The Missing Program Mode

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TacticDesigns
TacticDesigns Veteran Member • Posts: 6,048
The Missing Program Mode
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Ok. This is a bit off the wall . . . but a progression of an idea that I've had for a while . . .

The Missing Program Mode

Ok. Reading through these forums for a while, every now and then someone will say, hey . . . I wish my camera would work "this way" in order to change my shutter speed or exposure settings.

If you think about it, the program modes we have on our cameras have been around for quite a while now.

But . . . at least for me, I find situations where I wish my camera would operate just a bit differently.

I asked if there was a camera that was able to adjust ISO based on your aperture here . . .

https://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/60834696

And then, on Winlaf's thread asking for ideas for innovative ideas for camera bodies . . .

https://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/62456506

. . . I noticed threwthelens asking for a more intelligent automation of exposure . . .

https://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/62468175

Then it dawned on me.

Rather than come up with unique solutions for all the different ways photographers want to use their cameras, why not open up a way for the photographer to program their camera to operate the way they want.

No. This is not new.

The Minolta "i" series back in the day had the ability to have expansion cards. You could set up your camera, and then save the program to the card. Or you could buy a card that could save you the hassle of learning how to set up the camera yourself. Sort of like picture settings or user settings on cards. But . . . as pointed out on Wiki, what you were able to do with this system was just automated setting up your camera to work the way you want. So basically a user setting that is saved to an expansion card.

And I guess there is things like CHDK for the canon cameras. But to program that, you have to write up a script in Lua. Save that script to your memory card. And then run the program.

Not the most convenient of things to do.

So, what I thought up is a way for a user to sit with their camera in hand and write up quick little programs to change the way their camera worked as far as exposure is concerned.

Outline of how the Missing Program Mode would work

The goal of this system is to allow a photographer to create a quick program on their camera (using nothing but their camera) to change the way their camera works.

NOTE: Although there should be a way to program this on a computer and upload to your camera, or transfer it over via. cellphone.

The input of the program would be in a similar fashion as how the "My Menu" system works on Nikon cameras.

You can click to add a line. Click on the line to move it up and down. And modify the parameters of the line.

Ok. Here are what the lines look like.

[Line-001][Watch][Focal Length][18-135]
[Line-002][Link to][Aperture][Line-001][f/4-f/5.6]
[Line-003][Link to][ISO][Line-002][6400-12800]
[Line-004][Set to][Shutter Speed][1/500]

1. Each line has a unique line number.

2. Commands are . . .

Watch = to get the camera to watch / monitor this variable

Link to = to link this variable to another variable

Set to = to set this variable to a particular setting

So this is how my program works.

[Line-001][Watch][Focal Length][18-135] = This gets the exposure program to watch / monitor the value of the focal length variable.

[Line-002][Link to][Aperture][Line-001][f/4-f/5.6] = This links the aperture variable range to the focal length range. So when the focal length is 18, the exposure program sets the aperture to f/4. If the focal length changes to 135, then the exposure program sets the aperture to f/5.6. If the focal length changes a bit, the aperture value would change proportional to that change.

[Line-003][Link to][ISO][Line-002][6400-12800] = This links the ISO variable range to the aperture variable range. So when the aperture is at f/4, the exposure program sets the ISO to 6400. If the aperture value is f/5.6, the exposure program sets the ISO to 12800.

[Line-004][Set to][Shutter Speed][1/500] = Sets the shutter speed to 1/500. That's it.

Ok. So this program describes exactly how I wanted my camera to operate in this thread.

https://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/60834696

So. I have decided the exposure manually. I don't want to rely on auto-ISO because of potential of back lighting throwing off the cameras exposure system. And the camera changes the ISO value based on the changing aperture value, which is changed because I am using a variable aperture lens . . . my Nikon 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 superzoom lens.

As for "threwthelens"'s want to have the camera pick a faster shutter speed as you zoom out, the program for that could be . . .

[Line-001][Watch][Focal Length][18-135]
[Line-002][Link to][Shutter Speed][1/80-1/200]
[Line-003][Set to][Aperture][Auto][f/4-f/5.6]
[Line-004][Set to][ISO][Auto][200-1600]

So watch the focal length. Start my shutter speed at 1/80 sec at the wide end, but as I zoom, end up at 1/200 at the long end. Use auto aperture, but within the range f/4-f/5.6 and use auto-ISO in the range 200-1600.

If you allow the Missing Program Mode to watch other variables, like if the flash is set to fire off . . . then you can modify the exposure settings based on that as well. Like . . .

[Line-001][Watch][Flash on]
[Line-002][Set to][ISO][Manual][3200]
[Line-003][Set to][Aperture][Manual][f/5.6]

This is how I set up my flash for taking group shots at cheer competitions. High ISO so that I can pull in some of the background ambient light. At a smaller aperture to get more of the athletes in focus in the group shot.

As it stands now, I have that set up for my P or A mode. And then U1 and U2 are the settings I use to shoot the routine performance.

But . . . if I had it programmed in, then whenever I pop-up my flash, it would switch to this program when I am shooting flash.

The programs could be stored as XML. And they could allow storage of a program within a program. So you could have a program for "Cheer Competitions", which could have different programs within in. Such as a program to shoot individuals with your 70-200mm f/2.8 zoom, a program to shoot wide angle with a 28-75mm f/2.8 lens, or a program to shoot group shots of the team after the performance using flash. And then when you are done shooting cheer, you could switch to your "Vacation" program, which has things like . . . "Outdoor" or "Indoor" or "Fireworks" or "Campfire" or "Light writing", etc.

User Interface Ideas

As for the user interface, as mentioned above, it would work a bit like how "My Menu" menu works on a Nikon camera.

If you have a program that has multiple programs within it, it could be tabbed, so you could select the tab to select that program.

As for changing settings while shooting.

You could assign particular variables to the different dials and buttons on your camera.

So for instance . . . if I am shooting cheer at a brighter facility than last time, I could call up my cheer program, and shoot some test shots. If the shots are over exposed, I dial down the ISO with the rear e-dial, which I defined as linked to ISO. And then save / update that program.

Other Ideas

I guess, it would be interesting to consider what other variables could be available to take into consideration.

External light meter? How about if you can link an external light meter to your camera?

Either press the button on the light meter, or your camera automatically takes a reading from your external light meter. And then you can use that reading in your program?

Conclusion

Sorry for the long post.

But just playing around with the idea of how do we get these cameras to work how we want them to work.

But without having to have a lot of unique solutions all of the place.

With a system like this, we could either download or program ourselves how our cameras operate and really come up with a unique tool to let us go after the shots we want to go after.

LOL.

Take care & Happy Shooting!

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