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12-29-2009, 10:18 AM   #1
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Auto vs P mode?

Yes, a beginners Q:

Can't really seem to understand what the key difference btw. Auto and P mode is. Both shoot with optimal parameters as decided by the camera.

The only major difference I see is that in P mode you can use the green button that allows the dial to change the aperture or shutter.

Other than that, both modes seem pretty automatic to me.

12-29-2009, 10:22 AM   #2
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You can control flash, ISO, metering mode, and everything else except Aperture/Shutter IIRC.

Also you can program shift or well you can use hyper-program mode if you have 2 dials.
12-29-2009, 11:14 AM   #3
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I don't know which camera you have but on my k10/k20s the P line is customizable in the menu to normal, speed, depth of field, MFT (Manufacture's Transfer Function or the best setting for the camera for the lens if the camera knows what the lens is...).

I've come to like shooting in P mode with the depth of field preference set. It helps me. With auto mode you have no idea what the camera is thinking and no control.
12-29-2009, 11:20 AM   #4
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Oops... I have a K-x

How do you set DOF feature? Is it what K-x calls "optical preview"?

12-29-2009, 12:33 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by maxmagnum Quote
Yes, a beginners Q:

Can't really seem to understand what the key difference btw. Auto and P mode is. Both shoot with optimal parameters as decided by the camera.

The only major difference I see is that in P mode you can use the green button that allows the dial to change the aperture or shutter.

Other than that, both modes seem pretty automatic to me.
"...seem pretty automatic..." That is a very general statement, but the differenc is in the details. For instance except for manual and TaV your shooting "pretty automatic".
In green mode the camera not only picks all of the shooting parameters but also does not let you change the settings if you don't like what the camera has chosen.

In P mode you can change the ISO, aperature, shutter, access different flash modes and menu items.

See the difference?
12-29-2009, 12:37 PM   #6
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Hi maxmagnum,

The "auto" mode in Pentax entry and medium level bodies is called Autopicture or Autopict mode. This mode attempts to determine the appropriate Picture Mode (portrait, sports, landscape, night, etc) for a framed subject, and applies this for each shot, so it changes more than the just the program line which only determines the relationship between shutter speed and aperture. It also changes other levels like hue and saturation, brightness and contrast. If you're curious to see what changes it produces, manually go into the mode selector, and take a look at the image properties that are preset for each mode. It also automatically will raise the flash in dark conditions (the reason that you can't manually raise the flash when the power is off is that the flash "up" button is electronically controlled, unlike the K10, K20, and K-7 where this button is purely mechanical since there is no autopict mode).

I'd try shooting the same subjects in both modes, and see if there is: 1. Any significant difference, and 2. Enough of a difference where I could establish a preference for one over the other. Personally, I set up my cameras for jpeg output, and tweak the settings to as closely match what I see, then use what I think is an appropriate shooting mode for the conditions between P,M, Tv, Av, TAv, and Sv, but others (and a number of situations) might make allowing the camera to make all the decisions automatically preferable.

Scott
12-29-2009, 01:54 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by maxmagnum Quote
Oops... I have a K-x

How do you set DOF feature? Is it what K-x calls "optical preview"?
Higher-end Pentax models have an option to choose different programs under Program mode. So you could have:

  • Normal
  • High Speed priority - prioritises high shutter speed
  • DOF priority - prioritises lower F-number/larger apertures
  • MTF priority - uses lens info contained in Pentax-FA, Pentax-DA lenses to prioritise the best aperture for sharpness.

So with DOF selected from P mode, the lens would favour large apertures to get more DOF. The K-x does not offer you the choice of different behaviour in P mode, but you can use Av mode instead and select large apertures yourself, or in the case of fast stuff, Tv mode and dialup a high (short) shutter speed. I don't often use P mode, except for flash.
Dan.
12-29-2009, 02:17 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by dosdan Quote

So with DOF selected from P mode, the lens would favour large apertures to get more DOF. Dan.
The term "larger aperture" usually means an aperture of larger diameter, which would produce a shallower DOF. I assume that in this case you mean an aperture with a larger number designation.

12-29-2009, 02:24 PM   #9
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Thank you all! Been playing with the suggested settings and already feel smarter

Practice makes perfect...
12-29-2009, 03:57 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Parallax Quote
I assume that in this case you mean an aperture with a larger number designation.
I really meant more DOF effect i.e. shallower DOF. A very confusing way to express it!

Dan.
01-02-2010, 04:15 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by dosdan Quote
I really meant more DOF effect i.e. shallower DOF. A very confusing way to express it!
So more is less Your other post was really making me think that I was loosing it.
01-02-2010, 08:40 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by dosdan Quote
Higher-end Pentax models have an option to choose different programs under Program mode. So you could have:

  • Normal
  • High Speed priority - prioritises high shutter speed
  • DOF priority - prioritises lower F-number/larger apertures
  • MTF priority - uses lens info contained in Pentax-FA, Pentax-DA lenses to prioritise the best aperture for sharpness.

So with DOF selected from P mode, the lens would favour large apertures to get more DOF. The K-x does not offer you the choice of different behaviour in P mode, but you can use Av mode instead and select large apertures yourself, or in the case of fast stuff, Tv mode and dialup a high (short) shutter speed. I don't often use P mode, except for flash.
Dan.
Here's where I'm a bit confused. It seems that DOF priority and High Speed priority would have much the same effect. At high speed, the aperture will be wide open. At open aperture, the shutter speed will be high. Why didn't they design a High Speed priority and a large DOF priority (e.g. small aperture)?
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