The Art of Manual setting mode in SLR Photography

The Art of Manual setting mode  in SLR Photography

Using your SLR camera in manual setting mode (M on the top dial), isn't as hard as it first seems. Whether you own a Canon, Nikon, or any other SLR camera brand, manual setting mode works basically the same.

Manual setting mode allows you to set both your aperture and shutter speed defferent way, without the camera automatically changing the other to suit. With this in mind, you can be more creative with your shots. For example, you can photograph a beach landscape keeping the aperture high (for example f/22) so everything is in focus, yet at the same time set a slow shutter speed to create dreamy, slow motion waves.

Manual setting mode  in SLR Photography
Camera: Canon EOS 400D / Rebel XTi
Lens: Canon EF-S17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM
Exposure: 0.2 sec (1/5)
Aperture: f/22
Focal Length: 85 mm
ISO Speed: 100
Exposure Program: Manual
Flash: Flash did not fire

Increase the possibilities of your pictures

There are many reasons for photographers to want to try out how they would do with a manual SLR. You might discover that the normal point-and-shoot film camera, that you have been playing around with for a while, limits your progress as a photographer, as it doesn’t come with the focusing options you would need to take… let’s say sharp close up portraits.
Manual setting mode in SLR Photography
Photo by Mr Jeff

Simplicity that makes you concentrate

Sometimes it is hard to comprehend all functions of your semi-professional DSLR, which makes you want to go back to a simpler camera, to be able to concentrate on the essentials of focusing, framing and the right exposure (Read Trick to Get Correct Exposure on Landscape Photography). Also, since film and developing of the pics will all cost money, you are likely to choose your objects more carefully and spend more time with composition and the right framing.

Manual setting mode in SLR Photography
Photo by Cai Shun’an
After doing that you can pick up your DSLR again with greater confidence, after mastering the basics on a traditional model that makes you actually do the thinking. Instead of training yourself on a fancy DSLR, that makes you worry to much about mode of metering and hundreds of white balancing options, you can fully concentrate on your object and still get great images without too much post production.

Manual setting mode in SLR Photography
Photo by Shawn Hoke Photography

Used by professionals

Traditional SLRs are still used by many professional photographers who value them for their robustness, which makes them unimpressed with difficult weather conditions. So you might very well come across photo-journalists who like to include an old SLR in their setup.

Manual setting mode in SLR Photography
Photo by brook9457

You might be remembered forever

Today, traditional SLRs like Nikon’s FM2 or Canon’s F and A series – though out of production – are still easy to find on online bidding platforms at reasonable prices. For those who want to dig a little bit deeper in their pockets, you might as well go with one of the famed Leica models. Most of the pictures still regarded ahead of their time today were taken with these cameras, just like Steve McCurry’s “Afghan Girl” was shot with a Nikon FM2.

Manual setting mode in SLR Photography
Photo by Steve McCurry

Put you and your objects at ease

But still, the biggest treat of using a traditional SLR is how it makes you calm down and puts you at ease. The preparations for a day out are enough to put you in the right mood. Take your camera out of where ever you keep it. Look at it from every angle to see if there are any new scratches from the last time of usage. Pull the film advance lever slowly to see if it goes smoothly, and then press the shutter release button to hear that down-to-earth sound, which is just loud enough for you to know that your camera fired, but silent enough to not make you the center of attention. Then you fill it with life (meaning the film) and you are ready to go.

Manual setting mode in SLR Photography
Photo by Henri Cartier-Bresson

More Practice and Practice

There is nothing that will beat getting out and getting behind the camera and learning how to use it well. If you plan on making photography a serious hobby or more, you will need to learn how to use manual mode for those times when the automatic or program mode settings just won’t cut it or for when you want to create an effect that you just can’t get any other way.

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