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Aside from learning what buttons to push, another important thing you need to know is how to select the shooting mode.
Settings from A-DEP to P are your creative modes, which means they allow you to do some custom settings based on your surrounding and the type of shoot you`re going for.
Settings from A+ to Night Portraits are the basic shooting modes. They don`t give you the flexibility that the creative modes do. These are fully automatic and preset on your camera so you will give your camera the power to make those judgment calls. Honestly, from my experience, you shouldn`t always trust or rely on the camera to make these adjustments for you. Yes, sometimes it gets it right but you will always get the best result when you do your own custom settings.
Even if you don`t own a DSLR camera, most digital camera nowadays do offer a variety of shooting mode and that will vary from one camera to another. It`s essential to understand what each mode allows you to do so that you can make an informed decision on which ones to select for your image in order to get optimal result.
A-DEP (Auto Depth of Field) - This mode will allow you chose what you want in focus. The camera will choose the shutter speed and aperture to keep your point of focus sharp and your background blurred. You can choose your ISO and exposure compensation.
M (Manual) - This allows you to have full control over the camera. This mode works best for people are comfortable adjusting their own settings and ideal for advance users.
AV (Aperture Value) - Allows you select the aperture but the camera will adjust the shutter speed for you. Ideal for putting your subject in focus and blur the background.
TV (Time Value) - also known as shutter priority. This mode allows you to choose the shutter speed but lets the camera select the aperture depending on how much light is coming through the camera`s sensor. This is ideal for shooting fast moving subjects or for long exposure shots.
P (Program) - Partially automatic. Camera will chose aperture and shutter speed but still allows you some flexibility and to change certain settings such as your ISO, white balance, and exposure compensation.
A+ (fully automatic) - the camera will select and adjust the aperture, shutter speed, and ISO for you. This mode is for people who are new and not very comfortable with adjusting their own settings. Occasionally, if your camera feels like flash is needed, it will automatically fire the flash as well.
No Flash - Automatic but without flash.
CA (creative auto) - this mode lets the camera make automatic adjustments for you but also allows you to adjust the aperture and choose the color tone that you want for your images. I pretty much never use this setting and didn`t quite figure it you until recently, lol.
Portrait - camera will select wide aperture and auto correct your skin tone so that it looks more natural.
Landscape - camera will change to a smaller aperture and which will give you a wider depth of field so that everything is in focus. It will also auto adjust saturation of the blues and greens to make them more vivid.
Macro - allows you to take sharp close up shots. I see only a very slight difference in sharpness when I shoot in macro mode and it may have something to do with the lens. I think you would need to pair the macro mode with a macro lens in order to get a true macro picture. One thing that really annoys me when shooting under macro mode is that sometimes the camera feels that there isn`t enough light so it might fire the flash unexpectedly.
Sport - ideal for shooting fast moving subjects. The camera will auto adjust to allow you to capture the moment. If you leave your finger on the shutter, it will continuously shoot until you release.
Night Portrait - this is for night portraits and the camera will automatically determine what aperture, shutter speed, and ISO is needed. Whenever you are shooting at night or with a slow shutter speed, you absolutely need a tripod in order to avoid blurry images.
Video - for shooting videos.
Once you get more familiar and comfortable with these shooting modes, you will be able to determine what works best for you. Personally, I rarely use the basic modes and the only one I`ve mostly used there is the Macro mode. Otherwise, I`m always switching around between the creative modes and honestly, the best way to go is Manual because you have full control over your camera. It can be intimidating and frustrating when you don`t know what you`re doing and which buttons to push but you`d be surprised how much you`ll learn through trial and error.
Hope this was helpful. What mode do you typically go for and why?
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