Yes, that’s right. I admit it. I shot the majority of a session in P mode.
P mode, which is Program mode, and NOT Professional Mode (don’t believe anyone who may tell you this), does a lot of the heavy lifting for you. For shooters, it gives you some control, but not 100 per cent Manual mode (which is what I generally shoot). There’s about a million tutorials on YouTube about P mode and M mode, so I’m going to dispense with the basics. My point today is to tell you why I shot P mode instead of Manual.
Now, Manual mode gives you exactly what you want, and it’s my main preference. In fact, when I tried to switch from M to P, my camera asked me, “Hey man….what are you doing? Where are we going with this?” Here’s why even pros shoot the P mode.
The situation I was in combined a very fast subject with various lighting conditions. Sure, Manual mode worked great where I wanted us to shoot. The two year-old subject, however, did not want to stay there for too long. Fairly quickly, I realized that P mode might make the difference. I looked around to make sure nobody saw me, and switched. Wow. I haven’t shot in Program mode for a very long time, and forgot how easy capturing images in this mode was.
In Manual, I would be constantly changing my settings to adjust for the new light, speed, and other factors. In P mode, that lovely thing around your neck called a DSLR is doing all that for you in realtime. Instead of missing a shot, you have it in P mode. Besides, if something minor is off, fix it in post production!
The bottom line in the M vs P debate is that both modes are great….for the application. In this case, shooting Manual would have been fine about 25% of the time. Program allowed me to capture way more cool images in a challenging condition.
And using Program mode is nothing to be ashamed of. Even if you prefer to shoot in Master like I do!