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Thread: Understanding the M (Manual) Mode: a basic guide

  1. #1

    Default Understanding the M (Manual) Mode: a basic guide

    A very good read for those who have yet to understand how to work their DSLR.

    "M" stands for My Way

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Understanding the M (Manual) Mode: a basic guide

    nice!

  3. #3

    Default Re: Understanding the M (Manual) Mode: a basic guide

    Thanks for sharing the useful info.
    Canon 30D, G11, 50 f1.8II, 10-22 f3.5-4.5, 24-70 f2.8L, 70-200 f2.8L IS, EX580II

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    Default Re: Understanding the M (Manual) Mode: a basic guide

    love their food analogy.
    photography makes one sees things from all angles.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Understanding the M (Manual) Mode: a basic guide

    I think the matter ought to be WHEN you go into or need to resort MANUAL. The WHAT and HOW to do MANUAL is rather technical and not really practical.

    And the heart of the matter is again EXPOSURE.

    Even in MANUAL, most still rely on the camera's metering, rather than their eye, which would be the purist meaning of manual.

    For as long as the cam is relied upon for metering, you can always offset the cam reading using EV compensation, which ought to be a constant thing for a given scene, lighting and metering mode used.

    Personally I go into manual mostly in flash situations. (The other being HDR but then more out of convenience than necessity.) But in flash, especially when balancing background and foreground exposure and lighting, I would resort to manual as the cam metering can be irrelevant, but still using the cam metering as a reference from which to deviate.

    Any other views?

  6. #6

    Default Re: Understanding the M (Manual) Mode: a basic guide

    it's just a matter of personal preference, actually, what you like to work with

    for example, when shooting landscapes i prefer to use manual, in the sense that while light can change, it doesn't change so fast

    compare this to shooting people, in that case you may not have the luxury/leisure to sit there and toy with settings and see what you get.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Understanding the M (Manual) Mode: a basic guide

    Quote Originally Posted by night86mare View Post
    it's just a matter of personal preference ...
    If someone asked, when he or she ought to use the manual mode - or anything else for that matter - then I think telling them that its their preference dont help anyone at all, except for the case where it indeed dosen't matter at all what they choose, like in elections perhaps.

    But in the matter of photography, I think it matters when what is preferred, as will be evidenced in the outcome of the photo taken, or missed, good or bad.

    Surely no one wants to miss a photo, and when taken, a good one. And it really helps if the person KNOWS what to prefer in what situation, which of course include their own experience, capabilities, temperament, amongst other things.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Understanding the M (Manual) Mode: a basic guide

    Quote Originally Posted by espion View Post
    If someone asked, when he or she ought to use the manual mode - or anything else for that matter - then I think telling them that its their preference dont help anyone at all, except for the case where it indeed dosen't matter at all what they choose, like in elections perhaps.

    But in the matter of photography, I think it matters when what is preferred, as will be evidenced in the outcome of the photo taken, or missed, good or bad.

    Surely no one wants to miss a photo, and when taken, a good one. And it really helps if the person KNOWS what to prefer in what situation, which of course include their own experience, capabilities, temperament, amongst other things.
    it would, because people will always have their own funny quirks. i mean, typically i could also prefer to use aperture priority when using flash.. just tell the camera to overexpose and underexpose accordingly, no?

    this is why people should just try to find out themselves what they prefer. you CAN present the strengths of manual mode in situations, or the weaknesses.. just like you COULD present the strengths of a certain camera model and its weaknesses, but they might not agree eventually. in the first case your perception of the shortcomings of manual mode (or in the second, of the camera model) may not be valid because of their own habits and choice of subjects, etc.

    if a photographer feels most comfortable shooting in auto, like many, many, many people i have met.. so long as they produce good shots, that's what matters, no? one man's meat is another man's poison, and when it comes down to making a choice of what mode to use, or what choice to make even, it's strictly the decision-maker's say, and i very much doubt that your presentation of your habits (which is essentially what you are doing when you present your viewpoint) is going to be the dominating factor in his or her say.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Understanding the M (Manual) Mode: a basic guide

    Quote Originally Posted by night86mare View Post
    ... people will always have their own funny quirks.
    And thats why we must leave these funny quirks out in any rational meaningful discussion, by definition of the latter.

    Instead we ought just to state the technical and the factual.

    The personal quirks will interact with these to arrive at the personal private idiosyncratic solutions for themselves, inevitably.

    So in this instance, MANUAL means overriding the cam's metering, either with eye or with reference to the cam's meter. Period; and meaning somehow that the cam metering is not good enough or will not work.

    And thus surely there are objective non-quirky reasons WHY and WHEN the NEED - and not preference - to do this.

    And any particular quirky photographer can decide if he/she wants to go against this fact of certain technical boundaries or the grain of received wisdom, for it remains, inviolably, their entire prerogative.
    Last edited by espion; 4th January 2008 at 11:46 PM.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Understanding the M (Manual) Mode: a basic guide

    so you mean, ignore the fact that people have funny quirks?

    i would like to think that acknowledging that people effectively have their own perculiar habits, and informing them that everyone is different, that is a fact.. is being entirely rational AND logical. just removing it because it doesn't seem to suit your logic or rationality (or whatever version of it anyways) seems delusional to me.

    if life was that simple, we would all know how to implement policies, and anyone could be a successful politician since people are all rational and adhere to logic. but they are not, and they don't, do they?

    you see, effectively by your definition of manual mode coming into play, it literally declares that logical people would not use manual mode UNLESS the camera metering is insufficient for the situation and fooled by the scene. but no, manual mode allows you to adjust BOTH shutter speed and aperture simultaneously, that should be the technical definition of all technical defnitions, nothing to do with eye or reference to camera meter. manual mode allows you to achieve stuff that av mode and tv mode would not allow you to, like extreme exposure of a scene (not just for hdr, mind you, but also for say, high key.. would you say that when forced to shoot manual for high or low key, the camera metering has failed? no, it has not in actuality).. or extreme underexposure of a scene as you see fit.

    there are also practical reasons, which could be loosely pigeon-holed into "quirkiness", like a certain need for control over BOTH settings, instead of one at a time. that in itself is the most primitive essence of manual mode, if you ask me.

    that is vastly different from your.. if you permit, quirky definition and understanding of manual mode.. which seems ironic for one claiming that quirkiness has no room in a logical/technical discussion. quirkiness is here to stay, be it in man or machine.. like it or not. some people just feel a need to have more control over the tools they have.. which is why even though automobile technology is sufficient today, there are still manual cars available in the market. same goes for manual mode in cameras, essentially some reasons are no different even though the tools/machines differ.

    p.s. if anything, i suppose arguments of individual viewpoints here in this thread, is certainly, not going to help anyone arrive at any conclusion other than the fact that you and i are immensely bored.
    Last edited by night86mare; 4th January 2008 at 11:57 PM.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Understanding the M (Manual) Mode: a basic guide

    I suppose you just proved my point that rational meaningful discussions are not possible when you are quirky.

    PS: And yes I ignore quirky people too.
    Last edited by espion; 5th January 2008 at 12:00 AM.

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