Poll: do you keep your DSLR in auto mode?

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Lexy spent her formative years taking a lot of photos and dreaming in technicolour. Nothing much has changed now she's covering all things photography related for CNET.

You may remember a few tongue-in-cheek videos that did the rounds last week, poking fun at wannabe DSLR photographers who have all the equipment, but no idea how to use any of their gear.

Professional photographer Gary Heery with an SLR owner. Deriding aspiring photographers by calling them clueless is pretty mean spirited.
(Screenshot by Lexy Savvides/CBSi)

Do you leave your SLR in automatic mode?

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Sony Australia put together these videos to promote its series of NEX interchangeable lens cameras (ILCs) under the guise of "DSLR Gear, No Idea". Rather than existing in isolation as a cute series of vignettes lampooning some photographer stereotypes, Sony has gone one step farther by conducting a survey of SLR users.

The results? The survey shows that one in three photographers has no idea how to use their camera.

The sample size was 1012 non-professional SLR users, and other insights gleaned from the research showed that one in five of the younger demographic (aged 18-29) use their high-end gear purely for taking photos for social media and blogs.

Apart from the survey participants having to be pretty adept at taking selfies with an SLR, do these results actually reflect the realities of everyday photographers?

None of the photographers approached in this video, also released with the research, were trying to pass themselves off as professional. A question for Sony: what's wrong with leaving your SLR in automatic mode, anyway?

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aslsw66 posted a comment   

I agree - your poll is too simplistic.

I leave mine on auto as it is ready for the quick shot - too often I find I have fiddled with the settings (mostly exposure compensation) and failed to change them back again.

I do know what the settings all do,it's just that I choose to leave them alone unless there is something specific I am trying to achieve.


Chandler posted a comment   

No choice in the poll to suit me: "Yes, but that's cause I'm learning."

Our old point-n-shoot died, so we were in the market for a new camera. A colleague at work had a Canon 1100D, and having used it on occasion we decided to look at DSLRs as a way of 'future-proofing' our camera needs, and ended up with a Canon 600D.

I know what most of the buttons on my camera do, but as to what settings (aperture, shutter speed, ISO, etc.) I need to use to get the best possible shot, I'm not even close to there yet, but I am learning... hence I usually use the camera in Auto or Auto (no-flash) mode or sometimes Program Auto (P).

Perhaps Sony is trying to shift non-professional consumers (unprosumers? :P) onto their ILC cameras rather than having people buy DSLRs for their interchangeable lenses, but having no idea how to use their features (apart from the aforementioned changeable lenses).


LawrenceS posted a comment   

I'll basically never put it on auto mode unless lending it to friends without the relevant expertise...

I rarely keep it on full manual mode because more often than not, I'm not fast enough to adjust every setting in time to capture the snaps I want (think people waiting for you to adjust settings to take the perfect snap of them).

I like to choose things like aperture and ISO, letting the camera choose the speed (as long as it's not too slow handheld).


Im Batman posted a comment   

maybe i do sort of use the auto modes... P mode that is.
Its auto enough and doesn't pop up my flash... it gives a good starting point for shutter speed and aperature.
If i know what shutter speed or aperature i want , then i will flick it onto those priority settings.
full manual mode, generally only gets puilled out for say panos etc.


Will1505 posted a comment   

Really depends on the conditions you are in doesn't it and also the DSLR you have. I always found that the older DSLR's took forever to focus and actually take the picture when it was on auto however the newer processors make them instantaneous.

Generally in lower light is when going manual is useful.

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