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What mode do you guys shoot in?

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by Dede, Nov 12, 2011.

  1. Dede

    Dede Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 10, 2011

    I just got a little more into manual camera control. I already figured, for what I want to use the different shooting modes. For example, I would use shutter speed for sports or other things that happen fast, apperture mode would be used for bokeh or if I want a specific picture. Now I've got two questions, first of all, what is your favorite mode to shoot in and why? Second of, what would be a good mode to shoot basic portraits and landscapes (I'm thinking program, but maybe there's a better one)?

    Thanks in advance
  2. RT_Panther

    RT_Panther Mu-43 Legend

    May 4, 2011
    The different modes determine how much control the shooter has over the output vs how much of the output that the camera controls.

    So in that light, it's all in personal preference :smile:
  3. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    I mostly shoot in P mode, for "professional". No, I'm not kidding, but I should mention that I'm usually using manual lenses. With a manual lens, Program = Aperture Priority. ;) 

    With digital lenses I use Manual, Shutter, and Aperture Priority almost as equally.
  4. Dede

    Dede Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 10, 2011
    Alright, thanks for all the replies. Based on what do you guys set the aperture? I mean in ideal light, do you just memorize the ideal aperture (in terms of sharpness etc.) and put the camera on that aperture?

    Thanks in advance
  5. meyerweb

    meyerweb Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Sep 5, 2011
    Arrgh. First off, bokeh isn't how much DOF you get, it's the quality of the out of focus areas. So you might choose aperture preferred mode to control the amount of DOF, but not the Bokeh, which is mostly a function of the lens itself.

    Anyway, I frequently use aperture preferred for sports. I usually want to isolate the sharp subject against an OOF background, so I'll choose a wide aperture. Even when I want the fastest shutter speed possible, I'll general use A, set a wide aperture, and let the camera decide the shutter speed. At least that way I'll get the fastest speed that gives me the right exposure. Freezing action but underexposing two stops, because the lens can't open up as wide as it needs to for the chosen shutter speed, doesn't buy you much.

    I'm more likely to choose shutter preferred when I want a slow shutter speed, to blur motion (as with moving water), or to blur the background when panning with a subject.

    Landscapes and portraits? I'd most likely choose aperture-preferred. For the traditional head-shoulder or tighter portrait, you usually want a shallow DOF so the background doesn't distract from the subject. For landscapes, you probably want a mid-range aperture. Small enough to get lots of DOF, but not so small you start losing resolution because of diffraction. Of course those are general guidelines, not hard a fast rules. You might want a portrait with lots of DOF, to show the environment around the subject. And you might want to shoot a landscape with narrow DOF to isolate one particular part of the area.

    Even in program mode, most cameras these days offer some sort of program shift, where you can let the camera decide the exposure, and then adjust the aperture - shutter speed combination up or down.

    If I'm just wandering around, I'll put the camera on P. If I have a grab shot, without time to adjust the apertures, at least I'll get an decent exposure most of the time. If I have a little more time, I can shift the aperture or shutter speed up and down to suit. Otherwise, I'll choose A or S mode depending on the situation.

    How do I choose the aperture? As in the discussion of portraits and landscapes, I choose the aperture that best fits what I'm after. Do I want shallow DOF to isolate the subject? Do I want more DOF to get lots of things in focus?

    I honestly don't worry about what is the "sharpest" aperture. Nor, for most subjects, do I worry about diffraction at small apertures. With most of today's lenses, and properly used sharpening (in camera or in post processing), you can get acceptably sharp images at any aperture (assuming you're actually interesting in taking pictures, rather than staring at test charts). Choose the aperture to get the effect you want.

    Oh, one more thing, since this is an m43 forum. Based on your OP, it sounds as if you're fairly new to m43 and thinking about these things. Be aware that because of the small sensor and shorter focal lengths of m43 (compared to 35mm or FF DSLRs) DOF will always be deeper at the same aperture. (DOF at f4 on m43 will be about the same as at f8 on 35mm). And most of the zooms on m43 don't have very large maximum apertures. To get fairly shallow DOF on m43 you'll need fast primes, like the 20mm /1.7, the 25mm /1.4, and similar lenses.

    The flip side, if you're coming from a P&S camera, with an even smaller sensor and shorter focal length lens, you'll probably get shallower DOF than what you're used to.

    • Like Like x 1
  6. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    x2 - in todays modern world of built in reliable metering, M mode has les and less applications. P mode with program shift and exposure compenation will get you there with minimal risk of a disastrous exposure miss like 95+% of the time.

    As mentioned in your other thread, the book Understanding Exposure explains all this really well.

    Is DOF critical to how you want the image to appear? Then you need to control the aperture.

    Is motion blur (either from the camera or the subject) critical to the feel? Then you need to control the shutter speed.
    • Like Like x 1
  7. Rudi

    Rudi Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 16, 2010
    With my compact (Canon S95) I shoot mostly in P mode, and I have the front control ring set to control exposure compensation. Every once in a while I shoot the S95 in A mode.

    With my m43 gear, I mostly shoot in P mode, but quite a lot of the time it's in A mode.

    With my DSLR gear, I mostly shoot in A mode, sometimes in M mode, and not very often in P mode.
  8. I mostly shoot in "P for Professional" mode with m4/3 cameras.
  9. addieleman

    addieleman Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 5, 2010
    The Netherlands
    M mode in the studio with off-camera flash, A mode for everything else (A like in REM's Automatic For The People).
  10. JayShiva

    JayShiva Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 6, 2011
    Yarm, UK
    A mixed bag of Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority and Manual as my confidence grows with controlling parameters.

    Trying to force myself not to fall back on iAuto and Scene modes like I used to!
  11. Liamness

    Liamness Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 20, 2011
    With my GF1, I usually shoot in aperture priority, with the exposure compensation dialed down a bit. I used to shoot in M mode all the time when I had a Canon 400d, but I realise now that all that faffing about probably didn't improve my shots at all.
  12. Narnian

    Narnian Nobody in particular ...

    Aug 6, 2010
    Richmond, VA
    Richard Elliott
    Aperture priority almost 98% of the time and I make adjustments a needed using exposure compensation.
  13. ibcj

    ibcj Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 15, 2011
    Aperture Priority unless I'm shooting off camera flash then it's manual mode.

  14. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    I shoot pretty equally in A and M modes. For sports I shoot in A as I want the aperture as wide open as possible for subject isolation. I keep an eye on the shutter speed and up the ISO when the shutter drops to a blurry speed.

    I trust my eyes more than the camera's brain, so I often shoot in M and adjust accordingly (adjustments made for density/zone of subject, desired shutter speed, desired DOF and for direction of lighting).

    When I'm not shooting in M or A, I shoot in 'P' for professional.

  15. fredlong

    fredlong Just this guy...

    Apr 18, 2011
    Massachusetts USA
    I almost always use aperture priority. I think of it as assisted manual. When I turn the dial both aperture and shutter speed change and I monitor both. The manual part is dialing in exposure compensation if it's needed. Sometimes I "automate" that by using AE lock.

    I could do the same thing in shutter priority, but I started a long time ago with aperture priority and I'm just used to it.

    Occasionally I use manual when I don't want the exposure to drift over several similar exposures.

  16. Bokeaji

    Bokeaji Gonzo's Dad O.*

    Aug 6, 2011
    Austin, TX
    A for zone focus fun!
  17. John M Flores

    John M Flores Super Moderator

    Jan 7, 2011
    Somerville, NJ
    M = Master of the Universe!

    TBH, I never got along with the other modes that well. With the A mode, for example, you are:

    1-Setting the aperture and then
    2-Deciding whether or not you need to use exposure compensation and then
    3-Deciding whether or not you need to lock the exposure

    Item 2 can vary from camera to camera - Pentaxes are conservative and preserve the highlights, Nikons do something different, etc...

    Item 3 can also vary from camera to camera - does the camera even have an AEL button? Where is it? Is that button shared with something else? Etc...

    Get used to manual mode and you can pick up any camera, quickly find where the A, T, and ISO are set, find where the meter/histogram is and you are good to go.

    The only time I'll use the other modes is if the lighting conditions are changing rapidly, i.e., moving indoor to out or in an area with different lighting/shade.

    One thing I wish M43 had is a version of Pentax's "Green" button. If you are in manual mode with Pentax and hit the Green button, the camera will set the A and T based on the scene and then you are free to adjust as needed. It's a quick way to get in the ballpark. Very useful when moving from outside (1/1000 and higher) to inside (1/150 and slower) without having to spin spin the control dial.
  18. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    As opposed to M mode where you
    1-decide if you need a certain aperture or shutter speed
    2-set that
    3-meter, set the other
    4-damn, none of those will work, reset ISO
    5-remeter, set the other
    6-damn, subject moved, light is now different, go back to 3
    7-whoo, got it
    8-(back at computer) oh, no I didn't get it

  19. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Legend Subscribing Member

    Feb 19, 2010
    Parked in A mode for all my cameras, and I do EV adjustments (which changes the shutter speed) based on backlighting/brightness/contrast conditions. I mainly shoot in good light.

    As for aperture when on m43, I work in full stops along the following guidelines:
    Wide Open for 3D effect
    Depending on lens, I may stop down to 2.0 or 2.8 (i.e. legacy lenses) if in bright conditions, to avoid the "haziness" these lenses have wide open
    4.0 if I want the subject fully sharp
    5.6 if I want more of the context/background to be understood
    8.0 if I'm dealing with large differences in spacing between foreground and background or if I'm shooting a landscape and I want foreground and background in focus.

    I'm in A mode 95% of the time. I switch to S mode if I need certain effects on a moving subject (i.e. more or less motion blur).

    The only time I move off A or S is when I'm handing my wife the camera. Then I switch it to iAuto. She just wants to point-and-shoot.
  20. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    9) Then set mode to 'A' for amateur.
    (Typically, an advanced Manual shooter, one who has a significant amount of manual shooting under their belt, already knows/has a ball park idea, of the ISO, Aperture and Shutter Speed, by eye balling the light. The meter either confirms the initial settings or confirms final adjustments to the initial settings.)

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