Exposure Compensation

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by ricepudding, Nov 5, 2007.

  1. ricepudding

    ricepudding TPF Noob!

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    Ok, I have this button on my camera and wondering how it is used. As I understand Exposure compensation includes my settings of shutter speed, aperture, and ISO. And I am a newbie experimenting so I am always adjusting these settings individually. If the makeup of those settings makes the exposure compensation, then when would I use the actual button labeled "exposure compensation" that adjusts positive and negative?
     
  2. Big Mike

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

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    Good question.

    You need to realize that the camera's meter isn't smart. It doens't know what it's looking at...it only know that it wants to give you settings that would be correct for 18% grey. If your subject, or whatever part of your scene that the meter is reading, isn't 18% grey (tone, not color)...then your exposure will be off.

    To get a more accurate exposure...or to set the exposure purposly darker or lighter...you can use E.C. to change it.
     
  3. A good example is snow. If you are shooting a snowy landscape, it' supposed to be shades of white... but your camera is trying to turn it into shades of grey. So you need to set it to EV -1 to let in slightly less light, and catch more nuances.

    If you're shooting in Aperture Priority mode, your camera might read the scene to set the aperture (f/8 to use an example) at 1/125th of a second. Well, -1 will mean that your camera is actually only going to expose for 1/250th of a second. If you were shooting in Shutter Priority mode (metered by your camera to shoot at f/8 and 1/125th) it would shoot at f/11 but maintain the 1/125th in order to reduce the exposure by one stop.
     
  4. Big Mike

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

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    It depends on what you want to do. When shooting snow (or a scene with a lot of snow) the camera will want to turn the snow into an 18% grey scene...which means muddy looking snow. To make the snow look white, like it's supposed to...(and make anything else look normal) you need to ADD EXPOSURE.

    Rule of thumb, if the scene is dark...you need to subtract (-) exposure...if the scene is bright, you need to add (+) exposure.

    This is just to get more accurate exposures...you can change it to get the results you want.
     
  5. Hill202

    Hill202 TPF Noob!

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    I'm not sure I understand this statement. Would'nt you add exposure to a dark scene?
     
  6. Gopherkid

    Gopherkid TPF Noob!

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    No, because the sensor over compinsates for that dark scene. Just like when theres lots of snow, it sees a really bright image, so it will over compinsate and make a overall dark image, and you will possibly lose detail where you wanted it, or make dark, muddy looking snow. Mike said it best, the sensor is not smart, you have to think about what it wants to do, and think about what you want, and adjust for it.
     
  7. Hill202

    Hill202 TPF Noob!

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    Shooting in RAW format and getting the exposure close, then adjusting the exposure in Lightroom, you can get the same results right?
     
  8. ricepudding

    ricepudding TPF Noob!

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    The responses were somewhat helpful but I still don't completely get it. If I'm in a P, A, or S mode then I may need to mess with exposure because my camera "isn't smart". But what if I'm in M mode, then "I" control aperture and shutter speed (i.e. how much light the camera is taking in etc.) so then would I still need to adjust the exposure EVER in M mode? What instances? Maybe to brighten a bit INSTEAD of slowing shutter speed down or Visa Versa? And also like PP said, a little adjustment in editing would fix most problems right?

    Just trying to gage how often this setting is used, how, and why.

    Thanks!
     
  9. Big Mike

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

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    As Gopherkid said...no.
    It can be a tough one to wrap your head around but I like to think about it this way:
    You are not compensating for the scene...you are compensating for the camera's meter and what it wants to do. The camera sees a dark scene and it wants to make it brighter...so you need to reverse that and keep/make it darker.
    Same thing with a bright scene...the camera sees bright and wants to make it darker. You have to compensate for what the camera/meter is doing and keep/make it brighter.

    Really, with digital you can almost forget about a lot of this. Shot a test shot and look at the histogram (not just the image) on the LCD screen. Ideally, you want to 'Expose to the Right'. This means that you want the bulk of the histogram to be closer to the right side of the graph...but not so close to the right side that the histogram is piled up.

    RAW does give you more latitude to adjust the exposure...but it's still best to have an accurate exposure or an exposure that is 'to the right'. This is especially true when using higher ISO because the more you have to adjust the exposure, the more noise you will see in the image.
     
  10. Tolyk

    Tolyk TPF Noob!

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    It is my understanding that the exposure compensation button doesn't work in Manual mode. It's only for P, A, and S. But I might be mistaken about that.

    However, you won't need it if you're shooting in M, you just readjust your settings to expose correctly. Oh, and setting your exposure that way isn't exposure compensation, it's just exposure setting. You aren't telling the camera to compensate, you're telling it what to exposure you want.
     
  11. Big Mike

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

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    There really isn't much/any difference between using P, Av or Tv with EC...and using manual. The way you get your setting may be different but the results are basically the same.
    When in manual, you would need to adjust the settings until you get the 'needle' onto the scale. If you center the needle on -0- then you will get the same exposure as the camera's meter would give you in the other modes. If you adjust the settings so that the needle is off of -0-...then that's basically the same as using EC.

    If course, it's all subjective. If you want the photo to be darker or lighter...then make those adjustment.
     
  12. Groupcaptainbonzo

    Groupcaptainbonzo TPF Noob!

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    while there is an element of truth in this, it is ALWAYS best to get it right first and save yourself work later.
     

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