PDA

View Full Version : Manual Mode vs. AP/SP



SketchySmurf
02-28-2006, 07:57 AM
As I'm relearning everything SLR related, the books that talk about how to properly expose either use AP or SP. In particular, "Understanding Exposure" by Bryan Petersen (which was a fantastic explanation btw) uses AP/SP and then in a minor paragraph, says he prefers completely Manual Mode without explaning why...

I don't see the benefit. You control DOF or blur/still effects with either AP/SP and the camera's built in light meter takes care of the other half of the equation. Provided that you've metered properly, you should come out with a perfectly exposed photo. I just don't see taking the extra time to "find" the right shutter or aperture setting as a benefit, especially if you intend on bracketing a tricky shot anyway...

erichlund
02-28-2006, 08:47 AM
Okay, don't answer that. :)

The point is, meters can be fooled, and when they are, they will always be fooled. With experience, you will be able to see situations that will fool the meter, because you can adapt, while the meter will always give the same results under the same conditions.

The meter doesn't go away when you use manual. You just have to enter the settings it tells you to, evaluate the situation and decide if you need to change anything. One thing it forces you to do is actually look at the values the meter is putting on the little line of letters, numbers and symbols underneath the image in the viewfinder. It also forces you to learn to use the buttons and dials of your camera while not actually looking at them. So, there's a lot to be said for using the camera manually.

OTOH: The automatic modes are more instantaneous, so generally, if you are likely to be in spontaneous photographic situations, AP or even P may be your better choice.

Another thing you can do in manual is ignore the meter entirely and use a combination of some well known rules (such as Sunny 16) and judgement.

SketchySmurf
02-28-2006, 09:00 AM
Right, maybe I should have clarified: When I said "considering that you've metered properly" that means you take control of the metering situation. That includes knowing where and when to use different metering modes under different light situations. So for any given ISO, you've got at least six "correct" exposure settings.

My question is, AP/SP gives you one side (or point) of that triangular relationship. With fully manual, you set one side of the equation and assuming you've controlled the metering situation to where you want it, set the other side. So there's an extra step involved when compared to AP/SP.

Or is it that an experienced photographer can come across a scene, make that evaluation in his mind and set both the A and S without metering at all?

penz
03-01-2006, 09:10 AM
I personally love to shop in manual mode. The only time I don't use M I use a full auto preset (this is rare but timing makes it useful). I don't like the way the pictures come out most of the time with the half auto setting. They always seem dark, light or slow. I don't always trust the meter and it has given me good reason more than one time. I have also noticed the metering system likes to grab onto bright spots and set it off of that even if you want the dark with a flare look. It all falls down to personal perferance and how much control you what in the end.

Rhys
03-01-2006, 10:46 AM
When I shot a lot of 35mm, I'd often glance at the scene and know roughly what my exposure should be.

I tend to use AP when I'm concerned about depth of field.
I use SP when I'm concerned about capturing an image at a set shutter speed - for example blurring the background when panning a moving vehicle or freezing the motion of an athlete.
I use manual when I know the meter is being fooled. For example, aim at a candle in a dark room. The meter will expose for the flame, not the room. A light touch of flash can also help from overburning the flame.
I never use any of the nasty program modes on my camera and wonder what manner of lunacy persuaded Canon to put them on it!

erichlund
03-01-2006, 11:09 AM
I never use any of the nasty program modes on my camera and wonder what manner of lunacy persuaded Canon to put them on it!
See, if you had waited it out and got the D200 :p , you wouldn't have to put up with that. ;) (OK, there are a few things buried in the menus, but they are not full, out and out, modes.) :eek:

Just kidding, of course...

Rhys
03-02-2006, 01:18 PM
See, if you had waited it out and got the D200 :p , you wouldn't have to put up with that. ;) (OK, there are a few things buried in the menus, but they are not full, out and out, modes.) :eek:

Just kidding, of course...

If I were in Britain with my Nikon equipment (which is currently stored in my aunt's house) then I'd take a couple of lenses to the camera shop and test-drive a D200. Maybe when I return for a visit, I'll do that. If the results are better than those I get with my XT then I might sell my Canon kit and go back to Nikon. To be honest, I prefer manual focus. AF screws up so often that I really wonder why the camera manufacturers bothered. And I'm not saying the XT screws up - just that I can do a better job of focussing by myself. I wish Canon had put a split screen on the XT!

cdifoto
03-04-2006, 12:31 AM
I generally use M for flash, Av when I'm chasing my nephew outside, and Tv when I'm shooting sports.

I let the camera do most of the thinking so I can actually follow the action in those cases. When using flash, I'm usually indoors and my flash is the primary light source.

Norm in Fujino
03-05-2006, 02:00 AM
My question is, AP/SP gives you one side (or point) of that triangular relationship. With fully manual, you set one side of the equation and assuming you've controlled the metering situation to where you want it, set the other side. So there's an extra step involved when compared to AP/SP.

Or is it that an experienced photographer can come across a scene, make that evaluation in his mind and set both the A and S without metering at all?

There are a couple of issues. When using AP or SP, you still have to consider entering exposure compensation depending on the scene lighting, in which case you're doing the same thing as manual setting. More importantly, I often need to meter off one part of the scene, then recompose for focus and shooting. In that case, you can use AP/SP plus pressing the AEL button when recomposing, or you can simply set the values in manual and without worrying about AEL. There's no free lunch :p

Spot focus
03-12-2006, 09:34 PM
I wish Canon had put a split screen on the XT!
I wish pentax had too :rolleyes: so much easier to get accurate focus

dallas75287
04-19-2006, 11:06 PM
For those that use manual mode, what are some advices and tips to determine the proper values for aperture and shutter speed?

erichlund
04-20-2006, 09:07 AM
For those that use manual mode, what are some advices and tips to determine the proper values for aperture and shutter speed?
Well there are lots of ways to shoot in manual mode. Some people use the Sunny 16 rule. The simplest way to start is to still use the meter. After all, it does not stop working when you put the camera in manual mode. It just doesn't make the settings for you.

In A, or Ap if you are a Canon person (I think), you set aperture, and the camera sets the shutter speed based on the meter. Then, you look at the scene and make a judgement about how much exposure compensation to put in for lighting conditions (or simply because the camera is too conservative for your taste, ala D70 +.5 to +1).

In manual, for the same photo, you still set the aperture. Then you look at the meter and set the shutter off that. Then you adjust the shutter up or down to compensate for the same things you were using exposure compensation for with the A mode. It's actually a little easier than the A mode. On my camera, in A mode, to set exposure compensation, there is a button right next to the shutter release, toward the edge of the camera. You press that and turn the main command dial. You might note, that's one hand doing two things, and the trigger finger must leave the shutter release to do so. In manual, you just rotate the main command dial to adjust the shutter speed up or down to the desired setting.

Of course, you do the opposite if shutter speed is more critical. Then you would set a shutter speed and then adjust the aperture to the meter with the sub command dial on the front of the camera. You D50 folks will have to chime in how you do that, because you only have the one dial. I'm guessing a button you press to change the purpose of the command dial.

In the long run, if you get used to using manual, you will find yourself checking the meter to confirm that if you have set up correctly.

JTL
04-21-2006, 03:16 PM
I only ever use Av or Tv when I'm shooting on-the-spot and don't have time to "think". I've done lots of testing and can confidently say, with the 350D at least, every manual shot I take trumps the programatic shot...be it the DOF, the focus, the contrast, brightness, the freezing or blurring of action, etc.

The camera's algorithms will never be better than my brain or eye...

erichlund
04-22-2006, 12:28 AM
I only ever use Av or Tv when I'm shooting on-the-spot and don't have time to "think". I've done lots of testing and can confidently say, with the 350D at least, every manual shot I take trumps the programatic shot...be it the DOF, the focus, the contrast, brightness, the freezing or blurring of action, etc.

The camera's algorithms will never be better than my brain or eye...
I'm sorry, but what you seem to be saying is that on your camera, the meter is never right. So, either your 350D needs a calibration, or the 350D meter design consistently returns inaccurate results.

Perhaps your photographic situations always involve complex lighting situations that can be challenging for any meter.

I hope that this inaccuracy is at least consistent in nature, such as with the D70, where you can usually expect to use +1/3 to +1ev in order to get an accurate exposure (depending on individual taste). ;)

JTL
04-22-2006, 08:05 AM
No...what I'm saying is that I expose according to my own creative desires. A camera does not know what I want. It only knows what it thinks is technically correct...

some guy
04-27-2006, 02:35 PM
M is good to use with fill-flash. Or if you want to trick the metering system.