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Thread: which mode to use?

  1. #1

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    which mode to use?

    Hi all,

    As I am reasonably new to DSLR, I would like to hear your opions on what mode to use most often. Up until a few weeks ago I had been using Fuji digital bridge cameras which I loved,and apart from night shots with tripod I tended to use Auto mode alot even though I had all the manual modes available to me. Now I have my Canon 650 D I want to get away from using Auto (unless I need too) . Since I have had the Canon I have been mainly alternating between AV and TV modes but I am struggling a bit with the impact of changing AV has on the TV and vice versa. Should I start using manual mode and experiment there until I get a better feel? Also does anyone have any thoughts on leaving ISO on Auto the majority of the time? I was at my Brothers on the weekend (he is semi professional) and he said he tends to leave ISO on Auto for most shots unless extreme conditions.
    Thanks - all feeback welcome

  2. #2
    dubaiphil's Avatar
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    Re: which mode to use?

    Personally I'd go for aperture priority first

    Full Manual is something I only generally use when on a tripod or using flash

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: which mode to use?

    Quote Originally Posted by HAZZA View Post
    Now I have my Canon 650 D I want to get away from using Auto (unless I need too)
    That is a very good start in terms of your goal. With just a little practice, I think you will feel you never need to go near the Auto mode ever again.

    Quote Originally Posted by HAZZA View Post
    Since I have had the Canon I have been mainly alternating between AV and TV modes but I am struggling a bit with the impact of changing AV has on the TV and vice versa.
    Again that is best addressed by lots and lots of practice. It will feel strange at first and it does take a little while to get used to it. But just shoot and shoot and look at what effect your different decisions have on the resulting images.

    But don't worry that you are struggling at the moment. Everyone has gone through this phase.

    Quote Originally Posted by HAZZA View Post
    Should I start using manual mode and experiment there until I get a better feel?

    Going into Manual is a very good way to teach yourself about the relationship between aperture and shutter ... and ISO. You can then either choose to continue to shoot in Mnaual (as I do) or then revert to Av and Tv modes. As others have written on here, Av and Tv modes are there to help and support the photographer. They are not ways of 'cheating' or shoosing the 'easy option'. They still require knowledge and the application of artistic appreciation and skill.

    Quote Originally Posted by HAZZA View Post
    Also does anyone have any thoughts on leaving ISO on Auto the majority of the time? I was at my Brothers on the weekend (he is semi professional) and he said he tends to leave ISO on Auto for most shots unless extreme conditions.
    It could be argued that this depends on what you are doing. I have never used Auto ISO and see no reason to do so. I don't know in what situations it would be of any use to me. I prefer being in complete charge of all the settings on my camera.
    Last edited by Donald; 23rd October 2012 at 10:47 AM.

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    dubaiphil's Avatar
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    Re: which mode to use?

    I'm on Auto ISO all the time.

    On Nikon you can set you minimum shutter speed - I don't know about lower Canon bodies. Setting a minimum shutter speed + max comfortable ISO and I can just shoot and not worry about a thing. Much easier for my workflow.

    Whenever there is changing light and I'm shooting hand held, it's very useful. Just remember to switch it off or use a different custom bank for more controlled circumstances where you want full control of everything.

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    Re: which mode to use?

    Thanks Donald - again appreciate your feedback - very helpful.

    On a separate note I will be in Edinburgh for a couple of days next July as part of an Ashes cricket tour that I'm doing - any suggestions on must sees (although I think tour may cover most main attractions)

    Thanks again

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    Re: which mode to use?

    Thanks Phil - I am pretty sure the Canon can do the same with min's and max's, appreciate the tip

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    Re: which mode to use?

    Have you read the CinC Tutorials? For example http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tut...tter-speed.htm

    My usual 'default' setting is Av at F11. I then adjust this to suit the scene, but also keep an eye on the shutter speed and Iso to make sure they aren't giving something beyond what might cause problems.

    However, in some situations where shutter speed is the most important factor, such as a fast moving subject, I switch to Tv; but still keep a watch on aperture/Iso.

    When going Manual (if not using flash) I normally meter around the scene (usually in Av mode) beforehand to work out what are the optimum settings. For example, spot meter on any potential highlights so they won't be over exposed. The auto settings can often miss small areas of potential problems.

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    Re: which mode to use?

    Being new to photography i can only give advice relevant to me, but hopefully it might be of some help.

    When i got my Canon i had already read up on DP and had a theoretical understanding of iso/aperture and shutter speed.
    Initially i was shooting everything in AV mode but i soon found that TV & M modes are just as useful.
    It really does depend on what your shooting and what your are trying to achieve though.
    For example if i was shooting a landscape day or at night with a tripod i would use M mode setting a small aperture (f9 - f22) setting iso to 100 Day / 200 Night and setting ss to match the exposure.

    If i was shooting handheld i would use TV mode setting the ss to what i want/need for the shot and adjusting aperture/iso to get that speed and good exposure.

    My advice (and i did this myself) is to shoot in different modes each day you use the camera.
    Day 1 shoot AV mode only
    Day 2 shoot TV mode only
    Day 3 shoot M mode only

    You will soon find which mode suits your needs in a given situation and which you prefer, I did (i now use M mode most of the time (landscapes/architecture) but AV mode for portraits/bokeh effect.

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    Re: which mode to use?

    Hello Hazza, I photograph nature... mostly birds. I shoot Nikon so am not too familiar with Cannon. I use the Auto ISO function Nikon cameras have. My settings are Minimum ISO set to 100, Maximum ISO set to 3200. Nikon also alows a minimum shutter speed to be set as part of Auto ISO, I have that set to a minimum of 1/400. I have this minimum to avoid camera shake because almost exclusively I am shooting with a 300mm telephoto lens. I also use both Aperture Priority and Shutter Priority. Aperature Priority for stationary birds and slowly walking birds where depth of field is my most important concern. Shutter Priority for flying birds, most times shooting at 1/2000 to freeze the birds motion. I also have my camera set for Auto White Balance, rarely do I change that in post processing. This is what works for me and the type of photography I do.

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    Re: which mode to use?

    Thanks Geoff, had read some of them, this one looks quite good (I just have to keep remembering), i think I understand the effects of Shutter speed and AV but just need to understand the impact of both together - thanks - very helpful

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    Re: which mode to use?

    Thanks Anton - think I will try this

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    Re: which mode to use?

    Quote Originally Posted by jprzybyla View Post
    Hello Hazza, I photograph nature... mostly birds. I shoot Nikon so am not too familiar with Cannon. I use the Auto ISO function Nikon cameras have. My settings are Minimum ISO set to 100, Maximum ISO set to 3200. Nikon also alows a minimum shutter speed to be set as part of Auto ISO, I have that set to a minimum of 1/400. I have this minimum to avoid camera shake because almost exclusively I am shooting with a 300mm telephoto lens. I also use both Aperture Priority and Shutter Priority. Aperature Priority for stationary birds and slowly walking birds where depth of field is my most important concern. Shutter Priority for flying birds, most times shooting at 1/2000 to freeze the birds motion. I also have my camera set for Auto White Balance, rarely do I change that in post processing. This is what works for me and the type of photography I do.
    Thanks Joe - wil also try some of those techniques -Regards

  13. #13

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    Re: which mode to use?

    If there was a "best" mode then cameras would only have that mode and no other. The camera has different modes because at certain times each is more appropriate than the others. A person's personal preference to a particular type of photography may lead him to use a certain mode "most often." But that information is only meaningful if you intend to pursue the same type of photography. The methods of a landscape photographer do little for a sports photographer...and vice versa. Therefore, my answer to your question is that "most often" is meaningless...you use the mode that is best suited for the current circumstances. And of course...you must learn what those circumstances are.

    You can have a construction supply store deliver to you all the materials needed to build a house. You can also have a tool supply store deliver to you all the tools necessary to build a house. But having the tools and materials in your hands doesn't mean you now know how to build a house, and it doesn't mean that you can figure it out through trial and error. To build the house requires an extensive amount of knowledge that must first be learned.

    It's the same with photography. Simply having a camera in hand and a scene in front of you will not teach you about exposure. You have to learn it from books or from classes. No amount of practice is going to teach you about exposure. In fact, to get anything out of practice, you must apply knowledge while you practice. Think about it...when you practice music, you're applying the knowledge of playing an instrument. Even when you practice good manners, you're applying the knowledge of what constitutes good manners. If you have no clearly expressed knowledge to apply while practicing photography, then your practice is meaningless.

    Also note that manual mode is nothing special. As long as the meter is working, you have just as much control over exposure in Av, Tv, and P modes as you do in M mode. That said, Canon cameras have the most limited exposure features, and I don't recommend them. But since you have one already there's not much to do about it. I personally wouldn't use AutoISO on a Canon because Canon doesn't provide a description of how the ISO is determined. This is in stark contrast to Nikon, where the AutoISO function is fully under one's control.

    So I think you really need to get either a few good books or, preferably, a good photography class to learn how to use the camera. Harvesting small bits of disparate knowledge here and there from forums and websites isn't going to get you the knowledge you want.

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    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: which mode to use?

    Hi Hazza - before taking a picture, I usually think about how I plan to approach a subject. It if relatively stationary, I will tend to determine what depth of field I plan to shoot at; either shallow to get a nicely blurred background, or deep, where everything is in focus. If that is the case, I will select the appropriate f-stop and shoot aperture priority. This probably accounts for 70% to 80% of my shots.

    If a subject is moving, I will decide whether I intend to freeze or partically freeze the motion. Here I will select my shutter speed and shoot shutter priority. This probably accounts for 20 or 25% of my shots.

    There are a number of times I go totally manual. These shots are ones I am not quite sure as to how I plan to approach them and I do a lot of looking at the image and the histogram and tweak manually. If I shoot with studio flash, that is the other situation were I shoot 100% manual, as I add the variable of how I illuminate a shot into the equation. Here, I will often use maximum synch speed and vary the flash position and intensity, so manual works best for me.

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    I use virtually all of the modes...

    First off, I always shoot RAW and I never shoot in the "A" or auto mode. I also don't use the Creative Auto mode of the Canon 7D...

    With the exception of AUTO, I use virtually all of the exposure modes as needed...

    When the f/stop (DOF) is important or when I want the DOF consistant (such as when shooting a series for High Dynamic Range imaging), I use aperture priority...

    When shutter speed is of the utmost importance, I use shutter speed priority...

    When I am shooting with studio flash or when I want all my shots in a series to have exactly the same exposure, I use manual exposure. I also frequently use manual exposure combined with ETTL flash when shooting macros...

    I will occasionally combine manual exposure mode with auto ISO. The newest firmware update for the 7D allows an upper cap on ISO. This might be a good choice for BIF and some sports...

    For much of my off-the-cuff shooting, I will use Programmed exposure mode...

    Whatever exposure mode I use, I am always cognizent of what ISO, shutter speed and aperture I am using. The ability to adjust these from the viewfinder is a great help...

    The Canon 7D User Selected Modes allow me to preset three modes along with the correct parameters and to select these combinations with a twist of the mode dial. In fact, considering what ever mode at which I have the camera set before selecting any one of the three User Selected Modes, I can actually preselect four sets of shooting parameters...

    I will also, occasionally, use Auto Exposure Bracketing when I am shooting in venues in which the exposure is fairly chancy. This AEB is a hold over from film days when professional photographers would bracket their exposures when shooting transparency films, especially when shooting films of low ISO or ASA (which was the predecessor to ISO)...

    I mentioned that this was primarily used by professional photographers because the cost of film and processing would be 300% more than when you shot without bracketing. However, it really costs nothing extra to bracket exposure when shooting digital. It does, require more memory but, memory is fairly inexpensive...

    Bracketing is IMO a good way for a beginning photographer to learn about exposure and at the same time be virtually assured of nailing the exposure on virtually every shot!

    A unique way to utilize AEB is when shooting night shots, especially city scapes. Using aperture priority I combine the three shots of AEB with a minus one stop exposure compensation. Placing the camera in burst mode will capture one shot as the meter reads, one shot at -1 f/stop and one shot at -2 f/stops. This will most often nail the exposure on one of the shots it has seldom failed me...

    BTW: I cut my teeth on film and used film for over fourty five years until I began shooting digitally sometime around the turn of the Century. IMO digital photography is easier and more fun to shoot than film ever was. It also opens a whole new world of photography including HRDI, panoramas and extended focus shooting to name but a few!
    Last edited by rpcrowe; 23rd October 2012 at 09:04 PM.

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    Re: which mode to use?

    Thanks Graystar - good advice - I have actually enrolled in a couple of courses - 1 day and 1 night - I still think the forums are good to get different tips rather than just textbook recommendations. As a beginner I was just really after advice if it was better to start on using one mode over the other until my knowledge improves

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    Re: which mode to use?

    Thanks Manfred - makes a lot of sense - Regards

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    Re: which mode to use?

    On buying a new camera recently in desparation I was using P mode but now I am getting the feel for it and its multitude of features/options I have reverted to using A mode where the aperture is normally in the middle of the range on the assumption that is the best place for it unless I have a reason to want more or less depth of field [ smaller or larger aperture ]. Occasionally when the subject is moving or I am [ as on a train or in a car] I will use S mode [ Tv in Canon speak ] so I can pick a highish shutter speed. Other times, quite rarely in practice, I use M mode when the camera for various reasons doesn't or didn't give me the result I wanted.
    I used manual for years and am very grateful for the advance in technology that has given me automatics that I can usually rely on. Results in the range that I can handle in editing ... if you cannot do that then obviously you need to get the result you want in-camera.

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    William W's Avatar
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    Re: which mode to use?

    My suggestion is before you experiment with any of the Camera Modes – you understand the functionality and uses of ALL the METERING MODES.

    On your 650D you probably have four different metering modes.
    It is the TTL meter which CONTROLS the camera when it is in ANY Automatic Mode.
    If you use the TTL Meter, then it is this meter which is the key input to YOUR choice of exposure if you choose to use Manual Camera Mode.

    I cannot stress this point to much – so many Photographers just do NOT understand how their TTL meter works and how and when to use the different METERING MODES.

    ***

    It would be very rare for me to use Auto ISO combined with Av Tv or P Camera Modes, because that places TWO exposure criteria which are controlled by the camera: and I don’t like to work like that – if I am in any Automatic Camera Mode (Av, Tv or P) – then I like the immediate control of being able to override the camera’s choice of only ONE variable – or in the case of P Mode, being able to choose a different combination of Aperture and Shutter Speed and ALSO use Exposure Comp. To change ISO manually is pretty quick to do.

    WW

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    Re: which mode to use?

    Great thanks Bill - will study this TTL meter - appreciate your help

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