Well, I’m not familiar wit


Well, I’m not familiar with that particular Canon model, but many of the Canons in that performance arena are similar. Odd that there’s no automatic setting for gain – most do offer the choice between autogain settings and manual, some with a broader range of settings, others like what you describe with high, medium & low.

There is, however, an advantage to manual gain settings. One such example being in a situation where the general subject area is OK, but a guy in a white shirt shifts into or out of frame, or part of the frame: If your camera was on autogain then you would see this constant shifting of the lighting as the sensors bounce off the shirt, then back on, then off…

…the same would occur if the setting were relatively well-lighted and a guy (or gal) in a black or dark outfit moved a bit in the edge or one side or the other of the frame – a constant shifting of the lightness/darkness of the scene due to the sensors reflecting off the darker element, back to normal…

Auto iris would create a similar situation – gain/iris work in tandem to a general degree. I’m attempting to oversimplify things here, sorry.

With a manual setting that won’t happen. So, based on your overall lighting situation you might be happier to settle for one of the three gain settings.

I personally prefer to set manual gain to 0, I rarely want to use a higher setting in darker lighting situations because that can or will often introduce grain and poor coloration, depending on the camera’s overall sensitivities/capabilities. I would use a negative gain setting, maybe, if I were in a bright or over-lighted situation that I could not control.

There are other approaches, methods and determinations that come into play regarding depth of field needs, lighting, lack of lighting, etc. Learning how to work these various controls in tandem, or individually to get the kind of exposure or image quality you desire comes from practicing.

Use a variety of situations: bright overlighted, good general lighting, dim to dark, and shoot some stuff using all the possible settings on your camera. As you’re recording, make a voice statement regarding the situation and setting for each event. Then, watch this series of recordings and listen to your audio notes and determine/learn what might work best for you in most general situations. Make a cheat sheet, if necessary, something you can refer to when out on a gig and can quickly go for what works.

It might help you also to determine how much the camera adjusts for white balance as well – test and see what the results are indoor/outdoor using the presets like incandescent and sunlight, or other. And testing for various colors/shades of cards, from white, to light blue, to gray.

You will soon enough become familiar with what goes WHAT for you in any given situation and then more than likely be delighted over the control you now have, as opposed to automatic or wondering.

Hope some of this helps and does not further confuse the issue. If not, sorry, maybe somebody else will pipe in.

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