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Thread: Why manual mode?

  1. #1

    Default Why manual mode?

    Why most of the professional or experienced photographer prefer to shoot in manual mode? My understand is using manual mode when you want to controls exposure in mixed lighting environment. Do you need to have full controls for every scene?

    What is the pros and cons versus 'A' or 'S' mode? Thanks for sharing

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Why manual mode?

    I try....

    when get A you dont get S
    when get S you dont get A

    HTH

  3. #3

    Default Re: Why manual mode?

    Quote Originally Posted by double_a View Post
    Why most of the professional or experienced photographer prefer to shoot in manual mode?
    Umm, is this sentence true first?

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Why manual mode?

    I only use M when shooting with more than natural light. Aka flash. Otherwise my 'life' is all in A

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    Senior Member zac08's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why manual mode?

    Quote Originally Posted by double_a View Post
    Why most of the professional or experienced photographer prefer to shoot in manual mode? My understand is using manual mode when you want to controls exposure in mixed lighting environment. Do you need to have full controls for every scene?

    What is the pros and cons versus 'A' or 'S' mode? Thanks for sharing
    You get a reading when you meter with your camera, be it spot metering, centre weight or matrix. This reading will then translate into a figure for your camera to use to suggest to you to be used in your desired mode.

    I.e. if you're in a sunny 16 situation, and with ISO set at 100. If you're in A mode with a preset aperture of f16, the camera will then suggest that the correct exposure for the scene would be 1/125 secs.

    Conversely, if you are shooting in the above senario with S mode of a preset 1/125 secs the camera will inform you that the correct aperture for the scene is f16.

    But now comes the reason why some users may want to use M mode, over-riding the metering suggestions. Some may wish to shoot high key and deliberatly blow the BG and thus choose a slower shutter speed or larger aperture.

    It's all on how you wish to shoot the scene and if you want to follow the metered readings.
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  6. #6

    Default Re: Why manual mode?

    Quote Originally Posted by double_a View Post
    Why most of the professional or experienced photographer prefer to shoot in manual mode? My understand is using manual mode when you want to controls exposure in mixed lighting environment. Do you need to have full controls for every scene?

    What is the pros and cons versus 'A' or 'S' mode? Thanks for sharing
    I am not sure about the above statement but my Mentor, Tutor, over 40 years of photography suggest that we shoot at 'A' mode and play with EV Compensation for different situations (affects vignetting too...). Miss less pictures...

    Seriously, at 'M' Mode... I think we would be able to create a distinct mood to our pictures. Do you know that Shutter controls more than just speed, Aperture does more than 'blur' the background and ISO at different number brings out other Aspects.

    And also one more thing... Camera Metering is easily fooled. We need to manually override the metering to get the desired feel/ exposure.

    DO some reading, trial Shoots. Mount you camera on a Tripod and shoot at a balance exposure. You would get very similar histogram, but.. observe your carefully about other things of your pictures. (Colour, Contrast, e.t.c. e.t.c) Understand Colour and how different time of the lighting of the day affect you picture at different ISO.. you will know what I mean.

    When you know how to shoot in M (chances are that beginners are going to miss a lot of moment pictures).. you answer your A and S question.

    Cheers!
    Last edited by Andrew Ng; 29th May 2009 at 08:24 AM.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Why manual mode?

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Ng View Post
    I am not sure about the above statement but my Mentor, Tutor, over 40 years of photography suggest that we shoot at 'A' mode and play with EV Compensation for different situations (affects vignetting too...). Miss less pictures...
    And i totally agree with him! My D90 is primarily set to A mode, matrix metering (Yes, even for silhouette shots; I just tweak the EV for those)


    I only use M mode in indoor photography, where my external flash is the dominate light-source.
    I manually push the shutterspeed up by 1-3 stops and rely on the flash to provide the extra light

  8. #8

    Default Re: Why manual mode?

    I have met a couple of pros and they also use A or S mode.

    I for myself only use M when shooting indoors with my flash.

  9. #9
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why manual mode?

    Quote Originally Posted by double_a View Post
    Why most of the professional or experienced photographer prefer to shoot in manual mode? My understand is using manual mode when you want to controls exposure in mixed lighting environment. Do you need to have full controls for every scene?

    What is the pros and cons versus 'A' or 'S' mode? Thanks for sharing
    you can let camera take control, as long you know what is going to come out, and you are still in control of your camera, just like flying a airplane, pilot can set to auto pilot, but he is still in control of the airplane as and when he want it.

    so, as long the exposure mode can get what you want, that is the right mode to use, the bottom line, all the shots must be deliverable.
    Shoot to Live, Live to Shoot
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  10. #10
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    Default Re: Why manual mode?

    it's all about control... if you feel that you have sufficient control using A or S mode, go with it... just make sure what you're metering (spot, centre-weighted, etc), and play with +/- EV, if that works for you (and your camera, depending on how easy it is to +/- EV).

    with digital, you can shoot, check, adjust, and shoot again... but some situations might not present themselves again, as with the case with some event-type or photo journalist-type photography. it can all go wrong with any of M, A, S mode... but if you know what you're doing using, let the various modes work for you, and not be a slave to the mode that everyone says that you should use.

    that been said, the modes provide specific controls over the Aperture and Shutter speed, and have distinct advantages in certain types of shoots, e.g. when you want to control the DoF or exposure time.

    on a separate, but related issue... shoot RAW!!

  11. #11

    Default Re: Why manual mode?

    To all, thanks for the replies and advise. I might be wrong but most of the pros I met shooting in manual mode.

    By the way, I am also on 'A' mode most of the time and play around with diff metering mode for diff lighting as well as the EV. On top of that, I am also a RAW shooter

    I personally feel that the above setup suit my style of shooting but just want to know if there are anything that I missed for not shooting in Manual mode.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Why manual mode?

    just to add to my post...

    100% of the studio photographers I have met use Manual Mode

  13. #13
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why manual mode?

    Quote Originally Posted by ice15 View Post
    just to add to my post...

    100% of the studio photographers I have met use Manual Mode
    needless to say lar, studio flash don't have auto mode.
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  14. #14
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    Default Re: Why manual mode?

    The answer is all that have been said plus depends on how much control of highlights and shadows do you really want.

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    Default Re: Why manual mode?

    Sometimes I shoot in M using my DSLR... and the reason are:

    1. more control especially if I shoot using my DIY lighting in my DIY studio.

    2. to fulfill my sentimental mood, to rekindle the good 'ol days when I started learning this addictive hobby.

    3. to make sure that some basic skills won't dissapear from my brain. I still have a Nikon F3, and I want to be always able to use it without any difficulties even after I crossed to the digital age.
    Achetez ce que vous souhaitez, pas ce que vous voulez...

  16. #16
    Senior Member geraldkhoo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why manual mode?

    I use different modes for different situations and settings that I shoot... but I normally use M mode in a "studio" setting where I can have consistency in my shots. What I mean by "studio" is a setting where I have my lights set to a certain output, and so I want to have a consistency in all my shots. In fact, going fully manual is the best way to achieve consistency, even fixing the white balance, ISO, etc. When I take the pics and post process after that, I can even do a setting on one pic and copy that setting on all my pics since my settings were consistent thorughout in the first place.
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  17. #17
    Member Tantalize's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why manual mode?

    I will only use manual mode if am doing some exposure, eg: Taking night scenery, low light condition when my camera flash is over doing it

    A and S depending on what I want, sometimes if you are in low light condition, I will shoot in raw and be using S mode to avoid getting blur image, with raw you can adjust the lightings.

  18. #18
    Member soken's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why manual mode?

    Most of time I will use A mode, but when I am using external flash I will use M mode.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Why manual mode?

    Let's put it this way... Same concept as to a car with automatic gearbox having a manual over ride. Human brains are far more intelligent.

    Apart from consistency in your shots, a simple example would be for situations like when subject is back litted, more often than not, your camera will think you're trying to shoot the sky so they meter the sky exposure and make sure it won't appear overexposed, not knowing that they are under exposing the subject... so yes... there ya go. I know, you can still overcome this in automatic modes but easier with M. Same as how flashgun has to be in manual mode at times although the ETTL is intelligent enough... but not as intelligent.
    Last edited by rendition; 29th May 2009 at 02:09 PM.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Why manual mode?

    Quote Originally Posted by double_a View Post
    Why most of the professional or experienced photographer prefer to shoot in manual mode? My understand is using manual mode when you want to controls exposure in mixed lighting environment. Do you need to have full controls for every scene?

    What is the pros and cons versus 'A' or 'S' mode? Thanks for sharing
    Manual gives you full control.

    A or S gives you only partial control.

    If you know what you're doing, any mode is fine.

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