Why do I feel that my camera (Z50) always underexposes a shot

Joined
Sep 13, 2007
Messages
17,018
Location
Northern VA suburb of Washington, DC
I feel all pictures are underexposed.
If you had used the histogram before taking the photo to help determine the ideal exposure, you likely would have been happy. If you didn't want to do that, you could have reviewed the histogram after taking the photo and then made an exposure adjustment before retaking the photo.

Keep in mind that the reason your camera has an exposure compensation button is because very often the exposure has to be increased or decreased relative to the metered exposure. So, get used to using it or making the adjustment totally manually.

Be aware that with Nikon cameras, the matrix meter will behave differently depending on where the focus point is; if you focus on a dark part of the scene, the exposure provided by the meter will be different than if you focus on a bright part of the scene. That's another reason to pay attention to the histogram. As Jim mentioned earlier, the histogram is your friend.
 
Joined
Sep 13, 2007
Messages
17,018
Location
Northern VA suburb of Washington, DC
When I asked about the matrix metering, I'm asking where the focus point was. Its placement can make a big difference.

Do you understand how to interpret the histogram? It's understandable if you don't. However, this entire discussion is mostly unhelpful to you if you don't understand how to use it and then use it.
 
Joined
Jul 24, 2020
Messages
38
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #30
Do you use the histogram in your camera? If not, why not? It is the most critical exposure tool you have.
I can see the histogram after shooting the picture. Do you know of a way in which I can see the histogram before clicking (like when I am adjusting the shutter and aperture)?
 
Joined
Oct 24, 2017
Messages
1,846
Location
Dubois, Wyoming
Real Name
Bill
The matrix metering is seeing the bright background similar to photographing a bird against the sky. Bump up the exposure compensation +.7-+1.
Spot metering gets you closer but it's still a small target.

If it gets to be too common for you there is a setting to bump up the exposure across the board.
 
Joined
Jul 24, 2020
Messages
38
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #33
I don't have a Z50. Did you look it up in the manual?
Got it. I just had to press the DISP button. Now I think I need to attend youtube videos on interpreting the histogram.
Sorry I don't like to read camera manuals I find them very dry. I attend youtube videos instead.
 

Butlerkid

Cafe Ambassador
Moderator
Joined
Apr 8, 2008
Messages
22,077
Location
Rutledge, Tennessee
Real Name
Karen
Got it. I just had to press the DISP button. Now I think I need to attend youtube videos on interpreting the histogram.
Sorry I don't like to read camera manuals I find them very dry. I attend youtube videos instead.
Histograms are easy to understand and you should find several good videos on line. Histograms are a GAME CHANGER when it comes to exposure. Enjoy!
 
Joined
Jul 24, 2020
Messages
38
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #36
See post #29 above!
And after that, Post #10.
Thanks will check out. Yes I can already see that the histogram gives far more information than the exposure meter. Together they are awesome. Sad that till date I didn't use it in my photography.
 
Joined
Jul 8, 2019
Messages
634
Location
SF Bay Area, California, USA
While the histogram is valuable, your eye is even more so.
As was mentioned, if the image in the Electronic Viewfinder (EVF) looks too dark, adjust the exposure compensation to give more exposure and lighten the image.
If in manual, adjust the exposure (aperture or shutter speed) to give you more exposure.
That is a tremendous benefit to using an EVF.
 
Joined
May 5, 2005
Messages
19,753
Location
Idaho
Got it. I just had to press the DISP button. Now I think I need to attend youtube videos on interpreting the histogram.
Sorry I don't like to read camera manuals I find them very dry. I attend youtube videos instead.
I'm like that too. I get much more out of a video than reading a manual. We all learn differently and have had this discussion on the cafe before. Many like manuals, some of us don't. One thing I've learned since I've had my Z6 is to trust the viewfinder before I take the shot. That is the beauty of a mirrorless camera....seeing the exposure before taking the photo. If it looks dark I bump up the exposure compensation, or adjust my settings if shooting manual.
 
Joined
Jul 24, 2020
Messages
38
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #39
Thanks Terri. and one question. When do you choose to bump up the exposure compensation vs just moving the shutter/apurture/iso up or down?

sorry for asking .. I'm pretty sure that there is a manual, book and video out there explaining this but I guess it easy to talk to a human and leverage their experience.
 
Joined
Dec 7, 2005
Messages
726
Location
MN, USA
There's some confusion here. To answer your original question, I don't think the Z50 is underexposing the 'image at the center'.

If you want to see the histogram through the EVF, look through the EVF and touch the DISP button on the lower right side of the screen. The EVF will cycle through several options and one of them will display the histogram.

Understand as Nick points out above that your camera is metering for an 'average' scene. Matrix metering is more sophisticated but generally tries to meter your scene so that you don't overexpose. In the first image above, the bright strip on the right is technically 'blown out' at 255, but the face is 'dark' or underexposed because there is not sufficient light on it to raise the values above dark shadows. In the spot metered image, the face luminosity values look to be about 18% grey - exactly where your meter put them.

I'm suggesting that the problem isn't the camera. The camera doesn't measure the scene the way you want it to. You need to tell the camera what you want it to do. Raising the exposure doesn't mean the camera is getting it wrong. It means you are adjusting the exposure based on how the camera is measuring to better reflect what exposure you want - if that makes any sense.
 

Latest posts

Links on this page may be to our affiliates. Sales through affiliate links may benefit this site.
Nikon Cafe is a fan site and not associated with Nikon Corporation.
Forum post reactions by Twemoji: https://github.com/twitter/twemoji
Copyright © 2005-2019 Amin Forums, LLC
Top Bottom