Manual vs. Aperture Priority vs. Shutter Priority modes

Status
Not open for further replies.

EngineFD

TPF Noob!
Joined
Oct 18, 2015
Messages
1
Reaction score
0
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
Hello Everyone...

I am just beginning to dive into the world of photography and trying to avoid complete automatic modes on my camera. After all I spent the money on a DSLR and not a point and shoot camera. I currently have the following gear:

  1. Canon Rebel T5i
  2. 18-55mm STM Kit lens
  3. 55-250mm STM lens
  4. 50mm STM prime lens
Can someone explain to me when I would use the different modes on my camera? From what I gather... If you are shooting something in a situation where lighting will not change (indoors, studio, etc...) you would use full manual mode to ensure that your settings don't change from image to image. Aperture priority mode is for when you would like to use depth of field for portrait or landscape photos, and shutter priority is for when you are taking action shots. Program mode just looks like automatic mode but you can override it.

Am I correct with all of that?

Would and/or should I use manual mode if I am just walking around snapping pictures? How do I perfect using Manual mode? When in manual mode do you rely on the light meter to make sure your shot is not under or over exposed? Is there a good basis on what settings you would use for a portrait or landscape shot? I understand that for a portrait I would use a lower f-stop and a landscape I would use a higher f-stop. However, how do I know how far to go for either one? Also, how do I figure out what my shutter speed and ISO should be with the corresponding settings?

Thanks in advance, I know I have a lot of questions. I would like to fully understand photography and have been reading and watching videos to absorb as much info as I can.
 

jaomul

Been spending a lot of time on here!
Joined
Feb 4, 2011
Messages
5,715
Reaction score
1,554
Location
Cork Ireland
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
You pretty much have a good handle on it.

Everyone's opinion is different, but I'd advise you use aperture or shutter priority for a while unless you know you need to use something specific for manual shooting. Use your exposure compensation on these modes to tweak exposure on your shots if needed
 

beagle100

Been spending a lot of time on here!
Joined
Mar 31, 2015
Messages
2,072
Reaction score
546
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
Hello Everyone...

I am just beginning to dive into the world of photography and trying to avoid complete automatic modes on my camera. After all I spent the money on a DSLR and not a point and shoot camera. I currently have the following gear:

  1. Canon Rebel T5i
  2. 18-55mm STM Kit lens
  3. 55-250mm STM lens
  4. 50mm STM prime lens
Can someone explain to me when I would use the different modes on my camera? From what I gather... If you are shooting something in a situation where lighting will not change (indoors, studio, etc...) you would use full manual mode to ensure that your settings don't change from image to image. Aperture priority mode is for when you would like to use depth of field for portrait or landscape photos, and shutter priority is for when you are taking action shots. Program mode just looks like automatic mode but you can override it.

Am I correct with all of that?

Would and/or should I use manual mode if I am just walking around snapping pictures? How do I perfect using Manual mode? When in manual mode do you rely on the light meter to make sure your shot is not under or over exposed? Is there a good basis on what settings you would use for a portrait or landscape shot? I understand that for a portrait I would use a lower f-stop and a landscape I would use a higher f-stop. However, how do I know how far to go for either one? Also, how do I figure out what my shutter speed and ISO should be with the corresponding settings?

Thanks in advance, I know I have a lot of questions. I would like to fully understand photography and have been reading and watching videos to absorb as much info as I can.

experience will tell you "how far to go"
For things like sports I prefer manual mode where I can set the Aperture and shutter speed and leave the ISO on auto
 

Ido

No longer a newbie, moving up!
Joined
Jun 30, 2014
Messages
449
Reaction score
67
Location
Israel
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
I can’t tell you which mode to use. I can’t even tell you which mode is best for any given situation. It’s all a matter of personal preference—how much control you want over each parameter, what is most important to keep track of while shooting in fast changing light, etc. What I can tell you, though, is just my own usage—what I personally use in my shooting.

I use Aperture Priority mode almost exclusively. If I had to put a number on it, I’d say 95% just to be conservative, but I’m sure it’s higher in reality. I always want to keep track of my depth of field, making sure that everything I want to be in focus is indeed in-focus. Most of the time I have the ISO on Auto, so I let the camera choose the shutter speed and ISO, while I choose the exact aperture setting I want and tweak the final exposure/brightness of the image with Exposure Compensation.

When my mode dial is not set to Aperture Priority, it’s in Manual. There are two instances where I use this mode:
  • On a tripod. Shooting landscapes on a tripod, I typically have the ISO hard set to the base setting. I set the aperture as desired for depth of field, and the shutter speed I practically set automatically—only to get “correct exposure,” no artistic choice. If I want a different shutter speed than that to get a certain effect, I change it and compensate accordingly with the aperture until it’s too big a compromise in depth of field / sharpness of the lens, then I compensate with the ISO. My camera gives an option for “expanded” ISO downwards, too, so if I need a lower ISO, I can use that; I don’t use it often, because it reduces the dynamic range recorded in the Raw file.
  • Action in low light. If I’m shooting a moving subject in low light, I usually use Manual mode with the aperture set wide-open, the shutter speed to the slowest I can get away with without the subject being blurred out by motion, and the ISO on Auto. I set the Auto ISO range to a certain maximum so it doesn’t go insanely high; I like to keep my ISO below 3200 whenever possible, and go up to 6400 only in very low light—that’s just from my experience with my camera and for my needs, you should experiment with your camera to find the highest setting you’re comfortable with. In this scenario, I don’t worry too much about exposure—when only the ISO changes, I can easily tweak the exposure by ±2/3 EV, often even a full stop, while editing the Raw file in Lightroom without too much problems.
I never use the other modes, though many do find them useful in a lot of situations. For example, I remember watching a keynote by a photographer who shoots airplanes and helicopters. He said he uses Shutter Priority, because the shutter speed is very important (he wanted to keep it at a crucial in-between range, where the propellers are blurred from motion but the rest of the aircraft is sharp), while the depth of field is not important at all because the background is usually quite blank—just the sky, maybe a distant hill/mountain, not much else. I imagine Shutter Priority can also be useful for panning shots—the background is blurred from motion, so it doesn’t really matter if it’s in-focus or not.
 

snowbear

Fuzzy, wuzzy Nanuq
Staff member
Supporting Member
Joined
Dec 9, 2006
Messages
17,104
Reaction score
9,129
Location
SoMD
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
As the others have said, there is no "correct" answer. I have gone to mainly aperture priority, shutter priority (Tv) if I want to control motion more than DOF. I will shoot manual when using flash, or shooting macro and multi-frame panos.
 

soufiej

No longer a newbie, moving up!
Joined
Jan 3, 2015
Messages
714
Reaction score
113
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
Hello Everyone...

I am just beginning to dive into the world of photography and trying to avoid complete automatic modes on my camera. After all I spent the money on a DSLR and not a point and shoot camera. I currently have the following gear:

  1. Canon Rebel T5i
  2. 18-55mm STM Kit lens
  3. 55-250mm STM lens
  4. 50mm STM prime lens
Can someone explain to me when I would use the different modes on my camera? From what I gather... If you are shooting something in a situation where lighting will not change (indoors, studio, etc...) you would use full manual mode to ensure that your settings don't change from image to image. Aperture priority mode is for when you would like to use depth of field for portrait or landscape photos, and shutter priority is for when you are taking action shots. Program mode just looks like automatic mode but you can override it.

Am I correct with all of that?

Would and/or should I use manual mode if I am just walking around snapping pictures? How do I perfect using Manual mode? When in manual mode do you rely on the light meter to make sure your shot is not under or over exposed? Is there a good basis on what settings you would use for a portrait or landscape shot? I understand that for a portrait I would use a lower f-stop and a landscape I would use a higher f-stop. However, how do I know how far to go for either one? Also, how do I figure out what my shutter speed and ISO should be with the corresponding settings?

Thanks in advance, I know I have a lot of questions. I would like to fully understand photography and have been reading and watching videos to absorb as much info as I can.




IMO you're missing the point of a DSLR.

You said, "After all I spent the money on a DSLR and not a point and shoot camera."

What you think seems to be, now I have all of these controls, how do I use all of them?

The answer is, you don't. At least not for every shot. And many features you don't use at all.

Your DSLR came with a plethora of features which are primarily aimed at turning a consumer level DSLR into a much more expensive compact point and shoot. Realize many, many DSLR buyers use their camera only on full auto modes. Therefore, the camera designers/manufacturers set out to make a $1000 camera that is as fool proof as a $49 P&S.

Before you can do anything with a DSLR that isn't the equivalent to using a much more expensive version of a P&S, you need to understand which features you need to disable on your camera's menu. Until you begin to control the camera, the camera will always control you.

Next, realize you do not need to use a button or feature simply because it exists on your camera.


Many home owners have purchased home theatre systems which by their nature tend to be filled with features and controls. The most destructive thing an owner can do with such a system is to begin twiddling controls, particularly if you do not understand what the control does and how it relates to the other controls on the system. The same applies to a consumer level DSLR, features exist which are really unnecessary to the purpose of taking a better photograph.

IMO the first thing you must do is to sit down with your camera's owner's manual and actually read what your camera can and cannot do. Once you feel comfortable with the controls your camera provides and you have disabled many of those features, you proceed to thinking about which shooting mode you should use.


Learn about the exposure triangle. It is the heart of all photography. Even when you are using the full manual controls of your camera - especially when you are using the full manual mode - the exposure triangle will almost always tell you which shooting more will be best for each shot. It's purely a logical function of selecting the mode which most appropriately fits the image you see in your head. You can look at one scene and see the image in multiple ways. Each image you envision will tell you to select a different shooting mode; how to photograph moving water - Google Search

how to photograph sports - Google Search

how to take portraits with a DSLR - Google Search

I would leave full manual mode for much later in your development as a photographer. After all, you bought a DSLR. Allow the sophistication of the equipment to work for you when that is your best choice.




Don't "think" about which mode to use, learn which mode to use.

I know, that's your question, right? "How do I know which mode to use?"

The simple answer is, you know because you've studied the subject.

No one here is going to be at your side while you use your camera. There are no universal settings for any one photographer or any one photograph.

Find a course in photography and follow the course. Take your camera out and try to use it in different modes to accomplish different results.

Photography is learned in the same way a musical instrument is learned, by doing. Both have some serious theory behind them and both have what is called "practical theory for ... ". In other words, you learn what you need to know to take the shot in front of you just as a musician learns the scales and keys and phrases they will find most useful for their own instrument and their own style of play.




There are numerous threads in the forum archives which go into detail regarding how to learn. If you expect anyone to simply hand you a set of rules that will always apply, you are starting off wrong.

Learn your camera by studying the owner's manual. It will actually answer many of your questions. Learn how to use your camera by studying the rules of photography which apply to the style of photography you are after.

Then go out and use your camera and know you are using a DSLR. One of its greatest features is you can delete any shot you don't like at absolutely no cost to you.
 
Last edited:

Derrel

Mr. Rain Cloud
Joined
Jul 23, 2009
Messages
48,227
Reaction score
18,923
Location
USA
Website
www.pbase.com
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
Shutter priority automatic is very useful when a specific shutter speed, or a minimum shutter speed, is desired. GOod examples would be when doing panning shots, where say a speed of 1/40 second is desired. Or shots of waves crashing and breaking on the base of an oceanside cliff: a speed of say 1/6 or 1/8 second might be the desired speed top giver that just right feeling of wave impact. Also, when shooting from a boat on ocean waters that have swell and or wind chop: the minimum speed is 1/500 second, or faster, in my experience. At some race tracks, the starting line area and first turn are in the sun, and then the "home stretch" area is very often in the shadow of the grandstands, so if you are shooting say a horse race at the "left end" of the stadium, you'll have a major, major exposure correction happening very quickly; an automatic exposure mode can adjust to it much faster than using manual and needing to make an 8-stop adjustment in less than one second.

In general, I do not find shutter priority automatic all that useful on an everyday basis, but there ARE times when having a specific shutter speed is very important, perhaps even critical, to the success of the photos. At times, 1/500 will cause unacceptable blurring of movement that is pretty fast, but 1/800 second will be the desired speed. For giving slow-mnoving things the exact, right feeling of blurring, like the crashing waves, 1/2 to 1/15 second is more likely to be the range where one, specific, exact shutter speed really is **the** most-important exposure parameter. And that's when Canon's Tv or Tme value mode can be a good choice.
 

astroNikon

'ya all Bananas I tell 'ya
Supporting Member
Joined
Aug 15, 2013
Messages
13,669
Reaction score
3,344
Location
SE Michigan
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
I'm mostly in manual close to 100%
This is because I normally want to control my Depth of Field/Aperture AND my Shutter speed.

For instance, I shot some soccer action shots.
I normally do this in f/2.8 to isolate the subjects.
Then I was also doing some to get some leg/ball blur. So the little kids 10 and under my shutter was at 1/250. But on the faster larger kids i would be 1/320 or 1/400 because they move faster. Then my ISO set on AUTO with a max of 6400 (as 6400 is when I start seeing noise). Normally I'm at 1/500 or more, the bigger the kids the faster I can go for stopping action.

When I shot flying commercial aircraft I'm against at probably f/8 for the best lens sharpness. Then shutter, say 1/1250 for the fast flying aircraft, otherwise under 1/1000 they tend to get blurry. But the speed can go down to 1/400 for single engine propeller aircraft coming in for a landing to get prop blur once again at f/8.

I'm always in Manual but I want to control exactly how the image should turn out.
But I understand Aperture and Shutter priority. I just usually don't agree on how the camera selects the other settings as I'm picky on them.

But it all comes down to what you are comfortable with and if you are comfortable with the results with your selected options.

I find it best to learn what every button and feature on your camera does even if you don't use it in the future. At least you'll know it's there if you do.
 

Ido

No longer a newbie, moving up!
Joined
Jun 30, 2014
Messages
449
Reaction score
67
Location
Israel
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
I forgot to mention that I often use a different ISO setting in Aperture Priprity mode. This is how I still control the shutter speed—keep it within a certain range, without fully committing to one. I use it in fast changing light when I want to freeze motion.
 

Derrel

Mr. Rain Cloud
Joined
Jul 23, 2009
Messages
48,227
Reaction score
18,923
Location
USA
Website
www.pbase.com
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
AUTO-ISO can be extremely useful in the auto and the manual modes. Using Auto ISO in manual mode is a relatively new way to use an "automatic" mode, but with user input and control over both aperture and shutter speed.

A critical concept to keep in mind is this: if all you are doing in Manual exposure mode is "zeroing out the light meter" to the center value, then you are basically doing the same thing that Aperture priority or Shutter priority or Programmed auto can, and you are doing it much more slowly...

Just "matching the meter's suggestion" in Manual mode is the slow way of shooting in an auto mode...
 

JohnSw

TPF Noob!
Joined
Oct 10, 2015
Messages
19
Reaction score
3
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
EngineFD,
My advice is to get your owners manual and go through it to learn what your camera will do and how to do it. Get "exposure" by Peterson and study it. Also any of John Hedgecoe photography course books will help you. As many have previously stated, most of all of those settings are preferences. Many times people disagree but, manual is no more the aperture or shutter priority. If you set the aperture first you are mating the proper shutter speed to it and vice versa if you set the shutter speed first. Most important start shooting!
 

Luke_Learniffy

TPF Noob!
Joined
Nov 18, 2018
Messages
17
Reaction score
2
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
Hi I just put my camera onto manual mode, after a while if you only use manual then it gets pretty easy to use. I remembered that when I learn photography, I did not really play around with aperture or shutter priority but just went to full manual mode.

If anyone is interested I wrote a 7 part article for anyone who is trying to learn manual mode on my blog
 

AlanKlein

Been spending a lot of time on here!
Joined
Nov 24, 2011
Messages
1,830
Reaction score
635
Location
NJ formerly NYC
Website
www.flickr.com
If you're just walking around, put it on P mode and concentrate on composition, content, good lighting, and interesting things. Let the camera do most of the exposure work. That's what you paid for. Manual isn't going to make you a good photographer. It's going to distract you from shooting more than snapshots. Once you get a handle on what makes a good photo, then you;ll know enough to switch to other modes. By the way, Aperture priority and Shutter priority are automatic exposure modes.
 

Braineack

Been spending a lot of time on here!
Joined
Jun 17, 2013
Messages
13,200
Reaction score
5,609
Location
NoVA
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
Hi I just put my camera onto manual mode, after a while if you only use manual then it gets pretty easy to use. I remembered that when I learn photography, I did not really play around with aperture or shutter priority but just went to full manual mode.

If anyone is interested I wrote a 7 part article for anyone who is trying to learn manual mode on my blog

thanks for bumping a 4 year old thread simply to self promote your own blog! really doing this THIS community a favor.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Most reactions

Top