Over exposed, under exposed, & just right

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Grimgard, May 14, 2010.

  1. Grimgard

    Grimgard TPF Noob!

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    I am a total newbie and need all the help I can get. I just picked up a Canon XSi and I am trying to figure out the best TV & AV settings so my pictures are not under/over exposed. Whats the best tool/way to do this other than looking at the picture you just took on the view finder and trying to judge if its to dark or bright with just your eye. Isnt there some kind of meter built into the camera that will tell me if I am in a middle range so the pictures come out perfect?

    Here is a couple of pictures I took at my daughters softball game. The first is under exposed with Tv(Shutter Speed) 1/250, AV F5.6, ISO 100, Lens EF-S55-250mm

    [​IMG]

    The second is either just right or a little over exposed with Tv 1/400, Av F5.6, ISO 100, and the same lens

    [​IMG]
     
  2. supraman215

    supraman215 TPF Noob!

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    You could try the bracketing options of your camera has any it will take 3 pictures one with higher than the current exposure, one with the current exposure, and one with lower than the current exposure. Depending on your camera you can set this to be a difference of +-1ev or +-1/3ev. Once you find out which one you like better you can adjust your exposure level.

    Another thing to check are your metering settings, are you using spot metering ( usually indicated by a dot in the center, it just uses the center point of the picture to set the exposure) or an average (using the total light from the whole image.) Both pics look like you're using an average which is probably a good move for a noob.

    These are my thoughts. I'm just a noob.

    Jeff
     
  3. JasonLambert

    JasonLambert TPF Noob!

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    I would say use the spot metering option on your camera. I have started using this a lot more in the past few weeks and my images have improved greatly. I feel more in control.
     
  4. mwcfarms

    mwcfarms No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    In manual mode my Nikon has a exposure meter bar. In the middle of my viewfinder. Plus on one side negative on the other 0 in the middle. When you are at zero your exposure is correct. Im sure the Canon has one also. You can adjust the aperature and shutterspeed until you get to zero from a variety of combinations depending on the look your trying to achieve. I highly recommend Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson and his other book Understanding Shutterspeed. Each book has little exercises in it as well to try that help give you something to focus on and apply what you have learned. They are invaluable books for the money. Good luck.
     
  5. Bitter Jeweler

    Bitter Jeweler Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    "Isn't there some kind of meter built into the camera...?"

    Sounds to me like you need to read the manual.
    I would also suggest the book "Understanding Exposure".

    As far as "best settings", well, that depends on the available light. Light that can change from minute to minute.
     
  6. Goontz

    Goontz TPF Noob!

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    On the first one, I'd be willing to bet that, in Shutter Priority, that was too fast of a shutter speed for f/5.6 aperture and 5.6 was the widest available with that lens at that focal point.

    To clarify, the camera couldn't get the aperture any larger to let more light in, so the only other option would have been to slow the shutter speed down some (which the camera won't do in Shutter Priority mode). In this case, your light meter probably indicated that it was going to be underexposed.

    As mentioned, the light meter is a little bar visible in your viewfinder (or also on the display screen if it's turned on). Understanding Exposure is a great book to help with stuff like this.
     
  7. tsaraleksi

    tsaraleksi TPF Noob!

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    For softball I'd tend to prefer Av or M mode over Tv.

    Also, you need to get your shutter speed up, even if it costs you some ISO. At those speeds action is going to blur.
     
  8. Dallmeyer

    Dallmeyer TPF Noob!

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    Check the histogram after each shot.
     
  9. Grimgard

    Grimgard TPF Noob!

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    Thanks everyone for the help. :thumbup::peacesign:
     
  10. syphlix

    syphlix TPF Noob!

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    theres links to reading histograms somewhere but i'm too lazy to look for them...

    histogram is the key... it's hard to always judge based on the lcd how well things are exposed... esp on a bright day...
     
  11. Grimgard

    Grimgard TPF Noob!

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    Thanks I think keeping my ISO at 100 was the reason the pictures were so under exposed.

    I did try M mode this morning and noticed the light meter working and telling me to either go up or down with the TV/AV values but in other modes the meter was always centered. Not sure why it would not tell me if its to dark/bright like in Manual mode.

    I am learning fast that taking pictues with a SLR camera is a ballancing act between TV,AV,ISO

    I understand the basics of the camera TV (time value) is the time lenghth the shutter stays open & is great for creative shots with blur in them (waterfalls) and AV (apature value) is the size of the hole and is good for taking pictures with the back ground out of focus or everything in focus. ISO the lower the better but in low light situations you want a higher ISO but not so high you get noise.

    I am just not sure on the rest of it lol and some of the terminology. When I said light meter I ment the display that shows you a graph and how much light was or was not in the picture...think it's called histrogram?

    My camera came with a DVD that explains the basics but that is about it. I did read the manual but some of it was over my head and there is a lot to absorb.


    I will get the books you guys advised getting but there is a 3rd addition coming out in 08/10 so I'll wait for that.


    Once again thank you for your help and advice it is appreciated.
    :albino::smileys::albino:
     
  12. Dallmeyer

    Dallmeyer TPF Noob!

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    Yes. Identify a scene which conforms acceptably to a 5 stop dynamic range then attempt to an exposure which places as much (hopefully entirely) the whole luminance range across the scene within it.

    The histogram from left to right reads dark to bright, between 5 vertical divisions. If your image luminance extends beyond either end you have clipped the picture data.
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2010

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