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is manual mode photographic snobbery?

Discussion in 'Talking Pictures' started by pete1w, Apr 13, 2014.

  1. pete1w

    pete1w Well-Known Member

    I upgraded to a DSLR about a year ago and still consider myself very much a beginner. I bought the Bryan Peterson book understanding exposure and he recommends shooting in manual mode most of the time. However on another forum I read a thread that stated shooting in manual is elitist and simply `chasing the meter. I understand the basics of manual mode but is it unrealistic to use this mode all the time? I am tempted to put the camera in AP mode and use matrix metering for the foreseeable future and see what the results are like. Any thoughts on the subject are very welcome. Cheers pete
  2. Craig20264

    Craig20264 Well-Known Member

    Well, it's definitely not snobbery. It's just another mode to be used as and when necessary. A case in point being a HDR shot. I too use Aperture priority for the majority of my shooting, although I swap between centre weighted, and spot metering, depending on the subject. I use Manual for most of my tripod landscape shots in morning/evening light, as I like to bracket altering only the shutter speed.
  3. Zou

    Zou Well-Known Member

    Nobody is entitled to use such pejorative language of how anyone uses their gear. I use manual all the time on my DSLR, because it is what works best, for me. I use Aperture priority almost exclusively on my CSC because that's how it works best, for me. I use program exclusively on my compact because that's all it has got. ;)

    The point is we have to make a choice about how we take pictures. There are several ways of ending up at the same exposure and focus selection, from fully manual, through semi-auto to full auto. If we are happy with the results then who is to argue snobbery or laziness either way? If you know how to use whichever of these modes to your advantage as a photographer, please do so, and enjoy the results, and ignore the bores who look up/down at others based on which point their dial is set to.
  4. Catriona

    Catriona Well-Known Member

    Not snobbery at all. Some might use it all the time. I'm not one of them. I'm normally on aperture priority, usually concentrating on the dof I want. Sometimes, however, manual mode is required, for example on a subject with little difference in contrasts, either of colour or light/shade. This is of course only manual focusing I'm talking about, but it's one instance when you might need to switch.
  5. steveandthedogs

    steveandthedogs Well-Known Member

    I use whatever is needed, though almost never programme, not sure why that is.
    Mostly Av, often manual, occasionally Tv.
    And you can't be a snob if you were born in Oldham...
  6. alfbranch

    alfbranch Well-Known Member

    There is no need to use manual all the time especially with a DSLR.

    If you choose to thats up to you. There is nothing wrong aperture or shutter priority.

    You should use manual when taking shots to stitched together though as they may not match if you use auto.

    It depends on what you are using what you like or feel comfortable using and what the subject is etc.

    When using this I use manual

    [​IMG]Camera and light meter 3 by alf.branch, on Flickr

    Oh wait it has no auto modes.
  7. PhotoEcosse

    PhotoEcosse Well-Known Member

    I can't understand why words like "snobbery" or (in another recent thread) "cheating" come into the equation at all.

    I use whatever camera modes and settings suit me in relation to the photograph I am trying to produce.

    For landscapes, especially if using ND Grad filters or a tripod, I tend to use Manual because I have all the time in the world to think about what I am trying to achieve and what I want to base my exposure on. At other times I use fully automatic modes - either Aperture Priority or Shutter Priority according to which parameter I want to fix. Occasionally, particularly when travelling or in unaccustomed light conditions, I will set a Program AE mode.

    When I finally present a print of my photograph, I don't expect the judges/selectors/viewers to know or care what camera settings I used.
  8. dangie

    dangie Senior Knobhead

    Manufacturers spend millions on R&D and then we bung it on manual.....

  9. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    Using manual mode isn't snobbery, no; insisting that you're not a "real" photographer if you don't always use manual mode is, though.

    I obviously use manual on all-manual cameras, but generally use aperture priority of progam - manual only where it's really needed, some flash shots, for example.
  10. lfc1892

    lfc1892 Well-Known Member

    It's as stupid a claim to call 'manual' snobbery as it is to call those who use other less complex modes photographic dimwits. Just use whatever works for you. I usually shoot aperture priority, or occasionally shutter speed, but when exposure is tricky and needs altering, I find it easier, quicker and more controllable than other options. On my em5, the twin dials allow very very fast adjustments.
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2014
  11. AlexMonro

    AlexMonro Old Grand Part Deux

    I used to mainly use Aperture Priority, but now I find I'm using full Manual more and more. What annoys me most about any form of automation is when yo have to fight it to get it to do what you want, and I was finding that a slight change in composition would cause the metering system to change the exposure. Since I attempt to follow ETTR to minimise noise and maximise dynamic range, I'm usually chimping the histogram to bring the highlights as close to the clip point as I dare, and this auto erroneous messing about got very tedious.

    So now, although I often start with AP, to get the first histogram, I then usually change to M for the keeper shot if there's time. Though I do seem to be finding more and more that on bright sunny days at least I can often guestimate the the exposure for the first shot in Manual. Certainly with negative film I often don't bother with a meter unless it's unusual conditions.

    I guess that could sound like snobbery, but for me it's just the way I find most effective to get the shot. Even though I mainly do landscapes, those clouds can move far too quickly sometimes, and even the rotation of the planet can be a bit too fast for comfort, when you want shadows in just the right place! :)
  12. LesleySM

    LesleySM Well-Known Member

    I've been on a course where the tutor claimed that by the end of it- none of us would ever use anything but manual again as "it's the only way"

    A few weeks later I asked a pro photographer about this and he pointed out "The camera can calculate focus etc a lot faster than you can- after all the companies concerned have spent millions developing this- most of the time auto is fine- the trick is knowing the times when it won't and what you need to do"

    I shoot with AP most of the time and occasionally when needed I just switch back down to auto- best tip I've had in ages (thanks Fen) when switching the camera off just set it to auto in case something happens quickly and you don't have time to adjust anything
  13. Ffolrord

    Ffolrord Well-Known Member

    I prefer to use manual settings. I really like using fully manual lenses too. Is it snobbery? No, I just enjoy it. I couldn't care less what mode anyone chooses, the results do the talking and how you get there is unimportant.
  14. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    If I'm not in a hurry, i.e. if I can re-shoot, I often use aperture priority or even Program. But if I want to get it right first time I'll usually shoot manual.


  15. AlexMonro

    AlexMonro Old Grand Part Deux

    A recent post on Mike Johnston's The Online Photographer http://theonlinephotographer.typepa...14/04/exposure-is-an-interpretive-choice.html seems relevant to thsi question.

    Thinking about it some more, I think part of it comes down to knowing your camera, and how its autoexposure system responds to various conditions. If you know the AE is going to give you the result you want, you might as well use it. If you know that it won't, you need to give some manual input, either with exposure compensation, or full manual control.
  16. Skyehammer

    Skyehammer Well-Known Member

    I use whatever mode that fits the situation nowadays having kept the cameras in ' Auto ' for ages and I'm really enjoying myself .

    You will find snobbery in all walks of Life and in every Hobby whether it's Photography , Running , Swimming or even Walking , some people will think themselves better than other folk no matter what they do .

    Just enjoy yourself and ignore the negative vibes , do whatever you want to do as long as you're not hurting others .
  17. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Dear Alex,

    Exactly, but I'd add two more qualifications. One is that I usually find manual control easier than exposure compensation. The other is that AE can make you lazy, so you fail to check the shutter speed and end up with camera shake (very few of my camera-lens combinations support shutter speed priority).


  18. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    I actually had that problem most with manual exposure on my Prakticas - all too easy to be a slave to the meter needle, and just adjust settings to center it. It stopped when I had a camera with aperture priority, because I could see the chosen speed in the viewfinder. It is, as you say, lazyness, no more, no less, and it's possible to suffer the consequences in several different ways and modes. Never happened with the Zenit, because that had a non-coupled meter.
  19. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    Ouch, did I write that? :eek:

    Uncoupled, of course!:eek:
  20. flipster

    flipster Well-Known Member

    For me and, I suspect, many others I only use manual when using an old lens as there is no other option (on my camera anyway) mainly shooting still life so plenty of time to get things spot on. On a recent trip to Vietnam some of the images I captured would have been missed if I had to manually set up the shot, as I'm not skilled enough to instinctively know what is right in a split second so auto was the preferred option for me. I don't care about snobs...I do my own thing.

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