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09-08-2013, 07:07 AM   #1
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Shooting in Auto vs Manual

Hey gang I have had a K200 that I have had a while and mostly was a auto guy but in the last year or so I started playing around with all those buttons Then just recently I bought a 35/2.4 lens and I have been playing with the buttons even more and I think I have a very general understanding of what they do. This leads into my question. When you guys are shooting in a changing enviroment that can be quicker paced do you shoot auto or do still shoot manual. I ask this because I mostly take pics of my kids and we are going to Disney next week and you can get in all kinds of areas for pics there. I dont know all those buttons well enough to just set them and take pics I have to take a pic then see how it turned out make a change take another pic and so on but in Disnney I usually wont get that kind of time but it does seem some times that manual takes better pics. Any thoughts on this would be appreciated!

09-08-2013, 07:34 AM   #2
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I normally shoot manual all the time, except on days with clouds and wind where the lighting changes every few seconds. Similar to your situation. Days like that I've been playing around lately with Aperture Priority (Av) on my K30 and it seems to do pretty well. I normally shoot birds with a 200mm M42 lens and almost always at f8, ISO 200 if possible, so Aperture Priority seems to work pretty well when the clouds are blowing around overhead and the light changes every few seconds. Everything else stays the same, shutter speed changes according to the lighting.
09-08-2013, 08:44 AM - 1 Like   #3
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Av for Me!

Hello Lokin4deer,
It might help to think of the shooting modes this way;
P (program) The camera chooses the f/stop, shutter speed and (depending on the program type) ISO. Also called the 'No Brainer' mode. All choices made for you, it will provide the user with well-exposed shots based on an average setting. Highest number of good photos, lowest number of great ones.
Av (Aperture Priority) Most-used mode by pros and advanced photographers. You select the aperture, either with the rear thumb wheel (Auto lenses) or aperture ring (Manual-aperture lenses, use the green button), the camera matches the shutter speed based on the lightmeter's recommendation. Why is it so popular? Well, unless you have a need for a specific shutter speed range (like fast-moving sports), the control you use for depth of field, background blur (or sharpness), selective focus and many other factors is...aperture. Want to blur out that distracting background? F/2.8. Portraits? F/2.8-f/4.0. Want great depth of field, here to the horizon for a beautiful scenic? F/8.0, f/11, etc. As long as it results in a hand-holdable shutter speed, F/stop is king. Many times, I'd rather raise the ISO slightly instead of lowering the f/stop. A viewers eyes are drawn to the in-focus areas first and foremost. F/Stop determines the area in focus.
Tv (Time Value or shutter priority) You select the shutter speed with the front thumb wheel, camera matches the f/stop based on the lightmeter's recommendation. Here's where you have a need for a certain range of shutter speeds to (usually) stop or freeze action, so you'll sacrifice depth of field and (usually) ISO to get it. Also used to control a slow shutter speed for panning or time exposures.
M (Full Manual) You control shutter speed and f/stop. Also called 'Auto Nothing'. Hardest to master, most time-consuming, but once you do learn it, nothing will faze you.
TAv (manual with auto ISO) Same as manual, but if the combination of shutter and aperture you select is outside the meter's recommendation, it will adjust the ISO to compensate. Very handy mode for certain situations.
I suggest you find a good tutorial on the 'trinity', of f'/stop, shutter speed and ISO. It's critical to all aspects of photography, but particularly to understanding the modes and how to use them.
JMO,
Ron
09-08-2013, 09:09 AM   #4
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The only time I have my camera in anything besides M is when I hand it off to someone else who doesn't know how to use it.

09-08-2013, 10:57 AM   #5
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TAv (manual shutter and aperture, auto ISO) for me most of the time. I'll throw it in Av if I'm in a fast paced situation that comes up abruptly. M for tripod work and slow, tricky situations. And of course I put it in P when I hand it off to a novice to snap some pictures.
09-08-2013, 01:49 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by geomez Quote
TAv (manual shutter and aperture, auto ISO) for me most of the time. I'll throw it in Av if I'm in a fast paced situation that comes up abruptly. M for tripod work and slow, tricky situations. And of course I put it in P when I hand it off to a novice to snap some pictures.
98% of the time my K200D is in Av mode. For me it goes back to learning on my ME Super that shot in Av mode.
09-08-2013, 02:29 PM   #7
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Understand light first before attempting to shoot in manual mode. If you skip that very important step, you will end up just lining up the exposure sliders according to what the camera is telling you. Might as well shoot in full auto.
09-08-2013, 03:09 PM - 1 Like   #8
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The K200D Program Mode is a little more controllable than you might think. In essence, it chooses a middle of the road exposure "program line" much like you would have if using the old 'Sunny Sixteen" rules. But you can still bias the shot-to-shot exposure with the EV Adjustment and you can also adjust the "program line" toward either shutter speed or depth of field preference. See the manual, pg 88.

The Auto Mode, OTOH, actually locks you in to nearly every possible parameter while it tries to guess which of the Scene selections the camera seems to be using. Review those on pg 78. At least when you select a particular Scene capture mode rather than Auto Mode you have some input into the basic camera settings.

Scene capture modes may not be as dumb or restrictive as you think. Just pick each of those Scene descriptions and personally choose each of the exposure parameters that good photo basics would recommend and and compare the results -- you'll most often find they make a lot of sense. My only real issue with using Scene modes is that I can't remember what they represent so it's easier to revert to old manual habits. (For instance, what's the difference between (Kids) and (Pets)? Yeah, there IS a difference -- how it sets skin tones.

IMO, if you set a good WB and pay attention to ISO and EV adjustment options according to the current scenario you'll cover 90-percent of your shooting needs on the street with PROG Mode. Think of it as setting an appropriate Sunny Sixteen aperture and shutter speed with a useful hyper focal range for ready-carry in the film days -- except that now you can control "ASA" (ISO) from shot-to-shot instead of being locked in for the whole film cassette.

The old Pentax P-3 and P5 bodies and their manuals provide an excellent example of selective Program Mode use versus AV mode.

H2

09-08-2013, 03:48 PM   #9
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First you need to understand the exposure triangle. Then you need to understand "what all those buttons do". Only then worry about shooting in manual.

Otherwise it would be like a novice trying to learn to fly a plane by just pressing a bunch of buttons and pulling on random levers to see what happens. It's pointless to do so until you understand some theory first so you know what you want parameter you want to change and why.
09-08-2013, 05:28 PM   #10
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Thanks guys I really appreciate all the advice I plan on printing this thread off to refer back to it. Another question for you what is the difference between and auto and program mode?? Thanks!
09-08-2013, 07:36 PM   #11
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Auto or green mode artificially restricts your use of the camera's functions. For example it doesn't let you choose white balance, drive modes, restricts flash usage, and prevents you from using exposure compensation. I personally think exposure compensation availability is a must, even if you are planning on using it in auto mode. The camera's metering is imperfect, and exposure compensation let's you correct a camera's bad metering if the results are too bright or too dark.
09-08-2013, 10:06 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by geomez Quote
The camera's metering is imperfect, and exposure compensation let's you correct a camera's bad metering if the results are too bright or too dark.
I would take that a step further, because I don't believe it paints an entirely accurate picture. As a camera is a machine, it has no idea what is in front of the lens. Depending on it to make decisions about exposure rather than making them yourself is inviting the camera to meter "inaccurately."

If you want to use auto metering modes, the way to get a consistently accurate readings would be to hold a gray card in front of the lens, read and lock the exposure, then shoot the image. I did this for the 9 years during which my K1000 was my only camera (which was from 2000 - 2009), and it never let me down. The trick is that you have to make sure to read the light that is the same light that is illuminating your subject.
09-09-2013, 06:43 AM   #13
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So I've been shooting with Av, rear control set to aperture and front control set to exposure compensation, with Auto ISO enabled. I like exposing to the right, so this seems to be the best setup for getting consistent results that I can change as needed. Once my K5ii arrives (stupid fedex left my overnight delivery package sitting in a warehouse for 3 days) I'll see if those settings still work for me.
09-09-2013, 07:09 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by rbefly Quote
Hello Lokin4deer,
It might help to think of the shooting modes this way;
P (program) The camera chooses the f/stop, shutter speed and (depending on the program type) ISO. Also called the 'No Brainer' mode. All choices made for you, it will provide the user with well-exposed shots based on an average setting. Highest number of good photos, lowest number of great ones.
Ron
So what is the differenceween P mode and full auto then?
09-09-2013, 08:55 AM   #15
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Depends on the situation... If I'm trusting the camera's meter, I usually shoot Av & use exposure compensation. If it's something like a night scene, time exposure, or anything else tricky, I shoot manual. Once in awhile I use Tv for stuff like shooting birds in flight, auto races, etc.

The auto modes can be a crutch for newbies, but they can also be very useful if you're an old timer who understands the mechanics behind the process. There's no shame in using the auto modes on your camera as a time-saver. As long as you understand how it works, you're still in control.
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