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Skool me on Exposure Compensation

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Sam O, Jul 15, 2008.

  1. Sam O

    Sam O

    Jul 24, 2007
    I never use it, though I know I should. Am I wrong to assume it only applies to A or S.

    When I shoot Manual, I just add a bar or two from the centre of the meter. Am I doing the right thing?
  2. Sam-

    why should you use it? unless you are consistantly un happy with the exposures you are getting, it's really not needed (no matter what the followers of the reverand Ken say)

    it does effect manual exposures when it is used- simply, all it does is change where the center of the meter bar is- it seems to work in all modes by making an adjustment to the meters calibration, but that's a seat of my pants answer- I really don't use it my self.

  3. Sam,

    In my case, I use the M setting exactly as you describe.

    On A or S, I use the exposure compensation (EC) on "most" shots. Again, "for me", I want to make sure that the histogram is as far right, without clipping. The read exposure by the camera will often not produce this type of histogram without some manipulation of the EC. You can also get a sense of this via your eye in looking at the scene, but the histogram is a very good indication of the proper exposure.

  4. You need a firm grasp of how exposure meters "think". They want everything to be medium toned. Dark scenes will be overexposed and light scenes will be underexposed to try and make them all medium toned. You use exposure compensation to counter act this "thinking" by the meter. For dark scenes, you need negative exposure compensation. For light scenes, you need positive exposure compensation. I have found I rarely need more than -1 to +1 when using 3D Color Matrix Metering because the camera is a bit smarter. When I use spot metering, I have to be more accurate and may use more compensation for a very dark or very light scene.

    I always shoot in A mode due to the subjects I photograph. In M mode, you should never need exposure compensation. You should dial in the specific settings you want to capture the subject as you want it to appear. If the meter reads centered with f/8 @ 1/125 and it is a very dark scene, use f/8 @ 1/250
    or f/16 @ 1/125 to darken it depending on whether you need a fixed depth of field (aperture) or fixed shutter speed.
  5. Cleo68


    Jul 7, 2008
    Bedford, MA
    Great info Walter. I pretty much "got" what exposure compensation is all about, but this was a great straight-forward refresher. And it confirmed that my thinking was correct. Thanks for that.
  6. argross


    May 22, 2008
    Sunnyvale, CA
    Two ways to use Exposure Compensation

    I use exposure compensation (EC) in 2 ways: (1) to correct, or compensate, for what the camera's meter is doing, as Walter correctly describes above, and (2) to purposely distort the exposure for a particular effect that I want - artistic license, if you will. So I might use EC to brighten a dark part, or all, of the photo knowing that the really overexposed parts will be cropped out.
  7. What you say is correct in general, but I believe the D-50 is an exception. I am pretty sure Exposure Compensation does NOT bias the meter needle in Manual exposure mode with the D-50.

    Warning: I don't have a D-50. Can anyone confirm the above statement?
  8. heydale


    Oct 5, 2007
    Manual supersedes the need for compensation.

    The benefit is to those that require the speed of "A" and the need to assess quicker than my brain will allow.

  9. bozola


    Feb 28, 2006
    Seattle WA
    I would like to make sure that I understand this.

    If the meter says 125 F8, EC is just moving up or down from this WRT to either exposure, Fstop or both? Nothing else?

    EC of -1 is either one stop down or up. So it would be the same as setting that manually?
  10. Well, to be absolutely correct I suppose you could throw ISO into the equation 'cause it's the third leg of the exposure triangle.

    In a nutshell, if you dial in plus or minus one EV (one stop) worth of EC in shutter priority, the camera should change the "normal" aperture by one stop. If you shoot Aperture priority, you would expect the shutter speed to half or double. If you shoot manual you would expect the meter to be biased one way or the other by one EV, EXCEPT I'm pretty sure NOT with the D-50.

    And finally if you want to talk about ISO, assuming you shoot in manual with EC dialed in, you could re-center the meter to take advantage of one EV worth of EC by halving or doubling the ISO, in which case the Aperture and Shutter speed would not change.

    Did I further muddy the waters or over beat the dead horse.:Curved:
  11. alexgn


    Jul 18, 2008
    On digital cameras I usually underexpose a little bit and the correct the exposure in PP.
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