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Thread: Quick question about using M-mode

  1. #1
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    Question Quick question about using M-mode

    I've heard too many times that if you really want to get ahead of the learning curve in photography, you should use M mode.

    My question is: When people say use M-mode, is it with or without the assistance of the built-in lightmeter?

    How much of the photographic population can look at a particular scene and instantly recognise it to be ISO100, f/11, 1/125s spot on?
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    Senior Member giantcanopy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Quick question about using M-mode

    People may not agree but I think for starters, one will understand the interplay of at least the aperture, the shutter speed better in M mode than just shooting auto like a point and shoot.

    I would think it is with lightmeter. Issn't the exposure indicator visible from the viewfinder that most of us are viewing through ?

    As to the last question, there are basic exposure rules ( by Kodak i think ). But with the advernt of exposure meters, there issin much of a need to purposefully blind onself of the exposure meter. With familiarity I am sure there are people with reasonable good guess of the aperture / shutter speed needed for good exposure at certain scenes.

    Ryan

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    Default Re: Quick question about using M-mode

    yes...use the TTL (through-the-lens) indicator in the viewfinder. For shots with much highlites or shadows, just compensate to the right or left accordingly. Have fun with manual ...
    Nikon D80, Nikon Coolpix 885, AFS DX VR Zoom- Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G IF-ED

  4. #4

    Default Re: Quick question about using M-mode

    To be frank,
    If a beginner were to stick to M mode all the time to learn, he would most prob quit photography after awhile.
    WHy?
    Not becoz he gets tired of trying to find the right mix but becoz hes missing all the good shots. =)

    Be flexible. Besides the M mode, there are ur aperture/shutter and prog modes that would make u understand several concepts faster. And really, i think good photography is about creativity.. not just numbers. =p

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    Default Re: Quick question about using M-mode

    I started using M mode 1 month after i get my DSLR... Once you get the hang of it. It is quite ez to use.
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  6. #6

    Default Re: Quick question about using M-mode

    actually for me i started off knowing the M mode of canon a95, and till now I dont always like the P mode on my d80. though its great to auto cal your settings and just roll the dial till you hit the combo you want for a particular aperture or shutter, it doesnt always work out

    nothing beats having full control, though it is very true to have pre set your setting when you know what you wanna take. so both have their pro con, but for a begginer, i do think its really its important to get the M mode and its properties to touch asap. even if it was for action photography, i would pre set for the manual settings and shoot when i get there

    i don't think there are alot of people that will tell you what iso or shutter speed to apply right away, but there are alot of people who can tell you where to start off from and fine tune from there. and to get to this stage, you just have to go everywhere and shoot everything and train yourself to shoot a scene till you get a good exposure that you like. sooner than soon, you will roughly know what pre set to apply and then fine tune with lcd.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Kit's Avatar
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    Default Re: Quick question about using M-mode

    Even if you are a walking light meter, it still doesn't mean you are good in taking photos.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Quick question about using M-mode

    Quote Originally Posted by Kit View Post
    Even if you are a walking light meter, it still doesn't mean you are good in taking photos.
    well said..

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    Default Re: Quick question about using M-mode

    imho, the best way to start photography is using AUTO! seriously!

    as a beginner, the most important aspect is not exposure and what not, but composition.

    After capturing photos with decent composition but (lousy) exposure, shutterspeed, etc.. then the learning can begin for a beginner to streamline his photography with adequate know-how

    i whole-heartedly agree with Legoz

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    Default Re: Quick question about using M-mode

    Ah, okay. So it is with in-built lightmeter. I've always wondered about that. Thought that got so many people out there who can get the right exposure combination just by looking thru the viewfinder. (This was from the days of all manual film SLRs like the Nikon FM2, where the camera could still function without batteries). So yes, it's not as intimidating as it sounds, but I do wonder if there's real benefit as far as learning is concerned - after all it's just turning a knob until the arrow points at "0", no?

    FWIW, I started out with P Mode. Was more concerned with composition. But now I use A and S modes more often.
    Sony Alpha system user. www.pbase.com/synapseman

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    Default Re: Quick question about using M-mode

    Not really, if you are in a challenging light situation, tuning the knob until the arrows go to 0 doesn't always means your exposure is correct. ^^

  12. #12

    Default Re: Quick question about using M-mode

    the relation is one of reciprocal.

    playing w A or T (s) inadvertently affects the other. so, one don't gain any more control when using the M mode.

    as for using M and then compensate for exposure when using Matrix metering, its very much guess work. cus Matrix is "smart" metering, and in theory, will compensate extreme lighting difference in the scene automatically.

    i mostly shoot A and use the exposure compensation dial on my camera. i use Matrix metering, and must admit its more guesswork than anything.
    Last edited by attap seed; 13th July 2008 at 08:54 PM.

  13. #13
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: Quick question about using M-mode

    when you shoot on M mode, whether you are judging the exposure by experience, or using the light meter, it will train you to be very be careful about every exposure you make, cos you are not totally rely on the camera telling you what to do.

    solely shooting on auto mode or P mode will not learn much. best way to learn is still shooting on M mode.

    just like even with the electronic calculator are so popular nowadays, every kids are still learning and memorizing times table before they are allow to use the calculator to do maths.
    Shoot to Live, Live to Shoot
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    Default Re: Quick question about using M-mode

    Quote Originally Posted by ~Arcanic~ View Post
    Not really, if you are in a challenging light situation, tuning the knob until the arrows go to 0 doesn't always means your exposure is correct. ^^
    Correct. M Mode is a great tool to use, if one knows how to use it. For learners, they will still need to know how to roughly analyse a situation baased on if it's backlighted, hi-key, lo-key etc. M mode per se, would it help in this learning process? But it does make it a lot more convenient than adjusting exp. comp. while in A-mode or S mode.
    Sony Alpha system user. www.pbase.com/synapseman

  15. #15

    Default Re: Quick question about using M-mode

    My take is: whatever works. Just learn the basics of lighting and how the camera works and use whatever is necessary for you to take the pictures you want.

    Yeah a bit flippant I know.
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  16. #16

    Default Re: Quick question about using M-mode

    Quote Originally Posted by synapseman View Post
    Ah, okay. So it is with in-built lightmeter. I've always wondered about that. Thought that got so many people out there who can get the right exposure combination just by looking thru the viewfinder. (This was from the days of all manual film SLRs like the Nikon FM2, where the camera could still function without batteries). So yes, it's not as intimidating as it sounds, but I do wonder if there's real benefit as far as learning is concerned - after all it's just turning a knob until the arrow points at "0", no?

    FWIW, I started out with P Mode. Was more concerned with composition. But now I use A and S modes more often.
    there is no one size fits all solution. putting the knob at 0, there are so many combinations in M mode. what aperture do i use? what shutter speed do i use? what ISO speed do i use?

    why does M mode allow you to learn? it gives you a clearer idea of how changing each setting affects the picture.

    in-cam metering is really wonky at times. it is easily fooled. if you take photos into the light (i.e. backlit subjects/objects) and blindly turn the dial until 0 you are going to end up with generally underexposed pictures.

    that doesn't mean that M mode is the mode to use, it is less flexible compared to Aperture priority. there is a time to use M mode, there is a time to use Aperture priority, there is a time to use Program mode. for the situations where you have more leisure, however, M mode gives you the liberty of changing everything at your fingertips.

    times have changed, for some people there is no longer a real need to be able to look at relative light falling on a spot and tell what settings will give you correct exposure. just like how last time need to use abacus, now the advancement dismisses the need to learn this tool/aspect. but what is more important is that you understand what and how to use your tool. a camera is simply a means to an end. knowing how to harness this means to get the result you want is, i would think, the most important thing.
    Last edited by night86mare; 14th July 2008 at 02:48 PM.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Quick question about using M-mode

    whatever happened to metering from green grass?

  18. #18

    Default Re: Quick question about using M-mode

    Quote Originally Posted by mckenzy View Post
    whatever happened to metering from green grass?
    I use that for IR.
    Alpha

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Quick question about using M-mode

    Green grass is - 2/3?
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  20. #20

    Default Re: Quick question about using M-mode

    we meter for light from green grass coz it is the nearest to 12% grey. so the light we meter on that percentage determines the generic exposure for that shot... i think... its been so long..

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