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Old Feb 16, 2010, 4:41 PM   #1
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Default Operating in P Mode

I'm looking at the S90 or SX120. If I put the camera in P mode, what adjustments do I need to make? If I adjust the ISO does the camera adjust whatever else needs adjusting? Thanks!
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Old Feb 16, 2010, 4:53 PM   #2
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If you change a particular setting that affects exposure, the camera will automatically compensate for that by adjusting the other settings in order to get a proper exposure. That is, if a proper exposure will be obtained at ISO 100, f/4.0, at 1/100, and you adjust the ISO to 200, then the camera will either close the aperture to f/5.6 or shorten the exposure to 1/200, or some combination of the two.

Is that what you mean?
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Old Feb 16, 2010, 8:58 PM   #3
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Let's also clear up some misconceptions about P mode. P mode does the exact same thing full auto mode does. It's the same - up to a point. P mode allows you to do 2 things that full auto mode does NOT allow:
1. Use exposure compensation. This is where YOU the photographer tell the camera to intentionally over or underexpose the shot
2. Perform a "program shift". What this does is - after the camera decides what aperture and shutter speed it will use (just as it does in full auto) - YOU as the photographer can tell the camera to use a faster shutter speed (and the camera then uses a wider aperture) or a slower shutter speed (and the camera then uses a narrower aperture). Or if you prefer to think about it in the reverse, you can think of it as adjusting the aperture and the camera adjusting the shutter speed to compensate. If you, the photographer, do nothing then P mode behaves just like full auto.

There may be some nuances with one camera over another, but in general, this is how P mode is different than full auto mode.
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Old Feb 17, 2010, 3:04 AM   #4
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A third thing it allows you to do with Canon cameras is to shoot RAW, full auto mode only allows JPG.

Not sure about other makes.
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Old Feb 19, 2010, 5:28 PM   #5
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You won't get raw files on the SX120 unless you use CHDK on it - not that I think RAW files are that useful anyway, especially on high resolution compact digicams.

One thing most people don't seem to realize is that compact digicams have almost unlimited depth of field. This means that having the ability to manually set exposure isn't really of much benefit. It's really more of a gimmick than anything else.

Program mode just gives you more ability to set various things like a specific ISO setting, exposure compensation (the MOST important one, in my opinion), focus mode, flash mode and compensation, etc. Most of the full auto scene modes don't allow much control.

It's the same kind of Program mode that was on all AE film SLRs in the past, dating back to the 1970's. On a digicam, it's really all you need if you don't want to depend on the canned scene modes.

Another thing to think about is that anything manual on a compact digicam ends up being so clunky to use that you end up not using it anyway unless you intend to really take lots of time staging your shots and you use a tripod. But then if that's what you do, you are better off saving up for a used dSLR. Compacts are for carrying around.

So, Program mode on a compact is about the most manual operation that is practical to use. That's what I use most of the time, despite having a whole cupboard full of totally manual film cameras.

I don't bother with aperture at all, because it's irrelevant on digicams, so much so that most of them only really have one aperture, their fastest, and the use a neutral density filter to simulate a smaller aperture. And when it comes to shutter speed, I tend to just work with ISO rather than any specific shutter speed, keeping in mind that it's digital photography, not film, so you can change ISO before each picture if you want. When it comes to freezing action, the cameras already have pretty good modes for that, and if you try to do it manually, you miss the shot because of shutter lag.
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Old Feb 19, 2010, 6:36 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by starling View Post
You won't get raw files on the SX120 unless you use CHDK on it - not that I think RAW files are that useful anyway, especially on high resolution compact digicams.

One thing most people don't seem to realize is that compact digicams have almost unlimited depth of field. This means that having the ability to manually set exposure isn't really of much benefit. It's really more of a gimmick than anything else.

Program mode just gives you more ability to set various things like a specific ISO setting, exposure compensation (the MOST important one, in my opinion), focus mode, flash mode and compensation, etc. Most of the full auto scene modes don't allow much control.

It's the same kind of Program mode that was on all AE film SLRs in the past, dating back to the 1970's. On a digicam, it's really all you need if you don't want to depend on the canned scene modes.

Another thing to think about is that anything manual on a compact digicam ends up being so clunky to use that you end up not using it anyway unless you intend to really take lots of time staging your shots and you use a tripod. But then if that's what you do, you are better off saving up for a used dSLR. Compacts are for carrying around.

So, Program mode on a compact is about the most manual operation that is practical to use. That's what I use most of the time, despite having a whole cupboard full of totally manual film cameras.

I don't bother with aperture at all, because it's irrelevant on digicams, so much so that most of them only really have one aperture, their fastest, and the use a neutral density filter to simulate a smaller aperture. And when it comes to shutter speed, I tend to just work with ISO rather than any specific shutter speed, keeping in mind that it's digital photography, not film, so you can change ISO before each picture if you want. When it comes to freezing action, the cameras already have pretty good modes for that, and if you try to do it manually, you miss the shot because of shutter lag.
Wow! Who knew all these things? And your so definitive, that you must be right.

Thanks for correcting my ignorance...



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Old Feb 19, 2010, 6:54 PM   #7
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Default What is that setting for action?

What exactly is that setting for capturing action, and what do you feel would be the best camera for doing so: Canon SD940, SX120, SX200 or S90? Thank you!
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Old Feb 20, 2010, 3:56 AM   #8
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They all have a sports mode, all of the above cameras are basically terrible at capturing action.

If action is important then you should be looking at a different kind of camera.

Note: Snapping toddlers is NOT action photography.

Using RAW on the S90 can make quite a difference depending on the circumstances. See the million RAW v JPG threads for more detail.
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