For those emails I get that say, "Dave, I just want to learn how to use other functions besides Auto on my camera, what do I do?", "Dave, what are the best settings to use?", Dave, this camera was as expensive as my trip to the Paris, what do all these buttons do?"
My first question in return is, "What do you want to accomplish with your camera?" If you just want to take pictures to preserve family moments on vacation, then that camera that you needed to check at the airport is probably overkill. If you want to get all sorts of creative with your images, then I'd say you probably invested well. (note for purists: you can get creative with any camera). Ok lets be real. You want to do both! You want to have creative freedom to get great shots with a lot of control AND snap the quick pics of family without a lot of thought.
I'd be lying if I said I never use AUTO, sometimes it's just convenient to let the camera do the work. Especially when out with the family, but you don't have to let it do all the work all the time.
Enter the DSLR camera simulator.
This simulator is a great tool to learn some things about your camera and what it will most likely do with numerous given settings. After you "snap the photo" you'll be able to see your result and deduct from there what you can adjust. It's pretty cool if you're wanting to learn how to shoot in Manual Mode.
The simulator does a great job of explaining what all those terms mean like, ISO, focal length, and aperture. Most terms that have people looking at you like your on something.
Jon Arnold built this amazing simulator because he loves photography and wanted to equip photography teachers with a tool to help them teach photography to students.
The website also contains some other cool tools to help you learn about your camera and how to make better images using the simple tools inside the camera you already own! Awesome!
You can have fun with this simulator by checking them out here. And you have questions or comments, Jon is more than willing to let you contact him...super cool :) Let me know what you think!