Your most important camera setting

Your most important camera setting… Is it autofocus? Is it exposure? Is it whitebalance? Is it daylight savings time? No, no, no, no… It is a very utilitarian setting, that you will probably never use. And it’s harmful when set wrong. So why does your camera have it?

No memory card = it no worky! Or not?

No memory card = it no worky! Or not?

You see, your camera needs to be sold. Even if you curse to Vile Capitalists and their hated Bean Counters, the reality is that you won’t be buying your next gizmo if the factory went titsup.

So… it sells a lot better when you can try it in the store. But memory cards go missing. People want to see how the shots come out on their own computers. They just want to steel those expensive $10 memory cards. Whatever. Now your camera can’t shoot, since there’s no card in it.

“Well let’s make it shoot without a card in it then.” That’s like shooting without film—an exceptional bad idea in real life. Unless… unless… the camera is in a store.

So cameras have this “demo” setting. Or “lock release,” or whatever they call it. When you get the camera, make sure it’s set to the setting “don’t take pictures when the memory card is missing” because that day will come.

I’ve been lucky. But I’ve been turning this setting off religiously. One of my coworkers asked me a couple of months ago. His daughter was down the shore for a weekend. Took tons of pictures, “but they’re stored on the camera’s memory and she can’t get them out.”

What do you mean? I asked, being familiar with that camera. There IS no internal memory, they’re on the memory card. “No, it’s not on the memory card, see, she discovered that she forgot to put the memory card in. But the camera took the pictures. So they have to be somewhere, right?”

Find it. Lock it. Now.