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Can't get exposure right with D300

Discussion in 'Nikon DX DSLR' started by jachang, Aug 11, 2008.

  1. jachang

    jachang

    437
    Jan 1, 2007
    Massachusetts
    I've been having a terrible time getting the exposure right with my D300. When I use full manual settings, all is okay, but if I use aperture priority, it doesn't seem to choose the right shutter speed, and I'll either get shots that are way over or under exposed. Here's an example. I was just poking around in my yard hoping that my great blue heron would stop by again, and I looked up at my deck and my dog was there. I took this shot, and it's way overexposed. It was a dreary day, so I used my SB600 for fill flash. I have it set to FP mode, so I should have gotten a higher shutter speed. But instead, with an aperture of f/5.6, the camera chose a shutter speed of 1/125 and an ISO of 1000! I had ISO settings for a maximum of 1600 and minimum shutter speed of 1/200, so don't know how this happened. I included a screen shot of the photo in Capture NX. I had spot metered on the dog's left ear. (I know the focus is off because she moved her head right when I shot.) Is there something wrong with my camera, or is it just a loose nut behind the lens? :biggrin:
    http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3055/2751852761_3fb3c5d6d5_b.jpg
     
  2. Spectre

    Spectre

    Feb 20, 2008
    Oregon
    Jean,
    When you are shooting a dark subject, the metering will adjust for the dark subject and try to increase exposure especially in spot metering. I personally don't use the Auto ISO, I have never had a need for it. Try turning the auto iso off and shooting some spot then in matrix see if there is a difference. Also is the Active D lighting on? That will affect it as well.
     
  3. jachang

    jachang

    437
    Jan 1, 2007
    Massachusetts
    Hi Paul,
    Thanks for your reply. I'll try turning off the auto ISO. But why is it even an option on the camera if it does such a poor job? Yeah, I'll experiment some more with the metering. I used spot because I wanted the dog exposed properly, and didn't care about the background. I'm still confused, though, as to why it used a shutter speed of 1/125 when I had it set to 1/200 as the slowest. It seems my problem pictures are always when I'm using aperture priority.
    Thanks again,
     
  4. Spectre

    Spectre

    Feb 20, 2008
    Oregon
    Jean, I use(d) aperture priority almost exclusively with my D300 before it was taken and always had great results.....
     
  5. jachang

    jachang

    437
    Jan 1, 2007
    Massachusetts
    Paul, I just read the bottom of your post about your gear all gone. What a shame! I'm so sorry.
    Re the aperture priority, I used to have good luck with it too, and almost always used it. It's just lately I'm having trouble, so I didn't know if something had gone wrong with my camera or if I just messed up somehow.
     
  6. Your problem in this image is that the spot is pointed at the black fur(my guess). The meter will measure it middle gray(as it should). The problem with spot metering is that you need to take a conscious choice where you meter from. You need to meter at something that is middle gray(when exp.comp is at 0). Black fur is not :) 
    If you use matrix metering you will get more stable results. But still if you point the camera at something black and it is dominating the image you will get some overexposure. I find that the d300 is better at nailing the exposure in matrix metering than my d2x.
     
  7. jachang

    jachang

    437
    Jan 1, 2007
    Massachusetts
    A light bulb just went off in my head. I didn't realize that the meter measures middle gray! I thought it just properly exposed the point I was aiming at. So I should have metered from some other spot in the picture, like the wood. Or probably better, used matrix metering as you suggest. I now see exactly what you mean. Thank you so much for clearing that up.
     
  8. Happy to help :smile:
     
  9. Similar Problem

    I had a similar problem to Jean's.

    I had just switched from the 18-200 to the 70-300 VR and got about 15 bad shots with one good one in between.

    My settings were FM - AF-C; AF-Area - 51 points, Aperature f/9; Shutter - 1/320s, Mode - Programmed Auto, Exposure Comp: +0.3EV, WB - Auto O O, High ISO NR - Off, Long Exposure NR - Off, Active D-Lighting - Normal.

    329797630.

    Marlene
     
  10. It looked like you had plenty of light, so why have a +.3 ev? The D300 already exposures well to the right of the histogram, in fact I normally have it in the - ev settings. Also, I would not have put Active d-lighting on. I never use it. The best way to learn about the exposures is look and learn about your histogram.
    Cheers
    Nancy
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 11, 2008
  11. Why the +.3 EV you ask? Because dumb, dumb(meaning me) forgot to change it. :smile:

    I had joined this site some time ago (D70 days) and just in the last few days found it again. I have spent hours pouring over the threads relating to the D300 and am delighted with all the info here.

    Marlene
     
  12. Hmmm not sure that plus .3 should have done that much damage

    glenn

    easy enough to check in raw. just dial it back and see if it makes much diff
     
  13. Kadath

    Kadath

    239
    Nov 21, 2007
    NJ
    What metering mode did you use? It's not a good idea to mix matrix and +/- EV without keeping a good eye on the histogram.
     
  14. My Metering mode was matrix Kadath.

    BUT, after the replies on this thread I set the +-EV to 0 and the next thing you know I'm looking at some photos I shot and low and behold I have a -EV setting!:frown: I must be bumping it with my finger. I started using the AF-on focus button and I just tested it and yep my finger for the shutter is right over the +/- botton. I'll have to really pay attention to that (I have shorter fingers than the average). I really do like using the AF button though (found that suggestion on another thread here). :smile:

    Marlene
     
  15. I have had the same problem on my D300 (which is going to Nikon Service Repair tomorrow for back focusing problem). I was beginning to think the EV was changing on it's own, but my finger was bumping it up or down. Now I check it religiously before shooting. Never had this problem with my D200.
     
  16. Aw its nice to know I'm not the only one.

    I sure hope you don't have to be without your camera for very long. Funny how these things never pop up when its -40 in the winter and you could more easily get along without the camera. :smile:

    Marlene
     
  17. Jaws

    Jaws

    Mar 27, 2007
    Columbia, MD
    If you are shooting a 'portrait' type shot, such as the shot of your dog, you should try to use center-weighted metering. That is a very good metering mode to use for portrait work, and it is good to use when you are using exposure compensation.
     
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