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Posted: 6/19/2014 9:53:00 AM EDT
I know nothing about photography. Will I really benefit from learning to use manual mode on my camera (Nikon Coolpix P510) over auto mode?

The best pic I have taken was in auto:



Will learning all about ISO, aperture and shutter really make that big of a difference?
Link Posted: 6/19/2014 10:34:01 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/19/2014 11:08:23 AM EDT by 10mm_]
Originally Posted By VacaDuck:
I know nothing about photography. Will I really benefit from learning to use manual mode on my camera (Nikon Coolpix P510) over auto mode?

The best pic I have taken was in auto:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v245/RichP1269/DSCN2737_zps6536010c.jpg

Will learning all about ISO, aperture and shutter really make that big of a difference?
View Quote
If you actually utilize it properly you can do better than auto. But that's usually for effect or if you have less than optimal conditions.

If it's a sunny day you probably won't beat auto mode. Unless you're after certain focusing effects.

I'm not a pro but I've been playing with my d5100 for a while now.
Link Posted: 6/19/2014 10:44:09 AM EDT
Originally Posted By VacaDuck:
Will learning all about ISO, aperture and shutter really make that big of a difference?
View Quote


If all you want are snapshots, then no, it won't matter. But, if you want something more, then yes, you do need to know the technical side of photography.

When shooting in the manual mode, you, the photographer, are making the decisions about how you want you photographs to turn out. And that 's the way it should be. If you want a slow shutter speed, then you set a slow shutter speed. If you want a shallower depth of field, then you use a large(er) aperture.

As a photographer, you use your technical knowledge of photography, to create works of art.
Link Posted: 6/19/2014 11:13:49 AM EDT
A bit of advice for learning about aperture and ISO and shutter speed...

I HATE when people say "just mess around changing them until you figure it out". I've seen freakin photography magazines say that crap, like really?

Put it in auto mode, and then look at what the camera is doing. Note the aperture size and shutter speed and things it has changed on its own, and pay attention to what you're pointing the camera at. Once you correlate the auto settings to what you're shooting you'll pick up quicker what to change to get what effect. Also start with P or S mode if your camera has it. That is where everything else is auto except either shutter speed or aperture size. In that mode you only change one or the other and the camera will adjust around that. That was a big help to me starting out.

There are some great youtube videos to help explain things too.
Link Posted: 6/19/2014 11:15:24 AM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By 10mm_:
A bit of advice for learning about aperture and ISO and shutter speed...

View Quote
I HATE when people say "just mess around changing them until you figure it out". I've seen freakin photography magazines say that crap, like really?

Put it in auto mode, and then look at what the camera is doing. Note the aperture size and shutter speed and things it has changed on its own, and pay attention to what you're pointing the camera at. Once you correlate the auto settings to what you're shooting you'll pick up quicker what to change to get what effect. Also start with P or S mode if your camera has it. That is where everything else is auto except either shutter speed or aperture size. In that mode you only change one or the other and the camera will adjust around that. That was a big help to me starting out.

There are some great youtube videos to help explain things too.

I bought "Understanding Exposure" this morning to help figure all this out.
Link Posted: 6/19/2014 11:29:40 AM EDT
Originally Posted By VacaDuck:
I know nothing about photography. Will I really benefit from learning to use manual mode on my camera (Nikon Coolpix P510) over auto mode?

The best pic I have taken was in auto:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v245/RichP1269/DSCN2737_zps6536010c.jpg

Will learning all about ISO, aperture and shutter really make that big of a difference?
View Quote

Yes, it will make a big difference.

At a minimum, stay out of "auto" mode and shoot in "programmed" mode (P). In "auto" the camera makes all the decisions. In P the camera makes an initial exposure suggestion then you get to pick equivalent exposure alternatives (deep vs shallow depth of field, slow vs fast shutter speed).

While manual mode is great for some things, most folks end up in one of the semi-auto modes (aperture priority or shutter priority) where you pick the shutter speed or the aperture you want and the camera picks the other one based on the light meter. If you then do not like the results of from the light meter, you can dial in some exposure compensation or swap to manual mode.

I shoot 95% of my time in aperture-priority mode. I pick the aperture I want for the desired depth of field (shallow/medium/deep). I then adjust the ISO to get me the shutter speed in the range I want (slow/medium/fast) to blur/freeze any action.

Download the PDF user guide from NikonUSA.com. This makes searching for things so much easier.
Link Posted: 6/19/2014 4:52:46 PM EDT
Read the book. When you put some thoughts into what you make the camera do, you'll definitely see improvement.
Link Posted: 6/19/2014 6:13:44 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/19/2014 6:14:24 PM EDT by Phil_in_Seattle]
Link Posted: 6/19/2014 6:30:35 PM EDT
^ The OP would need a tripod and a cable release/timed shutter to make that happen. Most point and shoot cameras can do the longer shutter and manual settings, just takes some scrolling through the menus, plus using the 10 second timer which prevents camera shake when depressing the trigger.
Link Posted: 6/19/2014 7:23:13 PM EDT
Link Posted: 6/20/2014 2:03:55 AM EDT
Maybe you should try aperture priority mode. It has the symbol Av on your camera control knob. So if you want to blur out the background, you can set it to a low number such as f4, and if you do not want to blur the background but instead want all the scenery in focus, you can set it to f8 or f9. The camera will make all other adjustments automatically.
Link Posted: 6/20/2014 6:42:27 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/20/2014 6:50:46 AM EDT by trg42]
Depends if you think you will ever get more serious into photography and get a new camera one day

If I were to guess, most likely you want to learn more (or you wouldn't be even asking here ) so you can improve your photography

The short answer for your Coolpix P series not going to make a big difference . The reason why is your camera has VERY limited aperture available ( and limited usable iso range )

For example its about 3 to 8 at the very wide end . Telephoto is only like 6 to 8 !

Therefore when you are in Aperature priority, as you change from 6 to 8 on the telephoto end , not a really big difference

A range of 3 to 8 is much more noticeable, but unfortunately you camera can only do this the wide end so , again less noticeable since depth of field a function of BOTH aperture and focal length

Aperture Priority

As already mentioned most serious enthusiast who are not shooting in Manual will be shooting in Aperture priority

The reason ( already mentioned ) is that the aperture makes a huge difference on the composition ( due to the depth of field ) that you are trying to convey. Therefore you want the control over it

For example, when shooting portraits @ 85 or 100mm or longer, there is a huge difference in the "look" between F2.8 , F4 and F11 . If I want everything to be sharp I shoot @ F11 as a go to. Depending on distance to subject, @ F 1.4 , to 2.8 you can have eyes sharp but ears not

The purpose of this is to draw the attention to what is in focus . A portrait with a shallow depth of field IMO looks much better than verything sharp . Just look at any wedding photographers portfolios

When shooting a portrait , the shutter speed even as low as 1/60 all the way to insanely fast will have no bearing on the composition

If you google image examples of depth of field you will appreciate why having control of Aperature is very very important



Shutter Priority

Unless I am goofing around trying to "drag the shutter" or trying to stop motion when using ambient light don't really pay any mind to the shutter speed . When using flash / strobes, the flash "freezes" the motion since the ambient contributes very little . Exception is when using flash for fill light

Better cameras have the ability to have "shutter speed range limits" . For example, even though I generally shoot Aperture priority , i have my camera set for certain minimum shutter speeds so as the camera does its own adjustment it hits a wall

This ensures I do not have to slow a SS for certain situations ( the camera then starts ramping ISO after it hits wall off minimum SS )

Manual Mode

If I am not shooting in Aperture priority I am shooting in manual .

This is generally when I'm using studio flashes / strobes

Where you have to be careful is many cameras still do a Auto Iso even though you are in Manual ! Go figure







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