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LCD Zoomin’

Saturday, April 16th, 2005 by | Filed Under: Digital Photography

Has this ever happened to you? You take an amazing shot with your digicam, it looks great on the camera’s LCD monitor, and you think you have a real winner. However, when you get back home you’re disappointed when you discover that it wasn’t quite as sharp as it looked on the LCD screen. Is there a way to have averted this tragedy? You bet!

Most (not all, but most) digital cameras have a “zoom” feature for their LCD screens. By “zooming in” on various areas of your image, you can tell if it’s sharp or not.

Looks good small

But… Maybe not so great enlarged!

Usually, the procedure works like this:

You set the camera to “review” mode so you can look over the images you just shot. Most cameras will have a magnifying glass symbol somewhere near a button you press to zoom in. It may even be integrated into your camera’s zoom lens function (i.e. in “review” mode, you press the “zoom” button for the lens to zoom in on the image).

Once you start zooming, you can probably “scroll” around the image using a dial or set of buttons on the back of your camera. To determine exactly how your camera’s zoom and scroll features work, it’s probably a good idea to check your owner’s manual.

Now, here’s the trick. LCD screens on digital cameras tend to be a little less than perfect. They usually give a false sense of color, contrast, and even sharpness. So, as you zoom in, you may find that the image looks a bit on the soft side when it’s really not—or it may seem sharp when it’s anything but.

My advice is to leave your images on your card next time you download them onto your computer. Find a few that are really sharp—print ’em out to be sure. Now, turn your camera on and take a good look at those pictures. Zoom in, zoom out, scroll around. Get a feel for how your camera’s LCD monitor displays a sharp photo.

Let me tell ya, the first time I had my new digicam, I was zooming in and thought that every image I was taking was soft. I was on a trip and it was more than a little frustrating. It was only after I arrived home and started looking over the images on my computer that I got a “feel” for how my camera’s LCD screen shows sharpness. Now, when I take an image, I can zoom in and right away if the image is sharp or soft. It was just a matter of getting myself “calibrated” to it. Give it a shot!

Happy Shooting!

~ Steve

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