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mckeand13 Jun 26, 2008 1:53 PM

Just got a D40 and I've started to venture out of the Auto setting.

I was reading about the "Programmed Auto" mode.

Excerpt: "In this mode, the camera automatically adjusts shutter speed and aperture for optimal exposure in most situations. This mode is recommended for snapshots and other situations in which you want to leave the camera in charge of shutter speed and aperture.

From reading the description in the manual, my understanding of this mode is that is similar to Auto mode but will allow me to make and maintain changes. Like it's always set up for a particular shot or situation.

When I move into that mode though, it doesn't seem the same as auto at all. I was taking some shots of birds this weekend on auto and most of the time the camera decided on a 1/160 shutter speed. When I changed to P, it was trying to use 1/60 without me doing anything. Shouldn't it be the same?

Maybe somebody could define this mode for me better than the manual does. What is it useful for? How does it work?


JimC Jun 26, 2008 2:46 PM

If you spin your camera's control wheel, the camera will cycle between the available aperture/shutter speed combinations for correct exposure in the lighting you're shooting in when using P mode.

For example, all of these would give you identical exposure (assuming the ISO speed used and the lighting is the same), and you could change between them using your camera's control wheel.

f/4 at 1/400 second
f/5.6 at 1/200 second
f/8 at at 1/100 second
f/11 at 1/50 second

You don't have that ability using the green auto mode dial position. But, if you switch to P mode, you can spin the control wheel so you can influence the camera's behavior for the desired combination of aperture and shutter speed for a given ISO speed setting and lighting (versus letting the camera select the combination it thinks might work better using full Auto mode).

With some camera models, you will also have more control over other settings like ISO speed and more (sometimes, a camera will not let you change those parameters in full Auto mode).

mckeand13 Jun 29, 2008 12:23 AM

I just tried spinning the thumbwheel but it doesn't seem to have any effect.

The P changes to P* telling me I'm in Vari-Program, but no settings seem to be changing. Shutter, aperture, ISO, flash, are all remaining the same.

It's low light, night, inside right now. Does it just not want to change to anything else because of conditions?


JimC Jun 29, 2008 7:41 AM

Half press the shutter button and release it to turn the meter on. Then, try turning it in the other direction. Each click of the command wheel should change the aperture/shutter speed combination used when in P mode.

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