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01-30-2009, 11:26 AM   #1
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shooting in manual

How many of you shoot in manual all the time? I'm taking a nature photography class and the instructor reccomends shooting in manual 100% of the time to get proper exposure. I shoot in Av mode a lot to control depth of field and my pictures look great(using K20D). The camera seems to do really well with exposure in full auto too, I know. point and shoot. All of the pictures he takes are planned and from a tripod. I do lots of bike and car show events and can't take the time to "set-up" every shot. How to you guys shoot most of the time?

01-30-2009, 11:31 AM   #2
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If you have a modern lens, use TAv. The instructor will never know the difference.
01-30-2009, 11:58 AM   #3
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I don't have a problem shooting in manual. My point is that he states that in any kind of auto mode your exposure is not correct or as good as it could be. He is a die-hard Nikon person. Maybe he needs to try a Pentax?
01-30-2009, 12:01 PM   #4
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I do not shoot in manual all the time, but I do shoot in manual often. Here are the occasions when I use manual exposure:
  • When using my M 400/5,6 - no other options are available
  • When using my M 100/4 Macro - ditto
  • When taking images to assemble in a panorama
  • When taking images in a tricky lighting situation
Other than that, I let Mr. Pentax do my exposures for me. He has been very close to the exposure values that I personally prefer, through my KX, ME, SF-1, MZ-S and now my k10d in normal lighting and subjects. When in doubt, I turn on the auto bracket feature.

Works for me.

01-30-2009, 12:10 PM   #5
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I shoot in manual quite often, even when using modern lenses.

My method is as follows.

Select a medium grey surface (tree trunk, road surface, block wall), exposed by the lighting you are using (usually sunlight)
Point the camera at that surface and set exposure, usually shutter to get what you want interms of freezing the image, or apature for DOF if you are not concerned about camera shake or freezing the image

meter and then go out and shoot with those settings.

I have done this since my KX.

the reason is that this gives a good general metering for incident light. and presents the image as you perceive it.

while good shots can be had in Tav mode, or any other mode for that matter, if you want to control something, like shutter speed, for motion, or apature for depth of field, you give up control if the camera is in automatic mode.

on a P&S there is a reason you have all those different scene modes, on a DSLR you are expected to know what you are doing, and should be making those adjustments manually under your control, not some programmer who spends 99% of his day in front of a monitor and does not use a camera.
01-30-2009, 12:30 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by hoghead Quote
How many of you shoot in manual all the time? I'm taking a nature photography class and the instructor reccomends shooting in manual 100% of the time to get proper exposure. I shoot in Av mode a lot to control depth of field and my pictures look great(using K20D). The camera seems to do really well with exposure in full auto too, I know. point and shoot. All of the pictures he takes are planned and from a tripod. I do lots of bike and car show events and can't take the time to "set-up" every shot. How to you guys shoot most of the time?
Excellent question.

If i'm walking around with other photographers or friends, I'm generally shooting in Green Auto mode. In general my photos are better exposed than i could make them.

By myself, i used to shoot in TAV all the time, and would adjust exposure by adjusting EV settings.

Then i found a better way. I shoot in Manual mode. I found it was far easier than messing with EV settings all the time. Pentax makes manual mode really easy in a coupla ways. If i care about aperture, i set the aperture manually, then click the green button and the meter sets my shutter speed. I do a significant amount of night scenes on a tripod and the aperture counts for a lot in terms of DOF. I'd rather not fight some auto program in this situation. When i care about shutter speed instead of aperture, i just reverse the above.

I just recently read that once you meter the situation, you can set the AEL lock. Then when you go to set shutter or aperture in manual, the shutter or aperture automatically jumps to the appropriate setting for the mettered lock.

So, i use Manual mostly and Green auto if i'm with others.

Phil
01-30-2009, 12:34 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
on a P&S there is a reason you have all those different scene modes, on a DSLR you are expected to know what you are doing, and should be making those adjustments manually under your control, not some programmer who spends 99% of his day in front of a monitor and does not use a camera.
those priority modes exist for getting shots off quickly. being a programmer myself, some of us pick up cameras.

i usually keep my camera in P or M mode. i have Av available on my rear dial with ev compensation on my front dial with P; so I can easily control all aspects of the shot without having to be concerned with every variable.
01-30-2009, 12:53 PM   #8
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I shoot manual all the time, but it's crazy to imagine that I'm getting different results than I would shooting in an automatic mode. Either way, the camera will suggest an exposure, and I will take that suggestion into conisderation but end be overriding the camera's suggested exposure a fair amount of the time. The only difference is *which* situations would require me to override the camera's suggestion, and the specific buttons I'd have to push in order to do the overriding. For me, I find that the way this works in M mode fits the way I think better than the way it works in other modes - plus it means I don't have to change my thinking every time I mount an "M" lens.

Now, if you're saying you always shoot in av mode and never ever see the need to use exposure compensation, or meter off one scene and lock exposure then recompose to shoot a different scene, or change to spot metering to meter off a specific subject, I'd say you're missing out on a lot of creative control. But you can exercise that control from Av mode as surely as you can from M - the process is just different.

For instance, you mention shooting at a car show. Ever shoot a closeup of a white car? How'd that exposure come out in "full auto", "point and shoot" mode? If your camera is functioning correctly, it would have come out medium gray. Presumably you took the necessary steps to avoid that.

BTW, it doesn't really take extra time to use M mode. Set aperture using the dial just like in Av mode. Hit the Green button to set a shutter speed - which takes an extra *fraction* of a second - and you're good to go. And no need to keep hitting the Green button before every shot, unless the light changes. That's why *I* like M mode better - I only have to take an explicit act to alter the exposure when the light changes, and I'm pretty good about noticing the light change (plus I watch the meter in the camera). Whereas in Av mode, you have to change the amount of exposure compensation every time you go back and forth between shooting a white object and a black one. I reckon "M" mode involves *less* button pushing overall, because light doesn't change as often as the content of the scenes I shoot does. But again, you can get the exact same results either way.


Last edited by Marc Sabatella; 01-30-2009 at 08:43 PM.
01-30-2009, 01:07 PM   #9
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Agreed with Marc. Honestly, where the AE-L button is located on the body, the Green Button is just more convenient.

I would rather use center metering (manual lenses, my favorite ), meter the scene with the Green Button, then shoot. Av is good for snapshots, though. When I messed with a 16-50 the other day, it's what I used. Very well exposed, overall.

EV comp is something I don't bother with. The cam is set up for "Auto EV comp" I think so the shutter speeds can stay resonable.
01-30-2009, 01:32 PM   #10
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that's awesome and all, but when i wanna walk around a dark room i just put my body into av, -1 ev (usually with my 50, but any lens generally), spot meter, auto-iso and i'm done.

i don't have to think, because i know what the result will be. those modes save time if you know how to work with em / setup your body for the scene.

it's not a replacement for scene modes, it's just priority. shooting a car isn't going to be the same as shooting a sporting event, or a wedding, or a product shot. diff options for diff scenarios.

there's no way you can shoot a hockey game in manual and get the same amount of "keepers" as someone with a body properly set in auto.
01-30-2009, 01:47 PM   #11
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What better exposure do you get in manual if you set your camera following the lightmeter recommendations? According to me, your instructor might be full of $h*t. If you have a situation that makes you think you have to override the lightmeter recommendations, it doesn't make any difference if you do it manually, or with the AE-L button or the +/- compensation. You will end up with the same result. If you use manual mode to control depth of field, you can get the same result with Av mode, so just use what makes you happy and the hell with whatever somebody else might say. The important thing is the result, not how you got there.
01-30-2009, 01:49 PM   #12
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Hey Guys,

Thanks for the quick responses. I like shooting in manual at times just to try and be a little more creative but when I'm at bike and car shows time is an issue. Trying to get that perfect shot between the crowds or that killer pose by one of the models you have to be quick! I'm trying to branch out a little with my photography but bikes and bikini's are still my favorite!
01-30-2009, 02:11 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by hoghead Quote
How many of you shoot in manual all the time? I'm taking a nature photography class and the instructor reccomends shooting in manual 100% of the time to get proper exposure. I shoot in Av mode a lot to control depth of field and my pictures look great(using K20D). The camera seems to do really well with exposure in full auto too, I know. point and shoot. All of the pictures he takes are planned and from a tripod. I do lots of bike and car show events and can't take the time to "set-up" every shot. How to you guys shoot most of the time?
My HS photography instructor wanted us to use a full manual camera not because the camera wouldn't pick the correct exposure in an auto mode, but because he wanted you to think about aperture and shutter speed on every exposure. I think it is a way to make students understand the relationship between the two and to realize that there are many combinations that result in the correct exposure.
Now, of course, digital has added ISO as a third variable on each shot rather than making it once for each roll of film. This just increases the number of combinations.
I agree that no matter what mode you are in, the camera still meters the same. You just don't have to think in Av or Tv and your instructor probably is trying to get you to think a little more.
01-30-2009, 02:33 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by attack11 Quote
that's awesome and all, but when i wanna walk around a dark room i just put my body into av, -1 ev (usually with my 50, but any lens generally), spot meter, auto-iso and i'm done.
Whereas I just set ISO 1600, f/2.8, 1/30" (or whatever is appropriate for the room), and similarly, I'm done. My guess is we both will get about the same variability in our exposures. Your shot will vary according to the color of the people's shirts and the objects they are standing near, mine with will vary according to my proximity to a lamp. We'll both do fine.

QuoteQuote:
there's no way you can shoot a hockey game in manual and get the same amount of "keepers" as someone with a body properly set in auto.
Could be, I've never tried. Does the light really change that much from one area of the rink to another? As with most indoor scenes, my inclination would be to get an incident light reading at the beginning of the game, set up an appropriate exposure, and not mess with it. But the action can indeed be fast. In slower moving settings (eg, concerts), I'll also note if one area of the room is significantly brighter or darker than average, and nudge shutter speed up or down accordingly when shooting that area. But I have plenty time to deal with on fly - takes less than a second, and I'm not dealing with a need to change my perspective on the scene any more quickly than that because I'm not trying to follow a puck. I'd agree if you are dealing with a puck moving erratically at the kinds of speeds I know are involved at times, even the extra fraction of a second involved in adjusting exposure for different areas of the rink could get in the way.

Last edited by Marc Sabatella; 01-30-2009 at 02:48 PM.
01-30-2009, 02:37 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by felix68 Quote
My HS photography instructor wanted us to use a full manual camera not because the camera wouldn't pick the correct exposure in an auto mode, but because he wanted you to think about aperture and shutter speed on every exposure. I think it is a way to make students understand the relationship between the two and to realize that there are many combinations that result in the correct exposure.
Now, of course, digital has added ISO as a third variable on each shot rather than making it once for each roll of film. This just increases the number of combinations.
I agree that no matter what mode you are in, the camera still meters the same. You just don't have to think in Av or Tv and your instructor probably is trying to get you to think a little more.
What he said...

It is important to be aware of aperture and shutter speed and CHOOSE which combination you want to use. I generally shoot in P mode, but often change aperture or shutter speed based on need (the so-called hyper-program feature). If not shooting in P mode, I will usually be in AV mode. True M mode work I reserve for when I am using my non-A K-mount lenses.

Steve
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