I should have known this…but I didn’t – AEB and Manual Mode

AEB and Manual Mode

I pride myself on knowing my equipment, so this hurts

I was fiddling with my camera because I needed to answer someone’s question about Aperture priority and AEB (Automatic Exposure Bracketing). Now of course I know and had suggested to people that they use AP + AEB to get their 3 exposure bracket. Of course I also knew that you could do AEB and use  Shutter Priority mode, which we don’t suggest for HDR because we want a constant aperture and therefore a constant Depth of Field

What I never realized was that on my Camera (Canon 5D) and other Canons models along with Nikons ( as far as I know, I checked with a Nikon user but would like another confirmation) what I didn’t realize was that AEB was possible in Manual Mode too. On Canon’s in manual, You can choose an aperture and the camera will bracket just as it does in any of the semi-auto modes. I’ll be darned. I should have know this but I didn’t and the 40 years I spent shooting Manual Film Camera, AEB wasn’t even an option on those fully manual mechanical wonders.

So why is this helpful? Well the good thing is, like using manual mode for any other purpose, you are fully in control and  your exposure is consistent. As I discussed in this article. The problem with using Aperture priority is that you have to lock the exposure using the exposure lock button or use Exposure compensation to make up for changes in exposure when you recompose your image. Having AEB available in Manual means you automatically lock that exposure and it is repeatable even if you shift your framing slightly. Which in AP/AV mode, may change even with a slight shift.

I feel dumb, but then I feel smart because now that I know, it will help me to get  better exposures more quickly.

Also  you may ask well if you are in Manual, why even bother with AEB? The reason is, even mounted on a good tripod, any time we press on the camera for any reason, we have a possibility of shifting the camera slightly. This may not be a problem in most cases, But when we have 3 or more images we are trying to align, if we can keep the camera as steady as possible we can eliminate some work the software has to deal with. With AEB, I can either just use a remote shutter release and fire off the 3  shots or use my timer and my hands never need to touch the camera in between shots.

But just to confirm, AEB does not work with Manual  mode on my Canon Powershot S90

I know, I should have known and now I do ( said sheepishly)

Hope that helps,