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Shutter priority - aperture priority - or manual

arif 17 91
7 Sep 2006 5:20PM
I use manual except in an absolute unforeseen emergency (e.g. plane crashing in a field, or something).

Essentially, for all 'planned' photography - I use manual & spot metering 100% of the time.

Having only ever used two speeds of film for the last 17 years, I've got to know them. Coupled with an accurate spot meter (EOS 1V's) - I find I can respond as fast as necessary to any situation. 'Metering with the eyes' is now second nature to me - even when just driving or walking - I catch myself having subconsciously concluded which part of the scene would represent that 18% mid-tone - and then how much under or over that I might want (e.g. with coal or snow). The spot meter is so beautifully accurate, I found I don't even have to bracket any more - I just know how the film is going to treat that scene at a given exposure.

One also learns which aperture setting one would want very quickly - taking into account film speed, ambient/scene light levels, and lens length. It becomes instinctive.

And the 'Great Compromise' - between where you're going to land your shutter speed and aperture settings, depending on what you're trying to achieve - all gets calculated in an instant.

I'm not sure if this is made easier by Canon's design - with the thumbwheel and finger-wheel making both controls utterly accessible. I haven't used anything else to know.

I feel much more 'bonded' to the camera, the scene, and the 'art' - when using full-manual.

'Use the modern technology'? I'm sorry - but the only sense in which any camera is 'smart' is in interpreting a scene with it's blocky 'eye' (& I say this as an EOS 1V-user - not exactly rubbish) - and then deciding on what it thinks the subject is. Fair enough - that is quite clever (but I know what the subject is anyway - and can determine it without any guesswork at all). Where they are all positively STUPID (and there is no way of solving this) - is the fact that they will then happily proceed to render that subject into 18% mid-tone. GREAT - if you're doing a wedding portrait.

If you want to be a good photographer - IMHO - you HAVE to think, and you have to communicate that thought and your decision to your camera. I find therefore that all these other modes just obfuscate that communication process - and you might as well speak to it directly.

Manual is the only way, for me.
Centurion 16 1.2k England
7 Sep 2006 6:02PM
Manual is excellent when you have the time to use it. If you dont have the time then there is nothing wrong in using aperture priority.

Carabosse 18 41.7k 270 England
7 Sep 2006 6:49PM
I use manual exposure occasionally, just as I use manual focus. But it's all a bit 'last-millennium' really.

The trick is knowing when you need to come off an auto or semi-auto mode. It's not difficult to recognise the situations.
ade_mcfade 17 15.2k 216 England
7 Sep 2006 9:37PM
arif summed it up perfectly.

program modes are like putting a MIDI file into a keyboard and it playing a tune, manual mode it like sitting at a piano and playing it yourself

Which is the more creative?
User_Removed 16 4.9k England
7 Sep 2006 9:49PM
Tried your way for a couple of hours the other day, never looked at the previews. Walked around the house and garden snapping away. Quickly adjusting the exposure at each location. Using spot metering. Didn't miss one shot because of exposure, took 30+. Surprising how accurate every shot was, when reviewing the histograms.
Col [Smile
Carabosse 18 41.7k 270 England
7 Sep 2006 10:10PM
Why buy a dog and bark yourself?

I started serious photography on an entirely manual rangefinder but I have no particular wish to be limited like that again.
ade_mcfade 17 15.2k 216 England
7 Sep 2006 10:15PM
Why buy a dog and bark yourself?

why buy a piano when we have stereos?
why have a stove when there's takeaways?

Col seems to have seen the light (so to speak) Smile

the only thing limiting you when you use manual is your imagination and brain - if both of those are powerful, you're onto a winner... if not, use Av Smile
Nike55 15 966 United Kingdom
7 Sep 2006 10:16PM
Prefer manual with incidence light metering.
strawman 17 22.2k 16 United Kingdom
7 Sep 2006 10:16PM
But Arif's technique is just using Av and setting an exposure compensation. He uses a spot meter to select an object and calculates an exposure compensation based on how he thinks it compares to grey, so if he dialed in that offset to Av mode he would get exactly the same result as adjusting the shutter speed to obtained the desired offset.

It is the same thing.

i use the above but on average metering (no spot meter on my camera), but with an adjustment to ISO to get the desired shutter speed if hand held.
Carabosse 18 41.7k 270 England
7 Sep 2006 10:19PM

Quote:why buy a piano when we have stereos?
why have a stove when there's takeaways?

Missing the point entirely as usual!

There is room for both.
User_Removed 16 4.9k England
7 Sep 2006 10:19PM
More to do with using the spot meter, it's just more accurate than A,P or S and under your control. Still use AF.
Mind you, I only ever use Aperture and shutter priority. The P mode I'd save for absolute emergencies, like a brain seizure. [Grin
ade_mcfade 17 15.2k 216 England
7 Sep 2006 10:20PM

Quote:But Arif's technique is just using Av and setting an exposure compensation.

read it again and tell me where he says that? Smile
ade_mcfade 17 15.2k 216 England
7 Sep 2006 10:21PM

Quote:There is room for both.

what if you like barking and own a dog? Smile
g_parry 15 332 United Kingdom
7 Sep 2006 10:24PM
for what it's worth - I tested all of the automatic modes and learned from the errors they produced I hope. Now I use manual most of the time and play at adjusting the settings when I can. Both are learning modes and my current problem is that people now seem to ignore the readers gallery for critique and the critiique gallery gets a basic one critique in the main - so a nice pic critique means that someone who may leave a learning critique moves on - I'm left wondering why or even if the image was any good
Carabosse 18 41.7k 270 England
7 Sep 2006 10:27PM
Not all of us go in for laborious set-piece photography, where you have all the time in the world to faff about with settings.

Also, shooting RAW on a DSLR does give you room for manoeuvre. To that extent Ken Rockwell is right. If the exposure is slightly out, who gives a toss?

You have to do so much to the image in RAW that the actual exposure is almost the least of the issues.

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