Program mode , when and why using it ? Locked

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Tbamed Regular Member • Posts: 209
Program mode , when and why using it ?

Hi,

I've read and viewed a lot about the use of the P mode, I've even encountred some confirmed photographers who are using it, however, I stilldon't understand why we use it ?

I mean if we want to control the aperture or the schutter speed we use the A or the S mode, and for the rest of the option the camera takes care of, ...

What's the practical uses of the P mode ?

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Tom Axford Veteran Member • Posts: 8,537
Re: Program mode , when and why using it ?

Tbamed wrote:

Hi,

I've read and viewed a lot about the use of the P mode, I've even encountred some confirmed photographers who are using it, however, I stilldon't understand why we use it ?

I mean if we want to control the aperture or the schutter speed we use the A or the S mode, and for the rest of the option the camera takes care of, ...

What's the practical uses of the P mode ?

If you don't want to control the aperture or shutter speed, but are happy to let the camera set both, then P mode can be quicker.

OP Tbamed Regular Member • Posts: 209
Re: Program mode , when and why using it ?

Tom Axford wrote:

Tbamed wrote:

Hi,

I've read and viewed a lot about the use of the P mode, I've even encountred some confirmed photographers who are using it, however, I stilldon't understand why we use it ?

I mean if we want to control the aperture or the schutter speed we use the A or the S mode, and for the rest of the option the camera takes care of, ...

What's the practical uses of the P mode ?

If you don't want to control the aperture or shutter speed, but are happy to let the camera set both, then P mode can be quicker.

HI, If I'm not wrong the camera will pick the nearest object for focusing in the automode; I suppose it is the same thing in the P mode, so I think we can't control that.

I've asked someone, what's the mode he uses when he want to take quick shot hand held , he told me the p mode (, all he told me was that it lets him set his iso to 100,)

could be for that or the quick focusing mode?

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FrancoD Forum Pro • Posts: 15,993
Re: Program mode , when and why using it ?

I think that the first camera to have the P mode was the Canon A 1 in 1978.

It was an advanced amateur camera so the P mode was on top of full manual and shutter and aperture priority modes. It was in fact the most advanced film camera at that point.

Fourty plus years later most intercheangeable lens camera still have a P mode in fact many have more than one .

So there must be people that want it.

Why ?

Well some don't care about "settings" they ust want to take photos .Others may indeed know what those settings do but like to have a quick happy snappy type set up so that neither the shutter speed nor the aperture will be too far from what you need for a quick grab shot taken in an , up to the moment, unknown light condition.

BTW, no the P setting does not have anything to do with focusing if the camera is on AF.

On the other hand if you like or have to focus manualy, well in that case you can do that and not worry about at the same time adjusting your exposure settings.

Tom Axford Veteran Member • Posts: 8,537
Re: Program mode , when and why using it ?

Tbamed wrote:

Tom Axford wrote:

Tbamed wrote:

Hi,

I've read and viewed a lot about the use of the P mode, I've even encountred some confirmed photographers who are using it, however, I stilldon't understand why we use it ?

I mean if we want to control the aperture or the schutter speed we use the A or the S mode, and for the rest of the option the camera takes care of, ...

What's the practical uses of the P mode ?

If you don't want to control the aperture or shutter speed, but are happy to let the camera set both, then P mode can be quicker.

HI, If I'm not wrong the camera will pick the nearest object for focusing in the automode; I suppose it is the same thing in the P mode, so I think we can't control that.

I've asked someone, what's the mode he uses when he want to take quick shot hand held , he told me the p mode (, all he told me was that it lets him set his iso to 100,)

could be for that or the quick focusing mode?

Nothing to do with focussing.  P mode chooses an aperture from the full range available on the lens and a shutter speed fast enough for hand-held shots, and the minimum ISO possible.  Different cameras have slightly different algorithms for choosing a particular combination.  If you don't mind what aperture it chooses or what ss, provided its fast enough to hand-hold, then P mode is acceptable.

Klaus dk
Klaus dk Veteran Member • Posts: 8,109
In defense of Program mode

P mode offers a fast and convenient way to balance ISO, aperture and exposure time automatically. Depending on camera, you can set an upper limit for ISO, or use a fixed ISO setting, and "program" an exposure time upper limit relative to the focal length. My camera offers a choice from fast to slow.

Further, you have a program shift function to change the combination of aperture and exposure time at will.

In P mode, you shoot first and chimp afterwards to see if the settings were OK. In any other mode, you must think before you shoot. This I find both efficient and convenient for shooting where the light and subjects constantly change, AKA run-and-gun shooting. Most of the time, P mode will choose exposure and ISO close to where I would have set it myself.

I've shot a few street fairs and other events, and P mode leaves me free to compose and choose where I want AF to focus, without having to worry about exposure. In the studio, I shoot all manual: fixed aperture, time and ISO, but still AF.

IMHO, with the DR of modern digital cameras, automatic exposure is good enough. It's rarely more than one stop off either way, which is easily salvaged in post. Getting the shot is more important than a stop of noise that could have been avoided. I'm not shooting altarpieces.

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tclune Senior Member • Posts: 1,433
Re: Program mode , when and why using it ?

Tbamed wrote:

Hi,

I've read and viewed a lot about the use of the P mode, I've even encountred some confirmed photographers who are using it, however, I stilldon't understand why we use it ?

I mean if we want to control the aperture or the schutter speed we use the A or the S mode, and for the rest of the option the camera takes care of, ...

What's the practical uses of the P mode ?

P mode allows you to alter either aperture or shutter speed, so it acts as a sort of aperture priority/shutter priority mode all in one. Many people want to adjust aperture on one shot and shutter speed on another, and may not know which one they will want to adjust until they see what they want to shoot. The real question seems to be, "why have a separate aperture priority and shutter priority mode in addition to program mode?

Lazer42 Forum Member • Posts: 89
Re: Program mode , when and why using it ?

I think to me the question I've always had is what is the difference between P and auto mode. I understand the idea why one might want to use P mode - but in that case why not use auto mode? In what way does P mode provide an advantage?

OP Tbamed Regular Member • Posts: 209
Re: Program mode , when and why using it ?

tclune wrote:

The real question seems to be, "why have a separate aperture priority and shutter priority mode in addition to program mode?"

Now,  it is !?

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Chris R-UK Forum Pro • Posts: 21,704
Full auto v P mode

Lazer42 wrote:

I think to me the question I've always had is what is the difference between P and auto mode. I understand the idea why one might want to use P mode - but in that case why not use auto mode? In what way does P mode provide an advantage?

It varies from camera to camera, but in general full auto mode will greatly limit the settings that the user can change.  For example, it may not allow changes to focus settings, ISO, exposure compensation, etc. So, for a beginner, moving from auto to P mode is the first step to taking full control of the camera.

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Chris R

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tclune Senior Member • Posts: 1,433
Re: Program mode , when and why using it ?

Lazer42 wrote:

I think to me the question I've always had is what is the difference between P and auto mode. I understand the idea why one might want to use P mode - but in that case why not use auto mode? In what way does P mode provide an advantage?

My understanding is that you can't change any setting when using auto mode and it will automatically use the built-in flash without first being popped up. But I am not really sure. It's probably best to consult the manual for your camera.

ETA: x-posted with Chris R

JustUs7 Senior Member • Posts: 2,665
Re: Full auto v P mode

Chris R-UK wrote:

Lazer42 wrote:

I think to me the question I've always had is what is the difference between P and auto mode. I understand the idea why one might want to use P mode - but in that case why not use auto mode? In what way does P mode provide an advantage?

It varies from camera to camera, but in general full auto mode will greatly limit the settings that the user can change. For example, it may not allow changes to focus settings, ISO, exposure compensation, etc. So, for a beginner, moving from auto to P mode is the first step to taking full control of the camera.

To build on this, with Canon, in Auto mode it’s auto focus.  The camera will use the frame and pick whatever it thinks is the best thing to focus on.  You are locked out of single point and no ability to move focus points around.  Terrible if shooting family with a tree branch or something in frame in the foreground (speaking from experience).  The camera likes to lock on that contrasty tree.

In P mode, I can chose single point AF and point that point right on my subject while the camera chooses aperture and exposure time and even ISO is I leave that in auto (or I can set it to 100 in P mode).

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AstroVagabond
AstroVagabond Contributing Member • Posts: 681
Re: Program mode , when and why using it ?

I consider P mode Professional mode. When I'm shooting at an emotion filled event I place my camera in Professional mode and focus on capturing the quickly changing emotions people express through their facial expressions.

Other than that I shoot most often in manual mode.

I believe in taking advantage of all the technology in the cameras I purchase, or any electronic device. For me Professional mode used in the right situations provides significant value.

For years I left technology on the table by not taking the time to explore the technology available in the various electronic devices I purchased. I failed to maximize the value of my purchases.

I don't do that anymore. These days I put in the effort to understand the technology in what I bought and how to apply that technology to meet my various needs and maximize the value of my purchase.

(Disclaimer: Everything I post on DPReview fora is my opinion and should be treated as such unless you believe in what my opinion states. In that case it may be fact and not opinion. The reader should decide appropriately.)

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Ysarex
Ysarex Veteran Member • Posts: 3,033
Re: Program mode , when and why using it ?

Tbamed wrote:

Hi,

I've read and viewed a lot about the use of the P mode, I've even encountred some confirmed photographers who are using it, however, I stilldon't understand why we use it ?

I use it because it's efficient and fast and gives me complete control over setting the exposure on my camera. Program mode gives me control of the shutter speed, f/stop, ISO and so I get the exposure I want.

It's no big deal.  Any of the semi-auto modes or manual mode will allow you to control exposure -- if anything it's more an ergonomic concern given the specific camera's design and how you like to use it.

I mean if we want to control the aperture or the schutter speed we use the A or the S mode, and for the rest of the option the camera takes care of, ...

What's the practical uses of the P mode ?

Autonerd Senior Member • Posts: 2,515
Re: Program mode , when and why using it ?

Tbamed wrote:

What's the practical uses of the P mode ?

I usually shoot in one of the semi-auto modes, and when I remember, I try to "park" the camera in "P" mode. Why? I can't count the number of times I've grabbed the camera to take a quick shot, only to realize the camera was still in "S" mode at 1/30 and I've just totally botched my shot of a fast-moving car. (Or some similar scenario.)

Leaving it in P mode ensures that if I have to pull out the camera and shoot so quickly that I don't have time to check and manipulate the settings (or I'm so excited about the shot that I just plain forget), I have a decent chance of my photo coming out.

There are other times when I switch to P mode -- if it's a bright sunny day and I'm shooting in a situation where precise exposure parameters don't matter much, I might lock in ISO 100 and leave it in P and let the camera do what it does.

Aaron

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Q-ball
Q-ball Regular Member • Posts: 214
Re: Program mode , when and why using it ?

Tbamed wrote:

Hi,

I've read and viewed a lot about the use of the P mode, I've even encountred some confirmed photographers who are using it, however, I stilldon't understand why we use it ?

I mean if we want to control the aperture or the schutter speed we use the A or the S mode, and for the rest of the option the camera takes care of, ...

What's the practical uses of the P mode ?

I "affectionately" refer to P mode as Pointless mode, but yes, it does have it's uses for some people and their particular situations.  I refer to it as "Pointless Mode" because if camera manufacturers decided for whatever reason to remove it, it would not affect me in any way at all.

If you just need nice looking, ready to use sooc snapshot jpegs then P mode should do a reasonable job without necessarily optimising the exposure (amount of light that falls on the sensor per unit area) to minimise visible noise.

If you have fast moving action in the scene you want to freeze and/or are panning while shooting then P mode most likely won't give you want you want.

Personally, I never use P mode because I prefer to set the aperture and shutter speed I want directly rather than have to hope P mode will pick them for me on its first guess saving me from having to fiddle with Program Shift to hopefully set the exposure I want to minimise visible noise.

But that is just the way I prefer to do my photography.

For other people, TMMV

Ysarex
Ysarex Veteran Member • Posts: 3,033
Re: Program mode , when and why using it ?

Q-ball wrote:

Tbamed wrote:

Hi,

I've read and viewed a lot about the use of the P mode, I've even encountred some confirmed photographers who are using it, however, I stilldon't understand why we use it ?

I mean if we want to control the aperture or the schutter speed we use the A or the S mode, and for the rest of the option the camera takes care of, ...

What's the practical uses of the P mode ?

I "affectionately" refer to P mode as Pointless mode, but yes, it does have it's uses for some people and their particular situations. I refer to it as "Pointless Mode" because if camera manufacturers decided for whatever reason to remove it, it would not affect me in any way at all.

If you just need nice looking, ready to use sooc snapshot jpegs then P mode should do a reasonable job without necessarily optimising the exposure (amount of light that falls on the sensor per unit area) to minimise visible noise.

If you have fast moving action in the scene you want to freeze and/or are panning while shooting then P mode most likely won't give you want you want.

Personally, I never use P mode because I prefer to set the aperture and shutter speed I want directly rather than have to hope P mode will pick them for me on its first guess saving me from having to fiddle with Program Shift to hopefully set the exposure I want to minimise visible noise.

Program mode has made it's selection the instant you turn the camera on. It then waits for you to bring your eye to the viewfinder. I personally prefer to use just one same and simple control wheel to set either the ideal shutter speed or f/stop as needed to get the optimal exposure I require instead of wasting time twiddling separate shutter speed dials and/or aperture rings while watching the meter to try and set an exposure manually. Usually I'm on to the next shot while a manual shooter would still be twiddling.

But that's just the way I prefer to do my photography.

But that is just the way I prefer to do my photography.

For other people, TMMV

Q-ball
Q-ball Regular Member • Posts: 214
Re: Program mode , when and why using it ?

Ysarex wrote:

Q-ball wrote:

Tbamed wrote:

Hi,

I've read and viewed a lot about the use of the P mode, I've even encountred some confirmed photographers who are using it, however, I stilldon't understand why we use it ?

I mean if we want to control the aperture or the schutter speed we use the A or the S mode, and for the rest of the option the camera takes care of, ...

What's the practical uses of the P mode ?

I "affectionately" refer to P mode as Pointless mode, but yes, it does have it's uses for some people and their particular situations. I refer to it as "Pointless Mode" because if camera manufacturers decided for whatever reason to remove it, it would not affect me in any way at all.

If you just need nice looking, ready to use sooc snapshot jpegs then P mode should do a reasonable job without necessarily optimising the exposure (amount of light that falls on the sensor per unit area) to minimise visible noise.

If you have fast moving action in the scene you want to freeze and/or are panning while shooting then P mode most likely won't give you want you want.

Personally, I never use P mode because I prefer to set the aperture and shutter speed I want directly rather than have to hope P mode will pick them for me on its first guess saving me from having to fiddle with Program Shift to hopefully set the exposure I want to minimise visible noise.

Program mode has made it's selection the instant you turn the camera on.

Far more often than not P mode gets it wrong because it has no idea what dof I want and what my blur requirements are.

If someone has very flexible dof and shutter speed requirements then maybe P mode might guess satisfactorily on its first guess.

It then waits for you to bring your eye to the viewfinder. I personally prefer to use just one same and simple control wheel to set either the ideal shutter speed or f/stop

How do you tell that one wheel to change the shutter speed to your ideal shutter speed without changing the aperture and vice-versa?

For example, if in your mind you know you need 1/2000s to freeze the motion in your scene, how do you tell the wheel to set shutter speed to 1/2000s?

as needed to get the optimal exposure

What are you optimising for?

I optimise the exposure to minimise visible noise within my dof and blur constraints without blowing important highlights.

I require instead of wasting time twiddling separate shutter speed dials and/or aperture rings while watching the meter to try and set an exposure manually.

I have my index finger on the shutter speed wheel (right next to the shutter release button) and my thumb on the aperture wheel on the back of the camera. I can change both aperture and shutter speed instantaneously and easily and it's like having both aperture and shutter speed priorities at my finger tips at the same time.

Usually I'm on to the next shot while a manual shooter would still be twiddling.

That depends on the skill and experience of the photographer, does it not?

I've seen P mode shooters fiddling with Program Shift as I move on to the next shot.

But that's just the way I prefer to do my photography.

No problem as obviously everyone will have their own individual preferences.

Just do whatever suits you best as I do.

But that is just the way I prefer to do my photography.

For other people, TMMV

The OP asked - "What's the practical uses of the P mode ?"

I posted my opinions in my first post and how I came to them. I can't be any fairer than that

I acknowledged some people find P mode useful while pointing out why I do not.

FrancoD Forum Pro • Posts: 15,993
Re: Program mode , when and why using it ?

There are different types of Programme , depending on the brand and model.

Some have a Programme shift so that you can change either the shutter speed or the aperture and the P will adjust the other for you.

So lets say the camera has selected 1/250th at f/8 but you want a higher speed, dial in ,say 1/500 and the camera will open up the aperture accordingly. (f 5.6)

Q-ball
Q-ball Regular Member • Posts: 214
Re: Program mode , when and why using it ?

FrancoD wrote:

There are different types of Programme , depending on the brand and model.

Some have a Programme shift so that you can change either the shutter speed or the aperture and the P will adjust the other for you.

Yes I am aware of that. I mentioned Program Shift in my previous post.

So lets say the camera has selected 1/250th at f/8 but you want a higher speed, dial in ,say 1/500 and the camera will open up the aperture accordingly. (f 5.6)

That is a good example why P mode mostly does not work for me because at f/5.6 the dof is no longer what I wanted if f/8 gave the dof I want. P mode on its own has no idea what my dof and blur requirements are.

So, if I knew I wanted f/8 and 1/500s shutter speed then it would be quicker and easier for me to just lock them in directly using manual mode instead of fiddling with Program Shift and most likely not find the combination of aperture and shutter speed to optimise the exposure for minimal visible noise within the dof and blur requirements, would it not?

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