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Gervais Montacute

Priorities. Auto, Speed,Aperture or Manual?

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I just read on the Sell or Not to Sell thread,  Ed saying that he almost never looks at the histogram and found that making me think of the header of this thread. I look at the histogram probably too much.

 

I read somewhere that most pro shooters stay mainly in Auto. I admit to hardly ever going to Auto and mainly stay in Aperture Priority mode.

 

 

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Program usually. Occasionally A when I do my  self-timer trick with the camera on the floor.

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Learned to shoot in manual on a P&S over a year ago. A Fuji S4500. I then bought a Canon 600D and shot manual all the way till about 3 weeks ago. I've had my 7D for about 6 months and felt that shooting in Av was pretty much a good idea. The shot is more important than me fumbling with a spin wheel. Having got used to the 7D I can normally tell when something is going to blow out or under expose. It's not a perfect theory but one that works for me :) 

 

I float about shooting to the right of the histogram when I can, and it really can help sometimes, but more often than not, my mind is not pro enough to do it on the fly and address a scene, grab a shot and make sure the composition is perfect. I quickly felt that shooting in manual was a very very small part of a huge process. 

 

I did a recent job for my work where I have to photograph a newly laid astro turf pitch. They really could not care less if I shot it on auto or Av or on my phone. I can understand if there is some pros using auto. 

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Mainly AP sometimes SP but never AUTO.

 

ISO usually 125 - 200. Sometimes, depending on light, 400 to 800.

 

Allan

 

 

Edited by Allan Bell

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I just read on the Sell or Not to Sell thread,  Ed saying that he almost never looks at the histogram and found that making me think of the header of this thread. I look at the histogram probably too much.

 

I read somewhere that most pro shooters stay mainly in Auto. I admit to hardly ever going to Auto and mainly stay in Aperture Priority mode.

 

Mostly I shoot Aperture Priority . . . but I keep my eye on the shutter speed. Several very tech-hip shooters here do shoot Auto a lot.  I am not comfortable handing all my controls over to a robot in my camera.  :wacko:

 

Gervais, if you are happy working with the histogram, please don't let me dissuade you from doing so. It's a great tool. I just found that I was assessing the same thing twice in looking at the histogram; it was something I had already done at the scene. I quote the Bob Dylan line: "Who do you have to see to keep from doing these things twice." 

Edited by Ed Rooney

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Manual 99% of the time. I prefer to be in control of all the settings rather than let the camera decide.

 

It depends what you are shooting though and what you are comfortable with.

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Depends on the subject.  Never shoot auto.

 

If I know I need to freeze action, I up the ISO to 200 or 400 and I either shoot AP or TV depending on what I want in the background and the amount of available light.

 

If I'm shooting in low light, and I'm shooting my Canon cameras, I shoot TV at 1/125.  If shooting my Fuji or Leica cameras, TV at 1/60

 

If I'm walking around, and I know there is enough light, sometimes I shoot at f/8.  I adjust accordingly in manual for different conditions.

 

The issue with shooting all auto is the camera can make some strange mistakes.  My Fuji has done this with ISO - shooting in bright light with a f/1.4 lens the camera algorithm has calculated in the past that I need 800 iso.  When I override this to 200 iso, I get more usable images.

 

I always look at my histogram in post processing - generally I'm within 1/3 stop but I do tweak exposure a little bit (as well as adjusting for blown highlights, contrast, whites, and blacks).

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All manual, all RAW all the time. I shoot with 5D Mk3's and Mk2's and have never found the metering systems to be accurate enough to trust over my own judgement and instincts. If I'm a little hot or thin in the exposure I can always correct in Lightroom.

 

Marc

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Aperture Priority almost all of the time. Having been weened on a clunky manual focus film camera and a handheld light meter, I hardly ever look at histograms either. They look like picket fences to me. But I'm sure they come in very handy.

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With me it depends what I am doing, if I am shooting around town it's aperture and if I am shooting motorsport ( panning etc ) its shutter priority finally for creative landscapes it's manual... never used tried P mode on my d700 or d300s, but I am of the opinion that you should use what works for you. 

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Manual for me 99% of the time with my D300, D700 & D3S. I use Aperture Priority when shooting  birds in flight and always shoot in Raw.

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Never auto, always manual and generally using a hand-held meter. Always check the histogram, too.

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Along with many here, I almost always shoot Aperture Priority, occasionally switching over to Tv when the need arises.  Very occasionally flip to auto to grab a shot of an info board somewhere, so I have all the details of the location, artefact, whatever, without having to remember anything, and not having to think about the photo or settings - just get the shot quickly and then get out of the way.  Otherwise, never use auto, and am surprised to hear that "most pro shooters stay mainly in Auto"!  Really...?

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If you're quoting me, I said "several" not "most." And I see AP as very . . .  almost manual, since I set the ISO and f/stop and watch the shutter speed.

Edited by Ed Rooney

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If you're quoting me, I said "several" not "most." And I see AP as very . . .  almost manual, since I set the ISO and f/stop and watch the shutter speed.

 

Ed I've made a complet faux pas here. I meant to say Manual and not Auto for Pros. Duh moment.  :o

 

Re the histogram. The problem with the histogram on camera is that it sometimes doesn't match the histogram later in LR.

 

And with light meters. I just wonder how much better they are over the internal meters of todays digital cameras?

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Making mistakes is why I had a great PT job in my early retirement, as a copyeditor. So keep up the good work.  ;)

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If you're quoting me, I said "several" not "most." And I see AP as very . . .  almost manual, since I set the ISO and f/stop and watch the shutter speed.

 

Ed I've made a complet faux pas here. I meant to say Manual and not Auto for Pros. Duh moment.  :o

 

Re the histogram. The problem with the histogram on camera is that it sometimes doesn't match the histogram later in LR.

 

And with light meters. I just wonder how much better they are over the internal meters of todays digital cameras?

 

No Ed, I wasn't quoting you 'cos (I know) you didn't say it!  :) The OP (Gervais) did - as he has just said ^^

 

Thank for correcting, Gervais: much clearer now!

 

Re: histogram - personally, I do refer to it briefly after most shots, just to give me an idea of if I have done something horribly wrong or mis-read a scene, (I'm not too good instinctively) but I don't study the darn thing.  Anyhow - please correct me if I'm wrong here - isn't the histogram on the camera back based on the jpg-created thumbnail and so not 100% reliable?

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Manual for me. Fuji X-E1. Minimum shutter speed 1/125th, aperture as appropriate to the subject and effect I seek. Auto ISO. Always keep an eye on the histogram but most reliant on live view for exposure effects. The visible effects of the use of the exposure compensation dial through the viewfinder is a God send on the X-E1.

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AP most of the time, but many shots require adjustment and taken again after I've seen the histogram! Manual if using flash.

 

Generally set the ISO myself, but, in some circumstances, will use AUTO ISO. For street use, have suffered from too low self set ISO when shooting in changing situation and too low a shutter speed when using auto ISO. Can't win really.

 

Prefer manual focus, that way I know for sure what is in focus, caught out too many times by auto focus focusing on the wrong bit of the scene. Maybe I need to practice more with the AF?

Edited by Bryan

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Manual and aperture priority. Depends what I am shooting. Shots like people rock scrambling are manual with manual focus using a 14mm lens. Set the focus once with the correct aperture and you can more or less forget about changing it. That way the auto focus doesn't slow things down.

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If you're quoting me, I said "several" not "most." And I see AP as very . . .  almost manual, since I set the ISO and f/stop and watch the shutter speed.

 

Ed I've made a complet faux pas here. I meant to say Manual and not Auto for Pros. Duh moment.  :o

 

Re the histogram. The problem with the histogram on camera is that it sometimes doesn't match the histogram later in LR.

 

And with light meters. I just wonder how much better they are over the internal meters of todays digital cameras?

 

No Ed, I wasn't quoting you 'cos (I know) you didn't say it!  :) The OP (Gervais) did - as he has just said ^^

 

Thank for correcting, Gervais: much clearer now!

 

Re: histogram - personally, I do refer to it briefly after most shots, just to give me an idea of if I have done something horribly wrong or mis-read a scene, (I'm not too good instinctively) but I don't study the darn thing.  Anyhow - please correct me if I'm wrong here - isn't the histogram on the camera back based on the jpg-created thumbnail and so not 100% reliable?

 

I think you're right. The histogram is based on the jpg image. You can clip the highlights slightly and still have a lot of headroom to bring it back (in Raw). I look to shoot to the right of the histogram and the Fuji X Trans files are very forgiving and take a lot of shadow and highlight adjustment without adding noise.

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And with light meters. I just wonder how much better they are over the internal meters of todays digital cameras?

Probably not more accurate, but you can take incident readings without a grey card.

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I think you're right. The histogram is based on the jpg image. You can clip the highlights slightly and still have a lot of headroom to bring it back (in Raw). I look to shoot to the right of the histogram and the Fuji X Trans files are very forgiving and take a lot of shadow and highlight adjustment without adding noise.

That is definitely the case. The camera histogram is not important if shooting raw. The histogram that is important is the one in Lightroom or whatever raw converter you are using.

 

I hardly ever use anything but manual exposure for the stuff I shoot which is mainly static (landscapes mostly) except for changing light. I would be happy with a manual exposure only camera if Nikon made an FM2 equivalent with sensor quality as in the D700-800. There is so much latitude now with exposure when shooting raw on many modern cameras in that it is possible to recover highlight and shadow detail that previously would have been impossible.  It is now much less critical to get exposure spot-on (however that would be defined for real world subjects). I used to bracket exposures but I no longer bother and I haven't had a shot that was unusable because of bad exposure for a long time. Using a handheld meter for most purposes is unnecessary I think.

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