Why don't people like program mode?

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SuzukiGS750EZ

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Ok everybody, stop bickering. I'm going to come forward and be honest... i shoot in full auto. I thought P stood for pretty until i found this thread... No wonder my selfies weren't improving.
 

Ysarex

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"You can't select aperture and shutter speed independent of each other without altering exposure."

That is obviously bullshit, sorry.

I have four parameters to steer exposure: Time, Aperture, ISO and flash dosage

Exposure = time + aperture. Sorry to have confused you but I'm using the term "exposure" as it is defined in photography. As such ISO is not an exposure variable. When flash is used in an exposure it becomes the time variable and shutter speed is replaced by the flash duration except in the special case where a double exposure is created. Normally exposure is defined in the context where ambient light is assumed.

Granted colloquial usage is confused and you're usage seems aligned with that. Unfortunately that leads to a lot of misunderstanding especially about ISO, what it is and the role it plays.

The wiki definition is a good one:
"In photography, exposure is the amount of light per unit area (the image plane illuminance times the exposure time) reaching a photographic film or electronic image sensor, as determined by shutter speed, lens aperture and scene luminance." Exposure (photography) - Wikipedia

See ISO in there?

If you need help understanding ISO in a digital camera let me know.

The point I give to you is that "your milage may vary", so some people are faster with program mode, some love center weighted, some spot some this new fifth gen mode I do not unterstand yet, some love program shift and exposure compensation.

And that is not the point you made earlier and not the point I objected to now is it. In fact you're pretty much adopting my point to continue to argue. Glad to see you're coming around. Your original point: "'P' is the fast mode in good light, when it is important to have the picture and artistic considerations do not play any role." That's wrong.

Joe
 

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All, with the invention of such a wide range of ISO, automatically selected by often unknown camera parameters, the photographer's use of any mode becomes less important than the camera's internal logic. My N90s had better exposure management than my D600, for example. So, I use center weighted averaging more often now and that may be more important than my exposure mode.
Joe, please take a moment to chill. Why not step away from this thread? ;-)
I have not read all of this thread, but I see that Frank has been offering some solid advice. However, his wording is not resonating with you. For example, you call him out on the definition of exposure, but I agree with him. Look at this definition of exposure which seems to indicate that EV is what is important, not the particular settings: ".... Exposure is measured in lux seconds, and can be computed from exposure value (EV) and scene luminance in a specified region."
 
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Ysarex

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All, with the invention of such a wide range of ISO, automatically selected by often unknown camera parameters, the photographer's use of any mode becomes less important than the camera's internal logic. My N90s had better exposure management than my D600, for example. So, I use center weighted averaging more often now and that may be more important than my exposure mode.
Joe, please take a moment to chill. Why not step away from this thread? ;-)
I have not read all of this thread, but I see that Frank has been offering some solid advice. However, his wording is not resonating with you. For example, you call him out on the definition of exposure, but I agree with him. Look at this definition of exposure which seems to indicate that EV is what is important, not the particular settings: "In photography, exposure is the amount of light per unit area (the image plane illuminance times the exposure time) reaching a photographic film or electronic image sensor, as determined by shutter speed, lens aperture and scene luminance. Exposure is measured in lux seconds, and can be computed from exposure value (EV) and scene luminance in a specified region."

I have to admit you have me rather confused. The definition you just quoted from wiki here is precisely the definition I just quoted one post earlier. You say you agree with Frank but then offer the same definition I did that does not agree with Frank -- interesting logic you've got going there.

You probably should read more of the thread more carefully. So you agree with this statement: "'P' is the fast mode in good light, when it is important to have the picture and artistic considerations do not play any role." I read that as saying the camera used in P mode is not up to task when artistic considerations play a role. That would be your position as well?

Joe
 

Gary A.

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I shoot Manual. Occasionally I use A. But I shoot Manual in all situations in all light. Artistic considerations always play a role in my photos, but that role will vary in priority depending on what I shoot. Shooting sports, as an example, I always take framing into consideration, but getting the ball in the the photo will take a higher priority to framing.

I shoot Manual because I find M easier and faster to attain the results I seek. This is because of usage, of continued practice, of repetition, of proficiency. It is a closed cycle of using one mode because I haven't taken the time to become proficient in other modes. I've never used P because I've never taken the time to learn/understand P. I am lazy. Not knowing how one's camera works is a deficiency for the photographer. I need to work on my deficiencies.
 
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Ysarex

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I shoot Manual. Occasionally I use A. I shoot Manual because I find M easier and faster to attain the results I seek. This is because of usage, of continued practice, of repetition, of proficiency. It is a closed cycle of using one mode because I haven't taken the time to become proficient in other modes. I've never used P because I've never taken the time to learn/understand P. I am lazy. Not knowing how one's camera works is a deficiency for the photographer. I need to work on my deficiencies.

No you don't -- you're fine. Using a camera in the way you're most comfortable is fine if it gets you the result you want. The only reason I'm in this thread is to resist the attitude that keeps popping up that using the camera in semi-auto modes -- in this case P mode -- is somehow an abdication of camera control and only there as a crutch for the less capable who don't use their cameras in full manual like "real photographers." That's nonsense.

I'd recommend you consider trying to use your camera in manual along with auto-ISO but I know you're using Fuji cameras so maybe not such a good idea as Fuji disables EC when the camera is in manual.

Joe
 

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Joe, "exposure" has to do with the amount of light on the sensor, regardless of any particular combo of A/S/ISO.
  • I mostly shoot A preferred unless speed control is needed, then i switch to S or M. I generally let the camera choose ISO as it does a good job keeping the shutter speed high enough for the lens attached or focal length selected on a zoom.
  • For beginners, I also recommend A with auto ISO, considering the desired DOF at their focal length and subject distance. that's enough for beginners and most others. my point is that with auto ISO, this mode is now easy for beginners.
  • I can appreciate using P and adjusting the combo with the dial.
  • for day-1 beginners, i would recommend the "scenes" modes to get them thinking immediately about the different types of shots they are conceiving.
Seems simple enough to me how to advise newbies, which was the initial post 8 years ago, where he said he was not technical. However, this thread got very technical with squabbles that split hairs for unknown gain for experienced or newbie alike.
I'm done with this thread. thanks. see you all in another.
 
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Frank F.

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Thank you Gary.

It is like I say: I do not zoom, because I am too stupid to zoom. With zoom you always have to decide between walking and zooming.

Walking means changing the perspective until perspective is right.

Zooming means changing the crop until crop is right.

Walking with a zoom means changing perspective and crop all the time at the same time. In my mind I can not do it.

I know that is not how people use zooms, the usually just walk to the point where the zoom can "reach" the desired crop. That is how they ruin their frame.

Take the same analogy now: I used "P" mode earlier and ended up with absurd correction values like +3.7 EV or -5.0 EV.
I felt I do not understand why the camera sometimes delivers as expected and some times not.
The description in the manual as I understand it and what the camera really does as I understand it deviate. Very much so.
I can now say, as Gary does: "I am too stupid for P-mode"

But I can also say: I feel I have more control and get more pleasing results with the way I operate the camera.
M-everything -- like it was with my Zenit, OM-1 and FM-2 -- is a good way in many situations, but not always. For me.
 

Frank F.

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And a group shot at f=1.4 is also not text-book, but I still like it:

small_KC1_2098.JPG
 

Gary A.

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LOL ... I don't use EC ... I prefer manually using shutter speed or aperture, to override/interpret what the camera's light meter suggests. Typically, I shoot in Spot. I read off the most important part of the primary subject, identify that read/zone and adjust the settings accordingly. I like to shoot in "bad light" because it tasks my skills and I find that severe directional lighting and/or low lighting adds drama to my images. What I lack in Image Quality, I attempt to make up for with Image Impact (content).
 

Ysarex

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LOL ... I don't use EC ... I prefer manually using shutter speed or aperture, to override/interpret what the camera's light meter suggests. Typically, I shoot in Spot. I read off the most important part of the primary subject, identify that read/zone and adjust the settings accordingly. I like to shoot in "bad light" because it tasks my skills and I find that severe directional lighting and/or low lighting adds drama to my images. What I lack in Image Quality, I attempt to make up for with Image Impact (content).

No auto ISO for you then, certainly not with your Fuji.

I understand being happy doing what you know works -- nothing wrong with that. I'd probably still be most comfortable with my old hassy and a roll of film, but I have to explain these modern cameras to students every semester and I have to understand how they work. They come to class all screwed up watching Youtube and it takes me a long time to straighten them out. There is an attitude out there that "real photographers shoot manual" along with the flip side that denigrates using P, A, or S as an abdication of creative control. That attitude is all I'm objecting to. It popped up here.

There are some basically new capabilities in modern cameras that we didn't have in the film era and they really can make a difference. I encourage my students to use auto-ISO when shooting action. I make them shoot soccer games and the ability to select a working ISO range is a huge advantage. Then I hear one of them say, "I thought I was supposed to do everything in manual." Another one: My old Fuji (X-E2) really was fully ISO invariant (the X-T2 not so much). I shot an indoor event recently with the X-E2 in which I took advantage of that. There are things we can do now that we couldn't do before.

Joe
 

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Speaking directly to Joes' comment about, "new capabilities in modern cameras that we didn't have in the film era and they really can make a difference" Here's one take (mine) on why the old-school way of "dissing programmed" makes little sense today, in 2016.

Modern Nikon cameras have 14 to 14.6 EV of scene DR that can be handled pretty well. With banks of 100,000-plus actual real photos, and metering systems that break the scene down into 2,016 parts on cheaper cameras, to tens of thousands of segments on higher end cameras, and with Date and Time and Location entered into the camera at Set-Up, the program can know things like, "Set to Daylight WB..hmmm..Seattle, Washington....November 27th...1:34 in the afternoon...hmmmm....10 light areas amongst 25 gray areas...hmmm. Overcast with slight cloud cover breaks....lower 4/5 of frame 7.5 EV darker than top 1/5...okay. GOT the right exposure!" Similarly, San Diego,California, July 4, 1:34 PM....meter analyzes a BRILLIANT orb, taking up 1/150th of the frame, upper left corner, upper 4/5 of frame show blue colors, bottom shows a steady, sandy-colored tone....OMG...'we're at the beach!"...in side-lighting, set Tone Curve to LOW to handle contrast, exposure NAILED!"

Midnight, San Diego, July 20th, 1:45 A.M.,15 tiny, tiny 3,458 degrees Kelvin, illuminated light spots against a mosly dark field....Oh! We're in a darkened parking lot, and the camera location is San Diego, CA, and we know the date, the SUN CAN NOT BE anywhere...This is a night-time exposure....

This is partly how Programmed exposure works nowadays: the camera has 100,000 to 200,000 ACTUAL photos, broken down into exposure levels, exposure comparisons,total brightness ranges, preponderance of brightness values, outlier values, and 3-D, color-aware, distance-aware, reflectance-aware metering "patterns". Back light, side-light, front light, night-time, low-light, early AM, late PM, full night-time....low-contrast lighting, high-contrast lighting, these things are all, now, today, integrated. Nikon INVENTED the Matrix metering system with scene analysis in the Nikon FA camera, back in the mid-1980's. Now, every camera maker has copied the idea of 100,000-plus scenes, reduced to Patterns, and then classified and analyzed with a computer microchip. THIS IS WHY Programmed shiftable Automatic metering works so well in modern, digital cameras...especially with 14-stop scene dynamic range capabilities.

Many old-school thinkers view exposure metering as if it were 1963; "Oh, I need to compensate for the reflectane value, bcause this is White, so I need to Open Up 2 Stops!" NOPE--the cameras are now shooting color positive, and the metering can read the color of an object, and can adjust the exposure needed to render it properly as a color POSITIVE image, and NOT as a B&W negative image! Slides and negatives are metered very differently. Cameras now are loaded with their own brand and type of "film".

We have a lot of people trying to pigeonhole camera metering and exposure into outdated ways of thinking and making decisions. Old-school reflected light metering for negative films is not the same as metering for color positive pictures. Programmed systems in 2016 cameras are vaaaaaaastly smarter than they were in a 1978 Canon AE-1 Program shooting Kodacolor 200 negative film. Keep in mind: we are now shooting, digitally, with 1) ONE film type, color positive and 2) With variable Tone Curve (Plus-Development, Normal Development, or Minus Development!) and 3) Variable color saturation and so on and so on. and 4) Color-sensing and reflectance-computing exposure meters.
 
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Ysarex

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Thank you Gary.

It is like I say: I do not zoom, because I am too stupid to zoom. With zoom you always have to decide between walking and zooming.

Walking means changing the perspective until perspective is right.

Zooming means changing the crop until crop is right.

Walking with a zoom means changing perspective and crop all the time at the same time. In my mind I can not do it.

I know that is not how people use zooms, the usually just walk to the point where the zoom can "reach" the desired crop. That is how they ruin their frame.

Take the same analogy now: I used "P" mode earlier and ended up with absurd correction values like +3.7 EV or -5.0 EV.
I felt I do not understand why the camera sometimes delivers as expected and some times not.
The description in the manual as I understand it and what the camera really does as I understand it deviate. Very much so.
I can now say, as Gary does: "I am too stupid for P-mode"

But I can also say: I feel I have more control and get more pleasing results with the way I operate the camera.
M-everything -- like it was with my Zenit, OM-1 and FM-2 -- is a good way in many situations, but not always. For me.

Nothing wrong with using the camera the way you do. You don't have to use it some other way. Just don't suggest that your way is better and what others are doing is inferior. That's all.

Like your perspective versus lens choice above. You can chose to be thoughtful in how you use a zoom and not fall into the trap you identified. Just because some people do get tripped up doesn't mean that's what has to happen. So you have a 28mm, 35mm and 50mm lens. You walk to the point where perspective is right. That's the way to do it. Get the perspective right and don't compromise it. Now to crop the shot you need a 43mm lens. You don't have one. Are you going to walk closer with the 35mm or back up with the 50mm and change perspective? Are you going to crop in post? How about walking to the same spot with a 24mm-80mm zoom and setting it to 43mm?

You're identifying a situation where people allow tools to influence their behavior -- no argument from me that happens. And no law chiselled in stone that says it has to happen. It's wrong to assign fault to the tool for it's misuse.

Joe
 

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Just to reiterate. These are all opinions. Using or not using is everyone's choice. Nobody here is telling anybody what to do nor is it set in stone. If it was there would only exist one mode, P. Everybody is correct in their view, but solid facts can't be argued. So there, is settled. P mode is useless.
 
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