Photography 101: When to Use Manual Mode With Auto ISO

Expat Journal: Postcards from the Edge

Stephen F. Dennsted

Some so-called photography Purists insist that you should NEVER use any of your camera’s automatic features. I for one don’t find the self-ascribed label Purist particularly helpful—in fact the label is ostentatious and reeks of snobbism. Many Purists hold Ansel Adams up as their poster child for purism—but he was, in point of fact, anything but a Purist.

I find two automatic settings very useful: Auto White Balance and Auto ISO. Canon cameras do a very good job of determining the proper White Balance (or Kelvin temperature setting) of an image and both of my cameras are in Auto White Balance mode 100% of the time. I shoot CameraRAW files so any minor tweaks to White Balance can easily be done in post-processing.

Female Cinereous Harrier

ISO (International Standards Office) is basically the same thing as the old film speed designation ASA (American Standards Association)…

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