Functions you don't use

I thought this might be a fun discussion to have. A while back on another photography board, I found a thread about camera features people don’t use and it got me to thinking about mine. I came up with a short list and then went out to specifically use them and subsequently wrote an article for my blog about it which will go up next month. Of course I’ll include photos I took using those unloved functions. As a matter of fact a few of those photos I’ve posted here. I’ll go first -

Any look familiar? What don’t you use on your fancy-dancy camera?

Oh, and is there a feature you thought you would use, but don’t?

For me it’s in-camera focus stacking. I thought this would be the bomb. Turns out it’s a dud. But it was on the list of reasons for purchasing my current rig.

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Great exercise and idea, Kris. Going to have to give this some thought and come up with some examples. Thanks for thinking of it.

Most of them.

Hey Harley - so do you hang on to your gear for a long time before upgrading? And if you don’t I assume the only reason is for improved IQ.

Thanks @linda_mellor - it is a weird thing to do in a way, but my outing where I tried a lot of those was oddly freeing. I sometimes get into ruts in how I use my gear and overlook things that will help me do a better job. Or, just plain fun things. Like this -

My first ever in-camera double exposure.

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I do hang onto the gear for a long time, as long as there is no quantum leap in IQ. I have a Nikon D850 and an 810 for backup and have had them for a number of years. They give me all the IQ I can use. About the only fancy feature on the D850 I use the the auto focus stacking. It gives me multiple files and then I combine later in post processing. Other than that, it just the very basic features. I come from the 4x5 world, which is really basic.

I have no desire to go mirrorless. I have yet to look through a mirrorless camera viewfinder and not think that it looks odd and just off. And I use the viewfinder a lot. Sooner or later I will have to buy a new camera and it is likely that mirrorless will be the only choice, so at that point, I will just get used to it.

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I agree, I think I have only used double exposure once, disastrously I might add. Your does have some interesting effects. Maybe not a bad idea. I think if it is something (any of the not used functions) you like it would be worth the effort to have an extensive testing period before totally disregarding the function.

My camera (Nikon) has Multiple Exposure and I’ve used it a fair amount and when done well I really like the results. But it takes a lot of practice to do it well which I’ve not done!

I hear that. I shot with an OM-1n and an OM-3 for a couple of decades so it was all manual all the time. A strange thing happened when I went digital full time - I never shot in manual, but switched to Aperture priority because that controlled the piece I was usually most concerned about and exposure compensation allowed me further control. Strange, but true. These days I regularly shoot in A, S and M modes depending on what I need to do, but the other day I went out and shot in Program Shift. Same kind of scenario - I can override settings and force exposures, but still - P Mode!! It got the job done so it’s all good with me.

I hear you about the viewfinder. It can be a strange thing coming from a DSLR. My first mirrorless camera had a truly awful viewfinder and I hardly ever used it. My current rig has a very good one that directly shows a few things which I think help versus looking right through the lens - first, white balance. I can see it change on the screen and while it isn’t exact, it’s very close and allows me to get the wb pretty perfect out of the gate. Second I can set it so that it shows the relative exposure value of whatever I have dialed in. I find that useful as well. Sometimes I don’t want the screen to show that so I turn it off. Oh and also useful is a brighter screen in dim situations - now I can see to compose when looking through a DSLR would be tough, so I’d probably use the back screen in that case.

Not trying to sell you here, just pointing out what I find useful in an EVF.

Oh, plus focus peaking. So. Darn. Helpful.


Kris, you know, P stands for Perfect, right? :grin:

(in my best Dr. Evil voice) Well, that goes without saying.

I shoot in manual mode only and with manual focus. I use a very small subset of the camera features. Many of them deal with jpeg images anyway. I don’t enjoy exploring the camera features at all. I’m all about seeing and want the camera to capture that as well as possible with as least fiddling as possible on my part. I had issues with DOF for years and am so happy with focus bracketing. Recently I have expanded my list of features to ‘aspect ratio’. That’s primarily because it affects seeing, the composition itself. I also like Fuji’s profiles and will sometimes flip through those on the back screen, but very rarely.

Interesting, Igor. Does your camera have focus peaking or other aids for focussing? I find digital cameras really trying when it comes to this. When I had a DSLR and used an adapted legacy lens, I had to use the screen to enlarge anything I wanted to take a picture of. Hand held through the viewfinder? Fuggetaboudit. A cruel guessing game. Maybe your Fuji does a better job.

That’s why I started using Aspect ratio as well, although I wish I had a couple more baked in.

Me, on the other hand, I love going through the huge owner’s manual to find new and cool stuff the G9 does. I’ve especially loved the few big firmware upgrades and how I’ve been able to use them with bird and wildlife photography.

I misspoke. I use automatic focus. I find the closest object to my lens on my screen and touch it. The camera automatically focuses on it and that becomes the first image of my focus stack. The bottom of the screen shows a line marked from 0 to infinity with the selected focal plane on the line. Part of the line is highlighted to show what the DOF is based upon the setting I made. I prefer this system over focus peaking even though the camera has that as well.

Oh, and I also use the histogram on every shot - the histogram that shows all channels.

Oh, and I use the highlight warning setting that flashes black when I’m about to blow the highlights. I find that essential as well.

Hmmm… Come to think of it, I do use a lot of features.

I’ve spent half a lifetime working in Silicon Valley. I’ve had my fill reading manuals. In fact, it’s partly destroyed my ability to read literature because it teaches you to skim rather than read and comprehend. I need to force myself to slow down.


Like you Kristen I have a G9, it has loads of great functions, but one that’s never going to be used? it has to be, in-camera RAW processing. Why would I ever want to do that, that’s why I regularly give money to Adobe… have you ever used it?

That’s one I’ve never used. Never even read about it in detail since it isn’t something I’d every use. Seems like a strange thing to have on a camera of this caliber. Now I know its there, I am going to stick it on my list of things to try just to see how it does. Just for fun. Last time out I didn’t use HDR or High-Resolution so I might add it just to be weird. Don’t see it becoming a regular thing for me though!

I’m still shooting my trusted D850. It has a few bells and whistles that I don’t use. I use the focus shift function for macro wildflowers and the interval timer for astro (I stack for noise reduction) My camera has nearly 63,000 clicks, but since I use the silent shutter function in both focus shift and interval, there are far fewer shutter actuations than exposures! I’ve got it set to use a back button for focus but other than that, I don’t use any other special features.