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Thread started 21 Nov 2012 (Wednesday) 16:28
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What's so special about 'M' mode?

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Joined Nov 2010
Location: Boca Raton, FL
Nov 21, 2012 23:36 |  #31

I use M when shooting my daughter's soccer game where I want a shallow DOF and yet a high enough shutter speed to stop the action. That being said, I do put the camera in Auto ISO.

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2,099 posts
Joined Aug 2012
Location: Bourbon, Indiana
Nov 22, 2012 01:02 |  #32
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The debate rages....
One thing is for certain. If you can effectively use your camera in Manual mode, you can use it in any mode. You HAVE to understand the exposure triangle, exposure compensation, and lighting to use M mode in any situation. This is not true of any other mode. That said, you don't NEED to know how to use Manual mode to be able to use your camera.

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Nov 22, 2012 01:17 as a reply to  @ TSchrief's post |  #33

Funny. I see no response to the list of legitimate uses of M as stated.

Silly thread.:rolleyes:

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Nov 22, 2012 01:19 |  #34

I find my 1Ds is too stupid for anything but M.

And my S95 is in P most of the time unless I am using the flash, or the light is funky, then it's M again.

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Nov 22, 2012 02:06 as a reply to  @ leroy_sunset's post |  #35

I use M mode when the light is consistent, but subject reflectivity isn't. Apart from that, the camera is better at remembering to adjust exposure as needed than I am.


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Nov 22, 2012 02:17 |  #36
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I guess I would only like to add that some of us are old enough to remember when Manual was the ONLY choice. It was NOT a dial setting; it was the way cameras operated:
1.) Insert film, and set film speed.
2.) Turn camera (usually just the meter) on.
3.) Select aperture.
4.) Select shutter speed.
5.) Compose. Adjust 3 or 4 as necessary.
6.) Press shutter button.
Here comes the nearly unbelievable part today.
7.) Take resulting emulsion to processing and printing center so they can guess what you meant to capture. It sounds archaic, but it worked reasonably well.

If you can function in that environment, you look at all the stupid icons on most DSLRs today and scratch your head, thinking "What kind of moron would use those?" No mode is better or worse than any other. We simply all have our preferences. I use Manual and Av. Anything my cameras can do, can be done in either of those modes. It is your camera, use it however you want.

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Nov 22, 2012 02:36 |  #37

I have always shot "M". I'm a control freak. If I have messed up a picture, I'm 100% at fault. Anything else, why let an unknown auto set variable seek contribution!?!?! Shoot "m" responsibility!

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153 posts
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Location: USA
Nov 22, 2012 02:50 |  #38

M is just special for me. I like it. I use it a lot. I want more M on my camera.

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Location: Austin, TX
Nov 22, 2012 03:04 |  #39

Manual requires you to understand the functions of your camera and all of their relations to eachother. When the camera isn't doing anything automatically FOR you, YOU have to do all the work, and YOU have all the control over what comes out of your shots.

That of course doesn't mean that once you DO understand all of the settings, that you HAVE to or even SHOULD use M. I was at the F1 race this weekend and pretty much left the 7D in Av mode. I noticed early on using M mode that the light meter was showing changing light as I panned across the stretch of track I could see, so I went to Av so that the camera would automatically adjust the shutter speed while I maintained the same aperture. Doing that manually is possible, but would require more work than I wanted to do - both in shooting and in PP.

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Location: Guildford, UK
Nov 22, 2012 04:18 |  #40

The one time I use M mode as my main mode is when I am using a flash. Av and Tv use the flash as fill flash whereas M mode regulates the amount of flash to achieve the correct exposure.

The other factor is that C1, C2, C3 are not enough for me so I use Av, Tv and M to remember 3 extra sets of settings for quickly flipping between different types of shot.

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Nov 22, 2012 04:57 as a reply to  @ magwai's post |  #41

I think what the poster was saying was if you go to m, and just make your settings to pin the exposure bar, then you are basically doing the same thing as letting the camera set it in another mode.

There are plenty of scenarios to need manual, for me landscapes around sunrise and sunset and anything creative completely disregarding the meter. However, av, or tv with the Ev dial adjustments as neccessary and auto ISO is basically the same thing as M.

I could be wrong, but I read his inital post as that, not an argument as why and when to or not to use manual, just that most people in mode are still relying on the cameras metering system, and these days cameras have really good(not for every scenerio, but a lot with Ev adjustments on the dial) metering systems so why wouldn't you.

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Nov 22, 2012 05:05 as a reply to  @ post 15273732 |  #42

i honestly don't know how to use any other mode than 'M,' i never took the time to figure it out. ever since i got my first camera that allowed manual controls, i have forced myself to use manual mode so i learn what setting does what and how i can compensate for any scenario. I also shoot with a fully manual flash both on-camera and off. i have certainly missed a good amount of shots due to getting my settings wrong, but those were learning experiences, and im not going to say im anywhere close to an expert, but those times are fewer and further between now.

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Nov 22, 2012 05:58 |  #43

There's almost a fetish about "M" mode in this forum. Really, no one who matters is looking at the EXIF and mentally wagging a finger at you if you don't use it.

I'm another of those photographers who shot for a long time with fully manual, mechanical cameras, in my case an OM-3 and before that an OM-1. I did have and use a beaten-up OM-4 for those situations where aperture priority ("Av" in Canon-speak) was appropriate. I quite rarely use "M" on my Canon DSLRs.

I use "M"

- with studio flash.

- with Canon's flashes, if they are the main light.

- when taking a sequence with the exposure all the same. There is a very clumsy way to do that on 1-series Canons, and nothing like the elegant lever the OM-4 sported, so "M" is the least inconvenient solution. This is a deficiency in Canon's UI.

- when spot metering on the 5-series, because it is inconvenient in any mode other than "M". The multispot metering on the 1-series makes spot metering convenient in Av. (Canon's multispot doesn't work in "M" mode, whereas it did on the OM-3, and in both Av and M on the OM-4.)

In summary, I regard "M" as a detail of UI design, which should be of no great interest to photographers. Do what works for you.

steelbluesleepr wrote in post #15275362 (external link)
i honestly don't know how to use any other mode than 'M,' i never took the time to figure it out.

This is a valid position. I could never be bothered reading about "P" mode or Live View.

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Nov 22, 2012 07:11 |  #44

I've tried AV and TV but I just can't get good results with them so I stick with manual. I'd rather set the settings where I want them than let the camera determine the settings and me have to fudge those with compensation. I shoot in tricky and fast changing light, so manual just works better for me. I'd like to become better with the automatic modes, just haven't really played around with them in years.​shooter (external link)​m/stageshooter (external link)

Cream of the Crop
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Location: Sussex, UK
Nov 22, 2012 07:24 |  #45

Numenorean wrote in post #15273597 (external link)
Because it makes you think more.

And yet again it's the phrase that I've never understood.But I have come to realise that it explains a lot about the world that I've found particularly confusing.

You see, I can think without being forced to do so by some artificial restriction. But I'm obviously in a minority, based on the sheer number of times (Google finds over 300 instances of the phrase "forced to think" on PotN alone) that people claim that they need to be forced before they can think.

I presume that this habit continues in the rest of life and that the world is being run by vast numbers of people who can't think unless they're being forced to do so. Obviously a lot of these people aren't being forced enough - which explains a lot about the world and the way it works (or doesn't).

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What's so special about 'M' mode?
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