Copyright Michael Karbo, Denmark, Europe.

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    Chapter 5. The camera's menu system

    When you pick up a new camera and switch it on the first thing that strikes your eyes in the camera’s menu system. A menu system is the programs, you can see on the LCD screen and which you will often have to use. The programs are used for small everyday tasks like altering sensitivity or deleting unsuccessful images from the memory card but the menu system is also used for a number of more advanced tasks. In any case it’s important to know something about how the menu system is constructed.

    The camera’s own software

    The camera’s software makes all the mechanics, electronics, computer power, etc. fit together. In this way the software is used to control the camera – before, during and after exposure.

    The software is active as soon as the camera is switched on and it works all the time in the background while you take photographs. But we can also use the software ourselves. This is what enables us to alter a number of the conditions in the camera, and which means, therefore, that a digital camera is, in fact, able to be programmed.

    An interface is necessary for programming a camera. There has to be some buttons to press on, so we can, for example, switch the flash on and off.

    The camera’s different buttons and dials, etc. constitutes the interface but there is a limitation to how many buttons, etc. there can be on an ordinary camera body. This is why a large number of the settings are hidden away in the menu system, which can be seen on the LCD screen.

    Figur 14. The menu system together with all the different buttons, etc. constitutes an interface, which gives access to the camera’s software. You navigate in the menu system with the help of certain buttons.

    There is great variation in the way menu systems function in different sorts of cameras. It’s as if all the manufacturers have developed their own ideas and there aren’t many common denominators. Development is the same within the areas of menu systems for mobile telephones and televisions, etc. – they are very different from model to model.

    There are not very many manufacturers, who translate camera menu systems into smaller languages, so you may have to live with the English menus. This shouldn’t be a big problem – especially if you study this book thoroughly. We will look at examples of different menu systems in detail later.

    Figur 15. The menu systems in the cameras are constructed very differently dependent on the manufacturer. Not all of them are user-friendly. These six different menus are not directly comparable; but it is obvious how differently the menus are designed.

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