The Program Mode

CRR_3158_001_big_mouthIn recent posts I discuss my workflow and decisions regarding the camera modes, Manual (M), Aperture priority (AP) and Shutter priority (SP). To review:

  • Manual Mode: I will use this mode for studio photos, or when I can preset and maintain my aperture, shutter speed and ISO in a standard scenario. It’s the setting for all open possibilities.
  • Aperture priority Mode: It’s my regular mode for outdoors in daylight, or also indoors with good light sources. I choose the depth of field (DoF) and allows the camera do all the rest, including the ISO (with a particular set of maximum and minimum ISO sensibility and Shutter speed).
  • Shutter priority Mode: I choose it to show or freeze motion in any scenario (mainly events and sport), and also under low-light indoors. I put 1/250th as a standard in those situations, letting the camera choose all the others.

Now it’s time to declare my opinion of the Program mode.

This mode is praised by some street photographers, delegating to the camera all the technical stuff, and concentrating on the composition and capture the flow of the street. I recognize that, in P mode, all you have to do is shoot whenever you are in front of a «decisive moment». But, there’s low control of choosing the best Aperture or Shutter speed to avoid the usual problems with low light conditions or motion blur. In P mode, and the known as «special P» mode, the camera might select a very low shutter speed. Or also, you might be in the difficult decision to choose a great DoF or freeze motion, but not both.

For me, the P mode is a «casual», «relax» mode with a fair margin to choose settings and gets good exposure. It’s perfect when I’m in a familiar, casual environment, sharing, talking, and taking the occasional shot with friends. It also good to use it when you give your gear to other person to take you a picture, without hesitating about proper exposure.

In further posts I will share more concrete experiences with my shooting workflow using the camera modes. It will illustrate scenarios where good or bad decisions in the mode will save a lot of time in post processing your pictures.

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