There are four creative digital camera modes that are worth getting to know, but of these, the P or Program mode is the best place for a complete novice to start. Program mode sets the shutter speed and aperture for you, while still giving you full control over other settings. However, you can switch between these pre-determined shutter speed and aperture combinations by half-pressing the shutter button, using a useful feature known as Program Shift.
Because you may need to alter the aperture or speed to get the camera effect you want, Program Shift exists to enable you to tweak these settings to do this.
Turning the thumbwheel is typically all you need to do to get as artistic or technical as you need. Program Shift can differ slightly depending on your camera model, so check your manual for any camera-specific instructions for using Program Shift.
Below we show you step by step how to use Program Shift effectively.
Switch the mode dial to P
Most SLR cameras have a range of programmed exposure modes, but selecting the one labelled P (for program) enables you to have much more creative flexibility.
All done for you
If you just let it do its thing, the P mode will work out and set both shutter speed and aperture for you. It will then display the settings in the viewfinder and on the LCD.
Use the dial to shift
If either the shutter speed or aperture seem to be unsuitable for the effect you want to achieve, you can alter them by simply turning the SLR’s thumbwheel.
Watch what’s offered
As you turn the dial, the aperture and the shutter speed and aperture will alter in unison. You can watch the settings change in the viewfinder or on the LCD.
Full creative options
Using the program shift option gives as many permutations as with aperture priority or shutter priority, which enables you to maximise depth of field or motion blur, say.
If you can’t get the precise shutter speed and aperture you want at the same time, seek out the ISO control – and increase or decrease the sensor sensitivity to get what you want.
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