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is manual mode photographic snobbery?

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

  1. Roy5051

    Roy5051 Well-Known Member

    As I said, it depends what suits you.

    I find it difficult to understand, though, why auto modes gave "awful results". I can understand that, shooting planes against the sky, would require some exposure adjustment, so that the plane is not a silhouette against the sky, but surely using Tv mode with the shutter speed of 1/1250sec (as shown on your exif data) with +1 or +2 stops exposure compensation would have given you a similar result.

    As a matter of interest, when you took this shot, did the camera show that you were over-exposing (using the viewfinder graph)? And when you were using an auto mode, did you dial in any exposure compensation?
  2. PhotoEcosse

    PhotoEcosse Well-Known Member

    That's a rather strange statement.

    At worst, what one of the auto modes will do is give you a better starting point for fine tuning the exposure than simply guesswork will. You then fine tune according to the results using the exposure compensation feature.

    Each type of subject will suggest which auto mode to use - A (Av) for landscape or portrait, S (Tv) for wildlife or sports, etc., etc. Your experience may then suggest a degree of compensation to start with - for example +2.3 for snow scenes, +1.7 for shots of planes or birds against the sky, etc., etc.

    But, at the end of the day, fine tuning an auto setting is just the same as using manual, except that you have a starting point that may make the process a wee bit faster.
  3. paul james

    paul james Well-Known Member

    or be way off what you require and make you sower , just one for instance is that not everyone wants frozen action in sports shots that the fast shutter speeds provided would give
  4. paul james

    paul james Well-Known Member

    the camera if anything would have shown under exposing which I usually habitually do as it is much easier to rescue shots than from blown highlights from over exposure
  5. Terrywoodenpic

    Terrywoodenpic Well-Known Member

    all the modes on a camera except manual are auto modes
    However they all cater for subsets of different choices.
    The basic ones are the so called A and S settings which let you select aperture or shutter speed as needed but chose the other for you to give a Correct exposure. Both these settings can be fine tuned with the exposure compensation facility, to increase or decrease the total of the light captured.
    manual settings let you set both the shutter speed and aperture to your required exposure and the camera will not try to over ride those setting.
    none of the inbuilt firmware comes into play.

    For some work this manual ability is essential such as in stitched pans and exposure or focus fusion.

    Manual settings are not just going back to basics they are essential for some techniques.

    I would agree that using manual settings and a hand held meter would speed up the learning process when it comes to exposure and depth of field or the stopping power of a high shutter speed. However I concede that not every one wants to learn the technical side of photography and may have no interest in more difficult techniques that are available to them. Also it is true to say most people would be very happy with an inbuilt success rate of over 90% for their happy snaps, and this is where auto everything gives them what they want.

    Not every one wants to be an expert, they just want fun. though such aims hardly need the abilities of an expensive DSLR, though they might well enjoy the ownership aspect.
  6. Geren

    Geren Well-Known Member

    So choose a slower shutter speed?
  7. 0lybacker

    0lybacker In the Stop Bath

    Hi PhotoEcosse,

    There is an instance where that is not the case and Paul James refered to an air show. I can still dimly remember my first attempts at shooting an air display on an OM2 in A mode instead of manually with an OM1. It was fine if it was a totally blue sky or blank grey. A little correction for sky influencing exposure and for light aircraft/dark aircraft on tightish framing could be dialled in on over-ride.

    Problem came when there were clouds and framing, either through choice or necessity, was looser. White cloud in centre weighted area would throw exposure off; brightly lit white cloud even more so. In those circumstances, I switched to manual.

  8. paul james

    paul james Well-Known Member

    and that hits the nail on the head !! if you chose a sports setting by the very nature of the auto mode you'd get sharp photos

    what if you wanted to introduce blurr such as in this one by me

    if i remember this was 1/20th sec at f22 handheld on a 300mm lens

    ( what auto setting would you have used to get that result ??? )
  9. Geren

    Geren Well-Known Member

    Such as which one by you?!

    I'm not saying there aren't times when manual is preferable, just that I know from experience that there are times when it's quicker to have the camera make some of the decisions and that might mean the difference between getting the shot or not.

    My camera doesn't appear to have a "sports" mode on it, but depending on what my priority for the shot is, I do sometimes select either Av or Tv. If I knew that I'd get the blur I wanted at 1/20 of a second I'd set it to TV and tell the camera 1/20 of a second, choose my ISO and let the camera decide if f22 was going to give ma decent exposure. More often than not, I'm more interested in the DoF than capturing blur so if I'm going auto it's more likely to be Av than anything else. I don't see a problem with this?
  10. Geren

    Geren Well-Known Member

    (Sorry, trying to type and talk to children all at the same time - typo city.)
  11. mikeh201355

    mikeh201355 Well-Known Member

    Scenario 1:
    I want shutter of 1/500 seconds, I know how my camera meters so to get a well-exposed aircraft against a bright sky I know I need to add 2 stops compensation (f8)

    Scenario 2:
    I have set 1/500 sec. I know a balanced shot is f16 but because it is against a bright sky I know I need 2 more stops so I will set f8

    There is no difference really - both of them need the same understanding of light and the same understanding of how your camera works. Same knowledge applied in a different way.
    There are cases that irritate me where a newbie asks advice and someone is guaranteed to reply 'use manual' with no reason given. For everyday shooting I think Av gievs them one less thing to worry about and they can learn full manual if they wish at their own pace.
  12. paul james

    paul james Well-Known Member

    but thats the point , for my requirements in many different shooting subjects auto modes to get pleasing results are infinately more difficult to use as i'm constantly skipping requirements by the second

    what is easier ?? knowing how two revolving wheel controls work in unison to give the results you require without taking the camera away from the eye

    or constantly thinking about which programme you want changing to those programmes putting + or - values in etc etc

    appologies but the site is down where the image is stored it was of a canoeist in fast flowwing water where the water was blurred and the body of the canoeist sharp

    by the time i'd pondered the auto mode to give what i wanted he'd have gone !!
  13. PhotoEcosse

    PhotoEcosse Well-Known Member

    I think you fundamentally misunderstand the nature of the three main auto modes on modern dslr cameras (some entry level models also have "scene modes" but you can ignore those for the purpose of this discussion).

    If you want a slower shutter speed you simply set it in S mode (or TV if its a Canon). In shutter priority auto it IS you who controls the shutter speed to give the artistic result you want (frozen action, motion blur, or whatever). The camera then selects the aperture that will give the "correct" exposure for that shutter speed and, if you want to vary that you simply use the exposure compensation control to change it. Not sure how having to think about, and adjust, two controls is going to be slower than only having to worry about one.
  14. paul james

    paul james Well-Known Member

    the best way i learned about light appertures and shutter speeds was so simple it was unreal

    light is water , the tap the aperture , how long it's on shutter speed and the size of the bowl the film iso

    how far open the tap is turned on gives you the size of aperture how long its running gives the shutter speed , how big the bowl determines film speed

    playing with those variables explains all camera controls perfect and is all you need to know once you get used to looking at light streangths

    and in a much simpler to comprehend form than any programme modes
  15. mikeh201355

    mikeh201355 Well-Known Member

    If you use Av or Tv you still need that knowledge because you need to know whether to apply exposure compensation.
    If you need 1/1000 sec to freeze the action and the 'best average' exposure is f5.6 then that applies whether in full manual, Av or Tv. If you then need to add exposure because of a backlit subject you can either do it by firtling with the aperture dial (in manual) or adding compensation (in Av/Tv). There is no difference.
    Different routes, same outcome. My first DSLR was the ME Super with Av/Tv and exposure compensation and I needed exactly the same knowledge you mention to be able to know what to do.
    The advantage of Av for me over full manual is that when set to Av the camera is always ready. Once I have taken a picture in the shade of a tree, in Av the camera is ready even if I see a sudden, brief opportunity in bright sunlight. With full manual I have to assess the scene and adjust settings and in that time the moment can be gone.

    I am not saying that manual does not have its place, nor some prefer it. But the idea that only fully manual makes you learn about light is bunkum.
  16. 0lybacker

    0lybacker In the Stop Bath

    ^ ^ ^ +1
  17. Roy5051

    Roy5051 Well-Known Member

    Aah! Is this your problem? You are choosing a "sports" setting which does not allow you to vary the camera's settings; the "sports" setting is a fully auto setting, biased towards higher shutter speeds. A semi-automatic setting, Shutter or Aperture Priority, or even Program with Shift, will allow you to vary both aperture and/or shutter speed to suit the situation, whereas the "sports" setting will not (you have to use what the camera calculates as being "correct").

    So, I would suggest you use one of the semi-automatic modes, probably Shutter Priority (Tv); set the shutter speed you want to use (say, 1/1250 sec for Jets or 1/250 sec for propellor aircraft) and let the camera set the aperture. Take a few shots, look at the results and/or histogram, then decide whether or not you should dial-in some exposure compensation.

    Don't use the "sports" program, or any other of the picture modes; they are for snapshots, not serious photography. I still cannot understand why manufacturers continue to put these programs on DSLRs.
  18. Sejanus.Aelianus

    Sejanus.Aelianus In the Stop Bath

    I imagine it's because their market research tells them that a lot of their customers want those options.
  19. Geren

    Geren Well-Known Member

    What he said.
  20. paul james

    paul james Well-Known Member

    not at all I've grown p with auto modes on various cameras since first having to buy a manual adaptor for my OM10

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