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The Nikon D5200 Scene Modes
The Nikon D5200 has 16 pre-programmed scenes. Basically you decide which scene suits your needs best and then let the camera do the rest. The scene modes are: portrait; landscape; child; sports; close up (which have their own separate options on the Dial Mode); night portrait; night landscape; party/indoor; beach/snow; sunset; dusk/dawn; pet portrait; candlelight; blossom; autumn colors; food (which are all under the Scene mode on the Dial Mode).
The easiest way to explain the Scene Modes is to show how they effect a single shot. Here is a shot of a sign, using the 16 scene modes which are available from the Scene option on the Mode Dial. Everything was left to the camera to sort out and they were taken hand-held. The lens is a 12-24 f4 Nikkor AF-S G lens. Feel free to download the Hi Res images to examine them closely.
Portrait Mode: This Auto Mode can be used for taking portraits. The camera will prioritize skin tones. It will be shot will a shallow depth of field (wide aperture) to make the in-focus subject stand out more. The best lens for portraits is one between 85mm and 105mm.
Landscape Mode: This Auto Mode slows down the shutter speed to give more depth of field and greater detail in your shots. Landscape mode will turn off the flash and so this mode should ideally be used with a tripod.The camera will try to boost greens and blues in the image and boosts the sharpness during processing. It tries to get down to the lowest ISO to give you maximum detail.
Child Mode: This Auto Mode is great for intimate lively snapshots. Consider it a combination of portrait mode and sports mode, if that makes sense. It will try to boost vivid colors.
Sports Mode: This Auto Mode switches the camera to a higher ISO and a fast shutter speed to capture the action. It also switches off the pop up flash. It will switch the focus mode to dynamic and widen the aperture. Be aware of noise, though, which can slip in to your images when you shoot at high ISO.
Close up Mode: As the name suggests this is ideal for close up photography though, a macro lens will give you more scope in this area. Again this should be used with a tripod. The camera will keep the aperture small, but try to maintain a high shutter speed. It will achieve this by using the flash or raising the ISO.
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The following scenes are found in the SCENE MODE. You can navigate through them by using the command dial.
Night Portrait addresses the problem of photographing a subject in relative darkness. The usual result is an overexposed face with the background lost – and so no context. This mode slows the shutter speed to give you more background and less overexposure of the subject in the foreground.
Night Landscape addresses the problems of noise and flare that can effect a photo when taken at night, The noise is reduced and lights and signage (in cityscapes for example) are more realistically reproduced. The flash is switched off, so use a tripod.
Party/Indoor works to accurately reproduce the effects of indoor lighting.
Beach/Snow is designed to capture the highlights and brightness (which other modes might work to reduce) that you will find on sunny beaches, bright snow scenes and also still water shots.
As it sounds, Sunset is designed for those low-light conditions and those deep colors you get when the sun is low in the sky. The flash is switched off, so use a tripod.
The Dusk/Dawn setting tries to hold onto those weak strands of light you get just after sunset or before dawn. Flash is off.
The Pet Portrait mode is a very fast scene for catching your pet in action. The flash is on for this, but the red-eye/ AF-assist is off, so that your pet isn’t spooked by it. Fast with Flash means less depth of field.
Candlelight tries to tune into the light given off by a bright yellow flame. It turns the flash off.
Blossom is for pictures of fields of flowers or trees full of cherry blossom. Flash is turned off and, whilst it has a fast shutter speed, it uses the aperture to keep the depth of field.
The Autumn Colors scene emphasizes the reds and yellows that are so dominant in autumnal scenes. Flash is off.
The Food scene emphasizes the vivid colors associated with bright, fresh food. The flash can be used with this scene. The shutter speed is slowed and the aperture is smaller to give a wider depth of field.
All these shots were taken within seconds of each other and their purpose is to show how the different scenes can affect the final images. I hope you will notice the variations between the scenes. For example the color saturation and depth of field in the Close up image, as opposed to the blue hue in the Candlelight shot or the shallow depth of field in the Portrait scene. The scene options offered a wide variety of shutter speeds, apertures and ISOs which combined to give quite different images. I think the point here is that these scenes are shortcuts, designed to help you take good pictures in certain circumstances. BUT that does not mean that they should be restricted to those circumstances. They allow the photographer who is not yet adept enough to work exclusively through manual mode a selection of different shooting choices that can enhance the experience.
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