Flexible Priority, or Fv mode, was the first significant new creative zone exposure mode in decades. Introduced with the Canon EOS R, it’s now a standard mode on most R-series cameras as well as the Canon EOS M6 Mark II. In my experience, many photographers are creatures of habit and regularly ignore new features or ways of working. So it is time to learn what this feature is – and how it could be the only exposure mode you need for creative work.
Flexible Priority mode derives its name from the way you determine the balance of control taken, and how much you allow the camera to help. There are four individual parameters to work with: shutter speed, aperture, ISO and exposure compensation.
By default, exposure compensation is zeroed, and shutter speed, aperture and ISO are automatically set based on the meter reading. There are two controls used to select the parameter and change its value: the main dial next to the shutter changes value, and the quick control dial is used to switch from one parameter to another, indicated by a half-circular cog.
With Fv you can switch the currently controlled parameter, or even all the parameters, back to Auto. The method to return one or all parameters to the Auto setting varies between camera models; you may find that configuring a custom button is the ideal way to quickly access the Reset All setting.
When you want direct control of aperture, you select Aperture and choose the f-stop – in effect making Fv mode a clone of Av mode with Auto ISO. What Fv adds is the ability to reset all four parameters to automatically determined ones, or simply choose another parameter to take control of.
Select a specific shutter speed and now you’re controlling the shutter and aperture for depth of field and subject movement control. It’s like you’ve switched from Av to Manual exposure mode with Auto ISO, yet you haven’t touched the mode dial.
If you find that you do change modes while taking photos, Fv is a good alternative to every mode the camera offers. Photographers who primarily use manual exposure may find it easier to use Manual mode, since you can have dedicated controls for each of the shutter, aperture and ISO values. If your camera features Fv mode, it might be the perfect mode if you just want to easily switch between choosing the shutter speed or aperture.
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