P,A,S,M - The Signs Of The Times
As I drove to work today a gold car passed me by with one of those stickers in the back window that had the letter "I", a red heart, and a pictogram. You've seen them - "I Love Whatever..." The trouble with this one was the pictogram - for the life of me I could not make out whether it depicted a snail or a whale.
There was no clue from the rest of the car - it was a Mercedes. Had it been a Peugeot or a Honda I might have been able to figure it out. It did put me in mind, however, of the business of the pictograms on our digital cameras.
Somewhere on the outside or inside of every digital camera is the pictogram - it may show a face, or a mountain, or a running man...or a martini glass or a small dog. I've got one on the desk in front of me that has two pictograms of babies marked Baby 1 and Baby 2. If you have triplets you are out of luck...
What does it all mean? I can understand the running man - the camera sets a high shutter speed and plays along with the aperture until it gets tired of doing so. I can understand the mountain symbol - the camera sets a small aperture and you can get everything in focus including the mountain of dishes in the sink in the background.
But what the heck happens when you dial up the martini glass? Or the little dog?
I finally have to take comfort with the knob on the top that is marked with P,A,S,and M. These I understand.
P means Professional and if you are getting paid for the job you are required to use this setting.
A means Amateur and if no money changes hands you leave it there. ( Note: If you used the P setting for a job but the customer never paid the account, you have to go reset your EXIF data for all your files. We'll tell you how to do this in a later post.)
The M setting on the mode dial is, of course, Multicultural. It's not really considered polite to ask, but just look at your subjects closely and if any of them seem to be New Australians use this setting to be safe.
The S setting has puzzled a lot of photographers. A number of people have brought their cameras back to us and complained that they seem to be getting excessive pink in their images when they set the S on it and take pictures of track meets or motor races. Sillies - they didn't read the section of their camera manual that deals with this - S stands for Sleazy. Hence more pink.
I am also trying to cope with the little symbol of a waving hand. I do what the symbol says - I wave my hands from side to side as I take the picture but the camera just makes a buzz and a click and all the pictures come out sharp. I think it is broken.
But then so much of life is...