Your Camera's Auto Mode Is Not Evil

A lot of photographers think that using automatic modes on a camera is a sign of a lack of technique or ability, but it is not such a black and white issue. Here is why you should consider using automatic modes in certain situations. 

Coming to you from Daniel Norton Photographer, this great video discusses why we should not discount automatic modes on cameras. I think it is important to hear this from a photographer as accomplished as Norton, as he certainly has the skills to work without automatic assistance, but he still chooses to do so in some situations. He makes some great points: we already use a wide variety of automatic functions on our cameras, probably the most notable being autofocus, and as such, it does not necessarily make sense to eschew using the semi-automatic exposure modes. I think his most important point, however, is that "auto doesn't mean 'don't think.'" This is how automatic modes become more of a crutch. Rather, they should be used in situations in which we know what we want and how to get it, but where the camera might be able to make adjustments faster or more efficiently than we can manually — for example, in quickly changing light. Check out the video above for more from Norton. 

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2 Comments

Tom Reichner's picture

I use the semi-auto mode "Aperture Priority" as much as I use the full Manual mode. As you say in your article, the camera can make adjustments faster than I can, and at times I have so much else to do with my brain and my fingers that I can't afford to take the time to turn a knob or spin a dial - if I do, I could miss the instant that I am trying to capture.

Stuart Carver's picture

Same, exposure compensation is one of the best features on the camera