – including Canon's nine My Color Mode options – and an ingenious Vari-Angle LCD monitor, that actually flips around to face the camera body when not in use – providing an extra layer of protection. Manual control fanatics will like the inclusion of both aperture and shutter priority shooting modes, allowing for control of depth of field and motion in their photos.

The PowerShot S3 IS carries a hefty price tag, but several reliable retailers offer this model at discounts of $50.00 or more.

   

Good News for Natural Light Fans – Steadier Canon Cameras

Camera shake is the bane of photographers who prefer shooting in natural light. Low-light situations require slow shutter speeds, and it's hard to hand-hold a camera steadily for more than 1/60 – 1/30 second. And the problem is magnified by the addition of a zoom lens.

Canon has addressed the issue with two models of Canon PowerShot digital camera: the PowerShot S2 IS and S3 IS. Canon's Image Stabilizer technology moves a lens group in response to detecting movement of the camera in any direction during exposure – effectively eliminating blur.

   

My Colors Mode Offers Simplified Color Control

Easy color control is one good reason to consider a Canon digital camera. That's because more than a dozen Canon PowerShot models offer “My Colors Mode,” Canon's simple solution to making colors pop out, look more pleasing, or even disappear entirely.

My colors Mode provides nine creative control options:

* Vivid Blue
* Vivid Green
* Vivid Red
* Positive film (combines Vivid Red, Vivid Green and Vivid blue)
* Lighter skin tone
* Darker skin tone
* Color Accent (Retains the selected color, and sets all others to monochrome)
* Color Swap (Replaces the selected color with another of your choice)
* Custom Color (Select your own balance of red, green, blue & skin tone)

If you've ever wanted your pictures to have richer colors, more pleasing skin tones or maybe to get a little creative, this feature makes it easy.

   

The PowerShot A410 - A Good Choice for Snapshooters

Not everyone wants a fancy digital camera with dozens of features they'll never use. For those of us who just want to take good pictures – of family barbeques, vacations, school plays, etc. – Canon offers a very nice low-cost option. It's the Canon PowerShot A410 digital camera.

The A410 is compact, lightweight, and simple. The 3.2 MP (megapixel) image sensor provides plenty of resolution for 4” x 6” prints – and even 5” x 7” if you want an occasional enlargement. It comes with a 3x zoom, so you can move in closer on the shot. And the A410 comes with 14 pre-set shooting modes – including Super Macro for ultra-close-ups, Stitch assist for panoramas and Movie mode.

All in all, an excellent option for anyone who's more interested in the pictures than in the process of taking them.

   

Intelligent Autofocus

Most of the Canon PowerShot camera line now offers Canon's AiAF nine-point auto-focus system. This Artificial Intelligence Auto Focus scans the scene and “consults” with Canon's iSAPS (intelligent Scene Analysis based on Photographic Space) – a statistical analysis photo database built into the camera.

Essentially AiAF works with iSAPS to evaluate the contents of each of the nine focus areas (picture a tic tac toe grid on your view screen) and select the optimum focusing distance based on the information in the database.

But don't worry about the science. The bottom line is that this system works remarkably well, even when subjects aren't centered in the frame.

   

The EOS 20D – A Solid Mid-range Performer

If you already own Canon lenses, and you're in the market for a solid “advanced” dSLR – without the pro price, the Canon 20D is a model you should consider.

Although two years old - that's middle age in digital camera years - the EOS 20D remains one of the best performers in its class. It was heralded by reviewers on it's arrival, and was honored with a DIWA (Digital Imaging Websites Association) gold medal, and DIWA's 2004 Platinum Award.

Here are just a few of the features that earned the 20D rave reviews:

* 5 frames per second bursts for up to 23 frames (JPEG)
* Shoots true RAW files, as well as JPEG's
* Compatible with Canon's EF-S series digital lenses, as well as most other recent Canon lenses
* 1/8000 sec. top shutter speed and 1/250 sec. flash synch speed
* Up to 1,000 shots (flashless) per single charge of the lithium ion battery
* Optional battery grip increases service time
* New “Precision Matte” focusing screen makes manual focus more accurate
* Flash Exposure Lock feature
* Selectable auto-focus points

If you're thinking of moving up to a dSLR, price makes the EOS 20D an attractive buy. Though expensive, some reliable dealers carry offer hefty discounts – as much as $500 off.

   

Canon Offers Camera Power Options

While many digital camera manufacturers are migrating their lines towards rechargeable battery packs, Canon has taken a different approach. About half their line uses a Canon digital camera battery – a rechargeable lithium ion variety. But Canon offers quite a few models that don't require these expensive batteries.

All eight of Canon's current “A” model PowerShot cameras (A410 – A700), plus the advanced PowerShot S2 IS and S3 IS models, operate on AA batteries. This gives users the option of using rechargeables, like NiMH or NiCad, or any AA alkaline battery.

Since most lithium ion batteries cost in the range of $35.00 - $50.00, most snapshooters won't want to purchase a spare. For them, a full-featured camera that runs on AA batteries makes sense.

   
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