Semi-Automatic Exposure Modes on Your Nikon D7200

By Julie Adair King

To take more creative control but still get some exposure assistance from the Nikon D7200 camera, choose one of these semi-automatic exposure modes (P, S, or A):

  • P (programmed autoexposure): The camera selects the aperture and shutter speed necessary to ensure a good exposure. But you can choose from different combinations of the two to vary the creative results. For example, shutter speed affects whether moving objects appear blurry or sharp. So you might use a fast shutter speed to freeze action, or you might go the other direction, choosing a shutter speed slow enough to blur the action, creating a heightened sense of motion. Because this mode gives you the option to choose different aperture/shutter speed combos, it’s sometimes referred to as flexible programmed autoexposure.

  • S (shutter-priority autoexposure): You select the shutter speed, and the camera selects the aperture. This mode is ideal for capturing sports or other moving subjects because it gives you direct control over shutter speed.

  • A (aperture-priority autoexposure): In this mode, you choose the ­aperture, and the camera sets the shutter speed. Because aperture affects depth of field, or the distance over which objects in a scene appear sharply focused, this setting is great for portraits because you can select an aperture that results in a soft, blurry background, putting the emphasis on your subject. For landscape shots, on the other hand, you might choose an aperture that produces a large depth of field so that both near and distant objects appear sharp and therefore have equal visual weight in the scene.

All three modes give you access to all the camera’s features. So even if you’re not ready to explore aperture and shutter speed, go ahead and set the mode dial to P if you need to access a setting that’s off-limits in the fully automated modes. The camera then operates pretty much as it does in Auto mode, but without limiting your ability to control picture settings if you need to do so.