Real stupid Question

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Tyson, Jan 2, 2007.

  1. Tyson

    Tyson TPF Noob!

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    What is the program (P) mode on a DSLR for, I have read the manual but I still don't get it. Can you give me an example of what it is used for and why you would us it.
     
  2. Parago

    Parago TPF Noob!

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    I would say use it whenever you don't want to go manual but are also unsure about using any of the 'program modes' like 'portrait', 'sports', etc. It's full on automatic, so you should get good pictures using it. :wink:
     
  3. rmh159

    rmh159 TPF Noob!

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    It lets the camera decide everything but you can override any of the settings except Aperture and Shutter Speed (so... ISO, WB, etc.).

    I guess it's good to use when you need a quick shot and can't spend time changing settings but I don't think it has any significant advantage over Aperture or Shutter Priority.
     
  4. britonk

    britonk TPF Noob!

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    Yeah it just lets you take quick shots without having to set the shutter speed / apperture size as the camera does this for you by measuring the available light in the currently framed scene.

    Some cameras (like the Nikon D50) allow you to choose from a number of different shutter speed / apperture size combinations that the camera thinks will work for the scene currently in frame.
     
  5. Jzero

    Jzero TPF Noob!

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    Not a stupid question at all, thanks for posting it.

    J
     
  6. fmw

    fmw No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I'm not familiar with the Olympus but I can tell you why I use it on the Nikons. The program setting on the Nikons allows me to wheel my way through all the aperture/shutter speed combinations that correspond to the same meter recommendation. So I can make adjustments for depth of field or motion without changing the overall exposure. It is, in fact, the mode I use most often, switching to manual only when I want to over or underexpose the meter recommendation. It is a little like having aperture priority and shutter priority running at the same time. If your camera works the same way, then you might find it to be the most useful mode of all as I do.
     
  7. fischerfotographik

    fischerfotographik TPF Noob!

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    Only adding to the already good explanations given... think of it as "P for Point and shoot" mode :D
     
  8. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    Program means the camera will choose the aperture and shutter setting for you. When in Program mode the camera usually keeps the shutter speed between the flash sync speed of the camera, and the manufacturer's suggested minimum hand holding shutter speed. In the past this would typically be 1/60th or 1/125th, although most SLRs/DSLRs today probably can tell what the lens focal length is, and set the minimum hand held speed to 1/focal length.

    Program was the first full auto exposure mode. It's been around since at least the 70s, and maybe longer? The auto exposure modes we are familiar with such as portrait, landscape, action, etc... were introduced in the 90s. They offer the photographer a bit more control in how the camera will choose the settings. Portrait mode is Program that will try to give shallow DOF. Landscape mode is Program that will try to give deep DOF. Action mode is Program that tries to give a high shutter speed.
     
  9. dese

    dese TPF Noob!

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    Not a 'stupid' question...I learned what that means too!
     
  10. Tyson

    Tyson TPF Noob!

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    I have been tring to shot everything in manual mode, I guess I should try out the P mode.
     
  11. britonk

    britonk TPF Noob!

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    I wouldn't shoot in manual all the time... man that would stress me out...
     
  12. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    Sometimes it can be easier in manual. When I'm roaming the reception crowd at a wedding I set both the camera and flash to manual, and set it up to produce the exposure I want at 6 feet. Then I wander the tables and dance floor pretty much pointing and shooting as long as my subjects are about 6 feet from me. I use the zoom lens to change the angle of view. If the subject is 12 feet away I know to dial in 2 more stops of flash power. If the subject is 3 feet away I reduce flash power 2 stops.

    The problem with using the camera or flash on auto in this situation is that there tend to be lots of people dressed in black or white at weddings; particularly the important couple. If you fill the frame with a bride in white, program mode will underexpose. If you fill the frame with a groom in black, program mode will overexpose. I could ride the exposure compensation dial, but the results still seem a bit random to me. I can't figure out exactly what the camera is thinking. It's just better if I'm steering.
     

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