Why I Favour Programme Mode


Programme mode gives me the ability to shoot quickly without having to worry too much about my settings. It also provides a convenient way to quickly adjust both aperture and shutter speed by simply using my cameras exposure wheels. And, I can still dial in any exposure compensation that I feel is necessary.

My set up

So that I can take pictures quickly I use my camera (Panasonic Lumix G9) with the following settings.

  • Camera mode – P mode (programme mode with programme shift)
  • White balance – Auto
  • ISO – Auto
  • Focus Mode – Auto focus continuous
  • AF Mode – Face / Eye / Body / Animal detection
  • Burst mode – Low
  • Metering mode – Evaluative / Matrix

These settings allow me to rapidly take pictures or candid moments without having to worry about my camera settings. I can quickly point and shoot on the spur of the moment.

I can also keep an eye on my aperture and shutter speed and vary these using programme shift, with only one dial. And, I can keep an eye on my histogram and dial in exposure compensation as needed.

This provides me with great flexibility in using my camera and if I cannot get the settings that I need to get my picture, I can switch into another mode or take more control of any one of the following.

  • Aperture
  • Shutter speed
  • ISO
  • White balance
  • Focus modes
  • Metering modes

More about Programme Mode

Programme mode really is very flexible, it selects the aperture and shutter speed for you but allows you to vary both with just one dial.

This mode uses a sophisticated algorithm worked out by engineers and tries to maintain a fast enough shutter speed to use your camera handheld. Usually, this means not letting the camera’s shutter speed drop below 1/60s.. There is a caveat to that below.

Using ISO and Programme Mode

Manual ISO

If you manually set your ISO when using Programme Mode, then you are basically using your camera in a sort of ISO priority mode. You set the ISO, the camera sets the aperture and shutter speed based on the brightness of the scene and the ISO set by you. On my Lumix G9, using manual ISO means that in programme mode, I can use shutter speeds less than 1/60s and if i do not keep an eye on my shutter speed my images may be blurred.

Auto ISO

When using Auto ISO, my Lumix G9 will keep my shutter speed at no less than 1/60s, I can change this in the record menu if I choose. Auto ISO, works as a sort of fail safe to avoid blurry handheld shots by not letting my shutter speed drop below 1/60s.

Landscape scene shot in Programme mode
Camera Settings

Final thoughts

Once you start using this mode you will see that it as many advantages of other modes. When a photo opportunity arrives that you are not prepared for, you can frame and shoot knowing that your camera will probably capture the shot. And, if there is time afterwards, you can quickly adjust your aperture and shutter speed or apply exposure compensation, or both!

Programme mode works well for most subjects and scenes accept for those that are really challenging. For general photography though, you will this to be one of the most versatile modes on your camera.

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