Introduction to Digital Camera Modes

In a survey (informal) done on few people who own a digital camera, people were asked to mention the name of the shooting mode they frequently use.

However, most of the people said that they use the automatic mode most frequently. Even the professionals in the survey listed the auto mode as the most frequently used modes.

The reason that most of the people shoot with the auto mode is that, many are still unaware of how to use different shooting modes. So we’ve decided to introduce our readers to different shooting modes:

Automatic modes:

auto mode

Image Courtesy: Calgary Reviews

Automatic mode: this is the most frequently used mode and I guess users don’t need much information about this as they are already familiar to the auto mode. In this mode the camera uses the best available setting like the exposure, aperture, focusing, light metering, white balance, and equivalent sensitivity. It is effective in several shooting conditions.

Portrait Mode: while shooting in this mode the camera system automatically selects a low f-stop or large aperture that defocuses the background and mainly focus on the main subject creating a narrow depth of field. It is recommended to use this mode while you are shooting a single subject.

macro bug

Image Courtesy: Roberto Verzo

Macro mode: while shooting in this mode the camera system automatically sets a very narrow depth of field. It is considered ideal while shooting small objects, insects and flowers. Several cameras have different macro range (2-10cm). One must keep the subject and the camera parallel if possible as due to the very narrow depth of field the object placed slightly apart from the camera lens will result in out of focus images.


Image Courtesy: Paul Stevenson

Landscape mode: while shooting in this mode the camera automatically sets a higher f stop and hence increases the depth of field. This results in detailed images of the subjects as the almost the whole scene captured by the camera will be under focus. This mode is ideal for shooting distant objects such as mountains, skylines etc. This mode provides a slower shutter speed hence a tripod is recommended.

Image Courtesy:  USAG- Humphreys

Image Courtesy: USAG- Humphreys

Sports mode: also called as action mode. It refers not only to capturing sports moments but while shooting any moving object one must stick to this mode as it provides a fast shutter speed and hence reduces the motion blur. It is mostly recommended for capturing sports action or moving vehicles and animals.

Night mode: this mode is used while shooting in low lightning conditions especially night. While using this mode the camera automatically slows down the shutter speed for capturing details. Additionally this mode uses flash lightning and creates a much clear image of the subject. Due to the slow shutter speed this mode recommends using a tripod to eliminate the image blur caused by the cameras movement. It is also used by most of the users.

Other available modes that are not frequently used consists:

Image Courtesy:  tommerton2010

Image Courtesy: tommerton2010

Panoramic mode: it takes several images moving from one direction to the opposite (mostly left to right) and in the end merges all the images in order to deliver a final image with a wide view.

Image Courtesy:  Epic Fireworks

Image Courtesy: Epic Fireworks

Firework mode: it is used while shooting fire or fireworks.

Image Courtesy:  Derek Keats

Image Courtesy: Derek Keats

Underwater mode: while shooting underwater it adjusts your camera settings in order to receive high quality images with details.

Image Courtesy:  army.arch

Image Courtesy: army.arch

Indoor mode: it adjusts cameras shutter speed and white balance.

Semi automatic modes

Image Courtesy:  TTA @ India

Image Courtesy: TTA @ India

Manual mode: here you have the full control over the cameras setting and you can adjust shutter speed, aperture, ISO, white balance, flash etc. yourself according to the condition. It is highly recommended for professionals or the users with knowledge of all the aspects like ISO, shutter speed, exposure etc.

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