Record Screens & Menus
After roughly four seconds, the default view in shooting mode is a screen unobstructed by icons and settings information, as shown above. When you first launch your shooting mode, the screen gives your a four-second view of settings, as shown below.
When you first begin shooting mode, the camera shows you the selected settings along the right and left sides of the screen. All except the shooting mode icon at top left disappear in roughly four seconds. That is, unless you press the shutter button halfway to take a shot immediately. In that case, these icons remain onscreen while an auto focus box appears, then turns green when focus has locked on.
Most of the icons at left function as buttons for their corresponding menu, whereas the icons at right do not function as buttons. The exception is the Smart Auto icon - it launches a short description of the mode. To change the shooting mode, you have to use the physical Home menu button. This can result in some back and forth from the screen to the Home button if you like to change shooting modes regularly. Personally, I think it would be better to be able to change the shooting mode from the on-screen menu.
Note that a movie recording button is available here in Smart Mode. At bottom left, next to the Menu button, is the Touch AF icon (see Touch AF screen capture below).
When auto focus is established, one or more AF boxes appear on-screen and turn green to indicate accurate focus. Up to 9 areas are used in multi AF.
Pressing the Touch AF icon when in Smart Auto mode launches this menu. Here you can select One Touch Shooting, which enables the touch screen to act as the shutter button. Multi AF indicates that the camera is using multiple auto focus areas; in this case, the touch screen is not acting as the shutter button.
When in Program mode, however, you get additional focus options. You can select Macro or traditional AF (which Smart Auto does automatically), and decide what AF scheme to use.
Focus Area Options:
- Center AF (focuses at the center of the frame)
- Multi AF (uses up to 9 focus areas)
- One Touch Shooting (touching the subject on-screen trips the shutter)
- Smart Touch AF (touching the subject on-screen selects it for tracking AF)
In Smart Auto mode, your flash options are limited to just two: off and Auto. However, in Program mode the full flash mode menu is available.
- Red-eye (flash fires twice)
- Fill in
- Slow sync
- Red-eye fix (flash fires twice, plus software applies red-eye correction)
Selecting the Scene icon in the main menu brings up this scrolling option of scene modes. You swipe the screen to make the icons glide across the display. This swiping generally performs smoothly. The MV900F skimps on scene modes, offering just six selections, but includes a number of other creative effects modes.
However, according to the camera's specs, Smart Auto mode uses a number of scene modes you can't select yourself (see list below).
Scene Mode Menu:
- Beach & Snow
Scene Modes Used By Smart Auto Mode:
- Night Portrait
- Backlight Portrait
- Macro Text (Smart Grid)
- Macro Color
The photo filters is where the fun happens. Unlike the skimpy scene mode selection, you get 14 filters to choose from. Many of these can be found on other cameras, but in each case here I was happy with the results and didn't think any of them went off the deep end. These are all filters that could get regular use to get a desired look.
Photo Filters Menu:
- Soft Focus
- Old Film
- Half Tone Dot
- Oil Painting
- Ink Painting
- Cross Filter
- Zooming Shot
One of the photo filters is Zooming Shot, which creates the effect (pictured above) of a lens being zoomed during a long enough shutter speed to capture the blur of the moving lens elements.
One of the other shooting modes offered in the main menu is Picture in Picture. Rather than show up in the scene mode menu or photo filter menu, this option appears on page 3 of the main shooting menu. After taking the background picture, a yellow box appears at the center of the screen for the picture within the picture. This box can be enlarged slightly and moved around the screen. You can use feature with an existing picture: You press the icon at lower right, then select the background photo. Finally, you take the picture within the picture - or, a video. You can embed a video inside a still image.
When I first saw the Magic Frame feature, I'll be honest: I was skeptical. It looked to be a likely candidate for the teen audience, but not noteworthy beyond that. But these backgrounds are very well done, and make it a snap to create a photo collage-type image that could be ideal for a birthday card or some such other occasion.
Magic Frame options:
- Wall Art
- Old Film
- Full Moon
- Old Record
- Sunny Day
- Classic TV
- Billboard 1
- Billboard 2
One of my favorite Magic Frames was the Newspaper one. The image of the model car, canon, and knight on the newspaper is the photo. Obviously that's not big news (and wouldn't it be great if you could customize the headline?) but a more appropriate photo would look pretty neat in this photo frame.
The next generation of self-timers attempt to take motion detection to an excitingly manipulable level. I had luck using the circular gestures to zoom in and out, but the vertical clapping motion did not work as well.
First, to see how you're zooming the camera, you flip up the screen so it's facing you and mount the camera on a tripod. Then you use the motions shown above - this screen pops up every time you select Gesture Shot in the main menu.
Finding it difficult to trip the shutter, I can only imagine the embarrassment of doing this in public, which would likely lead to people thinking I'm imitating a shark and therefore an avid Jimmy Buffet fan (or very excited about the San Jose Sharks hockey team).
Explanatory overlays guide you through the Gesture Shot process.
Pictured is page 1 of five menu pages launched by the Home menu button. The shooting menu below is spread out over three pages, and you don't navigate them successively. Page 2 offers sharing options (pictured below). Unfortunately, once you reach Page 5, you can't swipe leftward to bring up Page 1 - you have to start swiping the other way to go back one page at a time.
- Smart Auto
- Live Panorama
- Gesture Shot
- Low Light Shot
- Beauty Palette
- Beauty Shot
- HDR Plus
- Photo Filter
- Picture in Picture
- Split Shot
- Magic Frame
- My Magic Frame
- Artistic Brush
- Motion Photo
- 3D Photo
The Beauty Palette shooting mode is not as impressive as the Magic Frames and photo filters. Like many other cameras employing this digital airbrushing, the MV900F tends to create effects that lean more to the grotesque than the beauty its selling. This may say more about me than the camera, but trying to make myself look Innocent or Romantic, as the menu options promised, I ended up looking like I was headed for a drag show. As the icons suggest, this feature is aimed strictly at women (teen girls, in particular) and for them is worth a few giggles, but not a serious tool.
Beauty Palette menu:
Page 2 of the menu offers sharing options that take advantage of the camera's Wi-Fi capabilities. Here, you see the obvious nod this camera makes to the ubiquity of smart phones. A big emphasis of this camera's features is wireless connectivity and social networking.
- MobileLink: Send photos or videos to a smart phone
- Remote Viewfinder: Use a Galaxy series (Android OS 2.2 or higher) smart phone a remote shutter release, and see the preview of the shot on your smart phone
- Social Sharing: Upload photos and movies (30 seconds max. at QVGA) to sharing websites, such as Facebook
- Email: Send photos or videos (up to 20 files) as email attachments
- AllShare Play: Upload files to online storage or AllShare devices
- Auto Backup: This feature lets you send files wirelessly to a PC (Windows only)
- Cloud: Backup your files to Microsoft SkyDive
Note: Using the camera's built-in email function will send reduced-size photos as attachments. Full-resolution images I shot (roughly 4600 by 3400 pixels) were downsized to 1600 x 1200 pixels. One oddity, is that the sent email didn't show up in my Gmail sent box.
You can record videos in Smart Auto mode, which you do via the record button on the left of the screen (which has now been replaced on the display by stop and pause buttons in this screen).
When selecting Movie mode from the main menu, the look of the screen is a little different. The video record button shows up at the bottom center of the screen, and the menu gives you additional settings you can adjust, such as EV (+/- 2 steps) and white balance.
Movie Recording Modes:
- 1920x1080 (30p, 15p)
- 1280x720HQ (30p, 15p)
- 1280x720SQ (30p, 15p)
- 640x480 (30p, 15p)
- 320x240 (120p, 30p, 15p)
- 320x240Web(30p, 15p)
Movie Filter Menu:
- Half Tone Dot
- Fish Eye
- Pallet Effect 1 (vivid color with sharp contrast)
- Pallet Effect 2 (clean and clear)
- Pallet Effect 3 (soft brown tone)
- Pallet Effect 4 (cold and monotone)
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