What Is A Self Timer On A Camera?

A self timer is an automatic shooting mode that counts down and then takes a photo.  Usually selectable in a camera’s drive mode menu, there’s often multiple timing options.  With Canon cameras for example, you can select a 2-second timer, or a 10-second timer.  Once the shutter button is pressed, a series of beeps emit from the camera as it counts down to taking the photo.

This mode is useful when combined with a tripod because it allows you to easily take self portraits or group photos where you want to be in the picture as well.  All DSLRs will have a self timer function and many point and shoot cameras have this as well.  You’ll have to refer to your specific camera manual to find out exactly how to turn it on, but the symbols seen in the photo below, from a Canon camera, are pretty standard and should be visible in your camera’s menus as well somewhere.

Another use for a self timer is when you are trying to achieve absolute critical sharpness in your images when using a tripod.  Even the slight touch of your finger on the shutter button can cause vibrations in the image when you have a long shutter speed.  By turing on the timer, it gives the vibrations time to dissipate before the photo is actually taken.  Many people use a cable release remote control for this same reason, but if you don’t have one, or forget to take it with you, the self timer trick will work!

what is a self timer

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