Monday, March 12, 2012

EOS t3i Manual Mode Tip (or, why reading the manual is a good thing)

Yesterday, I attempted to shoot the day's photos all on Manual mode. The EOS t3i makes this easy enough to do. And with automatic ISO selection, the camera will actually compensate for screw settings. The only problem I've noticed was that I'd get into the following loop:

  • Select the shutter speed using the clicky dial thingy
  • Hit the 'Q' button and switch to aperture
  • Dial in the aperture I wanted
  • Bring the camera to my eye and press the shutter button half way down
  • Note the light meter and try to adjust the aperture, but it would be switched back to shutter speed. So...
  • Repeat

There just had to be a more efficient way to set the aperture. Of course there is. And even though I read the manual, I had either missed it or forgotten it. Right on page 99 it says:

To set the aperture, hold down the <AV+/-> button and turn the clicky dial thingy

(OK, the manual doesn't say "clicky dial thingy", but you get the point.)

This still takes practice to be natural - but all in all, I was much, much more satisfied with shooting using this strategy.

I don't know how long I want to play this manual-mode game, but so far, it's pretty fun. It certainly forcing me to think twice about what settings I want to use, which is of course, my goal.


  1. The Other Ben Simon3:25 PM

    Eventually you will become sensitive enough that you won't want the camera choosing the ISO either. You'll set that at your tolerance for noise (might be as high as 1600 for you on your camera) and do the rest with Aperture and Shutter.

    Of course then you'll realize you need a prime lens or something else you can open way up to get the pictures you want indoors....

    Bust out the wallet, buddy. You've found one of the most expensive hobbies around....

  2. Well explained Ben!

    The 50mm f1.8 was on my wishlist,, though I took it off so I could spend some time with my new telephoto.

    Setting the max ISO to something smaller (say, 800) the default 3200 is actually a really good idea. Of course, one day, I'll probably one to be explicit about it, too.