How often do you use Full Auto mode?

Started 3 months ago | Polls thread
jrtrent Veteran Member • Posts: 4,896
Re: How often do you use Full Auto mode?

kylauf wrote:

Just want to do a poll to see how often do people use the Full Auto mode? (Measure in % of photo taken)

I am just a hobbyist with probably 90% was from Full auto. The camera usually do a better job than I can quickly. I don't change setting unless necessary, or go manual when doing long exposure. Curious to see how everyone else use their camera.

I'm also just a hobbyist, but my preference is for manual mode most of the time. It's just what I'm used to from my early film camera experience, and I still find it the easiest mode to use. When shots need to be taken quickly, manual mode lets me set up the camera in advance for prevailing light conditions and expected focus point (though often I just use the hyperfocal distance to get everything in reasonably sharp focus). All I need do when a photo opportunity presents itself is to raise the camera to my eye to frame and shoot the picture; no settings need to be fiddled with and I don't need to wait for the camera to achieve focus because all these things are pre-set--there is virtually no shutter lag when using both manual exposure and manual focus.

I also like to set up my cameras with specific settings for color mode (e.g., standard, neutral, vivid, etc.), contrast, saturation, sharpness, noise reduction, and so on, to get the most natural and pleasing out-of-camera look to my JPEG snapshots; full auto on my cameras does not give me access to these settings, meaning I'm stuck with the manufacturers' defaults, which I typically find to have higher contrast and saturation than I care for.

The full auto and program modes on some of the compacts I've owned often chooses a smaller than needed aperture, resulting in some resolution loss due to diffraction. My FZ35 did this, routinely choosing f/5.6 rather than f/4, and f/4 was noticeably sharper. I have the Camera Labs review to thank for pointing out this issue:

To illustrate the impact of diffraction at different aperture settings, we shot the same scene at f4, f5.6 and f8, and have cropped the same area at 100% below. It’s immediately clear the f4 version looks best of all, with f5.6 looking a little softer and the f8 sample looking much softer.

As mentioned above, the FZ38 / FZ35 had a tendency to select f5.6 under bright conditions in its Auto / Program modes, when it could alternatively have gone for f4 and a faster shutter speed instead. To be fair, this is a better situation than the earlier FZ28 and FZ18 which actually opted for f8 under similar conditions

With larger sensored cameras, on the other hand, full auto or program modes would sometimes choose a wider aperture than would give me the depth of field I wanted.  Aperture-preferred or full manual avoids these issues for me.

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