What is AV Mode on a Digital Camera?

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Updated July 26, 2022

If you have been diving through the settings of your digicam, you may be wondering what is AV mode on a digital camera. All of the best digital cameras seem to offer this mode, after all. Keep reading to find out.


  • A camera’s AV mode stands for “aperture value” and allows users to adjust the aperture setting while automating related settings.
  • This means that the camera will automate the shutter speed, for instance, according to whatever aperture you have selected.
  • Make sure to enable this mode in the settings menu. Consult your instructions for specific guidance.

What is AV Mode?

AV stands for aperture value, so enabling the AV mode sets the aperture priority of your camera. What does this mean? This mode allows you to set a specific aperture f-number while the camera handles associated adjustments. In manual mode, for instance, you will have to set a dedicated shutter speed along with the aperture f-number. AV mode automatically adjusts to a preferred shutter speed and shutter priority when you set the aperture level. Shutterbugs won’t have to ask questions like “what is the aspect ratio on a digital camera” as this mode should set it for you.

But should you have questions like what is an electronic viewfinder in a digital camera, what is continuous drive on a digital camera, and what are the advantages of a digital camera, we have plenty of info guides to help you learn all about digital cameras.

Why Use AV Mode?

If you ask most consumers what is bad about a digital camera, they will tell you that the general operation is simply too confusing. Enabling AV automatic mode will automate some of the crucial adjustments that are necessary to obtain correct exposures. Aperture priority mode and any related program mode will reduce motion blur, enable faster shutter speed when necessary, or give you a slow shutter speed.

Tips to Use AV Mode

Here are some general tips to use a camera’s AV mode so you can get proper exposure.

Enable it in the Settings

A camera’s aperture priority mode will have to be enabled in the settings menu. Check the instructions to find specific guidelines, as most digital cameras include various shooting modes, including a landscape mode, a mode for flash photography, a mode that automates light conditions, and a mode to adust the ISO settings (among others.) This will affect the resolution on a digital camera, as well as cause distortions if you don’t set it correctly, so keep that in mind.

Don’t Be Afraid to Experiment

The beauty of a camera’s aperture priority mode is that it allows you to experiment with different aperture settings without having to make further adjustments to related criteria. Rotate the mode dial and set the shutter priority to whatever you like. Want a wide aperture? You can do that. Looking for a narrow aperture? You can do that too. Aperture priority mode makes use of wider apertures and smaller apertures alike, giving you creative control.

Insider Tip

Selecting the correct aperture priority mode can enable a lovely bokeh effect when used in the right way.


What are the different camera modes in digital photography?

There are plenty and these will vary depending on your camera, but most digital cameras include an aperture priority mode, a shutter priority mode, a program camera mode, and more.

What are the advantages of shooting in aperture priority mode?

The biggest advantage of shooting with aperture priority mode enabled is that it allows you to get good shots quickly without too much fuss.

When should you use aperture priority mode?

There are many scenarios in which this camera mode can come in handy. One such situation is when you are snapping photos during rapid light changes.

STAT: Aperture priority mode is commonly used in portrait photography, where a wide aperture (identified by a low number, e.g. f/1.4 or f/2.8) and therefore smaller depth of field may be desired to throw the background out of focus and make it less distracting. (source)


AV mode matches the lighting to the desired aperture setting, so if you want to take photos with ambient light for creative effect, you may want to use a manual mode.

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