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Why shoot in manual mode?
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Jun 15, 2012 14:25:38   #
gessman
 
I've seen repeated statements that it is better to shoot in manual mode and I have also noticed a couple of efforts to instruct users how to do it. I would like to hear some different opinions why a person should shoot manually, bearing in mind that if you are going to use the on-board camera meter for your reading and set the aperture and shutter speed by that reading, you would most likely be setting the same settings the camera would set. With that in mind, why is it better for you to set your camera than to let the camera do it for you, recognizing that the camera can and will normally do it a lot faster than you can, especially in the beginning?

My experience goes back beyond when cameras first had built-in meters so I am not asking how to shoot in manual mode, just asking why it should be done.

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Jun 15, 2012 14:31:35   #
donrent
 
As far as I'm concerned, its "bragging rights".... "Oh, I ONLY shoot in Manual mode".. IMO, its a snobbish type thinggie.... Means deddly squate to me how a person shoots... Composition in my opinion is more important that that... You might know how to set up every camera settings perfectly, but if you don't know HOW to set up composition, you're lost...

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Jun 15, 2012 14:31:57   #
snowbear
 
Shooting in manual mode or one of the semi-manual modes (aperture priority/Av or shutter priority/Tv) allows the photographer to make the decisions pertaining to depth of field and subject movement instead of the camera making those choices.

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Jun 15, 2012 14:36:00   #
fthomas
 
With Canon's High Speed Flash Sync and the ability to use second curtain flash there could be any number of benefits from using manual for flash both day and night.

I dont always rely on the camera's meter and often take a meter reading separately. If the backgroud is exceptionally bright or dark given the light falling on the subject then the camera's automatic metering might not be accurate for what the photographer is wanting to accomplish.

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Jun 15, 2012 14:41:12   #
Harvey
 
My answer to this is it seems that some photographers think they are far smarter than the computerized camera and that they can produce far better photos on "M". Or maybe it is just plain habit or ego, who knows the real answer. I loved doing all my setting on my SLR - I have been shooting a good bridge camera for years and am very happy with my "Wall hangers" I have produced in Auto mode. Don't get me wrong - I do envy some of these guys I just feel some are too aragent about "M" only being the only way to shoot.
j
gessman wrote:
I've seen repeated statements that it is better to shoot in manual mode and I have also noticed a couple of efforts to instruct users how to do it. I would like to hear some different opinions why a person should shoot manually, bearing in mind that if you are going to use the on-board camera meter for your reading and set the aperture and shutter speed by that reading, you would most likely be setting the same settings the camera would set. With that in mind, why is it better for you to set your camera than to let the camera do it for you, recognizing that the camera can and will normally do it a lot faster than you can, especially in the beginning?

My experience goes back beyond 40 years and involves shooting medium and large format as well as 35mm so I am not asking how to do it, just asking why it should be done.
I've seen repeated statements that it is better to... (show quote)

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Jun 15, 2012 14:55:40   #
RacerDan
 
I've only had my canon 60d for about 8 months and have alot to learn so I shoot in manual mode. That is until I see a shot coming and only have a minute or two to get set up then I switch to the little green box which means the odds of getting a keeper goes way up. I will already be in auto focus since my eyes are bad, plus IS is turned on because I shake so bad. Photography sure is fun for us old farts. I need 5 to 10 minutes to set up a manual shot, have have to go to the book because I can not remember how to change the camera settings.

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Jun 15, 2012 15:07:04   #
Reinr
 
I have recently bought the Sigma 50-500 os lens for my Canon 60d. This is the only lens I now choose to shoot in manual mode. I recently went out looking for damsel flies and as the light was not good, I found that in aperture priority, the shutter speed was too low, especially at the higher end of zoom. In shutter priority, the aperture was too open for decent dof. I eventually decided to shoot manual and have the iso in auto. Yes, some shots were fairly noisy at 1600 and above but most of it was righted in camera raw and Photoshop.
If you want to have a specific shutter speed with a specific aperture, you have to shoot manual with auto iso because in any other mode, light will effect the shutter speed or aperture.

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Jun 15, 2012 15:14:12   #
Harvey
 
Reinr wrote:
I have recently bought the Sigma 50-500 os lens for my Canon 60d. This is the only lens I now choose to shoot in manual mode. I recently went out looking for damsel flies and as the light was not good, I found that in aperture priority, the shutter speed was too low, especially at the higher end of zoom. In shutter priority, the aperture was too open for decent dof. I eventually decided to shoot manual and have the iso in auto. Yes, some shots were fairly noisy at 1600 and above but most of it was righted in camera raw and Photoshop.
If you want to have a specific shutter speed with a specific aperture, you have to shoot manual with auto iso because in any other mode, light will effect the shutter speed or aperture.
I have recently bought the Sigma 50-500 os lens fo... (show quote)


I just can't fathom shooting nature in anything above 400 - 100 to 200 works fine for me.

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Jun 15, 2012 15:22:08   #
photo guy
 
I shoot in Manual when I know I have time to get the shot or if I want the shot to look better than SRAuto (when I'm on fire scenes mostly I do SRAuto but I will do a lot of manual). It depends on how you want the photo to look.

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Jun 15, 2012 15:24:30   #
Reinr
 
Although the Sigma claims 4 stops of os, the damsel flies were very skittish and I couldn't get as near to them as I wanted. Between 400 and 500 mm, hand held, I needed a fast shutter speed and 500th sec was best suited. It is amazing how close the Sigma will focus at 500mm - much, much closer than my Canon 70-300. But boy, it's a heavy lens.

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Jun 15, 2012 15:28:50   #
RMM
 
RacerDan wrote:
I've only had my canon 60d for about 8 months and have alot to learn so I shoot in manual mode. That is until I see a shot coming and only have a minute or two to get set up then I switch to the little green box which means the odds of getting a keeper goes way up. I will already be in auto focus since my eyes are bad, plus IS is turned on because I shake so bad. Photography sure is fun for us old farts. I need 5 to 10 minutes to set up a manual shot, have have to go to the book because I can not remember how to change the camera settings.
I've only had my canon 60d for about 8 months and ... (show quote)

I have to laugh, I'm just now getting the hang of the settings on my Nikon D5000, though I still look things up before going out if I'm not sure of what I'm doing. I find that manual focus is excellent when combined with LiveView on the D5000, as it allows me to blow the image up a lot more than the viewfinder. That lets me pick my focal point with much better control. Once I've got the distance, I switch LiveView off, as I much prefer using the viewfinder.

As for why to shoot manual, I can take a reading in Aperture or Shutter speed mode, enter the same settings in manual, and then compensate one or the other to change exposure for what I think is most important. True, I can use Aperture or Shutter speed mode and exposure compensation to get the same result. It ends up being a matter of choice.

If lighting is reasonably bright and uniform, I will most likely shoot in Aperture mode and let the camera do the rest of the work.

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Jun 15, 2012 15:32:41   #
Swamp Gator
 
gessman wrote:
Why shoot in manual mode?


Because I prefer me telling the camera what I want it to do, rather then the camera telling me what it thinks I should do.

Keeping the camera in any auto mode means you give the camera the opportunity and permission to screw up your picture.

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Jun 15, 2012 15:47:34   #
chapjohn
 
I shoot manual (auto-focus) to understand light. "If I adjust this and not the others, what happens?" is my question many times when just shooting. This helps my understanding of the semi-auto modes. MTshooter (I may wrong) has a signature lines that reads, "if you don't like the first one, shoot again." (or something like that)

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Jun 15, 2012 15:54:42   #
henrycrafter
 
Because I like to have the most control possible over the results of my effort.
However I realize that there are times such as high speed or high volume shooting when automatic is totally appropriate.
As in any art form methodology and proceedure are ultimately judgemental to the artist.
I don't believe that you can ever say position XX is 100% right all the time.

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Jun 15, 2012 16:05:58   #
VA7RS
 
First of all let me say that I take pictures and rarely photographs. I mainly use auto to capture those quick shots of the grandkids. I occasionally use manual when I want greater depth of field on stills or a fast shutter speed at my Son's ball games. 90% of my shot are auto although there are occasions where shooting manual is a plus.

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