Your guide to digital camera scene modes
May 15, 2008
Generations ago, spy movies depicted secret agents covertly snapping pictures of confidential government documents with tiny Minox and other “microfilm cameras.” That was all technologically possible, but in truth, the results were probably so poor that the Cold War lasted far longer than it should have.
Today, businessmen, teachers and just about everyone else (perhaps, even spies!) have a real need to shoot text. (“Text” describes words that are printed on paper--but you knew that, right?)
One great application for the Text Capture Mode, especially for those who enjoy a fine wine but can never remember the name of the vintner, is to create a wine reference guide, right there in a digital camera. (You can try this with your cell phone camera, too, but the results may be even worse than a Minox and Tri-X film.)
In the Text Mode, the camera switches to Macro (close up), turns off the flash (or at least turns it down enough to prevent wash-out), boosts both saturation and contrast and sometimes adjusts white balance to keep the background the right color. This mode also comes in handy when you need to copy something from a book, map or other printed matter but you’re not near a Xerox machine (or the item is too large to fit on the copier’s platen).
Tip: Placing your camera on a tripod will vastly improve your chances of getting sharp, readable text!