Secrets of Digital Photography
Darn if there aren't some things about the 950 and 990 that either didn't make it into the eBook or are things people often miss.
The following InfoBite Updates are listed in the format of Symptom (cam) / Whussup?
It doesn't focus on dim subjects. (990) / For whatever reason, when you turn the camera monitor OFF the camera does a more careful focus. Even with very dim subjects that won't focus any other way, this trick can cause the camera to get a good lock on dark subjects in dim lighting. You'll have to use the optical viewfinder or stabilize the camera on a tripod first, then turn the monitor off with two clicks of the monitor button before focusing with a half-press of the shutter. Wait for it. This extra careful, low-light focus trick takes a few seconds. But it may be worth it.
That green LED next to the optical viewfinder keeps blinking. (990) / You are in 3:2 mode and it's trying to remind you that the optical viewfinder isn't as accurate as it is for a full-size shot.
My Func buttons don't work right. (990) / Somehow they have been set to the wrong function through an easy-to-miss feature. Probably as you were poking around, learning about menu items. Go to Manual Rec Menu > Setup 1 > Controls > Func 1 and set it for "MODE" and set Func 2 to "+/-". Now they work as marked on top of the camera.
Movie mode seems to jump in density as I pan the camera. (990) / This is normal for many digital still cameras with a movie mode. The mode only uses a small sub-set of sensors (say that 10 times real fast) that can be swept from the image chip at movie rates. But that's not the problem. The problem is that the camera only thinks in terms of 1/3-stop exposure increments. The jumps in brightness are due to the Auto Exposure system changing the f/stop and/or ISO as lighting conditions change in front of the lens.
When I review my movie, it takes a heck of a long time to get ready for viewing. (990) / Sorry, that's normal. It takes as long to load as it does to play. A 40-second movie takes 40 seconds to become playable. And, you will notice, scrolling past a movie in Play Mode is disruptive to a quick review flow. It INSISTS on being playable before you can jump past it to the next shot/movie.
There is a mighty strange icon blinking in the middle of my monitor. (950/990) / That's trying to tell you that you forgot to set the clock or that the internal rechargeable battery is exhausted and the clock is unset because of it. Did you store the camera without batteries in it for a few days/weeks/months? The internal rechargeable battery charges from the main replaceable batteries.
Digital Zoom? You gotta be nuts! It's totally worthless! (950/990) / This sentiment has been around since the first cameras to have it appeared. They were video cameras and in those, you would be pretty much right. But these digital cameras are not so dumb and there are three (3) awfully good reasons to use digital zoom. 1. How about as a manual focus checker? 2. How about using it with the often overlooked XGA and VGA images? As long as you don't magnify more than the ratio between full size and these sizes, you still get down-sampling so your image is still a bit sharper than simply cutting out a section of a full shot. 3. Once in these modes the third use kicks in. Viewfinding. If you are making VGA shots using a 2.5 to 3X digital zoom, you have a perfectly good VGA result plus an unambiguous 3:4 viewfinder for composing your shot. Plus all the extra zoom-in. Check out details on page 118 of the eBook.
My Fisheye image is CUT OFF! (950/990) / The fisheye lens is an amazing piece of glass, and it is one of the funnest lenses in the world. But, as you have noticed, it produces a circular image that is cut off a smidgen at the bottom of a horizontal frame. Hmm. Sure wish Nikon would fix this. It has! Use the Fisheye 1 setting and the camera zoom lens pulls back JUST ENOUGH to catch the full fisheye circle.
Hey! That means without the fisheye converter, you can have a fixed focal length lens that is 35.6mm in stead of the widest zoom point at 38mm! Sure, it locks at infinity, so focus is out of the question, but at full wide your depth of field is so great that everything from three feet (one meter) out to the horizon is in sharp focus anyhow! (Thanks to Robert F. Tobler)
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