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By now you should be comfortable with the idea that a mode on your camera is simply a way of designating which decisions the camera will make for you and which will be left up to you. Scene modes are special modes that bias the camera's decision making process so that they're more appropriate for certain situations. For example, a Sports mode would bias the camera shutter speed choices toward faster speeds for better motion stopping power. Scene modes can alter everything from shutter speed, aperture, and ISO to focus and flash performance.
Now they don't open up any special advanced features on the camera, but they can make it easier to get good shots in the situations that they're designed for. It's important to note that like Auto mode most scene modes won't let you override some parameters. Also, most scene modes force you to shoot JPEG files. You won't be able to use RAW when using a Scene mode. Ideally, you want to build up your skill level to the point where you can make these decisions yourself, but for times when you need to quickly snap off some pictures in a situation for which there's a scene mode dialing in the appropriate mode can improve your chances of getting a good shot.
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