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Matrix metering ........ and blown highlights

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Johnnymg, May 2, 2005.

  1. Greetings

    I've noticed that my "new" D2H tends to blow highlights when taking certain types of outdoor pics. I'm using the "Matrix" metering setting. Setting the ex comp to -0.3 will usually correct the problem but -0.7 is sometimes needed. This BH issue is most commonly found when I take pics of my white dogs. The blown HL area is often just on a portion of the dog. I.e. part of the face or back. I'm guessing this is because 99% of the image area is much darker and the camera is setting for the 99% condition.

    Any tips for a newbie D2H owner. Oh, my D70 also tends to overexpose slightly on the same scenes. Probably not quite as much as the D2H though.

  2. Flew


    Jan 25, 2005

    You are exactly right on why this is happening. Matrix metering tries to get the entire scene 'to the meter' which I believe is a luminance value of about 120 (I think it is actually 117). If a large percentage of the scene is dark, then you have to bring the overall exposure down to prevent blown highlights if there are small bright white areas.

    Getting this exactly right takes up a major portion of Ron Reznick's ebook. The way that I handle it is very empirical. I take a test shot, check the histogram, and adjust from there. 8)

    Hope this helps a little.
  3. Frank

    Thanks for the 'sanity check'. I'm using the empirical method also.......... but in this case I'm usually just checking for blown highlights and dropping the exposure comp until the HL aren't flashing at me. :lol:

    Thanks again
  4. Just keep in mind that some specular highlights will blow anyway and you don't want to adjust for that.
  5. It is , simultaneously, the bane and highlight(bad pun) of our digital equipment.
    While, on one hand, we long for more latitude, we have the immediate feedback of the histogram and the beloved highlight blinkies.
    Remember bracketing???
    We're selectively bracketing with the immediacy of digital. We just don't call it that anymore.
  6. John, I (and every other digital photographer around here) feel you pain :cry: 
    Blown highlites and underexposure noise gives me more headaches than anything else. I also have a dog that has a lot of white right up front..
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    and I'm constantly trying NOT to blow these. Sometimes I actually succeed on the first try.
  7. JeffKohn


    Apr 21, 2005
    Houston, TX
    You might want to try center-weighted metering for this particular situation.
  8. Thanks to all for the reassurance that this is a "common" issue. Karnac predicts that camera manufacturers will sell plenty of bodies when they figure out how to increase dynamic range. :lol:

    Funny, I was just about to ask whether 'center weighted' might be a possible "solution" to this particular scene situation. I'll give it a try and report back. For these type of portraits I wouldn't care (too much) if 'out of center' areas had blown HL's.

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