Why is Aperture Priority mode the most prefered camera mode?

Started Jan 17, 2018 | Discussions
Brisn5757 Veteran Member • Posts: 4,540
Why is Aperture Priority mode the most prefered camera mode?

Someone did a survey asking "which camera mode do you use the most out of Auto, Program, Manual, Shutter or Aperture"? There was a large percentage that used the Aperture Priority mode. The second highest was the Program mode but Aperture Priority was ahead by a large percentage.

I thought that the Shutter mode might be used more as you can adjust the shutter for fast moving objects and for hand holding the camera in low light conditions.

Maybe photographers like to control the depth of field or there is some other reason to use Aperture Priority.

My main mode is 'P' as usually the camera gets the correct exposure and I can control both the aperture and shutter speed without changing the exposure. If the exposure needs changing then I can use the Exposure Compensation setting.

Brian

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Abrak Veteran Member • Posts: 4,211
Re: Why is Aperture Priority mode the most prefered camera mode?
19

One reason that aperture mode is popular, is that most modern cameras offer decent control of shutter speed through 'a minimum shutter speed' option in auto iso.

SoCalWill
SoCalWill Veteran Member • Posts: 6,299
Re: Why is Aperture Priority mode the most prefered camera mode?
6

A mode means you can lock the f-stop where the lens is sharpest. All situations that fall within what you can manage adjusting just shutter speed and ISO automatically come out as sharp as your setup is capable of producing.

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tony field Forum Pro • Posts: 13,802
Re: Why is Aperture Priority mode the most prefered camera mode?

For by shooting which usually involves action of some form, image sharpness is largely determined by the shutter speed used. As a result, when using Auto exposure, I only use shutter priority. I virtually never shoot on a tripod.

I have never used program mode since it is invariably complicated to achieve what I want.

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Mackiesback
Mackiesback Forum Pro • Posts: 11,414
Re: Why is Aperture Priority mode the most prefered camera mode?
2

SoCalWill wrote:

A mode means you can lock the f-stop where the lens is sharpest. All situations that fall within what you can manage adjusting just shutter speed and ISO automatically come out as sharp as your setup is capable of producing.

Agree. In most situations, controlling the aperture has a more profound effect in the image than shutter speed. That and many shooters grew into the hobby using Aperture priority cameras.

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Goethe
Goethe Senior Member • Posts: 1,649
Re: Why is Aperture Priority mode the most prefered camera mode?
1

For me it's simple. I only shoot with old adapted film lenses on my A7, so AP is the quickest way for me to control exposure using the mechanical aperture on the lens. Sure, i could use manual but that slows me down. Fuji X cameras have a nice ISO type priority, but for my Sony AP works the best. Plus its what I'm used too, and known muscle memory tied to artistic cognitive function cant be underestimated.

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Leonard Migliore
Leonard Migliore Forum Pro • Posts: 18,722
Hysterical raisins

Mackiesback wrote:

SoCalWill wrote:

A mode means you can lock the f-stop where the lens is sharpest. All situations that fall within what you can manage adjusting just shutter speed and ISO automatically come out as sharp as your setup is capable of producing.

Agree. In most situations, controlling the aperture has a more profound effect in the image than shutter speed. That and many shooters grew into the hobby using Aperture priority cameras.

That's probably why I used aperture priority. My first auto-exposure camera was a Nikon FE2 and that's the only way it worked. So when I got a D300, I continued to use aperture priority. But then I got a D750, which has good high-ISO performance, so I switched to manual mode with auto-ISO and that seems to work very well for me.

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Max Iso
Max Iso Veteran Member • Posts: 8,652
Re: Why is Aperture Priority mode the most prefered camera mode?

Brisn5757 wrote:

Someone did a survey asking "which camera mode do you use the most out of Auto, Program, Manual, Shutter or Aperture"? There was a large percentage that used the Aperture Priority mode. The second highest was the Program mode but Aperture Priority was ahead by a large percentage.

I thought that the Shutter mode might be used more as you can adjust the shutter for fast moving objects and for hand holding the camera in low light conditions.

Maybe photographers like to control the depth of field or there is some other reason to use Aperture Priority.

My main mode is 'P' as usually the camera gets the correct exposure and I can control both the aperture and shutter speed without changing the exposure. If the exposure needs changing then I can use the Exposure Compensation setting.

Brian

If your camera has a robust auto ISO feature, you can adjust and set your SS in aperture mode too. It's usually not quite as easy as turning a dial but maybe they can work on that in the future. This is why i personally use Aperture Mode and also a major reason why i got rid of a few cameras in the past.

When in Aperture Mode, i turn on auto ISO and set my minimum SS to whatever i know is my limit. Lets say im shooting my kids playing around in the yard. I know that i need at least 1/500 to freeze most motion, so i set auto ISO to 1/500.

Now, the camera will always use the lowest ISO (100) and will only raise that ISO if my SS tries to dip slower than 1/500. This means i have full control over my Aperture with my dials, i know motion blur isn't going to happen, and my camera automatically exposes at 0.

The only risk is potential overexposure if im in bright light with a fast lens, and if so, i keep an eye on my SS. If it hits 1/8000 and is going to overexpose, i can stop down my lens a little. Since my most used lens is an f3.5 max, and since i don't live on Mercury, it's not much a problem.

Aperture mode and auto ISO is by far the simplest and easiest way to shoot, while still giving me control over all factors of exposure. Combined with the proper exposure metering settings, it's the only "setting" i ever need.

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Dutch Newchurch
Dutch Newchurch Veteran Member • Posts: 5,716
Aperture Priority gives photographers better information
3

Using aperture priority you can see that (for example) the camera is setting a shutter speed of 1/15 second. You can decide if that works, or if you need to change something. It tells you enough that you can decide by how many stops you want to change things.

In shutter priority, all you get in a similar situation is a warning that you are likely to underexpose although the lens is wide open. You don't know how many stops you might need to adjust by.

This is because aperture priority gives the camera more to choose from. Typically 10 or 12 stops of shutter speed range. Shutter priority gives the camera perhaps 7 stops of apertures to choose from, often less, depending on the lens.
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OP Brisn5757 Veteran Member • Posts: 4,540
Re: Why is Aperture Priority mode the most prefered camera mode?

Max Iso wrote:

Brisn5757 wrote:

Someone did a survey asking "which camera mode do you use the most out of Auto, Program, Manual, Shutter or Aperture"? There was a large percentage that used the Aperture Priority mode. The second highest was the Program mode but Aperture Priority was ahead by a large percentage.

I thought that the Shutter mode might be used more as you can adjust the shutter for fast moving objects and for hand holding the camera in low light conditions.

Maybe photographers like to control the depth of field or there is some other reason to use Aperture Priority.

My main mode is 'P' as usually the camera gets the correct exposure and I can control both the aperture and shutter speed without changing the exposure. If the exposure needs changing then I can use the Exposure Compensation setting.

Brian

If your camera has a robust auto ISO feature, you can adjust and set your SS in aperture mode too. It's usually not quite as easy as turning a dial but maybe they can work on that in the future. This is why i personally use Aperture Mode and also a major reason why i got rid of a few cameras in the past.

When in Aperture Mode, i turn on auto ISO and set my minimum SS to whatever i know is my limit. Lets say im shooting my kids playing around in the yard. I know that i need at least 1/500 to freeze most motion, so i set auto ISO to 1/500.

Now, the camera will always use the lowest ISO (100) and will only raise that ISO if my SS tries to dip slower than 1/500. This means i have full control over my Aperture with my dials, i know motion blur isn't going to happen, and my camera automatically exposes at 0.

The only risk is potential overexposure if im in bright light with a fast lens, and if so, i keep an eye on my SS. If it hits 1/8000 and is going to overexpose, i can stop down my lens a little. Since my most used lens is an f3.5 max, and since i don't live on Mercury, it's not much a problem.

Aperture mode and auto ISO is by far the simplest and easiest way to shoot, while still giving me control over all factors of exposure. Combined with the proper exposure metering settings, it's the only "setting" i ever need.

The min shutter speed option is missing on the Panasonic G7 camera, instead this camera has a limit on how high the ISO can increase.

I like the minimum shutter speed option which is on the RX100 IV camera. I don;t know why all cameras have this option.

Brian

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OP Brisn5757 Veteran Member • Posts: 4,540
Re: Aperture Priority gives photographers better information
1

Dutch Newchurch wrote:

Using aperture priority you can see that (for example) the camera is setting a shutter speed of 1/15 second. You can decide if that works, or if you need to change something. It tells you enough that you can decide by how many stops you want to change things.

In shutter priority, all you get in a similar situation is a warning that you are likely to underexpose although the lens is wide open. You don't know how many stops you might need to adjust by.

This is because aperture priority gives the camera more to choose from. Typically 10 or 12 stops of shutter speed range. Shutter priority gives the camera perhaps 7 stops of apertures to choose from, often less, depending on the lens.
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Dutch
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Photography is about light, not light-proof boxes.

That's a good reason to use  the Aperture Priority option Dutch.

Brian

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Spotted Cow Senior Member • Posts: 1,586
Re: Why is Aperture Priority mode the most prefered camera mode?

Max Iso wrote:

Since my most used lens is an f3.5 max, and since i don't live on Mercury, it's not much a problem.

There within lies my problem. My most used lens is f1.0 lens and I do live on Mercury. You Earthlings have it easy!

bosjohn21
bosjohn21 Forum Pro • Posts: 23,117
Re: Why is Aperture Priority mode the most prefered camera mode?

in the bad old days of film and fledgling slr cameras. there was at first no automation.  The introduction of the electronically controlled focal plane shutter allowed now the idea of automated  exposure,  It was easy to get the shutter to respond correctly to aperture in that the shutter speed could be set electronically a simple and inexpensive idea as opposed to modifying the mechanical aperture control rods and levers for stoping down the lens,  So aperture preferred cought on and the rest they say is history,  It has one marginal advantage in that we know the max and minimum apertures we want to be shooting between but the upper end of the shutter speed is  only important in that it will give the right exposure.  By using aperture preferred you control shutter speed by opening and closing the aperture, bigger aperture (smaller number) the faster the shutter speed will be chosen. and vis-a-versa. The advantage to this is we know when the lens is in the sweet spot of it the depth of field is sufficient. etc.

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John aka bosjohn21

TeddyD Senior Member • Posts: 1,113
Re: Why is Aperture Priority mode the most prefered camera mode?

Spotted Cow wrote:

Max Iso wrote:

Since my most used lens is an f3.5 max, and since i don't live on Mercury, it's not much a problem.

There within lies my problem. My most used lens is f1.0 lens and I do live on Mercury. You Earthlings have it easy!

You need eihter a ND filter or sell that lens to someone living in the dark side of the moon and get slower lens

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Max Iso
Max Iso Veteran Member • Posts: 8,652
Re: Why is Aperture Priority mode the most prefered camera mode?

Brisn5757 wrote:

Max Iso wrote:

The min shutter speed option is missing on the Panasonic G7 camera, instead this camera has a limit on how high the ISO can increase.

I like the minimum shutter speed option which is on the RX100 IV camera. I don;t know why all cameras have this option.

Brian

Yes Panasonic and Olympus seem stingy with it. I have owned two GX7s and a GX8, none have the complete auto ISO control. Mind you if i am using exposure preview it's not as big a deal bc i can see a somewhat accurate exposure in LV, but, that's not always accurate or practical.

For example i brought a GX7 on vacation years back (late summer in FL) and in bright sun, the EVF was very very dim. So dim i could hardly see my AF squares. Simply a matter of my eyes adjusting to the bright sun and the EVF then seemed dark. Problem was, there was no way to judge exposure based on the brightness of the EVF image.

It seems like just a matter of very simple code in the FW, when MFG don't put SS settings in auto ISO is very annoying. I got rid of my 70D for that very reason, it only allowed me to go to 1/250 or slower, so it was useless if i was shooting fast moving things. In contrast, even my ancient D300 had a full auto ISO setup.

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Max Iso
Max Iso Veteran Member • Posts: 8,652
Re: Why is Aperture Priority mode the most prefered camera mode?

Spotted Cow wrote:

Max Iso wrote:

Since my most used lens is an f3.5 max, and since i don't live on Mercury, it's not much a problem.

There within lies my problem. My most used lens is f1.0 lens and I do live on Mercury. You Earthlings have it easy!

What camera and lens is it?

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Flowchart
Flowchart Senior Member • Posts: 2,068
Re: Why is Aperture Priority mode the most prefered camera mode?

For me Aperture priority is the second go-to mode (after manual), I seldom use shutter priority - I need but a quick glance at the metering to decide if the shutter speed is fast enough. 
To me, the size of the aperture is a very important factor to get the most pleasant shot (shallow or deep DOF).

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ttran88
ttran88 Senior Member • Posts: 2,844
maybe their lenses suck wide open?

Eliminating motion blur is more critical for my subject. And it helps to have lenses that you don't worry about using wide open.

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OP Brisn5757 Veteran Member • Posts: 4,540
Re: Why is Aperture Priority mode the most prefered camera mode?

Max Iso wrote:

Brisn5757 wrote:

Max Iso wrote:

The min shutter speed option is missing on the Panasonic G7 camera, instead this camera has a limit on how high the ISO can increase.

I like the minimum shutter speed option which is on the RX100 IV camera. I don;t know why all cameras have this option.

Brian

Yes Panasonic and Olympus seem stingy with it. I have owned two GX7s and a GX8, none have the complete auto ISO control. Mind you if i am using exposure preview it's not as big a deal bc i can see a somewhat accurate exposure in LV, but, that's not always accurate or practical.

For example i brought a GX7 on vacation years back (late summer in FL) and in bright sun, the EVF was very very dim. So dim i could hardly see my AF squares. Simply a matter of my eyes adjusting to the bright sun and the EVF then seemed dark. Problem was, there was no way to judge exposure based on the brightness of the EVF image.

It seems like just a matter of very simple code in the FW, when MFG don't put SS settings in auto ISO is very annoying. I got rid of my 70D for that very reason, it only allowed me to go to 1/250 or slower, so it was useless if i was shooting fast moving things. In contrast, even my ancient D300 had a full auto ISO setup.

When you say '70D' are you referring to the Canon 70D or some other camera? The reason why I ask is that my Canon 70D allows me to limit both the minimum shutter speed and the maximum ISO value which is useful in low light conditions.

Brian

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OP Brisn5757 Veteran Member • Posts: 4,540
Re: Why is Aperture Priority mode the most prefered camera mode?

bosjohn21 wrote:

in the bad old days of film and fledgling slr cameras. there was at first no automation. The introduction of the electronically controlled focal plane shutter allowed now the idea of automated exposure, It was easy to get the shutter to respond correctly to aperture in that the shutter speed could be set electronically a simple and inexpensive idea as opposed to modifying the mechanical aperture control rods and levers for stoping down the lens, So aperture preferred cought on and the rest they say is history, It has one marginal advantage in that we know the max and minimum apertures we want to be shooting between but the upper end of the shutter speed is only important in that it will give the right exposure. By using aperture preferred you control shutter speed by opening and closing the aperture, bigger aperture (smaller number) the faster the shutter speed will be chosen. and vis-a-versa. The advantage to this is we know when the lens is in the sweet spot of it the depth of field is sufficient. etc.

The Auto mode was one reason they sold more cameras to people that know very little about photography.

Brian

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