Canon PowerShot G12, Focusing: The Eyes Have It

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It has been said that the eyes are the windows to the soul, and nothing could be truer when you are taking a photograph of someone (Figure 6.7). You could have the perfect composition and exposure, but if the eyes aren’t sharp the entire image suffers. The G12 offers a few techniques for helping to nail down that focus point.

Adjusting the AF Frame

The AF Frame normally sits in the center of the LCD, you can move it around the scene to specify a different area of focus. (Press the AF Frame Selector button and then use the navigation buttons or the Control dial to position it onscreen.) If your subject is patient and relatively still, make the frame smaller by pressing the Display button in order to get a more specific focus on one of the person’s eyes.

When photographing people, you should almost always place the emphasis on the eyes.
Figure 6.7 When photographing people, you should almost always place the emphasis on the eyes.

Magnifying the Focal Point

To give you a better idea of whether the AF Frame area is in focus, enable the AF-Point Zoom feature. When you hold the shutter button halfway, you’ll see an enlarged view of the focus area in the middle of the screen. (If you don’t see the zoomed-in preview, it means the camera can’t achieve focus.)

Enabling AF-Point Zoom

  1. Press the Menu button.
  2. Press the Down button to select AF-Point Zoom.
  3. Turn the Control dial to choose On. Press Menu to return to the shooting mode.

Black and White Portraits

Ages ago, I accidentally bought a roll of black and white film and loaded it into my camera without realizing it. Although it produced some nice images (one of which is still a favorite of mine), there was no way I could get color versions of those shots.

With digital photography, everything is color by default. The G12 has a My Colors setting (available from the Function menu) to let you shoot exposures in black and white—or sepia, or several other color variations.

However, I don’t recommend them for the same reason I smacked my forehead after getting that roll of film developed. The image sensor is throwing away the color data in favor of applying the effect, and you can’t get it back. (Some DSLRs, like Canon’s Rebel T1i/500D, let you capture a “monochrome” image with plenty of control over the black and white attributes and still retain the color version when shooting in RAW mode. However, the My Colors feature of the G12 works only with JPEGformatted photos.)

Figure 6Black and white portraits can be striking, but it’s best to handle them on the computer instead of using the camera’s My Colors feature.
Figure 6.8 Black and white portraits can be striking, but it’s best to handle them on the computer instead of using the camera’s My Colors feature.

This, of course, doesn’t mean you have to abandon black and white photography, which can be striking, especially for portraits (Figure 6.8). Canon’s Picture Photo Professional and even the most basic photo software on your computer include a feature for making color images monochrome. So you’re really not missing much by ignoring this feature.