A mode vs M mode

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by farbRausch, Apr 1, 2012.

  1. farbRausch macrumors member

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    #1
    I'm always curious what settings a photographer uses and a few days ago i found this site: http://www.chasejarvisandfriends.com/ That's basically a commercial site for the D90. However, I found the gallery somewhat interesting. A lot of photos were shot in manual mode. I absolutely see the point in using manual mode for nightshots(or similar situations) because one can't rely on the camera's metering etc.
    But if you take a look at some pictures, e.g. the group shot(first one), the shots in the car or the pics of the skater... why not use aperture priority mode here(and the exposure compensation if necessary). Using manual mode requires one to adjust the settings/shutter speed constantly, for example if a cloud moves and covers the sun and so on. Can someone help me out?
    best regards
     
  2. r.j.s Moderator emeritus

    r.j.s

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    #2
    Some people prefer the control you get from manual mode - plus the thought and planning that must go into every shot while using manual is what can make a good photo great.
     
  3. Doylem macrumors 68040

    Doylem

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    #3
    I always use manual settings (for my landscape/location shots). It keeps me fully involved in the picture making process, and I'm often exposing for small highlighted areas (which would be 'averaged out' in some/most auto modes). Each to their own, I guess... :)
     
  4. snberk103 macrumors 603

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    #4
    It's also very likely that they are using a handheld meter to do the metering. Lots of shadows and details and there is probably an assistant whose sole job it is to meter.

    I haven't actually looked hard at the Gallery because it is too FlashGimCracky, and I can't be bothered to wait for the bells and whistles to load and spin and make their cute noises.

    Note to emerging photographers.... Flash too often gets in the way. If your images can't stand on their own, then Flash ain't gonna help. I actually know some of Chase Jarvis's work - and that his images can stand on their own. So I'm surprised and will blame the fresh-out-of-school Nikon Web Intern.
     
  5. farbRausch thread starter macrumors member

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    #5
    Sorry for neglecting this thread, unfortunately I've been sick the past few days and could not reply here.
    How do proceed using manual mode? Do you find a spot you want to be properly exposed and use the analog exposure display in the viewfinder to find the settings, then take a picture and readjust etc.? I found it really hard/impossible to guess settings without help as the human eye constantly regulates how bright we see.
    I find this really interesting and plan to shoot manual more often. :)
     
  6. r.j.s Moderator emeritus

    r.j.s

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    #6
    For me, that is part of it, but I have learned over the years to judge and evaluate the scene to come up with an educated guess - which usually gets me within 2 stops or so. From there, it is just a matter of tweaking to get the result I want.
     
  7. snberk103 macrumors 603

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    #7
    Hope you are feeling better... sorry to hear you were under the weather.

    I think the best thing would be find a friend who knows about such things. They can show you on your camera how M works in about 5 minutes, while it will take considerably longer for us to try and explain with words and screen shots. And it will be more fun to go out with the camera and take pictures rather than sit in front of screen and read about it. Trust me....
     
  8. Phrasikleia macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

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    #8
    It's really just a matter of using the meter and the histogram, like you would in any other mode. I start by centering the needle, checking the histogram on a test, and then I proceed accordingly. I know my camera's controls very well and can make changes to any of the settings very quickly without thinking about it; it's like playing a musical instrument--the fingers just 'know' what to do, even during fast-paced shooting.

    In more detail:

    The aperture and ISO are usually the most important settings for me, so I dial them in first. Then I spin the dial to get the shutter speed that centers the needle. Depending on what I'm shooting, I may then have to make some compromises between those three settings to get what I want. I always use the histograms, checking them as often as possible while I'm shooting. I have my playback set to show RGB and brightness histograms, so I glance quickly at them between shots and always try to get them as far to the right as possible without clipping any highlights. I use UniWB to make sure the histograms are as accurate as possible.

    I work this way even when I'm shooting handheld and regardless of the type of work I'm doing (landscapes, portraits, action, etc.). It's just what works for me and provides me with the fewest missed shots. It's not all that different from using Av or Tv and then adjusting exposure compensation on the fly, but with those methods, you do run the risk of some outlying meter reading throwing your exposure off without you having any control over it. It really comes down to doing what works best for you in whatever situation you're in.
     
  9. Bear macrumors G3

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    #9
    One thing you could do is play with aperture priority mode and let it chose the shutter speed so you can see the results that using different apertures have on pictures. And note that results will vary some by lens and focal length.

    Once you get the feel for how the aperture affects the image for a given lens, you will know more about going to manual mode.

    Note that one of the things that will affect the background (see bokeh) in an image is the number of blades in the aperture mechanism of the lens.
     
  10. Vudoo macrumors 6502a

    Vudoo

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    #10
    I usually use Aperture mode most of the time. I would use Manual to control the shutter speed in addition. For an example, the basic rule is that your shutter speed should be about the same as the distance of your lens to reduce camera shake. 50mm lens is about 1/50, 100mm lens is about 1/100 and so forth.
     
  11. hwojtek macrumors 6502a

    hwojtek

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    #11
    The group shot was made with manual, since portraits tend to look better with longer exposure times like this one (1/60s) when the flash is used (it has been in this photo). Also, it allowed the DOF visible in the picture. Had it been shot in aperture priority mode with the flash, the wall behind the people would be sharp and unnaturally colored.
     
  12. VaughnA macrumors newbie

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    #12
    In my mind I find no difference between manual, Sv or Av modes. They are just controlled differently. With any of them you have full control of the exposure, Av and Tv just give you more convenience for 'normal' exposures. I don't see the advantage to manual myself. Most of the time no compensation is needed so I choose my exposure via the shutter or aperture and I'm there. I choose Tv or Av depending on the situation and shoot away. With manual I'm having to use two dials to get my desired exposure for most shots. With the 'Auto' modes I can set it with one unless compensation is necessary. I think the love of Manual is more of an ego thing IMHO...
     
  13. snberk103 macrumors 603

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    #13
    There is a crucial difference between Av & Tv mode vs M, and that is which computer you are using to set the exposure. In Av & Tv mode you are using the camera's computer to set the exposure. You may tell the camera to use a particular f/stop or shutter speed, but the exposure itself is set by the camera's computer. Although, of course, you can tell that computer to over/under expose using the +/- settings - but that is just adjusting the computer's programming.

    In M mode you are using the computer between your ears to set the exposure. You may be using the camera's light meter to make your decisions, but it's still your grey cells that make the call.

    I don't think the love of M mode is an ego thing at all. Perhaps the bragging about it is, but not the use of it. There are instances where you may need to make educated guesses about how much you need to over or under expose from the meter's readings, and where each shot is different - making the +/- setting inappropriate.

    Or.... perhaps the photographer is using a hand held meter. Tricky lighting conditions are often better metered via a hand held meter.
     
  14. Doylem macrumors 68040

    Doylem

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    #14
    Huh? I pick my own exposures, but it's not an "ego thing" (or, if it is, I don't think it impresses anybody... :).

    I set the controls by hand because it suits my attitude towards photography (ie I accept the data that a camera may provide... but I have 'the last word'). I want to be in charge of the photographic process, and the camera is the tool I use.

    For landscape photography I have a simple method, allowing me to change shutter speeds - manually - by a light movement of my thumb on the click-wheel, without having to look at the camera. I can adapt instantly to changes in the light, without taking my eyes away from the scene.
     
  15. jdavtz macrumors 6502a

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    #15
    That TOTALLY depends on whether you have Auto-ISO on your camera. Lots of people do, which changes the situation completely.
     
  16. Phrasikleia macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

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    #16
    I think that most of us who talk about exposing manually mean just that--everything is set to manual.
     
  17. WRP macrumors 6502a

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    #17
    I use manual all the time. Only time I use any semi-auto mode is when shooting sports and I have a set shutter speed I want to shoot. Then I use Tv.
     
  18. simsaladimbamba

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    #18
    I also use the M mode with my DSLR and even the PowerShot G9, but that is because my first couple of SLRs were Praktica MTL 2, MTL 3 and MTL 5(b) cameras, which had no Aperture or Shutter priority, only a small indicator for too much light or too few light. Thus I am accustomed to using that and feel the most comfortable with and for the most part (90 %) I have fared more than well with that method.
    While changing the aperture is a bit more "complicated" on DSLR cameras, one has to press there and then there (though the higher the model, the less you press I guess), with the analog SLRs I changed the aperture on the lens with my left hand and the shutter speed on the dial on top of the camera with my right hand, while still being able to look through the viewfinder.

    And how is this an ego thing? I don't prance around and tell everyone I can use SLRs manually, while most I have seen use them on Automatic.
    While I understand the comfort of A and S (or T)* modes, I am not accustomed to them and my photographs are quite good while shooting manually.
    It is the focussing part I still need to learn though.

    * I don't know, how they are abbreviated again

    ----------

    I even have set the ISO to something specific, nothing is AUTO.
     
  19. VaughnA macrumors newbie

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    #19
    In either M or one of the 'auto' modes you are using the camera's meter to set the exposure. If I center the meter in manual mode it will be a defined set of combinations of aperture and shutter speed. If I us Av for instance and set the Aperture where I want it, the shutter speed / aperture combination will be the same as if in manual on the same scene. If I want to underexpose in Av I use the exposure compensation to do the same thing as if I'd increased the shutter speed in manual. There are the same variables involved, it's just how you manipulate them. I didn't mean to start a flame war but you'll get the same exposure settings with either system, it's just which controls you need to use. Using Av or Tv just makes it quicker and easier for most instances.
     
  20. mulo macrumors 68020

    mulo

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    #20
    not even the focus?
     
  21. simsaladimbamba

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    #21
    Ah, forgot the FOCUS. But yes, often not even the focus. I am just used to manually doing everything, as those Praktica cameras didn't even have auto-focus.
    I only use AF when the situation needs me to do it (fast movements, lights, dark areas), but I like my manual focus somehow, even when it is often not that focussed for others.

    PS: As my first digital camera had no manual focus, and the G9's MF is clumsy, I use AF with those of course, but whenever I have a proper lens, meaning my SLR, I use MF, as I like it.

    I even deactivate AF on all the camcorders and proper video cameras I filmed with, if it was possible, I just like that feeling of the focus ring.
     
  22. Phrasikleia macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

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    #22
    You can get the same settings, but there are no guarantees when you're in a semi-manual mode. So long as you're letting the camera make decisions, it will be possible to get an exposure that is not of your own choosing.

    What does focus have to do with exposure? That's a whole separate issue.
     
  23. simsaladimbamba

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    #23
    mulo was just asking about my manual usage patters, probably disregarding the whole exposure issue. Off-topic and such. Be glad I didn't ask and brought the spinach cat with me. ;)
     
  24. Doylem macrumors 68040

    Doylem

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    #24
    When people talk about modes and programmes and exposure over-ride settings, I'm glad I stick to manual. For my kind of photography - outdoors, mostly natural light, tripod - I'm ready for a shot in a matter of moments. It's quick, intuitive and - best of all - simple. :)
     
  25. Phrasikleia macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

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    #25
    Spinach cat? Yet another internet meme that has evaded me, I guess... :confused:

    That's it in a nutshell. Manual is simpler because it gives you one less thing to worry about (i.e. what the camera is deciding to change between shots). I've never found other modes to be any faster or easier than manual, but to each their own.
     

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