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07-10-2008, 02:02 PM   #1
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What do the different functions do? When do you use them?

Hi,

I am a newbie trying to get a handle on photography.


I usually shoot in Ap. priority or Manual.

What are the other functions used for? Program, Bulb etc. (I know the icons are for point & shoot. I don't use them.


Sorry for the newbie question. Be gentle.

07-10-2008, 02:14 PM   #2
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Quick rundown:

Av - Aperture Priority: You set the aperture and ISO, shutter is set automatically
Tv - Shutter Priority: You set the shutter and ISO, aperture is set automatically
Sv - Sensitivity (ISO) Priority: You set the ISO, aperture and shutter are set automatically
TAv - Aperture and Shutter Priority: You set the shuter and aperture, ISO is set automatically
Bulb - Same as manual, except the shutter stays open as long as the button is pressed. Used for getting exposures longer than 30sec.
X - Flash Sync: For using an external flash
P - Hyper Program: Automatically sets the aperture and shutter according to the Program Line. There are four settings for it that have preferences for normal or high-speed shooting, or for maximizing DOF or lens sharpness.
07-10-2008, 02:15 PM   #3
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There is a lot of information that people could provide as answers to your question(s). First I would suggest reading the manual (I know it's not written very well, but there is a lot of good stuff there). There are also a lot of good sites on the web on photography basics (just type in photography basics on google). You'll also find some good information on the Petax web site PENTAX digiich Good luck and have fun with your camera.
07-10-2008, 02:15 PM   #4
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Av - sets the aperture and lets the camera pick the shutter speed
Tv - sets the shutter speed and lets the camera pick the aperture
Sv - sets the ISO and lets the camera pick the aperture/shutter speed
TAv - sets the shutter and aperture and lets the camera pick the ISO
P - hyperprogram, lets the camera pick the aperture and shutter, but you can quickly adjust either one and the other is automagically adjusted to compensate
M - you pick the aperture, shutter speed, ISO and the camera doesn't intervene
B - bulb, you set the aperture and ISO, and you can hold the shutter open as long as you like with a remote

This should be enough to be dangerous. Just go out and play with the settings and see what they do. Read "The Digital Photography Book" by Scott Kelby. Oh, and read the manual.

Damn, I guess I was too slow. Okay, read the fine manual.

07-10-2008, 04:32 PM   #5
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I also like to think about the different modes in terms of what you are looking for in a shot. For example, if you are worried about depth of field you could shot in Av (landscape or macro shots for example) or if the object you're shooting is moving you might pick Tv. P let's you quickly switch between the two and you can bias it toward on of a few types of shots. B is great for night and fireworks exposures (make sure the camera is stable).

If the manual isn't enough I found the Magic Lantern guide for the K10D to be quite helpful at explaining the different shooting modes. Can't speak to guides for other camera. Cameras have had these modes for years (TAv and P are new and can vary), so most good beginner books will have some explanation of uses.
07-10-2008, 04:58 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by tybeck Quote
I also like to think about the different modes in terms of what you are looking for in a shot. For example, if you are worried about depth of field you could shot in Av (landscape or macro shots for example) or if the object you're shooting is moving you might pick Tv. P let's you quickly switch between the two and you can bias it toward on of a few types of shots. B is great for night and fireworks exposures (make sure the camera is stable).

If the manual isn't enough I found the Magic Lantern guide for the K10D to be quite helpful at explaining the different shooting modes. Can't speak to guides for other camera. Cameras have had these modes for years (TAv and P are new and can vary), so most good beginner books will have some explanation of uses.
How much do you brought the book - Magic Lantern guide ?
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07-10-2008, 05:42 PM   #7
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In practical use - I use the TAv mode for shooting rugby. I know my minimum shutter speed, which I set at 1/350 or faster (or 1/250 if getting dark), set my aperture at 2.8-4.5 usually, then set auto ISO to 100-4500.

So I'm controlling the shutter withe the front dial, the aperture with the rear dial, and keeping an eye on the ISO (I have set the camera to show ISO rather than shots remaining) and adjusting the other two appropriately.
07-10-2008, 10:07 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by bluebronco Quote
I am a newbie trying to get a handle on photography.

I usually shoot in Ap. priority or Manual.

What are the other functions used for? Program, Bulb etc. (I know the icons are for point & shoot. I don't use them.


Sorry for the newbie question. Be gentle.
No need to apologize. You gotta learn somehow. You've gotten good basic answers already. What you might do know is get a basic book on photography.

I want to add a couple more things, though.

I urge you to continue using manual mode as much as possible. I gather you do not have a K10D/K20D. (You said something about the icons and the K10D/K20D models don't have those scene mode icons.) If you've got a K100D, K200D or something earlier, forget about the explanation of TAv mode, as your camera lacks that mode. It's really easy to use manual mode and I believe it's almost the only way to really get into your bones an awareness, at all times, of all of the camera's settings. When you use one of the options to control just one setting and let the camera do all the rest for you, sooner or later you will confuse yourself and overlook something you should not have overlooked. Another advantage of shooting in full manual mode is that you can call things by their right names. You can think of the actual shutter speed and aperture, instead of setting an aperture, say, an an EV adjustment of half a stop, which leaves you wondering what the heck the shutter speed was.

On the K10D/K20D, if you had one, you also have "hyperprogram" mode, which is a remarkably brilliant form of P in which you can move from letting the camera set both the aperture and the shutter speed for you, into aperture priority or shutter priority mode, simply by adjusting one parameter or the other. In other words, you don't have to switch the mode dial from P to Av to get into aperture priority. I never use either the aperture priority or shutter priority mode settings any more when using either a K10 or a K20D.

Now, since you said you're a newbie, I hope you'll forgive me if I answer a question you didn't quite ask, namely, WHY would you want to use Av mode or Tv mode instead of either P or M?

You would use Av mode when you want to control the aperture, and you want to control the aperture in good part so that you can control depth of field. (I'm thinking here only of available light photography, by the way. Flash complicates these explanations.) So for example if you were taking a photo of a woman, sitting on the park bench, with a lake behind her, and you wanted it all in focus, you'd want to stop the aperture down a good ways, to f/11 or perhaps even f/16, for maximum depth of field. You need of course to be aware that when you stop down the aperture like this you're going to need to compensate with a slower shutter and/or higher ISO. Big depth of field shots generally require bright daylight, or a tripod and a subject that doesn't move. But in full sunlight, you might be able to shoot at ISO 100 and a shutter speed of 1/100th sec even with the aperture at f/16.

You would use Tv (shutter priority) mode when you're more concerned with freezing the movement of your subject than you are with depth of field. For example if you're taking photographs of a kid doing a somersault off a diving board into the pool, you will want to use a fast shutter like, oh, 1/1000th sec, to capture an sharply frozen instant of the dive. Alternatively, you might use a deliberately somewhat slow shutter - slow here means "slow relative to the action" - like 1/30th or 1/60th or 1/100th sec, to get some deliberate blur into the shot, which can be rather nice. If you find yourself, as I have found myself from time to time, shooting a swim meet, and you want to get a sharp photo of swimmers in six different lanes, well, you will pretty much need to be outdoors in bright light, so you can use both a fast shutter and a small aperture.

What I don't like about thinking in terms of aperture priority or shutter priority, however, is that they suggest that there are times when one thing is important and the other is not. Not true, never true. Even if controlling depth of field by adjusting the aperture is your primary concern, shutter speed is never unimportant; and conversely, even when freezing the action is paramount, depth of field doesn't cease to matter, too.

Will

07-11-2008, 07:34 AM   #9
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Thanks for the great info. I am starting to really understand the basic concepts.

I know I have a pretty good eye, it is getting everything right for that perfect shot.
If anyone has any other info on the menu settings, I am all ears.

White Balance seems to ruin more shots for me than anything. I used to try to use the presets (Sunny, shade, cloudy, etc), now I just leave it Auto and adjust in Photoshop.

Also, should I mess with the Sharpness and Color sliders in the Setup menu?


Btw, I have a K100D.
I am a graphic designer and am very familar with color correction.


Thanks!
07-11-2008, 07:44 AM   #10
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Totally up to you. I just shoot RAW and stick with AWB as long as it's close. After fiddling with Sharpness, Saturation, and Contrast, I've just set them all at 0 and worry about it in post.
07-11-2008, 08:58 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by bluebronco Quote
White Balance seems to ruin more shots for me than anything. I used to try to use the presets (Sunny, shade, cloudy, etc), now I just leave it Auto and adjust in Photoshop.
I urge you to shoot raw, and if you do, you can set the white balance in the camera to auto white balance and forget about white balance. If you need to make corrections, you can make them in post. And if you save the raw data, then you have everything the camera originally "saw" to work with.

I never worry about white balance any more. Cameras stay on AWB. The K10D/K20D do a remarkably good job in auto-white balance mode and I don't often have to mess about with white balance in post.


QuoteQuote:
Also, should I mess with the Sharpness and Color sliders in the Setup menu?
These affect only the jpegs that are generated in the camera, including (I think) the small jpeg that's embedded inside a raw file. If you shoot raw, these settings don't matter much at all.

Even if you shoot jpeg, you can adjust sharpness and saturation on your computer in post-processing. I shoot only raw, so I'm not sure if there's any advantage at all to doing it in the camera. I do suspect that there is a DISadvantage, though. Once processing of any sort is done in the camera and saved as a jpeg, if you throw away the raw data, well, you can't get it back, and you can't restore the photo to the hypothetical original representing what the camera actually saw. In other words, if the camera over-sharpens the photo, it's hard or impossible to undo that oversharpening.

Will
07-11-2008, 09:59 AM   #12
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Yes...shoot RAW! Allows one to 'save' many a shot with poor exposure.

Myself, I usually shoot RAW+. That way, I get both the JPEG files and RAW files. Takes more space, but memory cards are getting less expensive by the day.

-----

my take of exposure modes...

When depth-of-field is important - shoot Av

When shutter speed is important - shoot Tv

When you want total control over exposure - shoot M

These are my three most used modes, probably Av, M, and Tv in that order. I also usually have auto ISO set to some range. Sometimes when I know the lighting will be relatively constant, I'll select a single ISO speed.

I'm surprised nobody mentioned the green mode. That's the 'point-n-shoot' mode, useful for when you don't have time to think about exposure (family vacations, snapshots, etc.).

Just recently, I've started experimenting with P mode. Interesting, but the three basic modes seem to do what I want and need. Maybe I just need to practice more with it.

There is also a 'User' mode. Haven't played with that at all. Easy enough to just reset parameters when needed.
07-11-2008, 10:03 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by rodneyy Quote
How much do you brought the book - Magic Lantern guide ?
$13, más o menos, from Amazon.
07-11-2008, 04:09 PM   #14
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Read the manual. It comes with the camera and it's free!
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