Why is Manual the most popular setting?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by johnwilliams, Apr 17, 2009.

  1. johnwilliams

    johnwilliams TPF Noob!

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    Just wondering what the advantage of shooting in manual is? I've been looking at a few polls and the most popular setting seems to be manual, but i don't understand why, isn't it easier to just use either AV or TV depending on the shot n let the camera decide the other setting to get the correct exposure?
     
  2. dcclark

    dcclark TPF Noob!

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    I don't really understand it either. You should know how to use all modes (including full manual), but use the one most appropriate to the situation. Manual mode is not a magical mode that will make your photos better -- it's just another tool in the bag.

    I use Av very often, Tv somewhat, and P somewhat also. Full manual is more or less reserved for night or low-light shots when I need very specific settings which the camera wouldn't choose otherwise.

    Edit: Ok, there's another reason. I think some people just like to be able to say "well I shoot on full manual" and allow less-enlightened photographers to bask in their glow. :p
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2009
  3. Dao

    Dao No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    It is because in some situation, the camera do not know what you really want.

    Think about you are inside a cave facing the entrance of the cave at noon time. Now you want to take a picture and have your camera points to the opening. The camera will have no clue you are trying to exposure to the outside or the inside.

    If you would like to exposure to the inside of the cave, then you need to meter the inside. And then use the readings and set the shutter speed/aperture accordingly.

    In most of the modern DSLR, the different between shooting manual/Av/Tv is not too much in terms of operation. Shooting in manual mode will need to adjust both shutter speed and aperture vs the other one, you only need adjust one setting.

    For me, if I know the environment is ok to use Av or Tv, I will use it (the picture will not be better if taken in manual mode). But in some situation, I will need to use manual mode such as an external flash shoot thru an umbrella in X ft away from the subject.
     
  4. Jeff Canes

    Jeff Canes No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Most people would say that using manual gives you total control of the exposure. So you get what you want and not what the camera things you want. Although I agree it gives you total control, I do not think it’s always the best mode to use. Sometime shooting circumstances are not right and/or you are not conformable using manual.

    I personally prefer using program for landscapes, shutter for sports and the dials to override when needed.
     
  5. bakkie

    bakkie TPF Noob!

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    It also depends on where the poll was taken. Being capable of shooting manual in all situations gives you the aura of a guru (not to confuse with Pros!)
     
  6. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    You should always use the mode that will get YOU the best shot in the given scene. That might be full manual, aperture priority or even full auto mode! It really does not matter which you go for so long as you get the shot you want at the end of the day.

    When you start out manual mode can be very confusing, full of pitfalls and give you very poor results a lot of the time - or take so long to use that the shots pass you by - -and this is perfectly normal. No one starts shooting full manual like a wizard - even in the days of film (when manual was all you had) many would have roll after roll of rubbish and if they walked away with one good exposure it was a triumph!
    The key part is that if you want to get better you have to challenge your bounardies - move from full auto to the priority modes (aperture and shutter) learn when to use them, how aperture and shutter affect your end result of an image. Often these modes are used by many just because your metering to a good exposure and the camera can change the other setting far quicker than a human can and also never miss a slot when a change is needed. Full manual is for when you want direct control over it all - when you have a shot in your mind and that is what you want to get out of the camera - it takes experience to understand this well - to understand not only what the camera is capable of, but to also understand what sort of shot you actually want out of the camera.

    Just take it one day at a time - review your shots - review the settings on those shots (right click image file - properties - details tab - scroll down for aperture shutter speed and ISO) review settings on other peoples shots - read a good book like Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson - and ask around on forums for comments on your work.
     
  7. Chairman7w

    Chairman7w TPF Noob!

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    That's 4,000+ posts of wisdom right there. Good post Overread!


     
  8. johnwilliams

    johnwilliams TPF Noob!

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    So manual is used in difficult lighting most of the time then? Are there any different techniques or 'looks' you can only get with manual?

    cheers for the posts everyone btw
     
  9. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Manual settings won't give you a different look to an auto setting::

    F8, ISO 200, 1/200sec will look identical if shot in auto mode, aperture priority mode, full manual or auto portrate mode.

    The difference is arriving at those settings - auto mode will pick them for you and it might not pick the ones for the appearance you want - the camera can also get tricked in less than common lighting conditions and thus select the wrong settings totally.
    Try this - point your camera at the moon and take a shot in auto mode - chances are the camera will read the whole scene, consider it really dark - and then give you a slow shutter speed and wide aperture (small f number). Your resulting shot will then hav a totally detailless moon - totally blown out.
    This is because (unless you use spot metering) the camera has seen the sight as mostly dark and so exposed for that scene.
    Now if you shift into manual shooting mode you can use a smaller aperture, a faster shutter speed and (with some experimenting) get the details on the moon to show.

    That is the key difference- once you understand how the settings affect different parts of your shot and how they all work together you can then make your own choices and put your own vision into shots - something the camera just won't do.
    I do recomend the book Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson - it will explain things far better than I can and will give you a lot of examples and ideas for things
     
  10. gsgary

    gsgary Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Use what ever mode you feel most comfy, i shoot everthing in manual because i feel most comfortable in manual i know settings that will give me what i want. I shot Paul Carrack in concert the other week and his manager said he loved dark moody shots so i went low key
     
  11. RONDAL

    RONDAL TPF Noob!

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    I use P,S,A,M depending on the situation. I dont profess to be anything near pro level, so i can't adjust some things as quickly as the camera can. If I know I need control of something (aperture, exposure, shutter, etc.) as the priority to get that shot I will go to the program that allows me to control that and sorts out the rest.

    There are certain situations, sports for example, where fumbling around trying to sort out what settings you need can mean you miss the SHOT you wanted. That should NEVER happen, a DSLR is not for fumbling around with settings while you miss your shooting opportunities.

    Shoot what works best for you and you are most comfortable with.

    And remember, while there are auto modes and semi auto modes that had exposure, metering, shutter speed, aperture, white balance, lighting, and other details....there still is no AUTO COMPOSE mode. That's still up to you. I believe if you spend more time learning to compose pictures properly rather than how to be a pro at shooting in full manual you will get better photos. You can have all your settings bang on, but if you composed your shot like $hit....it will still look like $hit.
     
  12. Mystwalker

    Mystwalker TPF Noob!

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    I'm guessing a lot of knowledgeable people answered that survey.

    I only use manual when I am using flash - I know the "settings" that works for me with flash.

    Other times I'm 99.99% in Av. The 00.01% I'm in Tv, or "Green Box".
     

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