What's your preferred exposure mode?


The Image Stimulator
Jul 11, 2010
The Netherlands
I'm a Nikon 1V1 shooter, I have set my camera to programmed auto ("P").
To get most of it I should move to shutter priority ("S"), aperture priority ("A") or even best to manual ("M").
So far I haven't used scene auto selector....

Thanks to John Flores who is great help to me. Thank you John!
Mar 3, 2013
John Griggs
I've never been happy in "P" for some reason -- might be that I didn't have that on my older film SLR when I shot it.

I almost always am in "A" mode:
  • I'm usually regulating depth of field or maximizing shutter speed. I'm just used to that way of doing things.
  • I shoot in auto-ISO most of the time.
  • I turn auto-ISO off and shoot in A for HDR. I have a setup memory on the dial for this mode. "C1" on all my cameras is set up for multi-shot bracketing, A mode, and auto-ISO off.

"S" or in Canon-speak "Tv" mode I use less frequently:
  • I use that to hold the shutter speed up for freezing motion -- pretty typical.
  • I also use it when shooting in dark places with still subjects. If I can depend on the stabilizer or brace the camera, I'll switch to S and use a much longer shutter speed to bring the auto-ISO setting down. I'm just used to doing that to quickly get a cleaner shot without changing the auto-ISO setting. Not necessarily the best way, but I do it that way because it's a twist of the dials rather than menu diving.

"M" mode I use infrequently:
  • I use it for video to prevent pumping the scene brightness due to panning or as things move through the scene that change the average light value and cause "brightness pumping" in the video. I hate that.
  • Some really extreme HDR situations, or in nearly dark scenes where I need manually supervised shutter times. My longest exposure for an HDR is about 5 minutes and the camera won't do that in a normal metered mode.
  • I also use it for off-camera non-TTL flash work.

I NEVER use scene modes. Just not interested. I do use iAuto sometimes when things are moving fast, like chasing kids or for tracking faces quickly without changing AF mode. On my Olympus I've used the grainy B/W art filter but mostly I have no urge to use them.


Hall of Famer
Nov 12, 2010
Aperture priority, almost exclusively, with a minimum shutter speed of 1/100th or 1/125th. Would be M if I could still have both auto ISO and exposure compensation (like with the Ricoh GR), but none of my cameras offer that.


Super Moderator
Nov 11, 2011
Milwaukee, WI USA
I'm generally an Aperture Priority guy to decide on the DOF except in cases where my shutter speed is the more important variable. If it's important to the shot to freeze the action or make sure there is some motion blur, I switch to Shutter Priority. But frankly, I do that infrequently enough that I feel a little bit lost when I go there. :redface:

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