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Sound Off

I know you Margaret fans might be disappointed that I’m taking a little break this week in the Margaret series, but I just had to write about this tip.

I often work quasi listening to the news in the background.  This week the station cut to a live press conference where the microphones happened to pick up all the background noise.  So I’m upstairs working on my photo edits, and I keep hearing these “bee-beep” sounds over and over and over again.  It was like someone was taking a picture.  I thought for a second someone had broken in and started photographing me and I couldn’t figure out where they were hiding! I actually started carefully walking around the house trying to find the intruder.  I found myself getting closer and closer to the TV, not believing what I was hearing!  Someone in the press conference was taking photos every couple of seconds and they had their focus beeper on!  It was just the most irritating and distracting sound. 

So here’s my newsflash… You can turn the beeping sound off!  

Most cameras come out of the box with the focus beeper set to *on.*  One of the first things I do when I get a new camera is go right to my menu options, find the sound controls, and turn the beeper *off.*  (The second thing I do, in case you’re wondering, is set the current time and date.  Since I’m always using multiple cameras, I make sure all my clock settings on my cameras are synchronized.  It makes it much easier after an event when I go to sort my images from multiple cards.) 

But back to the noise pollution…There really is no *need* to have the focus beeper on since there is typically a little green light inside the viewfinder or on the screen at the back of your camera that will either blink or stay solid.  When it’s solid, you’re in focus.  (This is typically when you’d hear the beeping sound telling you that you’re focused preceding every shot.)  Most point and shoot cameras now have those face detection squares that change color and lock when they are in focus, so again, there’s no real need for the beep. 

So if you don’t want everyone turing around and looking at you when you try to take a photo in a quite place, then turn off the beeper.  And that goes for the fake shutter sound some point and shoots and camera phones have to make them sound like they have big boy pants on.  Turn them all off, they are just not necessary.   I’d give anything to have a dead silent camera.  

You know, they even make camera silencers, (special housing to surround the camera and $$$ btw), for photographers who shoot stills on movie sets.  The last thing a director wants to hear on his set while filming is a shutter going off or that annoying beeper.   And that goes for me too!


Btw, no one answered my quiz question from last week 🙁

  • Zoe - August 13, 2010 - 11:13 pm

    How could I have missed your quiz from last week? Hmmm.

    I have a new camera! So I’ll be re-visiting all your Friday tips soon. I’ve got my date and time set, and I think I turned off my beeper. There may be hope for me that I’ll be able to take a few decent shots soon… maybe… 🙂

  • DavidLeeDavid - August 14, 2010 - 8:37 am

    …”One of the first things I do when I get a new camera…” That’s like once every ten years for me, so ummmmm, how often do you get a new one? 😉 I still use my dad’s camera set that he bought in Vietnam back in the late 60’s…but some fungus has grown into a few of the lenses. My next camera was one I used in art school in the late 80’s and early 90’s. My “latest” is a digital that is about 5 years old. Guess I started my own museum… but I’m betting yours is more vast, unless you sell ’em or trade yours in.

  • Renata - August 19, 2010 - 12:51 am

    Wow, Dave! I’d love to see the camera gear from Vietnam. How does fungus grow in a lens, btw? 😉 I went digital in I think 2005 too, and have had 6 of them, 5 of which were SLR’s. (I always have two cameras on a shoot.) Yes, I’d sell and upgrade. Granted I do go through more cameras than your average person given that I do this for a living.

  • Renata - August 19, 2010 - 12:54 am

    Looking forward to seeing your pics Zoe!

  • DavidLeeDavid - August 19, 2010 - 8:59 am

    Oh! Oh! OH! Here is something on fungus and camera lenses that you can write about and inform your public:

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