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Category: New Questions

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Photography Question 
Meghan Gonski

member since: 9/7/2007
 

Av mode


So I'm learning about the different modes on the digital camera. I'm used to shooting in manual mode, doing everything myself.
I'm trying to understand if you know how to do it yourself, why would you choose Av mode? Or is Av mode really just for the clueless who want good pictures.

2/5/2011 9:42:22 PM

 
Carlton Ward
BetterPhoto Member
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carltonwardphoto.com

member since: 12/13/2005
  Hello Meghan,
I dont use Av mode either but it is used when you want to set your DOF to s specific aperture (f-stop) and let the camera decide what shutter speed is needed for correct exposure. The problem with this is that it may select 0.6s for shutter speed when you are hand holding and shooting away only to realize after downloading that the images are blurred because of the slow shutter speed.
I will occasionally use Tv mode (shutter priority) and let the camera decide the f/stop when I am shooting snapshots in a fast paced shooting environment - but even this is very rare for me to do.
I shoot 98% manual mode because I want to select the DOF & Shutter speed myself and if I have to up my ISO, I can make this decision as well.
P mode is like "auto" mode in that the camera will decide the f/stop & shutter speed but will allow you to capture the images in RAW format unlike the "Auto" mode that will only capture images as "jpegs". This may have changed with some of the newer cameras so I may be outdated about this.
When I started to learn exposure, I shot everything in manual mode to help me learn and I dont even use the other modes of shooting on any of my cameras.
Cheers,
Carlton

2/6/2011 12:29:35 AM

 
Christopher J. Budny
BetterPhoto Member
chrisbudny.com

member since: 10/3/2005
  While one might have reasonably expected your (careless, IMO) label of "clueless" to be applied, perhaps, to those dSLR shooters who never leave full "Auto" mode, and never try shooting in RAW, and spend thousands too frequently upgrading camera bodies without ever learning how to actually use their equipment, I was surprised to learn that, in fact, I fall into your grouping of "the clueless".

I tend to control depth of field more than just about any other aspect of my exposure settings, particularly in macro shooting. As such, I now shoot almost exclusively in Av mode, and appreciate the one-finger ease with with I can adjust my most common, necessary settings. I'll primarily use ISO to achieve a faster shutter at a given aperture, if I'm going handheld and the light is low... though I'd reckon I probably shoot 70%+ of all my images on a tripod, so the light often doesn't matter, meaning I can enjoy a very-low-noise ISO100 - 200, not worrying about camera movement.

I sometimes dip into Tv mode for deliberate motion blur or freezing action, and every once in awhile I may still go into Manual, but far less frequently now that I'm so frequently using a tripod, compared to my last dSLR on which I shot more hand-held, and more M, when first learning the dSLR features and functions.

2/7/2011 6:55:41 PM

 
Meghan Gonski

member since: 9/7/2007
  Hey Carlton! Thanks a lot for your answer. And for letting me know what P mode is. I was going to learn that later but now I have a little grasp on what it is. I thought it stood for "portrait" haha
I just did a little studio using the Av mode. I like how it blinks to let you know if it can't meter using the too low or high of f/stop you select.

Christopher, I wasn't trying to label and I'm sorry you took offense with the word clueless. I had trouble finding a word to get what I meant across. Obvisously with you I chose the wrong word. Oh well just know that I didn't mean to offend you.
On the other hand, thanks for telling me how you use Av mode. That's why I posted the question because I didn't know why someone would use it and wanted to find out.

2/7/2011 8:15:07 PM

 
Christopher J. Budny
BetterPhoto Member
chrisbudny.com

member since: 10/3/2005
  Hey Meghan... I was mostly trying to give you a sarcastic, hard time ;) I'm not offended; I chuckled as I read it, thinking "huh--I'm in that clueless pool." It might turn some newer members off a bit, but I've read worse online. I find Av mode simply too convenient to pass up. I think if my camera didn't require a 'lock switch' to be turned on and off (to control the back dial in M mode) I might use it more often... dunno.

2/8/2011 3:57:00 AM

 
Randy A. Myers
BetterPhoto Member
Contact Randy
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member since: 8/20/2002
  I would say the overwhelming majority of pros that I've talked to use AV(aperture priority) mode when shooting outside of a studio unless they are in a particularly tricky lighting situation. I see no advantage of shooting manual under normal circumstances. I prefer to concentrate on the composition than on the exposure. I let the computer in the camera handle that. I do decide on my DOF before making the shot. Different strokes for different folks. Use whatever you're comfortable with.

2/8/2011 9:33:02 AM

 
Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member
gregorylagrange.org

member since: 11/11/2003
  Av and Tv can be interchangeable. You can set your aperture to where it will give you a the desired shutter speed range. I'm sure there a many people who feel they need to have a certain shutter speed, but in real world situations you mainly need to pay attention to a shutter speed range.
In either auto mode, you still need to be aware of when any compensation is needed, either from changes in light direction or surface color.
People who think any auto mode is all you need to do can be clueless. But the good things is, they aren't far from getting a clue.

2/8/2011 2:43:36 PM

 
Peter K. Burian
BetterPhoto Member
PeterKBurian.com
Peter's Photo Courses:
2-Week Short Course: Boot Camp for New Digital SLR Owners
4-Week Short Course: Mastering the Canon EOS Digital Rebels
Mastering the Digital Camera and Photography
  I use AV (aperture priority mode with any camera but called A with Nikon, Pentax, etc.) frequently.

Unless shooting action, the aperture .. and hence the depth of field is usually the most important consideration. So, AV mode is very useful.

And it is not an Auto mode. It is semi-automatic; you can use Exposure Compensation as desired.

No more difficult than P mode but preferable ... this also applies to TV (shutter priority mode) ... because the camera will not change your settings as it does after you use program shift.

Peter www.peterkburian.com

2/26/2011 11:44:17 AM

 
Meghan Gonski

member since: 9/7/2007
  I've been trying Av mode out recently since I posted this question.

What I don't get Peter, is because it's semi-automatic, how come I'm not getting a good exposure for my photos? If I select my aperature, it selects a shutter but it selects a shutter that makes a underexposed picture. Since it's semi-automatic shouldn't it select a shutter that will result in a goodexposed photo?

2/27/2011 2:43:36 PM

 
Christopher J. Budny
BetterPhoto Member
chrisbudny.com

member since: 10/3/2005
  Hi Meghan; A few more details to ponder in your question.
Are you setting any Exposure Compensation value? (Usually expressed as say, -1/3, or +1 2/3, etc.) Additionally, what metering mode is your camera set to typically (ie, Evaluative, Partial, Spot, etc.) And in what kind of light are you shooting when you get underexposed results?

2/27/2011 2:54:47 PM

 
Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member
gregorylagrange.org

member since: 11/11/2003
  She's probably taking pictures of things that have a lot of white in them. Which is why choosin AV or TV mode still means you need to know what's going on and why your camera chooses what it does. You can't always set it to something and shoot away.
If you were to shoot a picture of the daisies in your avatar, a close-up would dominate the frame with mostly those white petals. A camera's meter bases it's readings on correctly exposing a medium tone. White is more reflective as a color. So the meter will think there's more light than there actually is. So the white daisies will come out slightly under.
So that's why using Av isn't just for the clueless. You have to recognize when you can't go with what the meter selects, and when you need to compensate in either direction of over or under.

2/27/2011 4:28:51 PM

 
Peter K. Burian
BetterPhoto Member
PeterKBurian.com
Peter's Photo Courses:
2-Week Short Course: Boot Camp for New Digital SLR Owners
4-Week Short Course: Mastering the Canon EOS Digital Rebels
Mastering the Digital Camera and Photography
  I agree AV mode is not for the clueless. No mode is going to provide a perfect exposure with a light-toned subject, of course.

But the original question was about AV mode versus M mode ... and I find AV mode, with exposure compensation as necessary, is often ideal.

Peter www.peterkburian.com

2/27/2011 6:45:07 PM

 
Meghan Gonski

member since: 9/7/2007
  I've shot three different locations. One is indoors, a birthday with candle light, outside birds against a dark house in bright sunlight and outside birds in trees or on snow (yes that one is a bright place gregory).
When I shot outside, I changed my ISO from 100 to 400 and that made a little bit of a difference for the better.
I'm not setting any exposure compensation values. My metering mode is partial metering.

2/28/2011 2:51:53 PM

 
Peter K. Burian
BetterPhoto Member
PeterKBurian.com
Peter's Photo Courses:
2-Week Short Course: Boot Camp for New Digital SLR Owners
4-Week Short Course: Mastering the Canon EOS Digital Rebels
Mastering the Digital Camera and Photography
  Hi Megan , In AV or TV or P mode, changing the ISO does not change the exposure at all.

If you want to change exposure, you must use exposure compensation, such as +1 for a brighter photo.

P.

2/28/2011 3:03:42 PM

 
Meghan Gonski

member since: 9/7/2007
  Is changing the exposure compensation the same as "pushing" the aperature in film?

2/28/2011 3:23:12 PM

 
Christopher J. Budny
BetterPhoto Member
chrisbudny.com

member since: 10/3/2005
  If you are in Av mode, and you dial in a particular aperture and set an ISO, adjusting the Exposure Compensation down or up will shorten or lengthen the amount of time the shutter remains open when you fire. It won't affect your aperture.

2/28/2011 4:31:51 PM

 
Meghan Gonski

member since: 9/7/2007
  Oh okay I guess I will have to read more about Exposure Compensation

thank you

2/28/2011 4:38:31 PM

 
Peter K. Burian
BetterPhoto Member
PeterKBurian.com
Peter's Photo Courses:
2-Week Short Course: Boot Camp for New Digital SLR Owners
4-Week Short Course: Mastering the Canon EOS Digital Rebels
Mastering the Digital Camera and Photography
  It's a valuable tool and so easy to use.

While depressing the +/- button rotate the dial. Watch the LCD data screen and stop when you get to +1.

That will provide a much brightger photo.

Of course, that is necessary only after you take a photo that turns out much too dark. Set compensation and take it again.

Then re-set it to zero (the center point in the scale that you see when pressing the +/- button)

Peter

2/28/2011 5:00:22 PM

 
doug Nelson
DougNelsonPhoto.com

member since: 6/14/2001
  I'm a long time manual exposure fan (I'm 64), but I have stayed in AV mode with my digital SLR. If my histogram after the shot train wrecks in either direction, I can use Exposure compensation to adjust the shutter speed, NOT the aperture I have set for good reason. A good reason for 2 or 3 stops down from wide open is that I know my lens delivers its best resolution, especially corner-to-corner, at mid apertures.

3/2/2011 8:03:46 AM

 
Meghan Gonski

member since: 9/7/2007
  Thanks for all your advice!
hey Peter, I sure am learning the different programs now aren't I? :D

6/19/2011 7:53:00 PM

 
Peter K. Burian
BetterPhoto Member
PeterKBurian.com
Peter's Photo Courses:
2-Week Short Course: Boot Camp for New Digital SLR Owners
4-Week Short Course: Mastering the Canon EOS Digital Rebels
Mastering the Digital Camera and Photography
  Hi Meghan, Yeah, now that you are a student in my Digital Rebels class. You'll be an expert on the operating modes.

P.

6/20/2011 6:13:34 AM

 

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