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Professional wildlife and product studio photographer here. We certainly do shoot manual mode outside of the studio, just not with film.

With auto-ISO, "manual" camera mode (which refers to manually setting aperture and shutter speed) becomes an automatic exposure mode because the camera is metering the scene and adjusting ISO automatically. It is also possible and practical for certain applications to use "full manual" mode which also involves setting ISO, especially for something with a mostly-fixed scene such as astrophotography.

While camera-adjusted ISO and post-processing lightening (moving the exposure slider up in lightroom) are similar, the reason post-processing alone is not enough is because of dynamic range. Each camera sensor has a certain number of stops of light it can capture. If you're within that range, you can adjust in post and arrive at an image similar to what you would've got had you exposed in the camera. If you aren't within that range, you clip the highlights or shadows.

There are a few reasons why manual mode is beneficial. They mostly relate to speed and accuracy of control. First, aperture and shutter speed have different effects on the result of the image (depth of field, and motion-stopping capability respectively).

For example, I went to the shoreline on Monday and photographed birds. There were terns flying around protecting their young, the young wandering and gaping for food, while osprey were fishing just offshore. For terns and fast-moving birds, shutter speeds in excess of 1/2000 sec are necessary and there are many times when 1/3200 sec is not enough. Meanwhile, the tern chicks being about 25ft away mean that depth of field is shallow because the subject is near (minimum focusing distance on that lens is about 19ft). So an aperture of F8 for chicks is helpful but F5.6 is better for the further subjects and faster motion.

There's no good way to have a camera adjusting multiple settings (ISO and either aperture or shutter speed) because it doesn't understand the circumstances. In order to do this with aperture or shutter priority camera modes, you would be constantly switching the dial between aperture and shutter priorities which requires a button press and command dial turn, as opposed to ONLY adjusting the desired setting using one of two command dials.




I love being in full manual and being able to adjust the shutter speed and aperture without taking my eye off the viewfinder. I did it more as an enthusiast and was able to get some decent "motion" pictures at a local racetrack.

Did a few weddings/senior pictures as side gigs but what I enjoyed the most was the thrill of getting the 'shot' in action moments where you have a split second and that is it. Also hiking some trail to be at the top of the summit to get a perfect sunset is also very rewarding.

Some of my photos can be found https://www.timsoperphotography.com/norwayspeedway

Simple website using zenfolio which has been abandoned as I now have a tech job that is full time so I don't have as much time for my photography hobby anymore.


Couldn't agree more about action shots, they're my favorite!


Maybe this is just me speaking as someone who shoots with a camera that doesn't have a dial with the P, M, etc. letters on it, but I wouldn't consider auto-ISO a manual mode (and I'd use it in precisely the sort of situation you describe).

I can't watch the video right now, though, and maybe it really does mean "the dial setting with the M", no more and no less, when it says "manual mode". But I think that is a bit silly. Lots of cameras have different controls.


I agree with you, while it is called "Manual" exposure mode it is absolutely an auto-exposure mode when using auto-ISO. The thing was that GP specifically mentioned pros using aperture priority:

> "I know almost no professionals who shoot on manual mode...Instead, shoot on aperture mode...Use ISO setting to adjust further for light..."


It sounds to me like you're mostly in agreement: situations in which you want full manual (including ISO) are rare. Most of the time what you care about is either the aperture (setting ISO and shutter speed to get the correct exposure) or the speed (setting aperture and ISO to get the correct exposure).

For non-pros like myself, it's unfortunately not common to shoot with a camera that has good auto-ISO: basically anything above ISO 800 is going to be unusable, and ideally you want ISO 100 or 200 if your lighting situation can allow for it.

So most of the time I find myself in semi-manual modes: where I lock the ISO to a setting that's ideal for the light I have, use auto-focus (unless it's failing to lock on the correct target), and set either the aperture or shutter speed to what I want. The camera then adjusts the other factor appropriately, but I still find myself using Canon's quick adjustment exposure compensation tool almost constantly because my Canon blows out highlights pretty badly a lot of the time.

For a pro I imagine the situation is usually reversed: set both shutter speed and aperture how you want them, and trust your camera to be good enough with the auto-ISO. It sounds to me like GP was basically right: in a non-controlled setting, full manual mode is pretty rare.


There's a bit of confusion here. Importantly the GP is talking about "professionals." My post was written with that in mind, and the assertion that "...almost no professionals... shoot on manual mode outside of studio...Instead, shoot on aperture mode..."

The important distinction is that "manual mode" is being discussed and compared to "aperture mode." So it's about the PASM setting and not specifically about "true manual mode" (auto-ISO or not). The clear (and in my view incorrect) assertion of GP is that manual priority/mode is not for use outside the studio. It is said three times:

> I know almost no professionals who shoot on manual mode outside of studio settings.

> The only time manual mode is used is when you're in a studio...

> Leave manual mode for the studio.


Idk if his work flow is still the same but as of well into the digital age, Nick Brandt was still shooting with a Pentax 6x7.




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