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Exposure Modes



There are a number of different exposure modes available on the vast majority of digital cameras. Depending on the camera type, there can be more automatic exposure modes (point-and-shoots) or manual modes (DSLRs).

The four main exposure modes (all manual), often contracted to PASM, are as follows:

Program mode: Program mode calculates the aperture and shutter speed but leaves other factors manually manipulatable (exposure compensation, flash, etc.)

Aperture priority: In aperture priority mode, the user sets the aperture manually and the camera calculates all the other factors automatically.

Shutter priority: Sometimes listed as "time value (Tv)," shutter priority mode functions the same way as aperture priority mode except with the shutter speed being the manually adjustable factor.

Manual mode: In manual mode, shutter speed, aperture, and ISO are all manually adjustable.

Other, rarer manual modes include ISO priority and depth-of-field mode.

There are also a variety of automatic exposure modes, many of which appear in some combination on point-and-shoots (and some DSLRs), including:

Landscape mode for increased depth-of-field.

Portrait mode lessens depth-of-field so a portrait subject is in focus and the background is blurred.

Night portrait mode extends the exposure and adds a fill-in flash.

Fireworks mode adds a long exposure (around four seconds) for capturing multiple fireworks in a single frame.

Macro mode shrinks the aperture to expand the depth-of-field and brings the focus to the front.

Burst mode adds a rapid-fire multishot capability.


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