Four controls of our camera that we hardly use (and maybe we do not understand)

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Cameras, especially the most advanced ones, usually have a lot of keys that we sometimes use very little, or we do not directly know what they are for. The truth is that so many features, buttons, and menus, as is common with cameras, can be overwhelming for many. It is true, however, that ignoring the benefits brings with it the benefits that can bring us.

For when they are there, then it is clear for them, and knowing what they are and what they are for is the first step in deciding whether we are interested or not. We’re talking about controls such as depth of field in preview, exposure compensation, exposure lock (AEL), and back focus (AFL, AF-ON or Back Focus).

Four controls of our camera that we hardly use (and maybe we do not understand)
Photo of William Bayreuther

Of all of them we have spoken in Engadget Photo, and although sometimes we have dedicated a complete article, it seemed a good idea to have them together in one place and, in passing, review them (to keep them fresh) or make them known to those who join. to the exciting world of photographic learning. So let’s go with them:

Depth of field preview

The first of the buttons we’re going to talk about has a fairly limited use, which is why it’s usually something “hidden”. In particular, it is located in the lower front part of some cameras (from a certain level, since most are usually not present), which is attached either to the right or left of the lens mount, and generally with no screen printing to indicate what it is.

Him and talked for a long time and his mechanics are simple. As you know, the bezel is normally fully open when you look through the viewfinder of a camera to get as much light as possible. This means that when we create the image we can see better that we will see it with the least possible depth of field (with this goal and in this situation).

Four controls of our camera that we hardly use (and maybe we do not understand)
The field preview button is usually not very visible. In the image, that of a Canon EOS 800D.

So if we do not use the more open aperture, the resulting depth of field is larger than what we see. So, when you press the preview button of the depth of field, the camera closes the iris to the selected value. The result is that we will see a darker image, but the depth of field that the photo will eventually have is appreciated.

This control is mainly found in SLR cameras, as this is not so common in SLR cameras. The reason is nothing but the use of a viewfinder or an electronic screen to take the pictures with which many cameras already show the picture with the brightness and depth of field that will eventually have.

Exposure compensation

We’ve talked to you in detail recently about the following check, but it’s crucial, so it never hurts to remember its function. In this case, it can appear in a number of ways, most often as a wheel that lets you directly vary the compensation values, or as a button that is almost always labeled with the “+/-” diagram, via a wheel or a button Phillips, gives access to the setting.

Four controls of our camera that we hardly use (and maybe we do not understand)
If the camera has an exposure compensation wheel, the work becomes easier without a doubt. In the image, that of a Sony A7 III. 

We find it in virtually all SLRs, mirrorless mid-range cameras and usually in advanced compact cameras. As you already know, it is used to tell the camera that it needs to overexpose or underexpose a shot (ie, the final image gets lighter or darker), either because we correct the histogram to the right or correct a complicated exposure for the camera you want to use camera’s photometer or get a specific effect (eg high- and low-key).

Automatic exposure lock (AE-L)

Normally identified with the abbreviations AE-L, AEL, AE Lock (from Automatic Exposition Lock ) or with an asterisk (on Canon cameras), this control is usually in the upper right area of ​​the back of almost every camera of a certain level, either reflex or without a mirror, because it is designed to be operated with the thumb.

Four controls of our camera that we hardly use (and maybe we do not understand)
The clearly identifiable AEL button on the back of a Sony A99 II.

However, as we discussed in this article, it works in virtually all cameras when the shutter-release button is pressed halfway. Then the exposure is “blocked” (hence the name). ). This has several uses, although the main purpose is to measure the light at one point and to maintain the exposure by recomposing the image, generally in situations where the light changes or there is high contrast between the image areas.

Rear focus button (AFL or AF-ON)

Finally, this other button complements the previous one because its function is similar. In fact, they are often associated and identify themselves as AEL / AFL since they can be used for either of the two functions. In any case, its usefulness is to block the focus at a specific moment or allow us to focus with something other than the trigger .

Four controls of our camera that we hardly use (and maybe we do not understand)
The easily identifiable AF-ON button on the back of a Nikon Z7.

Also, the cameras that contain this feature (in the same places as the previous control) allow you to separate the focus of the shutter so that the camera focuses only when pressed. This is very useful, for example, to get the right focus at a certain point and to be able to shoot quickly without the camera having to focus every time.

Four controls of our camera that we hardly use (and maybe we do not understand)
In the case of the Fujifilm X-T2 we have in the back part both dissociated buttons for better control.

And with this we have finished not without appealing to your experience and knowledge. What use do you make of these buttons in your cameras? Did you know them? We await your comments .

Cover photo | Ronaldo Oliveira 


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