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Koolpc Aug 4, 2010 12:50 PM

Got the Canon 450D,

Right, should i use 'Auto' when taking pics or go straight into M mode?

I don't want to get stuck using Auto all the time so i would like to learn how to use the camera properly.

I have bought the book 'Understanding Exposure'.

Would 'P' mode be the best one to use?

JohnG Aug 4, 2010 1:04 PM

My advice is: it depends on whether you need to get the shot or have time to learn and experiment. If you need to get the shot and don't have time for trial and error, use a scene mode. If you have more time for trial and error and learning, then go strait to Aperture Priority or Manual. Those will force you to learn more about depth-of-field and the exposure triangle as a whole.

TCav Aug 4, 2010 5:24 PM

Good luck with the 450D. That's a nice camera.

After a while of using AUTO, you'll get frustrated, so switch to P, so it saves your settings from one session to the next. But otherwise, I agree with JohnG.

Koolpc Aug 4, 2010 5:35 PM


shoturtle Aug 4, 2010 5:40 PM

You brought a dslr, start in P then when you feel comfortable go to A and M

Koolpc Aug 4, 2010 5:42 PM

Tried 'M' tonight, indoors. Lots of settings! I will try 'P' mode tomorrow.

shoturtle Aug 4, 2010 5:48 PM

ln low light, shoot in A, so you can control the aperture size. It will let you choose a larger aperture, to let more light in. Do not be afraid of 1600iso with the 450d, it is pretty good up there. Bigger aperture and higher iso, my keep you shutter speed up.

corkpix Aug 4, 2010 7:06 PM


Originally Posted by Koolpc (Post 1125843)
Got the Canon 450D,

Hello Koolpc.

I was wondering where you'd got to, but I
was afraid to ask :)


Right, should i use 'Auto' when taking pics or go straight into M mode?
It doesn't really matter. Maybe you should take a few pictures
in full Auto, just to see how they turn out.


I don't want to get stuck using Auto all the time so i would like to learn how to use the camera properly.
There are a few steps between full Auto and 'M'.
The 'P' mode behaves similarly to Auto except that
it allows you some manual control. Aperture priority
'Av' lets you manually select an aperture value and
then automatically selects shutter speed and ISO
for a correct exposure. This allows you to have control
over depth-of-field. Shutter priority 'Tv' allows you to
manually set shutter speed and automatically adjusts
aperture and ISO for a correct exposure. A fast (short)
shutter time will freeze fast action, birds in flight,
sports etc... Slower shutter speeds can be used to
deliberately create motion blur. This can give an
impression of speed to something like a swinging
golf club or moving train. Slow shutter speeds can
also result in interesting effects like a blurred
waterfall or fountain in an otherwise sharp picture.


I have bought the book 'Understanding Exposure'.
A good read. It will give you a good grasp of how
shutter speed, aperture and ISO are used to
control exposure. I always found the O'Reilly
technical books about computer programming
and operating systems to be very good. When
I got my 500D, I discovered that there is an
O'Reilly book specifically for the T1i/500D. I
just checked their website and discovered that
there is also a version for the 450D written by
the same author.

These books are not just a bigger and better
version of the user manual. There is a lot of
general information about exposure, composition
etc. I got mine in Waterstones.

Would 'P' mode be the best one to use?

As good a place as any to start. I found the
full auto mode a bit irritating. Camera metering
systems are not very smart. On the 500D the
flash tends to pop up in the most ridiculous
situations, like a distant front-lit scene at midday.
At least 'P' mode disables that particular
annoyance. The auto modes often fail to
find reasonable exposure settings. After a
while, you will learn how and when to use
exposure compensation or manual settings
for trickier situations.

Take a few pictures and experiment a little.
Take note of the aperture, shutter and ISO
settings chosen by the camera in the automatic
modes. Try to figure out why these settings were
chosen. Any time you see a photo you really like,
check the EXIF tags (if available) to see if you
can figure out what settings the photographer

Above all, take as many bad photographs as
possible. You will always learn more from the
bad ones than you do from the good ones. Study
the ones you don't like. Try to figure out what
you don't like about them, check the EXIF, try
to figure out what went wrong. Is there a technical
problem? Wrong settings, camera shake etc. Is
there something artistically or aesthetically wrong?
Poor composition, bad angle, wrong light....

You will probably never get to a point where the
good shots outnumber the bad, but you will find
that your hit rate improves with experience.

Ordo Aug 4, 2010 7:45 PM

Above all, take as many bad photographs as

Corkpix: I can see your good intentions, but that was a funny reading!

Koolpc Aug 5, 2010 4:02 AM

Superb advice! Thanks guys.

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