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Geoff Chandler
09-18-2007, 08:45 AM
Sort of specific really to D80 users.
I am more or less used to the way the D80 exposes now - and I think maybe when in Matrix exposure it
does quite a bit of it's own thinking/compensation. Taking some photos with exposure compensation on my wifes litlte Canon A460 lead me to this thought. I needed to over expose something and found myself shy of
over exposure on her camera - where mine would have been way brighter.
I suppose if I used the centre weighted it might be different - but that IS a different mode and as such
cannot be directly compared.
I find consistantly that what I percieve as a neutral exposre is often with the camera at -0.3 or even - 0.7ev
I rarely reach or go above 0.0ev
These two example pics are typical - the top one is at -0.3ev and the bottom at -1.0ev
I find the bottom one far nearer the truth (ok I had the WB one notch in the direction of blue by mistake!!!)
I would be interested in comments/observations - especially from D80 owners
Great camera though!!! 8)

Gintaras
09-18-2007, 08:54 AM
Geoff, wow i say, D80 overexposes significantly in your shots, just opposite of my D400 which tends to underexpose by a 1/3 stop. i would even say you go 1/3 down from -1 to get the job done in this shot.:confused:

Prospero
09-18-2007, 09:28 AM
Perhaps this is not entirely relevant, but I keep my D50 at -0.7 EV or lower in 90% of my shots.

About this picture; I would say it is logical that -1.0 will give the correct exposure since you are taking a picture of a dark car (which your camera will try to expose as 50% grey).

Having said that, I get the impression that Nikon's metering system likes to overexpose, at least for my purposes. I have to use exposure compensation almost all the time to save the sky.
The system does seem pretty consistent to me, except when using my polarizer (that somehow seems to upset the system).

Gintaras
09-18-2007, 09:41 AM
interesting findings prospero.

i am curious to know if D40 suffers from the same problem.

Stoller
09-18-2007, 10:38 AM
I actually went to a Nikon School class and the instructor recommended setting the EV to -0.7 because D70, D50 and D200 tend to over expose. :rolleyes:

wannabe
09-18-2007, 11:27 AM
I have had the same experience with my D80. I often keep my exp. comp. at -.7 or I end up adjusting the exposure post.

XaiLo
09-18-2007, 01:36 PM
Gintaras, I also set EV to -0.7.

Geoff Chandler
09-18-2007, 01:53 PM
Thanks for the responses everyone - very helpfull

It has to be observed, in the camera's defence, that there is a very dark car in the picture taking up a large amount of the scene - so the camera meter will try to lighten it up a bit.
But
I agree that maybe -0.3 or -0.7ev should be adopted as astarting point
I have often left it on -0.7 and got perfect results

Maybe I will run a series of tests in the other meter modes just to see ....

No Control
09-18-2007, 02:07 PM
The D80 has a reputation for overexposure. I also keep mine between -0.7 to -1.3 when shooting outdoors. The meter is my really only gripe with the D80. At least with my old camera I could trust the meter. 0.0EV was middle exposure. -0.7 is two thirds darker than middle. Now it's like everything's been moved 2/3 stop. I just wish Nikon would acknowlege the issue and re-work the firmware.

fionndruinne
09-18-2007, 02:09 PM
I think the D40 may overexpose by a wee bit; at least I prefer photos taken with EV -0.3 (just one notch lower than 0) when in matrix metering.

Try spot meter! Using spot + using that EV a lot more often gives you better control. For example, I could meter on the white, sunlit foam of a wave at the beach and dial in +1.7 EV, and generally come up with better results than if I tried to use matrix metering, which would also judge based on the dark rocks near the water.

Matrix metering tends to throw off the simplicity of the camera's judging the subject as a neutral gray temperature, because it takes other things into account. So EV changes made by you may do different things at different times. You could go around with the EV pretty much permanently set to -.3 to -.7, but after doing that for a while, I just prefer the control given to me by using spot meter + EV variation. Once you can judge the amount of EV to use correctly, it's easy.

e_dawg
09-18-2007, 05:19 PM
Yep, the first day I used my D80, I used it to take pics of a parade downtown. Since the LCD was useless in bright daylight, I wasn't able to check exposure properly until I went inside a building near the end. Long story short, the majority of my pics were overexposed by about a stop, sometimes more. Most of the pics I took of white dresses were washed out and had a purple tint due to the severe clipping that highlight recovery could not fix. I was able to recover enough luminance information that I retained most of the detail, but I ended up doing selective desaturation on every white object in 15-20 shots. Not fun.

Now I tend to use CW metering with AE lock or matrix with -0.3 to -0.7 EC usually.

Rooz
09-18-2007, 05:29 PM
i have read abut it overexposing. i haven;t seemed to get into too many problems. i generally set to -0.3EV in bright conditions. but alot of my shots now are with strobes and using centre weighted metering so its on 0. using macro mode without strobes and framing tightly i use + EV values.

have also started to use spot metering in order to shoot in manual mode aswell as described in petersons book and ignoring the exposure meter and find that with a bit more effort i'm getting better results.

Geoff Chandler
09-18-2007, 07:28 PM
It seems to me the main problem is in that Matrix programming
I am going to experiment withthe other modes
If I can get more consistant results I may ditch the matrix metering altogether
not that I can't work around it mind you

fionndruinne
09-18-2007, 10:42 PM
In my experience matrix metering is sort of a beginner or fail-safe function, kind of like those so-called "idiot modes".:) Obviously, starting off, using AE lock or dialing in selective EV for a good percentage of your shots isn't something you're going to be able to do. But naturally, pretty much whenever it's the camera's computer making the call, it's not going to be as good as you, with experience, and the judgment you make.

Rooz
09-18-2007, 11:02 PM
whoa there big fella !! lets not go from one extreme to another here. matrix metering is a fundamental feature of a dslr and on mostly meters just fine. with all due respect to fion, it is not an idiot mode at all cos in most occasions matrix metering is the best option. i consider it as important as the AF system !

where it needs some help is where there may be very different lighting conditions in the same shot. on these occasions the camera needs the user input to select what you wat to meter for. does it meter for a bright blue sky ? does it meter for the foreground ? etc. the camera is just a innanimate tool and will never really know exactly how and what the user wants to expose correctly in situations where the dynamic range of the camera cannot physically correctly expose for the whole frame.

when i don;t use flash or shoot macro i use matrix metering for 95% of my shots and would hazard a guess that most people would do the exact same thing. every dslr has a matrix-style metering system and they each have slightly different characteristics which can of course be slightly adjusted by the user according to their preference.

nikon have poured so much time and research into its metering it's unbelievable. they didn't put all that research and money into a system thats considered just another idiot button that more advanced users will just turn off anyway. remember the d3/ d300 have an updated metering system wich is specifically designed to try and avoid users, (pro's that is), having to use a spot meter unless creative exposure demands it. so it's actual sole purpose is to try and meter scenes correctly in "matrix mode". doesn;t sound like a beginner mode to me.

fionndruinne
09-18-2007, 11:15 PM
Okay... I'll give you the point, it's useful; it's just that, personally, I find nearly every shot I make has enough variation of brights and shadows that the camera has a hard time getting it right. Maybe that's due to most of my latest shooting being outside.

It's just that I feel I get finer-tuned shots in almost every circumstance when avoiding matrix metering in favor of more manual attention to relative lighting conditions in the picture. And when I adjust EV in matrix, results are less certain than EV in spot.

I'm sure there are times, though, where a balanced frame is called for, and I agree, matrix does a great job there, when it's within its capacity to expose properly.

yewsef
09-19-2007, 01:58 AM
Okay... I'll give you the point, it's useful; it's just that, personally, I find nearly every shot I make has enough variation of brights and shadows that the camera has a hard time getting it right. Maybe that's due to most of my latest shooting being outside.

It's just that I feel I get finer-tuned shots in almost every circumstance when avoiding matrix metering in favor of more manual attention to relative lighting conditions in the picture. And when I adjust EV in matrix, results are less certain than EV in spot.

I'm sure there are times, though, where a balanced frame is called for, and I agree, matrix does a great job there, when it's within its capacity to expose properly.

So, when using spot or center weighted metering, what are the secret pro-procedures you would do? I'm just interested, I consider myself a pre-amature and wanted to know what you could do with a spot/centerweighted besdies pointing at the correct light/spot in the scene and knowing what spot/CW metering for. Can you do more than that? like programming something to the camera? in other words, isnt it just 1. Choose your correct metering depending on the kind of scene, 2. Pick the best spot in the scene for the correct exposure, 3. Set your camera as you normally do, 4. Shoot the damn picture?

I cant see anything different, or pro, when choosing spot. I like spot metering myself (because I love to shoot in darkness with few dim lights) but I dont see why that makes me a pro. :confused:

Gintaras
09-19-2007, 03:53 AM
interesting to learn about overexposure problem on Nikons...

as Canon XTi user I can say that my camera tends to underexpose by 1/3 EV. looks like different camera producers apply different metering setting at default. some people say underexposure is less of a problem ... still i was finding it annoying before i learnt about the issue. so i boost compensation usually by a 1/3 EV, sometimes even 2/3 EV.

i also have seen other people on other forums reporting the same underexposure issue with XTi metering. yet that does not mean one has to throw his camera away (like some amateurs do).

erichlund
09-19-2007, 08:29 AM
interesting to learn about overexposure problem on Nikons...

as Canon XTi user I can say that my camera tends to underexpose by 1/3 EV. looks like different camera producers apply different metering setting at default. some people say underexposure is less of a problem ... still i was finding it annoying before i learnt about the issue. so i boost compensation usually by a 1/3 EV, sometimes even 2/3 EV.

i also have seen other people on other forums reporting the same underexposure issue with XTi metering. yet that does not mean one has to throw his camera away (like some amateurs do).

I'm not sure it's always overexposure. Sometimes I think we tend to like a very saturated look, with can be more easily achieved with a bit of underexposure. It would be interesting to see the histogram of the original shot.
-- Note: I checked the exposure histogram of the two halves of the attached photo, and the top is a bit overexposed. The bottom does have some room to move to the right. -2/3 or -.5 is probably the "best" exposure.

Any meter needs to be used with an understanding of what it is designed to do. Some meters overexpose, some underexpose, and if you understand what they do under certain circumstances, then you can correct for that. As I recall, the D70 tended to underexpose slightly. This is conservative because it avoids blowing out highlights, but at the risk of greater noise in the shadow areas. The D200 is closer to neutral, but if it has any tendency at all, it's to underexpose.

I had not really heard that the newer comsumer cams tend to overexpose. That may be part of how they avoid noise issues, by keeping the histogram to the right. Still, it's just a matter of setting up the camera for your personal preference. Control the camera, don't let it control you.

e_dawg
09-19-2007, 10:14 AM
This is just about how the manufacturers want to set up their cameras to cater to various demographics. A lot of mainstream consumers complained about the Canon Rebel XT and XTi giving dark, underexposed pics. There were complaints around the net, and the consensus was to add some positive EC to compensate. Nikon chose to give mainstream consumers that brighter look they expect out of the box, so they set their D40, D50, and D80 to meter with that in mind. Now the mainstream consumer is happy, but the photography enthusiast says it overexposes and blows the highlights.

Canon chose to preserve the highlights and took some criticism for it; Nikon chose to sacrifice highlights, preserve the shadows, and bump the midtones to create a brighter, consumer friendly pic and took criticism for it. You can't satisfy everyone. :rolleyes:

Rooz
09-19-2007, 03:44 PM
i agree with you about nikon moving to brightness to satisfy the consumer. from what i have seen of the d40 it meters in a more neutral/ balanced way than the d80. alot more like the d200. so i think their experiment to overexpose with the d80 may have gotten the flick.

fionndruinne
09-19-2007, 08:07 PM
So, when using spot or center weighted metering, what are the secret pro-procedures you would do? I'm just interested, I consider myself a pre-amature and wanted to know what you could do with a spot/centerweighted besdies pointing at the correct light/spot in the scene and knowing what spot/CW metering for. Can you do more than that? like programming something to the camera? in other words, isnt it just 1. Choose your correct metering depending on the kind of scene, 2. Pick the best spot in the scene for the correct exposure, 3. Set your camera as you normally do, 4. Shoot the damn picture?

I cant see anything different, or pro, when choosing spot. I like spot metering myself (because I love to shoot in darkness with few dim lights) but I dont see why that makes me a pro.

I'm by no means a pro. :p It's just this: when a camera meters on something, it considers that thing to be not bright, not dark, but a neutral gray tone. In other words, when you put something in front of the camera, it sees it as moderate in brightness/tone. But, most of the time it's not the case, and the subject is either brighter or darker than the neutral gray. So, as a result, the other things in the scene are not displayed correctly (if the subject is actually brighter than the camera sees it, this means the camera makes everything darker to get that neutral balance, well, the background is now nearly black. If the subject is dark, you end up with a long shutter speed and the opposite case - washed-out background). Matrix metering is a way of coping with this, by taking the whole frame into account and making a judgment on how bright the subject really is. It does a good job, but not necessarily a superior one. When using spot, you can meter on that bright object, then by dialing in say +2 exposure compensation (EV), you are telling the camera yourself just how bright this subject is. If you got the amount of EV right, guess what? The subject is now as bright as it should be, and the background is properly toned as well. Plus, EV gives you a lot of latitude when you want under- or over-exposure, and if you've used spot method, then you know right off just how much EV to dial in for the effect you want. It's not pro stuff, just getting a bit more out of your camera.

Geoff Chandler
09-20-2007, 11:27 PM
It's just a shame that they have programmed the Matrix the way they have.
At times I have expected a dramatic darkening due to large areas of brightness - but it's ignored those and exposed more or less OK - BUT - I have seen it and compensated so I end up having to take several shots.
Conversly - I took a similar shot with my wife's camera the other day and it wasn't bright enough at +1 ev!! - where mine would have been way too bright.
It still boils down to over exposing most of the time - but annoyingly - it's not completely consistant and suprises me with different exposures sometimes - hence I am am about to experiment with centre weighted.
I reckon Nikon could update the firmware for a more sensible exposure program in the matrix mode.

fionndruinne
09-21-2007, 12:07 AM
Center-weighted metering will still probably make your EV changes unpredictable. I do recommend spot (although ye fellows might be tired of hearing that from me:p)

Rooz
09-21-2007, 01:10 AM
I reckon Nikon could update the firmware for a more sensible exposure program in the matrix mode.

as i mentioned before, the d200 exposed very well, then the d80 overexposed, then the d40 used the same, (similar anyway), metering for exposure to the d200. so i think their experiment with the d80 failed and they went back to more neutral systems.

funny thing is that the tendancy to make it brighter was based on customer feedback that dslr pics looked too dull so they tried to brighten them up to satisfy customers but ended up pissing alot of people off. lol

Geoff Chandler
09-21-2007, 07:37 AM
funny thing is that the tendancy to make it brighter was based on customer feedback that dslr pics looked too dull so they tried to brighten them up to satisfy customers but ended up pissing alot of people off. lol
Ironically - that was my concern and gripe with some DSLR's
I noticed some well respected models (naming no other close competetors)
often appeared to produce dark murky images (well not often - but you know what I mean)

Still - I am used to the D80 on the whole and VERY well pleased with some of the results