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01-15-2009, 07:36 AM   #1
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A case for Program Mode?

As far back as I care to remember I've been using Av mode on all my cameras (except for those without auto exposure obviously). It's because the depth of field is--for my type of shooting--the most important variable and the one I want to primarily control.

However, somebody pointed out recently that while they too share this philosophy they generally use program mode.

Why?

Because when you need to react quickly and get the shot, using program mode will at least get you in the ballpark with a reasonable shutter speed already set. Then you can use program shift to arrive at a different setting if you need.

So it effectively acts like Av mode except it gives you a starting point based on current lighting conditions.

This got me thinking, and I will probably use this approach, since I carry the camera everywhere and go through changing conditions quite a bit. I generally adjust ISO whenever things drastically change (e.g. I might bump to 800 if we're walking in a shady area on a trail, or go to 100 if we're in an open sunny area) so between that and fast primes I would rarely encounter a situation where I just could NOT get a reasonable shutter speed.

The downside, of course, is that you give up a little control in that you will not know what aperture you'll be at when pulling the camera up to your eye. But in exchange for that you get what's most likely a better starting point -- if I have the aperture set to 8.0 and I really need 2 to get the shot with a reasonable shutter speed it just might save me if I have to snap quickly.

So maybe program mode isn't that evil after all, eh?

01-15-2009, 08:28 AM   #2
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I find it useful. I actually like the program line that tries to choose one of the sharpest apertures on a given lens, (blanking on what that's called right now.) ...it usually puts me pretty close to where I'd like to be, under most circumstances.

I like the way the Program mode is set up on my K20... Easy to alter or get out of. I've got habits from using my point and shoot of grabbing the light reading I want and holding it, too, so I'm in Program a lot more than I would necessarily expect.
01-15-2009, 08:53 PM   #3
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"P" about 95+% of my shots. EV comp when needed. I guess most my shots don't have the 3-D depth that a particular aperture setting would enhance.

But I'm a zoom-man, so what do I know?
01-16-2009, 07:34 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by pingflood Quote
Because when you need to react quickly and get the shot, using program mode will at least get you in the ballpark with a reasonable shutter speed already set. Then you can use program shift to arrive at a different setting if you need.
I do see the point of people who think like this, but I'm also in the "Av 98% of the time" camp and honestly, I react quickly enough in Av for any picture I'm likely to take. I'm all like whirr-whirr-whirr turnin' the wheel all the way to 2.8 or whatever in about 0.3 seconds. Not a big deal. I'm sure P is great though.

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