February 15, 2013 at 9:02 am #6660
I see posts from time-to-time that talk about taking the camera off auto. I see statements like, “I bet he/she doesn’t know how to take the camera off auto.” or “I bet they don’t know how to shoot in manual.” and various other things about setting aperture and shutter speed, etc. Yes, I know how to do all of those. I’ve been lurking here for some time, yet have never posted.
There are plenty of times I set my camera to Program mode. Why? My camera, your camera, everyone’s camera has a built in light meter that looks for 18% gray like all other light meters. Its a great place to start! Its what you do with the information that the camera gives you that is important. If it’s a nice day with lots of light and the reflectance from my subject tells the camera I should shoot at 1/250 at f/16, then I probably will, those sound like good solid numbers that will produce a properly exposed image, considering conditions. However, if I point my camera at a kid playing in the snow and my camera tells me 1/125 at f/8 I will open up a stop or two to make the snow white. Having auto or Program mode on a camera is not a bad thing, its what you do with those tools that matter. Before talking about your automatic modes negatively try using it for the light meter.
I’m not the expert on anything, I’m not the world’s best photographer. Just thought I’d share that to open some people up to new ways of looking at things. Don’t get me wrong, the fauxtogs are horrible! I’ve seen some stuff on here that makes me throw up in my mouth, and some stuff that just bewilders the crap out of me, some photos even make me want to punch their momma! Why are people paying for such crap? Its not the auto function on a camera that makes these horrid pictures, its the idiots pushing the buttons.
So the new guy posting. Does he know anything about photography, or did he buy his camera at Walmart and open up shop? I may know a thing or two. If you and I were shooting together in a studio and you told me our fill was two bright, to bring it down a stop and a half I could do the math to move it back for a 3:1 ratio.
Your turn.February 15, 2013 at 9:27 am #6661
I hear ya.. Some here sind könige von fotografie ;]February 15, 2013 at 9:54 am #6663JLiuParticipant
I get what you’re trying to convey, but Program mode is still a step above full auto (i.e. green box mode). Although you’re letting the camera automatically decide the shutter and aperture in P, you are in control of the ISO, exposure compensation, and pop-up flash.February 15, 2013 at 10:45 am #6665
JLiu, whether it is a step above green box mode or not, a light meter is a light meter is a light meter. It doesn’t care what mode you are in. Like I said, use it for the meter, it’s what you do with that information that counts.February 15, 2013 at 12:03 pm #6666
Generally, in P mode you don’t have control of creative aspects except the framing. It’ll automatically popup your flash, too, whether you want it or not. You generally can’t influence it.
At least in Aperture Priority, you have control of DOF and can read what it suggests for shutter speed, and then either go with that or adjust.
I use the built-in light meter all the time. But it’s definitely easily confused, and until you get to know the metering of your camera, can give some pretty bad suggestions. If you’re going to use your camera’s reflective light meter as a light meter, it’s generally best to use spot mode and reading a specific part of the image. I don’t know if P mode even offers that ability, and that means that you’re using a much bigger point and shoot and would probably be better off with a palm-sized camera.February 15, 2013 at 2:36 pm #6668fstopper89Participant
My camera has a light meter in full manual mode. There should really be no reason to shoot in anything other than full manual. I can understand Aperture priority or Shutter priority modes though, because you’re then defining the creative aspect of aperture (mainly for DOF) or when dealing with maybe a low-light situation where you don’t have time to change settings (I’m not talking posed portraiture here) where you’d want to make sure your shutter speed doesn’t dip low enough to cause blur.
I don’t always change my settings so that my light meter points to zero. Sometimes it’s necessary from a creative standpoint to over or under expose a stop or two. With using autofocus points on a specific area of the image frame, the light meter will try to expose correctly for that area. But, it can also blow out the sky. Different metering modes can help compensate, as well as bracketing and merging two images in post if necessary (or, possibly even using a sky overlay- I have one I created myself and occasionally will use it to fill in a washed-out or cloudless sky- but I honestly do not use it much).
You need to have the creative control and with P mode, you do not.February 15, 2013 at 3:15 pm #6671
Wow. I am by no means suggesting that we all start shooting in P. I just stated the fact that it is useful to set it to P and use the light meter, then use that information for exposure. It is true, the light meter functions in any mode, but instead of holding it up to the subject and it giving you a read out in manual it tells you whether you’ve over exposed or under exposed.
Just trying to point something out, not change the world or even start an argument.February 15, 2013 at 9:44 pm #6674GerblesParticipant
As long as you end up with the SS/aperture/ISO combination that allows for the desired exposure and depth of field, it does not matter what mode you used to get there. Granted, there could be more efficient/quicker ways of getting there.February 15, 2013 at 9:49 pm #6675
While we’re talking about light meters.. You might as well talk about reflective/incident, etc. And, how to use your histogram to tie it together. While your “built in light meter” is decent.. It’s far from perfect. You also have to choose spot/center weighted/partial/average/multizone and whatever else is out there in different cameras.. This is pretty much why auto mode sucks.. Camera’s are stupid and coincidentally quite frequently fuck up in automatic modes.. This actually includes every mode that relies greatly on the built in meter… People think because they’ve set their exposure to -0- it’s going to be perfect.. Your histogram will usually tell you how unbalanced your exposures are.. Most people take 1 shot and call it a day.. Take 10, get it right, read the histogram adjust and take a balanced shot. No, I’m not saying your light meter is irrelevant, it’s actually very useful..February 16, 2013 at 3:23 am #6677
I usually take a single shot.
Be careful recommending using the histogram for setting exposure. It’s only minorly useful for that.February 16, 2013 at 7:16 am #6680cameraclickerParticipant
Wow, hot topic! I don’t understand the affliction people have with Manual mode. Three of my bodies have only manual mode and a basic meter. To change ISO you wind out the film and drop in a different role. Digital rocks! Four metering modes, change ISO for every shot, a computer to work out the exposure (sometimes even dual cores!), TTL flash, exposure compensation, flash compensation, Program mode, Aperture Priority mode, histograms! A techie delight! Perhaps the “use only manual mode” crowd are artists?
I agree with KeyAndFill, digital bodies contain a lot of power and if all you are doing with manual mode is centring the meter, you might as well get out of manual mode because you are working too hard. Manual is great in a studio and other places with consistent light. If light is changing from shot to shot, Aperture and Shutter modes are your friends. If you are using on-camera flash, or you have an off-camera arrangement that communicates both ways, TTL flash and P mode can work extremely well.
I don’t know about other brands but in P mode, neither of my Canon bodies with a pop-up flash, pop it — you have to tell it you want the flash. If memory serves, the Nikons I had worked the same way.
Histograms are extremely useful, if you understand them. Far more useful than relying on the image playback. With a little practice you can match a histogram to the scene and decide if you got the exposure or not, with great accuracy. External meters are helpful but not always practical, some subjects are just too far away to use an incident meter, and with partial spot and spot meters built into the camera, external reflectance meters are not really necessary. The Flash feature in external meters is helpful for setting multiple strobes.
All the new tools are wonderful, but you have to understand them to get the best from them.February 16, 2013 at 9:28 am #6681
well stef, I don’t know about ‘minor’ usefulness, seeing how histograms show you how evenly balanced your whites and blacks are.. I’d say it’s pretty useful.. if your first shot is spot on without needing to adjust.. I congratulate you. you epitomize awesomeness.. Personally I aim my first shot through a white balance filter set custom WB.. then take a control exposure with -0- ev then adjust my shutter or aperture to balance out the histogram as relatively good as possible .. but some people can just take perfect shots… …. Again, how much do you charge for lessons? $50 you say?February 16, 2013 at 6:00 pm #6696KimeraParticipant
Have fun with your camera. Find out all it can do by taking several shots of the same object while using all the different settings to see how they work.
If you like using auto or program, use it! If you know full manual including ISO, aperture, shutter, etc etc etc .. I don’t think that means you ‘aren’t allowed’ to use A or P any more, as if it were punishable.
Sometimes I put it in auto just for the sake of instant readiness in case ‘that’ photo opp comes up and I wouldn’t have time to fiddle with anything.
Who’s judging, anyway?
🙂February 16, 2013 at 6:43 pm #6700fstopper89Participant
I know what you mean @Kimera about throwing it in auto if you think something might present itself quickly. I used to do that, well not in full auto but more in maybe one of the other modes, but as I familiarized myself with my camera and am now able to pretty quickly fiddle with the settings, it’s usually faster for me to just do that. I know the photo isn’t going to turn out well at all if I don’t define something on the camera, but that’s just me. everyone occasionally gets an awesome shot on auto but it’s accidental. Like if I’m doing a photo session with little kids, usually they’re moving around quickly. Let’s say one of them picked up a flower and put it up to her face, it’s a great image to capture but I won’t even try if I don’t make sure the settings will get the image right.February 17, 2013 at 12:36 am #6710
Actually, ajay, I charge $50/hr for lessons.
Histograms tell you the relative pixel levels of the exposure, after filtering through the jpg processor, which also filters through the picture modes and WB. It does not tell you if those pixels are correctly exposed, whatsoever. Not in the least. Only if you apply external knowledge of the scene will the histogram tell you anything. I use it all the time to tell me all sorts of things, but it never tells me “proper exposure”. Ever.
While I was going to let it pass, you decided to be snotty. So now I’m calling you out to explain your comment.
Please enlighten us how the histogram can determine proper exposure, and how wrong the reflective light meter is.
People think because they’ve set their exposure to -0- it’s going to be PERFECT.. Your histogram will usually tell you how wrong you are.. Most people take 1 shot and call it a day.. Take 10, get it right, read the histogram adjust and take a proper shot.
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