EASY EXPOSURE
Smart Photography|April 2021
This write-up is primarily for beginners and the less experienced, but others may also find it helpful.
Rohinton Mehta

One of the questions that I am often asked relates to exposures. It goes something like this: “There are several metering modes and exposure modes on my camera. Which one should I use?” “Which is the easiest-to-use exposure mode?” And so on.

Let’s start with the ‘exposure’, ‘exposure meter’ and ‘exposure modes’ within our cameras. An ‘exposure’ is a combination of the correct ISO (film/ sensor sensitivity), aperture and shutter speed – the three fundamental settings in using our cameras. The ‘exposure meter’ reads the brightness of the light and helps us in setting the proper exposure. Our cameras offer a couple of exposure metering modes — Evaluative/ Matrix, Centre-weighted, Spot, Highlightweighted and in the case of Canon cameras, also Partial metering. Since we want to keep this simple, we will not go into how the different exposure meters work (you may check our earlier issues; this is a topic that is often covered).

Let’s first see which exposure modes are available to us and how they work. We have: A (Aperture Priority, pic 1); S (Shutter Priority, pic 2); P (Program, pic 3) and M (Manual, pic 4). Note: Canon prefers to call Aperture Priority as Aperture Value (Av) and Shutter Priority as Time Value (Tv).

How do they work?

The first thing you need to do for any kind of exposure mode is to set the sensitivity (ISO). This, most often is ISO 100.

Aperture Priority: You set the aperture of your choice (depending on the depth of field you desire) and the camera automatically picks up what it considers as the appropriate shutter speed. Note: For greater depth of field, you set a narrow aperture (like f/11 or f/16) and for shallow depth of field, you set a wider aperture (like f/4 or f/2.8 etc.)

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