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How Many Really Use the Mode Dial?

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by Narnian, Jan 12, 2011.

  1. Narnian

    Narnian Nobody in particular ...

    Aug 6, 2010
    Richmond, VA
    Richard Elliott
    I have been thinking about the GF2 and one of the criticisms (even by me) is that it does not have a mode dial on the top.

    The more I thought about it the more I realized I almost never use it. I set it to aperture priority and that is it on my G1 and GF1. I never use shutter priority, IA, program, scenery, etc. I can make all of the adjustments I need through the finger wheel controls. Everything else is post processing in Lightroom.

    The only mode beside aperture priority I have used at all is the manual mode once or twice in 7 months.

    So what are the opinions out there? Can we live without the dial? Do you really use it when you go out shooting? Or is it a critical part if your shooting regimen?
  2. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus

    Dec 15, 2009
    Phila, Pa USA
    A mode almost always. I'm too lazy for M mode.
    I like the camera to not bother me and leave me alone.
    I think the new touch screens are great.
    For the short time I had the G2, I loved the screen.
    I'm looking at the GF2 for spring time.....
    If the X100 doesn't turn me on.
  3. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    I shift between Manual and Aperture Priority often ... nearly every time I'm out-and-about I will be shifting between the two.

  4. Djarum

    Djarum Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Dec 15, 2009
    Huntsville, AL, USA
    I use it all the time on my PEN. At least on the E-P1, its a little hard to rotate, but that is a different topic.

    For everyday shooting, I keep the camera in A mode. When I am using the Olympus 40-150 four thirds zoom lens for birds hand held, I shoot S mode. I also shoot S mode when doing low light or "try" to shoot sports.

    I use manual mode mostly for the little astrophotography I do.

    P mode gets used when my girlfriend wants to play with the camera.
  5. mzd

    mzd Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 30, 2010
    i also switch between Aperture and Manual very frequently.
  6. Warren T.

    Warren T. Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 10, 2010
    San Francisco
    I often use the mode dial. I use mostly "A" when I use my 20mm. I switch modes depending on who is using the camera (my wife or me), shooting situation, and lens in use.
  7. Pelao

    Pelao Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 3, 2010
    Ontario, Canada
    The mode dial still exists on the GF2, it's just that it exists on screen rather than mechanical.

    So to the core question: yes I use the mode dial and need it.

    Do I prefer a mechanical one: yes. It's a one action process, requiring me to look at one thing. I can also always tell at a glance what mode is currently in place.

    With a screen I would have to bring up the screen, and then take an action.

    I know that you do not have to use the touch screen: you can bring up the appropriate menu and navigate with the 4-way buttons and/or the thumb wheel. But that's still additional steps to what is required now.

    The GF2 has all the deliverables of the GF1 (i.e. can do the same stuff), but I prefer dedicated buttons for key items.

    I would have to say too (slightly off topic) that the GF1 is about as small as I want to go in a camera with which I frequently interact and press buttons. With a P&S small is fine as I don't change settings a lot. With my GF1 I interact a great deal with the camera and like that while it is small, it has dedicated buttons and enough room for them to be accessible.

    The GF2 is just a wee bit smaller.
  8. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Apr 17, 2010
    Near Philadephila
    I use it, but not often enough or in a speed sensitive enough way to give a rip about whether its on the top of the camera or on the back of the camera on a touch-screen. I've seen the implementation on the GF2 and that wouldn't bother me in the least. OTOH, I change aperture and exposure and other stuff often enough that not having one or two dials/rings on the epl1 when I had made me nearly crazy, having to push the up button to arm the left and right buttons and then using those to change the aperture, and having some other sequence to change the exposure or ISO or something. Having even one dial, like the thumb dial on the GF1/GF2 or LX5, or two as on the ep1/ep2 or S90 is a HUGE and VAST necessity to me.

    You can take my mode dial and put it on a touch-screen but I will never again let you take my intuitive little rings/dials on the back (or even front) of the camera and replace them with sequences of button pushing.

  9. joanne

    joanne Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 5, 2010
    cumbria uk
    It's usually Manual for me, unless I've had a glass of wine or two and then the auto button gets pressed :wink
  10. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus

    Dec 15, 2009
    Phila, Pa USA
    I'm reposting....
    Whatever Ray does works for me.
    He's the guy I look to, to resolve these things...
  11. G1 User

    G1 User Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 20, 2010
    I use 1 mode 95% of the time
    "A" mode....
    "S" mode when I want a guarantied high SS...
    "M" Rare
    "P" Very Rare

    No Preset Modes ever... although I do look though the various options every so often.

    I am thinking about using direct K temp white balance... like 5200 to 5600 for daylight, just to see the subtle changes it has.
  12. Grant

    Grant Mu-43 Veteran

    I do circle around the mode dial, and I use two cameras and sometimes forget where I last left off. When I raise my camera to my face I instinctively check the mode dial to see where I am. I suppose there are other ways to do it but that is how I do it.
  13. akulya

    akulya Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 21, 2010
    I concur with grant (and others) I mostly like the mode dial for showing me what's set at a glance - my wife only uses iAuto, sometimes I use it too, but mostly stick in A or S; but if I see a 'decisive moment' coming and I pick up my pen, I need to be able to shoot without thinking. The dial really helps there.
  14. carpandean

    carpandean Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 29, 2010
    Western NY
    Personally, I like mechanical controls for as much as possible. Instead of removing the Mode dial, I'd rather that they add an ISO dial. Also, while I've grown to accept the push to change feature on the GF1's back control wheel, I'd rather have two separate ones. Ideally, I'd like it how the G12 has it: one on the front for the forefinger (high enough to not change accidentally) and one on the back for the thumb. Actually, of those four, the one that I'd be most OK being moved to a screen menu, it would probably be the mode dial. I change it, but not generally shot-to-shot.

    For the record: I used to use M mode a lot, but have started using A mode more. I haven't played with S mode much yet, but I might in certain circumstances.
  15. bpalme

    bpalme Mu-43 Rookie

    Sep 9, 2010
    Mostly A mode but when I'm on vacation or somewhere with a lot of cool opportunities I give the mode dial a workout. EP2. . no dedicated movie button... so it's nice on the mode dial.
  16. Wasabi Bob

    Wasabi Bob Mu-43 All-Pro

    Used but not extensively

    I use it, but not to the extent that it's a continual process. Having had the opportunity to play with a GF2, I found the touch screen a refreshing change that was easier to use than I first anticipated.

    For me, the change is not a problem
  17. AceStar

    AceStar Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 9, 2011
    Melbourne, Australia
    It does depend on the photography style, but also on the camera. On my Nikon DSLR I used to have it in A mode permanently and virtually never changed it unless I handed the camera to someone else. The lens wasn't extremely fast and I only had a narrow range of apertures I was comfortable using before it became soft so I always chose the aperture. On my E-P2 I've been changing between A, S, P and M quite a lot. The 20mm prime I have is versatile and I feel more free to try other things like controlling shutter speed - and the camera is smarter about choosing a reasonable aperture (it hasn't stopped it down till it becomes blurry yet or anything). Ps (P mode with adjustments) might end up being the mode I use the most.
  18. drpump

    drpump Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 28, 2010
    Answering the original question, I would much rather have a mode dial and I use it semi-regularly.

    On my E-PL1 I use:

    'P' mode most of the time: I find it very useful to have aperture, shutter, white balance and exposure all conveniently accessible. The live guide is very handy here.

    'iAuto' mode for video and as a convenient way to drop my 'P' mode settings (e.g. quick snaps, wife taking photos). In some ways, switching to iAuto mode compensates for the lack of control wheels on the E-PL1.

    'A' mode occasionally

    'S' mode occasionally

    Scene modes occasionally

    Movie mode occasionally
  19. NetizenSmith

    NetizenSmith Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 28, 2010
    A - mode = Me
    Press of the iA button = Wife and kids want a go

    That's it pretty much. Like someone else said, I'd happily swap the mode dial for an ISO dial.
  20. Djarum

    Djarum Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Dec 15, 2009
    Huntsville, AL, USA
    +1 to what Ray said.

    I honestly don't care where this functionality is, within reason. I'd almost prefer to take this off and put a different dedicated dial there..maybe ISO.
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