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corner tube Photography: All Manual, It Sucks
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Lately, I've had the feeling through your comments and emails that quite a few of you consistently use the manual mode of your camera, or even manual focus. This is a very bad idea, and let's see why.

'm not sure where this idea might come from. Probably from a clever mix between people who affirm that " when you are a real photographer you do your exposure and focus manually ", those who revere Leica, and those who think it was better before, when you had as all manual film.
What Every Photographer Should Know About Manual Mode

To be completely frank, I think this is completely ridiculous , and again I am very polite. Using the all manual, I think you're going to mostly frustrate yourself rather than progress, and have better learning than just guessing the ideal exposure settings for a scene like this on instinct.

M mode

Let's start with the M mode , which seems to be used a lot, including by novice photographers. Who afterwards are surprised that their photos are poorly exposed.

So yes, many big names in photography have used the whole manual. And do you know why ? Because there was nothing else  ! Cells that automatically metered exposure and allowed modes like aperture priority or shutter priority ultimately came relatively late.

But today we are fortunate to have in our hands, for a relatively low price, systems capable of determining the correct exposure very precisely.

Yes, I advocate it, and it is not about to change. (By the way, the system of the new Nikon J1 and V1 supposed to choose for you the best photo from a series for you is an aberration for me.)

Only these automatisms, you still have control of them via various mechanisms. You just need to know them. If you know you want a certain aperture and that's it, I don't see the point in determining the shutter speed yourself. At the risk of repeating myself, the device's exposure measurement does this very well.

And if she gets it wrong, you have 3 very easy to use tools that will allow you to do what you want in many cases:

  • the different brightness measurement modes
  • the AE
  • the exposure compensation

With that alone, you can fix 99% of the cases where the exposure measurement crashes on a first try. And these cases remain relatively rare.

So yes, sometimes the exposure measurement can not do it anymore, because the light conditions are too difficult. And in this case, I tell you on the contrary: do not be afraid to take back the power and switch to M mode  !

It has happened to me, but only in situations where it is essential because my device gets tangled with the brushes. Typically in concert for example (and again, it is not always obligatory).

Anyway, I don't see why to complicate your life with that. If you're shooting in M ​​mode, that's time you won't spend composing your image, and you might just miss the decisive moment on top of that. And that doesn't make you a “ sub ” photographer! If you want my opinion, what makes a good photographer or not isn't the camera or the mode he used, it's the final shot. Bar point. How you get there, frankly, who cares.

Manual focus

So yes, in the good old days, we were shooting in manual focus. At the same time, there was no autofocus. And above all, have you ever looked through the viewfinder of an old film SLR, even from a rather “mainstream” range? It's gigantic, very clear and bright , in short, nothing to do with the viewfinders of our current SLRs, which do not represent 100% of the image, are relatively dark, in short, totally unsuitable for manual focusing.

As far as I'm concerned, I'm very happy to have a powerful autofocus which allows me to focus quickly and precisely where I want in the image. Today's systems are extremely efficient , but like any automation you have to know how to master them , and you have a grip on them. I've written about autofocus in the past, and more recently about manual focus selection. With that alone, you'll be able to focus where you want it 99% of the time.

For example, if I shoot a landscape setting everything quietly on my tripod, I can afford to turn on Live View, zoom in to 10x, and focus manually, to make sure I get the best sharpness. Check for more information on

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