Beginner's question on A vs. M :)

Started Feb 1, 2014 | Discussions thread
hirejn Regular Member • Posts: 433
Re: Beginner's question on A vs. M :)

ISO is the baseline image quality, so there's no way I want that changing unless I tell it to, not even by a third stop. I have always shot by setting my ISO first and ISO is how I think about light and the scene. It's the first place I go and I want to leave it there. To have it constantly changing would be to change the way I shoot, and I have no interest in that. I'm sure it's a useful mode for some, but not me.

Also realize that with manual, as you go between different lighting situations, the exposure could change drastically, meaning you'd have to crank several times on the dial in manual to recenter it. It could be four stops or more, and when people are moving and light is changing, manual becomes trickier. With A, the camera immediately suggests the exposure and you have only to dial in minimal compensation, if any, so forgetting where you are or not having time to adjust is minimized. The constantly changing reflective meter is a big reason I use incident whenever possible, including at weddings. It just works better for me, but I also employ spot and matrix on occasion.

There's no one right way to shoot. But be aware that each mode has several advantages and no two are the same. A is not the same as S and does not have the same advantages, nor does A have the same advantages as M.

The other reason to use A, why I use it, is that especially in people photography I tend to tell stories in terms of depth of field, not shutter speed. Simply, I usually don't care what the shutter speed is as long as it doesn't introduce motion blur or interfere with flash sync (which is only with manual flash), and thus to switch to manual mode and have to dial it in when what I really care about is aperture takes unnecessary time and attention away from the creative process. Again this is not every shooter and it's not the only right way. It's just one reason to like A. Jerry Ghionis shoots always in manual, I believe, so he probably sets the ISO and aperture and is constantly cranking the shutter speed. But that's not the same as aperture priority. The concept is similar, but aperture priority is a programmed mode in which the camera is adjusting shutter for you. It's not right or wrong. It's the system that works for the individual. That's why there are different modes.

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