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Top of camera controls

On the top of the camera is the information LCD (detailed earlier) and the subject-program button. At the front is the shutter release button. At the bottom are buttons for flash mode, drive mode and exposure compensation. Beside this is the mode dial for slecting between power off, record, play, setup and connection modes.

Shutter release button

Just like the DiMAGE 5 and 7 I faced frustration with the S304's shutter release being 'locked'. This occured with both Instant playback enabled and disabled, here's the scenario:

  • Instant playback disabled - pressing the shutter release button too quickly after the first exposure and the camera will ignore the press, you have to lift your finger and press again.
     
  • Instant playback enabled (2 or 10 secs) - pressing the shutter release with the playback image shown returns to the live view but you must lift your finger and press again to take another shot.

In my opinion the camera should take a shot if (a) the live view is visible and (b) the shutter release is pressed, the photographer is clearly holding the shutter release button down for this reason.

Buttons

Button Description

Digital Subject Program

Pressing this button selects between one of five preset subject exposure programs, each of these programs configures the camera with the optimum settings for a particular subject, these are only available in AUTO exposure mode (except for Macro which is available in all modes):

Macro Locks focal length to the optimum for macro focus and switches camera's AF system to macro.
Portrait Uses large apertures to create soft backgrounds (narrow DOF).
Landscape Uses the smallest possible aperture to create a large DOF, keeps foreground and background sharp.
Night Portrait Fixed white balance, allows long exposures in combination with the flash.
Text High contrast for capture of black text on a white background
 

Flash Mode

Auto with red-eye reduction
Forced on with red-eye reduction
Auto
Forced on
Disabled

Magnify


Play mode: Magnify currently displayed image in steps: x2.0, x2.5, x3.2. Magnified image can be panned using the 4-way controller.

Drive Mode

Single Shot
Self Timer
Continuous
AE Bracketing
Exposure compensation

All exposure modes (except manual) press this button to change exposure compensation. -2.0 EV to +2.0 EV in 0.3 EV steps. In manual mode this button switches between shutter speed and aperture selection.

Mode Dial

Position Description
OFF

Power Off

Switched to this position the camera powers off, LCD powers down immediately, if there are any images still in the internal buffer they will continue to be written (flushed) to the CF card. CF activity light will go out once all buffered images are written.

Auto Record

A simple point-and-shoot automatic exposure mode, menu options are limited to image quality / size, voice memo, digital zoom and instant playback. Advanced features such as AF area selection, ISO sensitivity, white balance etc. can not be changed. Flash mode, focus mode and exposure compensation are available.

Multi-function Record

A fully automatic shooting mode (programmed auto exposure), with the option to switch to aperture priority or full manual exposure. All menu options are available and user can control sophisticated features such as ISO sensitivity, AF area selection, sharpening, contrast, white balance etc.

Play

Displays the last image shot (or last image on the CF card) on the rear LCD monitor.
Movie record

Shoot movies, press the shutter release to start recording, press again to stop. Movies are recorded in AVI format @ 320 x 240, 12 frames per second for a maximum of 60 seconds, audio is recorded using the built-in microphone.
SETUP Setup mode

Camera displays special camera setup menu used to control global settings such as LCD brightness, power saving time, language, date, video output etc. Format CF card is only available in this mode.
Communications mode

Enables USB communications for direct connectivity to a PC or Mac.
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