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MMF
14-02-2012, 9:57pm
I went out taking photos with another beginner over the weekend. The conversation came up of the value of full Manual.
While I've been learning my camera I've been using either Av or Tv modes and concentrating on learning apeture or shutter speed. My friend uses Manual for all shots.
So my question is do I continue as I am learning Apeture and shutter speed seperately or do i go manual?

ricktas
14-02-2012, 10:10pm
Learn each one separately, once you understand how it works, start on the next one. Then once you know how each of aperture, ISO and shutter speed work independantly, work on combining two. So say leaving ISO on 100 and working with aperture and shutter speed to get creative. Then start combining all three.

Getting your head around it all, and all the other functions and features on a DSLR can be over-whelming. So take it slow, learn and understand one thing first, then add the next.

Think back to school. You first learned to count to 10, then 20, then 100, etc. Then came adding numbers together, and once you got that, came subtraction. You did not learn it all at once, it was staggered. Learning how to use all the features on a camera should be done the same way. Why? Cause it is the best way to not only learn it, but also understand it.

MMF
14-02-2012, 10:41pm
Thanks for the advice Rick, for me i had thought i was best learning one value at a time and to work on getting good shots by adjusting one value once I'm regularly getting good shots then I'll start to combine multiple settings. I was just concerned I may become too reliant on one setting and having the camera adjust the rest

Lucky23
15-02-2012, 2:23am
I have only recently started working in Manual mode and really enjoying the full range of functions on my camera. I find myself a bit slow in making the adjustments for the moments that need a quick snap which leaves me going back to Av mode mostly. But that's just me... :P

Try working through the lesson plan posted here (http://www.ausphotography.net.au/forum/showlibrary.php?title=Indexes:New_To_Photography_Book) as it'll help you understand how and why the camera automatically adjusts certain settings while working in Av or Tv mode. It's definitely a good starting point and gives a great foundation for further progress in photography.

arthurking83
15-02-2012, 5:24am
...... My friend uses Manual for all shots.
So my question is do I continue as I am learning Apeture and shutter speed seperately or do i go manual?

How your friends use their cameras and how you prefer to use your camera are mutually exclusive operational processes.

In some situations, they may all have to be set in the same way, but for most situations, they'll shoot their way, and you shoot yours.

Find whatever mode suits your style, and learn to use it fluently.

My preferred mode is [A] priority, but then again this doesn't mean that [A] is all I use.
If you're shooting sports, you'll want to use [S] priority, or if you;re shooting a dancer in a dancing environment ... any situations where there is a critical shutter speed minimum involved, you want [S](or Tv) mode.

99.9% of situations, [A] mode gets me by quite happily, and I'll still control exposure using exposure compensation! So don't just use a particular shooting mode, learn to predict the metering conditions!!
From understanding how the metering is working and what it's predicting, you then adjust as required.

Sometimes it's unavoidable, and Manual mode is the only option for taking the shot too tho.

Like Rick said, take the time and learn to use all the modes to see how they work, how they work for you and which of the different types you prefer.

ricktas
15-02-2012, 6:18am
I have been shooting for over 30 years now, and I still enjoy using Aperture mode at times.

mini696
15-02-2012, 9:01am
I always leave my camera stored in "P" mode, just in case I need to get that emergency shot without thinking.

However, I will start shooting in Av mode usually, because I am not good at guessing the settings, so I will see what the camera think is right then go to manual and shoot from there.

It depends on what I am trying to do also.

Kym
15-02-2012, 9:08am
Av is the most common people use.
Full manual for special conditions like long exposure night shots on a tripod etc.
Keep your ISO up at first ~400 or maybe 800 to get a fast shutter speed.

Maybe have a look at the New to Photography (http://www.ausphotography.net.au/forum/showlibrary.php?title=Books:New_To_Photography_Book) book and the Learning Plan in the book.

KeeFy
15-02-2012, 12:14pm
I use AV most of the time when i'm out doing street as lighting conditions change all the time. TV only when i do hip shooting and need the fast shutter. I typically only swap to Manual when i am shooting in a situation where lighting is consistent like inside a house, photoshoot, etc. It takes time to get the metering right for M but at least you know that your photos are properly exposed and consistent.

If you're shooting in M most of the time on the street you'd realise that you spend more time setting your camera than taking the shot. I shoot in film and whilst yes it does help with strengthening your foundation (i'm now able to meter a day scene visually @ 400ISO and adjust the aperture and shutter speed on the fly to +- 1EV.), i do still miss shots because i'm busy adjusting my settings rather than point, compose and shoot.

MMF
15-02-2012, 10:45pm
Thanks to all,
Its not that I'm against using full manual, its just that I've still got a lot to learn. Hopefully as i progress and have a better understanding of all the features i will enjoy manual more. At the moment I'm still reading and working my way through every beginner guide i can get my hands on so I can completely understand each priority stting and how that effects a photo and how i can adjust it to achieve the photo i see not jut what appears on my camera. I asked the question as it had been suggested that I would become over reliant on adjusting one value and allowing my camera to adjust the rest. Hearing all your comments i will stick to what i am currently doing and learn each dimension of my camera seperately and slowly incorperate tham all once i have more experience and a greater understanding of how they work.

gordon_l34
16-02-2012, 9:19pm
Hi,

I use full manual most of the time, but then I use lens from the '70''s as my digital is able to use the full range of backwards compatable lens.

Regards.

Mark L
16-02-2012, 10:07pm
I went out taking photos with another beginner over the weekend. The conversation came up of the value of full Manual.
While I've been learning my camera I've been using either Av or Tv modes and concentrating on learning apeture or shutter speed. My friend uses Manual for all shots.
.....

Did you talk about how many photos you're both taking that you think are worth keeping? Maybe your friend isn't keeping many. I don't know, just a thought.
Technology is there to be used. Based on what you've said in this thread, I think you're doing the right thing MMF.

MMF
17-02-2012, 11:02pm
The number of keepers achieved in each session didn't come up, however she did mention that she left white balance and iso settings on auto and didn't really understand how they worked and how they could potentially affect her photos. While i did have a basic understanding of iso and how a high iso could introduce noise into the photo. I guess we all learn in different ways and there is no firm right way just the best way for each individual to learn.

arthurking83
17-02-2012, 11:53pm
I went out taking photos with another beginner over the weekend. The conversation came up of the value of full Manual.

... My friend uses Manual for all shots.
.....




.... however she did mention that she left white balance and iso settings on auto and didn't really understand how they worked and how they could potentially affect her photos. .....


Note that this is not full manual mode.

In the old days when you shot film, yes, it used to be full manual control .. but setting ISO or even WB to auto defeats the purpose of using Manual mode.
There are a few technical reasons for using [M] mode, which related mainly to external lighting or metering issues, or the necessity of using [M] mode due to the type of lens in use, but if you choose to use manual mode and Auto ISO(and to a lesser extent Auto WB), in effect it's still allowing the camera to automate the process of selecting a correct exposure.

That is, in a situation where the light is a constant, no matter if you set your camera to 1/60s and f/2 or 1/250 and f/5.6 .. in Auto ISO mode, the camera will still expose the image the same way.
What will change tho is ISO going from ISO100 in the first instance, to ISO1600 in the second version of the exposure.

I think it's been said already, but of the manual modes available in the camera aperture priority is generally the easiest to get your head around. This is usually true(but not always) because the first variable that most photographers want to control is the DOF.
This is achieved either by focal length, distance to subject lens's aperture value, one you've set the first three up for a specific composition, you then use the aperture to control what you want you want, and don't want, in focus. From there it follows on that the shutter speed is variable, and if there's not enough(or too much) you also vary ISO setting to suit.
While many consider this to be an 'Auto' mode, it's far from it .. it's more of an automated manual mode, because you(as the operator) still have to manually set up a specific variable.

The reason that I tend to consider this mode(and Shutter priority mode) to be an automated manual mode ... with more emphasis on the manual .. is because as the operator you still have to manually operate many aspects of the exposure .. such as ISO, metering variance(if any) as well as allowances for composition(which can affect metering).

With Auto modes(the scene type auto modes), with some cameras you have no control other than when to expose and how to compose.

With manual mode, there is more opportunity to get it wrong if the conditions change, or just plainly get it wrong!
And if you use manual mode and use the camera's meter to adjust for a 'proper' exposure, then you may as well just use either aperture or shutter priority because in effect this is what you are doing .. only in a more clunky and convoluted manner!

This is not top say that manual mode is not useful .. far from it. there are always conditions and situations where it's the only way to do it properly.

What is more important is to have a full understanding of the cameras metering ability rather than the mode you choose to use.

I use Aperture priority as my 'manual mode'. In general shooting, manual mode doesn't interest me. The camera has a metering system calibrated to fully understand the sensors exposure capability, and you'd be mad not to use that symbiotic relationship. Once you understand how the metering system, especially using spot metering, and to a lesser degree centre weighted mode, then you know how much compensation to allow for, you only have one control to worry about and for the most part you will tend to lose fewer opportunities.
Having a camera that allows for 'quick compensation' is also vital for this to work properly .. that is, you don't set exposure compensation via a dedicated compensation button or menu item, it;s quickly set by using the 'other' control dial.
What this means is that in aperture priority you set exposure compensation via the shutter dial, and in shutter priority you set exposure compensation via the aperture control dial.
(this assumes that the camera has two separate control dials for aperture and shutter(as a proper camera should!)
If you have a camera where you HAVE to use an exposure compensation button to set it, then this also becomes kludgy and convoluted, so I can see how manual mode may work best in that situation as opposed to using exposure compensation.

If you were to learn in a lab environment, under controlled lighting, then full manual mode(without Auto WB and Auto ISO) is the best way to learn about exposure ... there's not doubt about that!
But if you are learning photography out in the real world where light varies wildly, and with actual real life scenery that moves, is pretty or ugly, if it's small or large or whatever it may be .. ie. not a constant, then one of the automated manual modes is a better way to learn to take photos.

Caity
19-02-2012, 9:02pm
Thanks MMF for starting this thread it has been a great help to me as I've recently started to use manual mode myself but now I think i'll head in your direction after reading all of this helpful advice from everyone here.
Goodluck with your learning... I look forward to seeing some of your work.

ricktas
19-02-2012, 9:11pm
More to add:

Everyone learns in different ways and at different speeds. Whilst going out with a friend can be a good way to learn, for some, for others it makes them feel they are a bit stupid, if they do not pick it up as quickly as their friend.

Some people learn by reading, others by watching tutorial videos (youtube can be good), others learn by listening to someone teach them, and even others learn by doing. Work out how you learn the most readily and employ that method to your photography. Learn at your own pace, do not try and keep up with the Joneses. If you do not understand something, come to AP and ask. Don't just think, ah well, my friend standing here gets it, so i will pretend I do, so I don't look stupid.

Ask questions, read, watch, practice...and move onto the next camera feature when YOU have an understanding of the one you are learning now.

Jcas
20-02-2012, 11:14am
This is a good informative thread, i use AV mostly as that is where i am most comfortable, but if i am in an experimental mood then i also fiddle with M, the one mode i never use is the fully auto one, i guess i like to have a bit of a say instead of leaving it all to the camera.

The modes are all there for a reason and it's probably good to experiment with them all, but most important in my view is to be comfortable with your method whatever it is, enjoy your outing with the camera .. :)

arthurking83
21-02-2012, 12:11am
The only mode I've never used is [P] program mode.
I did actually try to use it a few times, but more so out of curiosity as to what it actually does!
Apart from that, when I'm taking photos, I've never even thought to try it.

You turn the command wheels and it does weirdo things like change aperture and shutter speed at the same time, in a random manner!

Some Nikon cameras don't have any of these programmed auto modes(Landscape/Portrait/Sport/etc). The most automated auto mode they really get too is this [P] mode, which doesn't really offer the user any feedback or opportunity to set any predetermined value anywhere(except ISO I think).

William W
23-02-2012, 12:00pm
I donít believe that one can learn the efficient use of any CAMERA Mode, before one learns and masters the METERING Modes.

Whatever CAMERA mode you choose to perfect first, ensure you know exactly how your TTL meter functions in each of those METERING modes.

WW

aquinsey
23-02-2012, 7:34pm
I've stuck with Manual setting for most scenarios (especially, where I have the time). Only using Shutter & Aperture priority modes for situations where you need to be quick.

Tommo1965
23-02-2012, 11:01pm
the only times I will go to full manual is if the camera is doing something I don't want it too or in the studio as I use my studio heads with radio triggers in manual ..outside of the studio its always a light metering issue that will make me switch to "M".... typically shooting night basketball in a outdoor crt.....as you pan around large portion of the background go to black..as the evaluative metering needs to use the dark areas in it exposure equation the shutter speed drops ...I cant spot meter as the players are moving too quick...so I meter in AV mode at the aperture I want..normally taking a light reading from the crt surface..then go to M using that aperture and the shutter speed the camera says I needed { perhaps a tweak from there} .. I can pan to my hearts content and still have well exposed players and deep dark backgrounds with a shutter speed that is just quick enough for my needs .....

sorry for a long winded reply..but the moral of my story is don't just use M for the sake of Using it...but learn when you need to use it as the dumb black box{camera} is not all knowing ....but in most situations AV mode is most used as I want control over aperture and Im content to let the cameras metering do its magic ..

mugget
25-02-2012, 9:48pm
For learning, that's already been covered fairly well - just do whatever will help you understand things better.

Once you have a good understanding - for actual usage I think it's important to understand that each mode has it's uses. For example when I used to take alot of motorsport photos I almost exclusively used shutter priority (Tv) because I found that to be a much easier way to control how the photo looked (slower shutter for more motion/speed blur, or faster shutter for a crisp sharp photo).

Also some cameras actually lend themselves to manual usage, I'd say that rangefinders fall into this category.

But there's no point in worrying if you're using the 'right' or 'proper' setting - just because someone uses manual mode doesn't necessarily mean that they're a better photographer. Just make sure to use the best setting for the current situation and look you want to achieve. :)

My 2 cents.

jackdaw
26-02-2012, 6:50pm
I reckon AV is ideal to start on. Once you get the understanding of how your aperture is related to shutter speed and shooting stops under/over, then switch to Manual.

danny
26-02-2012, 7:04pm
As a fellow beginner... I usually take a few shots in Av first then switch over to manual that way I have some comparison between what the camera automatically assigns in terms of level and what I think.

Cheers

Wynny
01-03-2012, 12:55am
I'm a relative newby but have started to get some pleasing and more consistent results concentrating on Av mode.
Having said that however on a recent day of shooting I decided to take control at one stage and go onto Manual mode and those photos were the best of the day. All good learning.

simongledhill2000
17-03-2012, 10:43pm
I use manual mode pretty exclusively - I couldn't really say why, or whether it was a better learning path for me. I've always spot-metered, and to me it feels easier working in manual mode as I'm often metering away from my af point.

As others have stated it may well be easier learning Av and Tv modes first, but you do still need some understanding of how those modes work (or don't) to choose the right mode for the effect you are attempting to achieve.


Simon

ricktas
18-03-2012, 8:16am
I use manual mode pretty exclusively - I couldn't really say why, or whether it was a better learning path for me. I've always spot-metered, and to me it feels easier working in manual mode as I'm often metering away from my af point.

As others have stated it may well be easier learning Av and Tv modes first, but you do still need some understanding of how those modes work (or don't) to choose the right mode for the effect you are attempting to achieve.


Simon

This thread is in the New To Photography forum, it is for providing advice for beginners. Therefore understanding and learning about the modes is exactly what this entire forum is about.

jibba02
18-03-2012, 11:13am
I use Aperture priority 95% of the time. most of my work requires me to shoot in constantly changing lighting conditions. if i need to shoot in manual mode i will take an exposure reading in Aperture or Shutter Priority and work my manual setting from there. i dont know anyone that can guess the correct Manual settings to use first time up.

William W
18-03-2012, 1:34pm
It is a rare circumstance that there is the need for one to guess any Manual (exposure) Setting.

WW

pearson
21-03-2012, 9:27pm
I took the time to muck around and get to know how to use manual mode on my camera simply because, if you can get that mastered then Tv or Av mode become a piece of cake. I find myself shooting on full manual as a general rule 99% of the time because it gives you more options to change the way your images will look. You just need to know how you WANT them to look before you take them!

arthurking83
21-03-2012, 10:34pm
...... it gives you more options to change the way your images will look. You just need to know how you WANT them to look before you take them!

Yes it can .. but only when you use external lighting.

For all intents and purposes doing this with either Shutter or Aperture priority or full Manual makes no difference.
But this statement also needs to be qualified with a caveat that your choice of camera will also determine the subtle differences between how each shooting mode operates.

Most importantly is the requirement to fully understand your cameras metering system and what each different metering mode does.
It's been said previously, but needs to be re-iterated again. Your choice of metering mode is more important than your choice of shooting mode(except when external lighting is used).

William W
22-03-2012, 12:33am
. . .Your choice of metering mode is more important than your choice of shooting mode. . .

+ 1

WW

BLWNHR
26-03-2012, 11:05am
So my question is do I continue as I am learning Apeture and shutter speed seperately or do i go manual?

Each one has their place and you should learn each one of them. You should also understand the effect aperture has on depth of field as this will influence the mode you choose. Personally I use each of the three in the following circumstances:

Av - I use for portraiture, landscape and other circumstances where you need to control the depth of field (either shallow or deep). Shutter speed should still be in the back of your mind though as too slow and you will get blur or camera-shake.

Tv - I use for sports as you are trying to freeze the action, so aperture is less of a concern. It still is important to remember the aperture and the effect it is having on depth of field.

Manual - I shoot manual about 80% of the time now, and 100% for indoor shots or important portrait sessions. You have full control over what the camera is doing, if you get an unexpected bright light source the camera is not going to try to compensate for that. A good example of that is at the music festival I photographed a few weeks ago. As you will see in this image (http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v197/blownhr/Photography/?action=view&current=Eskimo-Joe.jpg), the powerful rear-of-stage lighting would have made the camera compensate heavily, but because I was shooting manual the exposure was exactly as I wanted it.
Personally I never use automatic ISO. I used to but found the less you give the camera to think about the better. You'll also know how the camera is going to react in a given circumstance.

Once you start getting into flash photography then you need to intimately understand the relationship between ISO, shutter speed and aperture. Basically Aperture controls the flash power, shutter speed controls the ambient light and ISO controls both. But that's a story for another day.

Dylan & Marianne
26-03-2012, 1:28pm
I use Aperture priority 95% of the time. most of my work requires me to shoot in constantly changing lighting conditions. if i need to shoot in manual mode i will take an exposure reading in Aperture or Shutter Priority and work my manual setting from there. i dont know anyone that can guess the correct Manual settings to use first time up.

actually, if you do enough of the same thing , you quite often have a good starting point
eg.

bright day wedding, when I want limited DOF, I'm at 2.8 iso100, CPL turned on, shooting 1/800
dawn's just broken, I'm at the coast, I want good DOF with 0.3 seconds partial wave motion , I'm usually at F11, iso has to be between 200-800 depending on lighting conditions and filters.

Experience eliminates alot of the guesswork (not all) and gets you closer to where you need to be for given situations

William
26-03-2012, 2:49pm
:D We take the fun out of it Dylan, I'm the same , Just know all the settings before I even get to the event or Sunrise , Usually set it the night before so I dont have to muck around in the dark for Sunrises ;)