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Photo taking modes in a DSLR and their differences.

Purchasing a DSLR is an exciting moment for every beginner, it opens a whole new world of learning opportunities. One thing that confuses us the most while taking photos with a DSLR is about understanding how different shooting modes work. Learning the mode control dials located on the top of a camera can be a daunting task. In this post, we will talk in depth about various photography modes in a DSLR and how they are different from each other.

Aperture priority: A mode or Av mode. For a shallow or deeper area in focus, aperture priority is the mode that could help. In this mode, we are guiding the camera to prioritize the value of aperture (F-stop ) over everything else. Let's say we want a sharp landscape image with good details. Assuming the aperture value to be set at F/7, the camera will take care of shutter speed and ISO (If in Auto). You can set threshold settings to let the camera know when to favour an increase in ISO instead of exposure time and vice-versa.  This mode does not work well with high contrast scenes.

Priority aperture landscape shot


Shutter priority: Tv mode or S mode. For freezing fast moving action or motion blur photos, time is more important and hence shutter speed. Basically, we are telling the camera to prioritize the value of shutter speed over everything else. Let's say we want to take photos of a moving duck in a pond. As the duck is very agile and will make quick movements, we have to increase the shutter speed significantly without thinking too much about the aperture value. Assuming a shutter speed of 1/1000 second to freeze moving duck action, this value will be defined by the user in shutter priority mode. DSLR will handle other exposure factors such as Aperture, etc. 


DSLR shutter priority mode

                            
Manual: Commonly known as M mode. As the name suggests, everything is manual in this mode. Value of Aperture, Shutter speed and ISO is defined by the user in this mode. We are our own light meter in manual mode.

                           Pentax DSLR manual mode

Program: Also called P mode. This mode only changes aperture and shutter speed. Rest of the controls such as ISO, exposure compensation, white balance and pop-up flash are in the user's hands. Let's say we changed the shutter speed from 1/50 seconds to 1/250 seconds. This 1/250 second will stay, and the camera will now adjust the aperture accordingly.

Auto: In this mode, the main purpose of the robotic computer mind inside your DSLR is to expose properly. It will ignore what we want to achieve or if there is a moving object or not. The only thing that matters is the exposure. The pop-up flash also comes into play automatically in this mode.

In the end, no particular priority mode is better than the other photo shooting mode. It all depends on our creative goal and what is something we want to see in the photograph. We can take stunning photos with shutter and aperture priority modes too without depending a lot on full manual. Manual mode can be too much to learn in the beginning, so start with a priority mode and slowly take it from there with time as you get familiar. If you found this post helpful, share the photography love by sharing this post. :)

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