Photo Clinic Vol 13 2012

Exposure Modes

I AM OFTEN asked what exposure mode I use when shooting images. So, what’s an exposure mode? Put simply, on most cameras there are 4 settings that can be used. The first is program (P) mode (on some cameras it is denoted by a green box on the dial on the top of the camera,) which is the fully automatic mode (the camera makes all the decisions about the exposure parameters.) The second is aperture priority (denoted by Av), the third, shutter priority (Tv), and the fourth manual (M).

Let’s examine the benefits and pitfalls of each in turn. I have read elsewhere that if you are new to DSLR photography, you should try shooting in program mode for some time and then examine the EXIF data to see what camera settings were used and to learn from this. I don’t really agree. This may be alright on a bright and sunny day but is fraught with problems on dull days or in low light experienced early in the morning or late in the afternoon. In low light the camera may select extreme parameter values, such as a high ISO, to ensure sufficient shutter speed, resulting in a noisy image; or alternatively it may select a slow shutter speed resulting in a blurry image.For example, you would normally require a shutter speed of 500th second - or preferably more - to ensure a sharp image of a barra jumping, but the camera automatically selects 125th second, resulting in blur. The P mode can lead the photographer to be lazy and that will result in missed images.

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