I’m a photography hobbyist equipped with a Nikon Coolpix E3700 since ~2004. I do have thoughts of upgrading to a DSLR – Canon 450D – as I have grown out of the compact camera and ever demanding more from it. As everybody knows, there’s a limit to it.

Through the contents that follow, I wish to share some of the tips that I have picked up along the way with fellow amateurs using compact camera to maximize their capabilities.

Exposure Lock
Some times, no matter how you fiddle with the exposure compensation value, your pictures are over-exposed/under-exposed. Under such circumstances, focus on a nearby white/black area to bring down/up the exposure than recompose your picture.

Focus Lock
I think Focus Lock is something most will be familiar with as operating manuals detail it. This works on the same concept of Exposure Lock. Focus on near by objects than recompose.

This method is like a shot in the dark for me as I can’t seem to achieve a good focus most of the time. As such, I employ another method which requires a partner. Get someone to place something right in front (minimal distance in between) of the subject (not when taking landscape please….), than focus and so on.

Auto Modes
When it says Sports, you don’t necessarily have to use it when you wanna do sports photography. Likewise, Fireworks not just for fireworks festivals…. When you read up more on Photography, you will understand that sports photography requires high shutter speed; fireworks photography requires long exposure. That being said, try exploiting some of the fixed settings for your purpose. I uses Sports mode for portraits, still objects, etc. under unfavourable lightings that makes your picture blur due to hand shake (your hand is shaking, so don’t term it camera shake! ). Try using Fireworks mode for capturing light trails at night.

This write up is based on my experience using Nikon Coolpix E3700 – a camera with low ISO and 4 focusing points. Current compact cameras might be able to address those problems brought out.