If we look at consumer cameras we see program or auto exposure modes with a lot of build in artificial intelligence.
For example: the camera might adjust the shutter speed based on the focal length used.
But if we look at expensive "pro" bodies we are suddenly confronted by the most basic P mode available.
It just gives us an average aperture/speed combination based solely on the amount of light hitting the surface.
With all the information available to the camera (focal length, range of depth under the different focus sensors, color/scene recognition algorithms,...) the camera should be able to give us a much better stating point.
- The camera detects a lot of movement of the subject (when using continuous auto focus) or the camera detects that you are using a long tele lens => the camera suggests a short shutter speed; sufficient to stop the motions.
- The camera detects a face close by (using it's color metering sensor and lens cpu) and the rest of the image in the distance => the camera suggests a wide aperture opening to throw the background out of focus and create a soft bokeh.
- The camera detects a gradual increase in distance of the objects under the auto focus sensors as well as colors that imply a landscape foto => The camera extrapolates the best aperture value to have the entire image sharp (or as sharp as possible) without getting motion blur due to camera shakes.
My point is that, with all the information available to the camera, the suggestions of the program mode could be a lot more intelligent and useful.
Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that this is an absolute must without which we can't take decent pictures. I do perfectly fine with the current P, A, S and M modes at my disposal. It's just that a more advanced P mode might be handy.
Would it be a tool for lazy photographers?
Perhaps... But I don't see that as a bad thing.
I also think that some people might be against the idea from a puritanical perspective.
Some photographers still believe that "real photographers" use manual exposure (preferably with an external light meter) and manual focus.
I personally enjoy taking advantage of whatever technology exists to give me a helping hand.
(Ever photographers a bunch of births in flight at short distance, with a long tele lens, while trying to use manual focus and manual exposure? I'll stick with the automated camera function when the situation calls for it.
Would it be perfect?
Of course not. There will always be situations where we'll want to override the camera. In my example of the facial portrait we might decide to use a small aperture because it's a vacation shot and we want the Eifel Tower in the back to be sharp as well.
But is would be more often a good place to start then the suggestions of the current program mode.
I'm not trying to complain here. I love my Nikon gear. I just want to know what you guys' and girls' take on the subject is.