Program auto

Program auto (also known simply as ‘program’) is a type of exposure automation where the camera uses its information on the illumination of a scene to calculate a range of suitable combinations of of aperture and shutter speed. While a camera in program auto will always suggest one, middle of the road exposure, the point of program auto is that it allows the user to easily select one of the other alternatives that will lead to a balanced exposure.

Program auto is the ancestor of both the full auto mode available on most consumer cameras, as well as a direct parent to many of the so called themed auto modes (portrait mode -> aim for wide apertures; sports mode -> aim for quicks shutter speeds)

On modern cameras this exposure mode is typically indicated through a letter P.

Other typical exposure automation approaches are aperture priority and shutter priority. For more details, see the JAPB article on exposure automation (part of the JAPB series on exposure)

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