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  1. #1
    Member erikzen's Avatar
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    Can Someone Explain the Program Mode?

    I don't really understand what the program mode is used for. The manual states that it will automatically set the aperture and shutter speed. How is this different than shooting in Auto mode?

  2. #2
    Learning more with every "click" mjs1973's Avatar
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    Re: Can Someone Explain the Program Mode?

    I'm not familiar with the Oly system specifically, but here is what I have found with the program mode on my Canons. In full Auto mode, the camera will fire the flash if it feels it's needed. In program mode, the flash will not fire, unless you pop it up yourself. In program mode, I am able to change the aperture and shutter speed, but NOT independently. I'm not positive, but I think I can also adjust the exposure compensation while in program mode. In full auto mode, I'm not able to adjust anything at all. Also in full auto mode, my camera will only record in jpeg. Program mode will record in jpeg, or RAW.
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  3. #3
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    Re: Can Someone Explain the Program Mode?

    this article is for the e-500 but pretty much everything can be applied to the e-510 aswell. in here you can find a great explanation of what every mode does:
    http://www.wrotniak.net/photo/43/e500-using.html

    this is also a GREAT article on every setting on the camera:
    http://www.wrotniak.net/photo/43/e510-sett.html

    these are some super articles for you to read.

  4. #4
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    Re: Can Someone Explain the Program Mode?

    Aperture priority mode lets you set the aperture and it scales the shutter speed. Shutter priority does the reverse. Program mode scales both equally unless you use the dial to bias it. There is a graph in the owners manual that shows this visually (you haven't read the manual???). Program mode sets only shutter and aperture, while everything else is set by you.

    Auto mode takes it a step further and sets all the other camera functions automatically, including flash, depending on what it "sees."

  5. #5
    Member erikzen's Avatar
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    Re: Can Someone Explain the Program Mode?

    Quote Originally Posted by SwampNut
    Aperture priority mode lets you set the aperture and it scales the shutter speed. Shutter priority does the reverse. Program mode scales both equally unless you use the dial to bias it. There is a graph in the owners manual that shows this visually (you haven't read the manual???). Program mode sets only shutter and aperture, while everything else is set by you.



    Auto mode takes it a step further and sets all the other camera functions automatically, including flash, depending on what it "sees."
    Yes, I've read the manual several times but it is not very clear on the half page they give you in that tiny book. I understand the other settings, apperture, shutter prioroty, etc. Program mode seems redundant to Auto mode but I guess there are things you can change. The graph refers to the Program Shift mode, which I understand on paper but I don't really see what happens in practice.

    Your explanaton is helpful. It's like an auto mode but there are certain things you can still change. I guess I just haven't figured out how this is useful to me (not that it isn't useful).

    Thanks

  6. #6
    Member Atomic2's Avatar
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    Re: Can Someone Explain the Program Mode?

    I dont really like using P mode, like you remarked earlier, its pretty much just like auto but with adjustable fine details.
    I like to keep it in Ap because i feel far more in control, and all the camera does for me is set the shutter speed, which saves me time over shooting in manual. Shooting in Ap also allows me to shoot in the fastest possible shutter for the given situation since i often find myself in low light, i just keep my Aperture as wide as possible.
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  7. #7
    Member erikzen's Avatar
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    Re: Can Someone Explain the Program Mode?

    I agree, aperture priority seems to be the way to go. I guess my next question is does anyone use the program mode and if so under what circumstances?

  8. #8
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    Re: Can Someone Explain the Program Mode?

    I never use program mode (and shifting the program is somewhat pointless too). I stick with Av when casually shooting, full manual when shooting under more or less consistent conditions, and Tv in some specific circumstances.

    As remarked earlier, program mode handles both aperture and shutter speed leaving everything else (WB, flash, ISO) up to you. Auto sets the settings to Auto (edit: apparently you can change the settings still). Both are equally worthless to me. I think it's mainly on there for people who buy the camera intending to use it as a p&s. Maybe program mode could be useful for someone who doesn't quite understand aperture/shutter speed, but would like to first learn about other manual features?
    Last edited by albot976; 06-06-2008 at 09:34 AM.

  9. #9
    Senior Shooter Greg McCary's Avatar
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    Re: Can Someone Explain the Program Mode?

    In program mode the camera makes all of the choices and you have no control. Like a Point and Shoot. I never use it because get so many throw aways. It's best to learn exposure and shot manual, Av or Tv. I stay in manual a biggest part of the time. 98% or so. Look for a book called Teach Yourself Photography. You can most likely get it at Amazon for less the ten dollars or so. It is dated but is short sweet and very understandable. You could read the whole book in a couple of hours and it is packed with the basics.
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  10. #10
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    Re: Can Someone Explain the Program Mode?

    I've read this thread three or four times and still don't understand the suggestions because Av, Tv, and P mode are all the same thing.

    Av mode - you set the aperture, the camera sets the shutter. It is possible to adjust the exposure value (ev).

    Tv mode - you set the shutter speed, the camera sets the aperture. Also possible to adjust the EV.

    P mode - you can set either the shutter or the aperture, but not both. The camera sets the parameter that you do not set. Possible to adjust the EV.

    All of these modes are EXACTLY the same. they use the same settings, same adjustments, and will always come up with the same exposure. I'm surprised that Av and Tv are still put on cameras, since P mode is essentially both of those modes combined into one. It is still essentially auto exposure, since the camera makes the final exposure based on metering to the EV.

    M mode is the only mode where the user chooses the exposure.

    I've had very limited use for any of the auto exposure modes. I have used Av with some success for people photography with changing light, but other than that M mode is the most useful. Tv mode is totally worthless.
    Erik Williams

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  11. #11
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    Re: Can Someone Explain the Program Mode?

    I agree, aperture priority seems to be the way to go. I guess my next question is does anyone use the program mode and if so under what circumstances?
    Historically (on other cameras, since I'm new to the E-510), probably 80% of my photos were taken on program mode. It's the perfect mode for casual people/event photography where I want to concentrate on the moment and the people, not on the technology or specific effects. Using auto mode probably wouldn't make sense because I do know whether I want to use flash or not, and want to control most other details. Program mode just makes sure, within a range, that I will have a reasonable compromise of aperture and shutter speed.

    Program shift just lets you bias it towards shutter or aperture. Again, the camera takes care of the details while you have some input towards the process. If I'm shooting a wedding or other event (particularly the reception), I need to be ready to shoot a lot without delay. I favor the "journalistic" approach to weddings and events; few poses, lots of shots of people just being people. So I use a fully integrated flash and program mode with shift to make the instantaneous technical decisions for me. As I move around from light to dark or other situational changes, I change the Ps bias or may change to a semi-manual mode. Or even --gasp-- a programmed "scene" mode. While many purists will scoff at me for that, my images work, and I get photos where people later say "I had no idea you shot that." It often can't be done if you have to waste 1-2 seconds making a setting; the moments are gone in half a second.

  12. #12
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    Re: Can Someone Explain the Program Mode?

    Av, Tv, and P mode are all the same thing.
    Not really. In aperture or shutter priority modes you can make a setting which leaves you with an unusable image due to under/over-exposure. The camera will never adjust the setting over which you have control. In program you can create a bias towards one setting, but the camera will still control it to keep you from screwing up. You can still end up with motion problems due to under-exposure, but at least the camera tried very hard to prevent it by opening the aperture first.

    Again, you can see the details of how this is handled with a graph in the owner's manual.

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  13. #13
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    Re: Can Someone Explain the Program Mode?

    Quote Originally Posted by SwampNut
    Not really. In aperture or shutter priority modes you can make a setting which leaves you with an unusable image due to under/over-exposure. The camera will never adjust the setting over which you have control. In program you can create a bias towards one setting, but the camera will still control it to keep you from screwing up. You can still end up with motion problems due to under-exposure, but at least the camera tried very hard to prevent it by opening the aperture first.

    Again, you can see the details of how this is handled with a graph in the owner's manual.
    Yeah, I don't think they are "exactly" the same either. For example, I'm not sure how you can preserve dof as fast and predictably in Tv or P mode, as you can in Av.

    If I'm doing something important, I use manual when I can and tweak a stop here and there depending on light, but occasionally use Tv or Av when the action is too fast and the lighting too inconsistent to do that practically. You get consistency with manual exposure, but sometimes it is just too cumbersome, or I don't care to deal with it or have enough time. I suppose it depends on what kinds of things/situations you photograph, and I photograph lots of different situations and thus have found a use and need for those other modes (although not P mode).

  14. #14
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    Re: Can Someone Explain the Program Mode?

    "I'm not sure how you can preserve dof as fast and predictably in Tv or P mode, as you can in Av."

    just switch to aperture, and set the aperture to whatever you want. The camera will decide on the shutter, same as in Av. Take the shot, if you suddenly decide that 1/6s is just too slow a shutter, and you would rather make sure it is sharp at 1/200, slide over to shutter speed and set it to 1/200 - the camera will adjust the aperture, same as in Tv.


    You can still under or overexpose in Av or Tv modes as well as P. They all always make the exact same exposure, regardless of which mode you use. (assuming same metering, same EV)

    The exposures that they decide upon are even listed in a graph in the instruction manual. The only difference between Av, Tv, and P is that you have access to change either parameter in P mode, where you only get to change 1 parameter in Av and Tv. It is possible that other settings are changeable in Av and Tv but not P, and vice-versa, but that is a moot point.

    Differences in exposure between full auto and priority modes, and possible overexposure or underexposure, are either caused by poor judgment on the camera's part, or the metering mode. Spot metering will cause a LOT of over/unders, where whatever they call evaluative metering (i think they call it SBC matrix, or some other ridiculous proprietary name) will reduce the amount of throwaways, although you will still get over/unders because the camera does not have the ability to critically decide how to expose a scene, e.g. sometimes it is ok to blow the highlights to keep a shaded face exposed well.

    Scene modes baffle me - these are essentially full auto with a preference for certain priority. I would have to play with each one for a while to figure out what the particular bents are, but the gist is that one scene might try to keep the aperture open (if possible) for low light, while another might clamp down the aperture in search of high DoF - while the specific mechanics of each scene mode elude me, I think I would have to know exactly how each behaved before I even considered using them. I don't like to give up that kind of control, and I try to be sure each of my exposures is carefully considered before the shutter is opened.

    I was trying to remember when I had used Av and liked it, and it came to me last night. Av is good for changing aperture zooms in mixed light, e.g. keeping the aperture wide open on the 14-54 and zooming, where the maximum aperture changes from f/2.8 to f/3.5. Av made it nice to not have to adjust the shutter speed every time I used the zoom - but I also walked the event with the 50 f/2 macro and saw no reason to not set it to M, since the aperture wasn't constantly changing. Av was indeed a useful journalistic setting.

    "sushigaijin" - indeed white sushi chef, although i understand it to be more like F'ing foreigner sushi chef. I used to teach quite a lot of sushi classes and cater sushi parties, although these days I don't have a lot of time for that. I've been in the Industry for 14 years, I wouldn't even know how to do any other job but cook. :thumbsup:
    Erik Williams

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  15. #15
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    Re: Can Someone Explain the Program Mode?

    more like F'ing foreigner sushi chef
    Heh, that's what I thought too, but I didn't know what level of offensiveness is acceptable around here.

    Have you ever shot sushi with a fisheye lens? It's on my to-do list, if I can find a willing restaurant.

    You can still under or overexpose in Av or Tv modes as well as P. They all always make the exact same exposure, regardless of which mode you use. (assuming same metering, same EV)
    That is true, my point however is that if you forget and leave the aperture too tight, for example, you can blow the shot. Program would try to push the aperture open to prevent shake problems. This is ONLY an advantage for really spontaneous shooting or if you just really don't know how to use the camera. I use it when I expect to want to capture moments that are quite fleeting.

  16. #16
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    Re: Can Someone Explain the Program Mode?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sushigaijin
    just switch to aperture, and set the aperture to whatever you want. The camera will decide on the shutter, same as in Av. Take the shot, if you suddenly decide that 1/6s is just too slow a shutter, and you would rather make sure it is sharp at 1/200, slide over to shutter speed and set it to 1/200 - the camera will adjust the aperture, same as in Tv.
    Wait hold on, that's not what manual mode does at all. If I'm on manual and set the aperture, the camera does not decide the shutter speed as it would in Av. If I want the same EV as I did before, I have to change the shutter speed accordingly by hand. Under Av and Tv, the camera attempts to reach a predetermined EV and changes the opposing value accordingly, Whereas with manual, the camera will say it is under or overexposed, but will not change the values to compensate.

    My was simply that under Av or Tv, no matter what the lighting condition is at any given moment, the camera will attempt to make a reasonably good shot without me wasting any precious seconds deciding what the opposing value should be. This has proven useful in capturing a fleeting moment that has different conditions then the second before.

    Anyway, to each their own. I think most of us agree with that manual is the way to really take control of your photograph.

  17. #17
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    Re: Can Someone Explain the Program Mode?

    Photogaphy is always about compromises. There is no ideal camera, lens, or shooting mode. We decide on compromises based on our needs, skills, and emotional biases. Talking about this here helps get rid of the latter, and improve on the skills. At the end of the day, it's the images that count. And you should experiment with all of the options available to you in the most qualitative way possible to find what works and what doesn't. Remember that what works for one situation may not for another.

  18. #18
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    Re: Can Someone Explain the Program Mode?

    Quote Originally Posted by albot976
    Wait hold on, that's not what manual mode does at all. If I'm on manual and set the aperture, the camera does not decide the shutter speed as it would in Av. If I want the same EV as I did before, I have to change the shutter speed accordingly by hand. Under Av and Tv, the camera attempts to reach a predetermined EV and changes the opposing value accordingly, Whereas with manual, the camera will say it is under or overexposed, but will not change the values to compensate.

    My was simply that under Av or Tv, no matter what the lighting condition is at any given moment, the camera will attempt to make a reasonably good shot without me wasting any precious seconds deciding what the opposing value should be. This has proven useful in capturing a fleeting moment that has different conditions then the second before.

    Anyway, to each their own. I think most of us agree with that manual is the way to really take control of your photograph.

    sorry for confusion, I was describing program mode, not manual. In manual mode, you have no EV because the EV scale is your light meter - you make the call yourself as to the exposure. Program works just like Av and Tv combined.
    Erik Williams

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