How often do you use manual settings

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Boomn4x4, Mar 19, 2010.

  1. Boomn4x4

    Boomn4x4 TPF Noob!

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    Assuming we are stying on topic and speaking to "BEGINNERS"... how often do you use manual settings for your photography? As a beginner, I ALWAYS use the automatic mode if I'm shooting anything that I know I want to be a "keeper" Family portraits, vacations, kids sporting events, etc. The only time I use any of the manual modes is if I'm playing around... And even then, I don't find myself ever getting better shots in manual mode than if I had done it in automatic.

    Am I off in assuming that these manual settings are for a more advanced group, or am I missing out as a beginner?
     
  2. eric-holmes

    eric-holmes No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I use aperture mode the most.
     
  3. PJL

    PJL TPF Noob!

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    I shoot P mode most of the time unless I'm looking for a specific effect such as bokeh or prolonged exposure, then I'll go manual and rely on the light meter.
     
  4. Dao

    Dao No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    If you take a shot in Auto mode. And then use the same settings in manual mode. The result is the same.

    Manual or Auto, it doesn't really matter. What matter is whether you can get the desire result or not.

    There are situations that Auto may not work correctly. For example, take a photo of a moon at night. In Auto mode, the camera MAY think the scene is too dark so it end up with a overexposed moon.

    Another example is you work with flashs/stobes. Also if you want consistency. It is better with manual mode.

    For me, I use Aperture Priority most of the time. And then Manual or Shutter Priority mode if needed.
     
  5. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    ^^ +1 to what Dao said.

    f4, ISO 100, 1/200sec in aperture priority mode, shutter priority mode, full auto mode and full manual mode will produce exactly the same image. However to get to those setting very different things happen in each mode and that is where the strength of each mode is.

    Auto/program - gives you the cameras best guess at the scene and often as not can be a decent exposure; you might not get the creative control over the shot, but you normally get a pretty decent exposure captured. In good lighting its fine, in dimmer or poorer lighting (without flash support) or in a set condition like shooting the moon however it can fail.

    aperture/shutter priority: These work like manual mode, but instead of you having to set all 3 settings you only set 2, whilst the camera sets the 3rd. The power of this mode is that the camera is lightning fast at changing that one setting according to the meter reading. Often in manual mode you will set the ISO, set your key setting (the creative setting you need to have control over) and then adjust the final setting till the meter reading is good. These two priority modes just do that last stage for you and in changing lighting conditions its far superior to doing it yourself
    Should the camera meter be failing or you want to push the shot a little bit one way or the other you even have exposure compensation to over or under expose the shot a little.

    Manual mode: Here you have full control, the camera meter still works and tells you what the shot will be exposed like, but you have the control. This is key in something like working with flash as the dominant lighting because the cameras meter will only meter ambient lighting, it has no idea how the flash will affect the scene and so pays little attention to it.
    For example in a dark room the camera will still want a wide open aperture, high ISO and slow shutter speed even if you have enough flash light for a better exposure. Fighting it in the auto and semi auto modes is a waste of time - so shift into manual and you can set the settings and let the flash deal with the rest.

    Essentialy spend time learning about the other modes - experiment and understand where the strengths of each mode are for yourself. After that you can pick the best mode possible to shoot with at any given time and situation.

    Also remember - semi auto modes like aperture and shutter priority are things that the "PROS" asked for in cameras and they are quite possibly more popular in overall use than full manual when used outside of a fully controled studio
     
  6. bentcountershaft

    bentcountershaft Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I wasted a good six weeks after buying my first dslr on using the auto modes. I switched to full manual and just took pics of things I could keep redoing until I got it right. I learned a lot more a lot quicker than using the others. I always shoot in manual now. No exceptions.
     
  7. patrickt

    patrickt TPF Noob!

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    It isn't either automatic or manual. I don't think I've ever used automatic on my current DSLR but I don't recall using manual either. I'm normally using Av.
     
  8. jchin

    jchin TPF Noob!

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    Usually Av mode or M mode. I'd say about 50/50.
     
  9. manicmike

    manicmike No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I never use auto or any of the scene modes. After a summer of using those, I wanted to learn how to get the images the way I wanted them and I couldn't do that in auto. I use shutter of aperture priority most with manual for a few types of shots.
     
  10. kundalini

    kundalini Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Only when I press the shutter release.
     
  11. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    I use manual mode for everything except sports. For sports I use aperture priority.
     
  12. Gaerek

    Gaerek TPF Noob!

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    I'm in Aperture Priority mode 90% of the time, and Manual mode the rest of the time basically. I really only use M when I'm using my strobe or when I'm doing sunsets/sunrises (I find the sun screws with the meter pretty bad).
     

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