ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Manual Mode is Just Another Camera Mode

Updated on February 3, 2013
Is shooting in manual mode as mystical as some may put it across as?
Is shooting in manual mode as mystical as some may put it across as? | Source

Sometimes folk may speak of the Manual Mode of camera as some lofty mode that if you can use it well, then you have finally graduated from the realms of amateur photography. The truth is that the manual mode of a camera is just another mode. In the era before digital cameras, it was the only mode, and photographers had to manipulate the trinity of aperture, shutter speed and ISO to attain a desired exposure.

Manual Mode is the Fundamental Mode

Therefore, manual mode is actually a basic mode -- even a fundamental mode for understanding the mechanics of how your camera can capture perfect exposure. It’s similar to driving a car, in which you have to understand how to manipulate clutch, gear and gas to cause the car to start off or go up a hill without a hitch. When you move on to driving an automatic car, you may more be more in-tuned to when the car automatically changes gears.

Manual Mode is 'Not Better than' Other Modes

Manual mode is not ‘the’ mode -- it’s not ‘better than’ priority, program and other modes, but there are cases in which you may need to use this mode to achieve particular photographs. In other words it may be best to use Manual mode in a certain situation, whereas it may be better to use a priority mode or program mode in another.

Flexibility and Independent Selection of Shutter Speed, Aperture and ISO

In manual mode, you have the flexibility of independently choosing settings for all three components of exposure but it also may pose a challenge -- a learning curve even. But with patience and practice, you will become faster in doing this.

Light Metering in Manual Mode

The light meter in your camera is your guide in choosing the settings for a particular scene. The light meter will, in a sense, work differently in manual than other modes. In other modes, the camera has some amount of decisions to make. In Program mode, the camera chooses aperture and shutter speed, while you choose ISO. In Shutter Priority and Aperture Priority mode, you choose the shutter speed and the aperture value respectively, while the camera chooses the other relevant parameter.

The ‘Right’ Manual Settings doesn't Mean they are Right for you

When you point your lens at scene, you allow your meter to measure and indicate what may be needed to achieve a good exposure. For instance if you half press your shutter in manual mode, and the exposure compensation pointer points at the center, i.e. it reads zero, it m means that you have the right aperture, shutter speed and ISO settings in place. But just because you’ve gotten the settings right, doesn’t mean it’s right for you. This is where the beauty of using manual mode comes into play, because you have the flexibility of shifting around settings to suit your intentions. Say for instance you metered a scene with the settings such as:

Shutter Speed: 1/10 sec
Aperture: f/6.3
ISO: 400

Right Exposure Settings but Shutter Speed too Slow

Now the problem with this is that the shutter speed may be too slow for you to capture a sharp shot, unless of course you are using a tripod of some other stabilizer. In this case you’re taking the shot handheld, you may increase your shutter speed which will cause the exposure compensation pointer to be less than zero inferring that if you take the shot, the image will turn out underexposed. To deal with this, you can increase your aperture -- use a larger f-stop -- and increase your ISO (if you may) until the pointer returns to zero.

ISO Settings May be Subjective to the Photographer

ISO is somewhat of a subjective matter, and you may choose not to go beyond a certain ISO value because by increasing it you may introduce more noise into the image. Some D-SLRs work better than others with regard to ISO, and you’ll have to understand the capabilities of your camera when using it. Then again, noise may add a creative touch that you want in the particular image that you are making.

Metering Issues

Issues may arise when you are metering a scene. To meter, it’s better to point your lens at region where it’s grey -- more specifically 18% grey as in a 18% grey card, otherwise known as a white balance card. Your camera uses 18% grey as it’s reference point. If you get it right, your darks and lights will be expressed in their right colors. There are instances where you may not get it right, and using the exposure compensation is a method to deal with this.

Shooting in manual is a great learning experience, but it can be frustrating if your don’t understand the basics of shutter speed, aperture and ISO. These three elements are what affect the exposure of a scene, and it’s the same three that are utilized in every other camera mode. It’s just that in Manual mode, you have the independent control over all three elements. It's the fundamental mode, and every photographer should know how to use it well, but once you do, it doesn't mean you should do away with other modes.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)