What % of your phots are taken using "P" setting? C'mon, be honest

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by walter_strong|5, Feb 13, 2010.

  1. I'm finding that I do just as well to leave my camera on "P" unless there's a GOOD reason to move it to another setting. Last Fall I shot an entire family reunion on "P" and used my software to make the changes I wanted. Depending on what I'm shooting my camera is set on "P" at LEAST 75% of the time. I guess if I was shooting high fashion stuff it'd have to be different, but not for the day to day photography I like to do. How 'bout the rest of you?
  2. Rarely anymore actually... unless I hand the camera to someone else. Typically I find myself in Av mode most of the time. If I had to put a percentage on it, my guess would be 10-15%.
  3. 0%
    My 50D and my 30D are both permanently in M mode.
    Always have been, I don't like having the camera think for me.
  4. Basically never. I switch between aperture priority, shutter priority, and ADep.
  5. Never tried it. I use M or Av
  6. 0%..... Tv and M
  7. Never use it, I mostly use manual in studio (9and a light meter with strobes), but sometimes I use aperture or shutter priority when taking photos for other purposes. It all depends.
  8. 0% P
    100% Av
  9. Nearly none.
    Almost exclusively Tv and Av with a smattering of M.
  10. P - 70% the other 30% divided between AV and TV
  11. P: 0%
    Av: 70%
    Tv: 20%
    M: 8%
    All Other Modes: 2%
  12. Personally, I've never used Program mode once, but I met Rick Sammon at a photo seminar a few years ago and he said he normally leaves his camera in Program mode so he's ready for an instant shot. When there's more time, he uses other modes. Rick makes his living as a travel photographer (and teacher and speaker), so it makes sense. Maybe I should try it, but I'm happy with Av and M, and an occasional Tv.
  13. About 40% in p mode. I'm honest. :D
  14. Almost 100%. most of the time I'll dial in the shutter speed or aperture value in P mode.
  15. About 75% of the time I use Av mode. The remainder is M mode. M mode is preferable when I use a tripod and am shooting in a studio where the lighting doesn't change. I don't have anything against P mode but it gets tiresome using program shift and it's much easier to just set what you want yourself.
  16. None
    Av or TV
  17. 0% at P
    100% at M
  18. quite a many. I use shiftable P (to dial up or down aperture or shutter as needed) and adjust exposure compensation based on the background.
    why have a dog an bark?
    I use M when I'm in difficult lighting (like black suits which can throw exposure) and taking a series of images (I hate micro variations)
  19. 90% P, 8% AV, 2% M. I started out with a borrowed AE-1 (non-program) about 25 years ago, and couldn't figure out why you would use AV on a friend's Nikon since the Canon was TV or M only. After buying an Elan IIe I never used TV again. If I need a lot of depth of field or want to stop down for sharpness I use AV, and if I'm shooting at night without flash or have a specific effect in mind I use M. Otherwise P works fine. Most of the time it is pretty close to what I would set in AV. I don't buy the "I don't want the camera thinking for me" lines you will get on this thread. Unless you are using a hand held meter or the sunny 16 rule you will be using the camera's meter, so it is even thinking for you in M. What do most of us do when DoF isn't critical? We open the lens up for the fastest shutter speed and shoot. What does P do? It opens the lens up for the fastest shutter speed for you, so you can shoot without having to do it yourself. I still pay attention and switch to AV or M if I don't like the aperture/shutter speed combination, but it isn't needed all that often.
  20. P 30%
    AV 40%
    TV 10%
    M 20%
  21. I think I'm 90% in Av and 10% in M on my 20D. My old Olympus digicam (C750UZ) I use almost exclusively in P mode.
    When my girlfriend picks up any of my camera's, she immediately sets them to full-auto...
  22. P 10%, A 70%, M 20%
  23. P 1% M 1% Tv 8% Av 90%
  24. For me, P == Panic. If there are a lot of action going on around me that I need to shoot, then I dial to P, otherwise I'm 90% in Av and a little M.
    When lenting the camera to friends, I usualy dial to auto... :)
  25. I nearly always use M with occasional rare use in Av or Tv. I think P mode is also a great way to get Geen Box shooters comfortable with making some choices about their own photos. And soon they begin to understand the relationship between aperture and shutter speed.
  26. I know this is a Canon thread and I use Olympus but.....I try to set P mode as my default when I'm not actively shooting - that way, if something happens in front of me, I don't have to dick around too much. But generally, I shoot in A or when doing sport in S mode.
  27. I stay at Av most of the time.
    And occasionally TAv mode, which is just awesome.
  28. A big fat zero percent. How many photos have I ever taken in P mode -> zero.
    For you to be in control, you need to be in Manual mode. Force yourself to start using M mode. Evaluate the scene and decide on exposure yourself. Make mistakes and learn. Practice, practice, practice, and you will improve your photography.
  29. I use Program mode most of the time on my DSLR and XS10 for casual shooting, and with flash. I can see the aperture and shutter speed in the viewfinders, and can make adjustments or change to another mode if needed.
    It seems that using Manual is a "badge" to indicate some people are real photographers! Newbies seem to pick up on this, and I'm sure we've all seen posts by newbies who start off by telling everyone they are using Manual, but are not getting good results. They seem to assume that "serious" photographers use Manual, so that is the only way to go if you too want to be "serious".

    I use whatever works.
  30. Honeslty, I use aperture mainly then shutter priority and rarely will use manual to tweak exposure if they fail me. Sometimes I would put in programme mode if I was taking pics of the kids messing around. Like a previous poster stated I would like more control over my pictures than what the cameras decides is right.
  31. For me, The reason why I use P mode is that, When I am shooting hand held at low light , P mode will select higher shutter speed than AV mode, Allowing me to shoot the scene with more chance of success. Albeit at lesser exposure than AV mode.
    If I'm shooting night scene with a tripod, I use AV mode almost always, gives better result than p mode.
    If I'm shooting with flash, M mode , almost always.
  32. what..no one uses the p mode? I thought P stands for "Professional" haha
  33. Perhaps because I don't make money directly from photography as yet I can't enjoy 'P' mode. I want the challenge of 'M' with spot metering or centre weighted metering.
    Aside from enjoying the game of exposure I want control of depth of field plus I don't seem to shoot scenes that look like an 18% grey card. If I'm in a hurry to capture something then 'A' is the way to go. Though I have spent a reasonable amount of money on a very good DSLR I only want to use the features (3D matrix metering, continuous tracking AF, program mode etc) as an aid when I run out of ability.
    This is why I am challenged by photography.
  34. I am still learning so this topic is interesting to me. I started out on 100% manual once I got serious on trying to learn how to shoot . Now that I am more comfortable and have a better idea of how my camera works and with what I want to make it do I am around 50% P, 40% Av and 10% Tv with exposure compensation as needed. I rarely use manual anymore as I find that P, Av or Tv (basically the modes that let the camera do some of the work) and compensation get me where I want to be faster then trying to set a manual exposure from the get go.
  35. 0% P

    100% M (even for snapshots)
  36. None. Mostly M and some Av.
  37. Av = 70%, Tv = 20%, M = 8%, A-DEP = 2% ---
    Though I will as well set it to "P" when I hand the camera to anyone else to use.
  38. virtually 0%. I virtually always use Av, Tv, or M. Probably Av most, but that just because a lot of what I shoot leaves me more concerned about DOF than shutter speed.
  39. Never shot in P mode. Either M or Av and a few times in Tv.
  40. P Mode? 0%. I shoot in Aperture Priority. cb
  41. When I started out in photography I used "P" all the time. As I got into it more seriously, learning to correctly expose for light. There was much trial and error when using Tv and Av. Now after a decade. I am confident to let me be in control instead of the camera. I do use "P" but not to shoot, I use it when I have plenty of time before actually exposing the scene. I gauge what the camera is "thinking" then adjust to my own liking using "M" or "Av".
  42. Zero. Perish the thought of it.
  43. When shooting macro, I'm 95% A, 5% M. When shooting landscapes, its 80% A and 20% M
    When traveling or doing street shooting, I leave my camera in P about 15%, when light is changing quickly or I'm shooting sun to shade frequently, otherwise it's 85% A. Rick Sammon's advice is useful, I'd rather have the camera guess an exposure in a fraction of a second than me sometimes. When I do have time, I'd rather choose.
  44. I shoot Nikon but it is the same.
    99% AP/AV .05% SP/TV .05% Accidently turned the dial to something I did not want.
  45. M - 100%
  46. In the interest of full disclosure, I should point out that while I don't use P, I do bracket a bit.
  47. Never - M or Av, and infrequently, B
  48. You know, it didn’t even occur to me…does the 5D / 5DII even have one of those “modem dial” thingies? I’ll have to check mine…I’ve kinda just always assumed that they’re regular ol’ manual cameras. Being digital and all, I suppose it wouldn’t surprise me if one of those fancy new automatic buttons got welded on somewhere, but I’ve yet to stumble across it….
  49. Nope, never happened.
  50. P mode? Hmmm. What's that?
  51. 0% P
    99% Av
    I've heard this is a good way to carry a camera just in case you have a 'quick' shot opportunity.
    Perhaps in the bag.............?
  52. I would honestly say AV 80-90% of the time and then M the rest. I rarely use Shutter priority since it's not necessary for what I tend to shoot. I think the only time my camera has ever been in "P" was when I hand it to my wife for the day.
  53. I am never on 'P'. I am on aperture priority mode - because I like to control the depth of field more thant anything else. But you gave me a good idea - when I hand over my camera to my wife/daughter to take pictures, I should change it to 'P', thanQ
  54. None
    90% AV
    10% TV
  55. I stick with M mode all the time.
  56. M 90%
    AV/TV 10%
    unless I hand the camera to my husband, in which case it goes to P along with a hope and a prayer.
  57. I don't even use my G11 in auto mode. I consider AV to be a crutch, but one that I use a lot.
  58. Probably about half the time. When the camera's going to choose the same setting I would (or the setting doesn't really matter), why shouldn't I just let it? It's kind of like manually shifting my automatic transmission car. Occasionally it's necessary, but why do it the rest of the time? I will admit that a good deal of my photos are snapshots of the kids that are not difficult to meter. If I'm taking a portrait or shooting a landscape, then I'll override. If there's a lot of action, I'll override. I recently took pictures of the record snowfall here, and that required quite a bit of manual override.
    The camera's always in P mode when I hand it to my wife.
  59. The "manual is badge" argument is not an accurate statement, at least not for me.
    When I first got an SLR that wasn't purely manual (old camera was a Pentax K1000) I started out playing with P mode, but I found that the exposure trajectories used by my Nikon weren't right for what I was shooting, as I was shooting mostly handheld and they appear to have chosen a compromise between what one might choose for tripod and handheld, so I had to correct it all the time. So I switched to aperture priority. However I soon figured out that the fancy metering system made a decision with each and every photograph and that I disagreed with it fairly often. This got hammered home the first time I shot a basketball game and some shots were bright and blurry and some were dark and crisp; the camera was changing exposure depending on dark jerseys or white jerseys or the lighted scorer's table being in the frame. There was no way I could ride exposure compensation to fix those problems, so I soon found myself shooting M and spot metering as well.
    Once I switched to M+spot, everything felt easier, not harder. Now it's just part of my routine to set appropriate WB, look around with spot metering and pick an exposure (ISO/aperture/shutter) and do a test shot or two looking at histograms. From there nothing changes unless I see a lighting change that I want to respond to. No more reverse engineering of the camera's algorithms and more thought on composition and timing. I started doing this in gyms, but have found it to work well for me in most situations.
    One other bonus: I get to skip past any "My BR549 camera's hyperspectral 4D metering is overexposing the sky" discussions in the fora as I just don't know much about what my camera would do that way.
    So, it's not about wearing a badge. I didn't go to M because someone said it would make me a professional (which I'm not in any case). I do occasionally evangelize about why I find it a more comfortable way to do things. And yes, sometimes I use one of the auto modes when I've got no time to set anything up, but that would probably be the green auto mode or the no-flash scene mode. To the OP's question, I never use P.
  60. 0%. I use Av or M.
    If my wife uses the camera however, it is either on P or the green zone. ;-)
  61. 0% and only about 10% of all my photos are taken digitally as well.
  62. I haven't used 'P' in years. I shoot probably 90% in Av, and the remaining in M--mostly when I am using a flash.
  63. Av 90% of the time. M when hooked to studio lights.
  64. stp


    0% on P. 98% on Av because I've found the Canon matrix metering is amazingly good. 2% on M. I always use a tripod, so depth of field is of primary concern, shutter speed is a secondary concern; I photograph landscapes that don't move very fast.
  65. What do most of us do when DoF isn't critical? We open the lens up for the fastest shutter speed and shoot.
    I can't say that I do that. I try to think about DoF and shutter speed for every shot and set the camera appropriately (mostly using Av), but when neither one matters, you have what Bryan Peterson calls a "who cares?" exposure. In that case, I don't just go with the fastest shutter speed, but rather with the sharpest aperture. Somewhere around f/8 on my lens.
  66. Av 70%, M 20%, Tv 10%. Can't remember ever using P.
  67. 0% on P, Almost all on Av or M
    For me there is not good reason to use P.
  68. P 40%
    M 30%
    Av 30%
  69. P 0%
    Av 90%
    M 10% (strobes)
  70. 0% P. I use maybe 25% M mode and aperture priority for 75% these days. I don't find shutter priority or program useful for the way I shoot. When I work on tripod I use manual mode only as I don't like uncontrolled changes. For hand-held work if the lighting is even I will use manual mode, if it's highly variable, aperture priority. When I shoot hand-held, it's either architectural stuff on the go (in which case I want to stop down but I still shoot at higher shutter speeds than program mode would suggest), or people subjects. For people shots I need to control the background blur hence aperture priority. S mode is useful for when you want to maximize DOF at a given shutter speed but this is a problem for me as the image look is very dependent on the aperture, hence I can't let a machine control that.
  71. I leave it on P for that quick wildlife or people shot that I wouldn't get otherwise. It took me awhile to realize how many shots I was missing because it wasn't on P. Most of my shots are landscape and I use aperture for that.
  72. P 70% (family, street, walk around)
    A 20% (shallow DoF arty stuff)
    M 10% (studio lights for portraits and macro)
  73. Could somebody tell me where to find the "P" setting.
  74. I shoot almost exclusive AV. When I do studio work, I shoot Manual for control. Sometimes when I let someone borrow the camera, I put it in green.
    The big point of having a dSLR is the control. A green mode shot in many cases don't look that much different than a photo from a good point & shoot. It's the unique aesthetics you can create in the non-green modes which draw advanced shooters to dSLR's.
    More importantly, composition is the biggest thing. My first award for a photo was taken with a point & shoot in it's green mode. Using different modes is part of a tool set to get what you want. The art is within the photographer.
  75. Rarely, only to see what it's says out of curiosity.
    Mostly I use Av (General Photography) and M (ETTL flash).
  76. 0% of the time do I use "P" setting. Mine is usually in manual mode with manual focus.
  77. never, 0.
    I shoot in AV or M.
  78. I use the "P" setting for the majority of picture taking events, but the majority of images are shot with a manual setting. The night launch of the space shuttle last week and the basketball game on Thursday were 100% manual.
    How many people will admit to using auto-focus?
  79. In the studio - never. On a editorial outdoor shoot - never. At an outdoor event for the newspaper, over 80% if the time.
    Walking around on vacation. All the time.
  80. Might as well use P when you have slow zooms attached. It's not like you can go to f/1.5 using Av.
  81. Less than 1%. I'm not comfortable letting the camera pick both aperture and shutter speed. 90% of the time I'm on AV mode. The rest of the time is split between Tv for night shooting and M for really critical stuff where I meter with an old but Uber Accurate Gossen Luna Pro.
    I always joked that "P Mode" stands for "Probably OK"!
  82. I think Dave Collett has the best idea. Leave the camera in P Mode. If you're walking down a trail in the woods and that once in a lifetime shot of Bigfoot presents itself, you'll likely either miss the shot or get a poor picture if you have to dial in settings in manual mode. P mode is how my camera goes in the bag, for the above reason (not that I actually expect to see Bigfoot). When I'm sure that my subject isn't going anywhere in a hurry, or that conditions are going to change rapidly, I'll switch to manual for most of my shots.
  83. P: 1% (not going to claim I NEVER used it... but it sure feels that way.)
    Av: 79% (can change shutter speed with exposure comp, but aperture usually needs to be manually adjusted from subject to subject.)
    Tv: 5% (for those very rare times when I don't care about aperture but shutter speed is critical, e.g. syncing to CRT displays or getting the right blur or freeze on a fast-moving subject).
    M: 15% (usually when I try to artificially "set up" a shot, as opposed to running-and-gunning, I'll end up using manual. This includes a lot of macro, tripod-shot landscapes/panoramas, some composed portraiture, HDR, etc.).
  84. Mostly Av or M, unless I'm using flash, in which case it's almost invariably P, because I'm still not used to calculating flash output on the go. I'll work on that aspect of my craft next
    Even though I don't like the idea of the Camera thinking for me, most of the time I find the camera and I agree on the best exposure, since on most shots I would go by the meter reading anyway.
  85. Honestly, 99% on P with my 17-40/4 and 15/2.8 fisheye.
    Honestly, 99 % on Av, M or Tv with my 50/1.4, 85/1.2II, 100/2.8 Macro, 70-200/4 IS and 300/2.8 IS.
  86. 80% P outside in good light. You need to know your camera's metering. Inside, 100% man, easier to drag shutter. In studio, whatever the meter is reporting, so 100% manual. v/r Buffdr
  87. 0% P
    75% M (when I can take my time)
    24% Av (when I cannot take my time)
    1% Tv (panning)
  88. 0% here as well. In fact, I don't even have it on my 1DmkIV anymore. Well, I technically have it, but its not available in the mode selector anymore.
  89. Shoot mostly film on old manual cameras and a hand held meter. When I do use my digital SLR it's most often with my old manual legacy lenses that limit metering to Av or M. I have tried it with the kit lens, seems to work OK but I find the kit lens not very useful for most of my needs.
  90. Never. My camera doesn't have a "P" mode. Well, the one I use most anyway. I rarely use anything but aperture priority on my Contax G1, or manual on my Nikon D40
  91. 96% P mode with exposure compensation if required.
    2% Av and 2% Tv under special conditions.
    I find the camera is a much better judge of light levels than I am. But then I'm an automation engineer, so I believe machines can be better than humans sometimes. The camera is better at exposure and I'm better at composition; that suits me fine.
  92. I always shoot in manual. That's why you invest in an SLR, so that you can control the camera. If you're shooting P you might as well just buy a point and shoot.
  93. stp


    Walter, it looks like the "P" shooters are a decided minority. Doesn't much matter, though -- we all have our reasons and different shooting situations, and they all appear to be working for us.
  94. I'd guestimate I use Program mode for 95%, maybe higher, and Manual for the remainder. I use Aperture Priority or Shutter Speed Priority auto exposure mode very rarely, basically if I have an overriding need for a specific Aperture or Shutter Speed.
    I've never quite fathomed the AV and Tv devotees enthusiam for the modes. It's still auto exposure, you're just locking one of the settings, for dubious benefit in the majority of situations, imho.
  95. never
  96. P? As in the "Program mode" of my digital cameras? 0%.
    I use Aperture priority in 90%, manual in about 8% and shutter speed priority in about 2%.
    Or there about.
    Sorry, I forgot, I may use the P mode for about 5% of my pictures shot with the Canon S90, but all my Nikons could very well not have that setting.
  97. Percentage of shots taken in P? Hard to tell, since it depends very much on what I am shooting.
    In a studio or on a copy stand?, never in P.
    But I know this much, I would never want to be walking around any place where anything might happen suddenly without leaving the camera on P. In fact most of my missed shots have been where the camera was on M, Av, or Tv from its last use (meaning I forgot to set it back to P) and so the picture has been ill-exposed, balked, or blurred as a result.
    This "I do my own thinking" can be taken entirely too far and become a fetish.
    It's like never using the automatic transmission on your car. These are tools, not purity tests. I shot on manual cameras for some 50 years, so I think I've paid my dues in terms of doing my "own thinking."
    If you're going all the way with "manual" you need to turn off your auto-focus as well, of course.
  98. David Bell wrote: "For you to be in control, you need to be in Manual mode."
    I agree, if "control" is what you crave.
  99. Stephen, if your count is correct, it only means the minority of those writing in used P. The rest of them are out there, maybe taking lots of pictures, or just as likely not taking pictures at all. And why should anyone else care what they do or don't do with their cameras or how they use them when they do?
    On the off chance the original question was deeper than it sounded, here are some reasons why you might *not* shoot P-mode. Actually, why don't I spare you the trouble of skipping over the list I'm sure everyone already knows. The simple answer is that I almost always have very specific ideas about how I want to shoot the shot. Camera settings are only part of it.
    On a different level, or maybe it's still just the same thought, it's also a matter of eye habits and thought process. If you're in the habit of checking the metering and other settings on every shot, full manual is little different from shooting P or any other mode. I think that's your answer in a nutshell. The question that was asked was really if you often care or think about what effect the various combinations that give equivalent exposure have on the final picture.
  100. I once shot a few frames on P mode but that was becauseI had not noticed that I accidently had it set to P mode instead of manual. I want to be in control, not have the camera decide what is best for me.
  101. I don't even know what it really does...
    PS: I read the manual people, I just always use M or Av.
  102. 0% in P.
    I use A or M for natual light shots, M for flash shots.
  103. Less than 1%.
    When I've sold stuff on ebay I sometimes use the P mode to take a quick .jpg of the item I'm selling since it does need to be a work of art... just to get the item sold.
  104. 90% AV with evaluative metering
    10% M with spot for tricky lighting situations
    I cannot remember ever having taken a shot in P mode, even out of curiosity.
    My first SLR was a shiny new Spotmatic, with the Asahi scratched out. It did not have P. When P showed up on my next camera, I never felt the need to use it.
    In my opinion, getting what I want in an image is determined by whether my priority is either* the freezing/blurring of action or control over depth of field. It's just that straightforward a decision, then lighten or darken to taste.
    To me it seems that using the Program modes entails these same decisions, then re-interpreting that choice-set into which program mode (little icon of jagged mountain? girl with windblown hair?) would, or might, get that effect. It is a step removed from my control of the camera, and a very abstract step at that. Ymmv.
    *And now, with a shot by shot adjustment of the DIN, we can have both, or a continuum of choice of how much of either. It's a brave new world.
  105. The majority of the time I use Av mode on my 5D. When I absolutely must use a flash at events and such, I'll use a combination of Av, P and M, but mainly use P when the lighting conditions can vary quite a bit and there isn't time to fiddle with all the settings.
  106. m = 65%
    sp = 25%
    ap = 7%
    a = 3%
    If I mention using shutter priority much more than aperture people seem flummoxed. For action shooting when the amount of light will be essentially the same over various images, I would rather make a shutter setting to avoid camera shake and not have to keep looking to make sure. Fire and forget. If DOF matters, then aperture priority is selected.
  107. Aperture,
  108. Most of the time my cameras are in AV mode thats not because I think there is anything wrong with program mode but I am just used to using AV. Most of the time my apeture range is somewhere between F2 and F4. When I use flash inside I usually go to manual mode.
  109. 90% Av (about 50% with exposure compensation)
    8% Tv
    2% M
    0% P
  110. M, 100%.
    I started with P on my 20D but I wasn't happy with the decisions made for me by the camera. I tried Av and Tv but I found it easier and more obvious to use M.
    I have tried to use Av and Tv but I just find it easier to set everything myself. Manual is just the easiest to use.
  111. P 0%
    Av 65%
    Tv 10%
    M 25%
    Cheers, Bob
  112. my main camera, dslr sony a100 - aperture priority 99.9%
    second camera, olympus om4 - aperture priority 100%
    third camera bessa r - it only offers manual but i tend to find tweaking the aperture rather more once the shutter had been set at the start of a scene.
  113. I have my dSLR in Aperture Priority, usually. But I'm noting what the settings are, and if not appropriate (shutter too slow to stop sports, etc), I'll modify it.

    For doing digitally stitched panos, I'm in M.
    But... above is just dSLR. My film cameras tend to be manual only, just because they're 50 y/o and that's all there was.
  114. 0% for me. FWIW, I thought 'P' stood for "Professional" mode.
    I use Aperture or Manual mode depending on the lighting situation, though more and more I'm using Manual.
  115. 0% of my shots are taken on P (that stands for professional right?)
    If anything, I would like to control the depth of field without having to second guess the camera every other shot where it's reverted back to f4.2 or something idiotic... And when using flashes on manual, which i do often, I'm in manual!
  116. My G9 which died yesterday would some times go on P, my Canon 1V when using flash will some times go on P.
  117. I mostly use a point and shoot and find there's virtually no difference between F2.8 and F8 in terms of depth of field, except on extreme close ups. As a result, I normally shoot in AV mode with the widest aperture and the lowest ISO set. However, I don't think my shots would look any different if I were to use program mode. AV is more or less a force of habit for me. However, I do use my exposure compensation button quite a bit to dial in the exposure I want.
  118. I have my camera set in "P" most of the time but that's usually a starting point for a meter reading. I'm often outside hoping to see a wide range of subjects from birds in flight, deer "in flight", or sky and landscapes, so I like to be ready for an immediate shot. Much of the time though, I shift the Av and Tv values to the settings that I feel are most appropriate for the particular shot, and if that doesn't give me what I want I may shift to either Av or Tv mode. I'm not one of those who thinks that shooting in "P" makes me a lesser photographer; I even like my pop-up flash for occasional use. Whatever setting or feature on my camera is going to allow me to capture the shot I want, I'll use it until it breaks. If I want to shoot fully manually I'll use my OM-1n or F-1, or a whole host of other older cameras.
  119. "I'm an automation engineer, so I believe machines can be better than humans sometimes."​
    But don't humans have to make those machines? I doubt the machine will ever be better than it's creator. I understand your stance on smart machines since you help create them, but you're kind of insulting yourself by saying that they're smarter than you. Kind of a double edged sword.
  120. I say that if you are going to use "P" you should go all the way and use the green rectangle.
  121. I am used to manual mode setting on my Nikon 300D. It only takes seconds to make adjustments on shutter speed and others.
  122. 0% on P. I didn't spend all that money on a body & lens to shoot in P. 90% of my shots are in manual. The other 10% divided between aperture or shutter priority depending on what I want to control (shutter for sports, aperture for most everything else).
  123. Nathan Gardner said: "But don't humans have to make those machines? I doubt the machine will ever be better than it's creator. I understand your stance on smart machines since you help create them, but you're kind of insulting yourself by saying that they're smarter than you. Kind of a double edged sword."
    I'm not at all sure "smarter" is the best word here. Mabe "better" is more appropriate (as you suggested in your second sentence). There are certainly many machines that are "better" than humans at some specific tasks. Do you want to pick up a load weighing several thousand pounds and set it on a flatbed trailer? You'd do well to use a forklift, it'll do the job "better", not to mention saving a sever strain on your back! Our human egos are fragile at best and the attitude pretty much universally seems to be, "I don't need no stink'n computer to set the controls on this machine, the computer between my ears works just fine!" Truth of the matter is, smart technology is making inroads steadily into our realm of mind. My guess is that in another hundred years human will not be deciding "how" to do it but simply "when".
  124. Used to shoot a lot on P but went to nearly 100 per cent AV and sometimes M. Now if find myself going back to P sometimes, when I want to grap a quick shot or when conditions are chnageing rapidly.
    I have found myself missing shots or taking too long in AV.
  125. I use AV when I'm greatly concerned about depth of focus (doing macro shots or whatever) and TV when I'm concerned about stopping action (kids and pets). I never use P, although sometimes I think I should.
  126. I never use it...always in Manual mode :)
  127. I don't think I've ever used P mode. I tend to use AV mode because at the very minimum, I want to decide what aperture to use. Lately, for indoor or backlit scenarios, I tend to shoot manual because I've found that the results are far more consistent - which makes post processing SO much faster.
    I've heard of people getting great results from P mode. I'm just too scared to try!
    Ottawa Wedding Photographers
  128. Honestly never. Pretty much always in "A" mode, but once in a long time in "M" mode...
  129. My wife uses P mode in RAW. I show her the AV mode and work on teaching her how to use it. I don't use P mode. I use AV and M pretty much exclusively, not even TV. I use a god percentage of adapted manual focus lenses, which pretty much dictates those modes.
  130. I shoot about 70-80% rugby photos so it's on Tv for that 80% keeping a shutter speed of a minimum of 1/500, faster if light allows.
    Working on building sites I tend to shoot maybe half Av and the other half either on P or even the Green rectangle sometimes if I have the flash on board (Attics or interior shots of construction faults usually). Sometmes I go fully manual if I have the time or if I go off on a random night or evening shoot with a mate of mine and it's usually 100% manual to get the "Bracketing" that we need for long exposures if that's what we're doing on that particular evening.
    I don't avoid it like the plague like some others do, I use it when it suits, when I need a shot of something in a hurry while the brain is involved with something else, and one of the other modes when it suits the shots involved.
    90% of it is knowing what you actually want the camera to do for you AT THAT PARTICULAR MOMENT (in other words its 90% Cerebellum) It's just whatever works for the pictures I need to take at that particular time.
  131. I probably use P mode about 90% of the time. However, while in P mode I usually check the shutter speed and aperture and use the wheel to adjust the the shutter speed/aperture combination if I am not comfortable with one or the other, e.g. to adjust the depth of field. Occasionally I will also adjust the over/under exposure while in P mode.
    Most of the rest of the time I use M mode.
  132. Never even tried it. Manual or Apeture Priority are the only modes I use.
  133. I observed that this thread might cause misinformation in the Photography community. Especially to the newbies.
    I'd like to say that there is nothing wrong with using P mode, And one should not limit oneself by not using P mode, P mode have it's own distinct advantages over other mode and vice versa. For you to know whats those advantages are, I suggest you discover them yourself, as explaining them here is almost pointless and would only open a new argument.
    I believe that there are more good photographers out there that do not belong to the " I never use P mode" or "What is a P mode" crowd . Than this thread might suggest. And one should not feel insecure When using P mode. What's more important in photography are your vision, composition, Post processing skills and the final results. Without these, You can memorize all the M mode combinations all you want, But your photos still suck.
  134. P 0%
    AV 85%
    TV 14% (fast sports)
    M 1% (extreme lighting, especially backlighting)
  135. P 0%
    TV 0%
    AV 95%
    M 5%
  136. sbp


    Av - 90%
    Tv - 10%
  137. I always shoot in the A-mode. Aperture-mode. So I can choose my dept of field. As I mostly use a tripod, and work with non-moving targets, shutterspeed is less important. I tried the P-mode once (Nikon D700), but was very dissapointed with the results. It was no more than mediocre, with all my lenses. And, I had the feeling I had no control whatsoever.
  138. I should try the Professional mode at least once on this new camera of mine. 85% manual 10% av 5% tv
  139. 0%
    Av 65%
    Tv 5%
    M 30%
    more or less...
  140. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    My Canon DSLR's “REST mode” (i.e. when put away on the car floor or in the camera bag) are:

    "P", ISO 400, CWA, AWB, CF4 = 1, Single Shot, Centre AF, One Shot, and the power is on, at the crooked bar past "on".

    At present, 20D sleeps with the 24, the 30D with the 50 and the 5D with the 16 to 35.

    "P" MODE (and using Program Shift) should not be underestimated.

    To answer your question - what % of my images are captured in "P" a quick survey of the last 2,000 shots (I was seriously curious) less than 40 - so that is about 2%, but most were shot From the Hip or Hail Mary or out the Car Window and three or four were crackers, IMO.

    . . . so I guess the question I gotta ask is: do you know the selections for your camera(s) when they are put to rest?

  141. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    "I'd like to say that there is nothing wrong with using P mode, And one should not limit oneself by not using P mode, P mode have it's own distinct advantages over other mode and vice versa. For you to know whats those advantages are, I suggest you discover them yourself, as explaining them here is almost pointless and would only open a new argument."

    Sage advice.

  142. OPK


    0%...just Av and M
  143. 0%. roughly 95% Av, 5% Tv. That casts a dark shadow on my photographic prowess, ok, I should learn to use M. however, because I love Av, I'll purchase a point and shoot that has it to control DOF.
  144. Having spent about 30 years using manual exposure I love P mode and use it most of the time.
  145. 0% - for me depth-of-field is one of the most fundamental elements in the way I compose. Allowing a camera to take that decision away from me is unthinkable.
    In principle if you are just making record shots 'P' is fine. If you have any artistic intent it is awful. I do think beginners should know that.
  146. Canon Dslr's:
    M mode always in studio and sometimes on location.
    Av on location most of the time, unless I need to show movement then I use Tv.
    P mode only when I am in a state of panic, need to instantly have to have a picture and no time to think.
    Mamiya and Calumet film:
    M mode all the time
    When I let someone else use my camera... Oh heck no. I don't think so. Get your own.
  147. 80% Manual & 20% AV
  148. 80% Manual & 20% AV
  149. There seems to be a misaprehension that the P setting somehow reduces the photographer's ability to control depth-of-field or shutter speeds. This used to be the case in the old days (pre-EOS) but since Canons now offer the possibility to shift the program curve (the relationship between aperture and shutter speed) by spinning a wheel, there is no more control to be had via AV or TV than via P. The only difference is that the former modes keep the setting until you change it while the latter revert to the standard combination when the camera goes into rest mode. Oh, and AV and TV allows for incorrect exposures if the light does not fit within the range while P adjusts.
    I remember when the shifteable P feature was launched in the late eighties. It was one of the greatest improvements for handling a camera I had ever seen. I since have complete control of the combination of aperture and shutter speed via the front wheel, and can adjust overall exposure via the back thumb wheel. To me it is the fastest and most accurate way of operating a camera and I use it a lot.
  150. I use "P" less than one tenth of one percent of the time. Normally Av or when indoors M; when shooting sports, Tv.
    Poster above is right, Program Shift is fine - but I find it confusing, never knowing what will change when.
  151. On my 7D I use P for shooting video.
    On a point-n-shoot I use P for manual flash control and being able to access RAW.
  152. 0%
    99% AV
    1% Manual
  153. Av and M give me everything that I'll ever need.
  154. Whenever I'm in the car, and sometimes when I really have to act quickly or get nothing . I have no idea what the percentage is though. It also seems to depend on which setup I'm using. In short, the camera usually "sleeps" in "P" mode.l
  155. With the 5DII I purchased just about one year ago, for me the breakdown is:
    P= 0%
    Av = 95%
    Manual = 5%
    Prior to the 5DII, I was still using my 1n, and the breakdown there was:
    P = 0%
    Manual = 95%
    Tv = 5%
    My shift from Manual to Av was highly impacted by becoming comfortable with Av when shooting with my G6 (since replaced by the G11).
  156. Nada.
    The Big Bagel.
    But then again, almost the same for M (only when using a handheld meter with my 5D or 1V).
    I prefer Av about 90% of the time. Tv the rest of the time.
    At *any* setting I almost always have AEB on and set at 1/2 stop.
  157. And one should not limit oneself by not using P mode
    It's got nothing to do with "limiting oneself" but simply by having found through experience that this mode does more damage than good. You give up control of how the image looks to the camera. And the camera is programmed to produce images of the quality standard of a novice. By using P, you more often have to make corrections than when using the other modes since they don't allow the camera to do as many decisions against your intent. Of course, if you're a sunday snapper and not an experienced photographer it may be fine. If you have any amount of experience under the belt working with the other modes and taking control is pretty much in your spinal cord and you're rarely consciously aware of what settings you use and adjustments you make. Having to second guess the camera's evaluative/matrix whizbang algorithm AND having to constantly adjust it for wrong aperture/shutter speed choices is just too much second guessing to do, it takes your mind away from the other elements of the photograph you should be paying attention to.
    But you use whatever works for you. Just don't go judging people who never use P mode. They probably know what they're doing.
  158. I'm not sure why one would ever use P. Maybe I am missing out. For me it's about:
    P= 0%
    Av = 95%
    Manual = 5%
    As a few have mentioned, how about focusing... What fraction is manual focus and what fraction is auto... :)
    Manual focus = 60% (and most of my better images)
  159. What's the P mode?
    No, seriously. I'm at Av 95% of the time - DoF control is essential. Manual when I shoot people indoors or handheld shots of really dark interiors. I still want to be in control of he aperture, but I know I have to underexpose to get the shot, and so I just set it to the slowest shutter speed I know I'll get sharp results from 80% of the time.
    Depending on the subject matter, I often find I get very artistically acceptable results underexposing by four stops at ISO 1600 on my 5D
    I also use manual for panorama shooting, though sometimes I am lazy and just meter the same spot over again and recompose.
  160. A: 95%
    M: 5%
    S: Almost never
    P: Never
  161. Because of the nature of my work I tend to use manual most of the time - I use multiple strobes on location in mixed lighting so it's often a slower process and I want to be able to adjust ambient light and strobe light individually.
    However, once you are letting the camera's meter automatically set your exposure, I'm not sure why it matters whether you set Tv, Av or P. In either case a simple turn of a one dial lets you set whatever shutter speed / aperture combination you desire, and unless you dial in compensation the actual exposure will be the same. There has always been a huge amount of snobbery involved in photography - "Professional" camera bodies, manual or auto Focus, "L" Lenses, etc. but it seems to have sunk to a new low when it now involves which auto exposure mode you choose to use - when presumably you will be checking the exposure and rotating the same dial anyway!
  162. My camera has a P mode? I'd no more let a camera decide my settings for me than I'd let my car drive itself.
    No, wait - changed my mind. If I had a cast on both arms and I was going to shoot my 5 year old nephew's birthday party, I'd let the car drive me there and set the camera to P mode. I guess I'd have to trip the shutter with my toes, though.
  163. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    "And one should not limit oneself by not using P mode
    It's got nothing to do with "limiting oneself" but simply by having found through experience that this mode does more damage than good."

    Ilkka, the whole sentence was "I'd like to say that there is nothing wrong with using P mode, And one should not limit oneself by not using P mode, P mode have it's own distinct advantages over other mode and vice versa."

    And Mars went on to say that those advantages should be investigated and applied if useful.

    Your quoting small portions and out of context and then drawing references to "being a Sunday snapper" is IMO, rather a long bow to draw and is illogical.

    But taking small quotes out of context and inflaming the situation seems to be a skill practiced here by some – and by some, more than others.

    As I read both your contribution and Mars' contribution you are both saying the same thing - basically use what suits you best –after learning about everything - save for the fact that Mars was polite yet your post makes an inference that using "P" mode not only makes makes light of the Photographers skills, but directly implies that those skills are less than adequate to use or to understand any other mode:

    op cit:
    "Of course, if you're a Sunday snapper and not an experienced photographer it [P mode] may be fine. If you have any amount of experience under the belt working with the other modes and taking control is pretty much in your spinal cord and you're rarely consciously aware of what settings you use and adjustments you make."

    Speaking of working with other modes and taking control, do you put you cameras away with a set protocol such that you intuitively know how they will wake up in an instant and with what lenses attached - is your spinal cord that deep?

  164. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    "once you are letting the camera's meter automatically set your exposure, I'm not sure why it matters whether you set Tv, Av or P. In either case a simple turn of a one dial lets you set whatever shutter speed / aperture combination you desire, and unless you dial in compensation the actual exposure will be the same. There has always been a huge amount of snobbery involved in photography - "Professional" camera bodies, manual or auto Focus, "L" Lenses, etc. but it seems to have sunk to a new low when it now involves which auto exposure mode you choose to use - when presumably you will be checking the exposure and rotating the same dial anyway!"

    Thank the Lord and all the Archangels for some logic and some understanding as to how the Av Tv and P modes work and can be used, on an EOS series camera.

  165. A 60%
    T 20%
    M 20%
    P 0%
  166. <1% P
    90% A
    9% M (bulb mode mostly)
  167. P mode 1% for curiosity
    TV mode 0%
    M mode for portrait work
    Av mode most of the time
  168. this has been an intresting thread and i am pleased it hasn't turned into a flame war. our choises and reasons are informative. if the guy next to me wants to use his camera differently, then except for my own curiosity, it is no business of mine to tell him to change.
    i would be intrested in a P-composition mode, where it analyses the image i'm trying to take and if it is ugly and stupid, a little door opens and a hand comes out and slaps me.
  169. i would be intrested in a P-composition mode, where it analyses the image i'm trying to take and if it is ugly and stupid, a little door opens and a hand comes out and slaps me.​
    It would be easier to Canon to discharge the flash through the camera body 10KV will give you a nice shock.
  170. 0% P
    40% Av
    30% Tv
    30% M
    You bought an expensive SLR so that YOU decide, not the camera. Right ?
  171. Never, I shoot 90% on manual. The rest of the time it is set at either Aperture or shutter priority.
  172. Years ago , I handed my new D70 to a pro friend and he said to me "Never , never , never shoot in Auto ! " I was ashamed . I grew up with nothing but manual on my Spotmatic when this guy wasn't even born yet . So what's wrong with automation , sonny ? But early on the digital camera was smarter then me . Now I'm learning ... now I'm enjoying taking control again . Some P but mostly Aperture priority . And NEVER , NEVER Auto !
  173. 0% thats the beauty of SLR full control, when i press the shutter, i have made descisions about what i want the camera to do.
  174. When in my truck and underway, I am always in P. Once I get to my shoot its either M or A.
  175. When I first started using cameras in the 80's ( Nikon 8008 ), yes I was using P because I was a begginer; now, that I have some experience, I only use M the majority of the time and sometimes A or S, but I would say, 90% of the time, I do use M and I do believe is the best option if you want to be creative.
  176. If I am just casual shooting like at a friend's b-day party I'm probably shooting program. Now if I am shooting a wedding, Portrait, sports, or anything else I shoot either aperture priority or manual.
  177. Actually never. Probably 70 or 80% of the time in Av, and Tv or M when I need it.
  178. Only have used Program setting a couple of times. Manual about 65%, Av 20%, Tv 10% and Bulb 5%.
  179. Never used it.
    I use aperture priority or manual.
  180. Never. Manual 90% Av 10%.
  181. I'm surprised but glad only one person took a shot at me about my post. I really wasn't thinking about explaining my wild guess about the high percentage of P that I use, but I think it would be useful. I fully understand the advantages AV has in controlling depth of field, and that is why it gets the next highest use from me of any other mode. I do sometimes use manual when I want to force settings or of course when I'm shooting long exposures at night. The reason I find P works for me is simple though. I tend to use two lenses more than the rest of my collection, and really DoF isn't an issue because they are on extreme ends of the focel length scale. Using my 10-22 at 10mm, the DoF is enormous at all but the closest focus distances, even wide open. Using the 300 F4L, the DoF is razor thin, even stopped down to f16. One other thing. I hate using a tripod if I don't have to, so having faster shutter speeds tends to be more critical than trying to control DoF for most of my shooting. When it does become critical I use what is needed. Otherwise, I let the camera take care of everything but the composition and ISO. Knowing when to switch is the key, rather than being stuck in one mode. With that being said, even though I mostly use P, I've never understood the point of the green box or scene modes. They have always seemed way too gimicky and inflexible to be useful to anyone who had a clue why they bought an SLR, but more than half the time when I pick up someone else's that is where they are set.
  182. 98.71% M; 0.93% P ;-)
  183. P 0%
    Av 85%
    Tv 10%
    M 5%
    I wonder if P mode works in my cameras, I never gave it a try.
  184. 95% of the time. Spot metering = 100% of the time. I've tried all modes, first on my IIE and then my 40D and it just feels
    more right that way. My customers are very happy with the finished product and that works just fine for me.
  185. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    "With that being said, even though I mostly use P, I've never understood the point of the green box or scene modes. They have always seemed way too gimicky and inflexible to be useful to anyone who had a clue why they bought an SLR"

    Have a look at the "Sports" mode, particularly when shooting continuous mode in reasonable EV but shooting the spread across varying light - depending upon the camera model you use and what you use your camera for - it is an interesting exercise / experiment.

  186. The only one I really don't use at all is ADEP (<1%). I leave it on P for general walkaround (30%), M if I have a studio set up or have time to chimp and adjust (20%), Av for architecture and natural light portraits (30%), Tv for low light, action, and longer focal length (20%), Auto only for down and dirty record keeping on a jobsite (at least until I bother to buy another Canon Powershot for that purpose). I suspect that when I upgrade my body (very soon) I will spend a lot of time in C1-C3 modes.
  187. I'll answer too, just so I am on the record:
    1 / 1000 (0.1%) of my DSLR photos are on the silly P mode. 0.00% in Green mode.
    80% = Av mode.
    14% = Tv mode
    6% = M mode
  188. I have to say I'm a little surprised by this thread. Never occured to me that anyone's self-esteem could be tied up in the exposure mode they used. And I really don't understand the whole "control" argument. Did you folks not read the manual?
    I've been taking pictures since about 1968, the first few decades using cameras with no meters at all, so I'm hardly afraid of "manual mode", but I find that P saves me time, so I use it. A lot.
    I just tried this: I took my old, artistic Sekonic meter, set it on 200 and aimed it at my back yard. It gave me a range of options centered around 125@f5.6. Then I took my 40D and did the same thing. What a surprise! 125@f5.6...
    I fail to see how the same exposure can make the result any more artistic or professional depending on how it was arrived at.
    If I want a little more depth of field or a slightly shorter exposure, I turn the front wheel. If I want to favor the shadows or the highlights, I turn the back wheel. I'm totally in control...
    Sorry if this sounds ill-tempered; it's just that many of the responses here seem motivated by something other that logic.
    Ulf's post above says pretty much the same as mine, but is kinder. Thank you, Ulf.
    Of course you should use whatever method works for you, and is appropriate, but it seems silly to let some kind of macho attitude lead you not to try something that might be useful.
  189. Thanks Scott - I said exactly the same thing a few yards above! I too am totally confused about all the talk of "control" - we are talking about a combination of two numbers here ferchristsake! You can set whatever shutter speed / aperture combination you desire in any of the auto modes - forsaking the P mode doesn't instantly make you Ansel Adams!
    It seems a lot more than making images is going on here - there is apparently some macho badge of honor in using one auto mode over another! I suspect a lot of the posters also drive big cars, if you get my drift...
  190. P mode? What is that?
  191. Howdy!
    Indoors and After Dark Outside: 75% manual flash and manual exposure, 20% auto flash and manual exposure, 5% Shutter Priority with auto flash.
    Outside with Plenty of Light, Action Subjects: 100% Shutter Priority
    Outside portrait: Manual flash and exposure, all the time.
  192. P mode? What is that?
    Read the manual, LOL :D :D :D
  193. My camera is always stored in my backpack in "P" Mode with auto WB and auto ISO so I'm ready in a second to take a shot but I rarely if ever use "P" Mode mostly AV or M
  194. Roughly...

    70% Av
    30% Manual
    10% Bulb
  195. I am a little surprised that, with all the technical information and borderline-flaming going on, no one has addressed the heart of the issue.
    Your camera meters at Zone V, middle grey*. No amount of technical programming wizardry, no array of "P" modes, can escape this fact. True, your camera can evaluate points within a scene, and come up with an exposure relative to those points, but it always is based on seeing middle grey. PERIOD.
    So, if you take a picture of a Caucasian person wearing white in snow, your camera will likely make the scene dark and dreary; it will be underexposed, because the camera saw all that "white" as middle grey. Likewise, if you take a picture of an African American person wearing dark clothes in a deeply shaded area, your camera will tend to over expose, and your African American friend will look like a white person with a bad tan in an eerily bright "shaded" area, again, because the camera saw all that "dark" as middle grey.
    Now, I realize that I am over-simplifying a bit. P mode is "good enough" for most situations most of the time. But at this point in time, no camera has an on-board computer that is smart enough to understand anything but variations on reading middle grey. And if you have gone to the expense of buying an SLR or dSLR, "good enough" usually isn't. You want whites to be crisp and white; you want blacks to be deep and rich. "Good enough" is for cameraphones, not dSLRs.
    This simple fact, that cameras measure at Zone V, is why so many posters here view "P" mode as a crutch—not only are you letting the camera pick the exposure for you, you are likely letting it pick a poor, muddy-grey exposure.
    Learning the very basic principals of the Zone System allows a photographer to proceed in "M" mode with complete confidence: I know that the palm of my Caucasian hand is roughly one stop brighter than Zone V; I measure my palm with my camera and then set my "M" mode-ed camera to one Zone (essentially, one stop) darker than the reading given to me. This works in ANY lighting situation, and is easy to re-do in fast-changing light. If you have a grey card, life is even simpler; you meter off the grey card and BOOM you have your proper exposure.
    Now, granted, there are times—for some photographers most of the time—when you need the camera to figure things out for you in a hurry and "good enough" is, indeed, good enough. Catching a snap of Bigfoot is a great example, assuming, of course, that the light is quickly changing or that you didn't have time to meter off a known source already. In addition, sometimes a photographer is going for a special effect (contre jour comes to mind), and the CREATIVELY CORRECT setting may be different from the standard Zone System setting.
    But if "M" mode is a badge, it is a merit badge of understanding the Zone System, and understanding the true limitations of your camera. Maybe one day cameras will be smart enough to tell the differences in the color of a person's skin, will be able to tell the difference between a shady green grassy scene and a sparse white snowy one, etc. That day has not arrived yet, as far as I know. Until that day arrives, learning the fact that your camera sees everything in middle grey, and learning how to interpret its meter reading based off that fact, makes "M" the EASIEST mode on the camera.
    Also, point well taken about view cameras; they do indeed lack the "P" settings because they are manufactured with the assumption that the camera operator will understand the Zone System (or at least understand the very basics of exposure), and will be able to set the proper settings on his own. If it's good enough for Ansel Adams, why isn't it good enough for you? :)
    A really good website/page that explains all of this is http://www.fredparker.com/ultexp1.htm — pay special attention to the section titled "Why your light meter lies to you" if you want to better understand what I am trying to explain here.
    * Some digital cameras vary a bit, but essentially it's working at Zone V
  196. Nice explanation Brian Thedell, However incomplete.
    You forgot to mention the use of exposure compensation on P mode. You can dial it to -.7 for black or dark subjects or +.7 for white or white on white gown subjects. It is very easy if you just care to try it. The metering on the camera is the same whatever mode the cam is in, like you said.
  197. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    Brian, the TTL meter is the same meter whether the camera is set to "M" "P" "Av" or "Tv"

    The salient difference is, in "M" mode the user makes the first selection of Aperture and Shutter Speed. . . with "P" "Av" and "Tv" the camera makes that first selection. . . But that is all the camera does.

    The user can vary that initial selection with a flick of a wheel BEFORE the shutter is released . . .

    Control of Aperture and Sutter Speed, is in the user's hands, in all the four aforementioned Camera modes.

    How the user chooses to employ the TTL meter's information and decide to adjust the exposure (or not) can be learnt to done with equal ease* in any of the four modes.

    *Some might prefer one mode to another, but Zone Metering and any consequent exposure adjustment, can be employed in all four Camera modes.

  198. I guess you all are just that much more advanced than I am. I know that altering my aperture to nail the exposure alters my depth of field; alternately, changing my shutter speed affects the degree to which I stop or blur motion. I honestly DON'T know what all the various fancy modes on my camera do (though I do understand AV and TV).
    I prefer the "M" mode because it is the one mode that behaves exactly the same on all my cameras. Whether I'm using my Russian-made Leica-knock-off rangefinder, or my (film based) Canon Elan II, or my Canon Rebel XT, or my view camera + hand-held exposure meter, the rules for setting exposure are the same. I never read my RebelXT's manual, and I bought my Elan II used, so it has no manual. I know that "M" mode behaves exactly how I want it to; it does my bidding reliably and consistently, and if there are any exposure problems, they're MY fault.
    I guess I'm just too much of an airhead blond to keep track of BOTH a complex program mode AND an exposure compensation value on the fly, instantly, at the same time. :) I'm sure there are more advanced photographers, shooting in rapidly changing lighting conditions, that are more nimble than I. I was just trying to provide an explanation for newbies (like how I was about a year ago) as to why "straight" programmed-mode settings—uncorrected by exposure compensation—tend to produce muddy, dull pictures.
  199. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    Brian it is not a matter of being more advanced, that is certainly NOT what my reply to you was about.

    What I was saying was, if you are using the TTL meter and you have your camera on "M" and the scene is a white person in snow the camera's light meter will still meter the same no matter if the camera is in "M" "Av" "Tv" or "P"

    There is no change to how the light meter operates by selecting P, M, Tv or Av. You change how the light meter operates by changing those light meter settings – e.g. Evaluative, Spot, Centre Weighted Average, etc.


    To put it another way - if you poke your EOS model XXD at a scene, and I do the same, with the same camera and lens and we both select Centre Weighted Average Metering and we both select ISO400 and you use manual and decide that F/4 @ 1/400 is your exposure, and I have my camera set to "P", my camera might (initially) select F/5.6 @ 1/200 - it is the same meter reading.

    It is just a difference in the functionality of how we get to any exposure combination.

    Likely you picked up your camera and had to turn two dials, to dial in the Tv and the Av - whereas in “P” mode the camera chooses the first Tv / Av pair for me and if I want to, I can easily select F/4 @ 1/400s with a flick of the Quick Control Dial.


    Now if you want to overrule the LIGHT METER ’S suggestion because you know the Zone system and you note that this particular scene requires you to open upon more stop, you might set the your shutter speed to 1/200s . . .

    I can easily do the same in “P” mode (also in Av or Tv mode as well) – I just might be using a different knob, button or wheel to do so.


    “P” mode does not magically change the metering nor disallow the selection of different shutter speeds or the Aperture choice, or the use of Zone Metering or restrict or inhibit the selection of the TTL metering mode you wish to use.

    “P” mode is NOTHING like the green rectangle mode – I think many here are confused what “P” MODE actually is and how it works.

    If anything, in really simple terms “P” mode is “Tv” and “Av” mode, combined.

  200. "... straight" programmed-mode settings—uncorrected by exposure compensation—tend to produce muddy, dull pictures"​
    This seems like something of a sweeping statement! What you are effectively saying is that unless you apply a + or - exposure compensation to the camera's recommended exposure setting you will "tend" to get muddy, dull results...
    Obviously with certain subjects, and in some lighting situations, you may want to increase or decrease the exposure to compensate for the meter, but this is true in all modes - the recommended exposure will be the same in manual mode as in any "programmed mode settings". In manual, or any program mode, exposure compensation (if required) is a quick dial rotation away.
    I am unsure if people are routinely getting "muddy, dull" results by exposing at the camera's recommended setting. While still occasionally fooled, cameras meters have increased in accuracy by leaps and bounds. A quick glance at the histogram will show if you are on track. There is no need to overthink this stuff - in the great scheme of photography getting your exposure right is hardly one of the major obstacles. So far, I have had a 25 year career in photography - shooting for major clients all around the world - advertising, sports, travel, fashion and editorial - using Sinar 4x5 & 8x10, Mamiya RZ, Hassleblads (both film and digital) and many 35mm and DSLR variants and not once (never) have I used a spot meter or the zone system. Obviously if it works for you, that's fine, but at the end of the day you get to choose a combination of two numbers (and with that choice you control DOF and shutter speed) and have a certain amount of exposure latitude either side now (we had effectively none shooting transparency film)... how complicated do you need to make it?
  201. Brian,
    I too was enamored of the Zone System when I first learned photography. I even attended a three day workshop with Ansel Adams down in Carmel in 1962. In 1969, as a staff photographer on the San Francisco Chronicle, I had the somewhat daunting task of shooting his picture at a gallery opening.
    But when I got my first newspaper job I started using incident light meter readings (along with seat-of-the-pants compensation) and I don't think I ever even touched the old Weston Master again.

    And, in the context of this discussion, I'd note that Adams never had Photoshop, which I submit he'd have loved! (He was something of a techno nerd -- long before the term was invented.)

    So between "Levels" and "Curves", not to mention automatic bracketing, the Zone System seems as antiquated as a whale-bone corset. (Forgive me Ansel!) (Apologies to the fans of whale-bone corsets as well.)
    As to "... muddy, dull pictures": They are far more often the result of boring subjects and bad lighting than they are of exposure settings.
    -- Greg
  202. A lot of the comments above (e.g. "my camera has a P mode?") sound like they were made by someone wearing whale-bone corsets. I bet they wear manually adjusting ones, rather than those new fangled automatic ones.
  203. it


    zero percent
  204. OK -- better answer, 14 photos in P from me over the past several years, 20K+ shots. No reason at ALL to shoot in Pro mode.
  205. 0%
    99% AV
    0.8% M
    0.2% TV
  206. I mostly shoot on M, only when I lend my camera to my kids I turn it to P and maybe I shoot one or two photos before I change it back to M. I do not like to let the camera think for me.
  207. Never. End of story "M" only. haha
  208. At a party when my judgement may become impaired the camera is my designated sober friend.
  209. AV for about 90%, but then you can't take multiple exposures for HDRI in fully auto mode!
    Fully auto when I hand it to a friend to take snapshots...
  210. never use P mode.
  211. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

  212. 0% - I use M and nothing else!
  213. I use "P" probably about 60% and 40% "Aperture" Mode on my D3 and D700 and "P" all the time on my Infrared D100 - I only adjust the WB on the D100. Other alterations done in Photoshop. Only use "M" on my 645 Fuji Film camera.

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