Advice for Manual Mode

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Jade16, Nov 2, 2015.

  1. Jade16

    Jade16 TPF Noob!

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    finally made the switch to using manual mode. ! what is your best advice when starting to use it? Also..What is the biggest mistake you think people make when first learning to use it?


     
  2. JacaRanda

    JacaRanda Hobbyist Birdographer

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    Mistake would be forgetting to pay attention to the meter. Advice would be, always check your meter.
     
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  3. Bebulamar

    Bebulamar No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Yes! It sounds stupid but it's true. Many when switched to manual think why would they want to follow the meter because that would be the same as auto. Then they feel free to set the aperture for DOF and shutter speed for motion and don't care about exposure then get horrible exposure then quit using manual.
    Follow the meter at first but you can still choose among many different combination of shutter speed, aperture (and even ISO nowaday) .
     
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  4. astroNikon

    astroNikon 'ya all Bananas I tell 'ya Supporting Member

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    The best thing you can do now is start thinking more about which Aperture - Depth of Field is best for the image. And what Shutter Speed is best for the image. You now have control versus letting the camera decide for you.

    I normally set my ISO to auto adjust to a MAX amount when shooting sports.
     
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  5. Jade16

    Jade16 TPF Noob!

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    I have found that when I set my ISO to auto that some of my images come out too dark so I feel like I can't trust using it? maybe I should be using it anyway? maybe it is supposed to look a bit dark in the camera? what camera do you have?
     
  6. SCraig

    SCraig Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Not asking themselves why they feel compelled to use manual mode all the time.
     
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  7. wfooshee

    wfooshee No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I like that last post. Unless the camera is doing something you don't like in an auto-exposure mode, what are you accomplishing by shooting manual?

    If the frame is difficult to meter, maybe you want to override the camera's chosen setting. Maybe you're after an "artistic" effect. Maybe you're just trying to learn the effects of the different settings.

    99.9999437% of my shots are shutter-priority, because I want absolute control of perceived motion in the image. Motion blur, or lack of it, is my priority, so shutter is my priority. Switching to manual would slow me down as I'd have to be consulting the meter, however briefly, before each shot.
     
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  8. astroNikon

    astroNikon 'ya all Bananas I tell 'ya Supporting Member

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    Can you provide an example ?
    You still have to expose properly for the amount of available light (or add more).

    If it's too dark then something is amiss such as not enough light, too small an aperture, too fast a shutter speed. Essentially a setting that won't work in a certain situation which may require more light but aperture, shutter or ISO.

    fyi
    Aperture mode lets you select the Aperture and the camera does the rest
    Shutter mode lets you select the Shutter speed and the camera does the rest.
    Manual Mode on a Nikon lets you do a couple things. Set Aperture and Shutter and ISO by yourself. Or set Shutter and Aperture by yourself and use AUTO ISO. Canon has a different mode for Auto Iso with Aperture & Shutter Control.

    But you are still limited by the available light and have to adjust one of those 3 based on that if the photo is coming out dark.

    I use manual most of the time because I want a specific Aperture, and a specific Shutter. By use AUTO ISO with a MAX I don't have to look at the meter which is helpful in Sports as how do you look at the meter when you are shooting in Continuous ? When I'm not shooting sports I'll use ISO normally but still want control over Aperture and Shutter.
     
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  9. imagemaker46

    imagemaker46 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Try shooting something on full auto, look at the exposure, if it looks good take note of what the exposure is, re-set the camera to the same settings manual and shoot it again, see if the exposures are close to the same. Keep trying this until you feel comfortable enough to skip the auto. Shooting manual comes with time and mistakes. I always shoot full manual all the time.
     
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  10. sabbath999

    sabbath999 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Histograms are your friend. Learn what they are and how to use them.
     
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  11. SCraig

    SCraig Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Just to clarify, my comment was NOT meant to indicate that manual is not a useful mode, it most assuredly is. I use manual mode a lot, but I also use aperture priority and shutter priority. The mode I choose is dependent on the situation and what I want to accomplish.

    My comment was meant to indicate that people who choose to shoot manual mode simply because they feel it makes them "Better" should reconsider their motives. Making a decision to "Shoot Manual" will not make one a better photographer than they were a few seconds prior to making that decision. Likewise, parroting the meter and simply "Centering The Needle" when the camera is set to manual does not mean that one is shooting in manual mode it simply means that they are twisting the wheels in the same direction as the camera could have done for them.

    Learning when and why to shoot manual is a good thing. Learning what affects what the metering system is telling one and then compensating for inaccuracies based on knowledge is important. Simply setting the camera to manual "Just Because" is a waste of effort and of no benefit.

    What Scott Grant said above is good advice. Take a shot in manual and then a shot in one of the automatic modes. Compare the two and learn from the difference between them. Once the reason for the differences is understood, once knowledge and experience tell a photographer WHY they should be using manual mode, THAT is the time they should be using it.
     
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  12. 480sparky

    480sparky Chief Free Electron Relocator Supporting Member

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    That right there may be the issue. Auto ISO is fine, but if you have your camera set to a limit for a maximum ISO, you may end up choosing an aperture/shutter speed combo that requires a higher ISO than you're allowing the camera to use.

    For instance, if you have the max. ISO set to 1600, and choose 1/500 and f/22 for a rather dark scene, the camera WILL underexpose if ISO 6400 is needed to get a 'correct' exposure.

    Even with Auto ISO, you need to watch the meter to make sure you're not underexposing and, in some cases, overexposing.
     
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