When is Automatic Mode better that Manual Mode
I have enjoyed this forum for about a year now and value the experience and advice shared by its contributors.
I shoot in RAW and mostly in Manual mode to capture wildlife images but my first impulse is to shoot in Automatic mode so I don't miss the shot.
My concern is that the Elk might run or the Eagle might fly before a get a shot of it. Once I get a shot, I switch to Manual mode to refine my shutter speed, aperture or ISO knowing that, since I shoot in RAW, I can fine tune it in post.
Many of my final "keepers" are shots I took in Auto.
Does anyone else use this practice or am I just being an insecure "rookie"?
If your system works for you, don't worry about others! However, a different process you might try is to set shutter speed and aperture, and then use auto ISO if your camera has the option.
I do this because I need a relatively fast shutter speed to offset my own wobbliness. So I usually set shutter speed to 1/750 second, and I start with a "middle of the road" aperture such as f/8. After the first couple of shots, if I have time (i.e. if the subject is willing
) I will set the ISO to better reflect the challenges of the lighting (such as dark bird against light sky) or change aperture for different compositions (such as including more surroundings).
I have done it, or at least one of the auto settings like my Canon T2i’s Tv shutter speed priority. The problem I had with a Tv shot was that the aperture went to F/4 and the auto focus point was on the wrong thing, leaving my subject slightly out of focus that I noticed later in post production.
Linda’s advice regarding auto ISO is also used by the wildlife photographer Tin Man Lee. He has a video that’s worth watching.
Linda From Maine wrote:
If your system works for you, don't worry about ot... (
Good suggestion. Especially for your needs.
I usually go Aperture Priority after setting ISO, and noting shutter speed the camera selects. But I don't usually photograph wildlife. I save full Manual for the studio using a tripod.
Loc: FL in the winter & MN in the summer
I agree with Linda - nothing wrong with AUTO shooting RAW. Another option is shooting in "P" PROGRAM mode. Similar to AUTO, with auto focus plus the options to change aperture and/or shutter speed. I like "P" because I see the options the camera is selecting and it gives me a Starting Point for future shots.
Loc: American Free States -- Montana
I will use any of the wonderful capabilities of my digital cameras quite cheerfully, and I almost never use raw. It is all about getting results I like with methodology that is not arduous. I do spend a lot of time in Aperture, and on the cameras that have Auto will rarely but occasionally use that setting. Either for insurance when something interesting is happening very fast under challenging conditions or when I am feeling terminally lazy. Since I enjoy the process of taking photos, the latter rarely.
Jerry, you might try the (P)rofessional mode that is nothing other than the camera's Auto with the ability to adjust the exposure settings and have the camera maintain the same exposure. You might find Pro-mode is even more efficient than your Auto to Manual changeover.
Digital cameras (all of them) are biased toward the lowest ISO. They'll shoot at slower shutter speeds and / or wider apertures to maintain the low(er) ISO. That lowest ISO is many times to the detriment of the best image, being too slow in low light or too wide for a lens that should be stepped down for sharpness.
Cameras also have to be 'told' to expose to the right (or left) of the 0-mark in the meter. In Pro-mode, especially when shooting RAW, you can use Exposure Compensation (EC) to 'tell' the camera to expose at a default +0.7 to +1 over / to the right of the 0-mark. That EC works in Aperture and Shutter Priorities too.
So, are you learning in Manual or just fiddling with all the dials? When you consider your lenses, do you know the best apertures for each lens? Do you know the max / highest ISO to limit your camera? Do you have a internal 'feel' for the minimum speed needed to freeze motion for different situations, such as resting animals, swimming ducks, flying eagles? Are you seeking to develop an intuitive sense of your equipment, the light, and the subject such that you dial in the manual parameters, position the AF point, and raise the camera and start delivering 'keepers' from frame 1?
That paragraph and questions above define the situation where you are one with your camera. That's when the magic begins. You can be just as successful in Aperture or Shutter Priority, shooting modes I use on my film and mirrorless cameras respectively. Manual can be more work with less success unless every aspect of exposure and the equipment is intuitive. And of course, it takes lots of practice and time. Consider your true destination and the best path that leads you there.
I use Auto a lot. I started with a Nikon film camera with no meter. I know what manual is.
We pay for the technology we get that we couldn't have in the 'old days'. Why not use it? Understanding and using computational photography is as important as the exposure triangle.
A year or so ago we had a blood moon eclipse. I prepared with all manual techniques and settings. I was using a very long lens and needed a tripod. I was getting OK RAW shots. As I was putting the gear away, I thought it would be fun to test the lens/camera stabilization. Could I hand hold it? What would 'intelligent auto'? When I pressed the shutter button the camera fluttered with a burst of exposures, made a lot of noise and then displayed the processing bar. The multi exposure, combined, computational image was the best of the night.
Great advice. Thank you for sharing!
I leave my camera in "P" (similar to Auto) mode so I can do a quick grab when necessary. But if I'm setting up a shot, I'll either go to "S" or "A" (or even "M") and a chosen ISO, depending on what is important to me for that shot. I can then either let the camera do minor adjustments or use auto ISO. For flash shots I use "M", set the shutter to 1/250 (or 1/200 if the camera can't do 250), select an aperture (lens dependent) and select an ISO (camera dependent).
Linda From Maine wrote:
If your system works for you, don't worry about ot... (
AUTO if I've no time to play with the camera.
I use each mode. It depends on my desires for the shot.
"P" is probably my most used.
Why use what works for other
people? Their desires?
Figure out how each mode works and use what works for you for your shot.
I don't think you should be shy about using auto mode. All those parameters we adjust are just numbers. You may be able to see wheat the camera has chosen for you in the screen depending on your equipment. If they are the same as whet you would shoot anyway, go with auto. I bought a used camera from an experienced photographer who had set many defaults. I shot with that camera on A mode for months before I felt a need to make any changes to his defaults.
Jerry Bruzek wrote:
I have enjoyed this forum for about a year now and... (
An option which few photographers of any experience will mention is to use the Scene modes. This allows a quick change from landscapes to sports or wildlife. I typically don’t use the Scene modes but did an experiment trying them out a few months ago. I got some results that I was very happy with.
Wait until the purveyors of "Manual" show up here and start telling everyone that you're not a "photographer" unless you shoot manual!
Such a one-sided, opinionated, holier-than-thou, thought.
But that's just MY opinion.
Great advice! Once I learned how to get out of Auto mode, I kind of went straight to Manual because Shutter Priority (around 600) was raising the ISO too high for my liking and AV was making my shutter speed to slow to freeze the action sufficiently.
I shoot with a Canon 80D and mostly my Tamron 70-200mm G2 because my 150-600 G2 takes too long to grab focus.
Time for me to experiment with the various Priority modes and learn how to use them and sprinkle in some EC for good measure.
The guidance from this UHH forum is greatly appreciated.
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