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Sometimes you might have a very peculiar creative vision, or be facing a particularly complex exposure situation; maybe you're shooting a scene, and you want shallow depth of field, and you want to blur some motion in the scene, and you don't care if the whole thing is a little overexposed. Or maybe you're used to working with a hand-held light meter, and you were using it to calculate exposure settings, which you then need to dial in by hand. Manual mode gives you full control of both shutter speed and aperture on your camera. You can dial in any settings you want, regardless of whether the camera's meter thinks they've a good idea.
It might flash warnings to you about how it thinks you are making bad decisions, but it will still take the shot. M on the mode dial is Manual mode, so I am just going to press the lock button, and move that over there. Now, notice on my screen, I haven't done any metering, but it's already showing me a shutter speed, and an aperture. That's because the camera doesn't do anything to pick shutter speed and aperture when you're in Manual mode; you are in complete control of that. The main dial lets you change shutter speed. The quick control dial lets you change aperture. Now I am going to meter with these settings dialed in, and you can see that I have got a little mark showing up here on what is normally exposure compensation.
In Manual mode, rather than exposure compensation, this is just showing me kind of an old-fashioned light meter, and right now, that mark is letting me know that the camera thinks that this is good metering. Watch what happens as I change shutter speed. Uh oh! As I slow shutter speed down, I am getting overexposure. That's one stop of overexposure, two stops, and so on. I can also see underexposure over here; same thing happens when I fiddle with aperture. So when I'm in Manual mode, this just becomes a meter, not an exposure compensation control. So let's say that I'm facing a scene where I know I want some deep depth of field.
I might come in here and say, well, I am going to dial my aperture down to 11. And now when I meter, I find out that I'm two stops underexposed. Okay, well I'd just change my shutter speed to get it back to proper metering. I am now at a 13th of a second; it would be up to me to decide if I can deal with that slow of a shutter speed. If I have got a tripod, I'm fine; if I am handholding, that might be a little more complicated. Now, even if I see incorrect metering, or what the camera thinks is incorrect metering -- let's say I decide that 13th of a second is too slow, so I am going to back it back up here; maybe 15th of a second -- I can still shoot this way. The camera will still take the shot.
It's just going to come out dark, and as far as the camera is concerned, it's going to be two stops underexposed. I might be able to brighten that up in post without suffering too much noise. I am at ISO 100 so far for all of these. Let's go back to a decent metering, and change the ISO setting here. I am going to put it on Auto. And now, as I manipulate these, the camera is automatically changing ISO to preserve good metering. It will do that as far as it can. Let's see if I can get it to -- there we go.
It's decided it can't go any higher with ISO, so now it is starting to show me underexposure. And as you may have already encountered, you can control the range of your Auto ISO function, and you can see how to do that in a separate movie. Manual mode does not open up any hidden power in your camera. The only thing that it gets you that you can't get in any of the other modes is the ability to over or underexpose in a very particular way. On very rare occasions, this will be the only way to get the shot that you want.
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