I wrote this blog on my own blog a while back, but reading Rebecca's post today made me think of this again and thought it would be useful on DT:
My mother is taking a course on photography and she was commenting on how her teacher was touting the advantages of shooting in manual. While I am no stranger to manual I really think this argument is directed to people who set the camera to program and then don't notice what settings the camera picks. This is a crucial point - there is not an iota of difference between the camera picking 1/125s - f/4 and you setting the same in manual. The only difference is that you saved yourself the time and trouble, and maybe got a shot you wouldn't have had time to get.
"Sure," you say, "but what about when the meter is wrong?". Good question!...
I agree. Apeture certainly is the primary setting, unless movement is your goal.
In the defense of Manual, I found it very useful as a learning tool. The explanation of shutter priority, apeture priority is always useful, but I found the one way to make it all stick was to spin the dials on my own for awhile. In the process, I discovered all of the other features of my camera (exp comp, WB, flash comp, etc.). I'm not in manual too much anymore, but it certainly helps to know how to get it done in difficult situations when needed.
This last weekend I rented a Canon 135mm f/2 prime lens for taking shots of the kids and so on. I've rented lights before, but what surprised me was the really low cost of renting lenses. I don't know if this is common in other cities, but the cost of such a lens is over 1000 Can$, but it rents for a weekend for $25 (Friday afternoon pickup, return Monday before 11). In this case you can also apply the rental to the purchase price, so it is really an extended try before you buy idea. At that price, I could really justify it for shooting stock photos - doesn't take too many sales to pay back $25.
I could see this being great if you want to rent a specific lens for the occasional wedding or family photo shoot, or to get some specific shots (Tilt shift or fisheye?) without the...
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