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"Expose to the Right" Questions

Discussion in 'General Technical Discussion' started by Jonathan, Dec 17, 2005.

  1. Jonathan


    Jun 11, 2005
    Southern Maine
    As we know, for a correct s/n ratio, as well as many other key settings, proper exposure is crucial.

    That being said, I have always had a problem "exposing to the right". I have read everything that I can on the subject, but all I've found talks about how important it is, with no pointers on how to do so.

    Can someone please tell me where to look or give a few pointers on getting the right exposure. I seem to get so many underexposed shots.:mad: 

    This has been a problem for me no matter what camera I use, so I know it's me, not the camera.

  2. jfenton


    Jan 26, 2005
    Haverhill, MA

    I responded to your thread over on DPR..spend the $80 and buy Robn Reznicks E-Book. What you learn there will be invaluable to you, both in terms of capturing the correct exposure as well as processing.

    It and Ron taught lots of us here on the Cafe what we know.

  3. Jonathan


    Jun 11, 2005
    Southern Maine

    Thanks very much. I think I will invest in Ron's ebook. Whe you figure what we all spend on equipment, $80 i snot very much.

  4. Cherokee


    Nov 27, 2005
    You do not say which camera you are using but if it provides a histogram on the rear screen, you should have no problem. A few test shots on a static subject should tell you something; shoot one and check the histogram, and if you have some space to the right, increase exposure, but best not to over-expose.
    I know this is a silly question, but do you have some under-exposure compensation dialed-in that you forgot about?
  5. MontyDog


    Jan 30, 2005
    #1064 - You have an error in your SQL syntax;
  6. bpetterson

    bpetterson Guest


    Re iso and exposure comp.
    I get confused reading DPR.
    If you set the ISO to 800 and ec to +1?
    Does that mean your iso has changed to 400 or you are just shooting
    at 1 stop mor light.

  7. Chris101


    Feb 2, 2005
    Hi Birger, I'm not Paul but I think I can answer this. ISO affects the amplification the signal from the sensor gets before being written as a NEF (or jpeg) file. So once set, the ISO does not change. Changing the Exposure Compensation to +1 lengthens the shutter speed or opens the aperture in S or A mode by one stop, possibly affects both in P mode and neither in M mode. In M mode however, the meter will show that you are one stop over what you would have been without the compensation.
  8. bpetterson

    bpetterson Guest

    Thank you Chris.
    That also was my understanding.
    DPR leaves a lot to be desired.
    However ther are many very capbable people in the site.

  9. Flew


    Jan 25, 2005
    I 'third' the advice on Ron's eBook. What he basically says is that you should expose to the actual luminosity of the scene, and he goes to great lengths to teach you how to do this. I also agree with Paul. I don't 'expose to the right' unless the scene is just very dark. I actually try to underexpose by about 1/3 stops in some cases to avoid blown highlights.

    All of this will make more sense though if you get, read (and re-read) Ron's book. My only caution is that it gets into exposure pretty deep, and may take a couple of readings to fully absorb all of the information. Well worth the effort though. :smile:
  10. This link doesn't seem to work now. Is Reznik's site off-line?
  11. the link works for me Pa. It is an intense read and I have been through it with extreme concentration 2 X and still need to fully understand his principles of luminosity. You will probably get it much quicker with your background.
  12. Must be some problem with FireFox. The link works o.k. in IE (I hate IE).
  13. One of the difficulties in answering this type of question is to figure out just what the person asking the question means. In re-reading your question it does not sound like you are questioning the need to bias your histogram to the right but rather what controls on your camera will allow you to do so. I suggest you experiment in Manual to start with. Set your camera's aperature control to f8 (see LCD on top of your camera). Now look through the viewfinder and at the bottom of the display you will see a scale with a zero in the center and + or - tick marks on either side of it. Now crank your shutter speed dial until it zero's out the meter and then take an image. Check the histogram and see where it is. If it needs more exposure to move the histogram to the right, crank your shutter speed until it moves the line to the + side of the scale by one or two tick marks. Take another image and then check your histogram again. As you will see, you can move your histogram to the right. Conversly you could move it to the left by cranking your shutter speed dial to the minus side of the scale and the histogram will move to the left of the display. Faster shutter speed equals less light, slower shutter speed equals more light. If you choose to change your aperature, smaller numbered aperatures equals more light and larger numbered aperatures equals less light.

    If I have mis-read your question and this is all too simplistic, I appoligize. Like I said in the beginning, it is difficult to tell just what a person is asking with this type of question.

    Oh, one other thing, if you shoot in Program mode all the time the only way to move the historgam is with your Exposure Compensation on top of your camera. Most knowledgeable photographers use either Aperature or if your like me, Manual to give us maximum control.
  14. Gordan
    I think you nailed the question. I hope this is true with the original poster.
  15. MontyDog


    Jan 30, 2005
    #1064 - You have an error in your SQL syntax;
  16. MontyDog


    Jan 30, 2005
    #1064 - You have an error in your SQL syntax;
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 20, 2005
  17. Yes, I get those pages too in IE, but not Firefox. I don't know what I could do differently as I downloaded and did a default install of the latest version last week.

    I ordered the e-book by the way, so let's just put this dead horse to rest.

    Oh, by the way, the link worked perfectly in Firefox yesterday the first time I tried it.
  18. Iliah


    Jan 29, 2005
    Me too. In many cases you simply can't do that based on histogram as it is shown on the camera LCD or in Nikon Capture.

    First, let's see how NC/camera displays the histogram:


    Now here is the histogram of the RAW data of the same image:


    The image is underexposed 1 full stop, but judging by NC/camera histogram, it is overexposed at least 1/3 of a stop.
  19. cwilt


    Apr 24, 2005
    Denver, CO

    As always an informative, yet cryptic message:smile:. The camera and NC histograms are after WB is applied. That can be misleading for exposure decisions.

    This brings up a question. At what point should WB be applied and by what method? It must happen at some point. Do we deal with it at the time of capture on the camera or later in post?

    As white balance gets farther from the native sensor temp the more prone to over/under exposure of each channel.
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