Until now, I only used the Auto mode on my el cheapo Canon SX240HS.
I read up about the non-auto modes (P/Av/Tv/M)… but, considering the camera, was wondering if they're actually worth using.
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Auto modes tend to do pretty darn well, until they're met with a tough scenario.
For example - they struggle in highly backlit scenes. Or, let's say you want to get that soft water look and need to lengthen the shutter speed...auto will never do that automatically.
What if you want a portrait shot with very shallow Depth of Field? What about a landscape with crisp everything?
Or, what about shooting low light shots at a bar? Auto likes to pop a flash at this point, but that completely kills the mood. Maybe you want the mood.
So - yes - it's completely worth it to know and understand how exposure works and how your camera works, especially if the decision is between getting a shot you want or not getting it at all.
Professional photographs and advanced amateurs must pick up the books a study hard. That’s because most of us will never learn the fine points of photography by osmosis. Historically, photographers were men who had an affinity for chemicals and mechanical devices. The Kodak Browne of 1888 made photography for the masses a reality. Women still shied away. Kodak introduced the Instamatic about 50 years ago. This easy to use, easy to load camera shifted the tide, now mom and the kids began to take up this hobby. Still the problem was, too many pictures did not turn out. Maybe 20% were spoiled by under/over exposure and camera shake. The next intervention was chip logic added to the camera. Now the camera was pre-programed and applied logic that boosted the percentage of good picture to nearly 98%.
Now here’s the deal! You can study and learn and practice and you can best the automation now built-in to the camera. While you are reading and studying and asking questions, you can still work the camera. Why not use the tools availed and as you do, see if you can outperform the engineers and experts that wrote the software logic in your camera. Go for it, you can do it!