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Command Dials

The DCS-14n has two dials, both of which are mounted horizontally in the body. The dial at the rear of the camera ('under your thumb') is called the main command dial. The dial at the front of the camera is called the sub command dial. It's important to remember which is which when reading the next few pages of this review.

Main command dial (rear) Sub command dial (front)


Top of camera controls (left)

Top of the camera on the left side of the viewfinder are situated the mode / settings and drive dials. The mode dial is free to move, the drive dial is 'locked', this means you must hold down the small locking pin to move this dial.

Once more we find ISO on the mode dial, which would mean switching out of the current exposure mode to change ISO sensitivity. Luckily the DSC-14n offers a second option, that is to hold the STATUS button on the rear of the camera and cursor to change ISO, not neat but a little quicker.

Mode / Settings Dial: Settings

Dial
position
ISO ISO Sensitivity

• ISO 80
• ISO 100
• ISO 125
• ISO 160
• ISO 200
• ISO 250
• ISO 320
• ISO 400
No action
AF Area Mode

• Single Area AF
• Dynamic Area AF
No action

Mode / Settings Dial: Mode

Icon
 
Mode
P

Programmed Auto (Flexible)

The Program AE on the DCS-14n is flexible, that means that you can select one of a variety of equal exposures by rolling the main command dial (rear of camera) left or right. Example:

     • 1/15 F4.0 (roll left a click) P*
     • 1/20 F3.3 (roll left a click) P*
     • 1/30 F2.8 (metered) P
     • 1/45 F2.4 (roll right a click) P*
     • 1/60 F2.0 (roll right a click) P*

The DCS-14n remembers the selected offset from default metering, the only way to reset this is to quickly turn the camera off and on again.

S

Shutter Priority Auto

In this mode you select the shutter speed and the camera will calculate the correct aperture for the exposure (based on the reading of the current metering mode). Shutter speed is displayed on the viewfinder status bar and on the top LCD, roll the main command dial (rear) to select different shutter speeds. A half-press of the shutter release causes the cameras exposure system to calculate the aperture, if it's outside of the cameras exposure range (for instance trying to take a shot at 1/500s in darkness) the aperture will show 'Lo' or 'Hi'.

    • 30 seconds - 1/4,000 sec (in 1/2 EV steps)
 

A

Aperture Priority Auto

In this mode you select the aperture and the camera will calculate the correct shutter speed for the exposure (based on the reading of the current metering mode). Aperture is displayed on the viewfinder status bar and on the top LCD, roll the sub-command (front) dial to select different apertures. A half-press of the shutter release causes the cameras exposure system to calculate the shutter speed, if it's outside of the cameras exposure range the shutter speed will show 'Lo' or 'Hi'.

    • Range depends on lens max. and min. apertures (in 1/2 EV steps)
 

M Full Manual Exposure

In this mode you select the aperture and the shutter speed from any combination of the above. Main command dial selects shutter speed, sub-command dial selects aperture. The meter on the viewfinder status bar and top LCD will immediately reflect the exposure level compared to the calculated ideal exposure, if it's outside of +/- 2EV the indicator bar will add an arrow '<' or '>' on the end of the meter. Bulb shutter release can only be accessed when enabled by a custom setting.

1/2 EV Steps

Just like Fujifilm's S2 Pro the DCS-14n is limited by the exposure system upon which it is based, that from the F80 (N80). This means that you are limited to making exposure adjustments only in 1/2 EV steps. This can at times feel limiting, especially when trying to pick an aperture in aperture priority mode or select an exposure compensation that isn't 'too much'.

Drive Mode Dial

Symbol
 
Mode
Single frame shooting

One frame is taken when shutter release is pressed. You can take another shot almost as quickly as you can re-press the shutter release.

Continuous shooting

Press and hold the shutter release and the camera will shoot frames at approximately 1.7 frames per second (depending on shutter speed) for up to 8 RAW or JPEG frames (18 frames if upgraded to a 512 MB buffer).

Self-timer shooting

Camera takes a single frame after a predefined delay, this delay can be set to 2, 5, 10 or 20 seconds via a custom function.
Exposure lock

Switching to this special mode locks exposure settings such as selected aperture in aperture priority mode, exposure compensation in all modes. However it doesn't stop you from changing ISO sensitivity etc.


Top of camera controls (right)

Top of the camera on the right side are the two sub and main command dials (front and back), the power switch, shutter release, exposure compensation, flash compensation and LCD illumination button.

Power switch

Symbol
 
Mode
OFF

Camera Off

The camera will only power off once it has completed writing any buffered data (rear panel display will continue blinking). This means that you can shoot a burst of frames, turn the power switch to the OFF position safe in the knowledge that the camera will write all your images to the storage card before powering off.

ON Camera On

Switches camera on, although the 'photographic side' of the camera comes on instantly (meaning you can change photographic settings, auto focus) you can't take a shot until the 'digital side' has also finished its startup sequence. This means a wait of approximately x seconds at startup.

Buttons

Button
Exposure Compensation

• +/-3EV in 1/2EV steps
No action
Flash Compensation

• +/1EV in 1/2EV steps
No action
Illuminate

This button illuminates the top LCD panel and rear LCD panel in green. A single press of this button toggles the backlight on or off.
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