‘Hyper-Manual’ mode for Nikon and Canon
(subtitled: the episode where I finally learn now to use the Auto modes elegantly)
In my discussion of what would be the best camera in the world, I mentioned (at length) the clear advantage that Pentax cameras have because of their Hyper-Program and Hyper-Manual modes. I explain these two modes in more detail in that linked article, but in essence, the modes work as such:
Hyper-Program – is a program exposure mode, but by dialing the shutter speed dial it becomes Shutter Priority / Tv. By dialing the aperture dial, you instantly have Aperture Priority / Av. Very simple implementation. And very elegant.
Hyper-Manual – is manual exposure mode like we’re used to. But you can hit the Exposure Lock button, and then when you change the aperture, the shutter speed setting follows. If you change the shutter speed then, the aperture follows. Absolutely wonderful for when you have correct exposure. You can now get a different working aperture or shutter speed, and still have the same exposure value. Less twisting of dials.
Since I don’t shoot much outside of Manual exposure mode, I don’t have experience with finessing the automatic modes. Then Eric Schwab wrote in to tell me how he implements Aperture Priority with his Nikon cameras, to get something akin to Hyper-Manual mode with his Nikon cameras. I checked on my Canon 5D, and it works the same way.
I’m sure it might take a short while for finger-memory to kick in, but I can easily see how this could be a standard way of shooting.
This might not be news to most photographers who regularly use Aperture Priority / Av, but I’d like to put the information out here anyway …
Here is what Eric Schwab wrote:
I just happened upon your website and found out that it is filled with loads of useful info instead of the usual internet garbage. However I read your post about Hyper Program and Hyper Manual. There is a feature that is VERY close to this with the Nikon’s. After I discovered this it really changed the way I shoot in difficult lighting situations. Sadly Nikon doesn’t say anything about it so it remains a mystery to most people. Try this:
I set my camera to Aperture Priority and spot metering. For this to work well I think you should set “easy exposure compensation” on and change the meter timer so it lasts for at least 30s.
Now lets say you’re inside, and you set your camera aperture at 2.8. You point your camera at someone and hit the exposure lock. You get a reading of 2.8 and 1/250s and it is locked on your camera. You take some pictures and they are a little dark.
Use the wheel that normally changes exposure compensation to adjust. It keeps the aperture at 2.8 and only changes the shutter speed. Now you’re shooting at 2.8 and 1/100s and getting a good exposure.
Now you decide that you want a little less DOF. Use the other wheel to adjust the aperture. As you change this, it adjusts the shutter speed to keep the exposure the same. Now you’re shooting at F1.4 and 1/400s. You can even drop the ISO and it keeps the exposure the same and only adjusts the shutter speed.
Walk outside and hit exposure lock again and it resets everything and now your in the ballpark for a good exposure outside without having to spin the dials a hundred times. This rules for weddings where the lighting is always changing. Pretty cool huh? I no longer use Manual for weddings except for the formals.
Let me know if this helps.
With my Nikon D3 bodies, I had to change the following custom settings:
b4 – Easy Exposure Compensation … enabled
f6 – Assign AE-L / AF-L button … AE- lock (Hold)
This last one would interfere with my way of using the AE-L / AF-L button as my Flash Disable button. So another alternative would be to to assign my Preview Button to: AE – lock (Hold)
For the Canon 5D, it is even simpler:
Custom function 04 has to be set to 0 : AF/AE Lock
This does mess with someone though who would want to use the (*) button as the back-button focus (BBF) button.
Alternately, custom function can be set to 1, so that the shutter button is the AE Lock, and the (*) still operates as the BBF button. have the shutter button be the AF-lock.
Ultimately though, the Pentax engineers still have the rest of them beat on this! :^)