Who uses aperture priority?

entropyfl

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Oct 12, 2009
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Hey Guys,

I’m 3 months into taking photography seriously I have a Sony A7iii with the 28-70 kit lens.

I’ve had 2 lessons.

1. Guy was a fan of aperture priority and encouraged it
2. Guy was a fan of manual and encouraged it.

I’ve been researching it and it feels quite a diversive topic and wonder what everyone thinks about aperture priority here?

My opinion as a novice is that AP is great for family days out and portrait stuff.

I prefer manual for if my daughter is running about and I need the higher shutter speed for the obvious reasons. I was using manual iso but must admit I’ve been pretty happy with auto iso results as well. If it does get it wrong it’s usually salvageable in post.

While I’m new.. does anyone recommend any Instagram accounts to follow and tutorials on you tube to follow? Or nice presets they recommend for warm natural colored skin tones?

I think my biggest problem as a newbie is Lightroom as I can’t make up my mind on a style I like! I’d like to pick one and stick to it to a certain extent and maybe have a bit of fun with instagram in the off chance I can become famous and quit my day job lol
 

dwig

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Jan 4, 2015
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Keep in mind that the vast majority of the online "opinions" posted on any social media, video site, and/or blog site are primarily written to get traffic and not to actually voice any valid point.

That said, my personal opinion is the use an overridable Program mode, one where you can simply turn a single control to change the f/stop<>shutter speed balance, unless you can specifically say why you want to deviate from the Program mode's choice for several images in a series.
 

entropyfl

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Original poster
Oct 12, 2009
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I shoot only manual and find myself very confused trying to use anything else.

I don’t think program users are wrong for doing so, but my brain doesn’t work that way.
I’d been using manual for the past month and I like it but find I’m not quick enough to alter settings when I’m photographing our 4 year old as she’s fast.. I’m sure I will get quicker but I switched over to AP yesterday for our trip to the zoo and it was so much easier and I got some really lovely shots..

Just thought of the car analogy of manual v automatic transmissions. The autos have gotten so good today and can change gear faster than us so why bother with manual.. I know it doesn’t completely apply to photography but it just popped in my head and kinda makes sense in certain scenarios.. again this is from my novice perspective
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I use AP with adjustable control of aperture and exposure compensation on the 2 wheels. That's really about all I ever bother with.
Cool - I didn’t get a chance to play with exposure compensation.. although a few shots def needed it..

Will try it this weekend
 
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Apple fanboy

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I’d been using manual for the past month and I like it but find I’m not quick enough to alter settings when I’m photographing our 4 year old as she’s fast.. I’m sure I will get quicker but I switched over to AP yesterday for our trip to the zoo and it was so much easier and I got some really lovely shots..

Just thought of the car analogy of manual v automatic transmissions. The autos have gotten so good today and can change gear faster than us so why bother with manual.. I know it doesn’t completely apply to photography but it just popped in my head and kinda makes sense in certain scenarios.. again this is from my novice perspective
[doublepost=1550863655][/doublepost]

Cool - I didn’t get a chance to play with exposure compensation.. although a few shots def needed it..

Will try it this weekend
I learnt manual when I started photography. I’ve found it works for me.
The issue with AP is that sometimes it will choose to slow a shutter speed to compensate for your incorrect aperture setting.
With SP you lose control of your depth of field.
Auto iso can result in grainy images if it chooses to high a setting (although I believe you can cap the limit).

With manual you learn to get quicker.
 

mpfuchs

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Sep 19, 2014
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Ask five people and you get at least 5 different answers...

What works for me is Manual mode, shutter speed on the front wheel, aperture on the rear wheel and auto ISO.
With auto ISO set to 6400 max.
I find it really easy to dial in exposure while looking through the viewfinder using the built in meter this way.
Then I use the Q button on the back to change exposure compensation if needed.

When I'm on a designated photo trip, and I know the light isn't going to change for an extended period of time, I might dial in the ISO manually as well.
 
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mollyc

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You will get faster in manual, and I find I just keep my ISO a bit higher when I'm out and about so I only need to change shutter speed. I typically shoot fairly wide open, unless I'm in studio, so I don't mess much with my aperture once I have my basic settings done.

Again, nothing wrong with program modes, but I know my scene better than the camera does, so I'd rather be in charge of the decisions.
 

entropyfl

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Original poster
Oct 12, 2009
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Ask five people and you get at least 5 different answers...

What works for me is Manual mode, shutter speed on the front wheel, aperture on the rear wheel and auto ISO.
With auto ISO set to 6400 max.
Then I use the Q button on the back to change exposure compensation if needed.

When I'm on a designated photo trip, and I know the light isn't going to change for an extended period of time, I might dial in the ISO manually as well.
Ha yes I’m noticing that from the few replies we’ve already had.

I’ll try your technique with iso in auto while using manual mode.. I might find that easier in terms of making me faster.

It does feel like a mind field with all the different settings available.

I was kind of hoping everyone would agree about AP mode so I could stick to using that as I enjoyed it but i do want to be getting better and it feels like the underlying message is that manual mode challenges you which in turn makes you a better photographer
 
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Apple fanboy

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You will get faster in manual, and I find I just keep my ISO a bit higher when I'm out and about so I only need to change shutter speed. I typically shoot fairly wide open, unless I'm in studio, so I don't mess much with my aperture once I have my basic settings done.

Again, nothing wrong with program modes, but I know my scene better than the camera does, so I'd rather be in charge of the decisions.
Agreed.
 
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mpfuchs

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Ha yes I’m noticing that from the few replies we’ve already had.

I’ll try your technique with iso in auto while using manual mode.. I might find that easier in terms of making me faster.

It does feel like a mind field with all the different settings available.

I was kind of hoping everyone would agree about AP mode so I could stick to using that as I enjoyed it but i do want to be getting better and it feels like the underlying message is that manual mode challenges you which in turn makes you a better photographer
Keep in mind, that scenario is tailored to my use case, which usually is birds and other wildlife.
That's why my ISO is pretty high, to allow for shutter speed well above 1/1600 for the most part.

In your case, you might limit it to 1600 ISO or similar, depending on what camera you're using and what noise level you're comfortable with.
 
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mollyc

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I think it’s important for every “photographer” to learn manual and when to use it. It is challenging. It will make you a better photographer. But if you learn it and still prefer AP then use that. At the end of the day your settings aren’t written on the front of your photo (although they are in the exif!).
 

Darmok N Jalad

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I find myself in “A” 95% of the time, and I set a max-ISO to what I consider the camera’s limit. About the only time I use full manual is for long exposures or when I play around. TBH, I lean on my camera to save my bacon quite a bit, as my subject matter is pretty variable.
 
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fcortese

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The vast majority of the time it's Aperture Priority, check histogram and EC for the blinkies. I'll adjust ISO if necessary if the shutter speed is too slow for my handholding capabilities or in a lowlight situation. For long exposures it Manual all the way. When shooting moving water I look at AP first to check shutter speed and either go manual with ISO adjustments to keep aperture setting where I want it for the shot or rarely go the shutter priority. When panning it's using either manual or shutter priority to get my shutter speed where I want it.
 

robgendreau

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Jul 13, 2008
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I dunno why anyone would chose a shooting mode without knowing what they are trying to achieve, conditions, and so on. I use aperture priority if it achieves the results I want. Or shutter priority. Or P and then the override modes. And all that might change when I change a lens. I might even have a different default, if say I'm looking for macro shots or action.

I'd do what this school recommends if I were a beginner, not choose something like manual for family snapshots: https://digital-photography-school.com/myth-reality-shooting-manual-mode/
 

jerwin

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I like running around with a supertelephoto prime lens, taking pictures of wildlife-- andI typically use aperture priority. Theoretically. I should be using S mode, so as tp freeze birds in flight, but frankly, my lens is too slow to focus, and I'm not great with tracking shots. Sometimes, I use a macro lens, and, again, aperture control is essential for deepening field.

But lately I've been working with off camera flashes, and metering doesn't work with my low end speedlights, so it's back to manual.
 

cmaier

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Jul 25, 2007
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I pretty much always shoot aperture priority with my sony a7rii and a7s. Mostly i am taking pictures of kids. For sports or really bad lighting I switch to manual.
 
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anotherscotsman

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For landscape stuff I use aperture priority and supplement with a tripod when the desired aperture requires more than say 1/10th sec exposure time. For long exposure landscape manual is a must. Nothing wrong with fully automatic mode for situations that don't need particular compositional controls or where timing is such that you just need to grab the photo. I rarely use flash but when I do I rely on the automatic ETTL....
 
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Apple fanboy

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For landscape stuff I use aperture priority and supplement with a tripod when the desired aperture requires more than say 1/10th sec exposure time. For long exposure landscape manual is a must. Nothing wrong with fully automatic mode for situations that don't need particular compositional controls or where timing is such that you just need to grab the photo. I rarely use flash but when I do I rely on the automatic ETTL....
I do t always use a tripod, but feel I’m doing it properly when I do!

I should also add to my earlier comments that although I shoot manual because that suits me 95% of the time, there is nothing wrong with using other settings (although full auto is something I’d never encourage for photography).
The most important bit is;
Seeing the shot.
Getting out and shooting!
 

tizeye

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Jul 17, 2013
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To put it in perspective, I started decades ago with an SLR (not DSLR) that required match needle metering. That was true with my first two cameras, a Mamyia-Sekor and a Nikkormat. My third camera, I progressed to a Canon AE-1 with all the new-fangled contraptions that would let me override the aperture and place it in "A" on the lens. What I found, I got sloppy with the convenience. Later adding TTL flash and auto focus and I really got sloppy. The beauty of manual is that you stop and think, slow down, compose. Today, I use manual about 90% of the time and use "A" or "S" when I want to force that particular strength - depth of field or handling action. Video, I always use "A" mode but that is a different issue as you avoid aperture jumping in a scene. Also I NEVER use auto ISO...set the ISO just as if you put a roll of film in (and were stuck with that ASA the entire roll unless changed midroll). That said, just finished processing 25 from today's trip to the beach where set in "A" mode for convenience as I knew lighting wouldn't vary that much and the most the shutter speed would vary, even at ISO 100, would be a third of a stop up or down. By contrast when I shoot real estate I always shoot manual and use manual flash, but it is a different style where I even have to turn Sony's Live View display off. For crisp windows, I expose for the outside (typically ISO 500, 1/125 @ f11) which has the viewfinder so dark, I can's see to frame it with Live view on. Then use flash (typically two off camera) to bring the light level up in the room where I don't rely on TTL, but set my own ratio based on the natural light source.

They were spot on telling you to learn manual...but it doesn't mean you always have to use it, just know when not using it, why.

Another use of "A" mode. With the advent of digital, is the practice known as chimping. Pixels are cheap and immediate compared to film. Sometimes I use "A" mode (or "S" mode) for modified chimping. It tells me what the camera metered exposure settings are...then switch to manual to tweak the settings. With a Sony a7III, you don't have to do true chimping, talkng the photo, reviewing, and repeat as live view gives the representation with each adjustment.
 
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Strider64

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Dec 1, 2015
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I found the below link on YouTube for my Sony A9 when it comes to shooting Action & Sports, for I like shooting BIF (Birds-In-Flight). It uses Aperture mode in order to achieve good results, but there are other settings that need to be set as well. I know this is tailored for the Sony A9, but most of the principles should be able to ported over to another of today's DSLR or MILC cameras. Mark Galer isn't a Sony Fanboy before anyone say he is. Mark's a Sony Ambassador and it is even stated on his Youtube site. There is a difference!
I tested it out yesterday and it works pretty well ->

 

maflynn

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I use aperture priority. I guess I like some level of control but I don't want to manage all aspects.
 

Ledgem

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I'm also almost always in aperture priority mode. ISO is usually set to auto but I have a control wheel dedicated to it, as well, and frequently adjust it to manipulate shutter speed.

My thinking is this: Aperture is quick to adjust and has a direct impact on the artistic aspect of the image through depth of field control, so it makes sense to have that front and center. ISO and shutter speed, in good light, will be at levels you don't need to worry about - unless you're trying for a longer shutter speed. Having a picture that is optimally exposed is usually the goal with each photo, and the camera can adjust as many or as few variables to get you there. Why bother adjusting all three variables (aperture, ISO, shutter speed), or even two out of the three, when you can just adjust one and let the camera handle the rest to ensure an accurate (or at least decent) exposure? Sure, the camera can give you feedback on whether your settings will under- or over-expose, but instead of chasing the exposure meter, why not let the camera handle it? And if you want to under- or over-expose, why not simply set the exposure and let the camera handle the calculations for that, too, instead of trying to adjust the setting just because you pointed your camera in a slightly different direction in your scene?

In low light the principle still largely applies, but then I control the ISO and decide how low I am comfortable going with how comfortable I am with a slower shutter speed. It's different from full manual in that I'm allowing the camera to handle the calculation for me, and I can further manipulate it by adjusting the exposure. Theoretically that's no different than using full manual and watching how the camera estimates the exposure will change, but... meh.

Program auto... it's been years since I used that, and I don't really remember much about it. Looking at it on my camera now, it seems you just have control over the exposure? Since I rarely adjust exposure and don't like the idea of the aperture changing without my control (because it alters the depth of field, which should either be more shallow or deeper depending on what I'm photographing) I don't think I'll go back to using it, perhaps unless I'm handing the camera off to someone who doesn't know what the various settings are for.

I have used shutter priority in the past to capture action (get the "blurred background while subject is in motion" effect, and to get the "trail of lights" effect with traffic) but usually the shutter speed doesn't matter to me as long as it doesn't fall below a certain minimum. While shutter speed can be used for certain artistic applications, usually the aperture plays a larger role for the types of photos I'm taking.
 

F-Train

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Apr 22, 2015
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Mark Galer isn't a Sony Fanboy before anyone say he is. Mark's a Sony Ambassador and it is even stated on his Youtube site. There is a difference!
There is?

The only difference that I can think of is that Sony Ambassadors, of which there are a gazillion at this point, get paid :)

Nice photo, by the way.
 
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smirking

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I'm a manual mode sort of guy. If the shooting conditions are too tough to be doing manual, I will sometimes do aperture priority or program automatic. I only do those as a last resort because as someone else had voiced, once you get used to doing things in full manual, it can be quite difficult to shoot any other way. So much of what I do is muscle memory. I don't actually think most of the time when I'm switching aperture, shutter speed, ISO, and flash output power. Letting the camera help me derails all of my automatic reflexes and I can paradoxically end up slower.

I also use a speedlight for almost everything and that's actually the fundamental reason why I rarely venture into the computed modes. it's really hard to get the lighting I want from the speedlight when I'm using a computed mode.