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  • iAuto modes - good or bad?

    Most compact (and even some bigger cameras) now have an enhanced everything auto mode, or intelligent auto (iAuto). In the good old days auto or Program mode would simply choose the apertyre and shutter speed for you, but iAuto modes can be very sophisticated, analysing the view of your subject, attempting to identify the scene type and then applying a suitable shutter speed, aperture, ISO speed, white balance and even back light compensation, subject motions sensing compensation, etc.

    Confession time Do you use iAuto on your camera - maybe sometimes? I confess that I do, especially if I'm not that familiar with the camera.

    Ian
    Founder/editor
    Digital Photography Now (DPNow.com)
    Twitter: www.twitter.com/ian_burley
    Flickr: www.flickr.com/photos/dpnow/
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  • #2
    Re: iAuto modes - good or bad?

    I do on the Panasonic G1. The wretched thing is so complicated and menus and buttons so confusing that I'm forever accidentally changing settings accidentally and it is a quick way of sorting most things out. On the whole iA gives reliable results.

    Sometimes I feel like sticking a bit of gaffer tape over the control wheel and some of the buttons on the G1

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: iAuto modes - good or bad?

      You make it sound as though we may all be missing out on something if we don't use iAuto

      The only camera I've ever owned with iAuto is of course the Olympus E-P1, and I must admit to never having used it. The reason for me of course is my mindset I'm deeply entrenched in the belief that Raw is best, I have total control and the ability to edit photos much better with Raw. With iAuto I would feel totally dependant on what the camera is deciding, I wouldn't know what it was doing, and consequently I wouldn't feel in control

      For someone like yourself Ian, who is regularly using different cameras that you are unfamiliar with, I can see the argument for it. I can also see that many cameras you use don't even have a Raw function. Not only this but for the sake of speed and simplicity you would feel it best to use a camera jpeg anyway. Fair enough For me though every shot I take is a potential masterpiece and I simply couldn't compromise my art for the sake of using iAuto
      Stephen

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      Check out my BLOG too


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      • #4
        Re: iAuto modes - good or bad?

        Originally posted by Stephen View Post
        You make it sound as though we may all be missing out on something if we don't use iAuto

        The only camera I've ever owned with iAuto is of course the Olympus E-P1, and I must admit to never having used it. The reason for me of course is my mindset I'm deeply entrenched in the belief that Raw is best, I have total control and the ability to edit photos much better with Raw. With iAuto I would feel totally dependant on what the camera is deciding, I wouldn't know what it was doing, and consequently I wouldn't feel in control

        For someone like yourself Ian, who is regularly using different cameras that you are unfamiliar with, I can see the argument for it. I can also see that many cameras you use don't even have a Raw function. Not only this but for the sake of speed and simplicity you would feel it best to use a camera jpeg anyway. Fair enough For me though every shot I take is a potential masterpiece and I simply couldn't compromise my art for the sake of using iAuto

        I have to go along with Stephen on this, not least because I don't and have never owned a camera with iAuto anyway. I know I wouldn't for much the same reasons as already outlined. I don't even use program on the cameras I have Aperture priority or Manual and thats it.

        Us oldies take some shifting.

        Patrick

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        • #5
          Re: iAuto modes - good or bad?

          Originally posted by Patrick View Post
          I have to go along with Stephen on this, not least because I don't and have never owned a camera with iAuto anyway. I know I wouldn't for much the same reasons as already outlined. I don't even use program on the cameras I have Aperture priority or Manual and thats it.

          Us oldies take some shifting.

          Patrick
          and another for this school of thought. A,S or M only. even do this with the fuji F30 when used for diving.
          it's a control thing.
          Dave
          http://www.devilgas.com

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          • #6
            Re: iAuto modes - good or bad?

            Originally posted by devilgas View Post
            and another for this school of thought. A,S or M only. even do this with the fuji F30 when used for diving.
            it's a control thing.
            I'm testing a very high-spec Sony DSC-HX5 compact at the moment; it has image stabilisation, GPS geo-tagging, a digital compass, single action continuous pan panorama mode, built in HDR mode, a back-lit 10MP CMOS sensor, Bionz image processor, 10fps continuous shooting... but no A, or S mode, only iAuto, P, or M

            Ian
            Founder/editor
            Digital Photography Now (DPNow.com)
            Twitter: www.twitter.com/ian_burley
            Flickr: www.flickr.com/photos/dpnow/
            Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/ianburley/

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: iAuto modes - good or bad?

              Interesting, but Patrick don't you use Shutter Priority?
              How do you control movement in your pics or is that not something your interested in?

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: iAuto modes - good or bad?

                Yes I use it on my TZ6 but it's very frustrating to not know what its doing!
                As I get back into photography, (been away for a while) I'm thinking how much simpler and better it would be to have the semi-automatic modes (S & A) I used to use!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: iAuto modes - good or bad?

                  Originally posted by Mac View Post
                  Interesting, but Patrick don't you use Shutter Priority?
                  How do you control movement in your pics or is that not something your interested in?
                  I use little else to tell the truth, it does everything as fare as I'm concerned. Contrary to how it reads on my post I have Aperture & Shutter priority, Program and Manual. I use manual when I feel the occasion arises.
                  If I was a sport photographer I would probably use Shutter priority for simplicity, but the job could still be done effectively using aperture priority.

                  In truth modern cameras don't actually do anything more than the old cameras they simply give you more ways of doing it.
                  Whichever way you slice the cake, its down Aperture and Shutter speed.
                  In our film days ISO played a smaller part because the film was a given speed, and when loaded that was it. It was possible to push or pull development but it affected the whole film. Digital gives the option to change ISO anytime so an extra element when the occasion demands is now available for an individual image.

                  Patrick

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                  • #10
                    Re: iAuto modes - good or bad?

                    Originally posted by Patrick View Post
                    I use little else to tell the truth, it does everything as fare as I'm concerned. Contrary to how it reads on my post I have Aperture & Shutter priority, Program and Manual. I use manual when I feel the occasion arises.
                    If I was a sport photographer I would probably use Shutter priority for simplicity, but the job could still be done effectively using aperture priority.

                    In truth modern cameras don't actually do anything more than the old cameras they simply give you more ways of doing it.
                    Whichever way you slice the cake, its down Aperture and Shutter speed.
                    In our film days ISO played a smaller part because the film was a given speed, and when loaded that was it. It was possible to push or pull development but it affected the whole film. Digital gives the option to change ISO anytime so an extra element when the occasion demands is now available for an individual image.

                    Patrick
                    Fundamentally there have always been three core values that determine the exposure: shutter speed, aperture, and media sensitivity (ASA/ISO). I don't really agree that cameras don't do any more than old ones, unless you simply mean that the three aforementioned variables haven't changed. With iAuto modes the cameras are analysing a great deal of information and making quite bold decisions.

                    They can attempt to recognise the scene, from close ups (macro) based on the focus distance, action (based on subject motion), scene recognition - landscapes, portraits (face detection), night time, etc., shake reduction with gyros sensing the movement of the camera, and on and on.

                    With action detection, for example, the camera can sense if there is a lot of motion blurring of the subject, which is independent of the camera's movement (camera shake, which is sensed differently), and the camera can increase the ISO sensitivity for that shot in order to force a faster shutter speed. It does this in a fraction of a second, too.

                    Modern camera auto modes can also detect scenes that need highlights to be preserved and shadows to be boosted. Some cameras now even shoot more than one exposure to achieve an HDR result - based on the scene conditions.

                    Much of this is dependent on live view modes. There would be too much shutter lag otherwise.

                    Ian
                    Founder/editor
                    Digital Photography Now (DPNow.com)
                    Twitter: www.twitter.com/ian_burley
                    Flickr: www.flickr.com/photos/dpnow/
                    Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/ianburley/

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: iAuto modes - good or bad?

                      Originally posted by Mac View Post
                      Interesting, but Patrick don't you use Shutter Priority?
                      How do you control movement in your pics or is that not something your interested in?
                      I almost always use aperture priority; if I need to alter the shutter speed, I use the aperture setting

                      Ian
                      Founder/editor
                      Digital Photography Now (DPNow.com)
                      Twitter: www.twitter.com/ian_burley
                      Flickr: www.flickr.com/photos/dpnow/
                      Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/ianburley/

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: iAuto modes - good or bad?

                        Originally posted by Ian View Post
                        I almost always use aperture priority; if I need to alter the shutter speed, I use the aperture setting

                        Ian
                        I know we have had this discussion before, but I tend to use Shutter priority (Tv) more. It does depend largely on the type of work I'm doing though.
                        Stephen

                        sigpic

                        Check out my BLOG too


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                        • #13
                          Re: iAuto modes - good or bad?

                          Originally posted by Stephen View Post
                          I know we have had this discussion before, but I tend to use Shutter priority (Tv) more. It does depend largely on the type of work I'm doing though.
                          I'm constantly thinking about aperture-specific settings, like depth of field and restricting the minimum aperture to avoid diffraction issues below f/8. So I need more control of the aperture. And if I need to bias the aperture for effect (freezing action or allowing motion blur) I will use the ISO speed and aperture settings to get the shutter speed in the zone I'm aiming for.

                          Ian
                          Founder/editor
                          Digital Photography Now (DPNow.com)
                          Twitter: www.twitter.com/ian_burley
                          Flickr: www.flickr.com/photos/dpnow/
                          Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/ianburley/

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: iAuto modes - good or bad?

                            Originally posted by Ian View Post
                            Fundamentally there have always been three core values that determine the exposure: shutter speed, aperture, and media sensitivity (ASA/ISO). I don't really agree that cameras don't do any more than old ones, unless you simply mean that the three aforementioned variables haven't changed. With iAuto modes the cameras are analysing a great deal of information and making quite bold decisions.

                            They can attempt to recognise the scene, from close ups (macro) based on the focus distance, action (based on subject motion), scene recognition - landscapes, portraits (face detection), night time, etc., shake reduction with gyros sensing the movement of the camera, and on and on.

                            With action detection, for example, the camera can sense if there is a lot of motion blurring of the subject, which is independent of the camera's movement (camera shake, which is sensed differently), and the camera can increase the ISO sensitivity for that shot in order to force a faster shutter speed. It does this in a fraction of a second, too.

                            Modern camera auto modes can also detect scenes that need highlights to be preserved and shadows to be boosted. Some cameras now even shoot more than one exposure to achieve an HDR result - based on the scene conditions.

                            Much of this is dependent on live view modes. There would be too much shutter lag otherwise.

                            Ian
                            Hi Ian

                            All this calculation and analyzing comes down to two elements, what shutter speed, and what aperture to use, and then set for us by this computer with a lens attached called a camera.

                            Patrick

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: iAuto modes - good or bad?

                              Originally posted by Patrick View Post
                              Hi Ian

                              All this calculation and analyzing comes down to two elements, what shutter speed, and what aperture to use, and then set for us by this computer with a lens attached called a camera.

                              Patrick
                              Sorry Patrick, but you have missed my point - cameras are now doing significant image processing in the camera to go beyond actual exposure control; highlight and shadow compensation for one. Many of us do this routinely in post-processing but it's happening in cameras automatically as well. For cameras without RAW, this is quite an important step forward. Scene recognition in iAuto modes is a powerful advance. Some cameras also selectively sharpen details. It's hard to second guess what they'll dream up next

                              Ian
                              Founder/editor
                              Digital Photography Now (DPNow.com)
                              Twitter: www.twitter.com/ian_burley
                              Flickr: www.flickr.com/photos/dpnow/
                              Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/ianburley/

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