Any Other Nikonians Shoot In Manual Mode?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by whoz_the_man_huh, Jun 2, 2009.

  1. I'm in M mode permanently, mostly because "that's what's taught in class". I also love the synergy with the camera and the full control that no other mode provides.
    However I get the sense few others feel this way. I've also been ridiculed for not embracing the quickness of Aperture Priority.
    Do you think there are any real benefits to chalking up experience in M mode? Or is it merely a learning tool that acquaints newbies with the buttons and wheels on a body?
  2. I use it when it's helpful to have that much control, and I switch to an automated mode (like AP) when I think I'll benefit from having the camera help me keep up with rapidly changing lighting conditions. I use what gets the job done the most effectively. Sometimes that's manual exposure control, sometimes it's AP or SP, sometimes it's auto ISO, and sometimes it's cruise-control full [P]rogram auto mode, because I'm just grabbing a snapshot, and it works.
  3. You use P mode, Matt? Now I've seen it all.
  4. guess in theory i agree with matt. in practice though, less than 1/1000th of what i shoot is done with anything other than M. i should add though, that i rarely shoot anything that can be classified as action , so normally i have the luxury of being able to adjust my settings and take another shot should i need it.
    what's a nikonian btw?
  5. For awhile with my D2x (I've been shooting a lot of film lately) I was heavily into using Center Weighted Metering in Manual mode. In reality I was sort of using it in A mode while manually choosing the shutter speed. It became quite intuitive to point the camera something and make a decision as to how light or dark you want it.
    Even in A mode I've found that I prefer Center metering with that camera.
  6. All right, high five, Thorir!
  7. When I used to shoot slides with my FE2, I always shot in manual mode. I would judge the scene and knowing my cameras metering, let it over or under expose as necessary and go from there. When I got into AF bodies like the N70 and the F100, I found the metering was so accurate that I didn't need to do that anymore. Then when shooting in P mode with my Nikon Coolpix 990, I noticed that the photos I took of the white curving front superstructure of the Queen Mary in Long Beach, California were a little underexposed, I remembered that the meter always sees in middle grey.
    With my D200 I usually get good exposures, that is after I learned that it needs a permanent +0.3 EV adjustment with Matrix metering. I prefer Matrix metering most of the time, and use the camera in Aperture priority mode with Auto ISO to ensure I never have to hand hold the camera at a slower shutter speed than 1/30 second. This works for me most of the time. I don't find the small meter display in the D200 viewfinder useful enough to shoot in manual. If there was a way to display it larger when in manual mode that would be really nice and I might use it.
  8. I mentioned in another thread that I recently started using M mode with auto-ISO to help put a soft Bigma @ 500mm in its sweet zone at f8-11. I adjust aperture between the ranges mentioned and play with shutter speed to keep actual ISO under my "minimum acceptable," and I've managed to get sharper shots. Don't have anything to attach here at work, but it would just be reduced resolution anyway... Anyway, it's a good trick, and one hinted at here by a very well meaning pro in response to my declaration the lens was just soft.
  9. Both my FM2n's must be missing the non-manual options... ;)
    Seriously, on the D300 I typically shoot street and action (sports etc) and rarely shoot in manual unless it's a tripod shot. Then I spend much time with histrograms and manual shooting and even manual focusing.
    It depends on what you shoot with and what subject you shoot I'd guess. At the end of the day, just because I shoot in aperture priority doesn't mean I don't have input or that I'm letting the camera take full control. I just have a starting point set on the metering the unit provides. Having an onboard "computer' doesn't mean I turn off my brain.
  10. The very best pics I ever get are done in manual with an incident light meter or sunny 16. I also set the WB to Sun unless I am where I can identify another source like tungsten or cloudy overcast. Almost never use auto WB. I have a full set of nearly new auto focus lenses that live in a drawer. Basically I use Ai`ed original Nikkors or Ai Nikkors on a D700 or D200. The zooms live right next to them in the drawer.
    My three favorite lenses are an original 35 2.0, 50 2.0 Nikor H, Zeiss Sonar derivitive, and 105 2.5 first version, also Sonar derivitive. Next come the 18 3.5 135 2.8 200 4.0 24 2.8
    I have to admit I was doing a grand kids little league with the sun in and out of clouds, I went to A.
  11. I shoot everything on M, even action. I learned that way on an old Pentax K1000 (the pre-nikon student days) so just having auto focus is a boon to me. It isn't that I wouldn't use the other modes, I just am so accustomed to using manual controls that I never think to change it. Now lately I have been shooting lots of wildlife and have found it helpful to leave my D200 on the continuous high speed setting so that I can catch any action in quick bursts. It ony fires continuously if the shutter button is held down after tripping the shutter. Otherwise it takes single shots.
    I think that photographers should learn to shoot effortlessly in manual mode just for a better understanding of the photographic process, but once an understanding of the camera and process is reached it doesn't really matter which mode is used. Like Matt said, just use what gets the job done in an effective manner.
  12. Calvin: My ratio of P shots to A/S/M shots is probably 1 to 500, because I almost always have (and take) the time to consider what will serve me best. But when I reach in the bag and grab the camera body, it comes out at ISO 400 and P. It almost always changes from there... but once in a while, I'm shooting something as fast as I can lose the lens cap. You never know.

    I also leave the camera in that state because my wife (her motto: "Can you just put the damn thing in Make It Work Priority mode, please?") may reach for the camera to grab a reference shot or something.

    I was glad for automated exposure when I fished my camera out of the bag in the back seath, leaned out the truck window, and had all of about a second and a half for this shot before the fun was over:
  13. Manual exposure and spot-metering in challenging light is a frequent and educational exercise, though I don't restrict myself to 'spot'. The benefit is knowledge and the ability to 'properly' expose a scene on the first take when a second chance is difficult/impossible. But I'm usually using center-weight in M mode, harkening back to the days of F2, FM, FE2, etc. Manual exp mode is especially conducive to proper light-balance when using a flash. If using aperture priority and flash I find I’m regularly adjusting exposure compensation. Instead I simply opt for manual exp mode. Yes, huge proponent of manual exp mode here.
  14. Any advantages to manual focus, Bj?
  15. I use Aperture mode most of the time for simplicity. The only other mode I use is manual mode. I primarily use it when I am spot metering for a back light shot or something like that. It seems everyone has their preference for general photography. I would say I probably shoot Aperture mode 70% of the time and the rest in manual.
  16. I shoot in manual mode essentially 100% of the time, but I have found that I frequently will use auto ISO and auto WB. This is on a D700. On my D200, I did not use auto ISO or auto WB. Not sure I know why, but I feel like I have better control.. I also use spot focus mostly.
  17. I shoot in manual mode essentially 100% of the time, but I have found that I frequently will use auto ISO and auto WB. This is on a D700. On my D200, I did not use auto ISO or auto WB. Not sure I know why, but I feel like I have better control.. I also use spot focus mostly.
  18. Any advantages to manual focus, Bj?​
    For me, I like manual focus with a proper focus screen (i.e. like a FM2). But on the digital body I only use if I really want to override the focus. Macro and very low light. Otherwise I find manual focussing annoying on the digital units :)
    Generally the D300 has great focusing capabilities, so it's rare that I take over.
  19. Geez, you like your primes, tobey.
  20. Manual mode for exposure and WB, Autofocus for sports and (rock/pop-) concerts and some wide-angle-shots (manual focusing the 14-24 is troublesome for me). I shoot a lot with ancient Ai or Ai-ed Nikkors and love the long focus-throw of the oldies.
  21. I do use M when doing stuff like macros, where I have plenty of time to even use an external meter and careful control of exposure is necessary. Most of my shooting happens in A mode, but e.g. with stage performances where the subject may be lit several stops different from the background M mode is convenient.
    I never do S or P mode, but that's partially because I frequently use AI lenses. Auto ISO is kinda neat, though.
  22. Any advantages to manual focus, Bj?​
    If you pre-focus at a spot where action takes place, you can set it in manual mode, thus locking it, so when you press the shutter release it will not change the focus.
  23. I like to use AI and AIS Nikkors on my D40 for static subjects. Nice to simply rotate the aperture ring to increase or decrease exposure without pushing a button and turning the little wheel while watching the LCD. I also use it for panoramas so the exposures are consistent across each sectional image.
  24. There's a very similar discussion happening on the Street & Documentary forum:
    I won't repeat everything I wrote there (if you're interested just follow the link), but in short I too use Manual mode the vast majority of the time, but recognize the usefulness of P, S and A modes (for me these particularly shine in certain street photography situations). As Matt Laur pointed out, there's experiences in life that won't wait the extra second or two it takes to change the settings in Manual Mode.
  25. Nikonista. The term is Nikonista . Canonites and Nikonistas. Besides belonging to another website (a perfectly good one, BTW), Nikonians does not sufficiently convey the passion of quasi-religious, revolutionary political fervor.
    I use whatever metering mode and exposure mode is appropriate for the situation. Slavish adherence to any one style will result in missed action shots when programmed or other mode would have been quicker, and photos have been spoiled by using AE or the wrong metering mode when there was no rush.
  26. Well I'm all over the place - - well not really but.... I tend to go in between A & M modes. I matrix & spot meter.
    I shoot in A mode most of the time. Easily because I want to control my dof & sharpness issues. Now many would probably say I should stay in S mode as I most of the time work with extremely high shutter speeds. That's because I shoot the Sigmonster & need high shutter speed for both the lens & the birds. I would tend to agree - but I've shot it at 1/250s with no problem - - still if I have a 1/800s or higher I get more keepers. The lens will move & so will my subjects.
    So my D300 is pretty much set at ISO 400 constantly & I tend to get the shutter speeds I need with that set up.
    I switch to M mode a lot with the D700. I will give the camera a chance & I will check my histogram like a maniac - once I've decided I'm not happy with what the camera is doing - I go Manual. I also shoot with a Lensbaby at times these days - I do not always get the camera to behave correctly with the Lensbaby programmed so I switch to Manual for it. I find the D700's sensor very sensitive so I work accordingly.
    I went shooting with a friend last week & she shoot Canon. She told me that she's almost gotten into it with someone on web as that person had told everybody on a forum that A mode is the hardest. LOL LOL LOL - - Personally I'd then say M mode's the hardest - but I don't care which is which. If you have a camera you can't trust the metering system of - then you have to go manual either way. ;-)
    Each mode has it's problems & potential issues. The task at hand - - learn to control the problems & issues any which way works best for me or whomever it applies to. :)
    Lil :)
  27. Must have "make it work mode" on or get in trouble about the house, too. I can fiddle with it if I want.
    I find it excellent exercise to use M, and use it often, but not as a priority. It still amazes me how accurate you can get with Sunny 16 and a bit of experience.
    A few years ago I pulled my FM out and started using it. Disaster. I kept forgetting to set the exposure. Very frustrating. Couldn't remember for a while why I never had that problem when I was using it full time; barely remembered fiddling with the exposure ever on that camera.
    Eventually the reason came to me: in intervening years, I'd done little photography, only P&S in auto modes. Most importantly, I'd lost 'the habit' - when I used the FM all the time (and a few other manuals before that, Nikkormat, etc), it was second nature to walk into a room/new environment/whatever and automatically (in the sense of human automatism) set the exposure, without really thinking about it. Without the meter much of the time, with it in difficult situations and when I had the time.
    Which brings me to my nomination of the best automation feature of the FM: that metal square to hold the end of the film box. With that and a Sunny 16 diagram (which used to be on the inside of Kodak film boxes?), you could set exposure "automatically."
  28. I primarily shoot Aperture priority, but will go to full Manual when I can't get a good meter reading.
    I learned full manual with a Minolta SRT-201. Ah the good oh days (wiping a tear from my eyes).
    More people need to learn this way, it'll make them a better photographer because you learn about exposure and what to do in special situations. Too many people think the 'P' on the dial is for Professional.
  29. I shoot in A or M, probably 80 percent in A. M for fine tuning or challenging situations. I'll use M when I'm using split ND filters or when I'm shooting something that's mostly white (e.g. snow) or black (e.g. fresh pavement). I always shoot in manual exposure mode when I use studio lighting, but I usually use A mode when I'm using Nikon speedlights.
    Reason 1: Small formet cameras are great for capturing fleeting moments. If I have to fool around with calculations I'm going to miss shots. Lord knows I've missed enough great shots setting up and focusing my LF cameras. Let me grab some satisfying "quickies" with my Nikon gear. That means A mode most of the time.
    Reason 2: Metering for digital sensors is very different than metering for film. It's as different as metering for color slides versus black and white print film. I find that the built-in meter on my D700 does a good job of giving the sensor what it can handle and providing a solid sample of data for post-processing. When I try to apply my slide film metering rules to the equation, I usually end up underexposing the image, because what looks good on film doesn't necessary work in the digital world. The chief differences are exposure latitude, shadow noise, and the way that highlights are clipped.
  30. I agree, Katherine.
    Matt is spot-on with the best-tool-for-the-job approach. I guess it's undeniable that no one mode, M or otherwise, can be the perfect fit for every situation.
  31. I use different stages of manual. When I'm in the P mode, I'm always flipping the rear command dial to adjust the speed or aparature setting to something different if needed. I'll override to a higher shutter speed if there a lot of action or I'm on a long telephoto, Likewide I adjust to a smaller f stop if I feel I need more DOF.
    For situations where I'm not shooting on the go or too quickly, I like to put the camera into the A or S modes depending on the situation. I almost like it a little bit better than pure manual mode since I stay at a fixed shutter or F stop (depending on what I shooting) and let the camera adjust the other one for the proper exposure. I still check in the viewfinder as I shoot to make sure the camera did not select someting too extreme from what I'm thinking.
    I started shooting in 1969 with a Nikon F/Ftn and shot in manual all the time until long after I got my F3. Never put it into auto modes till the mid or late 90's. Now it rare that I shoot in M. with the A & S setting I get to where I want to be a little easier. I pay more attention to what metering mode I'm using. Matrix is wonderful, but some situations need center-weighed or spot.
  32. SCL


    I use manual mode a lot because I have a number of manual lenses which don't meter on my D100.
  33. Wow. You can rest your case on that shot, Matt. Awesome capture.
  34. I think Dan South has a good point here. For most, I think letting the camera figure it out - and then adjusting exposure - is mostly the right choice. In the sense of easiest, most convenient, and for most users, the most accurate. I suspect that most don't know how to adjust exposure, however, and that's a shame.
    And of course I'm quite happy choosing the less efficient, less convenient, and less accurate approach from time to time. It's interesting and a challenge and you learn something. Depends on what you want to do and get from the experience - for snapshots (easy results), stick with "P".
    Newer cameras deal with all kinds of light quite well. Biggest problem is on-camera flash, and a no-brainer fix for that, if someone could invent it and give it away for free, would save many a consumer from hideous photos.
  35. I love the focus engine on the D300 too, Bj.
  36. The final image is what counts, not the program mode. I use a variety of M, A and S modes, it all depends on the circumstances.
    For my shots of indoor dance competitions, the light does not change, so there I use Manual mode, and let the auto ISO vary. (Because I'm dependant on f3.2 and 1/320sec.
    For ordinary pics I use A, so that I can be in charge of the depth of field, but when I use focal lengths >150, I most often change to S-mode, so that I eliminate the effects of camera shake when handheld.
    I use Matrix metering almost all the time.
  37. I use manual mode usually in conjunction with the spot meter when I'm shooting still subjects from a tripod.
    For hand-held photography (typically of people subjects), if I have to shoot in varying light, reacting quickly to events then I will use A mode with matrix metering. If the light is relatively static then I use again manual mode & spot metering.
  38. I always try to set the camera to P mode before I put it away, just in case a grab shot opportunity comes along, but it usually goes straight into Aperture priority or Manual mode when it comes to planned shooting. In any case I use my old MF Nikkors a lot of the time and P mode is useless with them.
    My experience is that P mode usually completely screws up the exposure 60% of the time with matrix metering on a D700, so the only way to go is Manual really. It's actually quicker to change the shutter or aperture setting with your eye to the finder than to mess about with pushing the +/- button and wiggle a thumbwheel.
  39. Georg, what's "long focus-throw"?
  40. My cameras come out of the bag in S mode (and AutoISO on)- for bird photography. For everything else, A mode - and AutoISO off. M mode - occasionally. I don't understand the argument "M gives full control" - I have the same control if I am in A or S mode - whats different between setting the camera to a certain aperture and shutter speed in manual vs getting the desired shutter speed when in A mode by changing the aperture (or by changing the shutter speed when in S mode)? I can adjust my setting for large or narrow DOF, fast or slow shutter speed, and the exposure compensation button is there to adjust exposure if I have too. At what point would M give me an advantage? (Mind you, I learned on an FM and shot for years with two FM2 - guess I am just tired of the slowness of manual settings - recently confirmed when I started shooting with Leica M5 and M6).
    Especially in bird photography, M could be useful: once a setting has been established, one could keep on shooting with it in M mode until the light changes. Never got comfortable with that - because when the light changes I need to take action when in M while S would still get me the shot.
    I have no idea when P mode might be useful - so I never go there.
  41. I use it when I'm outside with my D40. It's a lot easier to just set my camera in manual. put it on f8 ISO 200 and 1/500 on a sunny day and not have to worry about the meter getting wildly thrown off by someone's black coat, or white flowers.
    My D200 I find the meter is good most of the time. but still I sometimes use manual... There's no highlight control like pre metering for the brightest point anywhere in your field of vision and then letting it rip from there! :D
  42. I have no idea when P mode might be useful - so I never go there.​
    P is also known as the "waiter mode". You hand over the camera to someone not interested in photography in order to make him/her take a picture of you...
  43. Good point, CC. Thanks.
  44. Per-Christian - hand my camera to someone else - that'll be the day! First and foremost, why would I want a picture of myself? And if I did - then I would certainly set the exposure beforehand and not rely on some aperture/shutter speed combination the camera might pick.
  45. I stand corrected, Lex.
    What are you doing on any other website though? For Nikon or photography in general, is the best game in town.
  46. I once read an analogy to the people who always shoot in manual mode and maybe even focus manually too. This would be as silly as buying a powerful four wheel drive vehicle and then never taking it off road, or buying a 6 figure super car to drive around town at 45 mph.
    After years of having to shoot manually (with film) it is a genuine pleasure that quality cameras now-a-days have fast sensors and digital computers which normally adjust the camera as well as I could, and a lot faster and easier. So I can take lots more stunning pictures.
    It is like using the automatic pilot on an airplane. In most situations it actually flies the aircraft smoother and better than a human being would.
  47. Per-Christian - The other morning, a huge barred owl landed in a tree about 10 feet off our deck. The previous day, I had been shooting a waterfall - Manual, spot, mirror lockup 2 second timer. Since it was still somewhat dark, I grabbed my flash and 100-400 L and ran outside. In such situations, my first priority is to get A SHOT. I didn't want to take the time to spot meter and adjust the exposure in M mode. AV mode gave me too slow a shutter speed. Knowing that Canon cameras default to 1/60 with flash I switched to P and fired away. (After the first shot, I had to reset mirror lockup and the 2 second timer. I hate it when that happens.) But the results were great.
    If someone uses P mode all the time because they're afraid - or not knowledgeable - of the other modes, then yes, they are turning over their camera to a disinterested 3rd party. But using P mode to get the job done is simply knowing your equipment and how to get the best results with it. Using P mode is not necessarily something to be ashamed of. Gosh, I might start using it more!
  48. Calvin,
    excuse my wacky english: what I meant to say („long focus-throw“) is the fact that older Nikkors are low-geared in their helical focusing thread - just a small turn on the focusing-ring is needed to bring most modern AF-lenses from close-up to infinity, a bit longer turn will do the same with an Ais-lens and you have to rotate the focus-ring quite a bit more (up to over 270 grads) to focus from infinity to the closest distance with an Ai or even older Nikkor. This is one of the reasons why I like to use the „oldies“.
  49. bmm


    50% in A mode and matrix (my most common walk-around mode)
    15% in S mode and matrix (when I'm particularly interested in controlling movement)
    35% in M mode and spot (for creative stuff and learning, and when I don't only have one short chance to capture the image))
    Interested though in the poster above who spoke of using AutoISO with M mode. While I think its an awesome feature in A mode (where it in effect creates a quasi-floor for shutter speed) I get really annoyed when I forget to turn it off in M mode and where it interferes with what I'm trying to achieve creatively.
  50. I have to agree with the "whatever gets the job done" folks. Aperture mode for controlling DOF...use it a lot. Shutter priority...stops flying things...mostly birds. Programmed...when I let my 15 yo daughter take some shots with my camera, while I watch closely and hold my breath. Manual for controlled experiments with exposure and effects. I personally don't like the auto-iso feature very much as I like to keep the iso close to base 200 for the D300 if possible and only push it up above 800 when I don't have a choice. There is even visible noise at 200.
  51. If matrix metering was perfect (as in "it can read my mind") I'd use program, aperture priority and shutter priority but since it's not I need too fiddle with auto iso settings, minimum shutter speed, metering modes, exposure compensation, flash exposure compensation, ae lock, fv lock etc just to get what I want.
    I like to shoot fast and consistent so I just use manual all the time and set the iso, shutter speed and aperture myself and be done with it. Metering is always spot and AF is always AF-C using AF-On. Makes my life easier...but horses for courses.
  52. Sometimes autofocus, auto metering, auto ISO, shake reduction ... may actually be a life saver, especially if you're hanging on to it by your fingertips..
  53. Did you say you lock up your ISO at 400 all the time, Lil?
  54. I only use it when shooting at night, to lock in settings and focus. Otherwise, I find the automation to be one of the best things about modern photography. I generally use A-priority. Why would I buy an expensive camera and not use the technology I paid for? For me, a DSLR is meant to be fast, agile, and require minimal attention from me. If I want to do the opposite, that's what my 4x5 field camera is for.

    Kent in SD
  55. I sometimes go full manual when Sunny 16 applies, and very often when doing outdoor fill flash. I get my best fill flash exposures shooting Sunny 16 and shooting the flash by guide number. Just grab the distance off the lens once it's focused and poof! Perfect fill.
  56. My first serious camera was a Leica IIIF and I shot Kodachrome so yes I learned in manual mode and still use it all the time. What could be easier now when you can see the results of every shot on the little screen. The more sophisticated metering systems get the more they seem to get it wrong, in my opinion. I've read many accounts here of people actually returning cameras because the exposures a little too dark or light. "Sunny 16" still rules!
  57. I meter a little differently with each camera. With a Canon F-1/FT QL/FTb/FTbN I will try to use the selective area meter on a light gray or light gray equivalent area. I will then recompose, focus and shoot. I will use a similar technique with a mechanical Nikkormat even though I will be using center weighted metering. With a Minolta X-700 I will either tilt the camera up or down to change the exposure setting in Aperture Priority mode, press down the meter lock button with my middle finger and then shoot with my index finger. With an FE or N2020 I will use the exposure compensation dial if my subject is too light or too dark. The Konica FT-1 has an AE Lock position on the shutter button ring so moving the camera toward a lighter or darker area and recomposing works as long as you maintain the right pressure on the shutter button.
  58. That's the only mode on my FM2.
  59. I should add, manual focus is another story. I love AF! Just for the heck of it I went out yesterday with my D300 and MF 28-50 AIS Nikkor - a superior, super sharp lens. After awhile I said to myself, this is stupid, where is my AF 18-200mm zoom?
  60. I use aperture priority mode with my d70. With my fm3a I use, about equally, both aperture priority mode and manual mode. With the d70 and the fm3a in aperture priority mode, I occasionally use the exposure compensation feature of these cameras to adjust exposure. I use manual mode, of course, with my fully mechanical cameras.
  61. Per, is there a reason you choose the rather specific combo of F3.2 and 1 / 320 sec?
  62. Since all I have are Nikon F2's and an Nikkormat FT3, I am kind of stuck with manual not that I mind, I don't. I think in manual and not in automatic. I will upon occasion use the camera's meters in a pinch but use a Minolta Flashmeter V and Pentax 1 degree spot (and use AA's Zone System) well over 90% of the time. I have used the Zone System for so long that it becomes almost automatic with me. I think in zones when I look at a subject.

    I have a Nikon Coolpix 5700 but do not use it for serious photography. WIth that one, I usually use Aperture Priority because metering in manual is very inflexible. Call me Old School, I take it as a compliment anyway, but I still believe that film is the only way to go for really serious work, especially when it comes to black and white, which makes up about 66% of eveyrthing I shoot.
  63. Agreed, Joe.
    I never saw much point to the exposure compensation button since tweaking the base controls accomplishes the same purpose.
  64. I use all the modes, primarily AP because I like to control DOF most of the time. but I use all modes including manual.
    For example with off camera lighting and studio work I use M mode.
    When I want to deal with motion elements I use SP.
    I save P mode for grab shots primarily outdoors.
    All modes have a purpose for getting the job done. I could go on about other circumstances that will lead me to use the different modes.
  65. My Canon P&S has only automatic mode but I can preview the exposure. By using a combination of exposure compensation and locking exposure with a half press of the shutter release it does a good job of getting what I want. I think many future SLR cameras will have EVF's that will allow previewing the results in the viewfinder and showing you the effects of changing aperture or shutter speed. Does anyone know if the Panasonic G1 works this way?
  66. I slavishly adhere to M and spot metering. Oddly enough, I started that while shooting sports (indoor basketball) as it gives very consistent results and it gradually replaced aperture priority for the rest of my shooting. I probably should use the automatic modes more than I do, but I forget that they are even there. It's just not what I do anymore.
    Manual focus, on the other hand, just doesn't seem to work for me on a DSLR, despite years of using a Pentax K1000. I think aging eyes and focus screens lacking split prisms have conspired against me.
    In any case, to each his own. If a certain exposure mode makes you more comfortable and able to think about composition and lighting and so forth, than so be it.
  67. I shoot a lot in manual. I have used that system for years and it seems to agree with me. Sometimes aperture priority if I feel the need for it. My D200 has shutter priority but I have never really liked those programs.
  68. I always shoot in Manual. I feel more control with Manual, and I know what i'm going to get when I shoot in this mode. I feel less safe with Automatic, and less artsy :)
  69. bmm


    A further thought to my contribution above.
    I actually think this is one area in which my recently doing a photo workshop has most contributed. It has made me almost religiously ask myself the question "what is the nature of the light" when I'm about to shoot - and im particular is it constant or is it variable.
    If its pretty constant then these days I go manual so that I set a proper exposure, not leaving my meter to do the cfinal hoosing for me, and not allowing it to be thrown by different colours/shades/etc as I take my various images.
    If on the other hand its highly variable then (assuming I'm shooting lots in quick succession) I bet the other way, and generally go to A mode so that the meter can adapt to the conditions as they change and as I move around.
  70. Thanks for clarifying, Georg. I've never used a lens without autofocus.
  71. I often shoot in M mode with my D40 (it happens less often with the D300) when its metering starts to act up (way off, not just off by a little). The camera's meter tend to overexpose.
  72. Glad to know we think alike, Pete.
  73. @Dieter: I have photography as a hobby. My other interest off-work is to take care of my family. This means for example holidays and trips together. My family and I are often loking at "old" photos from our holidays together, and we often remind each other: "Do you remember...." And, as eating is a nice thing doing together, we often seek nice restaurants. Therefore, we often ask the waiter to take a shot of us. (And no, with restaurants I do NOT mean McDonalds.)
    @Phil: Please do not think I find "P" a "lesser" mode. On the contrary, it is better to get the shot than none at all, and I am sure I have made bad shots just because I hade to fire away, not having time to think too much about alterations of previous settings. However, most of my shots are made in a controlled environment (nature, indoor sports/dance) so I have time to decide on my settings beforehand.
  74. Nikonista. The term is Nikonista . Canonites and Nikonistas​
    Lex, apart from beeing somewhat long, what is wrong with the term "Nikonficionado" ? ;)
  75. Calvin - sorry for not getting back to you - I'm working on pp'ing a lot of photos from our trip & I forgot to check back.....
    OK in regards to ISO. OK - I right now have three dslr Nikon cameras, the D70, D300 & D700 - all of them have a base ISO of 200.
    Now, the D70 is set on ISO 200 as I shoot IR shots with it. I was told to use ISO 100 - but no such setting on the D70. Therefore I use the rating the D70 is made for - 200. Since it's mostly landscapes that's fine.
    The D300 is my wildlife camera these days. That means it's most of the time connected to the Sigma 300-800mm f/5.6 - - with that lens I need shutter speed & I need them fast. Long Lens Technique. Also - birds often move very fast - shutter speed, shutter speed, shutter speed. I find that the shutter speeds I like to work at are easily achieved if I'm at ISO 400 & I can get the f stop I want as well. So I have it set at ISO 400 pretty much most of the time. Now I will raise it a tad if needed & when needed, but if I need to go low light the Sigmonster is transfered onto the D700 as that's it's forte.
    However - there are always times when things change. I will, for example, lower the ISO to ISO 200 on the D700 when I use it for landscape photography. Then I shoot wide angles or at least my 24-70mm f/2.8 so my shutter speeds are far more flexible. However - if in a rush & I don't have time for a tripod - then I may just keep it at ISO 400.
    Nothing is set in stone. I judge the amount of light I have & what I'm doing - - I adjust accordingly.
    Does that make sense?
    Lil :)
  76. Calvin,
    when photographing the freestyle/disojazz competitions in badly lit indoor sportsarenas, you have to decide: with or without flash. I do both, but I am also afraid that the flashes will disturb the dancers, so I most often shoot without.
    In order to stop action I need a shutter speed of 1/320 or faster, and the arena is so dark that I have to use the lenses almost wide open. Experience have shown me that in these settings, my 50 and 85mm 1.8 gives sharp enough results from 2.8 and up, and the depth of field is also OK there. Setting these fixed in M-mode, the only variable I can rely on is Auto ISO, which varies wheter the dancer is in the spotlight or not. AutoISO ordinarily varies from 1400 to 6400 on my D300.
    If I suddenly decides to use flash, the AutoISO instantly and automatically reduces the ISO to a nicer 200, if I'm lucky.
    Here is an example with flash:
  77. And I forgot, The manual settings also depends on the available light. In some arenas, I also have to use M-settings of 1/250 and 2.8, but then I have to know the dance routine of the dancers, and also hope for a bit of luck.
  78. I always use Manual mode (well usually). Once you check a few basics it's pretty easy.
    1. Determine your ISO: do you need clarity or speed; is the light bright or dim?
    2. Change WB from auto if needed: is it a cloudy day or a special situation?
    3. Set the aperture: use the optimal size for your lenses clarity unless you have a special situation.
    Then just press the shutter release half way and adjust your shutter speed until your exposure level is 0. Viola, you're ready to click.
    Of course there are many other settings to consider but these basics have made working in Manual mode fun and easy for me. Most situations are fairly constant so once I've got the first 3 settings, a tweak of the shutter speed when the light changes is all I usually need (but then I don't take many pictures while dangling off the side of a cliff, egad! :) ).
  79. bmm


    Per - never thought of it that way... so in a sense you're using M as an auto mode where the only variable is ISO (set of course within the parameters of your autoISO settings). Very interesting and counter-intuitive thinking... thankyou for opening my eyes to this thought!
    On a totally different topic... Canonites and Nikonistas... is anyone else reminded of the Montagues and the Capulets? [...or am I just a whacko?...]
  80. I picked up a camera for the first time in Jan 08. For a year I shot only with manual film cameras and loved it. Now that I'm shooting with a D700, 99% of my shots are in full manual mode. I switch between spot/ matrix and C/W as required and use Aperture priority for around 50% of my street photography.
    After shooting manual Nikon's for a year. Manual mode just seems like the natural way to use a camera.
    I assumed that most people shoot in manual mode...?
    Most of the time I use auto white balance as I shoot in RAW. I find that if it was a sunny day. The correct WB will be right in the middle of Auto and Sunny when I open up the file in Adobe RAW, so I split the difference in the two kelvin values. I find it the same for all white balance settings. When the shot allows I'll custom set the white balance.
    I've never used the P mode on my camera, just as I've never mounted a flash directly onto the hot shoe mount. Both give ghastly results.
  81. With most of my cameras I don't have a choice, manual only and separate light meter.
    I also use a Minolta XE-1 which has an internal meter which is quite accurate. I always use it in manual and set the shutter speed according to the meter's recommendation. It is capable of aperture priority with auto shutter speed selection but I never use it despite 99% of my shots being taken at the metered speed. They would be the same if I changed to auto.
    I suppose it's just a habit to use manual but I should shoot a roll on auto only to see how it comes out.
  82. I use manual focus, but I don't have much choice on my FM3a. Sometimes I use manual exposure, and sometimes aperture priority.
  83. My medium and large format cameras are totally manual but I shoot a lot of Aperture priority on my D300. I also shoot Manual when needed and occasionally SP with Auto ISO for some sport stuff.
    The benefit of shooting manual is that you visually evaluate the scene, consider the meter's suggestion and then make the exposure having deviated from the meter's suggestion as you consider appropriate. It you just line up the meter in the middle then you might as well be shooting AP as you gain the ability to quickly turn round and make a grab shot if the lighting is different on the other side.
    The problem that I find with making a judgement based on the D300 meter reading is that I'm not exactly sure what the Matrix meter is doing. On a meter that just averages the scene, like my Seconic, I can tell that a bright area in the background will bias the reading so I may expose longer than the meter suggests in order to accomodate.
    Sometimes the matrix meter really calculates things well, such as a grab shot that I made of someone blowing candles out on a cake. I have no idea how it knew what I wanted. At other times for completely unknown (to me) reasons, it occasionally makes a real mess.
    I use the different modes as I deem appropriate for the situation.
  84. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    As long as you understand how to trade off among aperture, shutter speed, and ISO sensitivity to control your image, it does not matter much which exposure mode you use. The end result should be the same.
    I tend to use Program a lot because when I shoot quickly, the camera gives me a reasonable default, but I still pay attention to the aperture and shutter speed. If those are not what I want, I use Flex Program to change to other equivalent exposure settings.
  85. I guess I am the exception to the above rule. I almost always shoot in P mode and then, if I don't like the shutter/aperture combo P mode suggests, adjust with the thumb wheel. I grew up with cameras that had no meters, and for a while I didn't have an external meter either, so I became quite good at estimating exposures by eye. For me, having a camera do a lot of the figuring out is like moving up from laborer to supervisor. I just have to see if it's doing what I think it should be doing, instead of having to do it myself. What I like about P mode is that it attempts to adjust the shutter speed for the current focal length of the lens, which I tend to be less conscious of, having "grown up" mostly with primes.
    On the other hand, I usually shoot with center-weighted, after a year of struggling with matrix and finally finding it too unpredictable. I can judge, by eye, whether what I most care about in the image is brighter or darker than 18% gray and pre-set the exposure compensation accordingly. For me, this "manual" step works better than trying to out-guess what's in the camera's image database.
    All that having been said, maybe I'd find it easier to adjust the shutter speed or aperture instead of the exposure compensation (without taking my eye off the viewfinder) and I may give Manual a try.
  86. when you first get the dslr, the user does not really know anything about the settings used to take a picture. using manual mode for a time is way of learning what combinations of iso fstop shutter speed work any why.
    but after you know this, and it may take time to do so, there is no reason not to shoot in any of the auto modes, and let the camera do the work. this lets the shooter free to concetrate on the much harder part of photohgraphy. that is: learning WHAT to shoot. this is called composition. the technical part, the settings, is just a mechanical exersize. the knowledge that you got while in manual mode can now be used to check the dslrs's automatically chosen settings and if necessary change them to suit the scene lighting situation and photog's wishes.
    the only time i shoot in manual anymore is when i shoot hdr, panoramas, or astromonical images. i am too busy deciding on the composition of the shot to continually change the settings myself unless i have to. i am in my 38th yrs of slr/dslr shooting pictures.
  87. Thanks for the pic, Indraneel.
  88. I use Aperture Priority a LOT, and Manual too, but when I put the camera away, I often stick it in the green auto mode that many of us here despise. Why? That way if I need to hand my camera to somebody next time I pick it up, I just hand it, no fiddling. (Okay, I might put my flash on.)
    Recently, I wasn't paying attention and left it in Green Auto mode when I meant A and took a BUNCH of shots before I realized that spinning my wheel wasn't changing aperture at all.
    They all came out great, which made me think that when I'm in Manual I'm just working too hard. I think I should try shooting in P for a week or so (it's "flexible", so you just spin the wheel and you're basically in "A" mode) and see how it goes.
  89. Scott, what's "AA's Zone System"?
  90. I nearly always use A or even P mode. That's because I struggle to see the difference between using the M or any other mode.
    When I use M, I watch the indicator in the viewfinder that tells me, if the exposure is correct. So I can deliberately go for some over- or underexposure. But I can do the same when in any other mode, I just can dial in a little plus or minus. So I think there's nothing really wrong with shooting in program mode, as I can alter the exposure depending on the needs.
  91. I think it's important to be familiar with all the modes of your camera. Every situation is different.
  92. Per, "Nikonficionado" is a beautiful term. Being a big Hemingway fan I am particularly fond of it.
  93. So far down of the thread, few will see my post. Anyway, I tend to keep it at A most of the time simply because I often take close-up of table top objects (watches, etc.) and the camera is set as such when I am not carrying around. When I walk around with camera, I make sure that ISO and WB is NOT Auto and whetner A or S or M or P really depends on where I am. In the park, when I aim birds, I choose S for faster speed without blurring. When I aim flowers, I first try with A mode, then switch to M for better to my liking. When I am simply walking the street, I tend to set at P..... So, it really depends and I try NOT to blindly set at certain mode and try consciously to set it to the mode for the purpose before encountering the situation.
    Wow, your thread always attracts MANY posts!
  94. Thanks, Lil.
    For some reason I had ridiculously envisioned you locking your ISO regardless of the situation. Heh.
  95. I shoot manual most of the time. For 30 years, that was the only option I had on my old F2 and FM bodies. In manual I know exactly what I'm going to get, with no risk that the camera will "think" I want something else. I do occasionally use aperture priority or shutter priority on my D200 now that I've moved into the digital world. I shot a job a week ago where I was using fill flash to shoot party pictures and moving from inside to outside. I set the aperture for the flash exposure (good old Vivitar 285HV) and let the camera worry about the shutter speed to take care of the backgrounds. But even then I had to switch to manual once the outdoor light got so low that the shutter was dragging slow enough to blur hand movements and such. I've used shutter priority sometimes shooting sports where I need to lock in shutter speed because of motion or a long lens, but the players are moving instantly from sun to shade and aperture changes quickly. I've put the camera into program mode on rare occasions for quick snapshots or to hand it to someone else, but don't normally use program for anything serious.
  96. Shun: I tend to use Program a lot because when I shoot quickly, the camera gives me a reasonable default...​
    It's so refreshing to hear someone of known experience and skill confess to using P mode at times. There's almost a kind of bravado in forum threads attached to doing everything manual. Too funny.
  97. Calvin. The modes spell MAPS, and that's all they are. Different ways of getting where you want to go. If I used Manual at a motocross race, I'd spend my entire day looking down at the camera's settings and twirling knobs, talking to myself, and missing the unpredictable and extremely fast action of the riders. I rely on Shutter mode, because that's a must, changing it based on whether the action is coming straight at me (1/500) or I'm shooting from the side (1/1500). I change ISO to account for whether the sun is out, or ducked behind the clouds, or whether the sky is in the background or not. I have to trust the camera's instincts somewhat or at the end of the day I'd have zero keepers. In static situations similar to what's in your portfolio, Manual on a tripod with some exposure bracketing will get you where you want to go. And like everyone else, I keep the camera on P just in case. Regards, Bill
  98. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    D Syd, the only thing is that you used the word "confess." The fact of the matter is that as long as you know how to use it, there is absolutely nothing wrong with the Program Mode. Otherwise, Nikon wouldn't put it on the F4, F5, F6, D2X, D3, D3X ....
    A lot of people dismiss P because they don't understand how Flex Program works. They think in P the camera sets both the aperture and shutter speed for you. Apparently even Ellis Vener didn't understand and we had an exchange about that in this very forum several years ago. On the F4, unfortunately, that is indeed the case. The F4 has no command dials so that there are only P and PH (high shutter speed), and I simply don't use P on the F4. On anything with a main command dial, Flex Program lets you adjust the aperture and shutter speed simultaneously while keeping the overall exposure constant. (E.g., if P select 1/250 sec f5.6, you can swtich to 1/125 f8, 1/60 f11 or 1/500 f4 ... by rotating just one dial.) To me, that is very convenient and I use that as a more advanced A mode.
    I would avoid the P mode when I use flash, though.
  99. Thanks for the background on what you do, Per.
    Very nice low light photo.
  100. I almost always shoot in Manual mode. When give the camera to someone else, ussually put it in P or auto mode.
  101. Another vote for Shiftable Program - this isn't your grandad's Program mode! Obviously there are some situations like Bill's where it's necessary to lock down a particular shutter speed (or aperture) and where using P could actually be extra work in changing light. But most of the time (like Shun) I think of P as an 'advanced A mode' (or in other situations as an 'advanced S mode'). Each of the PAS modes can easily be adjusted to give you any 'correct' shutter speed/aperture combination in the same light, and a similar amount of thought is required to use any of these modes creatively. All of them assume you trust the meter reading by default, but each is easily overriden by exp comp or lock when you don't.
    Things get a bit more complicated when you also set auto ISO, however, and you might end up fighting the camera's decisions if you're not careful. The interesting thing is that the current generation of Nikons have very wide useful ISO ranges, so it seems entirely feasible to go back to M mode and let auto ISO take up the slack. Is anyone doing this routinely?
  102. Nice analogy, Bernard.
    Although come to think of it I don't know of any star-crossed trysts between Canon and Nikon shooters. If anyone does, please share.
  103. Yes, Gary. Composition is the artistic and therefore more difficult part of photography.
  104. I slavishly adhere to M and spot metering. Oddly enough, I started that while shooting sports (indoor basketball) as it gives very consistent results and it gradually replaced aperture priority for the rest of my shooting.​
    Zinged! Tell you the truth, I also tend to use manual metering with indoor school sports. But I use auto-ISO too. I want to maintain full control over shutter speed and aperture. But most public schools have very uneven illumination, with variations up to 1 EV or more between pools of light and shadow on the floor. A couple of school gyms I've shot in have more than a 1 EV difference between the baskets at either end. If I stuck with all manual mode, including a fixed ISO, I'd have lots of under- or over-exposed photos.
    "Nikonficionado" ?​
    Not enough quasi-religious/political fervor.
    Canonites and Nikonistas ... is anyone else reminded of the Montagues and the Capulets?​
    Not bad. Add a little sexual tension to the quasi-religious/political fervor. Add some gore, Titus Andronicus style, and we'll have the makings of epic theater. Well, without the Kurt Weill.
  105. I think "Nikonian" is a terrible made-up word, but to the folks over here:
    it means a user of Nikon camera gear.
    Its a pretty good website (though not as good as but awful name for "Nikon shooter."
  106. Ken, you're right to advocate flexibility. Thanks for your input.
  107. I am always in "M" mode: Leica M. Actually not true I use a F2 with great pleasure with the 105 f2.5 (C not NIC, lower contrast better shades!) and IF ED 300mm which is super and costs nothing nowadays + motor drive. The F and F2 were really like Leicas in term of workmanship, so well build . I love the MD as well. It's old fashioned to diginikonites maybe but the slides are pretty good anyway!
  108. Thanks, Richard.
    Pretty tough read for someone like me.
  109. "Calvin Nguyen [​IMG], Jun 03, 2009; 09:27 a.m.
    Scott, what's "AA's Zone System"?"
    I must be dating myself! It is Ansel Adams' Zone System. Not nearly enough room here to go into any real detail, it took me many, many years to really master it and I still don't feel like I really know it all. It is a comprehensive camera-to-print system of exposure control and manipulation. It has it's greatest application in black and white negatives and prints but for spot on color exposure, it is still the best way to go in my opinion. Especially since color negatives (and slides especially) have less exposure latitude than black and white.
    Here is a good primer, but it barely scratches the surface!
  110. Calvin, thank you.
    I never miss a chance telling others about my pictures and the dance competitions... ;) ;)
  111. Thanks, Bill.
    I didn't realize there was such a difference in shutter speed requirement based on the direction of the moving subject.
  112. Calvin, Re. different shutter speeds depending on action direction:
    Remember that the camera is seeing things (from a shutter speed point of view) in 2D. So if an object is coming stratigh at the camera, the appearance of movement is less and the focus engine is working hard recalculating distance/focus changes. You can get away with slower shutter speeds than with an object moving across the screen. Here you need to freeze the greater apparent movement and one has go to a much highter shutter speed...The old rule to go by was the minimum shutter speed to freeze moderate movement, like a person gesturing or walking, was equivalent to the ISO speed. So at ISO 800, shutter speed must be at least 1/800. For something like motor racing try double, or one stop faster at least to 1/1600. This can be tricky with auto ISO, so always look at what the camera is doing with ISO (important to be able to have it displayed in the viewfinder) and spin the control wheel to increase shutter speed where needed. In this instance it might just be easier to use S mode and the correct aperture will follow automatically.
  113. Thanks, Scott.
  114. bmm


    Just a quick note to say thanks to all for one of the more interesting discussions I've read in ages here. This is one that will really make me go out and re-think some settings, try new things, etc.
    Not saying that I don't enjoy the conversation on many other threads but I feel this is one othe few that will actually have some impact. In my case particularly in 2 areas - making me re-explore P mode, and making me think about the possibility of using M mode but deliberately with Auto-ISO
  115. Nothing better than a handheld light meter and shooting on manual. Pure comfortable bliss.
  116. "There's almost a kind of bravado in forum threads attached to doing everything manual. Too funny."
    Yes, it is funny. Particularly when peolpe who thump their chests about shooting in manual post pictures to their galleries with blown highlights.
  117. Stephen, thanks.
    Are you certain it's not focal length that's the basis of the rule? For example, at 70mm, you want a minimum shutter speed of 1 / 70 sec. This makes sense to me because longer focal lengths amplify the effects of vibration. I'm not sure why ISO would be the factor.
  118. i almost always shoot in manual mode. a lot of it is just habit, but for my dance stuff i'm usually shooting wide open at above iso 800.
  119. Thanks for all your thoughts and that classic Shakespearean quip, Bernard.
  120. I have owned the D80 for just over a year now. I only shoot in manual. I have a good grasp of the 'Zone System' from my B&W days. There is a lot to learn with a DSLR, but I view that as a plus.
    One thing I have recently decided on is to use the camera to gather as much information as it possibly can, and let my software do the enhancements as I feel is necessary. I feel that reducing the saturation and the contrast allows for more information in each exposure. I am beginning to think there is a 'K' factor to contend with.
  121. Nice work, Vihao.
    Also congrats on the ballet POW.
  122. When I am taking pics with flash (SB900) in Single shoot mode:
    Aperture Manual, Shutter Manual, ISO Manual, AF Auto/Manual, WB Auto/Pre-defined, Flash Auto
    When I am taking pics with flash (SB900) in Continuous shoot mode:
    Aperture Manual, Shutter Manual, ISO Manual, AF Manual, WB Auto/Pre-defined, Flash Auto
    When I am taking pics without flash:
    Aperture Manual, Shutter Manual, ISO Auto (Max 3200), AF Auto/Manual
  123. I use A mode with spot meter even on my D3 with my trusty manual focus 35/ this combo.
  124. K factor, Dug?
  125. My D90 camera is most of the time on Manual mode, only the WB is 'pre-defined' when I use a greycard. ( I shoot RAW so WB can be corrected) Otherwise I use the P-mode.
    In fact the automatic-modes (A,S and P) on the camera is not what you want, you have to manage three things for lighting: ISO,aperture(A) and shutter-speed(S). A real program in a camera should do it on it's own, where you defined before the limits between those (ISO,A and S) may be for your picture. Then you only have to press the button. In automatic mode this is what it does, but without those limits.
    Make a lot presets with those limits, give them a name and put it on a dial.
    If with those limits the picture can't be taken, it can give a warning, and perhaps you can give an (preset)override on one of those ISO,A and S to take the picture anyway.
    Autofocus is more difficult, when you shoot moving things you need it (I think because I don't, most making macro) The autofocus (in my case) focusses a lot of times on the wrong point, so I use manual.
  126. For the A,S and P mode on a camera, those 3 modes are 3 times the same thing. They are really no differences between A,S and P, only just the one you like.
  127. I shoot with a D 200 and D 300. Most of my shooting is nature oriented. I use A mode 99% of the time. I use P mode for indoor flash work when I am taking people shots like at parties and family gatherings. I have found that with the two cameras I own I do not need to use M mode. Joe Smith
  128. It's a shame they don't make the manual 35mm F1.4 anymore. I'd love to give it a spin.
  129. Per - never thought of it that way... so in a sense you're using M as an auto mode where the only variable is ISO (set of course within the parameters of your autoISO settings). Very interesting and counter-intuitive thinking... thankyou for opening my eyes to this thought!​
    Bernard/Per: Though it will say 'M' on the dial, I would hesitate to call this 'Manual' mode as it behaves as autoexposure; this is analogous to the "TAv" mode I have on my Pentax K10D & K20D (Shutter+Aperture priority). Fix shutter & aperture, allow the camera to zero the meter by varying ISO. By the same logic, using 'M' with automated TTL flash is also autoexposure. So manual or auto, it's still useful. Allows you to fix aperture for DoF & lens performance and shutter speed for freezing motion & managing camera shake simultaneously but let camera take care of adjusting exposure from shot to shot. Personally I like M for flash photography, more studied & slow-paced creative work--often using spotmeter, and of course when using old lenses that require stop-down metering. Using Av most of the rest of the time unless I am handing camera to someone else--then they get either P or 'green mode' (Pentax's brain-optional mode).
  130. I usually switch between M and A modes too, depending on what I shoot, where I shoot (conditions) and what camera I shoot with. With my D80 I mainly used M since the camera just didn't seem to get the exposure right on it's own. Now with my Fuji S5 one of the things I really need to learn is to trust the metering a bit more. With D80 I used mainly spot metering but with Fuji I seem to use spot and matrix alike. On the WB-side I use all the modes, auto-WB too, depending on the situation. I have not been using Auto-ISO for some reason, reading this thread made me think of that again, since, oddly enough, ISO is usually the last thing I remember to change.
    Great thread by the way, learned a lot from this and made me also reflect on my approach to exposure modes and metering. Great job keeping the conversation flowing, Calvin!
  131. I'm just trying to sponge a bit from the vast knowledge reservoir provided by the kind and generous experts on this site, Janne.
  132. Andrew, you are right. Shooting the competitions like I do, the "M" in this instance is not Manual, but some kind of (semi-)automatic. However, it works when you want the shutter and aperture fixed, and the light changes somewhat with the spotlights.
  133. I use Manual exclusively in the studio. Anything else causes me to lose control of the light.
  134. Only when I'm shooting indoors *with flash* - to balance ambient vs flash. Else, 99% of the time is A-priority + twiddling of the iso dial.
  135. While several have mentioned that P mode + using the rear command dial i.e. "Flex Program" gives you the best of both world's (fast default shooting and instant control of aperture and shutter speed) I don't see that anyone has mentioned exposure compensation. Manual mode allows you to quickly override the "centered meter reading". Rather than use the the +/- button on top of the control panel I set my front command wheel to allow me to provide exposure compensation if I think the situation warrants it.
    In summary for me I find very little use for M, A or S mode. Leaving it on P and me overriding depending on the situation seems much more flexible and natural and I don't have to constantly mess with buttons.
    I have to confess though that the downside to doing an exposure compensation is that you have to remember to set it back to "normal". Usually the messed up histograms are a quick clue but if you are shooting hot and heavy you'll be kicking yourself if you have a string of bad exposures because you forgot. Yeah, the viewfinder tells you too but like I said it's easy to forget if you are totally wrapped up in the situation.
  136. Aperture priority for me.
    Lot of people aren't saying what metering mode they're using (matrix, center, spot, or lightmeter), the choice of which is at least as important as if it's M, A, or P. I'm not sure if you're using matrix as your basis you're really gaining much by using manual. In that case matrix has algorithmically chosen some value, which as far as a "manual" user goes is effectively arbitrary (ie: you don't know what it decided to go off of, hence any adjustments one way or another are against an unknown reference point).
    Then again, if you shoot enough, you start to get a feel for what the matrix will do but...
    I think it's great that many have the fortitude to use manual exclusively, and certainly there are numerous good reasons to use it, particularly in fixed lighting situations. However, I resist the idea that somehow only using "M" makes any photographer better or worse than another.
    Incidentally, I'm assuming everyone is using some sort of meter and not judging based on the old "sunny f16 " rule ;-)
  137. @Vihao Pham
    Gorgeous pic BTW. If manual mode guaranteed I'd get some like it, I'd switch in a heartbeat.
  138. What are you folks doing in manual mode? Are you really making an exposure that's different than you'd get using the camera program modes? Or are you just matching the needle to what the camera would have done anyway? So, please, explain why you think you're getting a better exposure and under what conditions you get a better exposure.
    Modern meters nail exposure quite often, but there are situations where they're fooled. It makes sense to over-ride the camera in difficult situations. And it makes sense to pop into manual when light is constant so changing reflectivity doesn't affect exposure. And I always shoot in manual with flash. But manual mode is a hindrance in rapidly changing lighting conditions.
    I shoot in manual mode all of the time when I shoot large format. And I calculate the bellows extension factor. But minature formats are about speed and convenience. So I use the features of the camera whenever they'll give me good results.
  139. I shoot in manual 99% of the time. I use manual wb, but agree that manually focusing the digitals can be a bit annoying. I'll set a focus and switch to manual, to lock the focus, but only do it entirely manually if the conditions call for it. I tend to use a lot of flashes, and need to freeze an exact moment of action, so I set exactly what I need.
    btw, there's an auto ISO? weird...
  140. I shoot manually. I have two Nikon FE's with Aperture Priority, but recently when I tried to limit myself to Aperture Priority, I later decided to switch back to manual because I was forgetting about resetting my exposure compensation dial. So now I'm back to manual, unless I want to run some tests.
    I was away from photography for a long time, from before auto-focus and through-the-lens flash metering. I'm an occasional shooter, maybe three or four rolls a month. Maybe two sessions. I rarely shoot more than two 36x's in a session. Obviously, I'm an amateur. I shoot 80% Kodak transparency and 20% Kodak TMax.
    The newer DSLRs and SLRs have so many features, I'm afraid of screwing up.
    For me, manual is set the ISO, load the film, add lens. Look around. Match needle. Or, compensate while looking through the viewfinder. Click. Next.
    If I want something different, I can change film type or ISO.
    Even before I see my pictures, I'm happy. Oftentimes, at the light table, I get more happy.
    I've been a computer guy for the last twenty years, guess that effects my viewpoint.
    For me, manual is simpler, and still enjoyable.
  141. I was excited to contribute, but Per beat me to it. I too find the utility of shooting in M with Auto-ISO turned on (D40... so I usually set it to ISO800 max, starting at 1/30) and letting the camera's computer adjust exposure via ISO setting. Worked well at my sister's wedding last weekend, I got many shots like this without flash (was using the 35/1.8DX and the 24-70/2.8). I just set the minimum acceptible apertures and shutter speeds (must be equal to or less than the Auto-ISO shutter setting, obviously).
    Plus, and I think this is a firmware defect on Nikon's part, the camera has access to smaller ISO increments than we do through the user controls (many times I'll see ISO 640 or 850 or something like that on a pic I just shot).
  142. I shoot in a manual mode quite abit - with my Leica and Nikon rangefinder camers - which I have done for many years and today still accounts for 65% of my photography. The remainder I shoot in P mode on the D200 or less often F4. The latter two cameras have outstanding metering systems and "P" I use that mode 90% of the time with these cameras, unless I am looking for special DOF effect. I'll check to see what aperture the D200 has selected and more often than naught it selects a wide one, rather than expose everything at F11. If I am going to spend $2,500 or more for an electronic camera, I am probably going to use every feature of that camera that contributes to get a great shot.....if I wanted to shoot my Nikon lenses in a manual mode I could have just stuck with the F and save many camera $$$$$$'s. I bought the D200 for the digital medium and the oustanding electronics. I am going to buy a D700 for the same reason (new medium - full frame digital). Will I use the P mode - probably, much of the time.
  143. I do not have an auto mode on my FM2n nor on Nikkormat as a matter of fact. I have it somewhere on D50 but my wife is using it so I would but I cannot. What is the point? Is that a green thing on the dial?
  144. I wanted to chime in on the discussion as shown below:
    Stephen, thanks.
    Are you certain it's not focal length that's the basis of the rule? For example, at 70mm, you want a minimum shutter speed of 1 / 70 sec. This makes sense to me because longer focal lengths amplify the effects of vibration. I'm not sure why ISO would be the factor.​
    What I would add to that is: Focal length plays a role in the magnification of a subject...the greater that magnification, the greater likelihood that vibration/movement of the camera is perceptible in a photo. You would want a minimum shutter speed close to 1/70 (nearest available speed would be 1/80) given a focal length of 70mm. In addition, you want to choose an ISO which permits a shutter speed which at least as fast as 1/80 and permits you to use the aperture you desire.

    The sunny 16 rule says "On a sunny day set aperture to f/16 and shutter speed to the ISO film speed"

    So the desired aperture for the sunny rule is f/16...
    However, depending on your artistic intention, you may want a different in that case the ISO may need to change to support the minimum shutter speed (1/80 in your example) you need to shoot at.
    In short: shutter speed, ISO and aperture form the "exposure triangle." All three variables are required to determine an exposure. The sunny 16 rule is a starting point, meant to be used if you lack a meter (or just don't want to use it.)
    On a personal note, I use M mode (with spot) for most of my shooting and do consider Ansel Adams' Zone System when thinking about my exposure...and I have fun doing it like that.
  145. NO - leave the ISO where it is. Sunny Sixteen means: for a sunny day at ISO 80, use F16 at 1/80 of a second - or - any reciprocal of that setting, such 1/160 at F11; 1/320 at F8; 1/640 at F5.6, etc...they all give the exact same exposure. This really does work well and you have the added bonus of instant review of histogram and the actual photo.
  146. All the time!!!

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