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Question for our more advanced members and pro's.

Bloggs 6 313 England
8 Jan 2012 8:36AM
I am now slowly learning how to use my new Pentax Kr camera. As you are all aware there are alot of things to learn with D-SLR,s and also genrally in photograpgy as a whole.

Do our more advanced members and pro's still use the presets on their cameras and if so under what conditions? Also would you advice a leraner like myself to use the presets or focus on the manual controls ?

Thanks for your time.

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hornchurch 7 108
8 Jan 2012 8:52AM
hi I would start of with preset while you learn camera handling IE holding the camera steady framing the image correctly etc etc... then move onto aperture ptiority where you control the aperture which governs the amount of depth of field.... with a new camera walk before running.....
sherlob Plus
12 2.9k 129 United Kingdom
8 Jan 2012 9:04AM
Its horses for courses. I very seldom use my camera in full auto or P modes - preferring full manual or occasionally AV mode. When I do use Auto or P mode is when I am feeling completely out of my depth and I want to try and and get a particular image. For example: I have very little need to use a speed light to take snaps at say a wedding - this is therefore an area of my photography where my knowledge is particularly lacking. To capture the moment I find it easier when these events do occur to stick the camera into full auto or P mode - something I'd never dream of doing for 99% of my photography.

What about the other so called 'creative' modes? A lot of top end cameras simply don't have these mode options. As you gain experience in the genre that interests you - they are less likely to ever be used.

hornchurch gives sound advice - personally I'd experiment with AV mode asap - learn to understand how to control depth of field. Switch to full manual when you feel confident.

K4RL 10 9 United Kingdom
8 Jan 2012 10:06AM
I turn everything off in-camera and always use full manual mode - I guess a lot of my stuff is studio/light based where you need to use manual.
Railcam 11 678 2 Scotland
8 Jan 2012 10:10AM
As Hornchurch suggests I would use some of the auto/presets while you get used to the camera. This way you should get a high percentage of reasonable shots. Cameras are quite clever these days.

Once you are more used to the kit you can play about with different modes and manual.

As my username suggests I do a lot of railway photography and have done for over 50 years. Hence I have had to use manual for many years as that was all one had. As cameras gained the different modes I started to use Shutter Priority/Tv as I needed to maintain a high enough shutter speed to freeze the movement of the train. The camera varies the aperture as the light varies.

Which preset you choose (if any) will be dictated by the kind of pictures you take. My experience is given purely as an example.

Good luck
Pete Plus
17 18.8k 97 England
8 Jan 2012 10:24AM
I use aperture priority all the time but it's rarely set to the correct exposure. I use exposure compensation to over or underexposed depending on the scene. I could use manual but I like the fact that when I know what the exposure compensation is I only then have to adjust the aperture if I want a change of exposure values. And on my iPhone I have to shoot in auto all the time when using the hipstamatic, but the fun of that is you get what you're given, so the skill is totally in composition.
Canonshots 7 172 13 United Kingdom
8 Jan 2012 10:44AM
I tend to go for the other approach - I use as much automation as I can get away with and use manual, AV or TV only when the automation does not do what I want. That way I can concentrate on picture taking rather than technicalities. Nevertheless that approach only works for me because I have taken the time and trouble to learn how to use the non-auto modes, so that when I do ned them I don't have any problems.

But sherlob is right - it's horses for courses.
scottishphototours 14 2.6k 2
8 Jan 2012 10:48AM
I shoot in P for professional mode at all times. I've no idea what these other modes do ... Wink
brian1208 Plus
15 11.4k 12 United Kingdom
8 Jan 2012 10:51AM
I tend to shoot in manual when doing kite-surfing / sailboarding work or birds in flight as this seems to work best in the varying light conditions.

Otherwise its mainly Av mode and greater than 90% of the time in RAW.

But, why not have fun experimenting yourself?
Shoot in full auto until you are happy you've done all you can there and are finding it limits some of your shooting, then try programme modes and finally move into aperture or shutter speed priority and full manual. That way you will find out what works best for you and learn a lot about getting the best from your kit at the same time

(that's probably how a lot of us learnt what we do today, isn't it?)
Ade_Osman 15 4.5k 36 England
8 Jan 2012 10:53AM
Aperture Priority most of the time here, but only because most of my stuff is macro work and I'm always playing around with DOF. If I'm not using AP then I'm usually on Fully Manual......Focus wise, more often than not manual, dependant on what I might be shooting at the time....

Pete Plus
17 18.8k 97 England
8 Jan 2012 10:56AM
I find it interesting how many people over the years who I've seen use manual and set what the camera indicates. Same when switching to manual focus and using the indicator to set focus. In both cases that's' what would have happened if auto had been used.
ade_mcfade 14 15.2k 216 England
8 Jan 2012 11:08AM
there are no "scene modes" on my camera!

If I hand it to someone to take a shot with, I'll put it on "green square" mode, but 95% of the time it's on Manual exposure with the auto focus set to the centre spot only. If I'm doing street candids, then I'll pop it into Aperture Priority because the lighting scenario changes so much - one side of the street may be in shade, the other bright, that kinda thing.
miptog 12 3.6k 61 United Kingdom
8 Jan 2012 11:23AM

Quote:would you advice a leraner like myself to use the presets or focus on the manual controls ?

To get the best from your camera, which is just a tool really, you need to know and understand all the controls. Hence you need to equally master full manual and the presets.

Whether its full manual, aperture to shutter priority works best for you will depend on your personal preference and the type of photos that you take. As a general rule, manaul is usually best when you want full creative control and the light situation remains constant. When light and exposure is rapidly changing aperture or priority works best.


You are at a sports event, and using a long lens. You need to maintain a shutter speed of at least 1/500th, and the light changes constanly as the the players move from shadow to daylight; its fast pace, and you cannot afford to miss that special shot. Shutter priority would be best.

You are shooting a wedding, and the bride and groom, go from oustide the church into it. You want that nice soft focus effect of f2.8, aperture priority would be best

Its also worth noting that in all priortity modes other than manual, the camera will influence the final result, as it will try to fix things its sees as incorrect, based on a database of common scenes and exposures it has in memory. So try this test: Shoot a scene in aperture priority, note the settings. Now shoot the same scene in full manual. Can you see a difference?
User_Removed 14 3.3k 4 United Kingdom
8 Jan 2012 11:34AM
Bloggs you should reach a point in your learning curve where before you take a photograph you know how much depth-of-field you need and whether you want to freeze or blur movement. You'd then set your camera accordingly.

Every situation will be different.

It could be you're doing a portrait and you want to blur the background so you switch to AV and choose an Aperture Value that will do that, letting the camera worry about choosing a shutter speed that will get the right amount of light in.

It could be the dogs are running about and you switch to TV mode to set a short Time Value (fast shutter speed) to freeze the action, this time the camera will adjust the aperture to suit the conditions.

Sometimes you'll want a specific shutter speed and a specific aperture and you'll set those in Manual mode. You'd adjust lighting and / or ISO to get a good exposure.

I think because you're asking the question you don't really understand how your camera works yet. Scene modes are aimed at people who don't really understand that. There's nothing that's done in a scene mode that somebody can't do manually.

Play with the camera simulator or get a book (something like this )
ade_mcfade 14 15.2k 216 England
8 Jan 2012 11:43AM

Quote:There's nothing that's done in a scene mode that somebody can't do manually.

spot on

"understanding" the settings that those scene modes use is the key to it all really....

cheapo compacts don't have manual so I'd recommend using scene modes on those

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