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Old Dec 24, 2006, 4:19 PM   #11
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And as Ray is from Maryland too, I shall have to bow to his wisdom. :blah: By all means learn to use all the metering modes on your camera.
:-)

Since I am an ardent Gilbert & Sullivan fan and you hail from the glorious country of their birth, I shall take that as a compliment. Nevermind the why and wherefore!

As to your agreement that she should learn to use the camera fully - I can offer one other G&S quote, from "The Gondoliers" (it sounds better sung): "Of that there is no manner of doubt - No probable, possible shadow of doubt - No possible doubt whatever!"

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Old Dec 24, 2006, 5:36 PM   #12
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Well, there is all manner of talent on this forum! Donna
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Old Dec 25, 2006, 11:29 AM   #13
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Well, there is all manner of talent on this forum! Donna

And you haven't even heard me sing yet!:G
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Old Dec 26, 2006, 9:49 AM   #14
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Flint350 (and company),
I'm sorry, but there is absolutely, positively a shadow of a doubt. (I played Dick Dead-eye in the H.M.S. Pinafore, so I can't be all bad. Luckly you didn't hear me sing!)

I'd say even more than a shadow of a doubt.

I would agree, looking at her gallery of shots, that she has quite a lot of skill. So it is definitely worth D.Ann putting effort into learning her camera to the best of her ability. It is a tool, a magnifier of your tallent/skill, and you will get out of it only what you put into it.

I still absolutely stand by my statement that you should learn one mode metering mode to its utmost and then, if you want to, learn others. This is based on several things:
) First off, a definition. "best mode" means: Most often gives the correct exposure with the least amount of exposure compensation"
) Any mode can take a picture with the correct exposure for a given shot if you engage your mind along with the camera. Engaging your mind means using exposure compensation (or not) or switching modes. But the camera is a tool and you *must* engage your mind when using it.
) *EVERY* metering mode has its faults. *every single one* (not yelling, said with emphasis because I firmly believe it.) The examples I gave demonstrate this. You have two choice to solve that. Either switch modes or use exposure compensation. I *firmly believe* that using exposure compensation is easier & faster. You never have to take your eye from the view finder. (Yes, you can learn to switch modes without looking, but it both isn't easy and it takes though that should be spent capturing that perfect moment, not switching modes.)
) You have a finite amount of time to dedicate to learning how your camera meters a scene. You can spend it mastering one mode, or spread that time over all the modes. I firmly believe you will get better results mastering one mode than mostly learning all of them. If you have the time, then by all means, master all modes. But I believe you will get better results mastering one mode and then spending the rest of the time learning something else (like better composition, how to approach a wild subject, learning new places to photograph, learning how to leverage DOF,....)
) If you are shooting with a flash, then all bets are off. With a Canon DSLR, how the flash works is different in the different shooting modes (P, Av, Tv, ...) I don't know if it's different in different metering modes. For that reason, if you get a flash, learn about how it works in different modes as that will make a big difference.
) Using exposure compensation is really, really easy. Just a turn of the thumb. In some situations, that is all you can spare as the rest has to in tune with your subject.

Now, just to be clear, I want to state another (non-contradictory) position. If you have the time, in a controlled environment, then much of what I said above doesn't apply. If you have the time, and you know the situation, then one metering mode might be easier to use than another (it might get it right more often with less exposure compensation.) In those cases, sure, it can be worth it to know all the modes and therever know enough to pick the best one (Best being .)

But by the looks of her shots, that is not the case she often shoots in. She likes to photograph in the wild, when you often don't have time to switch modes before the scene has changed (the sun has gone behind a cloud, the water droplet has fallen, the animal has moved its head....)

So while I won't say "don't learn all the modes" I will say "only do it after you master one." I absolutely firmly believe this. And it's what I teach, as I teach photography. Take it for what you will.

Eric
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Old Dec 26, 2006, 11:43 AM   #15
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eric (dick d.),

While I don't disagree with what you said, you have changed it a bit, not to mention left out part of her original question.

Your first reply appeared to take the stance - pick one mode, learn it and stick with it. This seems to imply "and stop there". I disagree with that, if that is the implication. Also, despite your description of her shooting, she clearly asks about the differences in metering landscapes vs. "groups". I made (and make) the assumption that she wants (or is doing) more than simply shoot in the wild.

In your latest post, well made - you seem to add that you really didn't mean "stop there" and you also correctly point out that all modes have limits and problems (so why stick with any one?). I concur fully and that was my only real point. I don't think we really disagree much, if at all. The original posts about "learn one mode" seemed to me to be too limiting for someone with more than just a passing acquaintance with their camera. Her question also begs that issue. I neither read, nor saw in her images, any reason to believe she needs to pick one mode and stick with it, implying that she needs to walk before running. I think she is already at a good trot and should not simply stick with one metering mode when others can be at least as useful if not moreso. It's part of the learning experience which only leads to better results. This is not a rank amateur who is trying to grasp how f-stop and shutter speed are connected in exposure.

I don't teach photography - but I did teach flying for many years. The principles of learning (esp. adult learning) still apply. The (flight) instructor must recognize when the student is ready for advancement and has gone beyond rote learning to application of the theory. That is my difference of opinion here. I think she is ready to "fly" with more than one weapon in her photographic metering arsenal and it is pointless to simply stay stuck in one place, especially when the "student" has shown both the ability and the stated desire to learn more and move on. "....no possible doubt whatever".

Sorry I missed your "Dick Deadeye", I'm sure it was a worthy performance. My amateur tenor "singing" voice would have made me Ralph Rackstraw in that show, and quickly would have emptied the auditorium, I'm fairly certain.


Ray
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Old Dec 26, 2006, 1:18 PM   #16
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I'm still shocked that they didn't leave the theater... but then again, it was a school production (I was... 11 years old?) and everyone in the audience had a relative in the play somewhere. I guess that makes blood thicker than.... hearing?

I'll say it firmer.
While I won't say "don't learn the other modes" I see almost no point in it. You can get the same results by mastering one mode and using exposure compensation. I feel your time is better spent learning something else. If you had infinite time, then sure... learn the other modes. But I don't know anyone who does.

Since exactly the same results are achievable using any mode (and using your brain), I'd rather not have to think while in the field "what mode am I in? Is this the right mode, or should I change it?" I'd rather think "will my usual mode get it right? Should I add exposure compensation?" because using exposure compensation is easier to change (and it's visible in the view finder, whereas metering mode is not.)

I'm an engineer so I don't say things as an absolute (I won't say "don't learn the other metering modes") I will say "I don't feel it's worth learning them beyond the knowledge needed to make an informed decision of which to stick with."

I think that if the student is ready to advance to the next level that they should move on to studying areas of (for example) composition and light, not another metering mode. A better understanding of composition will be more beneficial than another metering mode (assuming an understanding of one metering mode to a level I consider sufficient.)

I'm sorry that wasn't clear in my previous post.

Eric

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Old Dec 26, 2006, 4:56 PM   #17
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After asking this question and receiving several responses, I found the part about the center focus was something I was really needing to know about as much as the metering issue. I change my meter more than I change my focal point, believing/learning somewhere along the way that center or spot was always best. But when some of my shots were out of focus for no reason I could discern I began to wonder about my"etched in stone" center focus.. I guess if I was shooting in one of the program modes the camera would have chosen the proper one for me. somehow I feel like I am cheating to shoot program modes...Thanks again guys for your detailed responses, I will try to put the info to good use. .Donna
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Old Dec 27, 2006, 6:37 AM   #18
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D.Ann wrote:
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I guess if I was shooting in one of the program modes the camera would have chosen the proper one for me. somehow I feel like I am cheating to shoot program modes...
Donna - you don't have to be in a program mode to select your focus point. You can do it in any mode. You can select all the focus points (and thus the camera decides which point to use)or an individual focus point in any of the manual modes.
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Old Dec 27, 2006, 6:48 AM   #19
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Thanks I didn't realize that...I can have all focus points lighted up and the camera will chose the correct one in a particular situation? Donna
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Old Dec 27, 2006, 7:09 AM   #20
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Donna,

The camera will choose what it THINKS is the right focus point - or several focus points actually. That may or may not be the CORRECT focus point - the camera can't read your mind - if two people are standing next to each other and the person on the left is 3 feet in front of the person on the right - how does the camera know which one of the two you really want the focus to be on?

Unfortunately, there is no RIGHT WAY to do focus point selection. Given enough time on every shot, the best results would be achieved by selecting a single focus point over your subject (or closest to your subject so focus/recompose is minimal). But, depending on what you are shooting you may not have that luxury. For instance, sports and wildlife shooters aren't going to have time in many instances to change the focus point being used - so very often they pick a single focus point and go with it. Portrait, landscape and macro shooters have more time so selecting the best focus point can be achieved.

Now, I have the 20D, not the 30, so I'm not sure if it's still the same but I'm guessing it is - I have a custom function that puts focus point selection on the joystick on the back of my camera. When I'm shooting sports or wildlife , I use center point only (for various reasons) but when I'm doing general photography, I'll typically have all points active. When I frame a shot if the camera chooses the wrong focus points I simply use the joystick to select the 'right' one. When I'm done I put it back to 'all points' - it's just become part of my workflow. Now, if I'm shooting with a shallow Depth of Field I will ALWAYS select my focus point.
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