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How the D40 handles a multi dimensional problem

There are three dimensions to exposure:
  1. Aperture
  2. Shutter speed
  3. Sensitivity
In film days adjusting sensitivity on the fly was not practical, so you basically had a two dimensional plane once you loaded film.

The life of the camera computer was easy when you set the camera to A or S modes: all it had to do was adjust the free variable to maintain correct exposure. In M mode the camera merely informed you of exposure letting you roam freely in this 2D space.

The D40 can be setup exactly this way if you select fixed ISO. If you select auto ISO, however, the camera now is handed two free parameters (for A and S) and one free parameter (for M). How does the D40 deal with this?

For A mode the computer minimizes ISO and maximizes shutter speed. You can set a lower limit for Shutter speed and upper limit for ISO and the camera will drop shutter speed until it hits the lower limit and the start to bump ISO.

For S mode the computer minimizes ISO. It will maximize the aperture until it reaches the lens' limit. The it bumps ISO.

This all sounds sensible, but what about M mode? This is funny. In M mode you no longer have the freedom to mess with exposure - the camera runs loose with ISO changing it to give you correct exposure regardless of your A and S combination. Eventually it hits the camera ISO limits and starts to show you over- and under-exposure.

M mode with auto-ISO will enable you to play with particular shutter (motion capturing) and aperture (DOF) combinations for your subject that would normally be inaccessible to you (cumbersome with manual ISO, impractical with film).

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