Aperture and Shutter Priority Modes Are Dead: It's Time to Get Rid of Them

Aperture and Shutter Priority Modes Are Dead: It's Time to Get Rid of Them

For most manufacturers, one of the hangovers from analog cameras is the chunky dial that sits on top. Two of the modes — shutter priority (often S or Tv) and aperture priority (often A or Av) — are becoming increasingly obsolete. Cameras have changed, and so has how we use them, and manufacturers need to keep up.

Every Fuji shooter will now be screaming at their screens in frustration, and yes, Fuji cameras have always been ahead of the game, not simply in terms of usability, but in mystically anticipating a while back that ISO would not always be fixed for a minimum of 24 or 36 exposures. Fuji photographers wanting to shoot at a specific aperture while letting their camera calculate the exposure simply dial that aperture in — leaving their shutter and ISO settings on auto — and get on with the job. If they suddenly want a specific shutter speed as well, they dial that in and continue to let the camera choose the exposure, thanks to auto ISO.

Every Fuji own reading this article is almost certainly saying "Well, duh" by this stage.

Sliding between different priority modes is seamless, as if these “modes” don’t exist. Instead, the mindset is reversed: instead of deciding which variable is given “priority,” you are choosing which ones to take back from the camera’s automation. For anyone trying to learn digital photography, this surely makes a lot more sense, and given that cameras are now incredibly sophisticated when it comes to metering, it’s not just beginners who can take advantage.

In contrast to Fuji, almost every other manufacturer is stuck with a system that is outdated. As the photography world slowly became accustomed to digital, auto ISO took a little while to appear, becoming much more useful when the ability to set a minimum shutter speed was introduced.

As someone who once shot almost exclusively in manual mode, using auto ISO has been something of a revelation. I now use it as part of manual mode (can you still call it “manual” if the camera is choosing the exposure?) when shooting events or in aperture priority when photographing people. If you’re not sure of the advantages, check out these two articles: Why Auto ISO and Minimum Shutter Speed Will Change the Way You Shoot, and How to Start Using Aperture Priority.

A Brief History Lesson

The humble Pentax K10D: 10.2 megapixels of visionary technology, thanks to its largely ignored TAv mode, which is still a prophecy of what is yet to come. Or something.

Both released in 2009, the Canon 1D Mark IV and the original Canon 7D were among the first to give photographers the option of allowing the camera to choose the ISO, but it’s possible that Pentax was one step ahead of them. In 2006, Pentax released the K10D and sneaked in a new setting that may have seemed a little bizarre back then, but now makes perfect sense: TAv. This blended shutter and aperture priority, but still left the camera to decide the exposure — through auto ISO. (Hat tip to Fstoppers community member John Cavan for this delightful little nugget of information.)

Today, 20 years after Canon released its first digital SLR in the shape of the D30, the vast majority of cameras still haven’t properly managed to accommodate the arrival of ISO as something that is as important as shutter speed and aperture when it comes to creating an image. However, there are signs that things are beginning to change. Last year, Canon released the EOS R and sneaked in a feature that hasn’t drawn a huge amount of attention: Fv.

Flexible Priority Auto Exposure

No doubt prompting much eye-rolling from Fuji shooters, the Canon EOS R has Fv mode — flexible priority auto exposure. Image from canon-europe.com.

EOS R owners reading this article will already have noticed that Canon made some changes in how this camera is controlled. And notably, in the list of modes that the R presents you with when choosing your settings, Fv is listed second after full automation.

Humorously dubbed “Fuji Verbatim” by photographer and YouTuber Omar Gonzalez, this “flexible priority auto exposure” mode (if you have a better idea for the name, leave a comment below) goes some way to replicating the mindset (though not the dials) of choosing the settings on, say, a Fuji X-T3. Your three variables — shutter speed, aperture, and ISO — are all set to automatic until you decide to override one of them. Returning a variable to automatic can be achieved at the touch of a button. For example, on my Sony a7 III, if I choose to switch out of auto ISO and set it manually, to go back to auto ISO, I have to scroll all the way past ISO 50 to “AUTO.” On the EOS R, returning it to auto can be done with a single button press.

Imagine yourself as a relative newcomer to photography, in your backyard, attempting to capture the family dog. If it's sitting in front of you, Fv with everything on auto will be fine. If you’ve heard about wide apertures, you might even choose to set the aperture to f/4, the widest on your RF 24-105mm f/4L kit lens. If the dog suddenly starts chasing the kids around the garden, you’ll want to freeze that movement, so with one click, you put the aperture back to auto and then scroll to set the shutter speed to 1/1000th of a second. Easy.

Anyone who has taught photography will appreciate how much easier it is to explain this to a beginner. Being able to say “this will give you control over the aperture” is a lot simpler than saying “this will give you control over the aperture but at the same time check what this ISO thing is doing and if it’s set to a number like 400 or 800, be sure to scroll past all of those numbers until you get to auto.”

This also gets past the confusion of having a mode called "manual" where one of the variables — i.e., ISO — can be set to auto. Of course, this is a subtle point, but it's another sign that the traditional approach to operating a camera is stuck in the past.

This isn’t a shift in mindset and dials that only affects beginners, however. On my Sony a7 III, I rarely use anything other than the two stored settings set up on my mode dial. The first is set for shooting events where I’m capturing fast, often unpredictable movements with greatly varying amounts of light entering the lens. This means manual mode but with auto ISO, an aperture of f/5.6, and the shutter speed dialed to 1/1000th. From there, I can tweak, depending on what’s happening in front of me. (If I’m choreographing action myself, I’ll shoot fully manual, as I will have the time to keep checking my histogram and tweak my ISO myself. At an event, it’s better to let the camera do the decision-making.)

Parkour events: fast-moving bodies and lighting conditions that can change almost as rapidly. 1/1250, f/5, ISO 1000.

My second stored setup is ready for shooting candid portraits: aperture priority with auto ISO, the aperture set to its widest for any given lens, and the minimum shutter speed set to 1/250th of a second — a variable that is easily tweaked by having this quickly changed via a custom key.

Moody portraits in central Paris. 1/2500 (left) and 1/400 (right), f/1.8, ISO 100.

With these two saved modes as my foundation, I can usually then adjust to a wide range of situations. In a sense, I'm still using aperture priority, but not as it was originally intended. The workarounds are effective, but as Canon has suggested with its new Fv mode, there might be better ways of approaching the design of a camera's controls, means that properly accommodate the fact that ISO is no longer stuck until you change your roll of film.

What Do You Think?

Do priority modes need a complete overhaul? Should manufacturers put some energy into rethinking how we operate our cameras? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Andy Day's picture

Andy Day is a British photographer and writer living in France. He began photographing parkour in 2003 and has been doing weird things in the city and elsewhere ever since. He's addicted to climbing and owns a fairly useless dog. He has an MA in Sociology & Photography which often makes him ponder what all of this really means.

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The only thing that’s looking stupid and amateurish is people coming on here making petty insults about somebody’s photos.

The photos are not necessary for this article, period. They serve no purpose other than “self-promotion” and reading distraction. Doesn’t matter the quality.

I am not really sure if I'm answering to a person who's read the article.

I don't know if you have shot outside with several flashes (or inside with sun light coming in and out of clouds). Shooting in Aperture priority mode with flash on a commercial shoot can be an absolute disaster in terms of consistency of exposure. If you are experienced you will know how much the shade usually differs from the full-sun exposure and you will adjust your settings accordingly every time without having to meter everything again or let the camera decide what to do with the flashes. The last is not always possible with most powerful portable strobes, because most of them don't support TTL. Even if it is possible, it's not going to give you consistent results and matching the final files can be a really really hard job to do.

And by the way, the same goes with shooting in Aperture priority when not using flash. Let's say someone photographs a wedding and there's a position from which the photographer snaps 50 frames. A professional has to give consistenly exposed photographs either by taking them as such in camera or fighting to equalize the exposure in post. Most professionals value their time and try to get that in camera, so that will spare them the headache of balancing the exposure after that. The Aperture priority mode doesn't guarantee you consistent exposure when there are even small changes in the scene you photograph. It guarantees that the current exposure will satisfy the 18%-gray calculation depending on the current metering mode and depending on the bright and dark areas in the frame. If suddenly a woman in light dress appears in the frame your next shot may be underexposed. Then a gentleman in a black suit covers 30% of your view and suddenly you've got an overexposed frame. You won't have such issues in M.

I've taught several people to shoot in M and all of them admit that it's much better than they have thought. Aperture priority mode is great when you are in a hurry and you don't care about consistency, or you are an absolute professional in metering modes and can snap the same exposure every single time in Av no matter what light or dark areas appear in the frame.

I would like to see an option where I can set priority between the three parameters of aperture, shutter speed and ISO. Slowing down shutter speed should come before increasing ISO.
The article would have been much better without the underlying agenda of polarizing / click baiting but having more examples from other cameras / UI instead.

Except that in real life Fujis are slower and more cumbersome to use than a traditional camera with a mode dial and 3/4 custom dials.

Not really ... I use both and the intuitiveness of it means its faster to switch between modes.

I have been using M mode for 30 more years, i learn everything from my nikon fm2 which has no A or S mode, even today i will shoot full manual exposure and full manul flash strobe

In the era of "change" and "auto" we would be subject to the decisions of an AI entity that decides how the photo should look and not how you like it to look, we have been here before, the auto, the p modes and the artistic menus, but unfortunately as convenient as they could be, they negate the possibility for a newbie to fully understand the relationship of the variables and how to twitch them in order to get other results, in brief experimentation, as auto iso with limits could be useful is just another choice for those who need fast reaction (parkour) or those who need to think the image, and that's where photography beauty resides, different results from the same scenario, all due to the fact of the ability to mix variables, so the modes are not dead, when iso, aperture and speed ceased to be necessary at that moment we could say we need a new arrangement.

Hmm...I see what your saying about someone learning Photography but I don't think it will make the mode dial obsolete. After shooting with Fujifilm for some time I found wanting to just set the Aperture ring and shutter to T or A depending what I want to take priority and used the dual command dial to adjust value and compensation. So the aperture ring, shutter and Exposure compensation dials were more for the aesthetics and not controls I would really use. I do like the the ISO dial because there are times where I do want a specific ISO setting then just Auto.

I only used the EOS R once and I actually liked the easy way of moving my finger from the shutter button to the mode button and turning the back dial to mode I wanted. Some people will argue that you can't see the mode setting the camera is set to when it's off but how long does it take for the camera to turn on to see the setting? If there is little lag time from off to on with the top plate display, I don't see any issue with this.

However with all the said, why get rid of the mode dial? On my Olympus I can simply move my thumb from the rear command dial to the mode dial without looking and know if I have to go clockwise or counter clockwise. Having the mode dial on the right near the command dials allow me to keep my left hand on the lens for added stabilization and minor focus adjustments if needed. People learn differently. Perhaps one could have a deeper understanding of exposure using a Fujifilm layout but I don't think it will make the mode dial completely obsolete.

"Some people will argue that you can't see the mode setting the camera is set to when it's off "
It shows the Mode in the top deck LCD when off, provided there is a charged battery in the camera.
I like the new Mode button on my EOS R and the way it works with the EVF. I don't understand why some people complain about it? Glad I'm not alone. ;-)

It is true that I would use Aperture and ISO dials all the time, while Shutterspeed dials beyond A and T are less likely to be used, but if I need to prepare for a candid shot without “chimping” in a typical street / journo / documentary setting, I will use the Shutter dial to get to an appropriate speed, say 250, to freeze the action when I do fire the shot

I don't know about any of that. I learned to shoot on a Bessler TopCon - fully manual only. I still shoot - more often than not with film - fully manual. I guess I'm a dinosaur.

So did I. I still have my D1 in the attic. The thing is, that even though you required a bit of knowledge to work those old beasts, it kind of all made sense. It seems that now, when you mess with settings, you're not really controlling anything, you're just tweaking the automatic systems to do something different.

In a way that's more complicated. When you changed shutter speed in the old days that's EXACTLY what happened. Now, the system might change the shutter speed, or decide that it won't and change the ISO instead, or maybe it will change the aperture, or maybe not. Instead of the need to understand exposure, you need to understand what the system will do in response to your request.

[Interesting side point: I got sold on the Topcon by a guy from my parent's church. He was an auto mechanic by day, and a photographer who shot weddings etc on the Topcon and a Hasselblad on the weekends. Married to a woman who may have been a model (I was sixteen, I noticed those things). Lost touch over the years when I moved away.. That was in the '60s... strange how things come to mind]

The Nikon D100, released in 2002 had auto ISO.

Aha! Thanks. 😁

I completely agree with you Andy Day. Since the day I discovered the auto ISO function I found AV and TV mode useless: manual mode + auto ISO made way more sense to me in most cases. Shame was Canon lack of exposure compensation possibility before 5DmkIV. This FV mode seems an even better and safer implementation joining the advantages of both worlds (not even tried in person unfortunately). You need a little bit of open mind to accept this changes obviously, we are not using film anymore, why sticking with its limits? ;)

In my experience Fuji dials are great when you’re not looking through the viewfinder. When looking through the viewfinder it’s hard to imagine anything being better than tactile dual command dials.

You don't actually need to take off your eye from the EVF to access and change the dials or see their setting and what they do. Or do you take your eye off when switching from Av to TAv :) I usually shoot my x-T3 in Av type mode. If I need to extra control shutter I use my index finger and adjust the top dial. Or put it in T, one click, and you can use the front/back dial to quickly scroll through on demand. Same for ISO, if needed. There actually are two command dials too ;)

Sigh... Actually my old Canon AE 1 unsed to behave just like that... Flip the setting you didn't want to bother with to 'A' and that was that.
So Fuji is doing what Canon was implementing back in the 60s, which is part of the reason why I switched to Fuji (kind of 'coming home feeling' to my old Canon)
So I'm no sure that undoing changes in the camera ergonomics would best be described as 'innovative'

With mirrorless all you need is manual mode and well placed assesible dials . With my eos r i only shoot in manaul mode and can click any of the setting into auto if need be

I don’t see the relevance to “Mirrorless”

I guess he's talking about Canon's "Exposure Simulation". WYSIWYG.

I think you mean PASM dials are dead. With that I would agree; they make my skin crawl. IMO, Fuji does this so well, it's ridiculous. Want shutter priority? Put the aperture dial on A. Want aperture priority? Put the shutter dial on A. Why anyone would want a separate dial for this functionality is beyond me. That said, a lot of lenses out there don't even have an aperture dial (e.g. Canon EF lenses). So, yeah...

I have long wanted Canon to add an Auto setting for the Aperture and Shutter Speed dials, then get rid of the P, Av, and Tv modes. They could add Bulb to the shutter dial and all they need is a bunch of custom modes. One of my favorite features of the 1Dx is that I can disable these modes and use the Fn button to cycle through the modes that I want, which is most often M and C1 (based on M).

A silly whim.

Okay. First off, “ISO” is not a part of the Exposure triangle, it is part of the light metering triangle. A high exposure index does not alter the exposure, it alters the return values of the light-meter. A high EI is not a fix, but a workaround for unavailable light. Setting a higher EI on the light-meter, actually causes less light to hit the film/sensor.

Secondly, “AutoISO”, or Sv Priority Mode, as Pentax has called it for decades, is not in anyway manual, as it does not allow for deliberate over/under exposure as manual mode does. On manual mode, if Tv=¹/125s & Av=f/16 gives me a “perfect” exposure at Sv=ISO 800/30°, then changing Tv to ¹/60s & Av to f/11 ought to give me two stops “over-exposure,” and NOT adjust my EI to ISO 200/24° as it will in Sv Priority or AutoISO.

Thirdly, Av & Tv Priority are not for casual shooters who need to rapidly change from DoF control to motion blur control. It is for professionals who know that motion blur control or DoF control is a priority for them, on a certain project in which they are engaged.

Finally, you are of course speaking of the Pentax HyperMode, available in almost all exposure modes of the Pentax system, available for decades, where turning one control automatically removes it from the automatic control of the camera? Cool that you mentioned that. Pity that you gave the credit to Fujifilm.

…Of course, it was nothing but a gimmick until other brands started following suit, because everything Pentax does is not innovative, but a useless gimmick. …Until others start following suit.

BTW, Olympus has something similar, correct? [Olympus users, please chime in. I will stand corrected if I am wrong, here.] So we have Fujifilm, [INSERT] Nikon, [/INSERT] Olympus, and Pentax,… then there is Canon, [DELETE] Nikon [/DELETE] & Sony…. At what point does [INSERT] more than [/INSERT] half the brands become “almost none, except Fujifilm”? Just curious.

Question, if iso is not part of the exposure triangle, how come it is a triangle?! Just kidding obviously, should just highlight the extent of semantic confusion we face ;)

Not if you look at the triangle acutely with an equilateral approach. 😁😄😉


You say that ISO is not part of the exposure triangle. Technically, you may be correct ..... but in a practical sense, ISO is a part of the triangle.

A triangle has how many sides? Okay. So if it is indeed a triangle, and aperture represents one side, and shutter speed represents the other side, then what exposure value represents the third side?

If what you say is true, then I am interested in knowing what three exposure values you think represent the three sides of the triangle. A triangle cannot have only two sides, for then it is not a triangle anymore.

I did not say it was not apart of a triangle. I said it was not a part of the exposure triangle. I then, immediately, stated of which triangle it is a part.

That being clarified, the exposure triangle consists of the three variables of exposure; F-number, (Av), exposure time, (TV) and light value, (Lv). These are what a photographer manipulates for proper exposure, according to his chosen EI.

…And yes, although EI has no effect on actual exposure, it does affect the final image. To say that because of that, it belongs in the exposure triangle is ridiculous, because then, we would also have the include development, gamma, curves, et al.

Light value is not a camera setting that we adjust.

It is an ambient (or sometimes manipulated) condition, but it is not a camera setting. The Exposure Triangle only refers to the three settings that we adjust to determine the brightness of the resultant image. Therefore, ISO is certainly one of the three sides of the Exposure Triangle.

For many years photographer have used the term "Exposure Triangle" to refer to the three settings that they adjust to determine the brightness of the image. You cannot and will not come in here and redefine a term that is in widespread use with a commonly understood definition.

ISO may not be a part of exposure, but it is a part of the Exposure Triangle. I think the problem you are having is that you are thinking that the Exposure Triangle is dealing only with the things that effect the exposure, when in fact it is dealing with more than that. Broaden your thinking and the lights will come on!

EI is also NOT a camera setting. It is a light-meter setting, and a development module setting.

We are PHOTOGRAPHERS. We make images with light. That is literally what “Photography” means. A photographer who does not try to control his light, is like a painter who does not control his paint. As “available paint” artist, if you will.

Exposure Index DOES NOT affect exposure. It only affects the Ev returned from the light-meter, and the amount of development needed (digital amplification, or analogue gain if digital).

Exposure Index is a setting on one's external or internal light-meter, not ones camera. The fact that one has readily accessible reflected light-meter controls available on one's camera, does not, by virtue of its convenience, make it anymore of a camera setting, that having my Strobe controls conveniently available in my camera —and I do— make it a camera setting.

But light value IS an exposure setting, whereas EI is NOT.

Let me try to clarify.

YOU: «The Exposure Triangle only refers to the three settings that we adjust to determine the brightness of the resultant image.»

Raising the EI does NOT brighten the image. It darkens it. If at sensitivity value of ISO 100/21°, exposure time of ¹/100s, and at aperture of f/8, one has 99.99% saturation of the highlights, and one changes the EI to ISO 800/30°, then the light-meter will suggest an aperture of f/22 at the same exposure time. You have just limited the amount of light entering the camera by three stops. The highlights are now at approximately 12.5% saturation.

The “Exposure Triangle” is a concept developed it the days of the 120/135 roll film cameras, (a.k.a., medium format and 35mm cameras). It was used to help explain how a light-meter works, or why one would choose a faster film.

It was never intended to explain three variables, (time, aperture, sensitivity) which we can control on our cameras. We did NOT have control over sensitivity at the time this concept was developed.

Changing the EI was NOT an option. It was NOT a setting we adjusted for exposure. It was a known value we inputted into the light-meter, which measured one variable, then gave us a range of usable values of the other variables, for a middle grey exposure. (It was then up to the photographer to select their ideal exposure, or alter the measured value).

Variables which photographers have had at their disposal which affect exposure include light value, (first and foremost), exposure time, and f-number. Raising the EI does not affect exposure, and is NOT a fix for lowlight; it is a workaround, and it has drawbacks.

P.s., a similar “exposure triangle” also exists for manual flash photography, but the “variables” there are flash power, distance to subject, and aperture. One still had to input EI for this “triangle” to work, and it was still NOT a variable, but a known value.


I appreciate that you responded to me, especially in such detail. But I have no idea what EI means. It seems to be a key term in your dialogue, so without knowing what it is, I don't really understand any of what you are saying. Any explanation as to the meaning of the term would be appreciated.


Sorry, I thought I had used to full term prior.

EI → Exposure Index.

In short, the exposure Index is the sensitivity value one claims the film/sensor is for light metering, and development. So if ones film sensitivity is ISO 400/27°, and one pushes it two stops, the EI is ISO 1600/33°. Pull it one stop, the EI is ISO 200/24°

For digital sensors nothing has changed. The base sensitivity of ones camera is its real sensitivity value. Any other setting is a pull or push process. E.g., if ones camera has a base sensitivity value of ISO 100/21°, then an EI of ISO 50/18° is a one stop pull process, (resulting in blown-out highlights, as the highlights exceed the exposure for saturation), and ISO 200/24° is a one stop push process, (highlights are below saturation, meaning the pixel “well” is not full).

Push processing produces under-saturation during exposure. It compensates by over-developing. In the case of digital sensors, it either adds analogue gain, or digital amplification. Likewise, pull processing means under-development.

Changing the EI does not change the actual sensitivity of a digital sensor. It only changes how the signals are processed.


Thanks for taking the time to explain that. However, I still have no idea what you are talking about. It's not you ...... it's me. I just get completely lost whenever someone tries to discuss or explain technical things. My brain just doesn't work that way. It's too much like math or whatever. Just way out of my league. Sorry.

Not every thought should be published.

Perfectly exemplified

I'm still a fan of the TAv mode on the Pentax line, used it over Av and Tv consistently.

Yeah I’m pretty sure the writer of this is not a real photographer, aperture priority is about the only mode I shoot in for street photography and as others said wedding photography ap mode is awesome.

This is a bit of an exaggeration, isn't it?

First of all, I did read the entire article. And you bring up an interesting exposure concept that I have not encountered before. Kudos to Fuji for implementing this concept.

However, you speak of auto ISO as if ISO changes have no impact on the outcome of an image. We all know that is certainly not the case. Just as changes in aperture and shutter speed impact the image, so also does a change in ISO. Every increase in ISO results in a corresponding decrease in dynamic range and image quality.

The human body requires modernization. It is time for our respiratory system to switch from oxygen to carbon dioxide.

Maybe it's because I'm not a professional, trained photographer but, I feel PASM was always hiding the exposure triangle from me. The Tv, Av, B, M, tVaTv (?) etc boxes on my old Pentax just confined and gave me PTSD. Fuji saved my photographic soul as I could finally freely roam the exposure triangle. Btw, it's called like that because, if you properly align the controls they do form a triangle - as on the x-T3 :D
All a matter of taste and esp. customization, so ease. But I am very grateful to Fuji. A fanboy? Don't you dare to call me anything less :D

Thought provoking, albeit maybe poorly titled article (the modes are not necessarily dead per se, just the PASM dial to enable them). As far as I can tell, the PASM dial is still around today as photography is a slow-moving field with a relatively long upgrade cycle and consumers who are reluctant to change (not saying that's a bad thing). The fact that we still use the term ISO when talking about digital cameras is proof of this.

The two things I want absolute control over at all times, for all shooting, are aperture and ISO. I would never want the camera to choose these two things for me, because the camera can not possibly know what my goal is for the image.

Shutter speed, however, is something that doesn't matter to me in 95% of the shooting scenarios that I find myself in.

For these reasons, Aperture Prioity is perfect. It allows me control over the two variables that I want to take charge over, and lets the one thing that doesn't matter float.

I don't understand how any other mode or system would be better for me, given that I want absolute control over aperture and ISO at all times.

Another thing to note is that many of us want to drastically under-expose or over-expose on a frequent, regular basis, as we often have image objectives that are different from the norm.

This is especially true when shooting silhouettes in the middle of the day that I want to have look like they were taken when sunset turns to dusk. Or when there are dark grey skies and I want to intentionally blow the sky out to isolate my subject on a background of pure white. These are things that I do A LOT. I need full manual mode for these types of images, because exposure compensation only allows me to go three stops from what the camera considers to be the "proper exposure", and I need to go off by more than three stops to get the exposure that I want.

Did you consider these situations when you wrote your article?

I read the article carefully. Some parts of it I didn't understand, so I went back and read them again. And I still don't understand what you are trying to explain. I still don't see how any other mode or setting would be better for me than what I am doing now.

ISO is the LAST variable I want my camera automating. It appears from the article that you are assuming that most people use auto ISO.

When I am photographing I ask myself what variables do I want control over to create the image I desire. Everything else can be automated. Sometimes that means shutter speed, sometimes aperature, sometimes no variables (M). Choosing what is a “priority” to me really is the most logical way to think about it.


I share your feelings about ISO. I think that perhaps the author based this article on the assumption that these days, photographers are fine with allowing the camera to select the ISO, within set parameters. However, I suspect this is not the case with many of us who submit images that are subject to a review process that involves 100% viewing and pixel-peeping scrutiny. I have to get my images past quality control, and the evaluators are extremely nit-picky. And no noise reduction is permitted, as I must submit SOOC files. ISO is something that I must have absolute control over.

If most photographers always want to have absolute control over at least two of the sides of the exposure triangle (and often times all three), then I think the author's premise starts to break down a bit.

Those who evaluate your photos would prefer a photo with camera shake, blurred subjects, or an overly shallow DoF over one with slightly more noise? What happens when the amount of light available doesn't allow for photos at base ISO? You pack up and go home, or bring artificial light?

Not trying to criticise as we obviously do different styles of photography, I'm just interested in the processes and preferences of other photographers. Nobody evaluates my photos so I suppose I have the luxury of using a non-base ISO :)

Those who evaluate my photos will reject any flaw or technical deficiency. They only want "perfect" images. I am competing with THOUSANDS of other photographers who shoot the same subject matter, so the agencies and publishers can afford to be very picky, because sometime, somewhere, a photographer captured what they are looking for, in near-perfect conditions.

So yeah, when it comes to producing images for the very nit-picky markets, it pretty much is a "pack your things u and go home" kind of thing, whenever conditions are not ideal.

I mean, if they want a photo of a buck deer and they have 4,000 or 5,000 images to select from, of course they are going to select one of the ones with no deficiencies whatsoever. The people making the selections are usually good/excellent photographers themselves, so they know just what to look for when it comes to technical perfection.

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