Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 30

Thread: Auto mode - is it?

  1. #1

    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Johannesburg South Africa
    Posts
    2,550
    Real Name
    Andre Burger

    Auto mode - is it?

    Please no dogfight or heated debate.

    Have I lost my marbles or am I booked on a flight to Australia but boarded the flight to Washington.

    Absorbing to much of Urban’s post “Why Auto WB isn’t” it struck me on the morning of 03 June that “Auto settings aren’t”. Perhaps my camera is to ancient and I am looking for a good reason to upgrade, perhaps all Auto settings aren’t.

    Have any of you ever noticed it?

  2. #2
    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Ottawa, Canada
    Posts
    12,870
    Real Name
    Manfred Mueller

    Re: Auto mode - is it?

    Andre - I still disagree with Urban's view on Auto WB, so I might as well disagree with this assertion as well. A modern camera is nothing more (or less) than a computer that takes pictures. If we think of it this way, the capabilities like the automation make a lot more sense than with film cameras that were produced in the latter part of the last century.

    Auto settings are what a modern camera is all about. Yes, one can shoot in manual mode (and I do under specific circumstances) and I can shoot and manually focus (although this is much more difficult to do on a modern camera with modern lenses, the focusing screens are not designed form manual focus and the manual focus adjustments are painfully short. It is something I do use occasionally on my D800, but virtually never on my D90. There are the semi-automatic functions like shutter priority or aperture priority and auto-ISO and full automation like program “P” mode.

    Then of course are the full-automation functions; my D90 comes with two – one allows the camera to pop up the flash when required while the other does not extend to flash automation. This functionality is referred to “point & shoot” in the camera manual and are really a concession to photographers with more money than skills who bought the marketing message (and the camera) that a better camera will make them better photographers.

    So, depending on the camera model, the photographer gives up some level of control to the engineers who designed the automation algorithms (and the various integrated sensors) that run in these cameras depending on how they may set up their camera. In point & shoot mode; the camera makes all the decisions for the photographer, and as we peel back from this hard-coded approach, the photographer assumes a higher level of control as they lock down the variables themselves.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    northern Virginia suburb of Washington, DC
    Posts
    18,939

    Re: Auto mode - is it?

    One of the posts in that thread is succinct, accurate and applicable in my mind to this thread. To put that post in the wider context of this thread, any process that is designated as automatic by a camera manufacturer is indeed automated. Whether or not that automated process renders a so-called accurate result is very different and worth questioning.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Alaska
    Posts
    6,727
    Real Name
    Dan

    Re: Auto mode - is it?

    Auto everything works great if you are an average person taking average photos of average subjects in average lighting conditions in the middle of the day. Which is what is designed to do. Though with every itteration/generation of camera, they do expand the bounds of the statistical population of conditions that the automatic features will handle well.

    Quote Originally Posted by GrumpyDiver View Post
    ...like the automation make a lot more sense than with film cameras that were produced in the latter part of the last century....
    Geez, when you put it that way, it makes me feel old. Oh, wait, I am old

  5. #5
    New Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Derbyshire, England
    Posts
    3

    Re: Auto mode - is it?

    Pity about your use of the term, 'average person'. I was of the view that photographic elements such as timing, composition and light capture were important ingredients in photography regardless of wether a capture was manual or automatic.

  6. #6
    DanK's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    3,942
    Real Name
    Dan

    Re: Auto mode - is it?

    Automatic modes are just computer algorithms to make decisions based on data someone else has about probable situtations.

    Personally, I never use my camera in fully automatic mode, but there is no reason to be ideological about this. A camera is a tool. Whatever helps you get the result you want is great, in my book. For example, even many of us who shun fully automatic mode sometimes use evaluative metering, which is a form of automation--the computer takes control over the process of making sense of varied lighting across the scene. Likewise, every time we use AF in anything other than single-point mode, we are trusting a computer algorithm rather than our own judgment about which surface to use in focusing.

    Where I personally draw the line is at using any automation as a substitute for deciding what results I want, as opposed to using it as a tool to help me reach those results.

  7. #7
    Shadowman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    WNY
    Posts
    30,740
    Real Name
    John

    Re: Auto mode - is it?

    I use AUTO WB and it is usually a bit off, so I usually flip through all settings and adjust temperature where possible, but its easily remedied in Photoshop and never what you remembered it to be anyway.

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Alaska
    Posts
    6,727
    Real Name
    Dan

    Re: Auto mode - is it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Charlesowen View Post
    Pity about your use of the term, 'average person'....
    It is indeed if it offended anyone. I was meerly trying to point out that if the camera, like nearly any equipment, is used within its assumed design parameters, then it is likely engineered to perfection. Said design parameters are intended to cover the widest segment of the targeted customers. The reason the higher end cameras have more and more overrides and customization options is because a different customer is targetted.

    Really when it comes down to it, calling any human "average" is a bit of contradiction in terms, isn't it? Ironically I use few of the automatic exposure modes because I don't have the mental capacity to learn them well enough for predictable results. So I just keep doing what I know how to do. Though some who know me well may argue that I simply have control issues

  9. #9
    Cantab's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Canada (west coast)
    Posts
    1,250
    Real Name
    Bruce

    Re: Auto mode - is it?

    Quote Originally Posted by NorthernFocus View Post
    Ironically I use few of the automatic exposure modes because I don't have the mental capacity to learn them well enough for predictable results. So I just keep doing what I know how to do. Though some who know me well may argue that I simply have control issues
    This sounds like me. I learned to do everything manually in the days of film and for the most part continue unchanged, except for centre point AF.

  10. #10
    Glenn NK's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Victoria BC
    Posts
    1,510

    Re: Auto mode - is it?

    I recall the thread but can't find it - link please.

    Glenn

  11. #11

    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    northern Virginia suburb of Washington, DC
    Posts
    18,939

    Re: Auto mode - is it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Glenn NK View Post
    link please
    Click here.

  12. #12

    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Johannesburg South Africa
    Posts
    2,550
    Real Name
    Andre Burger

    Re: Auto mode - is it?

    Hi Guys,

    Thank you for this rational discussion. I am so glad we do not all agree on everything, it would make this world a very boring place.

    Manfred the reason for my “assumption” is illustrated by these images I captured this morning. I have no idea if it is only my camera rendering such massive variances or do newer models also make such a massive difference?

    The first two shots are probably very extreme under very low light conditions. It is under these conditions that I have noticed the biggest difference. It seems the camera tries to compensate for very low light conditions in an attempt to render the image “clear and well exposed” as far as it can handle dynamic range.

    The first shot was taken with as many Auto settings my camera allows. Program Auto with Auto WB. I did not tell it what aperture, shutter speed or ISO it had to use. ISO was limited to 800. The camera selected 3 seconds exposure at an aperture of F5.3 with ISO 800. The light meter indication was where it should be, at zero.

    The second shot was captured full manual mode. I kept the aperture at F5.6 the shutter was set to 2.5 seconds at ISO 100. WB was set to 2800K. The light meter of the camera was ignored as it was indicating that the image is under exposed by almost two stops.

    The second shot is pretty much what I have seen at that moment. Very little light on the subject. It was early morning with the sun still very low over the horizon but not yet shining into the room.

    The second series of two shots was captured outside on my patio.
    First shot: Program Auto, Auto WB, 1/320 sec, F9, ISO 100. Second shot: Full manual: WB 4200K, 1/250 sec, F9 at ISO 100.
    Second shot is closer to what my eye saw at that moment.

    All shot in Jpg and no adjustments made after download except for resizing.

    The big question on my mind is, if the camera compensates to such extremes under such low light conditions, does it not also compensate under “normal” shooting conditions to the extent that it does not render the scene close to what your “brain” is seeing at that moment?

    Should I now understand why so many an old hand at photography say: “I am not going to let the camera decide what my images must look like!” ?

    Thank you all for the replies, it is always very helpful.

    #1
    Auto mode - is it?

    #2
    Auto mode - is it?

    B1
    Auto mode - is it?

    B2
    Auto mode - is it?

  13. #13
    tomdinning's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Darwin Australia
    Posts
    188
    Real Name
    tom dinning

    Re: Auto mode - is it?

    Hey, Andre, let me know if you get on a plane to Australia. I'll notify the border police. We have standards her, you know.

    Blessed are the auto settings for they are the way of the old and decrepit as well as the young and inexperienced and all the others in between.
    As for the dickhead who suggested 'auto' is for 'ordinary' they need to be more polite - like I am.

    I'm going to clean up the dishes and wash them in my fully automated dishwasher.

  14. #14

    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Stockholm, Sweden (and sometimes Santiago de Cuba)
    Posts
    1,089
    Real Name
    Urban Domeij

    Re: Auto mode - is it?

    Quote Originally Posted by tomdinning View Post
    I'm going to clean up the dishes and wash them in my fully automated dishwasher.
    My wife has one too, that needn't even be fed with crockery or detergent, a completely self-sufficient one, that even goes to the grocery store to buy detergent when needed.

    Yes, you guessed right, that's me.

  15. #15
    tomdinning's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Darwin Australia
    Posts
    188
    Real Name
    tom dinning

    Re: Auto mode - is it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Inkanyezi View Post
    My wife has one too, that needn't even be fed with crockery or detergent, a completely self-sufficient one, that even goes to the grocery store to buy detergent when needed.

    Yes, you guessed right, that's me.
    Free all men from subservience!

    You first.

  16. #16

    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Stockholm, Sweden (and sometimes Santiago de Cuba)
    Posts
    1,089
    Real Name
    Urban Domeij

    Re: Auto mode - is it?

    Quote Originally Posted by NorthernFocus View Post
    Auto everything works great if you are an average person taking average photos of average subjects in average lighting conditions in the middle of the day. Which is what is designed to do.
    Oh, Instamatics did that in early sixties, and even the box cameras did it in the first half of the past century. Once, not very long ago, I walked around in the city to try out if "Sunny 16" would not work equally well, and to my surprise, it exposed pictures better than fully automatic, in particular that it did not burn out highlights. Sunny 16 in fact got the exact same exposure that I did myself with A setting and tweaking, using compenstion in order not to burn highlights.

    My take is that the automation is there not only to adjust for the unusual conditions, but it should really work better for the everyday ones. In practice, I almost always will tweak the setting, even though using one of the automatic modes, mostly, almost always, the A mode, where I set aperture. Of modes used on my camera the A mode is the one I use most, then M and occasionally P, but never any of the other. None of them is in fact without control, as I can tweak P mode by cross-wise changing aperture and time, and I always retain control over ISO, and I can always compensate, which I frequently do.

    I admit to having used the Auto mode a few times for demonstration purposes.

  17. #17

    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Johannesburg South Africa
    Posts
    2,550
    Real Name
    Andre Burger

    Re: Auto mode - is it?

    Quote Originally Posted by tomdinning View Post
    We have standards her, you know.
    Thanks Tom, now I know what Jake White is doing there - teaching the Aussies about standards!

  18. #18

    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Johannesburg South Africa
    Posts
    2,550
    Real Name
    Andre Burger

    Re: Auto mode - is it?

    Quote Originally Posted by tomdinning View Post
    Blessed are the auto settings for they are the way of the old and decrepit as well as the young and inexperienced and all the others in between.
    Tom,

    No sarcasm or any ulterior motive.

    After 50 years of teaching photography, a few of your students must be highly regarded Pros today. I have a yarning to see what you have taught them. Can you please refer me to the websites of some of them?


    I am going to have lunch now, leaving the dishes to those whom so obediently desire to wash it.

  19. #19
    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Ottawa, Canada
    Posts
    12,870
    Real Name
    Manfred Mueller

    Re: Auto mode - is it?

    Andre - I think that any extremes are going to be more difficult for the camera's algorithms to get right. This is purely based on how cameras have been designed based on the drawbacks of reflective light metering. If a light meter balances exposures to the 18% (or 12%) grey scale value, it is going to give you incorrect measurements in the marginal lighting situations, and this is of course why the manufacturers build in exposure compensation controls, different metering modes, etc..

    In general, my fairly new (1 year old) camera is not smart enough to figure out that I am shooting at night and if I use "matrix" metering, the shots do come out too light. Same issue when I shoot in a snowy field on a bright mid-winter day (or on white sand beach), the images will come out too dark. If I increase the exposure or spot meter on an average "spot", someone's face, for instance or dial in about a stop or so in compensation. That being said, there is enough data in the RAW (and often in the jpeg) for me to fix any “incorrectly” exposed images in post. The important thing for me is to understand where the camera is going to fail; I always look at my histogram when starting to shoot in "difficult" lighting conditions.

    Let me throw an analogy at you, and that is the car. We got our latest car at the same time I got my camera, so both are a year old now. The car is fairly high end and being a Volvo, it has all of the latest safety features which includes traction control, anti-lock brakes, etc. This (and other) safety features mean the car should protect me from my own stupidity, and like auto exposure control on a camera, it does so most of the time. That being said, there are driving situations; heavy rains, snow and ice, where I can “fool” the automated safety features and get myself into real trouble, just because I am operating outside of what the sensors can measure and the algorithms can compensate for, based on the speed I am travelling at (i.e. too fast for the road conditions).

    On the other hand, outside of these marginal lighting conditions, the camera works just fine. This is really no different than the arguments that Urban put forward regarding AWB; there are known conditions that even a modern camera cannot handle. Fortunately, the camera designers and manufacturers have come up where I get a proper (or perhaps "good enough") exposure at least 95% of the time.

  20. #20

    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Johannesburg South Africa
    Posts
    2,550
    Real Name
    Andre Burger

    Re: Auto mode - is it?

    Quote Originally Posted by GrumpyDiver View Post
    I think that any extremes are going to be more difficult for the camera's algorithms to get right. This is purely based on how cameras have been designed based on the drawbacks of reflective light metering. If a light meter balances exposures to the 18% (or 12%) grey scale value, it is going to give you incorrect measurements in the marginal lighting situations, and this is of course why the manufacturers build in exposure compensation controls, different metering modes, etc..

    On the other hand, outside of these marginal lighting conditions, the camera works just fine. This is really no different than the arguments that Urban put forward regarding AWB; there are known conditions that even a modern camera cannot handle. Fortunately, the camera designers and manufacturers have come up where I get a proper (or perhaps "good enough") exposure at least 95% of the time.
    Aha, a Volvo man.

    When my son in law bought my daughter a Volvo after they heard she is pregnant his father in law was very impressed with him.

    The car comparison is a very valid one I also used to explain how a newbie should use a first DSLR. The excitement begins when you want to throw out the back and drift it into a corner. Stability control off. Traction control off.

    A rather controversial statement I have been avoiding is that turning off the Auto features is only meant for those whom are eager at aiming to reach higher goals in photography. Once you have been to a driving school and learned to control a car under extreme driving conditions you no longer wish to have all those safety features switched on. You want to drive the car and not have the car drive you.

    If you were driving a Lamborghini would you not want to turn off the control systems once you have learned to drive the monster? You can choose to leave all systems on and be happy never to experience the exhilarating thrill of pushing the car to the limit, those limits it was built to explore.

    Do you think Sebastien Loeb switches on traction control on his car when driving in snow?

    I do appreciate all the different modes on our cameras and all the settings that can bail you out when you have to get the shot. It should be the prerogative of each individual to decide in what mode to “drive “ the camera. None of the modes should be forced upon anybody as to be the ultimate mode to shoot in.

    The above images might have been pushing the limits. It was not an attempt to capture award winning images, as some may think. Pushing the limits is just one way for me to get to better understand the limitations of the tools I use.

    My ultimate goal is to “capture the essence of the mood in that moment in time”. What do I need to know to reach that goal?

    Thank you Manfred, you have been a great help.

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •