What mode is your camera most often in? Why?

Started Dec 9, 2012 | Discussions thread
kb2zuz Veteran Member • Posts: 3,202
Re: What mode is your camera most often in? Why?

When I'm not using it I try to leave my camera in Aperture priority, and a reasonable aperture (f/4ish depending on the format). This way it's always ready for most things. If I'm walking around later at night, maybe I'll change the aperture to something very wide. That is when I'm not shooting something specific but just happen to have a camera with me... incase I see something and need to take a shot the camera is ready.

When I'm shooting something specific I'm likely to be in aperture as most of what I do I'm more critical about making sure I have the right DOF (not the shallowest or the most, the right amount for the shot) so control over the aperture is important to me. My brain is also wired that way and if I know I'm shooting action I'll use a little wider aperture to get a faster shutter speed or if I want to get some motion blur I'll stop down. (of course I use exposure compensation when the meter disagrees with me).

If I was more of a sports shooter, or if I was shooting things where I knew I needed a specific shutter speed (for blur or to minimize blur) then I might use shutter priority more. I could see if I was shooting sports and I knew that I needed at least a 1/800th of a second I might be inclined to use shutter priority... especially with some of the better implementations of auto-ISO. I use shutter priority least of all.

I use manual a lot but under certain conditions. If I'm being very methodical and want a very specific settings - If I'm on a tripod, I'm probably in manual mode. If I'm shooting multiple shots and I want all of the exposures to be the same (panorama stitching comes to mind). If I'm using a flash I will almost always be in manual exposure as it will give me most control over balancing the ambient and flash exposures. If I'm not using a flash and I'm shooting anything live (and event or walking around on the street for fun) then manual is just too slow and I might miss a shot. In the old days when I was first learning I did a lot of street photography with a manual film camera, but I was always conscious of the light and if I went around the corner of the building and it got 2 stops darker, I'd adjust the aperture or shutter speed even if I wasn't shooting anything, that way it would be ready if I saw something.

Auto and Programme modes I don't use much. If someone hands me a camera I'm not familiar with and just wants a snapshot, ok may be. My most common use of Auto or P modes is when I hand my camera to a non-photographer friend and say "have fun".

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