With so many easy-to-use camera modes, why would anyone ever want to use anything else? Well, the first thing that comes to my mind is control. It is the number one benefit of using a digital SLR camera. The ability to control every aspect of your photography will open up creative avenues that just aren’t available in the automatic scene modes. Let’s face it: There is a reason that the Mode dial is split into two different categories. Let’s look at what we are giving up when we work in the scene modes.
- White balance. There is no choice available for white balance. You are simply stuck with the Auto setting. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but your camera doesn’t always get it right. And in the scene modes there is just no way to change it.
- Picture control. All of the automatic modes have specifically tuned picture controls. Some of them use the control presets such as Landscape or Vivid, but there is no way to change the characteristics of the controls while in the auto modes.
- Metering. All of the auto scene modes use the Matrix metering mode to establish the proper exposure. This is generally not a downside, but there are specific scenarios that would benefit from a center or spot metering solution, which we will cover in later chapters.
- Exposure Compensation. You will notice that in each and every automatic scene mode, the ability to adjust the exposure through the use of the exposure compensation feature has been completely turned off. This makes it very difficult to make slight adjustments to exposure that are often needed.
- Active D-Lighting. This is another feature that is unavailable for changing in all of the auto modes. There are default settings for this feature that change from scene to scene, but there is no way for you to override the effect.
Live View is the feature on your D7000 that allows you to see a real-time view of what the camera is looking at via the rear LCD display. Using Live View can be helpful when you want to see or shoot from an angle that doesn’t let you put your eye up to the viewfinder. It is also an excellent way of previewing any changes to white balance or the picture style because their effects will be visible on the screen.
- Flash Compensation. Just like exposure compensation, there is no way to make any adjustments to the power output of the flash. This means that you are stuck with whatever the camera feels is correct, even if it is too weak or too strong for your particular subject.
- Exposure Bracketing. One way to make sure that you have at least one good exposure is to use the bracketing feature of the camera, which takes images at varying exposures so you can get just the right look for your image. Unfortunately, this feature is also unavailable when using the scene modes.
Another thing you will find when using any of the automatic modes is that there are fewer choices in the camera menus for you to adjust. Each scene mode presents its own set of restrictions for the available menu items. These aren’t the only restrictions to using the automatic scene modes, but they should be enough to make you want to explore the other side of the Mode dial, which I like to call the professional modes.
Focus modes on the Nikon D7000
Three focus modes are available on the D7000. Depending on the type of photography you are doing, you can easily select the mode that will be most beneficial. The standard mode is called AF-S, which allows you to focus on one spot and hold the focus until you take the picture or release the shutter button. The AF-C mode will constantly refocus the camera on your subject the entire time you are depressing the shutter release button. This is great for sports and action photography. The AF-A mode is a combination of both of the previous modes, using AF-S mode unless it senses that the subject is moving, when it will switch to AF-C mode.