canon_simulatorAs digital cameras become more popular the number of people with DSLRs is slowly growing, but how many of those keep the camera on its “auto” setting for the majority of the time? In perhaps an attempt to get their customers using more of the functionality available in their equipment and get more creative with the shots they take camera manufacturers are creating new ways to educate us. Both Canon and Sony have recently released items in this space.

Canon (Canada) has released a simulator – for Canon cameras, obviously – called “Outside of Auto“. The sim has two options. The first allows you play with the settings, altering aperture, shutter speed and ISO. When you push the shutter button you get to see what the resulting photo would have looked like and receive feedback and suggestions for improving your shot. The second option sets you a series of challenges to see what you’ve learned and you only have a short amount of time to complete these.

Overall it seems good at showing the relationship between aperture, shutter speed and ISO and how these affect the front-to-back sharpness and exposure of your final shot.

Sony have also created some tutorials to help you get more creative with your camera. Called the “Sony α Portal” the site contains a series of video tutorials taking through the same various options as the Canon site – focusing on exposure, depth of field (aperture) and shutter speed. However it also includes information on composition and white balance.

Each video is broken down into easily digestible chapters and seems fairly comprehensive, covering sometimes technical subjects with easy to understand explanations and animations.

Finally, if you’ve like to try a more general vendor independent simulator head on over to “The SLR Camera Simulator“.

So now you’ve no excuse to stick on auto. Visit one of the three sites above and improve your photography.