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EOS M50 What mode to shoot in as a beginner?


I've just bought a M50 - my first digital camera. What mode would you recommend to shoot in to learn how to operate a camera? Using complete manual seems a bit daunting. Would one of the other priority settings be better to start off with? In which case would you use aperture priority vs shutter priority for example. Atm I've just been taking some street photography and auto seems to do pretty well. Although I've tried some nighttime street photography and it hasn't done as well.



First, strongly recommend returning the EOS M50 as Canon has discontinued the M-series camera line.  Instead, pick up an R-series camera such as the EOS R50.

In terms of where to start, yes, do avoid Manual (M) mode.   Instead, try the two modes of Aperture Priority (Av) and Shutter Priority (Tv).

With Av, you pick the aperture (how much the lens opening will be open).  This controls depth-of-field which is how much of the image will be in focus.   With Tv, you pick the shutter speed (to either freeze action, or to exaggerate action by showing motion blur).    When in either of these two modes, the camera will pick other settings for you.

After you become familiar with both modes and have enough practice with them, move on the Program (P) mode.   Finally, move on to Manual (M) mode.   Ultimately, you won't always use a single mode.  You'd be at the point of understanding which mode would be best for the scenario at hand.

The other thing to learn along the way as you explore modes is the exposure triangle.  How aperture, shutter speed and ISO work together to control the exposure.  And, as you change one of the three, how one or two of the other three needs to change to compensate.


Camera: EOS 5D IV, EF 50mm f/1.2L, EF 135mm f/2L
Lighting: Profoto Lights & Modifiers


I take a slightly different approach, use P mode to get yourself familiar with the camera and what it does. Then, when you recognize a shooting situation that calls for a specific shutter speed (blurring a stream) or aperture (narrow depth of field) you can switch and experiment with them.


Hi Jude and welcome to the forum:

First, let me confirm the suggestion that my colleague Ricky make:  if you can, return the M50, it's a dead end as far as cameras go and had been officially deemed obsolete by Canon as regards it sales line-up is concerned.

Right now, we don't know your budget or the kinds of things you intend to photograph, but the R50 is as good a place to start as anywhere as an equivalent to the M50 that is on the new, supported R-series platform.  You would need a lens to go with that and if you can afford to, get the RF-S 18-150mm IS STM lens with it.  BTW, if you do get an R-series body, stick to R-series lenses.  

Where to start?  Whatever you get, download a copy of the manual - do a Google search for ' Canon EOS R50 user manual' or whatever model you get and download a PDF of it from the Canon support site.  You can put it on your phone or tablet for quick reference and a PDF has better search features than the hardcopy.
Next, go to You Tube and look for tutorials on photography.  A dedicated camera is more capable than a cell phone, but you need to put in a lot more effort to understand exposure, while you are doing that you could get to know the controls by using P mode.   When you have grasped the principles of the critical Exposure Triangle - the relationship between shutter speed, aperture (for Depth of Field) and ISO for sensor sensitivity to light then you can move on to Av (Aperture Priority mode) and Tv (Time Value: shutter priority), and finally - but not necessarily, M for manual mode.

Really, you have two issues:
1 - To learn the general principles of photography that apply to any dedicated camera.
2 - Learn the controls specific to whatever camera you purchase, in order to apply those principles.
I advise that this is a journey that will take time, application and endurance.  It gets progressively less daunting as you gain experience, like any skill. But one of the things to do is to go and take a lot of images and look at them critically to see what you did well, and not so well. Seek the advice and constructive critique of experienced photographers - they are usually happy to help.

I strongly recommend checking your local library on-line catalogue for an item called LinkedIn Learning.  If it is available it is an excellent source of learning about photography from professionals who are also great teachers.  You can use your library card and PIN to gain unlimited access to the site (which is normally fee-driven).  From there look for Photography Foundations, usually taught by Ben Long.

There is also a free 4-hour tutorial on You Tube that you should consider: 

cheers, TREVOR

"All the variety, all the charm, all the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow", Leo Tolstoy;
"Skill in photography is acquired by practice and not by purchase" Percy W. Harris
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