Your Style and Camera Customization

With the arrival of the Lumix G9, my thoughts have been turning to how insanely new cameras can be customized. Apart from the dizzying array of features, customizing is enough to make a person a little crazy. We all have habits and routines and while some of those are good and make sense, others have been created out of necessity and the necessity may have changed.

Most importantly, these choices are supposed to make our lives easier. They aren’t supposed to confuse us or cause stress. So I’m going to have a look at my style, my needs and my camera.

  1. Do my habits/routines match my camera?
    1. What things do I still need to do and which can I ditch?
    2. Do my current customization settings still work?
  2. What things can be put into customized settings?
    1. Buttons
    2. My menu
    3. Toggle switch

1 – Since I’m learning a new camera and getting used to new buttons and ergonomics, I decided to switch to back button focusing rather than use the shutter as I’ve always done. When I first learned of this technique a number of years ago I wanted to try it, but never did. I attempted it, but didn’t follow through. The G9 shutter button is crazy sensitive and so it makes a lot of sense with this camera (oh the number of pictures of the inside of the lens cap I have had to delete!!).

C1,2 & 3 Dial settings – I do a lot of landscapes, macro and close up. For some reason my custom dial settings C1 and C2 are set for these separately, but they are very close in terms of how they’re set up and I have forgotten which is which to be honest. I’m going to combine them into one setting for tripod work and make it C1.

  • Manual ISO – not auto
  • Manual white balance
  • Level gauge visible
  • Aperture priority
  • Center weighted metering (giving it a try for macro)
  • Single focus or custom multi focus
  • 2 second shutter delay
  • Single shot

Now C2 can be for handheld work. This makes a lot more sense given the fact that I’ve been doing more hand-holding since higher ISO settings are coming out cleaner and cleaner with every new camera.

  • iISO
  • Auto white balance
  • Level gauge visible
  • Aperture priority
  • Multi-metering
  • Minimum shutter speed set to 1/30 sec
  • 224-point focus
  • Single shot – which I actually don’t think I can program since it’s a dial setting

C3 is set up for kayaking or wildlife photography. I’m still not entirely sure that it’s appropriate for both given the fact that I do landscape stuff in the boat, but it’s a start.

  • Auto white balance
  • Shutter priority
  • iISO
  • Center weighted metering
  • Level gauge
  • Focus tracking
  • Multi shot (Burst)
  • Silent mode (electronic shutter)

So my routines do match…sort of, but they aren’t encouraging me to expand my repertoire. My task will be to see if any of the stretch features can be put into a custom setting and used easily. C3 has two sub-setting place holders that I haven’t done anything with. You activate them with the menu and it could be useful for video settings, but I haven’t decided. Maybe I’ll change the focus, the metering and the silent aspects and use that for landscapes in the kayak.

2. Custom settings

Buttons – I’ve put a single shot spot meter function into the lower button on the front, the upper is for the level gauge because it seems to disappear sometimes, especially when I switch modes. I haven’t reassigned any of the others yet. Mostly I envision using these while hand-holding since they are easily reached, not easily confused and can be used by feel.

My Menu – These functions I see being used while the camera is on a tripod. I’ve added some things with different purposes in mind –

Things I use a lot now –

  • Format the memory card
  • Shutter delay (turn it off when switching to a remote cable release)

Things I want to use more often –

  • Monochrome view
  • Bracketing
  • AF Custom settings (especially for C3 with wildlife since it optimizes for tracking and movement)
  • Minimum Shutter Speed (easily adjustable for C2 and C3)

New stuff I want to try –

  • Post Focus
  • Loop Movement Focus Frame

That’s how I’m going about it – building the list of features to try in the My Menu function. I figure that’s as good a place as any for it.

Toggle – I’ve left the factory setting – silent/mechanical shutter.

It’s taken me a few days of musing and using and I’ve tried not to overthink it. Nothing I’ve done is set in stone, but should make things more fun and efficient when I’m taking pictures. We’ll see how it goes!

If you haven’t looked at your style and habits and your gear in a while, I encourage you to try it. It’s a good way to see if you’ve grown as a photographer and if maybe your gear or the way you use your gear is holding you back. Keeping you stale. Or if you haven’t taken advantage of the tools you have.





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