What mode do you shoot in?


TPF Noob!
Nov 18, 2008
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Whitewater Wisconsin
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I searched around the forum for this topic thinking there would already be threads about this, but came up short.

I've only been using my camera in Manual mode and was reading that a lot of people prefer Aperture Priority mode and some of the other ones. Why would you not shoot in Manual every time? Is it just if you are unsure on what you think the settings should be? I'm starting to get pretty good at figuring out the settings on my first shot, is there a different reason to use other modes?

Yes I am aware of the text book definitions of each mode IE: Aperture Priority lets you set the Aperture, and the camera automatically sets the other main settings.

This is a great site keep up the good work!
Aperture Priority lets you controll DOF and not have to worry about any other setting.
Its a nice thing to use, and its a lot more controll than the little green box.
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I know how to use all of my cameras in every mode..

I use the one appropriate for the situation......:sexywink:
Aperture Priority is a good mode to use if you don't have time to meter and gauge your shutter speed. It really doesn't take long, but if you're walking around somewhere and need to click fast in different lighting situations, AV mode tends to work the best. If you have the time, use manual and you'll benefit from having a better knowledge of both your camera and lighting.
I shoot a lot of fast action in changing light ... I often shoot in Aperture Priority because the camera responds a lot faster than moi (i.e. say ... when following a break-away runner).

Aperture Priority allows the camera to accomodate changing light and not screw with my shallow DOF which I like for subject isolation.

Why would you not shoot in Manual every time?

Good question. When I had to make the switch from film to digital, I took the camera out of the box, put it on manual, and kept working.

I think SPEED would be the reason to use the auto modes. The sort of work I do doesn't often require me to work fast. I have to believe that if it did, the camera can work a lot faster than me.

- Pete
I use the mode that's appropriate to the scene. If I need full manual control, I use it. Otherwise, I have no qualms about letting the camera turn the dial for me, and I therefore do tend to use AP much (if not most) of the time.

For example, let's say I choose an ISO and aperture that I want for a shot, but for that particular shot I don't care about shutter speed (other than wanting a proper exposure and a non-blurry shot). I can either take my finger and turn the dial to the appropriate shutter speed (say, 1/4000), or I can put it on AP and the camera will set it to 1/4000 for me. The picture doesn't care who dialed in the setting.

Now, one twist to that is that you of course do have to be cognizant of shutter speed, even when letting the camera choose it. If, for example, I was shooting someone moving in a dim room, I wouldn't set the aperture to 8.0, ISO to 100, and then just assume the camera will give me a good shutter speed (it won't) -- even in AP you have to "control" shutter speed by controlling the factors the camera uses in determining it. Frankly, sometimes that can be trickier than just using manual -- in which case I...just use manual (or shutter priority, if appropriate).

One argument for using manual all the time, of course, is that you learn more by doing everything yourself, and so when the time comes when you have to use manual you know how. And that's a credible argument -- everyone should try their hand at full manual for a while to get the hang of it. But, well, I've guess I think I've got the hang of it! :lol:

Another argument is that by manually setting each setting, you'll think more about other possibilities -- do you want to bump up ISO and maybe shorten the shutter speed? Would this shot be more interesting if you maybe lengthened the shutter speed and opened up the aperture? By setting each yourself, you have to think about those things. For some, that's very useful -- for me, I find it more a hinderance than a help, but others' mileage varies and there's certainly nothing wrong with that.
I know how to use all of my cameras in every mode..

I use the one appropriate for the situation......:sexywink:

+1. Why shoot in all manual, where you can more easily screw up your own exposure, if there is a semi-auto mode which does exactly what you want?

Then again, there is no universal rule about what mode to use. But don't limit yourself by always using only one mode, whatever it may be.
Agreed with dc clark and larryd. I use whatever is best. Most of the time thats manual, because I dont need to get a shot as quick as I possible can. But when I do its aperture priority.
mmmmmm....... today is Thursday, today has been in Manual mode.

Tomorrow is too far in advanced, but considering AV mode, but not committing to it yet.....
I change my mode of shooting often. I shoot more in AP mode and use exposure compensation to get the right shots. However, I move to shutter priority when capturing action is a must. I move to Program mode when I just want a decent shot(usually a backup shot). I do like manual mode, but I tend to use it less and less. I moved from manual to AP when I started doing bridal work and weddings. At a wedding, I found manual mode to be very busy. Too much toi keep up with when there are so many moments to capture.

To each their own, but this system works for me.

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