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Have Your 'Best Shot' Taken

By Mike Pasini, Editor
Imaging Resource Newsletter

"Best Shot Selection will take shot after shot, like a motor drive, until the buffer is full. . .

One trick of professional photographers, often overlooked by the rest of us, is to shoot a lot of film. Pros are so lazy about this that they invented the motor drive so they wouldn't even have to lift a finger.

Of course, they all have expense accounts.

Digicams have it all over film cameras here. Like the pros, you aren't paying for film either. So -- quick tip -- shoot away.

But we've recently been experimenting with a new digicam feature that takes this a step further. On the Nikon 990, it's called Best-Shot Selection.

Hold down the shutter release button and BSS will take shot after shot, like a motor drive, until the buffer is full. It then evaluates the shots for sharpness, discarding all but the sharpest.

This compensates for that first, heavy handed press of the shutter button, when the camera is likely to be moved, and for those anticipatory inhalations (gasping in horror regularly seems to accompany our shots), which also jog the camera.

It then evaluates the shots for sharpness, discarding all but the sharpest."

But BSS is also very helpful in those low-light situations or tele-converter moments when it's hard to hold the camera still during the exposure. Using macro mode? Using a tele-converter? Got a shutter speed under 1/60 second? And no tripod in sight? Try BSS. With a still subject.

Yes, a still subject. BBS is a catastrophe when your subject is moving (people posing, smiling, playing) or you pan the camera (changing the scene). We've found posers aren't trained to remain smiling while you hold your finger down. They feel, well, stupid. And changing the scene robs the image of reference points to compare sharpness.

No guarantees, of course. One or another of the images may be sharper, but not necessarily sharp. Still, in our experience, taking at least three shots got us one usable one.

So when shooting a handheld still in tough situations, turn on BSS to take advantage of this digicam-only blessing. And look like a pro.

This article is reprinted from The Imaging Resource Digital Photography Newsletter,
Advanced Mode Column, published October 20, 2000

 

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