Friday, June 28, 2013

Re-acquainting With Your Camera- Program AE

We continue to learn all the functions of our camera to follow on from the Getting Re-acquainted With Your Camera post.  In this post we are focusing on the Program AE Mode on the camera. There is a lot covered in this post and it is a lot to take in. I'm feeling a little overwhelmed but I would say this is a good place to start if you are just starting out with having a fiddle and learning new settings.

In the <P> (Program AE) Mode, you can set various functions to be more creative. P stands for Program and AE stands for Auto Exposure therefore in this mode the aperture and shutter speed are in Program Shift, or auto to obtain the standard exposure. Therefore, you need to pay attention to the ISO speeds for a normal shooting. Program AE Mode is like Auto Mode, but you are allowed to control AF Mode, Metering, White Balance and etc, as shown below:

Aperture = Program Shift
Shutter Speed = Program Shift
Exposure = Selectable
ISO Speed = Selectable
Built-in Flash = Selectable
Picture Style = Selectable
White Balance = Selectable
AF Mode = Selectable
AF Point Selection = Selectable
Drive Mode = Selectable
Metering Mode = Selectable
To change the shutter speed and aperture program shift, press the shutter button halfway down, at the bottom of the viewfinder it should display the shutter speed. It should be 30" to 4000 or (30-1/400). The darker it is, the lower the number and the slower the shutter speed will be, although the lower the shutter speed the more likely to result in camera shake. The program can be shifted by pressing the shutter button halfway, then turn the dial to change the shutter speed and aperture setting combination.

So changing the shutter speed allows you to slow the shutter speed the darker it is and increase the speed the lighter it is. My little handbook says that if the shutter speed is too slow you may need to use your flash or increase the ISO to help with the camera shake and blurriness. Lets take a look at ISO.

ISO= Imaging Sensor's Sensitivity to light. You can set the ISO to suit the ambient light level. For example, when you increase the ISO speed to a higher number for low light, a faster shutter speed can be used and camera shake will be less prone and the effective range of the flash will also increase. On my camera the ISO button is located on the ^ arrow button next to the view finder. When pressed the ISO Speed will appear. You can select the speed using the arrows then press the shutter button half way down. With ISO 800 or 1600, camera shake will be less prone then with the basic zone modes. The flash range will also be longer.

ISO speed guide.
100/200 for sunny outdoors
400/800 for overcast skies or evenings
1600 for night or dark indoors.

If the subject is far away, a higher the ISO speed increases the effective range of the flash.

If you would like to use your flash but it didn't automatically activate, in the <P> mode you can pop up the flash by pressing the small round flash button on the front of you camera to the right of the zoom.
Image from: This link

Selecting the Picture Style which is a Mode to adjust the contrast, colour tone, brightness and etc. To select the picture style press the menu then camera 2 then down to picture style pressing set. Finally select the style you desire. Most digital camera comes with six picture style:
Standard- The image looks vivid, sharp and crisp. This is a general-purpose picture style suitable for most scenes.
Portrait- for nice skin tones. The image looks slightly sharp and crisp. This is effective for close-ups of women and children. The picture style is also selected automatically when the mode dial is set to portrait.

Landscape- For vivid blues and greens, and very sharp and crisp images. Effective for impressive landscapes. This picture style is also selected automatically when the mode dial is set to landscape.
Neutral- It makes the picture low saturation and contrast for natural colours and subdued images. This is for users who prefer to process images with their personal computer.
Faithful- This selection is good for users who prefer to process images with their personal computer. This Mode emphasis the texture and colour same as the subject under colour temperature 5200k, the image is adjusted colour metrically to match the subject's colour. The image is dull and subdued.

Monochrome- The picture will convert into Black and White colour.
What is White Balance? White Balance is a setting to balance the colour of your picture under different types of light. You can shoot in different white balance setting under the same light source. This adjustment will have the same effect as using a colour compensating filter. To set the white balance manually press the (v-down) WB button then use the < or > keys to select the desired white balance setting then press the shutter button halfway. Options are as followed:
 Auto White Balance (AWB)- The White Balance is automatically select the best colour reproduction. This is the best setting for normal use.
 Daylight- The colour of picture will look like shooting under the midday sun.
Shade (If you notice the shade is actually a bit bluish, shooting in this mode will remove the bluish when you shoot under the shade.)

Tungsten Light- The colour of light bulb, yellow-orange colour cast. This help you to remove the warm colour cast.
Cloudy- Shade and Cloudy are about the same. But Cloudy Mode will add a bit more yellow tinge to compensate for the bluish tinge.
Fluorescent Light- Indoors photo will look slightly greenish because of the fluorescent light. This mode will compensates the greenish colour.
Flash- Flash and Daylight are about the same. But Flash Mode will be slightly bluish. Therefore, it will compensates the bluish as well.

You can change the Automatic Focus (AF) mode to suit different subjects such as group photos, animals or sports. Press the AF button which is the > arrow next to the view finder on my camera. You can select by using the left or right key then aim and press the shutter button halfway. The camera will then auto focus in the selected AF mode.

One shot AF is ideal for still subjects and snapshots. When pressing the shutter halfway, the camera will focus once and will be locked in. If you are capturing a close up portrait focus on the eyes.
Al Focus AF is for subjects moving unpredictably such as animals. When you press the shutter button halfway, the camera will focus in the same way as One-Shot AF but if the subject starts to move the camera switches to Al Servo AF and focuses continually. Al stands for Artificial Intelligence if you were curious.
Al Servo AF is geared for sports photography and other moving subjects. While you hold the shutter button halfway, the focus and exposure setting will be adjusted continuously.

Selecting the AF Point- In the Basic Image Zone modes all the AF points are active with the AF point covering the closest subject will be selected to focus and therefore the camera sometimes not focusing on the subject you want. With the P, TV, AV and M modes you can select one AF point to focus where you want. To do this press the button above the arrow keys, note: this button is also the zoom button. When all AF points light up the automatic AF point selection is set. Use your arrows to select the AF point until the desired AF point turns red. Press set. Then aim the Selected AF point over your subject then press the shutter button halfway before continuing all the way down. The centre AF point focuses the best among the 9 AF points.

 Image from: This Link

Manual Focusing- flicking between manual and auto focusing on your lens can be great to experiment with. I have found that the manual focus can achieve nice clear pictures but it can be quite difficult to see if the picture is truly clear when you are not in nice bright conditions. Focus by turning the lens focusing ring until the subject looks sharp in the view finder.
Note: You can which between automatic and manual focusing in any mode. Also you can not use AF Mode if you are using Manual Focus. It is because once you selected Manual Focus, the AF Mode selection is disabled.

Image from: This link

Selecting the Drive Mode- there are 3 different types of Drive Mode for my camera, which are single, continuous shutter and timer. You can switch between the three by pressing the button to the right of the view finder, above the navigation keys. then < or > to select the mode you would like. Selecting the continuous mode allows you to hold the shutter button down to take up to 3 shots per second.

Metering Mode is a setting to measure the brightness entered the camera in order to get the correct Exposure. Most camera setting Metering Mode in Evaluative metering by default. Therefore, you will see the symbol like an eye. To change the metering mode press the < button then press the < or > to switch between the metering modes. There are three Metering Mode, each of them has different area in detecting the brightness.
Evaluative Metering- This is a standard mode which suitable to most scenes. It is an all-around metering mode, the camera will sets the exposure automatically to suit most scenes.
Center-weighted Average Metering
- The Metering is concentrated at the centre and averaged with the rest of the scene. It will gain more details at the background but the front subject will get darker in back light shooting. Center-weighted Average metering got darker picture compare with Evaluative metering.
Partial Metering
- This mode is more suitable for scenes where there are very bright and very dark scenes. The metering is in a small target which cover about 9% of the centre of the viewfinder. It is more suitable for back lighting subject. Brightness of both subject and background will be balanced in this Metering Mode, the details of background are lesser compare with Evaluative Mode.
*Please be aware that Exposure and Metering are different setting, but these setting will affect each other. If you decrease the Exposure, you will get a darker version ONLY, you do not gain details for that. But Metering Mode is the Area you want your camera to concentrate.
Any questions: please be aware that I am learning along just like you, so I will do my best to answer them if I know the answer or by doing some research.

Do you have any tips or information on the Program AE setting that you would like to share?

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