A Short Course Book
Curtin's Guide to Digital Cameras
And Other Photographic Equipment

Playback Mode

 
The Kodak EasyShare lets you drag and drop photos into albums using a stylus.
All but the cheapest digital cameras have an LCD monitor that you use to display and scroll through the images you have taken. Although very useful, it's difficult to make "keep or delete decisions" about images because the size and resolution of these monitors is nowhere near those on high-quality computers.
  • In-camera editing is a relatively new feature and will only grow in importance as cameras are enabled to send photos directly to photo sharing sites, printers and e-mail addresses. With some cameras you are able to remove redeye, adjust tones and colors, add borders and use special effects.
  • Slide shows display your images one after another on the camera's monitor or a connected TV. Many digital cameras have an analog video output terminal (NTSC or PAL) so they can be connected to a TV using standard input or video-in terminals. Some cameras use special effects such as dissolve to transition from one image to the next and some even let you accompany the show with music. However, unless the camera software also allows you to download images back into the camera, this is only a transient benefit. Once you have erased the images to make room for new ones, you can no longer display them from the camera. However, you can use software on your computer to create slide shows and save them on DVDs.
  • Image management lets you delete, rotate, protect and add audio annotation to images or zoom them to carefully examine details, sharpness, colors and tones.
  • Direct printing without using a computer is possible when both the camera and the printer support the PictBridge standard.
  • An orientation sensor in many cameras detects when you turn the camera vertically to take a picture and even knows which end is up. When you then replay the image, it is rotated on the screen so you don't have to rotate the camera to view it or turn your head sideways to see it on a TV set. (Auto rotation doesn't work well when shooting straight up or down, so you may want to turn it off.) The images may or may not be rotated when transferred to your computer because it depends on the software you are using. You can also use a separate Rotate command on many playback menus to rotate just specific images that you've already taken.
  • The Format command formats a memory card for use with the camera. It might also help you fix a card that's not working as it should. BE CAREFUL with this command because it will erase your image files— including any you have protected.
  • Image review displays the image you just took for a few seconds so you can check it. Some cameras let you keep it displayed longer and most let you delete it. A few cameras seamlessly integrate image review and playback mode so after reviewing the current photo you can scroll through others and use all of the playback commands.
  • Information about the image can be displayed on many cameras. This information, called EXIF information, is stored in the image file. It may include the date and time the picture was taken, shutter speed and aperture used, and a small thumbnail image. Many cameras will also display a histogram and highlight (overexposure) warning. Some cameras let you select how much information is displayed so you can display it all when reviewing images and turn it all off when giving a slide show.
If you ever delete photos or format a card by mistake, the chances are you can recover the images with software. Some camera companies supply this software with the camera, but in most cases you have to Google "digital image recovery" to locate it on-line.


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