If you inspect your camera, at the top of the camera you might find a dial with the words “P/A/S/M/Auto” What are they and when should we use each of them? Let’s find out!

Meaning of P/A/S/M/Auto

P-mode – Programmed Auto: You do not need to care of Aperture or Shutter Speed but you can adjust ISO.

A or Av-mode – Aperture-priory:  You set the Aperture and ISO. Camera will calculate and provide a suitable Shutter Speed.

S or Tv-mode – Shutter-priory: You set the Shutter Speed and ISO. Camera will calculate and provide a suitable aperture value.

M-mode: Full Manuel: You can control Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO. Camera will only provide metering reference.

Auto-mode: Point and Shoot. All of the Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO cannot be assigned.

So when to use each mode?

P-mode – When you do not care about aperture or shutter speed and want to focus on composition, you can use P-Mode.

A or Av-mode – You can use A-mode 80% of the time by just setting aperture value to control Depth of Field or amount of light entering the camera. This is largely used by travel or landscape photography.

S or Tv-mode – When you want to specifically use a high or low shutter speed. For example when you are shooting a moving object.

M-mode – When you are shooting special topic and would like to have complete control of the exposure. For example waterfall, star, car trail, night scene etc.

Auto-mode – Better don’t use it.


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Author: Alex Tam