d40x light meter off?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Antithesis, Sep 16, 2007.

  1. Antithesis

    Antithesis No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I've had my d40x for about a month now, I love it but I have a big question. I've been using all the modes on the camera, just learning everything I can about how to get my exposure right. It seems in manual mode, the light meter will read that it will be a perfect exposure, but the picture will come out being dark and underexposed. I end up overexposing by a stop or so and the picture comes out better. I'm obviously a noob to photography, so enlighten me. I know some camera's tend to favor under or over exposing, what have been people's experience with the d40x?

    Also, I noticed this to be even more of a problem when using a polarizing filter. Is the light meter located inside the body of the camera (i.e. through the lens)? My buddy tells me to worry more about composure than exposure for the time being, but I'm just curious.
     
  2. DSLR noob

    DSLR noob TPF Noob!

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    My XT seemed to do that for the first 3 weeks. all my pictures had to be taken at -1 EV but it just sorted it out, I actually blame user error. When I changed my AE lock and AF lock settings it seems to be the time I fixed everything.
     
  3. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Are you using matrix metering, center or spot?
     
  4. Patrolman Pat

    Patrolman Pat TPF Noob!

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    I also have a D40x and I'm happy with my exposures on most shots using matrix metering. I've read reviews that claim the camera tends to over expose, which is the opposite to your findings. The sensor should take into account any filters when calculating exposures as the light is metered through the lens.
     
  5. fmw

    fmw No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    An important lesson beginners need to learn is that exposure is not an automatic thing. Photographers make exposures, not cameras. The first step in your quest is to get a good bood on basic photography and exposure to understand, better what is going on. They you need to learn how your metering system reacts to different lighting scenarios. At that point you will be able to begin to make the exposures you want. I won't go into writing a book here on exposure since others have done it better than I can do. Meters aren't on or off. They are what they are. Photographers need to know how to use them. Best of luck.
     
  6. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    And an even more important lesson is to check your settings. In manual mode the light metre will show the deviation from idea as you already know. However if you inadvertently set exposure compensation in manual or any one of the other modes the metre will show the deviation from the compensated value. Make sure EV compensation is set at 0.

    It is not possible to turn the light metre off. It will do so to save power after 20seconds or so of inactivity, but it comes on again regardless of camera settings when you halfdepress the shutter.
     
  7. xfloggingkylex

    xfloggingkylex TPF Noob!

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    Im guessing we are talking about matrix metering in a very contrasty scene, such as the sun behind the subject or even just a bright background with a darker foreground. the camera sees the majority of the scene as being bright so it thinks you need less exposure.

    Knowing what your camera is doing is what FMW is getting at.
     
  8. Antithesis

    Antithesis No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I'm using center-weighted. It seems to be the biggest problem in really bright scenes, even though my histogram makes it look like the picture is properly exposed. I was curious if people were getting similar results from the same camera.

    I'm taking a couple photography courses this fall, hopefully those will open up my understanding of the dynamics of light. I guess I'm just trying to take phenomenal shots right out the gate but I've only had the camera a month, lol.
     
  9. xfloggingkylex

    xfloggingkylex TPF Noob!

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    can you post up a picture as an example?
     
  10. Antithesis

    Antithesis No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    [​IMG]

    There was obviously lots of contrast between the sky, jungle and beach but it seemed like a good amount of the beach shots I took all came out like this. Even using center weighted metering (which seems like it should have metered the exposure in the darker part of the picture, i.e. the foliage) it would still have a very dark look to it.

    It is almost to the point of losing detail in the darker areas, and the sand looks pretty drab and gray. In actuality it was a bright cream color, the jungle a nice mid-green and the sky came out pretty accurately.
     
  11. xfloggingkylex

    xfloggingkylex TPF Noob!

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    those white clouds are what threw it off more than likely. Clouds on a bright day like that tend to really reflect a lot of light, and since your light meter works on reflected light the clouds tell the camera it is a very bright scene.

    This is one of those pictures that is very hard to photograph because in order to get the beach properly exposed you need to over expose the clouds, and to get the clouds properly exposed, you need to underexpose the ground.

    The clouds here are exposed properly according to the camera, there is detail in even the brightest parts of the cloud. The thing is, your meter tries to get everything to a middle gray, meaning it tends to underexpose whites to get a gray look, and over expose blacks to get a gray look.

    Had you metered off the beach and locked the meter before recomposing (AE-L on most cameras, also indicated by a *) you would have had a nice sunny beach, but more than likely white blown out clouds.

    HDR is one solution. Check wiki if you aren't familiar with the term.

    But basically your camera (as are all other cameras and recording formats) are limited by dynamic range.
     
  12. Antithesis

    Antithesis No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Yeah, I guess I have much to learn. It seems like a graduated neutral density filter can solve this problem or mucking about with HDR's.

    I was mainly trying to find a "sweet spot" (or whatever you want to call it) on the light meter where the camera will generally perform best. I understand that there are so many different lighting scenarios that it would be impossible, just seeing if the camera will tend to lean one way or the other.
     

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