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04-30-2010, 12:18 PM - 3 Likes   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by hockmasm Quote
so the k-x has TONS of modes to shoot in. Including Scenes.
Nope, it doesn't have any more modes than any other camera. Not really. An icon on the mode dial does not a mode make. The scene "modes" (like landscape, portrait, macro, fireworks, whatever) are not really modes, they are simply mode PRESETS. They put the camera into one of the basic modes, and secondarily they set a key setting for you. For example, sports mode probably puts the camera into shutter priority AND sets the shutter speed to 1/500th sec or something like that. Not a special mode: You could do the same thing yourself in Tv mode and indeed WOULD do it if you knew how to use your camera.


I'm usually a very even tempered and reasonable person. But scene modes annoy me.

Anyway, what are the REAL exposure modes? There are basically only four:
  1. You control the aperture and the camera figures everything else out
  2. You control the shutter and the camera figures everything else out
  3. You control the ISO and the camera figures everything else out. Personally I find this one incomprehensibly bizarre, but it's a logical possibility.
  4. You control everything.

It's slightly messier than that, because there's the possibility of using auto-ISO. But those are the basic ideas. There are three basic settings: shutter, aperture, and ISO. So there are four basic modes: you give one of the three settings priority, or you take charge of all three of them.

NOTE that, on the higher-end Pentax DSLRs (the K10D/K20D and the K-7), hyperprogram (P) and hypermanual (M) are NOT REALLY DISTINCT MODES at all. These features simply give you access to something that is otherwise a little harder to get to. Normal P on my K20D works like P on the K-x: the camera figures the exposure. The only difference on the K10D/K20D & K-7 is that you can turn the rear e-dial and go into effective Av mode. If you don't turn the front or rear e-dial, you're in P mode plain and simple. In other words, the hyperprogram feature on these cameras isn't a separate mode, it's just a shortcut to Av or Tv. In the same way, what makes M mode "hypermanual" is simply the green button, which makes it possible to have the camera set the shutter and aperture for you quickly, as if you were in P. The ability to lock the exposure in M and adjust both settings by moving one dial is simply another convenience—although if you use M like this much, it's very like being in P mode.


QuoteQuote:
What do you shoot in?
This is a difficult question for me to answer, because over the last four years I've gone back and forth a bit. What I want, when I'm shooting, is control. And to have control, I have to have awareness.

For a long time, I shot only in M.

And then in mid-2008, I discovered hyperprogram (P) on my K10D/K20D cameras. This is a brilliant idea. In P, with the help of the EC (+/-) button, I can control the exposure just about as fully as I can in M, and it's easier and quicker and—most important perhaps—the change of me totally blowing an exposure is lower. I was so used to shooting M that it took me a while, and several false starts, before hyperprogram (P) clicked with me. And then I shot mostly in P for over a year, starting (I think) in late 2008 and extending through most of 2009.

So now I'm back shooting M again.

I'm actually not terribly happy about this. I liked hyper-P, once I got used to it. And I really wish that the camera could figure out my exposure with only a little guidance from me.

The problem is, it just can't. P works pretty well a lot of the time, but it breaks—gives me an unexpected or apparently inconsistent result—so often that, for me anyway, using M turns out to be easier. I'm fully aware that this is a personal thing.

In P, even if I'm using it as effective Av by setting the aperture manually and even if I'm riding the +/- button, I get goofy exposures that I don't expect, because I point the camera at something reflective for a second, or because I tilt the camera a little and suddenly get more sky affecting the camera's meter than there was a second earlier. I tried using AE-L in P mode, so that once I had the settings the way I wanted them, I hit AE-L and recomposed my shot. That worked. But at that point, what I was doing in P was MORE COMPLICATED than just working in M. In other words, in P I had to
  1. Set my aperture with the rear e-dial
  2. Look at the scene and make a guess about the necessary EC, then hold down +/- and turn the rear e-dial to adjust EC
  3. Hit AE-L to lock exposure

In other words, I'm frequently turning THREE dials. But in M, I usually only have to mess with 2 dials.
  1. Set aperture—this is a given based largely on a guesstimate or (sometimes) a precise calculation regarding depth of field
  2. Set shutter, keeping an eye on the meter in the finder and moving shutter until the meter's where I want it

Of course, I could skip the third (AE-L) step in P mode. But then I really do NOT have the complete control in P that I get in M. If a constantly fluctuating shutter speed actually meant that my exposures were BETTER, I'd be fine with it. I'm a results-oriented guy. But they're not. So my choices are, shooting in P and deal with some inconsistency in exposures that's a result of the camera's reacting to things that I don't think it should react to; or shoot in M and accept the fact that I'll screw up an exposure now and then.

I'd rather blame myself than the camera.


There are two other differences between hyper-P and M that matter to me.

Shooting in hyper-P requires thinking in terms of EC, constantly. In M, I just put the aperture and shutter where I want them—watching the meter reading, of course—and I'm done. I almost got used to thinking in terms of EC. But there's something very abstract about it. It involves some mental math that I would rather not do. It's like having to add two weights together routinely, and you get one of the weights in pounds and the other in kilograms. I would have to translate the Kg value to pounds constantly. This is like interpreting the shutter in terms of EC. How much easier to add pounds and pounds—or on the camera, simply to know that this shot requires an aperture of f/4 and a shutter of 1/300th sec!

Secondly, when you start doing a lot of flash work, especially off-camera flash with radio triggers, you pretty much have to do everything manually, both on the camera and on the flashes. I could switch from M mode to P depending on the circumstances, and I know photographers who do. I respect their ability to do that. For me it's easier to work just one way so at the moment I'm back doing everything in M. I do blow an exposure every now and then. On the other hand, M slows me down just a little, makes me work more deliberately, and I think I am also getting more really good exposures.

On a side note: I'm just about ready to abandon auto-ISO.



QuoteQuote:
However, i have been trying AV mode but it seems no matter what f-stop i use the pictures look the same...the shutter adjusts.

Am i doing somethign wrong?
You aren't DOING anything wrong. What's wrong is that you don't understand what you're doing. :-)

As you change the aperture, the shutter adjusts, so the EV stays the same. But exposure value isn't all there is! Changing the aperture changes the depth of field.

Will

04-30-2010, 01:45 PM   #17
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M 50%, av 50%.
04-30-2010, 01:47 PM   #18
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AV for my wildlife pics and M for my work pics
04-30-2010, 02:06 PM   #19
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I used to shoot in Av especially, but now mostly in M. It forces me to think more before i press the shutter, which aperture, which speed, iso, over- or underexposure to pick. In Av i mostly took the picture without thinking about it properly first, resulting in me taking the same picture many times. If i dont have time to think i mostly shoot in Av.

04-30-2010, 02:56 PM   #20
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WMBP - really excellent post. I think as you said, it really all comes down to control. What's the best mode? The one that gives me that.
04-30-2010, 03:09 PM   #21
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I shoot 100% in M because I am very new to photography and think this is the best way to become a better photographer. I want to rely on my eye instead of my photoshop.

Also @ WMPB. Calm down. It was a simple question. Forgive people for using the word "mode". There is nothing wrong with using that word. Not everyone is a professional, and as for your two quoted lines below "indeed WOULD do it if you knew how to use your camera" and "You aren't DOING anything wrong. What's wrong is that you don't understand what you're doing", that is just uncalled for. Again not everyone is a super experienced photographer, which you are, so cut them some slack.

QuoteOriginally posted by WMBP Quote
Nope, it doesn't have any more modes than any other camera. Not really. An icon on the mode dial does not a mode make. The scene "modes" (like landscape, portrait, macro, fireworks, whatever) are not really modes, they are simply mode PRESETS. They put the camera into one of the basic modes, and secondarily they set a key setting for you. For example, sports mode probably puts the camera into shutter priority AND sets the shutter speed to 1/500th sec or something like that. Not a special mode: You could do the same thing yourself in Tv mode and indeed WOULD do it if you knew how to use your camera.
QuoteOriginally posted by WMBP Quote
You aren't DOING anything wrong. What's wrong is that you don't understand what you're doing

Last edited by KxBlaze; 04-30-2010 at 03:21 PM.
04-30-2010, 03:17 PM   #22
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WMBP: Excellent summary. Me, before Pentax mostly Av and some M but now with Pentax's Hyper-P, that's how I shoot most of the time. I never use Av or Tv anymore and I'm suprised anyone shooting Pentax does frankly.

Hypermanual also makes M a lot better too so I enjoy shooting that way now too: set desired aperture, press Green button for autoexposure, (I've set it so it keeps my aperture and adjusts shutter speed), then manually adjust aperture/shutter for final exposure control. Works great.
04-30-2010, 04:23 PM   #23
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About 90% M
About 10% Av

04-30-2010, 04:33 PM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by hockmasm Quote
However, i have been trying AV mode but it seems no matter what f-stop i use the pictures look the same...the shutter adjusts.
That's the point of Av mode. You select the aperture you want and the shutter speed adjusts to get a correct exposure.

If you aren't seeing a difference in the apertures, you are probably shooting from far enough away that the differences don't matter. It's much more obvious when you get closer to things.
04-30-2010, 04:39 PM   #25
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Shooting mode

I haven't ventured outside of program mode but, since i see so many people are using Av mode I may mosey on over there and see what the hub bub is about
04-30-2010, 04:53 PM   #26
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99.6% in AV
.4% in TV/M for when I desire motion blur in broad daylight

QuoteOriginally posted by bpjod Quote
I never use Av or Tv anymore and I'm suprised anyone shooting Pentax does frankly.

Hypermanual also makes M a lot better too so I enjoy shooting that way now too: set desired aperture, press Green button for autoexposure, (I've set it so it keeps my aperture and adjusts shutter speed), then manually adjust aperture/shutter for final exposure control. Works great.
What a strange thing to say.

Yes, i'm sure it does work great until you have half a second to get a shot. The type of shooting I do allows time to press only one button.
04-30-2010, 05:19 PM   #27
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Use manual mode all the time. Simply because during my first few semester, my classes only allowed me to use fully manual cameras. No exposure, or focus assitance was allowed. So I quickly learned the ins and outs. However Im interested to play with AV mode, but i enjoy making all the choices.
04-30-2010, 05:25 PM   #28
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80% manual mode, with the green button set to aperture priority metering and checking the histogram for proper exposure.

20% Av mode.
04-30-2010, 05:27 PM   #29
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Well, I'm the token P man - although with my last 2 manual lens purchases I am using Av.

Note that as WMBP mentioned, it is only an easy dial-turn away from Av or Tv in the K20D from P - sometimes too easy, and also it has a few biases you can set for depth-of-field, high shutter, MTF...

Last edited by SpecialK; 04-30-2010 at 05:32 PM.
04-30-2010, 05:36 PM   #30
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Av mode 90%. Tv if using long telephoto.
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