Are you M, A or S shooter

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by karenf, Jan 19, 2011.

  1. I was interested in people often discussing their camera under or over-exposing and I wondered if most people shoot with an Aperture or Shutter Priority rather than Manual. So, what do you all do? What's your preference and why?
  2. Normally A, M, and S in that order<g>. Seldom S, unless a rare sporting event. I like to control the aperture and DOF though.
  3. With my D300, A and P, mostly A. With my P6000, A and P, about equal.
  4. Really depends on the cam but here's my usual take...
    89% = A
    5% = M
    5% = P
    1% = S
  5. Normally A or M on my D300S. Depends on what I'm doing.
    I shoot all formats through 4x5, so I'm accustomed to using light meters and making exposure calculations.
    - Leigh
  6. Normally A - 85%
    Or M - 14%
  7. Most of my cameras don't have anything but M. On the few that do, I sometimes use M and sometimes A depending on my mood and whether I think the light is consistent enough that I'd prefer to use a consistent exposure even when differently colored subjects might make an autoexposure algorithm decide to mess around with things.
  8. In order by frequency of use.
    Mostly A to control D.O.F.
    S for when I want to have moving objects clear and not blurry or if I want to convey movement and purposely blur.
    P for just goofing around
    M for situations where A, S and P are failing me and the camera isn't giving me what I want.
  9. When I shoot for fun, P. Like an off duty cop who takes his KN partner to DQ.
    When I work, mostly M.
  10. Almost always aperture priority on my automatic cameras.
    But, when shooting with my old F2, I almost always reach for the aperture ring, not the shutter dial.
  11. A, then S, then M.
  12. I'll often start with A(I use a lot of non-AF,non-AE lenses), but will inevitably switch to M because the metering system in the camera(D3) is not very smart. Even on matrix the ten million ugly snapshots that Nikon analyzed in order to create the matrix program don't help me...except when I'm actually trying to create an ugly snapshot.
  13. SCL


    A (on cameras which have it) - 75%, M 25%. I don't use shutter priority, and rarely use the Program mode either.
  14. That's interesting. I have tried using A or S but I usually end up going back to M through frustration. Maybe I should persist. Photographing things moving in and out of shade and/or rapidly changing light conditions is always 'fun'.
  15. I use P for "Professional" mode.
    Seriously, I use A about 80% and P about 20%.
  16. Mostly A, often M, sometimes S, rarely P.
  17. Incorrect exposure is a result of the meter being 'fooled' by the lighting conditions and is not mode specific.
    As I like to and often need to control both shutter speed and aperture, I often use Nikon's 'hidden' automatic mode, shooting in manual mode with auto ISO on and use exposure compensation as needed when the meter gets it wrong.
  18. For visible-light work: 99% A, 1% M.

    For UV or IR: 100% M.
  19. M only. The only way you can get exactly what you want. I used A a couple of times last year in some panicky situations, when i didn't have time to chimp and i had to get the shot right.
  20. Almost exclusively, A mode. Sporadically, M mode for basic or studio flash heads, and a very few odd situations.
  21. Mostly M, with an occasional A. I learned photography on a good P&S with M settings available and stuck with that. However, I set up the camera for the lens, the scene, and my needs, then simply adjust shutter speed only to get balanced exposure.
  22. A for most of the time, otherwise M. Very seldomly S.
  23. For bird photography - exclusively S. For all else, A 99% of the time. M only for panoramas, night shots or quite often when using flash. I never use P - I am not a Professional ;-)
    M only. The only way you can get exactly what you want.​
    With all due respect, that is a ridiculous statement. M, A and S are simply different means to the same end - you can achieve exactly the same result whether you tweak your exposure in M or A or S. Which one to use is a matter of personal preference or convenience; none is "better" than the other.
  24. I am not sure how using A/S/M or even P will relate to under/over exposure. So long as you understand how the meter works e.g. A/S using exposure comp - M just set the iso/aperture/shutter so that the meter reads the way you want. Unless of course something like setting the shutter to 1/2000, and obviously in S mode, there isn't an aperture wide enough in low light for you to open up to....
    Personally, I shoot mainly with A, 'cause I want to control my aperture, exposure comp for well, exposure comp, and then use my iso to regulate shutter speeds. M is usually for panoramas and indoors with flash. Can not remember the last time I used S. or P. Maybe nikon could install a custom function to remove unwanted auto exposure modes :)
  25. 99% of the time, A. Sometimes at events, if I want to catch something or pan with an effect I'll switch to S. If it gets dark, I'm playing with flashes, or need direct exposure control, I'll switch to M.
    For some reason I don't think I've ever used Program modes at all.
  26. 'A' for 90% of my photography (casual/documentary photography is 90% of my photography).
    Using AEL all the time.
    I used to be an almost-always-M photographer, but learned to get consistent results with A, which works much quicker, obviously. That was when I started to use the F3, mid-'90s.
    M is used by me under controlled conditions, such as with micro-photography and using flashes.
  27. Depends, using flash almost entirely M, landscapes or architecture A, low light and moving objects, S (will adjust ISO accordingly)
  28. I shoot in A 95% of the time, mostly to get what I perceive to be the best combination of lens sharpness, DOF and ISO.
    On some overcast days, during a walkaround, I'll switch to M, since else I find the metering in my D60 is way too aggressive. I always shoot in M when using a tripod. Finally, I only shoot in S when I want to capture some specific movement, but the AF in the D60 doesn't really encourage me to that kind of photography.
  29. When I am not using A because of difficult light I use M. I change my ISO from base only when I need a faster shutter. I use a tripod when ever possible.
  30. Almost always in A mode unless I'm using a lens that doesn't meter with my camera, then it's M of course. I can probably count on one hand the number of times I've used S, and I don't think I've ever used P mode.
  31. @Dieter Schaefer: I won't argue that for a non-professional shooting for a hobby, A, S or even P would yield great results.
    However, i shoot either in very controlled conditions with flash exposure and have to get consistent results across series of pictures (hence M with customWB) or I shoot in artificial light with action around me (hence, M and custm WB).
    Anything else would just be guessing, leaving the work that I have to do, to be done by the camera. I can't imagine using A or S with strobes for a whole series where the pictures must have identical appearence, nor can I imagine using A or S in a dimly lit hall with two strobes on wireless transmitters placed across the room and people dancing around.
    AutoWB and A can provide great results when you're not sure what exactly must a picture look, when you don't have time to adjust settings or when it really does not make a difference. Some of us shoot like that while others want to be more specific.
  32. Almost entirely A, sometimes M - but sometimes has replaced A nowadays.
  33. Normally (I guess 95%) A with auto-ISO keeping the shutter speed fast enough to avoid shake, on my D700. When I used an Eos 300D without (useful) auto-ISO, I was usually in P, with a lot of shifting - but then I didn't have many wide aperture lenses. On film it's usually A or P. If I could reach the ISO button on my D700 with my right hand, I'd shoot more in M with manual ISO.

    I use M and S for specific effects, but for most of my shooting the shutter speed only has to be "fast enough" and the aperture matters far more. I'm intending to get into more (composed) flash photography, so there's probably more "M" in my future.
  34. 99,9% A 0,1% M 0,00000000000001% S
  35. A = 50% Control
    M = 25% Studio
    P = 15% Point & Shoot
    S = 10% Speed can matter
  36. Almost exclusively 'S'. I want one automated mode to allow me the freedom to concentrate more on the subject, especially a moving subject. With a variation of DoF in the photo, it won't ruin the Photo as much as if the shutter speed is out and I get motion blur.
  37. 98% Manual
  38. stp


    About 50:50 A:M, depending on the light conditions. If I have to AF and then recompose, that often requires M in unusual light conditions. For many years I had only M, so it's something with which I'm very familiar.
  39. Almost all of my cameras are manual only but on the rare occasions that I am using one with some automation, I use aperture priority.
  40. For tripod work 100% M; when using flash, 95% M, 5% A; and for hand-held available light work, 90% A, 10% M.
  41. "M only. The only way you can get exactly what you want." "With all due respect, that is a ridiculous statement" I believe Nicolaie's statement to be 100% accurate. I don't believe he is questioning whether one is "better" than another. But I suppose that if you are shooting in A, S or P mode, and then 'tweak' the exposure by adjusting the appropriate setting or ISO, you are effectively shooting in 'manual' mode anyway.​
  42. Most often it's 'A' to control DoF; then 'M' (e.g. fireworks, some flash applications, long exposures, night shots, whenever I want to ignore the onboard meter), with occasional use of 'S' (BIF, proper blur with airplane propellers, stopping action, etc.). Naturally, I use 'P' at picnics along with the popup flash. :)
  43. I learned on a old film camera that had no fancy electronics, so I shoot M. The only thing I let the camera choose for me? WB. I usually tweek that on the comp because I don't like what the camera did. So yea, it's 99.98% M for me.
  44. I shoot Street mainly,so A works for me in fast moving shadow/sunlight situations but I am always aware of the aperture/ shutter combination and adjust accordingly the ISO or aperture.For my studio and flash work always M.
  45. I mostly shoot macro, so 98% M
  46. Almost all Manual.
    But on most of my cameras with the option, like the Nikon F3, A is really S.
    A standing for Automatic, of course. ; )
  47. D300s:
    Mostly A for DOF control (50%)
    Then S for sporting events (25%)
    Then M for fine control of flash/studio (15%)
    P for casual shooting (10%)
  48. @Elliot Bernstein:
    My words exactly. What is the difference between setting M on the camera { guessing adjustments, looking at the picture, remaking adjustments and getting it right} or shooting in A (letting the camera choose exposure time, looking at picture, dialling apropriate exposure compensation and or ISO change and retaking the picture) ??
    I say none, really. Might be better when there is action, but on the other hand, it won't be consistent in consecutive shots if the framing changes.
    I wasn't going to say that one or the other is the righteous path, just which one I prefere better.
    Happy shooting to everybody.
  49. Whatever setting I use, and it varies, I monitor the exposure and ISO I am getting to assure it is what I want. For swimming in poorly lit arenas I set a shutter speed at above 1/400 (I really like a 2000th but cannot usually get it indoors) and then set the !SO or aperture using DOF and exposure as a consideration. For serious flash I use manual and drag the shutter. If I have consistent light I will go to manual like a sunny day at a pool or field. If I have a moving target and am shooting multiple frames in varying light I will set a shutter speed to stop action and vary, manually, the ISO and aperture to fit the situation. DOF is always a consideration and I will use aperture priority for non-moving objects to get either deep DOF or Bokeh as needed (I hate that word). I don't think in terms of what I have set on the dial, I think in terms of the shutter speed, ISO and aperture that I want always balancing these three variables in my brain. I have taught beginning digital photography and I spend a lot of time instilling the interaction of these three variables in my students.. I got stuck at the last miinute recently shooting a large group of swimmers into back light after having to run to my bag to grab my camera before the group dispersed.
    I did not have time to mount my flash as I had packed up to leave the arena. As I was jumping onto a chair to shoot 1/40 w/IS, f4 @ ISO 3200 jumped into my brain. I set the ISO and that's what I saw in the viewfinder and the exposure was on target. I actually got a highly usable 13x19 print out of it. It is not where the dial is set it is where the photographers brain is set, IMO. I do shoot swimming action in dim light by using shutter speeds at a 400th and above using FE on the flash. It just provides enough flash to kill deadly contrast into backlight while still stopping action. I do not rely on a given setting but rather upon the interaction between the three variables.
  50. At night I am an "M". And yes, I shoot at night a lot. During the day I'm an "A". This is quick to use and very intuitive for me.
    Kent in SD
  51. @nicolaie costel: thanks for the clarification - under the conditions that you describe, I would be using M as well (note that in my post I stated that I would choose M when using flash). Consistency in M mode is only assured as long as the lighting isn't changing - if it does and you don't react I would argue that an automatic mode would have given you the consistency you wanted automatically. My main point is that one uses what one is comfortable with and what gives the results one wants.
  52. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    My words exactly. What is the difference between setting M on the camera { guessing adjustments, looking at the picture, remaking adjustments and getting it right} or shooting in A (letting the camera choose exposure time, looking at picture, dialling apropriate exposure compensation and or ISO change and retaking the picture) ??​
    It makes all the differences in the world when I use flash as the main light source in a dark environment. A means the camera will choose the aperture and shutter speed according to the ambient light, but since the flash will be the main light, any exposure set according to ambient will likely have too slow a shutter speed and/or too wide an aperture. That leads to camera shake and subject motion issues.
    With flash, I typically set the aperture to f4 or f5.6 to get some depth of field and fix the shutter speed to 1/30 sec or so to get some ambient contribution to the exposure, but the main exposure is controlled by i-TTL flash.
  53. Usually A. in low light and when I'm taking slow careful photos I use M. I have never used S except for kid sports events, but even then, I usually shoot M and set Auto ISO within a certain range.
    BUT... I'm going to get flamed for this... IF something real quick happens and I need a really quick shot of something going on I go RIGHT to the Green program mode and let the camera do the work. And you know what? Those pics always come out great...
    I don't think I've ever once used a scene mode, though.
  54. Peter - that's the first time I've heard someone who knows what they're doing use green for anything other than handing the camera to someone else. Out of interest, why green rather than, say, P? (Also pertinent to the current "D700 auto exposure more" thread.)

    I have to say - whatever mode I use, I keep an eye on the camera's settings. There's little difference between checking that the camera has picked a suitable ISO, shutter speed or aperture than checking the exposure in M mode - but I find it quicker to monitor the camera than actually make changes, so (flash and panoramas aside) I don't use M (without auto-ISO) much.

    Having said that, I don't find it unduly painful to use my Bessa my setting a shutter speed and playing with the aperture to adjust exposure - but changing shutter speed with a dial on the top of the camera is more of a faff than rotating an aperture ring if you've got your eye to the viewfinder. Besides, I don't have a fast lens for it, so DoF is less significant than on my SLRs.
  55. Andrew, I NEVER use it when the image is "critical". But I use the P because, frankly, when it's a quick and dirty photo (we're talking about when you have seconds, not even moments, to snap the shutter), the GREEN id1ot mode gives me better results than the P, which I used to use... hands down... I would say out of 1000 photos, it's maybe 5, and rarely one of my faves, but is always a shot (often of my kid) I might have missed any other way...
  56. F100, 'A'. F3HP, also 'A'. They are both that good. Never could use 'A' on my FE2 back in the day, it never had as accurate metering as I wanted with slide film, so it was always used in Manual mode, and had that great green bar and black needle to watch where the exposure was landing. I miss that.
  57. Lately I am trying for "M" most of the time
    For quick things I usually use "A"
    Some kid Sports, soccer, basketball I use "S"
    The reason I want to use "M" most of the time now is mainly for learning purposes. I try to think my way through each shot. Sometimes it works and other times I just get frustrated.
    phil b
    benton, ky
  58. About 95% of the time I shoot in A. The remaining 5% are divided between M and S in about equal portions.
  59. Peter - thank you; interesting. It suggests that green mode isn't just the "P mode without flash auto-release and with customisations disabled" that I believed was the accepted wisdom. I'm now curious what it is doing - I may have to do some research. (Not that I have a Nikon body with a green box mode...)
  60. When not M, i usually set A on my D300 just because I am an old FG and then F3 guy. But if you think of it, all three automated modes (A-S-P) work just the same in that moving a single dial you can choose your ideal f-stop/shutter time combination for a given iso setting and amount of light. Yes, even in P mode you can change the combination suggested by the camera to your ideal one just by turning the rear command dial, at least on the D300 but I suspect in most modern Nikons.
    Have fun,
  61. Marco - the spanner in the works is auto-ISO, which made a massive difference between how I use my D700 and my old 300D (which has no useful auto-ISO). Effectively - except in good light where the shutter speed can increase - by using aperture priority and auto-ISO, I trade aperture for ISO and keep shutter speed fixed. I could do this in M as well, but I'd prefer the shutter speed to change if I hit the limits of the ISO range for the aperture I select, rather than have the exposure change.
  62. 'M' most of the time, with matrixmetering and 1/3 increment ISO/f/s stops for maximum control;
    'A' with spotmetering and 1/1 increment f stops for i.e. concertphotography;
    'A' with matrixmetering and 1/1 increment f stops for streetphotography;
    'S' with spotmetering, continuous AF and auto ISO for sports/action
  63. Wow, busy thread... interesting to see that so many people e. (including me) use A sometimes but rarely S. Presumably this means we care about DOF more than motion blur. Though even when I do want to reduce motion blur, I usually do it by opening up the aperture rather than switching to S mode!
    One thing I want to take issue with, though, is the statement a few people have made that there is no real difference between M and A (or M and S). On the one hand, it is true that you can get the camera to do what you want in any of these modes; exposure compensation in A or S gives you flexibility more or less equivalent to M mode. However, in A and S modes you are chasing a moving target. In a situation where the light is reasonably constant, the meter may still decide to vary your exposure depending on exactly what you're looking at; a black man in a dark shirt may result in a longer exposure or wider aperture than a fair-skinned blonde in light-colored clothes, even if they are illuminated identically. This means you have to vary your exposure compensation from shot to shot, whereas in M mode you can just meter the scene once and then use the same exposure settings without any risk that your camera will suddenly decide to change them.
  64. Craig - re. moving targets, you could just exposure lock to avoid this. Actually, I tend to avoid M exactly for the opposite reason - the situation may change, and the parameter I'd least like to modify is exposure. If I'm metering off someone's face, it's unlikely I'll suddenly choose to take a photo of someone else (and I tend to rely on the matrix meter anyway unless I expect it to be challenged); it's much more likely that someone will walk in front of (or away from) the window that's providing the primary illumination for the scene, where I'm not looking. Suddenly adjusting the shutter (or ISO) is better than the image being wrongly exposed. The exception is when I want to meter to stay out of it, such as when I'll be stitching a panorama.
  65. A, miniscule bit of M. Hardly original.
    (Quite amazed how little here use S!)
  66. Are you M, A or S shooter?

    Well, I am a NAS shooter...
    Ok, seriuosly, 89% A, 19%M and some S once in a while.
  67. M = 97% of the time.
    S = 3% of the time.
  68. It was an interesting and educating reading. Thx for this question Karen. By the way, I shoot nearly all the time A; and have a tendency to explore M, as AI does not give what I want al the time.
  69. M = 99% of time
    S = 1%
  70. 100% M, never tried any thing else...maybe I should see what the others are all about.
  71. Mostly A when I can, especially on a rangefinder when there's no DOF lever, so I can have some idea of DOF.
  72. 97% A and occasionally M
    First i set the Apature, then i adjust ISO
    When i start photographing i set the ISO at a speed appropriate for the light to ensure a sharp image (typically 100, 200, or 400), and if above 200 I will then take additional shots adjusting it down to try and get some sharp shots with a low ISO
    I also vary the ISO, with my first shot at a high enough ISO to gaurantee no blur, then i go down ISO, and of course look for any blown highlights. If necessary I will always blow the shadows rather than usable highlights.
    With low DOF, if there is enough light, I often bracket a few different aperatrures in case my primary shot looses some detail where i do not intend.
    (As you can see, i have not yet shot much sports).
  73. A? S? P (professional?) Where can I find these settings on my M3 DS? Damn I'm still looking for the on/off switch.
  74. I use 'S' for moving subjects ( also water, then I choose a low 'S' sometimes)
    I use 'A' for people shots, macro, and some other things ( under water I also fix'to 'A' more often than 'S' ).
    I use 1/3 of the time 'M' for macro , night time , dusk and dawn etc. , and Flash ( have i-ttl balance the light..) .
    I use next to never 'p' .
    With all modes i fix the ISO setting to what i find appropriate to the circumstances ( so never auto-iso..).
  75. Right now I do prefer fully manual, even focus, and a good tripod, when I have time enough of course. Otherwise aperture priority and centered auto focus. My toy? Pentax K20D with a prime Pentax 135mm F 2,8 and another prime Pentax Limited 43 mm F1,9. Hard to get good results because my lack of skills (still learning), but when I achieve something it is really great. The 18-55 mm and 70-300 mm zooms almost exclusively for outdoors with day light
  76. Pretty much only "A". Once in long time "S" if the subject warrants or "M" if I need to up the flash sync...
  77. Brilliant responses so far. Looks like the question was of interest to lots of you. I must admit, I have never used auto-iso.
  78. 70% - M
    30% - A
    When shooting landscapes, natural light portraits, sporting events on snow, HDR or anything using my studio lights, it is in M.
    When shooting events, snapshots, or anything I have a CLS flash attached, it is in A.
  79. 70% - M
    30% - A
    When shooting landscapes, natural light portraits, sporting events on snow or anything using my studio lights, it is in M.
    When shooting events, snapshots, or anything I have a CLS flash attached, it is in A.
    When shooting to do HDR, it is closer to a 50/50 mix.
    Now ask how often I use Bulb ;-)
  80. Mostly aperture (>90%), but i'm getting more confident with manual exposure these days .... I've been playing a wee bit with bulb mode too with my I/R filter and with night photography too.
    Aperture priority always made me feel more confident with MAYBE getting depth of field 'right' (Boy! Do i still get depth of field wrong!) but i'm really enjoying the true feeling of control over EXPOSURE (+/-) that my experimenting with manual control is giving me ....
  81. My F4s and D700 have A and S mode and I suppose they work, though I have never used them! :)
    90+% of the time I don't even use the camera's meter, opting for a hand held incident/flash or 1º spot instead. I use the camera's meter only in a pinch. I am basically distrustful of all of them because they don't know what I am looking for.
  82. P for quick snapshots with a digital camera
    M for everything else. You get more control and I find it more rewarding personally
  83. Mostly M. Rarely A.
  84. Most of the times, i.e. 99.9% 'A', very very rare 'S'. Never 'M'.
  85. With my 40D mostly M for depth of field control:
  86. I'd say I shoot in Aperture priority 80% of the time. 10% I'm shooting in Manual. The rest is devided between Program and Shutter priority.
  87. Formerly with cameras like FE2 and F4 mostly A. Only camera I used P more frequently was the FA (which I believe had a handy "P high" mode or was that the F-801?).
    With the D700 95% A, 5% M. P less than 1%, S practically never.
  88. I meant A for depth of field
  89. For work I use M only. For fun I use my older cameras which don't have any dials so rely on the meter and lately
    believe it or not I've been using my new light meter app on my iPhone. I'm waiting on a few rolls I shot two weeks ago
    on my RZ using the waist level finder and the iPhone for meter. I'll post a few of the images when I get them.
  90. Very interesting poll. Seems most people are A photographers! That is why there are so many great pictures. I am with M (mediocre for me :) ) almost exclusively, only because I am still learning to use it. Someday I will grow up to A hopefully.
  91. I always shoot Manual/Raw. Don't know how to use Aperture or Shutter Priority. May have to go back to the instructions
  92. Mostly P and M, rarely A or S.
    Nikon's flex program mode is very handy for fast changing situations. The thumb wheel lets me bias the exposure toward controlling the shutter or aperture. The forward wheel handles exposure compensation as needed. Very quick and intuitive for me compared with A and S modes, which seem awkward and constraining next to flexible program mode.
    I'll use the manual mode mostly for manual lenses (I have several manual focus Nikkors and third party lenses). It's also handy combined with auto-ISO when I want the shutter speed and aperture to remain the same but need to make allowances for fast changing light.
  93. Most of the time I'm a manual exposure chap and venture into A when I'm shooting where the results aren't being sold to clients.
  94. Most of my photography is done with a Sony Alpha 700 and a Minolta Dynax 7. Whichever camera I choose it is the P mode with override I use the most. Occasionally I will use aperture or shutter priority and spot metering when the subject dictates.
  95. Most of the time M ( 70% ) and A ( 30% ). I find M to give me full control of what I want to do with my exposure and once I find it, it will remain as I chose it. I use M also for Macro shots, portraits, difficult scenes with a lot of contrast; I use A when I get lazy and the light ( mainly outside ) is evenly bright and I do not have the time to be adjusting my setup ( then I do concentrate on my Aperture and ISO which I do start at 200 mainly but sometimes I go lower to 100 ). Rarely I use P, but mostly to study and compare how my camera meters works in different modes or when I do hand my camera to someone else. However, this mode is very accurate and I am starting to use it in between so I can compare how am I doing in compare with my manual exposure. Rarely I use S, except when I want to freeze or imply motion in my pictures.
    Under medium overcast weather, I use A and work with my A and ISO to get the correct exposure ( and compensation ). Heavy overcast, I go for M, which may require ( due to dark environment ) to make some adjustments that I find very easy in compare to any of the automatic modes.
    When using flash, definitely I use M starting with f/4, ISO 400 and the speed at / or under 1/250 (1/200 or longer ) TTL for indoors shots ( bouncing the light ). When shooting with flash outside, mostly I shoot in M, TTL ( BL ) to fill light or in HSS ( high speed sync ) TTL-FP ( BL ) under bright and sunny conditions. I will start using my flash in M as soon as I get my Sekonic L-358.
  96. Being an "old timer", I often set my camera to manual control. I preset the ISO and F-stop, and I do not touch anything . Just shoot. I am aware of my lighting, depth of focus needs and my images come out well.
    Too much auto this and auto that can result in slowing down the composure of a subject, as well as compromise the results sought after.
    Even when I shoot sporting events, I relay upon my experience and knowledge (from the film days) to set up the lens, exposure and ISO and concentrate on the subjects at hand.
    I use all of my Nikon and Canon DSLR cameras in Manual mode. This has further advantages in that I often use other lens that are NOT auto-focus, aperture, etc. There are many superb lens from the past that provide results that are equal or surpass the modern auto-function lens of today.
    Certain DSLR cameras will not provide any metering unless they are used in A,S or P modes.When this occurs, I have my accurate Gossen Luna Pro light meter to assist me for the setup.
    By using RAW mode, the dynamic range can easily be extended several F-stops, so that when the light levels change quickly, I can still have a useable image to work with. Again, in the film days, film "latitude" was based upon the emulsion type and the processing used to develop it. The same principles apply to using digital devices. Each camera has its own characteristics and matching the proper lens to the camera makes a significant difference in the final results, too.
  97. 90% M, 10% A, never S. Not that there's anything wrong with S, I just don't use it. I use M because, as long as the light doesn't change, I can set it once and forget it. I'm lazy that way. I spot meter on the brightest part of the scene, put it in the zone I want, and I'm done. I don't have to ride the EC on each shot, nor do I have to chimp. When I frame a shot, I'll spot meter various points of the scene and may tweek the shutter and/or aperture.
    When the light is changing (from bright to shade, for example), I'll set A to a wide aperture. That way I can quickly switch from M to A when the light changes significantly. The only problem is, in switching from M to A, the shutter and aperture controls reverse. Very confusing. I must speak to Canon about that.
  98. S - Best choice for inside, especially when a flash is allowed. But even when a flash is not allowed, it's still the best option inside (crank up ISO; hone focus in on subject). This option is especially effective for inside action shots.
    A - Mostly choose for outside when a flash is not necessary anyway. This works effectively for outside action shots (lower F stop; hone focus in on subject).
    M - When using studio lighting that is syncing to a camera this is the only option.
    P - Rarely use because images seem too yellow. But it helps when doing test shots as a way to compare tones.
    ~ Hope any of this makes sense. These are my preferences based on my experience only and may or may not work best for someone else.
  99. Definitely "M", so, I have total and fast control on all situation, in-front of a subject, being as a to white snowy scenery or back lighted, etc., etc., subject. "A" and AF only, only in fast and critical situation, about 2 precent of the time. . . . . Well, . . . I learned photography, and I'm not a P&S photographer.
  100. "M" for flash indoors or out I still don't own a TTL flash for digtal.
    "S" I rarely use, I work backwards with "A" when shutter speed is important.
    "A" I use most especialy outside. Even when shutter speed is most important I adjust apeture to get shutter I wanted.
    "P" is OK no problem to use but I usualy shift the program to get the apeture or shutter speed I wanted.
    I like AF rarely use manual focus with an AF body. I stick with center point most of the time my first AF bodies only had one center point so I just never started to use the extra focus point when they became available. My manual bodies had split prisms so it the center point makes sense to me.
  101. "M" with the Nikons because their auto modes are terrible, "P" with the Panasonic GF1 because I can see the results before I shoot and adjust with the +/- dial.
  102. Sanford: *gawp* - I was under the impression that Nikon were known for particularly good metering decisions.

    I'm interested in the people who say they want M for speed - unless you're controlling everything and relying on auto-ISO, I can't imagine how keeping an eye on the meter and adjusting as necessary in M mode is faster than using A or S and adjusting one parameter if the other goes out of the desired range. Unless you're not using AE-lock, of course.

    I'd use M if I either wanted specific aperture and shutter speed and to leave the camera to handle the ISO (as when I was recently shooting some CRTs and wanted to compensate for flicker) or if I wanted to lock the exposure between shots. I might use it if carefully balancing between multiple spot-metered points in the scene, and trying to compromise my zones - and for slow and methodical photography I'd not argue with manual settings. But not because it's faster than the other modes. (That said, it would do me good to use M more and shoot slower.)

    Mike: You seem to be arguing that, in changing conditions, you'd rely on RAW to compensate for the exposure being wrong because it changed since your manual exposure settings were set. I shoot RAW as well, which lets me cope when the meter is confused, but it feels to me like the wrong approach to rely on it when automation is available. Just an opinion, though.

    For what it's worth, on my Nikons, I tend to rely on the matrix meter most of the time, and spot if I think it's confused. Very rarely will I resort to centre-weighted.

    Since people are talking about AF types: I almost always use single-point (and 3D tracking of 51 points) when I'm looking through the finder on my D700, and area if I'm shooting blind or lending the camera to someone else. The number of AF points means I can usually set the focus point where I want. On my Eos 300D, I tended to focus in the centre and recompose, because there was never a point where I wanted it. On my F5 I tend to mix and match (which is odd, because it has fewer focus points than the 300D). On my Nikkors, I miss the 300D's ability to light up individual focus points as they hit focus when in manual focus mode, though.

    EB: Yellow? *Boggle*.
  103. Noooo, when you shoot in "M" mode you are relying your many years of vast experience shooting slides with a meter-less Leica using the "Sunny 16" rule. Or, as it is sometimes called "guessing"! With digital it is relatively easy to shoot, view and adjust. The auto modes in my GF1 and worlds more advanced than my old D300.
  104. Some of the confirmed A or S mode folks should try Nikon's P flexible program mode. And - assuming your camera has front and rear control wheels - assign exposure compensation to the front wheel. Try it for awhile. I'd be interested in hearing your impressions after giving it a fair shake. (If I'm recalling correctly, Shun uses flex P mode too for at least some action oriented photography.)
    I mention this because I was an anti-Program mode elitist myself up 'til a few years ago. And I've never much cared for Aperture priority mode; if I wanted an auto mode at all I preferred Shutter priority. Mostly I used Manual because that's what I was accustomed to from decades of using manual cameras, including many meterless cameras with handheld meters for candid and street photography.
    But after reading about the flexible Program mode when I got the D2H several years ago I gave it a fair shot for about a month - indoors, outdoors, with flash, without flash. Works so well, especially when combined with the single-finger exposure compensation dial, I wouldn't want to do without it now.
    You may not care for flex program mode if you absolutely must have one specific aperture or one specific shutter speed, in which case, sure, A or S would suit you better. But I'm usually satisfied to be able to bias the exposure in a general way toward, for example, a faster shutter speed and/or shallower DOF, or vice versa. No big deal if I get f/4 rather than f/3.5, or a 1/3 variation on either side of a 1/250th shutter speed. As long as the exposure is correct for a given situation I'm not picky about the specific f/stop or shutter speed.
    Only nit I'd pick is I'd like a one-touch, return to default button. Sometimes after dialing the thumb wheel several notches off center (to bias the exposure in favor of shutter speed or aperture), it's a minor inconvenience to have to spin it back to center.
  105. Mostly "A" (85%). I do a lot of macro/flower photography, and DOF control is everything for that.
    Occasionally "S" (5%). If it's windy, stopping flower motion trumps DOF control.
    Occasionally "P" (5%). Sometimes you just want to take snapshots!
    Occasionally "M" (5%). When the lighting conditions make it impossible to get an accurate aperture priority photo, I switch to manual and tailor the settings to compensate for camera foibles.
    For me, it's almost always about DOF, so aperture priority is hard wired into my brain at this point.
  106. A-75%
  107. This poll has confirmed what I have always believed.
  108. What have you always believed, Tim?
  109. I shoot almost 100% in A.
  110. "A" 99.9%
  111. I shoot M anual (of course manual ISO) mostly because it is simple and easy
    I use P A S only when I feel lazy and don't want to turn the Mode dial much and M is farthest from OFF
    I can't imagine how keeping an eye on the meter and adjusting as necessary in M mode is faster than using A or S​
    1. Many people, including me, never need to look at the meter
    2. In any of the modes MAS, you still have to adjust two things, either Speed and aperture or just one of those plus EC
    3. M mode is faster than either A or S because there is no need to switch mode. Also, it's not about which mode is faster but will you get exactly the exposure you want
    4. Very often the brightness of the subject and background don't change much but as the composition changes, you need to adjust EC if you are in A or S modes
  112. Interesting how few people use (or admit to using!) P, or just dismiss it as a snapshot mode. I completely agree with Lex about how useful Flexible Program is, and it's my default mode if the camera supports it. This isn't your grandad's Fixed Program! If you trust the meter reading, spinning the command dial one way or the other gives you access to any valid aperture/shutter speed combination - you have complete control, and can instantly shift from shooting with 'aperture priority' or 'shutter priority' without a mode change. If you don't agree with the meter reading, A and S modes aren't going to do any better, though of course they are still useful when you absolutely must lock either aperture or shutter speed to a specific value in changing light.
    Auto ISO on the recent cameras (which work well over a wide ISO range) is a bit of a game changer, though, and the 'hidden automatic' mode (Auto ISO with M) that Elliot mentions is well worth trying. Since Auto ISO lets you specify both a minimum shutter speed and a maximum ISO value in its menu there are also some interesting possibilities when combined with the auto modes - e.g. if you use Auto ISO in combination with A, the camera will maintain the minimum shutter speed you set by raising the ISO as light levels fall until the maximum ISO value is reached; only at this point is the shutter speed allowed to fall.
  113. A All the time.
  114. I am a A and M shooter, M especially in studio, or with difficult light situations
  115. A or M ..rarely S Once in ahile P if I'm lazy.
  116. First two months after buying my D700 i was shooting 95% of the time with A, now i shoot in M mode all the time. Lets just say that i dont feel confident using other modes on my camera :)
  117. There's no sense in listing percentages without context. Shutter Priority mode would be a good choice for sports, action, or wildlife shooting, but it's probably not the best choice for portraits or landscapes. If someone claims to use S-mode 80 percent of the time, that doesn't tell us much unless we know what they spent that time shooting.
    I use A and M modes, but I couldn't even venture guess as to how much I do of either. Sometimes I stay in one mode for a while, but in other circumstances I'll switch back and forth. A-mode helps me establish an exposure value quickly (albeit not always accurately), and M-mode lets me shoot consistently at an exposure value once it has been verified. I'll use S-mode on occasion with High FP flash. With studio strobes, I put the camera into M-mode and measure the exposure with a Sekonic flash meter.
  118. I've found that (evaluative) P works remarkably well in the newer Canon's except in those instances of strong backlighting or when a predominately white or black subject that fills the frame. In such cases I just dial in the necessary amount of + or - compensation. Instances of using A or Tv would be when specific effects are desired, i.e. shallow depth of field or stop action. M works too with average subjects but usually just yields what P would accomplish.
  119. On the tripod mostly A sometimes M (rarely S).
    Handheld a mixture of A and P.
    Sometimes when out walking with the family I put the 18-105 zoom on; set the apperture to f/16 or f/18 in A mode; and then switch between A and P as I walk along. P for a snap of the family; A for a quick wideangle of the view. I find I get left behind if I take too long, and the tripod is a non-starter!
  120. On tripop: A
    Weddings: P (for flash)
    Portrait: A
    Sports: A or P
    Landscape: A (f8)
  121. I shoot the following:
    M - 90%
    P - 5%
    A & S 5%
    I just prefer controlling the image with M. I have started shooting night football with setting shutter and aperture, and setting the ISO on auto so it adjust to the light level on different parts of field. With D3s I am at 25k ISO max, but rarely does it go that high except for some shots in endzone corners. Still get very usable photos with this unique camera.
  122. With D200:
    A: >99% (and more often than not used with some exposure compensation depending on lens).
    M: <1%, usually with spot metering under difficult light or long guessed exposures for night shots.
    With D40x:
    The same, except when I have to use M with non-cpu lenses. The latter is going to change soon as I am getting chips for them.
    Never use P or S with any body.
  123. I am manual...always :)
  124. Manual with my cameras that only have the manual exposure mode.
    Aperture Priority with my cameras that offer different auto exposure modes.
    Rarely do I use Shutter Priority or Program auto exposure modes.
  125. A - mostly, S and P sometimes.
  126. A-%95
  127. I' am manual...always....
  128. 100% A for 30 years with my FE.
    100% P for the first 6 months with my D300 to see how well it worked, then 100% A after the first 6 months. More recently I find myself adjusting exposure compensation fairly often...outside in the snow in winter and in our woods in the summer.
  129. bracket shoot no matter what you are shooting and with whatever you are shooting with
  130. I'm not sure if I should buy a SLR camera? I'm manual. I like to control the camera and not have the camera control me. Aperture controls everything. Low light subjects and movement need manual control such a "C clamp" or tripod or a steady hand. High shutter speed and high aperture setting are an instamatic camera...
    But even so I kind of like the idea that maybe the SLR camera is more flexible. It can go many places and get good pictures...?

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