One problem is that a lot of people are "taught" to pick up SLRs that have meters and simply line up the needle to the middle and away they go. That was my introduction to photography. Oh, and that 'A' was "Auto". FOOLS. It also took me many rolls of film and much frustration before I realized the difference between the matrix-metered N80 and the center-weighted Nikkormat and so on....
I've tried to set up auto modes on my camera before and just end up wasting film. There's nothing inherently difficult about setting a manual exposure, and with practice anyone could learn the nuances. But with practice I could also learn how to use Lightroom. But I won't.
I though my first real camera back then was super automated as it had TTL!
Originally Posted by Pioneer
The automatic vs manual transmission argument leaves out the third preference, "neither".
My daughter is 23, an engineer, and she is a car companies worst nightmare, her preference is not to drive at all. Her bicycle has replaced 99% of her need for an auto, the rest is done with a taxi or a rental.
I share her preference, in time her practice I hope.
Nope, pretty easy once you get a bit of practice. Also having a meter built in makes things a lot faster.
Oh, these lazy young people today and their desire for automatic photography....
Kodak ad ca. 1889 via Wikimedia Commons
Manual simply means 'YOU set THREE parameters in the exposure triangle'...plain and simple.
How do you set three parameters?...well you simply set one of them (most traditionally ISO, by choice of film purchased and loaded or simply by first choosing an ISO to set in a digital camera!) and then...
SET the aperture and shutter speed numbers that the meter in the camera displays to you in the viewfinder!
(Gosh, not that hard, was it?!)
The mystical Auto modes is not mysterious if you know that it simply SETS one, or two, or three of the parameters of the exposure triangle! Assuming that you had selected what ISO value...
- Program mode sets TWO for you (aperture and shutter speed)
- Av mode sets ONE for you (the shutter speed)
- Tv mode sets ONE for you (the aperture)
- Manual mode sets NONE for you (since YOU set all three)
...the same as if you read the numbers and cranked dials to do it manually! 'Auto' vs. 'Manual' is the 'Automation of SETTINGS'! The camera can do the settings, or you can do the settings -- both -- (an important concept to burn into your brain) per what the meter suggests. Metering is identical whether you are in Auto or in Manual!!!
Now that the mystery of Manual has been dispelled, now we delve into some of the mysteries of 'Metering'...
- Metering assumes the target area averages to 18% tonality (about the greyness of the 'Reply to Thread' button on this forum at the upper part of the page.
- If your target is brighter (higher tonality value, like 70%) or darker (lower tonality value like 10%) than the 18% grey, you need to set Exposure Compensation to tell the meter "The subject/scene is brighter (or darker) than 18%...by this amount" For example, if you aimed at a white wall, the meter would ordinarily suggest some exposure combination which makes the white wall appear to be 18% grey in the photo...you tell the meter EC +1.66EV, or "the target (wall) is brighter than 18% grey by 1.66EV", and then the white wall looks white in the photo!
In Manual, which does not use the EC control to tell the meter to "give more exposure" or "give less exposure", you simply set the indicator mark to be not 'centered' but 1.66EV to the right of center (in the case of the white wall), and you have accomplished the same thing as choosing Av or Tv and also setting EC = 1.66EV. Now no more mystical wonder about Exposure Compensation!
Manual: It is easy to know what your are doing so debugging is rather easy.
Auto: Works, but you have little control over what you are doing.
Anything, and everything, is only as difficult as a person wants to make it. It's always a personal choice to decide to do something, or not.
Whether you think you can, or you think you can't--you're right.”
― Henry Ford
Really? I think using camera in manual takes more of muscle power than brain power but not much at all either one. A beginner should be able to go out and shoot after about 1/2 hour learning the basic. Understanding how a modern camera with all the bells and whilstles does its things does requires more brain power.
Originally Posted by pbromaghin
I don't understand your dichotomy between muscle power and brain power, but I can answer this question which is at the heart of your thesis (so far as I can understand it): there are many people who, for whatever reason, do not have the desire to learn the fundamentals of photographic exposure -- they just want to take pictures and don't want to have to "be bothered" by knowing/controlling how the camera works. (See post #15)
Originally Posted by Chan Tran
Another facet is that over the years the metering has become so good that it increases the chance that A-mode will produce a decent exposure. One of these days I'd like to graduate from an archaic center-weighted meter (Nikon F3) to something with a more sophisticated matrix meter. :)
But if you want to talk muscle and brain power... I can't use modern DSLRs because I don't seem to have either the muscle or brain power to press all of those buttons and scroll through all of those menus. Or maybe I just can't be bothered by trying to control a camera that way.