Join Richard Harrington for an in-depth discussion in this video What is Programmed Auto mode?, part of Learning to Shoot with the Sony Alpha a7 Series.
- If you'd like to step up from shooting in intelligent auto mode, the programmed auto mode of your camera can automatically adjust things like shutter speed and aperture based on a built in program. Now, this could be a very useful mode if you want to shoot snapshots or if you're dealing with really tough lightning. Or maybe, you just want the camera to do the hard work and you're just going to make a simple change to ISO. When shooting in programmed auto mode, the camera will determine both shutter speed and aperture. However, you're free to change a few things like the auto focus mode, the white balance settings allowing you to get custom white balances for artistic reasons or for solving lighting problems.
You could change the ISO which is the sensitivity which is a great way to control noise or push the camera if shooting in lower light, and you could change the file format. So this is a nice way to graduate from the more basic automatic settings into something that's still fairly automatic. For example, you could choose the ISO, which will give you a lot more flexibility. I'd recommend 100 if you're shooting on a sunny day, maybe 400 if you're shooting inside under available light in an office or at a house, and perhaps 1,600 for shooting late at night or maybe a concert.
Now, be sure to experiment with the ISO settings. This is really a subjective choice. You will find that the different models of the a7 camera perform slightly different. Remember the Sony a7S has extreme low light performance. But, ISO is a subject that you should try on your own. Alright, let's give a quick demo of this basic programmed auto mode. I'm going to turn the dial here on top of the camera one click to "P", and let's frame up the shot. You'll notice here that the camera decided to use F5 and a shutter speed of 1/100 of a second.
Well, we could change the ISO pretty easily if I press the function button to access the quick navigation here. I'll just roll over to the ISO and lower that. Let's go to 200 here because while we're indoors, we're under a professional studio lighting environment. There we go. And you see that the camera settings changed. This particular case, it dropped down to an aperture of 2.2 and a slower shutter of a 60th of a second to adjust the amount of light coming into the camera.
Alright, let's change that here. We'll bump the ISO up. I'll press the function button again and this time boost it a little bit. Let's go to 3,200. Well, the chance of noise increases with a shot like this, but you see the camera is able to use a smaller aperture giving me greater or increased depth of field, and it was able to change the shutter speed faster because of the increase performance of the ISO. So, let's take a shot there.
I'll press the play back button for a second, and let's zoom in a little. And what I want to check is in the shadows, if there's much noise. Well, you see there's not a lot of noise in those areas so that's great. This is one of the performance things that I like about the Sony a7 series is that it can shoot on higher ISO's without getting noisy. But, the choice that you make is ultimately up to you.
- Taking shots in auto mode
- Using the in-camera guide
- Using lens controls and zoom
- Changing image size and quality
- Changing ISO in programmed auto mode
- Exploring autofocus
- Shooting in continuous (burst) mode
- Switching exposure modes
- Shooting with an external flash
- Recording video
- Remote controlling and tethering your a7 camera via Wi-Fi