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Most people have used a self-timer on a camera. You balance the camera on a rock or something, and you point it at your friends, and then you set it off and you try and run back and get in the frame and look natural before the camera takes a picture. To use the self-timer, just spin the dial around the little Self-Timer icon here. By default, it's set to a 10-second timer. So, I would half-press the Shutter button to autofocus, just like normal, and then press it the rest of the way to start the timer, which has an incredibly annoying beeping sound that it makes.
The other thing that's going on here is the autofocus assist lamp is flashing in time with the beep. And as you heard there at the very end, it speeds up for the last second or two before it takes the shot, so that lets you know that it's about to go off. I can customize the self-timer in some very cool ways. If I go here into my menu, into the Custom Setting menu--that's a little pencil--category C Timers, and Auto Exposure Lock, and down here to C3 Self-Timer, I've got three different things I can change. First, the length of the timer itself.
By default, it's at 10 seconds. So I can put that at 20 or at 5 or at 2. Now, you may think, "Well what good is a 2-second timer?" I can't really run around the camera that quickly. That's great for times when I'm maybe working off of a tripod and simply want to reduce camera shake. I can give it a 2-second timer. That gives it a moment to calm down before it takes the shot. There are some other cool customizations you can make. Let's say that you're taking a self-timed shot of a group of you and your friends, and you don't want to simply take a single frame because you don't know that someone's eyes aren't going to be closed.
Number of shots lets me specify how many shots to take when the self-timer fires, and I can give it from 1 to 9. So, when the self-timer finally goes, it will knock off here five shots. I can also tell it how much space I want between each of those shots. Default is half a second. I can go 1, 2, or 3 seconds. So, that allows me to get a little more space to give people time to compose themselves. So, this is a really versatile, really nice self-timer, with a lot of flexibility built into it.
Note that the self-timer will work with the built-in flash or with an external flash, but it will not work in Bulb mode. There's no way to create a self-timing configuration and then simply hold the Shutter button down for a while. One important thing to know about the self- timer is that when I half-press the Shutter button to autofocus, autofocus is happening then and is locked in. So, when the camera finally fires, it will be at that focus that occurred when I originally half-pressed the button. The problem is, if I'm trying to do a self-portrait, I'm back here behind the camera.
So, if I half-press the Shutter button, it's possibly going to focus beyond where I'm going to be standing. So, when I get around in front of the camera, focus may come up or focus may go too long. There are two things I can do. I can shoot with deeper depth of field to try to make up for that. But even that can be risky. So, what I typically do in those situations is to tilt the camera down to a point on the ground where I will be standing, focus there, then tilt it back up. I want to use a slightly deeper depth of field then, just because that could actually be a longer distance than when the camera is parallel to the ground.
I half-press the Shutter button there to lock focus. With the Shutter button still held down, I tilt the camera up, lock it down, and then press it the rest of the way and run around and get in front of the camera. We will be talking more about that focus-and-reframing technique later in this course.
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