Author Topic: In praise of M mode  (Read 3294 times)

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Offline Clive

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In praise of M mode
« on: June 19, 2009, 04:13:28 PM »
On occasion, I get frustrated when shooting Lincoln the bald eagle across the street. (Like I need MORE pictures of this grand bird?!?! ;) )

He poses well but is always moving. His head is very white and his body quite dark. With the 70300G the camera is almost always set on spot metering. And here is the rub. Depending on where the spot point is on his body, the exposures can be wrong. It is easy to burn his head..well beyond recovery. Pure white is exactly that .. white with no details available for recovery.

The other day some of the exposures were wonky so I set the meter to manual ... M mode. I did a couple of test shots to get the exposure correct and then shot away...sometimes making minor adjustments as there was some thin cloud in the sky that altered the incoming radiation.

Burned out white can not be recovered well... slightly underexposed areas can always be improved simply in PS.

Anyway .. the exposures were always spot on or slightly under exposed after that with no burned heads. Just something to keep in mind when shoot subjects with large variations in reflectance. Try M mode when the going is tough.

Lincoln with a burned out head....not a good thing.
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Offline MikeO

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Re: In praise of M mode
« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2009, 06:03:17 PM »
What I've found is that for really tough subjects like this, while I do set the camera to M sometimes, I let the camera's meter give me hints. I set it to spot and aperture then point the spot at different areas and note the selected shutter speed. Then it's just a matter of compromising between fast shutter and slow shutter, depending on what you're trying to do.

Using this method you can use M mode once you have your settings. Of course, if you can find your desired shutter speed using spot, say fastest is 1/1000, slowest is 1/100 and you decide on 1/750, then if there is a spot in the image where the meter shows 1/750 you can push and hold the AE Lock at that point, recompose and shoot.

Works the same for shutter priority, just set shutter and watch the aperture.
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Offline Rob aka [minolta mad]

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Re: In praise of M mode
« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2009, 06:04:43 PM »
Quite often shoot in M mode, and not just for landscapes.
Gives total control, espescially when used in conjunction with the historgram.
Another method i use is the exposure comp, requires less fiddling than manual.


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Offline Clive

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Re: In praise of M mode
« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2009, 06:29:28 PM »
Thanks guys. Good points.

To set in M .. I just look at a half-decent expose and duplicate it in M selecting the speed or aperture that I prefer--depending. 

"Another method i use is the exposure comp, requires less fiddling than manual." Exp comp is a great tool as well. The issue with moving B&W subjects is that the spot point can change from reading in black to reading in white with just a twist of the head. Once in M mode nothing changes ... provided the light source is constant. 

This is not an issues on (say) birds with more subdued coloring and reflectance.

One of the more evil photographic subjects is a bridegroom in a black suit and a bride in a white dress ... in full sun!! ;)
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Offline Numpty

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Re: In praise of M mode
« Reply #4 on: June 19, 2009, 08:11:53 PM »
I took my first shots in M mode the other I needed a faster shutte speed to stop action while needing a decent Fnumber(8) while shooting BMXers in my A mode I just couldnt get both but after a bit fiddeling in M I got the shots I wanted.
Also while taking some pictures of a house for my job the sky was getting burned out and I just used the exposure comp to underexpose a bit and those came out perfect aswell.

I think if you need controll of shutter speed and DOF then go manuel and if you just need to adjust the odd shoot exposure composition is the one
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Re: In praise of M mode
« Reply #5 on: June 20, 2009, 01:42:06 AM »

Count me in as an M mode fan. :)

I tend to use Aperture priority for general happy snapping, but switch to M mode when I really want to make sure it's right. I only use M mode in studio work now.

Offline winjeel

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Re: In praise of M mode
« Reply #6 on: June 20, 2009, 03:34:35 AM »
M Mode? ... [walks away] Oh yeah! [fiddles with dial] I can't seem to get mine out of it. It seems stuck!

Hang on, what are these other pictures for? One is a man leaping, another looks like a hills... has my camera always had these?

Seriously, I find using M soooooo much better with the 50mm 1.4 when in low light. It allows you to 'over expose' to get the right amount of light on the subject. Since getting the 50mm, I've found that S and A are only useful if ... I don't know! M for me. I'm still working through a whole lot of other stuff, but hopefully I can show examples of the new 50mm... it's soooo sharp! It's wonderful!
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