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Program Mode

edited April 2016 Posted in » Nikon D5300 Forum
I understand Aperture Priority and Shutter Priority, but what does Program Mode really bring to the party? To me it seems to offer the same as AP/SP, but all in one place.

Am I missing something?



  • edited April 2016
    You are not missing anything. Program mode sets both aperture and shutter at the same time, according to a program that attempts to figure out the best combination for the light. If you have Auto ISO enabled, it will continue to provide an exposure for just about any situation. If manual ISO is enabled, it will run out of useful options. It can be very handy if you want a "point and shoot" exposure mode with all the other options open, since the Auto exposure and scene modes take over some functions that you might still prefer to control. You can use P mode with spot metering and single point AF, for example, and choose your starting ISO.

    Most program modes will tend to favor shutter speed over aperture, but then when the lens is open, they will begin lowering shutter speed. Different cameras will have slightly different starting points.

    If you are in P mode, and you use the rear wheel, it will go through all the available shutter/aperture combinations for a given light level and ISO. If you have ISO set manually, this can be a handy guide to what possible combinations are available to give the same exposure level. Nikon refers to this as "flexible" program mode, and it makes for a pretty decent compromise between automation and control once you're used to it.

    If you have time to set things, P mode is hardly necessary, since you usually are aiming either for a specific shutter speed or a specific aperture, but it can be handy if you don't. It's not a bad setting to default to when you think you might need to whip the camera out and grab a shot on the fly.
  • Now that was VERY helpful. Thanks!
  • edited April 2016
    By the way, I should add, having tried P mode today with auto ISO on (a combination I don't usually use), you may find it less useful, because the display is not very informative. You don't know what ISO has been chosen until the shot is done. Moving the wheel does not always show any change on the display screen, at least on the D3200, which does not tell you what ISO auto ISO has chosen until it's done. It does still get a good exposure, but it's pretty "hands off" as far as settings are concerned.
  • Thanks, I'll play with my D5300 and see what I come up with.
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