How To ALWAYS Nail The Shot Even When You’re Not Prepared For It

How To ALWAYS Nail The Shot Even When You're Not Prepared For It

I would agree there is no point in using auto mode if you really want to have control over your camera.

In fact, my DSLR doesn’t even have the auto mode! But I have to admit I have been guilty of overlooking the “P” – program mode in the past. And I’ve probably missed quite a few quick shots because of the time it took me to adjust my camera on full manual mode.

Almost every DSLR or Mirrorless camera has a mode dial with a variety of letters and icons on it, some of which might seem cryptic or confusing. Usually you’ll find a green icon for Full Auto mode (usually a green A or rectangle), Full Manual mode (M), as well as Aperture Priority (A or Av) and Shutter Priority (S or Tv). Your camera might also feature scene modes such as portrait, night, or macro, and even some user-configurable modes indicated with a U1 or U2 (or C1/C2, etc.)

Somewhere on that dial is a letter that’s often left neglected, and unused by many people, even though it can be quite powerful – Program Auto (P). In my experience most people don’t use it because they don’t understand it. Is it Auto? Is it Manual? What can it do that the other modes can’t? The answer is a bit strange at first, but once you wrap your head around what the humble little P mode can do, you might find yourself using it much more than you thought.

The camera mode dial operates on somewhat of a continuum. On one end you have Full Manual mode, which gives you complete control over the three elements of exposure: shutter speed, lens aperture, and ISO sensitivity. On the other end you have Full Auto mode which gives you almost no control over exposure except whether the flash turns on or not (and on some cameras, not even that much). On most cameras Full Auto will not even let you choose basic parameters like white balance and focus mode, which is fine if you just want to shoot some pictures and not worry about all the technical aspects of photography.

The other modes exist in the middle of the spectrum and give you some degree of control, while your camera handles the rest. For instance, in Aperture Priority you control the aperture and ISO, and let your camera figure out what shutter speed to use for a good overall exposure. In Shutter Priority things are reversed; you control the shutter speed and ISO, while your camera figures out what aperture to use.

Program mode exists on the same continuum somewhere between Aperture/Shutter Priority and Full Automatic. When you initially put your camera in P mode you might notice that things look similar to Full Auto; your camera sets the aperture and shutter speed in order to get a proper exposure. One benefit you might not immediately realize is that you can set the ISO which will then remain unchanged by the camera. This is quite useful in situations where you want to intentionally use a lower ISO, such as outdoors or in bright light, or a high ISO when things are a bit darker and you prefer to not activate the flash. If nothing else, think of the Program Auto mode as an ISO Priority mode; you set the ISO and your camera figures out the shutter speed and the aperture.

Read the full article over at Digital Photography School.

Source: Digital Photography School


When I put my cameras in the car I’ve tied to make it a habit to set them on P and Auto ISO just in case I happen on a shot I don’t want to miss by fumbling with settings.

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