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Top of camera controls (right)

The shutter button, power lever, digital zoom button, live view switch and exposure compensation button are located on the right-hand corner of the camera (there's also a control dial just underneath the shutter button on the front of the camera). All can be fairly easily reached either with the thumb or forefinger, at least while shooting in live view. It's questionable though if the digital zoom button really needs such a prominent position on the top plate. It can only be operated in live view mode and when shooting JPEG. Many photographers would probably prefer a more useful control in its place.

Shooting mode controls

Button
 
Action
 

Exposure compensation

Hold this button and turn the dial to change from the metered exposure using the on-screen scale (+/- 2 EV).

Digital tele converter

Engages 'Digital Tele converter' mode, in which the camera crops the image size to simulate 1.4x or 2x zoom. This only works when shooting JPEG images and in live view. Otherwise pressing the button will trigger an error message.
LIVE VIEW /
OVF
Live view

This switch toggles between live view and viewfinder mode. When live view is engaged the viewfinder is blacked out by an internal shutter.
Control dial

Used to change settings and navigate menus, by default also used to select shutter speed (or aperture if you'd prefer) in M mode.

Play mode controls

Button
 
Action
 

Zoom

In play mode enters the camera's magnify mode (at 7.2x, initially), then turn the control dial to magnify the image further (up to 14x) or reduce magnification (down to 1.1x). Pressing the button again takes you back to full screen. Unlike most other DSLRs you can't get into thumbnail mode by turning the dial further after 1.1x magnification.

Control dial

In play mode the front dial is used for scrolling through images or for adjusting the zoom factor after the zoom button has been pressed.

Top of camera controls (left)

On the top left of the camera we have the mode dial and the menu button. Pressing the latter will take you (no surprises here) to the menus - jumping to the recording menu when pressing the button in recording mode, and the playback menu when pressing it in playback mode.

Button

Control
 
Function
 
MENU Menu

Enters or leaves the current mode menu, all menus are accessible once in the menu system but pressing this button in Play mode will take you directly to the Play section and pressing it in Recording mode will take you to the Recording mode respectively.

Exposure modes

Position
 
Mode
 
Auto Program Exposure

This is essentially the camera's "point and shoot" mode. When you select this mode various settings return to their defaults (with most defaulting to 'auto'). You cannot apply exposure compensation in this mode.
P

Program Exposure

In Program exposure mode the camera selects aperture and shutter speed automatically but allows the user to alter all other settings such as ISO, D-Range or Creative Style. Unlike the A350 the A380 does not offer program-shift.

A

Aperture Priority

In this mode you select the aperture and the camera will calculate the shutter speed for the exposure (depending on metered value; metering mode, ISO). Aperture is displayed on the viewfinder status bar and the LCD monitor (if recording display is enabled), turn the control dial to select different apertures.

S

Shutter Priority

In this mode you select the shutter speed and the camera will calculate the correct aperture for the exposure (depending on metered value; metering mode, ISO). Shutter speed is displayed on the viewfinder status bar and the LCD monitor (if recording display is enabled), turn the control dial to select different shutter speeds.

M

Full Manual Exposure

In this mode you select the aperture and the shutter speed (and additionally Bulb shutter). The front dial controls shutter speed, press the exposure compensation button, hold it and then turn the dial to adjust aperture. As you turn the dial the EV scale on the recording display and the viewfinder status line indicates how close the selected exposure is to the metered exposure (+/- 2 EV).

Flash off mode

Suppressed flash mode is a variant of 'Auto' mode but, as the name suggests, one that will not resort to using flash. Instead it will just keep trying to use longer exposures in low light. Useful for situations in which flashes are forbidden.

Scene exposure modes

Most of the settings in any of the scene exposure modes are the same as 'Auto' mode, that is Auto ISO, Multi-Segment metering etc. However there are obviously other parameters which vary with each mode, including the Creative Style mode, metering and white balance. You cannot access the Fn-menu in any of the scene exposure modes.

Position
 
Mode
 
Portrait

Selects large apertures (small F numbers) to reduce the depth of field and make the portrait subject stand out from the background.
Landscape

Selects small apertures (large F numbers) to enlarge the depth of field and ensure more of the image appears to be sharp and 'in focus'.

Macro

Tends to select faster shutter speeds to avoid shake at high macro magnifications (although does tend to try to maintain an aperture of around F5.6).

Sports

Selects faster shutter speeds to capture moving action, also engages continuous drive mode. Uses Continuous AF and Continuous (burst) drive mode.
Sunset

Selects small apertures (large F numbers) to enlarge the depth of field and sets the white balance to preserve the warm colors.
Night view / portrait

Uses slow shutter speed and exposure / color settings suited to night photography. The difference (between night view and night portrait) is that one is without and the other with the flash.
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