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Differences between iAUTO and P mode

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by Wizard Steve, Feb 18, 2013.

  1. Wizard Steve

    Wizard Steve Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 10, 2013
    Provence, France
    David Ricketts
    Hi All,

    So I'm starting to get my head around my new E-M5 although it's slow going. What I'm currently scratching my head over though is:

    What is the difference between iAUTO and P modes.​

    Both appear to be point-and-shoot modes that set everything for you but there must be some (presumably subtle) differences.

    So far I've managed to work out that in P mode, one can use the main dial to select between multiple equivalent exposures but are there any other differences?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. dav1dz

    dav1dz Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 6, 2012
    Auto you can't change anything. Program you can change most things.
  3. Steven

    Steven Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 25, 2012
    I don't know how intelligent Auto mode is on OMD, but on GX1 I was surprised to find that camera would choose different Aperture for example for the same shot in P-mode and Auto mode. I also always assumed that they are pretty much the same but I guess it is not so. Auto mode would choose a smaller Aperture for a landscape type photo, and P mode would stupidly choose a wider open aperture. :confused: 
  4. arentol

    arentol Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 29, 2012
    P mode meters the scene and sets ISO, Aperture, and Shutterspeed as appropriate, attempting to keep ISO low, Aperture wide, and shutterspeed as fast as possible.

    iAuto does the same thing, but it also tries to determine what kind of shot you are trying to take and then modify its settings as appropriate. For instance, hold it very close to something and it will decide you attempting a macro and adjust for that (go for a narrow aperture). If it detects a person in the frame who isn't too far away it will determine you are trying a portrait and change settings for that. Shooting in the dark with a few points of light? It thinks you want a night-landscape.

    So it actually makes a big difference which you use.
  5. RichardB

    RichardB Snapshooter Subscribing Member

    Nov 19, 2012
    Maryland, US
    iAuto tries to guess what kind of scene you're looking at, and then adjusts the camera's settings accordingly. P mode just gives a programmed exposure based on the camera's settings, without regard to the scene.

    Photographers sometimes complain about iAuto botching the settings, such as by oversaturating the colors if it thinks you're shooting a landscape. I avoid iAuto and either choose an appropriate Scene mode myself or else use P.
  6. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Apr 17, 2010
    Near Philadephila
    P mode still allows you to set most parameters yourself. It makes an educated guess at the best combination of aperture and shutter speed (and I guess it'll add ISO to the list if you have ISO set to Auto, but I think you can set ISO manually if you want). You set everything else. You can still change exposure compensation, white balance, AF area, metering - you can seven shoot in manual focus if you want. A huge difference is that you can shoot raw in P mode, but iAuto only shoots jpegs and chooses ALL of the settings for you.

    P mode selects one more parameter than aperture or shutter priority mode. IAuto selects EVERY parameter.

  7. dav1dz

    dav1dz Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 6, 2012
    If you had an onboard flash, Auto mode will also fire flash in most indoor situations.
  8. Wizard Steve

    Wizard Steve Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 10, 2013
    Provence, France
    David Ricketts
    Cheers guys. That makes things much clearer. Thank you.
  9. rfortson

    rfortson Mu-43 Veteran

    I used iAuto on my E-P1 when I hand it to someone to take a shot. Typically, I shoot raw+jpeg in Av mode, and I have AF set to one of the back buttons. iAuto puts the AF back on the shutter button and makes everything else automagic, but still shoots a raw file. It's great when I hand it off for a shot to someone so they don't have to figure out the camera. Makes it a quick P&S camera.
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