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1 Digital Camera Mondays

Digital Camera Mondays: April 27

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Checking Your Rechargeable Batteries 

Now that we are finally getting into warmer weather, more and more of us will be out and about enjoying the great outdoors. This means dusting off that digital camera and accessories to capture the spring bloom or active wild life. One practice I always do this time of year is make sure the batteries are up to snuff. Currently rechargeable batteries are of the Lithium based design. These are batteries that recharge relatively quickly and hold a strong charge like 1800 – 2600 mAh (milliampere hour) for the commonly used AA rechargeable batteries. Keep in mind I frequently mention rechargeable Lithium batteries and not just Lithium batteries because there are standard Lithium AA batteries you can buy for around the same price as rechargeables which are  not rechargeable. These are use once and throw away batteries which contain more power over standard alkaline batteries and should never be recharged.

To insure I have two sets of good recharged batteries, I leave each set of batteries in their own recharger over night. Then I will take 20 – 30 random pictures with each set and then recharge the batteries again over night. Typically the 2400 mAh batteries I use can last for 100+ pictures per charge. By recharging the batteries that still have a good portion of their power still remaining will help the batteries to store the maximum amount of power possible when recharged. Batteries that are rarely recharged or have not been used for a long  time ( 1 month+) may not retain the maximum amount of power when the recharge complete indictor appears on the battery recharger. By recharging your batteries every chance you get, you will also maintain the longevity of the batteries. Batteries that have not been recharged for 1 month or longer can easily fail to retain any power when recharged. By recharging your batteries even after a brief use like 5 – 10 pictures can be very healthly for the batteries. Always recharge as often as possible. This process will also allow me to weed out bad batteries that will no longer acceppt a charge.

If you are in the market for rechargeable batteries, check for package deals that include 4 or more batteries with a charger. You should easily find a deal for around $20.00 or less. Just double check the mAh of the batteries are 2200 mAh or or better. Anything less are not worth using on digital cameras. You will be replacing them with fresh ones more often than desirable on a single outing with 2000 mAh or lower batteries.

Shooting Pictures in Bright Sunlight 

Today is surprisingly one of the best days we have had thus far. Very sunny and would be considered a great day for taking outdoor pictures. Here are a few pointers that will help maximize the image quality of your pictures.

  • Use a white piece of paper to focus on while outside in the sunlight and set the white balance before taking pictures.
  • Avoid shooting directly into the source of the sunlight. Your pictures will turn out very dark. If you are taking portrait shots of individuals and you have no other option but to shoot into the direction of the sunlight, turn on your flash and set the camera to a forced flash setting. This will allow the normally darker areas to be filled in with proper lighting.
  • Increase the ISO setting from 100 ( daylight) to 200 if this settings exists. 400 ISO is your typical indoor value but this will be too high unless you are comfortable in adjusting other settings to insure the picture turns out great. What an ISO setting of 200 will allow you in bright sunlight is the ability to use a smaller aperture size ( larger number) and a higher shutter speed. These both will improve the overall image quality by increasing the depth of field and reducing the camera shake.
  • Take a few test shots and view them on the LCD screen. Adjust your setting acordingly. Beginners can just select a different scene setting to improve overall image quality. Find one that looks best for the conditions you are working in. Don’t expect the outdoor setting to be the best everytime. Some cameras have a few outdoor settings like the beach, bright sunshine, overcast, and others.
  •  Invest in a polarized lens filter if your camera supports one. This will minimize the glare and bring out the image.

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