What am I doing wrong? 18-135mm on D40

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Jun 15, 2008
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I got this lens yesterday from another Cafe member, and for some reason it seems to underexpose like crazy. I shoot in +0.7 exposure compensation most of the time, and even then some of the images seem dark. If I bump it up to +1.0, it seems better, but then I get some extremely blown out images.

I was shooting in Aperture Priority mode, with varying apertures. I don't have another body to test it out on, unfortunately.

I dumped them all into a gallery on SmugMug, click here to check them out.

Any ideas?
 
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Really? They just seem dark to me. Is it normal to have to use +0.7 compensation?
 
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Feb 14, 2007
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They look fine to me. The duck photos seem as if you are shooting into the sun or close to it which may have an impact on your exposure. It's hard to know what look a photographer is going for sometimes. Try some more photos in the same kind of light with the settings set to default and try different metering settings. Something else you might try is calibrating your monitor or looking at them with another computer.
 
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Feb 29, 2008
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What metering mode?

Sometimes spot metering can lead to underexposure...
On my D300 sometimes I need to dial in +.7 in 3D Matrix mode... Depends on the situation.
 
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I'm in matrix metering. It was around 9:30am, so I don't think the sun should have posed a problem.

I had someone else on another PC look and he thought they were a tad dark as well.

But the problem is if I dial it up to +1.0, I start getting tons of blown highlights
 
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Orange County, CA
I saw one image that was shot at f/8 and 1/800 for SS at ISO 200. I remember that I would experience something similar with my Tamron 18-200. If I was stopping down to f/8 or further then I would bump my ISO to 400 otherwise they were a tad on the dark side even in good light. I will mention that I never preset EC at all and mainly used Matrix.
 
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Photos looks fine to me. The brightness on my monitor is really high though..and I think my eyes are used to the high brightness. But photos look great...try different metering.
 
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Thanks everyone. Sounds like I'm being a little too picky. I'll try the suggestions also and see if they help
 
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Are these these pictures with +1 EC or are these the originals?
These look fine and the histograms look fine in PS.

Is your monitor calibrated?
 
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Are these these pictures with +1 EC or are these the originals?
These look fine and the histograms look fine in PS.

Is your monitor calibrated?
I've done some calibration of my monitor. I did the EC in the camera, so that is how the images came out of the camera. I may have done a bit of cropping in PS, but no other PP.
 
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I've done some calibration of my monitor. I did the EC in the camera, so that is how the images came out of the camera. I may have done a bit of cropping in PS, but no other PP.
Sorry I wasn't clear.
Are the pictures you posted the ones with the Exposure comp or are they what you consider dark?
 
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Sorry I wasn't clear.
Are the pictures you posted the ones with the Exposure comp or are they what you consider dark?
They are the ones with the Exposure comp, but I still think they're slightly dark. But maybe it's just the high contrast due to the harsh sun I'm seeing?
 
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Apr 23, 2008
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the dark faces on the geese are because its casting its own shadow on its face (sun is from the other direction)

I think the only problem you have in that album is the location and harshness of the lighting

the rest look fine to me, the first flower is a tad dark for my taste, but not much and that might just be my taste
 
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Right now I've got my D40 on ISO Auto.. meaning it stays at ISO-200 until the shutter speed hits 1/15, then it bumps up to the next level, up to 1600. Do you think I should turn that off and manually set the ISO?
 
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Ryan, it all depends on what you're comfortable with

the stage of manual comfort is up to you

the only thing I have auto on my setups are WB

the beauty of digital is trial and error

when you're taking pics of flowers, they'll be there for a long time (not like an animal)...so shoot it several times with different settings and see what looks best when you get home
 
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I must have had the saturation and contrast tweaked. I remember playing with it when I first got the D40. I did a full reset, and then started changing some settings, and I've come up with some much better shots.

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I'm glad to see that you got to the bottom of your problem, thank goodness for the reset button!

I like your latest set, really vivid and colourful. The red flower sticking through the fence really catches my eye, great shot.
 

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