Welcome to Plaid Eggnog!

Welcome to Plaid Eggnog!

Jan 28, 2010

Camera Shooting Mode surprises

I (Steve) agreed to talk at our next Hudson Bay Photo Club meeting about camera shooting modes. To do so, I spent some time exploring the modes on our Canon EOS Rebel D-SLR. It was quite an eye-opening exercise!

For years, I've used only the Tv (Shutter-priority), Av (Aperture-priority) or full-Manual modes. So I needed to learn what the camera did for the rest, especially the "Basic" modes where the camera makes all the decisions.

All the images I will use are on our Flickr stream, if you're interested! I'll note a few here.

In the Close-up mode,  we get a nice, shallow depth of field (F4.0), directing our attention to the point of interest. Worked pretty well, although I was surprised to have the flash pop up.

 In Landscape mode, the subjects are more distant and the camera deepens the depth of field to get more of it in focus (in this case with F11) and even used ISO 100, a good choice for the bright day. But the whole thing is slightly under-exposed: the hotel is so grey in the image, but is much closer to white in reality. This under-exposure was a recurring theme in the "Basic Modes."

I was surprised when the flash was used in Close-up mode, but no surprise that it is not used in "Disable Flash Mode." Obviously for this candle-lit scene I used a tripod, because there was so little light that it needed a slow shutter speed (1/20th second). Again, the scene is a bit under-exposed.

The "Full Auto" mode takes care of everything, turning the lovely D-SLR into a very basic point-and-shoot. Nice to not have to worry about anything, and it made some decent choices (I was most surprised that it chose the rather middling ISO 400 for this shot). But the snow and bright day have fooled it into badly under-exposing the image!

So I tried the same shot, but in "Program" mode, which has the camera set the shutter speed and aperture, but lets me control almost everything else. I set exposure compensation to +1 stop and got a more pleasing image (still a touch under-exposed)


At the club I'll talk about all the modes, but just one more for here. I switched to Aperture-priority to show the greater control possible in the non-basic modes. It lets me choose: do I want an image with all dominoes in focus? or one where they fade into the background? Av-mode lets me control the depth-of-field by setting a big aperture (F4.5, top) for shallower depth, or a tiny aperture (F22, bottom) for greater depth.

Hopefully, the talk next week will be neither too simple nor too advanced. My goal is to encourage members to get to know their cameras better, and to be more intentional in getting their images to look like they want.


  1. Great Pictures, and great blog! I am so glad you guys started one. =)

  2. Great pic! So glad you guys are blogging!!!