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Thread: Settings

  1. #1
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    Settings

    I have been advised to do the following as the best settings in taking images. Do you agree.

    Camera set on Manual Mode. Lens set on A/F

    Does this apply to all types of photographs or just some.

    Devlad

  2. #2
    pnodrog's Avatar
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    Re: Settings

    If I am doing macro I will be using manual focus and manual exposure control. Landscapes in good lighting the camera will probably set to aperture priority and focus auto. Everything else will be something in between.
    The best setting will depend on your experience, camera and what you are wanting to photograph.

  3. #3
    Tringa's Avatar
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    Re: Settings

    Hello Dennis and welcome to CiC.

    The settings you use depend on what you are doing and what result you want.

    In most circumstances I would use AF. The AF on most cameras is very good and unless a lens has a particular problem with back or front focussing (ie focussing behind or in front of the focus point) it will focus accurately and quickly. I do use manual focus but only when there is no alternative. However, I have read that with some macro shots, live view and manual focus is used. However you need to decide which AF points you want to use.

    I do not take many photos where a particular shutter speed is needed and generally want more control over the aperture, so I use aperture priority and let the camera take care of the shutter speed (while keeping an eye to make sure the shutter speed does not below too low).

    If the need is to stop fast action then shutter priority would be the way to go.

    It is probably an indication that my photographic abilities are limited but I haven't found many situations where I have used manual exposure.

    I think as (and sometimes more) important than the exposure mode is deciding if you want to use spot metering, centre weighed or average metering; and also, if using spot metering, deciding which part of the scene to meter from.

    However, one thing that I tend stick to is using, for the particular situation, the lowest possible ISO.

    Dave

  4. #4
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    Re: Settings

    Hi, Dennis

    Sound like you've been advised by a "purist". Although I dont disagree with him in general, I dont think that's the easiest way to learn if you not really well aquainted with the process.

    I use full manual only when I'm shooting flash. I 90% of the time use aperture priority, because I want to control DoF first aand foremost, and I just glance at the computed shutter speed to make sure it'll handle my hand shake and whatever motion my subject may be generating (usually 0 because I do mostly landscapes) . I'll use shutter priority occasionally if I'm doing a sports event.

    My camera has a 12x focusing magnification feature, that I have gradually learned to love. The auto focus has no way to know the shooter's emphasis, so it makes its own programmed choice. I have been really pleased with the ability to home in on exactly want I want to emphasize in a sometimes busy background. Of course, this is slow, so if there's any motion at all, I rely on autofcous which is normally an amazingly accurate process.

    I'm sure you'll get more on this. Hope this helps a little.

  5. #5

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    Re: Settings

    Hi Dennis,

    Welcome to CiC. Enjoy it.

    There is no right or wrong way of setting up your camera. If you get the shot you want the setting is correct.

    Advising anyone on how to set up a camera is wrong advice. You set it up the way you like and feel confident with it.
    If you are very new to photography and you set it to M you will miss a lot of shots. You need to have lots of expierience to shoot in M mode only.

    Dennis it is your camera. Set it up the way you like it and shoot in the style that suits you. Do not lend out your ears to others in trying to be a "Cool Photographer". Do what YOU want and get the shots, no matter how you set up the camera, just get the shots.

    Capturing images is the aim of photography. With experience you will learn how to capture the mood you want to portray.

    For a beginner it is always better to start in Auto mode. When you have the triangle of exposure mastered you change to other modes and settings. Read the instruction manual and experiment with your camera. Do not experiment when you are on a shoot where you need to get the shots.

  6. #6
    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: Settings

    I strongly disagree with the advice given as there are no "general rules" and things do depend on the specific image you are trying to capture. There are certainly advantages to knowing how your camera operated and being able to shoot totally on manual. , and there are a number of circumstances where I would not shoot any other way. Certain types of flash shots are something I do 100% on manual.

    On the other hand, most of the time, I allow the built in "smarts" of my camera to take care of some of the housekeeping for me and especially when I shoot outdoors with ambient light, around 80% of my shots are done in aperture priority mode and the other 20% in shutter priority. If I shoot very long lenses in complex settings, I will sometimes focus manually because I don't like what autofocus does.

    Another setting that your friend did not cover is selection of ISO (i.e. sensor sensitivity). This is another function that your camera can do for you, but it is something I always set manually.

    If you are just starting out in photography or using your camera, then use the automation that is built in and spend your time on working on good composition. As you get better at photography, start over-riding the totally automated functions to give you the images you are trying to get, and so you understand how the exposure triangle (aperture / shutter speed / ISO) affect your final image.

  7. #7
    Melkus's Avatar
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    Re: Settings

    If your just starting out it's best to just leave you camera on auto and work on learning about your camera and work on your composition skills and other photography techniques. All the info to help you lear can be found right here on CiC. Like Kevin I shoot 90% of the time using aperture priority with ISO control and allow the camera to A/F. As Kevin pointed out the autofocus on todays camera are amazingly accurate for the most part, there are times depending on the lens used and the lighting it will hunt for focus in this case I will switch to manual focus but in all case I never use full manual mode.

  8. #8
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    Re: Settings

    Devlad,

    I agree with Andre and Manfred. You should ignore the advice you were given.

    The important thing, starting out, is learning enough that you know what you want the camera to do. What aperture is best for the image you want? (Do you want shallow depth of field, or deep?) do you need a fast shutter speed to freeze motion? Where do you want the camera to focus? (for example, in the center of the viewfinder? Wherever it finds the most contrast? Toward one edge?) Which area do you want the camera to render as moderate brightness (neutral gray)? Once you know this, the question is which camera settings help you get to what you want most quickly and reliably.

    I use lots of different settings. For shutter and aperture control, I use M, Av (aperture priority), and Tv (shutter priority), depending on the circumstances. For example, if there is plenty of light, if the metering is simple, and if I am concerned about shutter speed, I may use Tv to insure a sufficient shutter speed and then let the camera adjust the aperture as I shoot. I use M under many conditions when I want to maximize control. I switch between metering modes (mostly spot and evaluative), again depending on circumstances. These are related: I use spot metering when I want exposure to be based on a specific part of the image, so in that case, I would almost always use M. I use manual focusing for most of my macro work, but I use center-point AF for candids of people. (If there is something good to focus on, AF is very fast.) None of these are automatic choices, and some people here would make different decisions, for very good reasons.

    So, the bottom line: there is a reason why DSLRs offer all these options. Take the time to study and practice, and you will gradually gain confidence in your decisions about what exposure, aperture, shutter speed, ISO, and focal point you want. then you can pick the settings that let you get them as easily as possible.

  9. #9
    Mito's Avatar
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    Re: Settings

    When I started, which was not that long ago, I used auto. I very soon gave that up and used P mode. P mode will set the aperture and shutter speed. I use auto focus. Auto mode takes too much control away from you and I don't think you learn very much. What ever, have fun and enjoy the hobby.

  10. #10
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    Re: Settings

    Thank you all for your replies. I would like to point out that I am not just starting out but was told this at a workshop I attended at the end of last year. I was wondering how many other people used these settings for their photographs,

  11. #11

    Re: Settings

    Did they give an actual reason why you should shoot this way?

    I like shooting manual. As a neewbie I didn't really understand what I was doing until I switched to manual and had to control everything. Despite that I agree with the above posters that it certainly isn't the best or the only way to shoot in all circumstances. There are plenty of situations where other modes work as well or better.

  12. #12
    Melkus's Avatar
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    Re: Settings

    Quote Originally Posted by devlad View Post
    Thank you all for your replies. I would like to point out that I am not just starting out but was told this at a workshop I attended at the end of last year. I was wondering how many other people used these settings for their photographs,
    Not sure why there would say that but yes one should know how to use manual mode when needed which for most they won't ever use

  13. #13
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    Re: Settings

    I don't necessarily agree that the best way to begin in photography would be to use your digital camera in the Manual exposure mode...

    The BEST way would be to use a 4x5 inch press camera...
    Settings
    Then process the film at home and use your converted second bathroom as a darkroom to process and print the film...

    O.K. I am being totally facetious However, that is how we used to do things In fact when cameras with built-in meters came along, we thought that was a great advance in technology. However, since many photographers simply matched an arrow to a selected spot which indicated the shutter speed, some really smart guy came along and said - why don't we have the camera do the matching automatically and Aperture Priority exposure metering was born - WOW

    Next, some technical wizard thought that maybe a photographer might want to select the shutter speed and let the camera select the aperture. Shutter Speed priority metering was born

    I might be wrong in what order the semi auto modes appeared.

    For a while brands competed with some brands using shutter speed priority and the others using aperture priority...

    Then another wizard conceived a metering system which allowed the camera to adjust both the shutter speed and the aperture in order to provide (what the camera considered) the best combinaton of shutter speed and f/stop. Programmed exposure control was born

    Finally, we began to have cameras which would allow the photograapher to select the exposure mode he or she wanted. The first camera that I owned which had this capability was the Canon A-1 which was a fine camera and which allowed me to choose manual, aperture priority, shutter speed priority or programmed exposure modes. That was REALLY an advance in technology and made my life in photography a lot more simple

    Getting serious now, there are two different aspects of producing a good image: the technical aspect such as exposure, focus. etc., and the artistic aspect such as composition!

    IMO, it is filling the plate pretty full for a new photographer to try to learn both the technical aspects and the artistic aspects at the same time. This is especially true if that photographer decides to begin his or her photography using the manual exposure mode...

    Sure, it is great to know how to use manual exposure and it is pretty well a necessity for shooting panoramas, for shooting with studio strobes and in other selected venues.

    However, for general shooting a beginning photographer could very well be better off using one of the semi-auto modes. I am not talking about shooting with the big red "A" or even shooting in one of the Auto modes such as sports, portrait, landscape, etc.

    I would recommend any starting photographer to use Aperture priority exposure or occasionally either Shutter Speed Priority or Programmed Exposure. Using any of these modes, the photographer will start with pretty close to optimum exposure and then be able to adjust the exposure within the bounds of Aperture, Shutter Speed Priority or Programmed Exposure modes.

    Finally, to learn what exposure variations will do to and for your imagery, shooting a series of shots with Auto Exposure Bracketing in the above three semi auto exposure modes. BTW: All (I believe all and I have shot with many variations) Canon DSLR cameras allow the photographer to shoot a burst of three bracketed shots and then stop firing until the next time the shutter button is pushed. Some entry level Nikon DSLR cameras do not have that handy capability.

    With the bracketed exposures to examine; you can see the results of over and under exposure and learn when you might consciously want to shoot an image with more or less exposure than the camera recommends. Example of need to use a different exposure than the camera recommends would be a snow scene in which you need to deliberately over-expose to keep the snow from looking a dingy gray or shooting the proverbial black cat in a coal bin when you have to purposefully under-expose in order the keep the cat black, not gray.

    Using any one of the three above mentioned semi auto exposure modes, you will usually get in the ballpark when it comes to exposure. The begnning photographer is now able to concentrate on composition...

    I probably use one of the three semi auto modes for 90% of my photography. However, I do not blindly accept the recommedations of the camera meter, I will adjust the shutter speed, aperture and sometimes even ISO to get the best exposure possible - and I can usually do a pretty good job.
    Last edited by rpcrowe; 4th February 2013 at 05:05 PM.

  14. #14
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    Re: Settings

    I will add my perspective. Most of the time I tend to be in Aperture priority mode as generally I am wanting to control depth of field. However, with modern cameras I think there is a lot to be said for either putting the camera in auto mode by default when you out it away or choosing a programmed mode (there are three on the 5DIII which is what I use) that suits what you mostly shoot.

    I know that recommending auto mode is heresy, but my reason is that it at least ensures you get a shot (if not the shot) when you first pull the camera up. Whatever mode is selected it can take time to set it up on the camera, and in the meantime the moment may have passed. So very often I return the camera to either auto or a custom setting when I put it back in the holster) so that I don't start off with a totally poor setting choice when I next pick it up. I have lost count of the number of shots I used to lose because I had forgotten I had last set up for a long exposure or some extreme sports thing.

    The compromises of auto settings are much better in modern cameras and a good starting point for creative settings to be explored. I think of it as a safety setting.

  15. #15
    William W's Avatar
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    Re: Settings

    Quote Originally Posted by devlad View Post
    I would like to point out that I am not just starting out but was told this at a workshop I attended at the end of last year. I was wondering how many other people used these settings for their photographs,
    I do, for about 85~90% of my shots.

    When using any TTL camera, the METERING MODE selection is far more critical than the CAMERA MODE selection.

    What camera do you have?

    WW

  16. #16
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    Re: Settings

    My only lens that allows me use the modes other than M is my Tammy 70-300. It is also the only AF lens that I have .
    Anyway, with my other 3 lenses (28mm, 50mm and 135mm) I use manual focusing. With my AF lens when I rarely take night time concert shots I prefer manual focusing (with my K20D it takes ages to auto focus in low light ).
    If I really want to take JPEG (which is rarely), I use a grey card for WB.
    What I wrote here above are my rules which I learned in time from my camera and lenses. They prefer that way and I don't want to upset them

  17. #17

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    Re: Settings

    I shot in manual mode and with autofocus engaged about 90% of the time. But, how I set up my camera is an evolutionary process. I started in scene modes, moved to shutter and aperture, and now spend most of my time in manual. It is also a responsive process. By that, I mean that I am not locked into this manual mode but adapt to the situation, my gear, and my own desires. When shooting my daughter's soccer, there are times I use shutter priority because freezing the action can become of paramount concern. There are also times I use manual focus. When i put my macro lens on my camera and my camera on a tripod, I am often focusing manually. Sometimes, my af does not quite get the right plane of focus in normal shooting so I will switch to mf. Learn all the settings, be flexible, and allow yourself to grow. How you set up your camera will become a decision based on your own knowledge in time.

  18. #18
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Settings

    Quote Originally Posted by DanK View Post
    So, the bottom line: there is a reason why DSLRs offer all these options. Take the time to study and practice, and you will gradually gain confidence in your decisions about what exposure, aperture, shutter speed, ISO, and focal point you want. then you can pick the settings that let you get them as easily as possible.
    I don't want to add any more to the hugely helpful string of constructive advice, guidance and assistance that's been provided above (yet another example of how valuable this forum can be). Rather I'd want to endorse what Dan suggested.

    At the end of the day and in line with so much of what's been said above - There is no substitute for Practice, Practice, Practice ............ and then more Practice. That's the way you will gain the confidence that Dan refers to and you will start to make your own decisions about what works for you.

    I'd suggest, Dennis, that you're at a point on the learning curve that everyone on here has gone through (or still has to go through - I suspect that there's a big silent audience out there who are very, very grateful that you started this thread). It's part of the process of your development in photography.

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