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What shooting 'mode' do you generally use? When do you use them? Why?
Just wondering if you could tell me what "mode" (Auto, P, A, S, M) that you generally use most of the time?.

What level of enthusiast are you?.

What type of shots you typically take?.

I have used the Auto mode with my Canon 300D for quite some time, but admittedly am still a newb at photography, but am experimenting. P mode seems like Auto-mode-with some flexibility either more DOF or faster SS (is that correct)? It seems like A mode would be the next most creative/easiest to stay in? I take kid shots of my 5 year old who is starting to run around a lot more in group activities; and inside shots and social events. No fast action sports yet, but swimming lessons, skating lessons, kid soccer, violin recital, tae kwon do classes...the usual..

Appreciate any and all helpful comments as to which modes would be best for these situations; and in general what/why you use the modes you do?.

Very much appreciated..

RNW123..

Comments (26)

Set your camera on aperture mode, dial up f8, check to be sure shutter speed is fast enough, and start shooting! You don't need the automatic modes. When you run into a situation where your shutter speed is too slow, go to a lower f stop. When you can't go any lower, increase the ISO. If your target is moving rapidly, a different set of "rules" apply. Ditto if you want a blurred background. Ditto if you are using a flash.

Don't worry about these special situations for now, just go outside and learn how to take pictures in aperture mode..

Jerryhttp://jchoate.zenfolio.com/..

Comment #1

RNW123 wrote:.

Just wondering if you could tell me what "mode" (Auto, P, A, S, M)that you generally use most of the time?.

What level of enthusiast are you?.

What type of shots you typically take?.

I almost always use aperture priority. I take small parts photos, pictures of cats and landscapes. I generally have some idea of the aperture I want to use (for sharpness or depth of field). I then see if the shutter speed is OK and mess with the aperture or the ISO or get a tripod if it isn't..

The only time I don't use aperture priority is when I have to take identical pictures of a series of items. Then I use manual and keep the exposure the same for all the shots..

Leonard Migliore..

Comment #2

I shoot in either Av or M. P is just like auto-mode basically, except that you have control over options that aren't mainly exposure related (although with RAW these things are trivial), and I don't use Tv since my lens is pretty slow (28-135 here) so I expect it's going to underexpose in Tv, where as with Av, the shutter speed will always show what the optimal exposure would be. M is best for flash, or it's the least troublesome (P - flash becomes either fill/main depending on light, Tv/Av - flash is always fill, M - flash changes from fill to main depending on exposure and settings)..

I would say I'm an advanced amateur. I know many of the basics, and some advanced techniques, but haven't too much real life experience to put them into action yet..

I don't really have one set type of pictures I typically take. I guess I am into general photography so far, but have been taking a lot of pet portraits of our cats recently..

Here's some tips on what mode you should use:.

P - this is considered "park" to many, where your camera should rest when not in use. Since it is automated, it provides a good point-and-shoot like style of shooting for when you need an image fast and when creativity/technical detail are not the hightlight of the image - like photojournalism, unexpected of-the-moment actions, or general photography..

Tv/Av - These are both preference modes. Do you prefer a faster/slower shutter speed (Tv) or a larger/small depth of field (Av)? Which ever one you set first is your priority, and the camera will automatically make up the difference, like P mode. (I do find Av to be better though. The wider the aperture, the faster the shutter speed will be, so you can predict how your choices will shutter speed as well). You could actually say that these modes are like hybrids of P and M mode. Tv would be best for sports, since you want to stop action, and Av is good for general purpose photography and things that don't move (pets, landscapes, still lives) or pictures where focus is key..

M - This mode is best for flash, or for when lighting conditions are consisent. With flash, the camera settings are used for exposing ambient light, and you can determine how the flash fires by adjusting it separately (although you should get a prediction of how the flash will look anyways from what aperture and shutter speed you select). It can be a bit hit and miss, but a good place to start is exposing the scene with Tv/Av settings in M, then use flash to fill in the rest..

I disagree with jchoate though. f8 will be good outside on sunny days, but will not cut it inside, and it will put more strain on your flash which can result in harder light. I try to keep my aperture from f4-5.6, which isn't to bad when at closer distances. It does strattle the line of not being having too much bokeh or too much focus though...

Comment #3

I never use PI use A maybe 30% of the time, S another 30% and M the rest 40%....

It's simple, really....

- You use A when you don't really care about speed, you just want to control DOF..

- You use S when you don't really care about aperture, but you want control over speed.

-As for M, I personally use it for low light conditions in macros/landscapes, when I want maximum sharpness and thus a slightly smaller aperture than wide open, yet I also need to control the speed. In other words, if i'm in A mode (to get the aperture) and the camera pushes the speed down to 1/15, or in S mode and the camera opens the aperture completely, I select M mode, get the speed and aperture I want, slightly underexposed, and then I adjust the RAW file in PP.

Http://www.flickr.com/photos/96953368@N00/..

Comment #4

RNW123 wrote:.

Just wondering if you could tell me what "mode" (Auto, P, A, S, M)that you generally use most of the time?.

M, as specified in the header... personal preference, would not change if I were using different gear..

What level of enthusiast are you?.

High-end amateur, part-time pro.. I derive about 30% of my income from photography.. the last few months I have been on sabbatical from conventional employment, and have derived 100% of my income from photography..

What type of shots you typically take?.

Depends.. on the client.. landscape, portrait, pet portrait, sports, architecture...

I have used the Auto mode with my Canon 300D for quite some time, butadmittedly am still a newb at photography, but am experimenting. Pmode seems like Auto-mode-with some flexibility either more DOF orfaster SS (is that correct)? It seems like A mode would be the nextmost creative/easiest to stay in? I take kid shots of my 5 year oldwho is starting to run around a lot more in group activities; andinside shots and social events. No fast action sports yet, butswimming lessons, skating lessons, kid soccer, violin recital, taekwon do classes...the usual..

You are correct - P mode is just like green box mode with more control. A mode is helpful when the 'depth of field - depth of focus' is paramount.. landscape and portrait for example...

S mode (Tv on your 300D) is the best for sports where you need to stop action or get a pan... you need to determine the shutter speed for the activity in question and the aperture is a secondary element.. when in doubt, crank up the ISO - the 300D produces *very* clean files even up to it's maximum of 1600ISO... if shooting in Tv, start at 200ISO and increase until you get apertures that sufficiently isolate the background..

For swimming and skating, ISO1600, big aperture and hope you get something useable underexposed where you can compensate (grainy but better than nothing) in PP (if shooting RAW) - these venues are surprisingly dark...

Appreciate any and all helpful comments as to which modes would bebest for these situations; and in general what/why you use the modesyou do?.

Even in the specified genres, I usually shoot Manual, gives me the best control on what *I* want to capture. you may differ, so may others... I also manually focus about 70% of the time, with both of my dSLRs...

Very much appreciated..

RNW123.

Cheers,S.**My XT IS Full Frame APS-C/FF of course!*****So is my 5D 35mm/FF**..

Comment #5

Thank you - may I ask why you choose f8?.

Why does one choose aperture vs. shutter priorities? In what situations? I assume it has to do with capturing movement vs. non-movement, but does that mean that S mode gives you more freedom to capture the shot you want for motion, vs. A mode?.

Sorry for the questions, but appreciate your response..

RNW..

Comment #6

Thanks very much..

Assuming still subjects - when would you use a tighter aperture; and when would you use a larger one? Assuming moving subjects (like 5 year old girls jumping around) when do you need a faster shutter (what is the recommended minimum)?.

I seem to remember that aperture/shutter combinations change like a see-saw so that there are 3 or 4 combinations of aperture/shutter speed for most pictures to give the same "exposure". But what is the EFFECT of apperture priority vs. shutter speed priority? I think you're saying it depends on whether the subject is moving or not?.

Thanks!.

RNW123..

Comment #7

Bless you for keeping it simple. I will try to keep those things in mind!.

RNW123..

Comment #8

Thank you for your response..

It sounds as if you really know what you're doing! Neat...it is something I will try to aspire to..

At this point it sounds as if you're creating an emotion and art, as much as capturing a clear image (where I'm struggling)..

Would that be fair?.

Other than Auto, what is the recommendation for the next modes to experiment? P and then A? Or did I miss something? Don't think I'm ready for the M yet.  .

Robb..

Comment #9

Outdoors, P for Program or M for Manual, when not using flash..

M for Manual outdoors with flash, for the vast majoprity of flash pictures..

Indoors, P for Program without flash, M for Manual without flash, and M for Manual with flash..

Pro..

BAK..

Comment #10

Use M for one full day. Shoot everything you see. Use your camera as a light meter and darkroom..

Its what everybody did back in the day when there were no batterys in cameras. (except that we had to wait for the darkroom).

Dial in the aperature you want to use, read the speed and dial it in.Dial in the speed you want to use, read the aperature and dial it in..

Want more DOF, change aperature, but dont forget to read the new speed and dial it in..

Want less motion blur, change speed, but dont forget to read the new aperature and dial it in..

Want to change the exposure - lighter or darker - change either speed or aperature, but not both..

Don't cheat.

Doing this will not teach you the all you need to know about exposure, but it should significantly improve your ability to choose between AS&M or TvAv&M in your case..

Tom..

Comment #11

1: Studio - Manual mode only.

2: Landscape and general photography - Aperture priority.

The greatest of mankind's criminals are those who delude themselves into thinking they have done 'the right thing.'- Rayna Butler..

Comment #12

Tom thanks!.

Well now I feel like a dunce.  .

OK that makes sense - that's exactly what I did on my last SLR about 32 years ago when I was 13. At the time we had a Pentax that I would steal for a day at a time from my dad's cabinet, b/c he had a "light meter" on the dome of his camera. It had a nifty little dial that also sat on top of his speed changer., then you just rotate the speed and rotated the aperture ring..

For some reason I thought the cameras of today were bypassing all that..

Thanks for keeping it simple..

RNW123..

Comment #13

I like ScottyNV's answer and have to plagiarize, but 70% Heavy enthusiast and 30% part time pro. I forced myself to shoot in M fulltime for the first couple of months. This way I got super familiar with my camera as fast as I could and without having to look where everything was. I know by feel and can adjust on the fly. Now, I shoot in a variety of modes..

I never just shoot in full auto. It is frustrating (after having the power to control over how I was shooting). I Shutter priority when shooting sports because I want to have the ability to select if I want a nice motion blur, or a dead on sharp snap of a ballIf I am in a situation where one would use "A", I usually find myself going back to full manual. Learn the camera and check out all the little unknowns and adjustments. Make it YOUR camera. But if you are not going to use the camera for, well, the camera, just go and buy a point and shoot.

Sort of a waste of money..

ADD is a wonderful thing for the creative folk, it just not remembering what I was... Hey look ... A bird...

Comment #14

RNW:.

You asked why I suggested that you START with f8. The answer is that f8 typically is the "sweet spot" for lenses. In other words, photos taken at f8 may be crisper than photos taken at other f stops. Therefore, it is a good place to start. Of course, you will select other f stops depending on light, what you are photographing, whether you want a blurred background or deep focus, and so on. As someone said, f8 probably won't work for indoors or low-light situations.



Jerryhttp://jchoate.zenfolio.com/..

Comment #15

To get the best out of any tool, including a camera, it must be used intelligently. There are no magical formulas. The more you know about photography, the better able you will be to make intelligent choices on your own. No one can do it for you. But here are some basic thoughts:.

AUTO MODE - Useful if you know absolutely nothing and want the camera to make almost all the choices. Works OK for any "average" situations, but also may cause many failures under less than "average" conditions..

PROGRAM MODE - Personally my favorite mode for most average shots. With my camera, I can control the sensitivity (ISO) setting. I can keep the ISO at 50 to avoid "noise," or I can raise it if the light is lower..

APERTURE PRIORITY MODE - If you are doing a close-up, or otherwise want to control your depth-of-field, this mode is iseful. But, the camera will choose the shutter speed, depending on the ISO and the light level. Keep an eye on the shutter speed and up the ISO if necessary to maintain a sufficiently short shutter time..

SHUTTER PRIORITY MODE - If I am shooting action photos and want to keep a high shutter speed (short time) I use this mode. However, the camera will choose the aperture, depending upon the ISO and the light level. If the light level of the scene is too low, you will get underexposure. so in this mode, it is best to keep your ISO setting as high as you can while still trying to avoid "noise." Choices, choises..

MANUAL MODE - Gives you the greatest control, but also requires you to make all the decisions.When I am shooting night street scenes or city skylines, on a tripod, of course, I use Manual Mode. The automatic exposure system is almost useless under such circumstances so Manual is the best way to go. The more you learn about the technical side of photography, the more you will appreciate the freedom which Manual Mode gives you. But, with freedom comes responsibility and you will have to accept responsibility for the results, no blaming the camera..

DON'T just "play" with the camera, switching aimlessly from mode to mode. Choose a mode, use it for many shots and see what happens under different conditions. Study the results and do a little analyzing while viewing the images on your computer monitor. Then when you have learned what one mode can do, run a similar test series using another mode. Just idly "playing atround" wilteach you little and may result in discouragement..

Good luck..

Judy.

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window..

Comment #16

What shooting mode do I use? answer- all of them. which shooting mode I use for given shot depends on the scene situation and what I am trying to accomplish as a photographer..

There is no right mode to use. it depends on the shot you are trying to take. outddors at an ice rink shooting skaters you should be using shutter priority since the object is to stop motion. on a sunny day shooting landscapes you could use auto program or aperature priority or even manual if you want to play with the meter all would work. it is bright enough on a sunny day that the automatically selected fstop should be high enough to give plenty of dof. shutter speed is not an issue because landscapes do not move.



I repeat there is no right mode; it all depends on the scene/situation...

Comment #17

Ahh... And turn on the histogram. Learn how to use it.MYX.

ADD is a wonderful thing for the creative folk, it just not remembering what I was... Hey look ... A bird...

Comment #18

For ambient lighting situations without flash - 99% A mode, 1% S mode..

For TTL flash - about 50/50 (whim) A mode and M mode - flash in TTL mode..

For flash with a flash meter - 100% M mode - with manual flash mode..

Note that camera M mode with TTL flash in TTL mode is not manual operation. Manual camera just means you can set shutter sync speed and aperture. This is routine flash exposure. Even in camera M mode, TTL flash still does TTL power levels to match your aperture request..

For flash, A mode is basically the same as M, it merely means your shutter speed will always be a slow 1/60 second in dim situations needing flash, instead of your setting a proper sync shutter speed. This could let in a little dim ambient, which could be plus or negative. Shutter speed is not a factor for flash itself. However in bright situations allowing TTL BL, then shutter also meters the ambient in A mode...

Comment #19

I know that you know very well what you are talking about, but this time I need a little more help. (My shortcoming, not yours).

I'm asuming that when you use A and M you are talking about Aperature priority and Manual settings on the camera. Not Auto and Manual on the flash..

WFulton wrote:.

For flash, A mode is basically the same as M, it merely means yourshutter speed will always be a slow 1/60 second in dim situationsneeding flash, instead of your setting a proper sync shutter speed..

How can A be the same as M? and why would A always set shutter speed to 1/60 and why would you always chose to set 1/60 your self in M?.

However in bright situations allowing TTL BL,.

BL?.

Then shutter also meters the ambient in A mode..

The camera always measures and sets shutter in A mode..

I always read your postings several times. Not because they are hard to understand, but because of all the information..

This time was different..

Tom..

Comment #20

Read a book called Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson. He uses 160 pages and hundreds of pictures to explain what you are asking. Bryan calls mid-range apertures like f/8 and f/11 "Who Cares" apertures, because the scene has a distance range that it will allow you to get everything in focus. Small apertures like f/16 to f/22 are "Storytelling" apertures because you tell a story with things from close to far away all in focus. Large apertures like f/2.8 are "Subject Isolating" apertures because they allow you to keep the subject prominently in focus while the background (and possibly foreground) have a creamy blurred appearance. It is loaded with other techniques and hundreds of example photographs..

Here is a simple tutorial of the various effects of aperture, shutter speed and ISO:http://www.pbase.com/otfchallenge/the_basicsBruceMcK..

Comment #21

Tnordahl wrote:.

I'm asuming that when you use A and M you are talking aboutAperature priority and Manual settings on the camera. Not Auto andManual on the flash..

Yes, A and M at the Camera. Probably TTL at the flash, unless studio work..

OK, so we are using flash. There are two reasons why we might:.

1. There is not enough light to get a picture if we dont2. There is sunshine, but deep shadows, and we are filling in with the flash..

Case 1. Only minimal ambient light exists - we need to use the flash..

The flash has not yet fired, so A or S or P modes are simply metering the ambient light, or trying to. But of course, there is minimal ambient light, our complaint is that it is totally insignificant, so we get a very low reading. In A mode, there is a menu that defaults to 1/60 second as the least it will read, so we get 1/60 in A mode in light where we need to use flash. In the house, you always get 1/60 shutter in A mode, unless you point at a light or a window..

If P mode, there is a firmware table that - when the flash is connected - it will not go below f/4, so we get f/4 (this dim case where flash is needed). If ISO 400, we get f/5. If the flash is connected it does. But it goes as low as our lens goes if the flash is NOT connected. This means we cannot use our fancy f/2.8 lens effectively in P mode with flash connected. Bummer.

I think the D200 may be improved somewhat..

These modes are attempting to meter ambient, which largely does not exist, in this case where flash is needed. These are not accurate readings for anything, they are just the bottomed out limited values the firmware can manage to show us. They have no meaning, but at least in A mode, we set aperture for the flash..

However... shutter speed is of no significance to flash exposure anyway. Flash only uses aperture for exposure (because flash is so greatly faster than any shutter speed anyway - the flash is over and done before the shutter hardly gets started. So it does not matter what the shutter speed is - flash exposure is only about Aperture. If shutter is one second or 1/250 second, we get exactly the same flash exposure (assuming ambient is low and insignificant to both - but if there is a little bit of ambient, a slow shutter could let it in to affect the flash shot)..

But ambient exposure uses both shutter and aperture, in the accustomed way we learned it..

Camera M mode is good to use for flash (in TTL mode, where flash is needed - not speaking of TTL BL mode yet). Because, if we instead use camera M mode for flash, then we can set the shutter sync speed more intelligently, maybe to 1/200 second sync speed, instead of 1/60 second we get in A mode. This would keep out minimal traces of minimal ambient, which might have tungsten color, or might blur our fast action shot the flash stopped, etc. M lets us set shutter any way we want. Not that the flash exposure could care about shutter, but a fast shutter can keep ambient out... or a slow one could let it in.



M means manual at the camera, at the shutter and aperture setting, and those settings are manual, but this case is NOT manual exposure. Camera M mode is still automatic TTL mode if the flash is in TTL mode. We may manually ask for f/5.6 (in A or M mode) and the TTL flash will try it's best to give us sufficient power to satisfy our f/5.6 request. This may be to affect depth of field, or to be sharper if our lens is not wide open, etc..

Camera M mode is THE optimum TTL flash mode - in cases of dim light where flash is needed. To allow doing anything we want - to set sync speed in particular. Otherwise, you get a slow shutter (A mode) or a small aperture (P mode) that you probably do not want..

Case 2: fill light in sunshine. We have lots of light..

A or S or P mode will meter the ambient again, this is all they can do. This time there is significant ambient which must be metered and we get a decent ambient exposure setting. Then the TTL BL mode will try to match that in it's way..

A is likely best for this, since flash is all about Aperture. But S or P works too..

Hope that helps...

Comment #22

- I have used the Auto mode with my Canon 300D for quite some time....

- I remember it actually restricts you from using RAW. Now why would you want a DSLR at all if you're not shooting in RAW? As for your question: I use either Aperture Priority or Manual.http://lordofthelens.smugmug.com/..

Comment #23

Aperture priority, nearly always. Particularly useful with cheaper lenses that only give good image quality over a limited range of f-stops: stick it on f/8 or f/11 and just check that the shutter speed is high enough..

I use full 'P' mode occasionally when using fill-in flash on sunny days; the camera does a good job of balancing ambient and flash light to give a good-looking result..

I'm sure a Pro would faint in horror at this but I find it works well..

Best wishesMike..

Comment #24

WFulton:.

Yes it helps a lot..

My confusion was caused by the minor differences between Oly and Nikon operation, capabilities, and the way I am shooting flash at the moment.(I dont want to hijack the thread by going in detail).

Thank you for elaborating in such detail. It is appreciated..

Tom..

Comment #25

RNW123 wrote:.

Thank you for your response..

Cheers, we all learn when we share information here and other places - sometimes you learn more when you try to explain something - it clears one's own thoughts on the subject!.

It sounds as if you really know what you're doing! Neat...it issomething I will try to aspire to..

I am getting there - keep practicing and experimenting - with the 'digital film' being relatively costless, there is no penalty for taking extra shots at different settings just to see how they turn out..

At this point it sounds as if you're creating an emotion and art, asmuch as capturing a clear image (where I'm struggling)..

Would that be fair?.

This is the intention - sometimes it works better than others - as Bryan Peterson describes in 'Understanding Exposure', six technically correct exposures versus one creatively correct exposure. A lot of the time, two or even three of the combinations of ISO, Aperture, Shutter speed will provide pleasing photos, and will be just fine for the job - when trying to compose art and convey some subtlety of emotion, the camera rarely picks the best exposure automatically - this is why the 'beginner modes' - portrait, landscape, sport etc - they are there to bias the camera's program toward what will likely be 'good' for that type of scene..

Other than Auto, what is the recommendation for the next modes toexperiment? P and then A? Or did I miss something? Don't think I'mready for the M yet.  .

Robb.

Av (aperture priority) mode is a good one to work with - especially if you have a lens with a large maximum aperture - f/2.8 or larger - as it will teach you about control of depth of field, without having to think about the shutter speed all the time as well..

P mode is good too, as a way of easing into full control - it gives you control of the ISO (which green box does not) - making you start to think about 'film speed' - capture sensitivity - like turning up the gain on an old tube-type shortwave radio - how much static can you stand in order to hear the sound?.

Keep working and having fun!Scotty**My XT IS Full Frame APS-C/FF of course!*****So is my 5D 35mm/FF**..

Comment #26

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This question was taken from a support group/message board and re-posted here so others can learn from it.

 

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