D300~AP/SP Mode...Bright/Washed-Out Colors

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by gina4xoxoxo, Apr 2, 2009.

  1. gina4xoxoxo

    gina4xoxoxo TPF Noob!

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    When I shoot in AP or SP mode, my colors are VERY washed out and lighter/brighter than they should be. Is this because the curve on the D300 for midtones is brighter than before? Does anyone else notice this?
    Also, is there any type of way to meter, per se, in either of these modes other than using EC to compensate? Or do I exclusively have to continue to shoot in manual mode for this? I'd like to use AP mode or SP mode, but I'm not happy at all with the results. I shoot RAW, but it's still principal of it.
    Would metering mode help at all? I know matrix now does the scene recognition thing (I wish they would have kept matrix metering the way it always was, but unfortunately they changed it with the D300/D3), but is there any way to get it back to how the D200 and other cameras meter?
    A perfect example is a picture of a gray cat. His fur comes out much lighter than it should. I know it's trying to make it 18%, but it's lighter than anything I've ever considered 18%. If I shoot the same shot with my D50 or D200 and then my D300 with all settings the same, there is a big difference, the D50 and D200 being the same but the D300 being much brighter and much more washed out.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/gina4xoxoxo/3408071934/

    There is a link to one of the images that I'm talking about. It was shot in AP mode and is SOOC. The histogram on it is pretty much dead center on the grays, which comprise most of the image. Nothing is blown. You can see the exif by clicking on "more details" on the right side of the image.

    Here is another one but this is the green grass one. The histogram on this is DEAD CENTER. This to me looks totally washed out, too bright with no contrast.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/gina4xoxoxo/3408125744/

    Is something wrong with my meter or is this just what it does and do I need to keep it set to, say, -1 EC in these situations? Just very frustrating to know I paid this much for the D300 and I feel like throwing it out the window :O(
    Thanks so much for any help or insight you can give on this!
     
  2. kundalini

    kundalini Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Well, the first thing to mention is that (and you probably know this) RAW images must have some post processing to get the most out of the image. Period.

    With my D80, I kept the EC to -0.7. The D300 is a bit more forgiving, but I still find it shoots a bit hot and set the EC to -0.3 to -0.7 any way. I keep the D700 neutral, but won't hesitate to throw a negative EC on bright scenes.

    I tend to shoot in Manual mode mostly, but am trying to use Aperture on ocassion. I haven't been completely trusting yet, but then again, I'm still in practice mode with the different shooting modes.

    Probably none of the above will answer your questions, but I've just finished a bottle of wine and have a tendancy to babble.
     
  3. manaheim

    manaheim Jedi Bunnywabbit Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I don't think they're that off... cat looks fine, actually. Did you calibrate your monitor?

    As K said... RAW needs post-processing, and the images you have are WELL within the bounds of a slight tweak in Adobe Camera RAW giving you perfect results.
     
  4. Flash Harry

    Flash Harry TPF Noob!

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    Yeah, they dont look bad here either, I suspect its the brightness of your TFT, I had one and found it a nightmare to calibrate properly so back to CRT for me. H
     
  5. dEARlEADER

    dEARlEADER TPF Noob!

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    Some points for you -

    1. To flat out answer your question, using the D300 you can adjust the exposure value for each metering mode (matrix, center, and spot). You can make a one time -1/3 to matrix metering and your meter will still appear centered. This way you can leave your exp comp flat. The procedure for this adjustment is in your manual.

    2. You pictures are not washed out. The cat is fine. The grass needs some colour work. This is normal in a RAW file. What raw processing software are you using?

    3. You may not be aware, but as long as your mindful of clipping highlights, it's better for you to record images exposed to the right of the histogram. There is a greater amount of tonal variations recorded on the right side. This give you more detail and greater post processing latitude. You are only doing a disservice to yourself to screw with your meter in order to bring the exposure level down.

    Expose Right

    4. Why do you think you get a different result using manual as opposed to AP? Put you camera on a tripod, the shooting mode on AP, and select F8 for an aperture. Note the suggested shutter speed for a correct exposure. Now switch to manual mode and select F8. Scroll the shutter wheel until the meter is centered. Note the shutter speed. They are both the same. This is because the meter is the meter. The camera uses the same meter in AP mode to suggest a setting. When shooting in manual, if you decide you need to underexpose by 1/3 are essentially making the same adjustment and exp comp.

    5. The matrix metering in your old D200 also used a scene recognition system. This is what matrix metering is. It evaluate different contrast level within a scene and compares them to 30,000 algorithms.



    So, back to #1.... if you don't care to listen to my other blitherings the bottom line is you can make a one time adjustment to the hotness of you cameras meter in the menu. This will fix your issue. However, I suspect you need to do some more research on how to effectively use camera metering modes and the most effective way to record tonal data.
     
  6. gina4xoxoxo

    gina4xoxoxo TPF Noob!

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    Some points for you -

    1. To flat out answer your question, using the D300 you can adjust the exposure value for each metering mode (matrix, center, and spot). You can make a one time -1/3 to matrix metering and your meter will still appear centered. This way you can leave your exp comp flat. The procedure for this adjustment is in your manual.

    I am aware of that. I'm going to do that today and see what happens.

    2. You pictures are not washed out. The cat is fine. The grass needs some colour work. This is normal in a RAW file. What raw processing software are you using?

    I have both LR2 and NX2. I usually use LR2.

    3. You may not be aware, but as long as your mindful of clipping highlights, it's better for you to record images exposed to the right of the histogram. There is a greater amount of tonal variations recorded on the right side. This give you more detail and greater post processing latitude. You are only doing a disservice to yourself to screw with your meter in order to bring the exposure level down.

    Am aware of this.

    Expose Right

    4. Why do you think you get a different result using manual as opposed to AP? Put you camera on a tripod, the shooting mode on AP, and select F8 for an aperture. Note the suggested shutter speed for a correct exposure. Now switch to manual mode and select F8. Scroll the shutter wheel until the meter is centered. Note the shutter speed. They are both the same. This is because the meter is the meter. The camera uses the same meter in AP mode to suggest a setting. When shooting in manual, if you decide you need to underexpose by 1/3 are essentially making the same adjustment and exp comp.

    Here is the issue. It's not that i think the meter is wrong going from one to the other. I'm sure they do match up. The problem is the resulting image does not match the scene/lighting conditions the picture was taken in. All those grass pictures were taken after sunset. They should be a dark green. They are not... they are at least a stop too bright. This brings me back to shooting manual and dialing down for zones. i realize the grass in that type of ambient lighting should be a zone 4 (if zone 5 is 18%). If I shoot it in zone 4 it comes out the correct color. BUT if I shoot in AP mode, it comes out 18% or lighter. That's great... the camera is turning it to a midtone like it's supposed to when you meter..... but not in AP mode, kind of an auto mode, when i want to take pictures and don't know how in the world they are going to look. I want them to look like the lighting i am taking them in, not a stop brighter. Again, if i dial down to -1 in AP mode, yes, the grass will be dark green, but so will everything else be darker.
    I'm going to try manually setting my WB and see how much difference that makes.


    ......

    So, back to #1.... if you don't care to listen to my other blitherings the bottom line is you can make a one time adjustment to the hotness of you cameras meter in the menu. This will fix your issue. However, I suspect you need to do some more research on how to effectively use camera metering modes and the most effective way to record tonal data.

    I appreciate your 'blitherings' as you say :O) I really don't want to adjust something to make it look right. I want it to BE right. Research more? I have been researching for years on a daily basis. That's all i do is read photography, sleep photography...LOL Maybe the camera just doesn't know what to do with all that grass because that's all that's there and it's doing what it knows to do best.....turn it to 18% reflectance. I take the same picture with my D50 or D200 and the grass looks fine. i dunno.....

    I apprciate all your help!! Thank you for taking the time to type all of this for me!! :O)
     
  7. AlexColeman

    AlexColeman TPF Noob!

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    The cat looks perfect, you need to calibrate the monitor.
     
  8. gina4xoxoxo

    gina4xoxoxo TPF Noob!

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    Nobody is understanding what i'm saying. yes, the cat looks perfect on the histogram, but the cat is NOT that color gray. He is about two shades darker! I want to shoot in AP mode and have my colors come out correctly. I know in M mode I adjust according to the zones, and they come out fine, but in AP mode and SP mode, it should not be the light!!
    Everyone is saying the histograms are great. And I agree. But the histograms don't reflect the color of what i'm shooting. The grass should be dark green. it's coming out right of center, lighter than 18%, when it should be about a stop darker.
    I just calibrated my monitor for the third time three days ago. i take the same pics with my D50 and the grass is green how it should be.
    I dunno.....
    Thanks for looking :O)
     
  9. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The camera doesn't know that you're taking a photo of a cat, and every camera has a different metering system that behaves differently to the same scene. That's the whole reason to get the fancy cameras is so we can override it.

    If the image looks wrong to you (and it doesn't to me) then you can either exposure compensate it down on a case by case basis, or if you think the camera is constantly over exposing then turn it down in the global override settings the D300 has.

    The other question is what program are you using to process the RAWs? If it's Nikon Capture then it has different settings for every camera, and the normal settings on the D50 are much higher contrast and much more saturated and sharper to appeal to the users who just upgraded from their point and shoots.
     
  10. Flash Harry

    Flash Harry TPF Noob!

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    I've recently got my D300, out of the box I wasn't impressed with exp/colour, not a patch on Fuji s2/3/5 but after tweaking settings in camera for my own purposes I get what I need proofwise, a few final adjustments in psraw and the shots are the dogs genitals, set the camera up to suit, your D50 is just a step up from a P & S the 2-300-700-D3 are pro/semi pro models, without tweaking shots will be bland/not great. H
     

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