I use a Sony NEX-5R, which I'm generally comfortable with -- I generally know what ISO and shutter speed to use, that I should shoot portraits wide open, and I shoot landscapes at the aperture at which my lens is sharpest, etc. I use a tripod with a remote control for low-light landscapes, along with manual focus.
Given that I'm not a beginner, does it help to use one of the scene modes the camera supports? Note that I shoot in RAW.
Unfortunately, what each of the modes does it not precisely defined (such as: "Portrait mode uses the widest aperture available, and focuses on a nearby object").
Pasting from the manual:
- Portrait: Blurs away backgrounds and sharpens the subject. Accentuate skin tones softly.
- Landscape: Shoots the entire range of scenery in sharp focus with vivid colors.
- Macro: Shoots close-ups of the subjects such as flowers, insects, food, or small items.
- Sports Action: Shoots a moving subject at a fast shutter speed so that the subject looks as if it is standing still. The camera shoots images continuously while the shutter button is pressed. When using the touch shutter, the camera shoots images continuously while you are touching the screen.
- Sunset: Shoots the red of the sunset beautifully.
- Night Portrait: Shoots portraits in night scenes. Raise the flash to use this mode.
- Night Scene: Shoots night scenes without losing the dark atmosphere.
- Hand-held Twilight: Shoots night scenes with less noise and blur without using a tripod. A burst of shots are taken, and image processing is applied to reduce subject blur, camera-shake, and noise.
- Anti Motion Blur: Allows you to shoot indoor shots without using the flash and reduces subject blur. The camera shoots burst images and combines them to create the image, reducing subject blur and noise.