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Program Mode vs Manual Control

Picture taken with a Nikon 995 with optimised manual settings.
Picture taken with a Nikon Coolpix 2000 set on program mode.

The two pictures above were taken using two quite different digital cameras. One picture (right) was taken with a Nikon Coolpix 2000, a competitively priced digital camera fitted with a decent close up lense which offers just program modes under which the camera's systems automatically choose the all the settings which will be used for any individual shot. The other picture (left) was taken with my own preferred Nikon Coolpix 995, which cost almost three times as much but which offers full manual control of all the settings used for any individual shot.

Both pictures are quite good enough for most purposes, though you may notice the point of the spear on the picture taken using the manual settings on the Nikon 995 is slightly sharper than the one taken on the Nikon 2000 in program mode. More on this later.

POINT 1: You can take reasonable pictures of miniatures with almost any but the cheapest of digital cameras as long as they are fitted with a decent close-up or macro lense.

Just to prove this point here's a picture taken by Jack Glanville a couple of hours after he took delivery of a Fuji Finepix 2800, another competitively priced fully automatic digital camera (again with a decent close-up lense). There's enough detail in this picture to show that Jack (Proprietor of Pioneer Professional Painting and a sponsor of this web site) does a fine job of producing painted figures figures at an incredibly reasonable price (these figures are 15mm WWII Germans painted to Jack's basic Wargames Standard).

BUT- Having said all this I am now going to expend a lot of space on this web site trying to show you why you should consider saving up the cash needed to buy a more expensive camera with the extensive manual control options which will allow you to take really good pictures of your model soldiers.

POINT 2: In almost all situations a camera with full manual control options will allow you to take better pictures of miniatures. In many situations it will allow you to take considerably better pictures.

So why's this then? you may ask.

POINT 3: The program modes which are usually your sole choice in cheaper cameras (and which are also usually the default choice in more expensive cameras) can get things very wrong when it comes to exposure and focus and, crucially, they offer you no opportunity to specify the aperture at which a photograph is taken.

A camera with manual options gives you precise control over three important elements of your pictures: focus, exposureand depth of field.

Next: Focus

       

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Many of the figures used in the pictures on this site were painted by Pioneer's Jack Glanville
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Site created by Derek Hodge: derek@hodgenet.co.uk