Most cameras come equipped with preset modes. Some cameras have fancy presets that the user doesn’t even know how to use; but most cameras come with some standard preset modes. Most inexperienced people do not use these modes. They tend to be happy just clicking away. Preset modes are not only for amateurs. In fact, some camera savvy people prefer to use preset modes by just turning a dial rather than bothering about aperture size and shutter speed. Many professionals prefer manual modes because they can get what they want out of their cameras in the same way an artist gets what he wants from his brush and canvas.
Are preset modes helpful? We can answer this question only after reviewing some standard preset modes that most cameras come with.
The Night Mode allows a slower shutter speed, enabling better exposure. The flash throws light on the subject, thus giving a good picture.
The Landscape Mode minimizes the aperture size thereby giving depth of field. In order to cope with the loss of light the shutter speed may be increased.
The Portrait Mode enables taking better half length pictures. This mode uses slow shutter speed and larger aperture size to give good detailing.
The Sunrise Mode allows a faster shutter speed in combination with a smaller aperture size in order to avoid overexposure.
The Action or sports mode uses faster shutter speed to capture the action. Off course this reduces the light coming in through the lens. Therefore a faster film speed is used to get a quality picture with less light. Also the aperture size may be increased.
The Macro mode enables the camera to focus on objects from a small distance. Most cameras will give a fazed-out image of close-ups taken from a close distance. The Macro mode overcomes this problem.
In Night Mode, since the shutter speed is low, it can result in camera shake, giving a blurry picture.
In Landscape Mode, due to the slow shutter speed the picture is prone to camera shake, giving a blurry look. Also any close by objects will appear blurry.
The Portrait Mode may lose on depth of field while viewing the background. Also, one has to hold the camera firmly in order to avoid camera shake. Moreover, if the subject is not within focal distance the features may appear blurred.
In the Sunrise Mode, since the aperture size is smaller, objects standing close by may look blurry and their features may be flat.
The disadvantage of the Action Mode is that the picture may be dark due to the shortened shutter speed. If the aperture is widened the picture may lose depth of field and the whole picture may not be in focus.
The Macro Mode loses depth of field and the background may not be visible.
The choice of professionals
The Aperture Priority Mode is mostly used by professionals who would like to have control over the aperture size according to their requirements. The camera adjusts the shutter speed automatically. The Shutter Priority Mode helps the professional photographer to control the shutter speed either to capture moving shots or to shoot in dark environments. The Manual Preset Mode is used by pros that do not trust the camera to think for them. This enables them to have full control over their work.
The choice to use preset mode or manual mode ultimately lies with the user. But those who know their jobs will use their own combination of settings in order to get the best picture possible. After all, if you knew how to get around, why would you use a guide?