Take your photography to the next level and beyond...

  • NEWS

Why not join for free today?

Join for Free

Your total photography experience starts here

To shoot in manual or use the automatic modes or both?

Imagine23 11 241 United Kingdom
28 Jul 2006 9:30AM
I've just about got to grips with my 350D and I'm just wondering what is the best way to use it? I always use it in manual mode which is normally fine but in changable conditions (like when clouds are moving across the sun) you spend a lot of time fiddling with the camera. However, somehow I can't bring myself to use the other semi automatic modes because I like the complete control over the exposure. I never use the fully automactic modes - should I? Are there any general rules that I don't know about? Like for sport should you use shutter piority? Or for portraits it should be apature piority?

Join ePHOTOzine for free and remove these adverts.

mattw 14 5.2k 10 United Kingdom
28 Jul 2006 9:47AM
I mostly use Aperture Priority - for all subjects.

The reason is that this gives me the creative control over the exposure:

Large aperture for shallow depth of field/fast shutter speed

Small aperture for large depth of field/slow shutter speed

Having set the aperture, I let the camera calculate the exposure and away I go. I use the exposure control if I want to adjust the calculated exposure.

I only switch to fully manual if I want to completely override the calculated exposure.

elikag 13 749
28 Jul 2006 9:56AM
For me, there's no one rule that works every time.

But, here's one point that usually goes unnoticed:
the EVALUATIVE metering is not that straight forward. It take's into account the active focus point and determines the exposure so the subject near the focus point is exposed "correctly" (read 18% grey).

That's why focus-recompose can give false exposures.

You could use CNETER WEIGHTED or PARTIAL but that has it's own strenghts and weaknesses.

Understand how each metering is working and experiment to learn how to use it at any given situation.

Ilia Kagan
strawman 14 22.1k 16 United Kingdom
28 Jul 2006 10:23AM
llia makes a good point there. If I am trying to sample exposure from another scene I use average, but often wish I had spot metering.

I tend to use the camera in Apeture priority for about 80% of the time. I often use manual for Flash work, and switch to manual if I am taking tight control of exposure, say on a landscape.
Imagine23 11 241 United Kingdom
28 Jul 2006 10:26AM
Thanks for the comments Smile

If theres one specific area of the frame I want perfectly exposed I fill the whole viewfinder with it and then set the metering and then recompose and focus. This may be an odd method perhaps?! Otherwise I let the camera pick the exposure using the whole scene.
strawman 14 22.1k 16 United Kingdom
28 Jul 2006 10:29AM
It is a fair comment Lynn. It is for that sort of use I want a spot meter in the camera.
JohnHawthorne 12 1.7k 5 Scotland
28 Jul 2006 10:32AM
Interesting question Lynn because most people who ask this question tend to work in auto mode only and are afraid of using manual mode in case they get it wrong. You're the opposite!

I think it's important not to feel tied down to working in one mode. I use aperture priority mostly but now find myself using manual more and more. If you're fed up with the fiddling then switch to aperture priority or better still, just keep practising and try to get faster at changing the settings. For example I change the focus point very quickly between every shot and often don't take my eye away from the viewfinder but I'm still quite slow changing the manual exposure settings though.
Imagine23 11 241 United Kingdom
28 Jul 2006 10:45AM
Thanks John, I think your right, sometimes I get frustrated because I don't think I'm doing it fast enough but I think if I keep practicing then it will come quicker. Also will not be scared of other modes and if the light changes quickly will have a go at using them too!
sidaorb 12 3.9k 2 England
28 Jul 2006 11:02AM

As with most of the replies here I now use primarily AP and use compensation as required.

I have used modes previously but tended to find them frustrating beyond belief when the camera decided it was going to use the inbuilt flash or something equally annoying.

Just Jas Plus
16 26.2k 1 England
28 Jul 2006 11:23AM
If I am using the 300D I usually work in the programmed mode. It does want I want - which is the important thing. I can work very quick with my feline subjects!

Using the Contax 139Q I generally use the aperture priority mode. I generally need depth of field with my machines and architectural subjects.

Using the Yashicaflex TLR I work solely in manual - I have no other option - with a separate hand held exposure meter. My favourite mode of working, if I have the time.

It doesn't matter if you know what you are doing, and why you are doing it.

If I were a novice I would work in auto mode for the pictures that I definitely wanted to get but experiment with the other modes to note the effect of each adjustment.

My possibly favourite camera of all time - Yashica FR SLR was solely mechanical but had internal metering. This was my most travelled with camera.

Working in manual mode you can set the aperture first to give you the depth of field you require and then meter and set shutter speed to suit

Or set the shutter speed first to give you the stopping power you want and then meter and set the aperture to suit.

So not a lot different to AV or TV mode respectively except you have set shutter or aperture, in each case yourself.

So unless you want to modify the exposure (i.e. overide the metering) to suit the subject matter or lighting conditions you may as well let the camera do it for you.

But - experiment - and - NOTE the effects - don't just experiment and say later "How did I get that effect?"

keith selmes 14 7.3k 1 United Kingdom
28 Jul 2006 11:48AM
I usually work wholly manual, but will use shutter or aperture priority as appropriate when fast adjustments are required, and will use auto focus in favourable circumstances.
javam 13 1.1k 19 United Kingdom
28 Jul 2006 12:11PM
Maybe this is just a Pentax thing, but my *istD has what they term 'Hyper Program'. When in that mode, exposure sits on the program line by default, but the dial on the front of the grip changes shutter speed and the dial on the back changes aperture but maintains the exposure. Effectively this enables me to shift to Av or Tv priority without changing modes.

Apart from a rare trip to the manual setting, my camera spends all the time in this mode.

Is there nothing similar on the canon?
strawman 14 22.1k 16 United Kingdom
28 Jul 2006 12:45PM
yes there is, you rotate the front wheel in program mode and it alters the shutter/aperture balance, but why bother. If you want a specific apeture why not set it?

If the camera has a rear wheel, it adjusts the exposure, so even better.
javam 13 1.1k 19 United Kingdom
28 Jul 2006 1:59PM

Quote:Yes there is, you rotate the front wheel in program mode and it alters the shutter/aperture balance, but why bother. If you want a specific apeture why not set it?

I do! By moving the dial I can set the aperture to the one I want and it alters the shutter to maintain the exposure. It then maintains that ap, until the dial is moved or you press the P button to return to the program line.

Horse for courses, but I find that more useful and quicker than switching modes all the time.
strawman 14 22.1k 16 United Kingdom
28 Jul 2006 2:06PM
I just stay in apeture priority mode, even easier. As you set the apeture you want it sets the shutter speed to match, and it remembers the aperture should you adjust something else, even if you power it off. No button presses etc.

Remember the reason for going manual is to set the actual condition. It is not a fault of the camera, rather a desire of the user. No auto program will do this.

It is the same end result from two different start points. No correct answer, just different.

Sign In

You must be a member to leave a comment.

ePHOTOzine, the web's friendliest photography community.

Join For Free

Upload photos, chat with photographers, win prizes and much more.