A ShortCourse Book
Canon Powershot SX40 HS Photography

Canon Powershot SX40 HS Photography

Canon Powershot SX40 HS Photography

This clearly written and easy-to understand short course on your Canon Powershot SX40 HS explains step-by-step how, why and when you use your camera's controls for better pictures. This guide is available as a traditional 162 page large-format (8.5 by 11) spiral bound book printed in black and white, and as a full-color, fully searchable PDF eBook you can order on a CD or download instantly.


Introducing Animations

The eBook edition of this book has links to 50 animations, movies, PDFs and other resources that illustrate and explain the core concepts of digital photography. Integrated throughout the eBook, these linked resources help you understand your camera better, and make you a better photographer.

To use the animations and other linked resources you need the eBook version of this book and an Internet connection.

Click to see how every camera is just a black box then minimize or close the animation window.
Click to see how full color images are created from only three colors then minimize or close the animation window.


New, a Short Courses digital photography book for people who want to get better pictures with their Canon Powershot SX40 HS camera. This beautifully written and illustrated guide, pulls together answers to the questions you might have about using the camera.


Cover ...i
Short Courses Books and Web Site ...ii
Preface ...iv
Contents ...v

Chapter 1
Getting Started with your Canon SX40 HS ...7

The PowerShot SX40 HS— An Overview ...8
Jump Start— Taking Photos in Auto Mode ...9
Good Things to Know ...11
When Things Go Wrong ...13
Using the Monitor and Viewfinder ...14
Using Dials and Buttons ...16
Using Menus ...18
  • Tabbed Menus ...18
  • The Function Menu ...20
  • Resetting All Settings ...21
Managing Images in Review Mode ...22
Managing Images in Playback Mode ...23
  • Using Index View ...23
  • Using Scroll Display ...24
  • Erasing and Protecting Images ...24
  • Tagging Images as Favorites ...25
  • Viewing Movies made with Movie Digest ...25
  • Viewing Images in a Group ...25
  • Auto rotating images ...25
Connecting to a TV Set ...26
  • Connecting to a Standard TV ...26
  • Connecting to an HD TV ...26
  • Slide Show Settings ...26
  • Using a TV Remote to Control the Camera ...27
  • Smart Shuffle ...27
Working with Groups of Images ...28
  • Auto Category ...28
  • My Category ...28
  • Filtering Images and Jumping ...29
  • Specifying a Range of Images ...30
Selecting Image Quality and Size ...31
  • Number of Pixels ...31
  • How an Image is Captured ...33
  • It's All Black and White After All ...33
  • Choosing Image Quality and Size — Still Images ...34
  • Hints & Tips ...35
  • Resizing images ...36
  • Trimming images ...37

Chapter 2
Controlling Exposure ...38

Understanding Exposure ...39
The Shutter Controls Light and Motion ...40
The Aperture Controls Light and Depth of Field ...42
Using Shutter Speed and Aperture Together ...44
  • Exposure— Faucets & Buckets Analogy ...45
  • Exposure— Seesaw Analogy ...46
Retaining Highlight and Shadow Details ...47
Choosing Shooting Modes ...48
Using Special Scene (SCN) Modes ...49
Using Creative Filters ...51
Using Program AE (P) Mode and Program Shift ...52
Using Shutter-Priority (Tv) Mode ...53
Using Aperture-Priority (Av) Mode ...54
Using Manual (M) Mode ...55
How your Exposure System Works ...56
Choosing a Metering Method ...58
When Automatic Exposure Works Well ...59
When to Override Automatic Exposure ...60
  • Scenes Lighter than Middle Gray ...60
  • Scenes Darker than Middle Gray ...61
  • Subject Against Very Light Background ...61
  • Subject Against Very Dark Background ...62
  • Scenes with High Contrast ...62
  • Hard to Meter Scenes ...63
How Overriding Autoexposure Works ...64
How to Override Automatic Exposure ...65
  • Exposure Compensation ...65
  • AE Lock ...66
  • Autoexposure Bracketing (AEB) ...67
  • Using Safety Shift ...68
  • The Exposure Compensation point on the Control Dial ...68
Using Histograms ...69
  • Displaying Histograms ...69
  • Evaluating Histograms ...69
  • Clipped Pixels ...71
  • Sample Histograms ...72
Using i-Contrast ...73
  • Using i-Contrast While Shooting ...73
  • Using i-Contrast in Playback ...73

Chapter 3
Controlling Sharpness ...74

Getting Sharper Pictures ...75
  • Using the Self-timer ...75
  • Setting the Image Stabilization (IS) Mode ...76
  • Changing the ISO ...77
  • Sharpness Isn't Everything ...79
How to Photograph Motion Sharply ...80
  • Speed of Subject ...80
  • Direction of Movement ...80
  • Distance to Subject and Focal Length of Lens ...81
Focus and Depth of Field ...82
  • Focus ...82
  • Depth of Field ...82
Focusing Techniques ...84
  • Focusing ...84
  • Changing the AF Frame Mode ...84
  • Changing the AF Frame Size and Moving it ...85
  • Continuous AF ...86
  • Using Focus Lock and AF Lock (AFL) ...86
  • Using Servo AF ...87
Face Detect ...88
Manual Focus ...89
Bracketing Focus ...90
Checking Focus ...91
  • Checking Focus in Shooting Mode ...91
  • Checking Focus in Review and Playback Modes ...92
Controlling Depth of Field ...93
Using Maximum Depth of Field ...94
Using Shallow Depth of Field ...95
Conveying the Feeling of Motion ...96

Chapter 4
Capturing Light & Color ...97

Where does Color Come from? ...98
White Balance ...99
Color Balance and Time of Day ...101
Sunsets and Sunrises ...102
Photographing at Night ...104
  • Fireworks ...104
  • The Moon ...104
Weather ...106
The Direction of Light ...108
The Quality of Light ...110

Chapter 5
Understanding Lenses ...111

The Zoom Lens ...112
Normal Zoom ...113
Wide-Angle Zoom ...114
Telephoto and Digital Zoom ...116
  • Digital Zoom ...117
  • Digital Tele-converter ...117
  • Zoom Framing Assist ...117
Portraits with a Zoom Lens ...119
Perspective in a Photograph ...120
Using Macro Mode ...121
Focusing and Depth of Field Close Up ...122

Chapter 6
Using Flash and Studio Lighting ...123

How Automatic Flash Works ...124
  • Flash Falloff ...124
  • Flash and Shutter Speeds ...124
  • Flash Modes ...125
  • Flash FAQs ...125
Using an External Flash...126
  • Using an Small External Flash ...126
  • Using a Hot Shoe Mounted Speedlite ...126
Using Flash Settings ...127
Portraits with Flash ...128
Reducing and Removing Red-eye ...129
  • Reducing or Correcting Red-eye in Shooting Modes ...129
  • Removing Red-eye in Playback Mode ...130
Using Flash On — Fill Flash ...131
Using Available Light ...132
Using Slow Synchro Flash ...133
Controlling Flash Exposures ...135
  • Flash Modes ...135
  • Flash Exposure Lock ...135
  • Safety FE ...135
  • Flash Exposure Compensation ...136
  • Adjusting Flash Output Manually ...136
Studio Lighting ...137
  • Candidates for Studio Lighting ...137
  • Lighting ...137
  • Backgrounds ...139
  • Risers ...139
  • Special Bulbs ...139
Portrait and Product Photography— Introduction ...140
The Main Light ...141
The Fill Light ...142
The Background Light ...143
The Rim Light ...144

Chapter 7
Special Features ...145

Panoramas—Stitch Assist Mode ...146
  • Basic Techniques ...146
  • Stitch Assist Mode ...147
Using Color Accent and Color Swap ...148 Using My Colors ...149
  • Using My Colors in Shooting Mode ...149
  • Using My Colors in Playback Mode ...150
Continuous Photography ...151
Capturing Movies ...152
  • Movie Modes ...152
  • Movie Recording ...152
  • Adjusting Exposure ...153
  • Taking Still Images ...153
Playing Movies ...154
Editing Movies ...155
Using C1 and C2 Modes ...156
Using the Shortcut Button ...157
Using My Menu ...158
Using the Set Up Menu ...159


A great photograph begins when you recognize a great scene or subject. But recognizing a great opportunity isn't enough to capture it; you also have to be prepared. A large part of being prepared involves understanding your camera well enough to capture what you see. Getting you prepared to see and capture great photographs is what this book is all about. It doesn't matter if you are taking pictures for business or pleasure, there's a lot here to help you get better results and more satisfaction from your photography.

To get better, and possibly even great photographs, you need to understand both concepts and procedures; the "whys" and "hows" of photography.

  • Concepts of photography are the underlying principles that apply regardless of the camera you are using. They include such things as how sharpness and exposure affect your images and the way they are perceived by viewers. Understanding concepts answers the "why" kinds of questions you might have about photography.
  • Procedures are those things specific to your own camera model, and explain step-by-step how you set your camera's controls to capture an image just the way you want to. Understanding procedures gives you the answers to the "how" kinds of questions you might have.
This book is organized around the concepts of digital photography because that's how photographers think. You think about scenes and subjects, highlights and shadows, softness and sharpness, color and tone. The procedures you use with the Canon PowerShot SX40 HS camera are integrated throughout the concepts, appearing in those places where they apply. This integrated approach lets you first understand the concepts of photography and then see step by step how to use the SX40 HS in all kinds of photographic situations.

To get more effective, interesting, and creative photographs, you only need to understand how and when to use a few simple features on your camera such as focus, exposure controls, and flash. If you've previously avoided understanding these features and the profound impact they can have on your images, you'll be pleased to know that you can learn them on a weekend. You can then spend the rest of your life marveling at how the infinite variety of combinations make it possible to convey your own personal view of the world. You'll be ready to keep everything in a scene sharp for maximum detail or to blur it all for an impressionistic portrayal. You'll be able to get dramatic close-ups, freeze fast action, create wonderful panoramas, and capture the beauty and wonder of rainbows, sunsets, fireworks, and nighttime scenes.

As you explore your camera, be sure to have fun. There are no "rules" or "best" way to make a picture. Great photographs come from using what you know to experiment and try new approaches. Digital cameras make this especially easy because there are no film costs or delays. Every experiment is free and you see the results immediately so you can learn step by step.

This book assumes youíve mastered the mechanics of your camera. Itís about getting great pictures, not about connecting your camera to computers and using your software. That information is well presented in the user guide that came with your camera. Be sure to visit our Web site at www.shortcourses.com for even more digital photography information.

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Click to order a printed copy of the book and a PDF copy on a CD at a special package price of $36.95US.

Click to order a PDF copy of the book on a CD for $19.95US.

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