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01-08-2011, 06:13 PM - 2 Likes   #16
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There is a common misconception that shooting in M is somehow inherently superior to shooting in any of the automated modes. If you like to choose your aperture and control your DOF, then by all means shoot in Av and let the camera set the shutter speed for you. You still need to keep an eye on the shutter speed when you shoot and make sure it is alright for what you're doing (no sense shooting a flower on a breezy day at 1/2 second unless you like indistinguishable smears of color, for example). But having the camera in M mode and setting the same shutter speed yourself that the camera would have set for you automatically doesn't somehow magically result in better pictures.

Just remember that the auto modes free you from the task of making some settings yourself but they don't free you from the responsibility of keeping an eye on what settings they have chosen for you.

01-08-2011, 06:51 PM - 1 Like   #17
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All the modes on the camera are tools that the photographer can use to take the photo that they want. Manual control of everything will of course allow the most control if there is time to set everything. The more automated controls are for the photographer if they wishes/needs to let the camera make some of the decision. This maybe because the scene is dynamic and the photographer has to reduce the photographer’s workload so they can concentrate on settings that are the most important to the photographer. It could also be because the photographer has determined these setting are not as important and the photographer wishes to concentrate other aspects of the scene.

The problem with saying just set the camera to manual/Av and practice is that the resulting photos to the unpracticed eye is that photos may all look the same. This can result in a lot of frustration and incorrect conclusions. Take this as an example. The newbie takes they new camera and kit lens out side. They point the camera down the block in AV mode and take photos changing the aperture. When they go look at them to their unpracticed eye they all look the same. So they read a little on DOF and realize they need a subject for the photo. So they take a photo of a car lets say 30 feet and do the same as before. Because the kit lens is not all that fast (and to a newbie saying thing like the kit lens is not all that fast can confuse them) the photos still look about the same.

I would say to use a more structured approach with many boring photos is more useful then what mode to use.

The use of auto controls to a beginner is a two edged sword. Like a new car driver it lets them get out on the road and learn quickly but the antilock brakes, all wheal drive traction control hides where the edge of the cars performance on ice is until the driver is upside down in the ditch blaming the car.


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01-09-2011, 04:28 AM - 1 Like   #18
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I don't see where one has "more control" in M mode. Av mode, combined with exposure compensation, provides the same amount of control.

The only differences are that a) Av mode yields results quicker and b) Av mode will dynamically correct for changing lighting conditions.

I'd chose Av vs M based on whether I want b) to happen or not.
01-09-2011, 06:36 AM   #19
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That's funny...I, somewhere in the back of my head, feel (or felt) like M means 'real' photographer and the other modes don't. But, after reading your responses, I can see that just silly! I wonder where the notion even came from?! I took quite a few pictures yesterday, in both modes, and neither way made me an amazing photographer! So, you might just be right about the whole 'M Mode' thing! Lol!

Thanks again to everybody for responding so quickly! None of my friends are into photography and they all just stare at me cross-eyed when I start talking! If the people here weren't around, I don't know who would be able to help me! And, I really need it!

01-09-2011, 07:21 AM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by LIGirl Quote
That's funny...I, somewhere in the back of my head, feel (or felt) like M means 'real' photographer and the other modes don't. But, after reading your responses, I can see that just silly!
Don't beat yourself up; it is a very common misconception.

QuoteQuote:
I wonder where the notion even came from?! I took quite a few pictures yesterday, in both modes, and neither way made me an amazing photographer! So, you might just be right about the whole 'M Mode' thing! Lol!
It's sort of like wondering whether you should eat your dinner with a fork or a spoon; it all depends on what's for dinner. M mode has its uses and there are situations where it is your best choice. But there are plenty of other situations where some other mode not only works just as well, but the difference in the ease of use may be the difference between being ready for a certain shot thanks to automation instead of missing while fiddling around with controls needlessly.
01-09-2011, 07:40 AM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
Av mode will dynamically correct for changing lighting conditions.
To me this is the salient point, but often a NEGATIVE one.

OP:

Depending on your scene, you often want to meter more for a particular element of the scene. For example, let's say you have a guy standing to the right of the frame, in snow, and the sun is behind. And you're in Av mode:

1) Matrix metering isn't going to work without serious and hard-to-guess ev compensation.

2) Center weighted metering ain't going to work without the same ev, and the guy isn't in the center anyway. If you point the camera at him for your reading, reframe your composition to put him back to the right of the frame, you have to use AE lock to hold the original exposure.

3) This is not a situation where you want to use Spot Metering because SM is way too narrow. However, it IS possible if you spot on the correct 18% grey on the guy (good luck), but again, you would have to use AE lock and then reframe so the exposure doesn't change with the new framing.

In M mode, you center weight meter on the guy, reframe, and take the picture.

Everyone works differently, so find the method that works for you. I myself DON'T like the idea that Av changes settings with the changing light conditions.

So if you get comfortable with AE lock and EV, cool. In manual, there's no AE lock, and no such thing as ev. On the K-x, the ev selects your shutter speed. For example:

I'm in M mode, and center weight metering on a guy that's heavily backlit. I KNOW he's backlit before doing anything, I KNOW I want to shoot him at F8, so I meter at F16, hit my ev button, and then open my aperture to F8 and take the picture, adding two stops of exposure.

Depending on conditions, I could also meter this scene at F8, hit the ev button, and simply half the shutter speed to give me the two extra stops of light.

Last edited by Ira; 01-09-2011 at 07:54 AM.
01-09-2011, 07:50 AM   #22
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I use Av and set the ISO myself. I check I'm happy with the shutter speed, and if the lighting is 'interesting' I take a shot, check the histogram and dial in compensation as necessary.

Yes, manual gives even more control - and even more ways of getting a poorly exposed image. In the Flickr group I frequent nearly all the badly exposed pictures were taken in manual.

In most light conditions the camera's meter is accurate, letting it set the shutter speed lets that work for me.
01-09-2011, 07:56 AM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by cats_five Quote
I use Av and set the ISO myself. I check I'm happy with the shutter speed, and if the lighting is 'interesting' I take a shot, check the histogram and dial in compensation as necessary.

Yes, manual gives even more control - and even more ways of getting a poorly exposed image. In the Flickr group I frequent nearly all the badly exposed pictures were taken in manual.

In most light conditions the camera's meter is accurate, letting it set the shutter speed lets that work for me.
The camera's meter is accurate in M mode too, but the camera doesn't know what part of a tricky scene you want to expose for.

01-09-2011, 08:29 AM   #24
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Regarding auto iso. I have no idea where you guys are coming up with the "it always sets the highest iso" thing. In Av mode, auto iso will try to give you enough sensitivity to allow for 1/125s or thereabouts. So sure, if you throw your aperture into f8 on a cloudy day, the camera will adjust to high iso.
01-09-2011, 08:50 AM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by Voytech Quote
Regarding auto iso. I have no idea where you guys are coming up with the "it always sets the highest iso" thing. In Av mode, auto iso will try to give you enough sensitivity to allow for 1/125s or thereabouts. So sure, if you throw your aperture into f8 on a cloudy day, the camera will adjust to high iso.
But that's what they're saying. If you can comfortably handhold at 1/60 with SR, why would you want to jump from 200 to 400?
01-09-2011, 09:42 AM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
I don't see where one has "more control" in M mode. Av mode, combined with exposure compensation, provides the same amount of control.

The only differences are that a) Av mode yields results quicker and b) Av mode will dynamically correct for changing lighting conditions.

I'd chose Av vs M based on whether I want b) to happen or not.
M mode gives more control when the lights that will be on during the exposure aren't on during the metering, such as using manual flash or 'painting with light' for example, otherwise not much difference control wise.

M is also good for consistency across shots under the same lighting, which is especially important for batch processing images. For example a parade on a sunny day where you stay still and people are marching by. The meter will fluctuate when a band wearing all white goes by and a band wearing black goes by. Having to fiddle with exposure compensation to compensate for the changing scene under constant light in Av mode is slower and less accurate than setting the exposure once in M mode. Exposure lock is handy, but it has a timer on it.



There are uses for both. There are uses for P mode as well (especially handy if your e-dial has program shift), and no one should be embarrassed for using the mode of their choice (especially if they know why they are using it).
01-13-2011, 04:13 PM   #27
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QuoteQuote:
In Av mode you can select it to auto iso select. Or lock it at a set iso such as 200. but if you use auto iso in av. It generally selects the highest in the range that you allot.
I noticed my camera doing that and read the manual until I figured out how to fix it. Then I had to put the limit on my ISO all the way up to max. to make TaV more effective. There's not much range in TaV if you've capped your ISO at 400. I have to say.. the factory settings can be a little hard to comprehend sometimes. Definitely not out to make life easy for rookies.

As for shooting in manual. I shot the first 20 years in manual, that's all we had. I don't have anything against it, but, if you know what you're doing you can achieve the same results and allow the camera to make some decisions for you. Using AV (or SV) and the E/V button makes manual shooting unnecessary. Unless you just prefer it. It's not the setting I'd encourage a rookie to use though. No matter what setting you use, there are things you may have to check and adjust.

QuoteQuote:
Manual control of everything will of course allow the most control if there is time to set everything.
Not so, as long as your ISO is locked where you want it, you have total control of everything in Av or SV. Whether you shoot for shutter speed to freeze action, or AV for depth of field or TaV for both, all three functions of exposure, ISO, Aperture and Shutter are at your control based on your settings. Whether or not you set it manually has nothing to do with controlling the camera, as long as you only have one auto function going at a time. You lose control when you have 2 auto functions going at the same time As in auto ISO and AV on at the same time. The you don't know whats happening to your exposure because you also don't know what's happening to your ASA. By the time you've got everything the way you want, you would have been faster in manual.

Last edited by normhead; 01-13-2011 at 04:26 PM.
01-13-2011, 04:51 PM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by LIGirl Quote
I've read this suggestion in other threads...use a 'fast lens' and I'm not sure I know what it means. Sorry ...still new! I only have the kit lens 18-55mm (F3.5-5.8) and a 70-300mm (F4-5.6). These aren't 'fast'?
Someone has already answered. But if you are still not sure, check this link:
What is a Fast Lens?

In short: Most people consider a lens 'fast' if the f stop number is f2.8 or lower. There is more than one use for such a lens, but the most common uses are:
---lets in more light, so you can more likely shoot in low light without flash or tripod.
--can more easily blur the background and keep just the subject in focus.
--easier to shoot moving subjects

Why would everyone not use only fast lenses?
--Expensive
--bigger, heavier
01-13-2011, 05:03 PM   #29
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Re Av vs M mode. Here is my $0.02

I use Av when the subject histogram is ( by my estimate before shooting) within the dynamic range of a Normal shot i.e. 5 stops or so, and I am concerned mostly about DOF

I use Tv mode under similar conditions when shutter speed and motion blurr or camera shake is important

I use M when I want the scene rendered based on incident light. In this case I look for a grey surface, ( roads work great) and set the exposure where I want and shoot with these settings
01-15-2011, 10:23 AM   #30
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QuoteQuote:
I use M when I want the scene rendered based on incident light. In this case I look for a grey surface, ( roads work great) and set the exposure where I want and shoot with these settings
In any situation that involves questionable exposures, I simply use the EV dial to set my exposure under or over. Like the old days in film, after a while you can "read" an exposure and toss the meter. If you look at the image on your tiny little backsrcreen, after a while you know what you need. I rarely bracket any more. I can tell how much adjustment I need to get the shot I want.

Your post reminds my of those old grey cards we used to carry around and the "incident light" bulb on my light meter. Ah, the good old days. It begs the question though.. if you're going to go manual, shouldn't you really be using a light meter?
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