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maybe a newb question, but...

Discussion in 'Nikon DX DSLR Forum' started by jaesuhn, Aug 7, 2008.

  1. jaesuhn

    jaesuhn Guest

    when shooting in extreme low light, is the D300 meter supposed to measure to give an exposure such that the photo will look like the environment (really dark), or is it supposed to meter to lighten the photo up? In other words, in extreme low light do you have to manually compensate by overexposing in order to get the photo to look like the environment was much lighter than it really was?

    (By extreme low light, I'm talking night time w/ just a bit of ambient light from off-camera sources.)

    The primary reason I ask is because that's not how my D40 worked/works.

    In Aperture Priority f3.5, ISO 1600, here's what the 2 cameras give me:
    D40: 2.5 seconds, exposure looks a little darker than if lights were on
    D300: 1/3 second, exposure looks like room as it really is, if not a little darker

    With the lights on, they give me roughly the same exposure settings.

    Is there something I'm missing?

  2. azarby


    Sep 17, 2006
    Phoenix, Az
    I took some late evening pictures on my recent Alsaka trip and the D300 exposed them to make them look like high noon. I had to go to manual settings and underexpose by several stops to make it look darker as I was looking for a more dramtic effect of the sun just poking through the late evening clouds and shining across the water.

  3. jaesuhn

    jaesuhn Guest

    That sounds more like what I'd expect. I'm starting to think my new D300 might be faulty... :frown:
  4. azarby


    Sep 17, 2006
    Phoenix, Az
    A lot of it will have to do with the metering mode. I usually use center weighted and was centering the spot on the dark areas of the clouds. The camera will naturally want to lighten this up to fit its pre-defined curve. If you meter on or near the light source, just the opposite will happen. If you use matrix metering, it wil try to balance between all parts of the picture and the exposure will be in between.

  5. jaesuhn

    jaesuhn Guest

    Yeah, I tried all three metering modes. And, although it probably wouldn't matter (the whole room is dark), I metered on the same place for each. It's like the "pre-defined curve" is messed up for extreme low light. The D40 works as I'd expect, and the D300 works fine in dim to bright light. It just flakes when the ambient light is exceptionally scarce.

  6. Your meter mode is frogrammed for 18% reflectance. So if you took a shot of a white card and a black card they will both show up as middle grey. You need to understand how your meter works and adjust, or brackett alot (SEE ANSEL ADAMS books or study zone system metering
  7. jfenton


    Jan 26, 2005
    Haverhill, MA
    Active D Lighting?

    Did you have this turned on by chance?

    Also..even though it's dark out, if you rely on the meter, it's going to try and expose it to middle Grey.

    You can take a long exposure shot at night and it will look very much unlike what your eyes are seeing.

    Try manual?
  8. All exposure meters are calibrated to render subjects as middle tonalities (so called 18% gray) and when confronted with subjects that are darker or brighter than middle tone some adjustments have to be done to arrive to the right exposure.
    Digital will bring noise in underexposed areas so, the tendency is to "expose to the right." It is obvious that if the subject is dark, there is no way exposing to the right will nail the exposure.
    All that darkness will make your meter OVEREXPOSE. You have to close the lens between 1 to 2 stops to make the subject dark again and check the histogram. This works very well for spot and center weighted metering. Nikon does not recommend any compensation to their matrix metering although I do it all the time but very carefully and always checking the histogram.
    If you know how to calibrate the meter using "sunny 16" and a gray card I would check the accuracy of the meter. I am not sure if it will also work for matrix metering. If the meter is off, then it is time to have it calibrated by Nikon repair services.
    William Rodriguez
    Miami, Florida.
  9. I don't think it is your meter or camera.

    First, make sure auto-iso is off.

    Work in AF or SS mode.

    Set to centerweight or spot metering and focus on the light source in the room (the ambient must be coming from somewhere). See what you get, and if is too light (I doubt it), switch to manual and increase aperture or shutter speed to make it darker.
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