About to Give Up

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by SchnellFowVay, Sep 2, 2008.

  1. SchnellFowVay

    SchnellFowVay TPF Noob!

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    So I got my first dSLR just under one week ago.

    This is my first SLR camera, and my first attempt at using anything other than a standard point and shoot camera.

    On this forum's advice, I have read the camera's manual back to front, and I have read Bryan Peterson's "Understanding Exposure."

    Moreover, I get it. I understand the relationship between Aperture, ISO, and Shutter Speed.

    Here's my problem:

    Whenever I use the camera's built in light meter in manual mode, the photos ALWAYS come out underexposed. And not by a little bit -- by a LOT! They appear to be 2 to 3 stops off, ALWAYS. At first I thought maybe the camera's light meter was off, but the camera takes perfect pictures in Auto mode -- and auto mode relies on the same light meter.

    So what am I doing wrong? I've tried taking pictures in all levels of ambient light, sunlight, indoors light, dusk, early morning, dark, and it is ALWAYS 2 to 3 stops underexposed. I checked to be sure there is no flash compensation, etc...

    So what am I doing wrong? I've taken about 400 manual pictures in the last 5 days, and not a single one has turned out even remotely proper.

    :grumpy:
     
  2. SchnellFowVay

    SchnellFowVay TPF Noob!

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    I have a Nikon D40x by the way.
     
  3. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Maybe a silly question...but when you are using the camera in manual mode & using the meter...are you adjusting the settings to centre the 'needle' on the meter's scale? And are you doing this with the camera pointed at your subject / scene?
     
  4. maulrat

    maulrat TPF Noob!

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    This problem used to happen to me all the time when I first started shooting. I used to adjust my setting after I position my shot. Often times, the background in which I was metering off of was lighter than the skin of my subject. Now, I try to meter on the darkest portion of my subject that I want exposed, then reposition my shot without readjusting exposure. Could this be your problem? In semi-automatic modes, does exposure problems still occur?
     
  5. djacobox372

    djacobox372 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Make sure exposure compensation is set to 0, and use matrix metering.

    Finally, turn auto-iso off if it's on... that feature can make manual confusing.
     
  6. manaheim

    manaheim Jedi Bunnywabbit Staff Member Supporting Member

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    It's not the worst idea to stick the camera in Program mode for a bit and just shoot with it until you get the feel for it. Start dorking around with the other modes as you find that the camera fails you. You may be surprised to find out that the camera will handle most situations quite well without your intervention.

    This will give you some time to get comfortable with what the camera does, how it behaves, how to deal with the basic controls, etc.
     
  7. SchnellFowVay

    SchnellFowVay TPF Noob!

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    Thanks everyone for your suggestions.

    The problem . . .

    I HAD EXPOSURE COMPENSATION SET TO +5, so it was underexposing all my photos by 5 steps :x:grumpy:.

    But I fixed it! Now my pictures look right!

    thanks for all the suggestions though!

    And as a follow-up to the statement about ISO, I have been trying to do everything manually except white balance.

    For ISO, I generally follow this scheme:

    Outdoors w/sunlight: ISO 100
    Indoors w BRIGHT light: ISO 200
    Indoors normal light: ISO 400

    Is this about right?

    Thanks!
     
  8. Parkerman

    Parkerman TPF Noob!

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    This happens to me every so often and i have no clue how... For a moment I will be confused until i remember to check the exposure compensation.
     
  9. William Petruzzo

    William Petruzzo TPF Noob!

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    Happens to me too. I should know better, but my cannon has the controls for exposure compensation placed at a place that's a little to accessible. Sometimes I'll accidentally shift it, shoot for an hour, then realize my pictures are overexposed. It's really annoying and I should probably take measures to protect myself against such a thing, but the ease of Photoshop just looms there making me think it's not a big deal.
     
  10. maulrat

    maulrat TPF Noob!

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    Don't be afraid to bump your ISO to 200 in the morning and afternoon outdoors.
     
  11. Dao

    Dao No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    In general, that's fine. However, remember often that your Aperture and Shutter Speed settings may force you to use a higher ISO settings.

    For example, you need a use faster shutter speed with smaller aperture (higher aperture setting) to take a photo such as a bunch of kids chasing each other, you ISO setting may need to increase as well.

    Or you want to take a picture with your telephoto lens (non VR/IS) of an object without tripod nor monopod, even it is outdoor with sunlight, you may still need to bump up the ISO. (faster shutter speed to avoid camera shake and smaller aperture (higher aperture value) to increase the Depth of Field)
     
  12. TamiyaGuy

    TamiyaGuy No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Yep, those ISO settings are about right. However, I rather often use ISO 800 when I'm shooting indoors, but maybe that's just because I don't like using direct flash much & that our house doesn't have many windows. Also, if you're using a long telephoto lens to shoot something that is rather dark, I generally use ISO 400. You can barely see noise, but it gets you that little extra shutter speed.
     

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