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Controlling exposure through Program mode

From: Shooting with the Nikon D800

Video: Controlling exposure through Program mode

Sometimes people think that the further you get from Program mode, the more sophisticated you are as a photographer, or somehow you unlock all sorts of new potential in your camera, and really that's just not true. Program mode, Aperture, Priority, Shutter Priority, Manual mode, you can take the same picture with all of those modes. The differences are that some modes give you more control than others, and for certain situations you need that control. There is a lot you can do in Program mode in your D800. I'm here just walking around today.

Controlling exposure through Program mode

Sometimes people think that the further you get from Program mode, the more sophisticated you are as a photographer, or somehow you unlock all sorts of new potential in your camera, and really that's just not true. Program mode, Aperture, Priority, Shutter Priority, Manual mode, you can take the same picture with all of those modes. The differences are that some modes give you more control than others, and for certain situations you need that control. There is a lot you can do in Program mode in your D800. I'm here just walking around today.

Honestly, I'm not expecting to come out of here with any great pictures. I'm mostly just kind of looking at shapes and textures and things. I think this is a good seeing exercise. A lot of times if you just explore shapes for a while, one day something kind of changes and you see those shapes in a different way, and you start seeing pictures that you didn't see before. So I'm just kind of walking around, just looking at stuff and shooting. So I'm in Program mode, because Program mode makes that very easy. It's figuring out all my exposure stuff for me so I can really just concentrate on the forms that I'm seeing. That said, there are some great manual overrides in Program mode that I can use for those times when suddenly my mind might turn a little more technical.

So for example, I'm walking along here and I see this plant. I've got a kind of a thing for botany, so I can tell you this is a plant. And I stop here to grab a shot of it, and what I'm doing is I'm just getting in close here. I've got it right in the middle. It's a nice shape, and I'm taking pictures of it. And as I am here with it framed, and as I'm in here really looking at it, I realize, you know, I'd like some depth-of-field control. I'd actually like to sharpen up the background. Well, I can do that without taking my eye from the viewfinder, without breaking my composition. I can just, still while I'm in here, turn my main command dial to use the Flexible Program capability of the D800.

This allows me to shift through all reciprocal combinations that are going to yield the same exposure and get me up to an f11, which is going to give me more depth of field. Maybe I want to go the other day also, really open it up all the way and get myself some really, really shallow depth of field. I've done all of that without leaving Program mode, and because it's right here under my thumb, I can do all of that right while I am here framing in the viewfinder. Now, while I'm done here looking at the flower, I also see that there's this nice shadow being cast over about half the flower. I'd like to darken that some more. I think it would make the image a little more contrasty.

So I can easily do that with Exposure Compensation, which is right up here under my forefinger. If I just turn the subcommand dial, I can dial in some underexposure and take another shot, and now I've got the shadow part underexposed by about half a stop. So I've done three or four very different things. I've shot with several depths of field, I've done some exposure biasing to underexpose my image beneath what the camera thinks it should be metered at, and I've done all of that without leaving Program mode, without taking my hands off the camera, without taking my eye from the viewfinder.

It's an incredible amount of power. I have configured my D800 so that I don't have to press and hold the Exposure Compensation button, or even press it at all. I've simply got both dials going here. So under my thumb I've got Flexible Program; under my forefinger I've got Exposure Compensation. So I can really work quickly that way without having to leave Program mode. Now, that said, as I walk around here some more today and start realizing, boy, I'm really mostly shooting shallow depth of field all the time. I'm constantly flexible programming my way down to a shallower depth of field.

Now I'm going to change modes. Now I'm going to switch over to Aperture Priority mode so that I've got control of aperture. And then I might just dial the aperture up all the way and know that now I'm going to have the depth-of-field effect that I've been going for. But until then, Program mode is a really, really flexible way to go. So if you're listening to this and going, I don't know what he is talking about when he is saying Flexible Program or Exposure Compensation or Priority modes, you ought to go back and watch those sections of this course, because having a good handle on those three different features and how they balance each other is really going to make your use of Program mode a lot more flexible.

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This video is part of

Image for Shooting with the Nikon D800
Shooting with the Nikon D800

107 video lessons · 12983 viewers

Ben Long
Author

 
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  1. 9m 28s
    1. Welcome
      2m 16s
    2. What is an SLR?
      5m 18s
    3. Using this course
      1m 54s
  2. 30m 59s
    1. Exploring basic camera anatomy
      6m 34s
    2. Attaching a lens
      3m 28s
    3. Inserting media cards and a battery
      6m 14s
    4. Powering up
      2m 8s
    5. Working with menu navigation and factory defaults
      3m 1s
    6. Setting the date and time
      1m 50s
    7. Setting the language
      1m 20s
    8. Formatting the media card
      2m 15s
    9. Holding the camera
      4m 9s
  3. 26m 35s
    1. What are shooting modes?
      2m 11s
    2. Exploring the viewfinder display
      4m 41s
    3. Using the LCD screen protector
      46s
    4. Autofocus basics
      2m 42s
    5. Metering basics
      1m 31s
    6. Reviewing images
      2m 21s
    7. Working with image playback
      7m 16s
    8. Adjusting beeps and timers
      1m 52s
    9. Changing button behavior
      2m 2s
    10. Using screen tips
      1m 13s
  4. 26m 58s
    1. Exploring Program mode
      50s
    2. Working with exposure compensation
      4m 16s
    3. Changing ISO
      2m 30s
    4. Using auto ISO
      4m 25s
    5. Exploring Flexible Program
      2m 49s
    6. Exploring image format and size
      6m 18s
    7. Setting a virtual horizon
      2m 17s
    8. Setting the color space
      1m 22s
    9. Configuring multiple media cards
      2m 11s
  5. 12m 49s
    1. Exploring focus modes
      2m 6s
    2. Exploring autofocus area modes
      4m 50s
    3. Using focus points
      1m 57s
    4. Using manual focus
      3m 56s
  6. 9m 57s
    1. Using auto white balance
      1m 1s
    2. Working with white balance presets
      3m 8s
    3. Adjusting white balance manually
      5m 48s
  7. 11m 54s
    1. Exploring Continuous mode
      5m 56s
    2. Exploring Quiet mode
      53s
    3. Using the self-timer
      3m 26s
    4. Locking the mirror up
      1m 39s
  8. 34m 40s
    1. Exploring metering modes
      3m 4s
    2. Using the auto exposure lock
      4m 35s
    3. Exploring Aperture Priority mode
      3m 3s
    4. Using depth of field preview
      2m 50s
    5. Exploring Shutter Priority mode
      2m 32s
    6. Working in Manual mode
      2m 40s
    7. Exposure bracketing
      6m 40s
    8. Using Active D-Lighting
      1m 19s
    9. Using the Vignette Control feature
      1m 6s
    10. Using the Auto Distortion Control feature
      58s
    11. Using long exposure noise reduction
      1m 41s
    12. Using high ISO noise reduction
      1m 22s
    13. Using the Bulb setting in Manual mode
      1m 2s
    14. Using the Info button
      1m 48s
  9. 19m 54s
    1. Adjusting LCD brightness
      2m 31s
    2. Protecting and deleting images
      4m 43s
    3. Hiding images
      1m 35s
    4. Toggling the Rotate Tall feature on and off
      50s
    5. File naming
      1m 21s
    6. Creating a file number sequence
      2m 35s
    7. Creating storage folders
      2m 3s
    8. Adding copyright info
      1m 50s
    9. Using in-camera retouching
      2m 26s
  10. 7m 14s
    1. Using the fill flash
      1m 48s
    2. Using Flash mode
      3m 18s
    3. Working with flash exposure compensation
      2m 8s
  11. 22m 25s
    1. Understanding high-dynamic range (HDR)
      5m 38s
    2. Creating multiple exposures
      3m 38s
    3. Using the interval timer
      5m 42s
    4. Shooting time-lapse photography
      1m 19s
    5. Working with the image area
      4m 25s
    6. Using the remote control
      1m 43s
  12. 8m 33s
    1. Defining picture controls
      2m 7s
    2. Selecting a picture control
      1m 38s
    3. Modifying a picture control
      2m 38s
    4. Using the monochrome picture control
      2m 10s
  13. 15m 42s
    1. Activating Live View
      8m 9s
    2. Focusing in Live View
      5m 27s
    3. Reviewing some Live View drawbacks
      2m 6s
  14. 17m 27s
    1. Configuring and activating video
      4m 34s
    2. Focusing and working with exposure
      7m 11s
    3. Using Playback mode
      3m 17s
    4. Customizing movie controls
      2m 25s
  15. 12m 44s
    1. Using menu banks
      3m 31s
    2. Using the My Menu feature
      2m 12s
    3. Customizing controls
      4m 0s
    4. Autofocus fine-tuning
      1m 25s
    5. Saving and loading settings
      1m 36s
  16. 14m 5s
    1. Working with custom settings
      51s
    2. Using the Focus Priority feature
      2m 15s
    3. Using the AF Activation feature
      1m 34s
    4. Controlling the number of focus points
      36s
    5. Using ISO sensitivity step value
      1m 8s
    6. Working with EV steps for exposure control
      1m 7s
    7. Using exposure flash compensation step value
      1m 1s
    8. Turning on easy exposure compensation
      1m 31s
    9. Using Exposure Delay mode
      1m 20s
    10. Using the Assign FN button
      2m 42s
  17. 6m 45s
    1. Camera sensor cleaning
      3m 29s
    2. Exploring operating conditions and temperatures
      1m 57s
    3. Getting firmware updates
      1m 19s
  18. 15m 43s
    1. Exploring focus and composition
      4m 55s
    2. Using an exposure strategy
      6m 50s
    3. Controlling exposure through Program mode
      3m 58s
  19. 22s
    1. Goodbye
      22s

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