P,S,A,M Modes Help!

Discussion in 'Digital Discussion & Q&A' started by DRB022, Aug 11, 2009.

  1. DRB022

    DRB022 TPF Noob!

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    So I know that the P mode selects the best exposure settings for you and that S and A let you control the shutter speed and aperture, respectively, to suit your needs to blur or freeze motion and control depth of field, while also keeping the right exposure for you. So why ever use the M mode? And what would a professional photographer usually shoot in?
     
  2. UUilliam

    UUilliam TPF Noob!

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    M (Manual) is used for tricky shots E.g. if you want to shoot a shot where you need 2 or more shots to get the full dynamic range, You use P to get the settings you need for each exposure, then you set to M (that way it doesnt Meter anything)
    and you can expose to a custom setting.
    Semi-auto modes aren't always correct either...

    also aperture has more to do than just blur / bokeh...
    It is about light metering etc..
     
  3. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Firstly, P doesn't always select the best exposure...and how could it? The camera doesn't know what you, the photographer, is trying to accomplish.
    Aperture and shutter priority do give you more control, but the exposure is still based on the camera's meter reading, so you get the same exposure as you would in P mode.

    The camera's meter is designed to give you 'proper' exposure for a scene that is 18% (middle) grey. This is great if your scene is actually mid-toned (or at least the part of the scene that your meter is reading) but if your scene or your subject is not the same tone as middle grey, then the exposure the camera gives you, may not be what you want to use.

    In this case, you can use EC (exposure compensation) to off-set the camera's meter reading. For example, if you set it to +1 stop, your exposure will be one stop brighter than the camera's metered values. Sometimes you will want to be over, sometimes under, it depends on the subject/scene and what you, the photographer, wants to do.

    As for M mode, this allows us to set our exposure without the camera interfering with it. You can still use the camera's meter to find your settings, but they won't change if the meter picks up something that would mess with the auto modes.
    We might also use M mode when shooting with external strobe lights because the camera can't meter for them, so using the auto modes wouldn't be much help.

    The fact of the matter is that it doens't really matter what mode you are in...as long as you get the exposure that you want. A shot taken with settings of; F8, 1/125 and ISO 100...will look the same, no matter what exposure mode you are in.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2009
  4. MelissaMarieImagery

    MelissaMarieImagery TPF Noob!

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    ^This! Couldn't have said it better.
     
  5. DRB022

    DRB022 TPF Noob!

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    I didn't consider that the camera wouldn't account for extra flashes.

    But when you're shooting an outdoor event and aren't using flashes, would you shoot in P mode? It seems like the camera gets it really close to being perfect and then you can edit your photos on your computer to get the exposure just right.
     
  6. MelissaMarieImagery

    MelissaMarieImagery TPF Noob!

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    ^ isn't it easier to get the exposure right before you start shooting?
     
  7. PhotoXopher

    PhotoXopher TPF Noob!

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    This hit me like a brick last week and it's probably already been mentioned but I'm at work and don't have time to read everything right now, so...

    I wanted to shoot in manual so I was in control, well I found myself constantly adjusting the exposure 'correctly', then I realized that if I just set it to A or S it would do this for me automatically... which is fine if I'm OK with the 'proper' exposure.

    I've now learned the value of the exposure compensation feature and manual mode as it was intended.

    If my scene doesn't change and my shots are constantly over or under exposed for my liking I'll stick with A or S mode and dial in the exposure.

    If my environment is changing I may use manual mode and adjust on the fly.

    Pros shoot in whatever mode gives them the photograph they want, and that does not exclude Auto.
     
  8. ann

    ann No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    using manual gives one complete control over the exposure, and there are times when it is important to use the meter as a guide line and adjust accordling.

    with manual metering, one can hold one value and move the other . with aperture or shutter priority if you can one the other comes along for the ride as they are hooked together like train cars, and this may not be correct for the specific conditons.

    i totally agree with the others, however, i have been using manual metering for over 60 years and it is so automatic i rarely even think of using another option.

    with that said, i also , rarely ever take the meters suggestions as i have tested the camera either with film or digital and know what it is going to do and adjust as i look through the viewfinder and consider the light and what i want the exposure to be.
     
  9. Soocom1

    Soocom1 TPF Noob!

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    Manual mode is also good when using third party Non camera specific lenses. (I.e. the peleng 8mm Super Wide angle.) In addition, full manual allows you to override completely the camera's "Brian" the computer to do what YOU want. Experiment and find out what is possible. You may never go back.
     
  10. gryphonslair99

    gryphonslair99 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I shoot probably 90% manual, the rest in AV. The only time my camera has ever been on P is when I took it out of the box. I want the ability to control the camera, not have it control me.

    As for using flash, if you use a dedicated flash in TTL it is best to shoot manual and let the flash compensate for the exposure.

    A good book to possibly check out would be Bryan Petersons Understanding Exposure. It will give you a good understanding of Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO to create the exposure you want.
     
  11. Tiberius47

    Tiberius47 TPF Noob!

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    Have a read of the "Using P, A, S and M modes" tutorial in my signature. If you;ve got any questions left after reading the above great responses, hopefully that will clear things up. :)
     
  12. DRB022

    DRB022 TPF Noob!

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    Very well-written tutorials. I read of few of them after seeing how informative the P,S,A,M one was. Thanks a lot.
     

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