A Quick Guide to the Use of the Manual Exposure Mode

Mode Dial, Nikon F80The manual exposure mode on a camera was of course, the only way to set exposure on a camera then. With smart metering systems coupled with the auto exposure modes available nowadays, what does one do with the M mode? Well, here are some pointers.

When to use the manual exposure mode:

  • Keeping the exposure constant in varying light conditions – especially useful when stitching or doing time lapse videos.
  • Preventing improperly exposed photos in conditions that are giving the camera’s exposure meter fits.
  • Balance the ratio between ambient and flash light in flash photography, especially when indoors.

When NOT to use the manual exposure mode:

  • When you are trying to feel like a photographer but all you are doing is matching the exposure settings to the exposure readout given by the camera, thereby achieving the same result as setting the camera on an auto-exposure mode, but taking longer to do so.
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