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05-07-2016, 07:01 PM   #1
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P mode - please share your experience using it

First- I shoot Manual. I say this since I was flamed in another forum on Facebook for the question I'm about to ask.

Second- I've read many wedding photog's (Canikon shooters) use P since it allows them to capture shots that would be missed otherwise, mainly due to the incredible amount of lighting variations (even in one room).

I would like to know who uses P mode, why, and how to make it work properly.

I have some weddings coming up. I've never used P mode but I know that light changes drastically from room to room to hallway to room to outside to stairs etc etc etc. And everyone knows that even in a single room there can be multiple lighting issues.

I've started practicing but it has been nothing but frustrating... for some reason in P mode my ISO never changes. It always compensates by adjusting shutter & aperture which leads to mostly blurry photos.

I know there are settings for P... yet even in SV mode in P settings, it doesn't change. It keeps the ISO on whatever its set at from the last shoot and adjusts shutter & aperture!

Am I missing a setting? Additionally, I use a K3 II & have my ISO set to Auto but limited between 100-3200. Lastly, have all NR turned off.

P mode in Canikon land sounds like a life saver but its been nothing but a hot mess for me. Thanks.

05-07-2016, 07:15 PM - 2 Likes   #2
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The iso works separately from the other settings, so you need to be sure to set it to auto: press the green button plus the iso button at the same time. That is the only way to activate auto iso outside of TAv mode and green mode, AFAIK.

The K-3 has a variety of program lines in the menu, including depth of field, action, best sharpness, and normal. These affect the ranges of shutter speeds and aperture values that the camera favors.

Another thing about P mode on Pentax cameras is that it allows you to override the aperture or shutter speed at any time. Turn the corresponding e-dial and you'll enter either hyper Av or hyper Tv mode without having to use the mode dial. To return to the settings the camera suggests, just press the green button.

Hope these tips help!
05-07-2016, 07:56 PM - 1 Like   #3
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I use P mode as a fall-back when I am not concerned with using "fine technique". It works great. If I am particularly not concerned with total control and if light might be unpredictable, I switch to auto-ISO in P mode.* FWIW, the only advantage to working in M mode is if you need full exposure control and if you know what you are trying to accomplish. I use M mode about as often as I use P mode, with the dial generally set to Av. I find that Av gives me a good mix of control and automation.


Steve

* I usually am of the opinion that auto-ISO is evil, though even that feature has its place if you remember to turn it off

Last edited by stevebrot; 05-07-2016 at 08:02 PM.
05-07-2016, 08:13 PM - 1 Like   #4
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I agree with Steve on auto ISO. I don't know about evil but I never use it, just don't see a good use for it.

I mostly use AV but have been using P mode more and liking it. If you are used to M mode the thing you need to learn is how to use exposure compensation. The camera will select the exposure it thinks is correct in any auto mode, you use the exposure comp to adjust to taste.

05-07-2016, 08:15 PM - 1 Like   #5
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I often use P mode with automatic lenses (or M, with manual lenses, of course). Aside from what has already been written I finally figured out it's helpful to set the Program Line for the style of image I'm shooting.

In my case, getting in the habit of checking the setting whenever I turn on the camera in case the camera retained the prior setting has been important. I believe there is a setting to allow the camera NOT to retain the Program Line setting (default to normal or something) but I never think to find and change that little tick box.
05-07-2016, 08:37 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
I agree with Steve on auto ISO. I don't know about evil but I never use it, just don't see a good use for it.

I mostly use AV but have been using P mode more and liking it. If you are used to M mode the thing you need to learn is how to use exposure compensation. The camera will select the exposure it thinks is correct in any auto mode, you use the exposure comp to adjust to taste.
Today I finally opened my K-1 box. I let it sit from Wednesday night until 9:30 this morning (that's normal for me - I read manuals cover to cover before I turn on new electronics). I shot about 300 photos using various K and A lenses and the FA Limiteds. I had planned to make IMG_0001 a K28/2 shot, but - No Card In Camera* .

The third dial on the K-1 (is it the Smart Dial?) is fabulous - set it to ISO and control all three variables as discrete decisions.** Displaying Histogram on the LCD and using Exposure Compensation to ETTR then becomes the index finger function.


* Should I chat and reset the counter?

** In reality the camera still adjusts either AV or Tv to maintain the Exposure value when you change Sv, but you don't have to contort your index finger to alter the function of the rear e-Dial, then reverse the setting..
05-07-2016, 08:38 PM   #7
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Thank you very much Adam!!! Just tested it, works great. And when I go back to M it has my last settings as well. Now to practice!

Still would like to hear from some P mode users but this alone, Adam, was worth the post!

And thanks for chiming in as well Monochrome, Stevebrot, jatrax!
05-08-2016, 12:53 AM   #8
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I shoot in P mode almost exclusively for "walk around" shooting, since Hyper- modes made it easy to control aperture or exposure on the fly if needed. It nearly always hits within 1 EV of what I want, easy to fix up in post. It would be weird if my K-50 was outperforming your K-3 II. Maybe something is not set right.

I usually shoot in auto ISO 100-800, but I do occasionally do this thing where I toggle into fixed ISO mode and forget to go back to auto ISO until I notice I'm underexposing,

What lens are you shooting with?

05-08-2016, 01:15 AM - 1 Like   #9
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I routinely use P mode since with the hyper-Av and hyper-Tv available via the two e-dials, plus auto-ISO control as Adam mentioned, this gives me the maximum flexibility. Flip to hyper-Av and fixed ISO for landscapes, hyper-Tv and auto-ISO for moving subjects. Auto-ISO is set as 100-3200 with slow ramping. In-camera NR is off, and developing the RAWs in DCU5 gives very good noise control in this range. Then with the program line set to MTF, I can flip back to P if needs must using the green button. I have my basic P setup registered as a user mode so that I don't have to worry about what settings I last used. I also have another user mode set at full manual for my K and M lenses, and a third for tripod/pixel-shift.
05-08-2016, 02:27 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
Today I finally opened my K-1 box. I let it sit from Wednesday night until 9:30 this morning
You win the prize for self control
05-08-2016, 02:45 AM   #11
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I use P a lot. It's great for rapidly changing situations where you might otherwise be switching Av to Tv, using exposure comp. Walking about the streets the other day is a classic example...mostly Av, but then a seagull using high shutter Tv, back to Av for some people, slow Tv for a bit of motion blur on a passing train...and so on. With auto-ISO up to 3200 with slow ramping the noise can usually be fixed in post and can still capture most shots. I also usually use slight under exposure comp for safety and fix in post.

If you are quick enough (and have the energy) to use Manual and can hit your exposure quickly for each shot then it's of no benefit. Same goes if you have the time to set up each shot carefully.
05-08-2016, 09:24 AM   #12
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Thank you everyone for the additional comments. I've only been practicing overnight but I don't see why I got all the hate on the other forum. My main usage will only be in low light events that move fast... like a wedding. At a concert or sports event, Manual is easy so I do that. But in a wedding where you're hopping around catching the action right when it happens with unknown & variable light sources, this seems to be a life saver for this type of event!

Have to say, thanks to you guys I'll be looking more at the scenery than my screen to see how the shot exposed! Less missing opportunities, more capturing memories.
05-08-2016, 09:39 AM - 1 Like   #13
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Some wedding photog...was it Matt Granger? Says...'P stands for Professional' because plenty of wedding togs use it for exactly that reason. No use letting your ego get in the way of catching the moments.
05-08-2016, 10:22 AM   #14
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No, it was Joe Buissink.
05-08-2016, 03:35 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by MyTZuS Quote
I've only been practicing overnight but I don't see why I got all the hate on the other forum.
Probably just a few people having a bad day. It happens here too sometimes.


Steve
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