5 Ways Your Camera Is Smarter Than You Realize

Derrick Story
3 min readAug 17, 2022
Image from OM System.

Our motivation for buying a camera is often fueled by better resolution, improved low light performance, faster frame rates, and, well, it’s new.

But it’s worth noting that the people who market products are not the same ones who design them. And that most camera engineers I’ve met are passionate enthusiasts who stay up late working on features they want to use too. Many of those ideas benefit us… if we’d only try them.

In my photography workshops I challenge participants to learn something new about their camera. And I revel in their delight when they discover a feature that truly lights them up.

The fact is that today’s devices are brilliant. We just have to spend some time exploring their capabilities to fully understand that genius. Here are five places to start.

Subject Detection — Objects in motion are challenging to capture. You have a split second to compose, focus, and fire. But what if your camera could help you identify what you’re looking for and focus on it?

Subject detection uses computational photography to identify and focus on birds, cars, airplanes, trains, and more. If you have a new mirrorless camera, then chances are good you have some form of subject detection. Look for it and give it a try.

Intelligent Auto ISO — In the past, many photographers shied away from allowing their cameras to increase the ISO as lighting conditions changed. The concern was that image quality would be unnecessarily compromised by high sensitivity settings.

But so much has changed with Auto ISO. Most cameras allow you to set parameters so you have complete control of the high and low range. Plus features have been added such as establishing the minimum shutter speed before ISO begins to climb.

It’s worth revisiting your ISO settings in the camera menu. You may be delighted by what you discover. And it can help you maintain a proper shutter speed in changing conditions.

Digital Tele-Converter — If I’m going to get heat for any of these, it will be this one. But I’m not talking about the digital zoom on your 2010 compact camera. Today’s technology is far superior. I have a 2X digital tele-converter on my Olympus cameras, and a 1.5X and 2X settings…