Publishers of technology books, eBooks, and videos for creative people

Home > Articles > Digital Photography

  • Print
  • + Share This
This chapter is from the book

P: Programmed Auto Mode

080fig01.jpg

As the saying jokingly goes, “P is for professional!” Programmed Auto mode, or P mode, is a great mode to become familiar with as you transition from the automatic or scene modes (Figure 4.1) to Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, or Manual mode. There is a reason that Programmed Auto mode is only one click away from the automatic modes: With respect to apertures and shutter speeds, the camera is doing most of the thinking for you. So if that is the case, why even bother with P mode?

Figure 4.1

Figure 4.1 Use Programmed Auto mode for flexible control and as a great place to start learning the professional modes.

ISO 100 • 1/125 sec. • f/11 • 85mm lens

First, let me say that I rarely use Programmed Auto mode because it just doesn’t give as much control over the image-making process as the other professional modes. However, we all start somewhere, and much like many of you, I started fully automatic, moved to Programmed Auto mode, and now hang out in Aperture Priority most of the time. There are still occasions when Programmed Auto mode comes in handy, like when I am shooting in widely changing lighting conditions and I don’t have the time to think through all of my options, or I’m not very concerned with having ultimate control of the scene. Think of a picnic outdoors in a partial shade and sun environment. I want great-looking pictures, but I’m not looking for anything to hang in a museum. If that’s the scenario, why choose P mode over one of the scene modes? Because it gives me choices and control that none of the scene modes can deliver.

When to use Programmed Auto (P) mode instead of the automatic scene and effects modes

It’s graduation time, and you’re ready to move on to a more advanced mode but not quite ready to jump in with both feet. When does Programmed Auto mode come in handy?

  • When shooting in a casual environment where quick adjustments are needed.
  • When you want more control over the ISO.
  • If you want to make corrections to the white balance.
  • When you want to take advantage of the Flexible Program mode and quickly achieve different combinations of shutter speed and aperture. Move the main Command dial to the left for small apertures to increase depth of field, or rotate the dial to the right for large apertures to create a shallow depth of field.

Let’s go back to our picnic scenario. As I said, the light is moving from deep shadow to bright sunlight, which means that the camera is trying to balance our three photo factors (ISO, aperture, and shutter speed) to make a good exposure. From Chapter 1, we know that Auto ISO is generally not what we want except when shooting in a fully automatic mode, so we have already turned that feature off (you did turn it off, didn’t you?). Well, in P mode, you can choose which ISO you would like the camera to base its exposure on. The lower the ISO number, the better the quality of photographs, but the less light sensitive the camera becomes. It’s a balancing act, with the main goal always being to keep the ISO as low as possible—too low an ISO, and we will get camera shake in our images from a long shutter speed; too high an ISO, and we will have an unacceptable amount of digital noise (Figures 4.2 and 4.3). For now, let’s go ahead and select ISO 400 so that we provide enough sensitivity for those shadows while allowing the camera to use shutter speeds that are fast enough to stop motion.

Figure 4.2

Figure 4.2 Look closely and you’ll notice that the image is grainy or has small pixels. That’s digital noise. Now, look at the same image taken at a lower ISO.

ISO 6400 • 1/400 sec. • f/9 • 28mm lens

Figure 4.3

Figure 4.3 Notice the detail in the shadows and how little noise there is in the image.

ISO 100 • 1/25 sec. • f/4.5 • 28mm lens

With the ISO selected, we can now make use of the other controls built into Programmed Auto mode. By rotating the main Command dial, we now have the ability to shift the program settings. Remember that your camera is using the internal meter to pick what it deems suitable exposure values, but sometimes it doesn’t know what it’s looking at and how you want those values applied (Figures 4.4 and 4.5). With the Flexible Program mode, you can influence what the shot will look like. Do you need faster shutter speeds in order to stop the action? Just turn the main Command dial to the right. Do you want a smaller aperture so that you get a narrow depth of field? Turn the dial to the left until you get the desired aperture. The camera shifts the shutter speed and aperture accordingly to get a proper exposure.

Figure 4.4

Figure 4.4 In this image the shutter speed was faster because the image contains many bright values, such as the water. Since the image is lighter, the camera needs less time to expose, so the shutter opens and closes very quickly in Programmed Auto—in this case, over 1/100 of a second quicker than in Figure 4.5.

ISO 100 • 1/160 sec. • f/11 • 44mm lens

Figure 4.5

Figure 4.5 By zooming in on the vegetation in the middle of the river, the image becomes darker than in Figure 4.4 because there is less of the bright water. The camera needs more light to properly expose the image, so the shutter is left open longer.

ISO 100 • 1/50 sec. • f/11 • 62mm lens

You will also notice that a small star will appear above the letter P in the viewfinder and the rear display if you rotate the main Command dial. This star is an indication that you modified the exposure from the one the camera chose. To go back to the default Programmed Auto exposure, simply turn the dial until the star goes away or switch to a different mode and then back to P mode again.

Let’s set up the camera for Programmed Auto mode and see how we can make all of this come together.

Setting up and shooting in Programmed Auto mode

  1. Turn your camera on, and then turn the Mode dial to align the P with the indicator line.
  2. Select your ISO by pressing and holding the ISO button on the back left of the camera while rotating the main Command dial with your thumb.
  3. The ISO will appear on the top display. Choose your desired ISO, and release the ISO button on the left to lock in the change.
  4. Point the camera at your subject, and then activate the camera meter by depressing the shutter button halfway.
  5. View the exposure information in the bottom area of the viewfinder or by looking at the top display panel.
  6. While the meter is activated, use your thumb to roll the main Command dial left and right to see the changed exposure values.
  7. Select the exposure that is right for you and start clicking. (Don’t worry if you aren’t sure what the right exposure is yet. We will work on making the right choices for those great shots beginning with the next chapter.)
  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

Peachpit Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from Peachpit and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.

Overview


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about Peachpit products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information


To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.

Surveys

Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites; develop new products and services; conduct educational research; and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.

Newsletters

If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email ask@peachpit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information


Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.

Security


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.

Children


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.

Marketing


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information


If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.

Choice/Opt-out


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by Adobe Press. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.peachpit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information


Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents


California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure


Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.

Links


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact


Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice


We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020