Put simply, macro photography is close-up photography. The G12 features a Macro mode that you can enable in most shooting modes. (The Auto mode, for example, switches to Macro if it senses objects are close to the lens. The Low Light, Quick Shot, and some of the Scene modes do not support Macro.)
You’ll likely want to work with a tripod, because handholding can make focusing difficult. Also, I recommend shooting in Av mode so you can achieve differing levels of depth of field. If you are shooting outside, try shading the subject from direct sunlight by using some sort of diffusion material, such as a white sheet. By diffusing the light, you will see much greater detail because you will have a lower contrast ratio (softer shadows), and detail is often what macro photography is all about (Figures 10.8 and 10.9).
To enable Macro mode, press the Macro button in most shooting modes. A large flower icon appears. Get close to your subject (be careful you don’t nudge it with the lens!), focus, and shoot.
With so many easy-to-use camera modes, why would anyone ever want to use anything else? After all, a point-and-shoot camera is specifically designed to do most of the work for you, and there will be plenty of times when you don’t want to ponder shutter speed, and you just want to capture a good, spur-of-the-moment photo.
However, the G12 isn’t an ordinary point-and-shoot camera. It’s specifically designed to offer more control over your shooting. Control is the number one reason for using a more advanced point-and-shoot camera. The ability to control every aspect of your photography opens up creative avenues that just aren’t available using the Automatic modes. Let’s look at what we are giving up.
ISO: Most of the Automatic modes stick with the default Auto ISO setting, regardless of how you’ve configured the ISO speed dial. This will undoubtedly lead to unwanted digital noise in your images when the ISO begins to reach up into the higher settings.
Prefabricated effects: When using the automatic Scene modes, most attributes for fine-tuning your images are not available; you need to accept what the camera offers or switch to a different shooting method. RAW format: Even if you plan to shoot in RAW, the automatic settings don’t allow it. In fact, the Low Light mode even knocks the image resolution down to the M setting.
White balance: Except for the Quick Shot mode, no choice is available for white balance. You are simply stuck with the Auto setting. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but your camera doesn’t always get it right. And when you use the Automatic modes, there is just no way to change it.
Autofocus: Some of the modes, such as the Scene modes, automatically focus on what the camera deems worthy. There is no way to change these. And if you can’t manually select a focus area, you must constantly recompose your image.
Another thing you will find when using any of the Automatic modes is that the options in the main camera menu have been reduced to just a few user-friendly choices. These aren’t the only restrictions to using the Automatic modes, but they should be enough to make you want to explore the Creative side of the dial.
When you want more control than what Auto mode offers but still want the camera to do most of the work, turn to the Quick Shot mode.
It uses the LCD only for displaying settings, not a preview of what the camera sees, so more of the camera’s processor resources can work on getting the shot (you’ll need to use the viewfinder to frame the shot). The camera continually focuses on faces it detects or whatever object occupies the center of the frame. However, remember that doing so drains the battery faster.
You can specify a handful of settings: ISO, white balance, image format and quality (including RAW, which isn’t available to the Auto and most Scene modes), aspect ratio, single or continuous shooting, shot timer, flash, and the amount of flash power used. Follow these steps to capture photos in the Quick Shot mode.
Shooting in Quick Shot Mode
Rotate the Mode dial to the Quick Shot icon. The Quick Shot settings appear (A).
To change any of the settings, press the Function/Set button.
Use the navigation buttons or the Control dial to select a setting to change, then turn the Front dial to adjust the setting’s value (B). Change the ISO and exposure compensation using the respective dials on the top of the camera.
Look through the viewfinder to frame the shot.
Press the shutter button halfway to view the camera’s chosen shutter speed and aperture, and then press the button all the way to capture the photo.