Manual mode over auto ISO - Weekend

Manual mode over auto ISO

Albert PedrosaAlbert Pedrosa
Photo Mania

THE exposure triangle is one of the basic functions when you talk about photography. Whether you’re a novice or a professional photographer, everything relates to exposure triangle. It’s a balancing act between the three controls before you take that shot.

Because of the many things to consider when taking a shot, there are semi-automatic shooting modes for you to choose from, depending on the type of scene you are shooting. If your priority is depth of field, you can use aperture priority. For controlling the motion, you can use shutter priority and for both, you can use the manual mode.

I’m surprised that many photography purists are still campaigning for manual mode all the way. In my workshops, I always start with manual mode until such time that they understand the concept of balancing shutter speed, aperture and ISO, then I relieve their difficulty by introducing semi-automatic modes.

Shooting mode and auto ISO
Shooting mode and auto ISO

When you start learning the semi-automatic modes, it is imperative that you fully understand the different metering mode options in your camera. The automatic part of the camera, whether it’s the aperture or shutter, relies fully on the metering function of the camera. Should you need to override the camera’s recommended values, you can use the exposure compensation.

Granting you want to shoot a wild life or an action scene with a faster shutter speed to freeze the subject and you also want mid aperture to maintain a good depth of field, what shooting mode would you recommend? If you say manual, you are correct. Is it difficult? Yes because there’s the exposure triangle to be dealt with and the moving subject to compose.

Is there an easy way around it? Yes. Turn on your auto ISO. Now you can set the specific depth of field and shutter speed and still get the right exposure by letting the camera compensate on the ISO. This way, you can focus on the timing your shot and composition of your subject.

Most cameras today have the option to adjust the ISO range when set to automatic. Given the fact that too much ISO can create noise, you can limit it to an acceptable range. Note that the auto ISO function is basing its decision on metering mode so make sure to set the metering mode properly.

In Nikon, Sony and other brands, you can use exposure compensation in manual mode to override the exposure. Not for Canon, unfortunately.
Keep on shooting, everyone! /

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