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Thread: Program mode underrated?

  1. #1

    Default Program mode underrated?

    Hi guys, i would like to seek some advice/comments on using the other modes provided by DSLRs other than the Manual, Aperture and Shutter Priority modes. I have know of people who swear by using 'A' mode and others who uses Manual mode saying that you should be doing your own adjustments especially since you are using a DSLR - "DSLR photographer's pride" ???

    But after taking my friend's wedding shots i realised that M and A modes are great if you are taking still life or stuff that you can afford to re-take if the exposure goes wrong. But for events that are constantly on the move, program mode seems to work best as you have less worry on the exposure going wrong and most of the time there will not be a chance for you to re-take that lost moment.

    I was flidding with the landscape modes and other modes as well and it seems to me that these preset modes does their job very well! I used to not use them as i wanted to be adjusting my own settings for every shots that i take.. but i realised that the preset modes does the same or maybe a better job at 1/2 the time.

    Lastly.. after being into this hobby for 1month.. i realise that i worry about my Aperture settings.. Shutter settings... ISO.... bla bla bla too much and forget about photography composition which is what i feel now as the most important thing in photography.

    And comments?
    [Chasing the Light]
    Canon EOS 1D MK III user =X

  2. #2
    Senior Member Override2Zion's Avatar
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    Default Re: Program mode underrated?

    I think it just comes down to one word - "Preference". Some people prefer A mode and they can meter well to get more or less the exposure they want. Some people would use Manual mode to ensure consistent exposure for several shots of the particular scene. Some would go with the no fuss P mode. If you're comfortable with it and your pictures comes out great, people love them then by all means use that mode
    Nikon D200/D700/D800 User :)
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  3. #3

    Default Re: Program mode underrated?

    Preference is one thing; pragmatism is another.

    When i was helping a friend shoot last year's WCG using his DSLR, i set to P mode (didn't know jack about photography at that time) at ISO800 with flash and the camera very happilly suggested an exposure time of 3 seconds for a stage presentation.

    24 hours later i was back with a PnS which shot better JPEGs without a ridiculous 3 sec exposure.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Override2Zion's Avatar
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    Default Re: Program mode underrated?

    Quote Originally Posted by Etna-sama View Post
    Preference is one thing; pragmatism is another.

    When i was helping a friend shoot last year's WCG using his DSLR, i set to P mode (didn't know jack about photography at that time) at ISO800 with flash and the camera very happilly suggested an exposure time of 3 seconds for a stage presentation.

    24 hours later i was back with a PnS which shot better JPEGs without a ridiculous 3 sec exposure.
    I agree with you on this. Its kinda like pointless to talk about driving a auto transmission or manual transmission car when the driver doesn't have a driving license in the first place. Only use the mode when you are sure what you're doing, if in doubt, revert back to what you're more familiar with to avoid screw-ups.
    Nikon D200/D700/D800 User :)
    [www.PositiveStudioProductions.com]

  5. #5

    Default Re: Program mode underrated?

    Quote Originally Posted by Override2Zion View Post
    I agree with you on this. Its kinda like pointless to talk about driving a auto transmission or manual transmission car when the driver doesn't have a driving license in the first place. Only use the mode when you are sure what you're doing, if in doubt, revert back to what you're more familiar with to avoid screw-ups.
    True that.

    Anyway, I cannot help but feel that the P and Auto modes on a DSLR are somewhat lacking, since a DSLR was meant to be used with some degree of manual control. In contrast, PnS cameras are usually designed for nothing but fully-automatic shooting, so it would be logical to think that the intelligence in a PnS will be superior to that of a DSLR.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Program mode underrated?

    Whichever mode gets the results you want is the best one. I think 'P' mode is unfairly frowned upon by some 'togs, and it's probably got a lot to do with the sheer number of people with DSLRs, and people trying to differentiate themselves from beginners. While I'll admit I don't think I've ever used 'P' on my D3, it's nice knowing it's always there in case I'm having a complete nightmare, safe in the knowledge that it's been developed by people with a much bigger wallet, and much more knowledge than myself!

  7. #7

    Default Re: Program mode underrated?

    Personally I never use the P mode because I cannot understand how it works. All I see is the screen with the f number and the shutter speed jumping all around.

    I use aperture priority most of the time, and it usually comes out with the right exposure anyway (it's still an automatic exposure mode - it's actually "Aperture Priority Auto Exposure", just that you control the aperture and ISO)
    Last edited by brapodam; 2nd January 2011 at 09:15 AM.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Program mode underrated?

    To TS, I think your understanding of the word "Photographer" is underrated instead.

    A photographer is not just someone who capture images of things happening around them. A photographer can also add his/her artistic flair into the images to improve the composition and tell the story they want with their images.

    It is precisely because of that, that we have P, A, S, M. Because we may want a better blur background, more or less noise, freeze or add motion blur, ... etc. Because of this, a better photographer usually use A, S, M mode more. Not because P is underrated or overrated. If the photographer were to use P all the time, he/she might as well don't get DSLR, but just get a PnS.

  9. #9
    Moderator ed9119's Avatar
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    Default Re: Program mode underrated?

    for me..... if its a mass event with a good number of people and timing is really tight ... I usually just slap on the flash+difusser cap, go P mode and shoot .... and just use exposure compensation dial to +/- if the meter cant handle any kind of backlighting issues

    when I have time on my hands and the assignment images are more critical, then its onto a different mode

    no shame in shooting in P mode ..... u expect someone to peep at your camera settings ?

    anyway u can always switch between P and M/A/S in an instant... to gather more control if u feel the need to
    shaddap and just shoot .... up close
    Walkeast

  10. #10
    Deregistered allenleonhart's Avatar
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    Default Re: Program mode underrated?

    Quote Originally Posted by ed9119 View Post

    no shame in shooting in P mode ..... u expect someone to peep at your camera settings ?

    anyway u can always switch between P and M/A/S in an instant... to gather more control if u feel the need to
    agree with eddie here.

    if u understand how metering works (if u can read a histogram even better) and conditions are not changing, manual tends to be ur best bet. afterall, not much to change anyways.

    but what if ur running indoors and outdoors and light is changing a lot? P might be better...

    i dunno. to me i have a mantra running in my head when i shoot.

    so here is my thought flow:
    light conditions:
    1: do i have troublesome lighting? (programme is better, debatable)
    2: do i have to constantly change settings? (manual might be better)

    If sufficient light:
    3: do i need a faster shutter speed? (shutter priority)
    4: do i need sharpness and larger dof? (aperture priority)

    5: with the abv 4 in my mind, what can i push my iso to, to its minimum?
    double checking:
    6: what does my camera suggest (compensate)
    7: what does my images and histogram say

    then just keep adjusting. when i shoot for sch, i use all 4 of the modes one

    the plus side of manual is that stuff dun change unless u change it. good for conditions where u know arent changing. the worst thing u want ur camera to think is that conditions have changed and change for u.

    down side of manual is that stuff dun change unless u change it (too!). bad when u have no time to react to the sudden change of events (AV/ TV/ P modes all at least gets the avg metering and shoot for u. better than no image at all)
    Last edited by allenleonhart; 2nd January 2011 at 10:57 AM.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Program mode underrated?

    Honestly, once you use a camera with good auto-iso mode, it's either full manual or auto-iso.

    Punch in your favourite or preferred shutter speed & aperture combination, and adjust as according to calculated iso.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Program mode underrated?

    I agree with allenleonhart, there is no "best" mode to use, it like cooking... U wanna deep fry, use a deep fryer, stir fry use wok, grill use grill and pan fry use pan...

    I think a lot of us prefer to use one mode over another but to be able to understand and use all modes, IMHO, makes you better... I didn't understand how to use "bulb mode" until "master" Kelvin Koh tells me what it does.

  13. #13
    Deregistered allenleonhart's Avatar
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    Default Re: Program mode underrated?

    Quote Originally Posted by toshiaki View Post
    I agree with allenleonhart, there is no "best" mode to use, it like cooking... U wanna deep fry, use a deep fryer, stir fry use wok, grill use grill and pan fry use pan...

    I think a lot of us prefer to use one mode over another but to be able to understand and use all modes, IMHO, makes you better... I didn't understand how to use "bulb mode" until "master" Kelvin Koh tells me what it does.
    speaking of bulb mode, i never use it as itself

    what i do is (if i shoot landscapes), i shoot a shot with right exposure (doesnt matter the settings. P mode gets it right)

    screw on my 10 stop filter, compensate. (+10stops)

    drop the aperture to what i want (+x stops)
    drop iso to what i want (+y stops)

    compensate the shutter in bulb mode later on (+10+x+y stop worth of seconds)


  14. #14

    Default Re: Program mode underrated?

    I believe you will also find many who insist on using M mode are just turning the dials to make the exposure needle go to 0. A long way of using A or S modes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Etna-sama View Post
    Preference is one thing; pragmatism is another.

    When i was helping a friend shoot last year's WCG using his DSLR, i set to P mode (didn't know jack about photography at that time) at ISO800 with flash and the camera very happilly suggested an exposure time of 3 seconds for a stage presentation.

    24 hours later i was back with a PnS which shot better JPEGs without a ridiculous 3 sec exposure.
    The P mode allows you adjust settings while keeping the exposure constant. If you have a 3 second shutter speed and it is too long, just turn the dial. The shutter speed will hasten and the aperture will increase. Don't blame the camera.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Program mode underrated?

    Quote Originally Posted by Exhaust View Post
    Hi guys, i would like to seek some advice/comments on using the other modes provided by DSLRs other than the Manual, Aperture and Shutter Priority modes. I have know of people who swear by using 'A' mode and others who uses Manual mode saying that you should be doing your own adjustments especially since you are using a DSLR - "DSLR photographer's pride" ???

    But after taking my friend's wedding shots i realised that M and A modes are great if you are taking still life or stuff that you can afford to re-take if the exposure goes wrong. But for events that are constantly on the move, program mode seems to work best as you have less worry on the exposure going wrong and most of the time there will not be a chance for you to re-take that lost moment.

    I was flidding with the landscape modes and other modes as well and it seems to me that these preset modes does their job very well! I used to not use them as i wanted to be adjusting my own settings for every shots that i take.. but i realised that the preset modes does the same or maybe a better job at 1/2 the time.

    Lastly.. after being into this hobby for 1month.. i realise that i worry about my Aperture settings.. Shutter settings... ISO.... bla bla bla too much and forget about photography composition which is what i feel now as the most important thing in photography.

    And comments?
    Other guys have pretty much address the issues.

    P mode will NEVER work in the night for long exposure when you want to have special effects like tail lights. The circuit board will not know how to second guess your mind and intention.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Program mode underrated?

    Using P mode, ISO800 and flash, camera decides a 3s exposure? Sounds unbelievable...

  17. #17

    Default Re: Program mode underrated?

    No shame in using Program. P stands for professional

    I use aperture almost all the time though

  18. #18

    Default Re: Program mode underrated?

    Quote Originally Posted by lekzhiyang1994 View Post
    No shame in using Program. P stands for professional

    I use aperture almost all the time though
    And A stand for amateur !

  19. #19

    Default Re: Program mode underrated?

    Quote Originally Posted by lekzhiyang1994 View Post
    No shame in using Program. P stands for professional

    I use aperture almost all the time though
    You read too much Ken Rockwell, you should filter through his loads of bull. Program mode can get the right exposure, but it can never get your intention right. If your intention is just to shoot a "normal" correct exposure shot, it will get it right. But if you're going for some creative blurring effects, program mode won't know what you're doing.
    Last edited by brapodam; 2nd January 2011 at 01:47 PM.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Program mode underrated?

    Quote Originally Posted by divinemoment View Post
    And A stand for amateur !
    M for mafan coz need to adjust here and there.

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