Overexposed

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Amocholes, Aug 30, 2010.

  1. Amocholes

    Amocholes No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Saturday I went to the zoo. It was a bright, cloudless day. I was using a Nikon D3000 with a 55-200mm kit lens and UV filter. I used the auto settings mostly, switching to manual focus when needed. The problem I encountered is that the majority of the pictures seem to be over exposed. Bright and washed out looking. Anything white was just totally blown out.

    Any suggestions? Here are a couple of examples with no processing.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  2. LaFoto

    LaFoto Just Corinna in real life Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I don't know what camera you work with, but I find that mine does the same when set to AUTO. Often even in manual mode, when the little dot that indicates exposure is right in the middle (meaning "just right" or "perfect" or whatever), I find the photos overexposed in the end. I don't know what causes that. So today I'm glad there's RAW, and post processing software, so I can work on the problem afterwards. (AND I tend to "underexpose" by 1/3 or 2/3 according to the light metre these days to begin with...)
     
  3. AgentDrex

    AgentDrex No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Sounds to me as though you let the camera choose the correct exposure by pointing the camera at a dark area which would throw whites into the exposure abyss...point it at a light area and the camera will choose an exposure for that which will send the blacks into the exposure abyss...so point it at an area that is neither too light nor dark...a happy medium...or let it expose for the light areas and use a flash to fill the dark it will produce...I don't know how to explain it better...

    Here's a "snapshot? (who really knows)" example of what I think I'm talking about (who knows about that either):

    I let the camera choose exposure by pointing it towards the bright outside and used the onboard flash to fill in the dark (look at the top of the frame to see how dark it got) but it lit my friends faces and you can still see outside...if I had set it for the dark inside all you would see is bright white through the windows...

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2010
  4. Robin Usagani

    Robin Usagani Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Could be this. You also need post processing.
     
  5. Slaphead

    Slaphead TPF Noob!

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    The first one appears to be overexposed but in reality it isn't. A quick look at the histogram shows the photo to perfectly exposed, it's just the original scene didn't contain that much dynamic range (difference between the lightest part and the darkest part)

    The second image was going to be a difficult one anyway, black gorilla with a bright background. One thing I've noticed with my D90 is that the 3D matrix metering puts more weight on the area that you've focused on in an attempt to expose your point of interest properly (I believe that the D3000 uses a similar if not the same focus and exposure engine as the D90). This generally works fine until you have a high contrast scene like this . You've focused on the gorilla so the camera will try and expose the gorilla correctly. However as the gorilla is black the camera will tend to overexpose the image. In this example I would have probably compensated the exposure by around minus 2/3rds of a stop, maybe even a full stop.

    Also I see no bars (blurred or otherwise) in these pictures. Were you shooting through glass, plexiglass etc? If you were then this can produce the washed out look that you have. Also the greater the angle you shoot through glass the more washed out the images become in my experience.

    You can easily put more contrast back into these photos, and also pull back the exposure a bit using PS, PSE or whatever image editing program you use, but unfortunately the blown highlights in the 2nd picture are beyond recovery.

    I did a couple of v. quick edits on these photos just adjusting the levels which made them a bit better, but as you wish for photos not to be edited I'm afraid I can't post them.
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2010
  6. Amocholes

    Amocholes No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Thanks. Yes, I was shooting through acrylic. The viewing areas had sheets of acrylic instead of bars. I just got the UV filter and was trying it out. I probably should have tried some without the filter.
     
  7. Vinny

    Vinny TPF Noob!

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    The UV filter does nothing with a digital camera except possibly protect the lens. Although I am a proponent of using a UV filter for that reason I am probably in the 0.0001% of the people who do use it for that reason; most will tell you to forget about it.

    Maybe it's because you shot through something but the first photo seems a little grainy to my eyes and a little soft as well.

    Something that I am finding out in digital ... you do need to spend some time is post to get the image looking a bit better.

    Slaphead a question about your statement on metering - you mentioned that 3D matrix metering is reading on what you focused on, I thought it averaged out the whole scene. I thought that center weighted metering would read what you are focusing on assuming that you originally centered your subject for it to read that exposure.
     
  8. Slaphead

    Slaphead TPF Noob!

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    I hear what you're saying and you'd think that would be the case, but tests done by me, and if you check the DPreview review of the D90, show that the exposure is tightly linked to whichever focus point you are using. Standing the D90 on a tripod and then altering the focus point can, depending on the scene, produce very different exposures. Not as different as when using spot metering, but enough to catch you out if you're unaware of this. It's kind of like the 3D matrix metering evaluates the whole scene but puts more weight on your chosen focus point.

    The D80 also had this problem but worse. Although the D90 has tamed it somewhat it can still lead to over, or, underexposure depending on the scene. As I said, most of the time its not a problem, but scenes of high contrast, such as the gorilla picture, can trick it. You just need to recognise those scenes and compensate.
     
  9. Vinny

    Vinny TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the explanation!
     
  10. Boomn4x4

    Boomn4x4 TPF Noob!

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    +1, neither shot is over exposed. They are both exposed as good as they can be out of the camera, even the gorilla one.

    Both shots could use some post processing... adding a little contrast and black to the shadows.

    Your enemy was your available light, not your camera.
     
  11. clanthar

    clanthar TPF Noob!

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    Both exposures are fine -- the camera's exposure system worked well. The lighting in each case would permit a good photo.

    The camera was the enemy. And that's because Nikon claims the camera should have gotten these right: "Within the EXPEED concept, algorithms custom-tuned to the specific camera deliver processing power that greatly improves system performance while extending the achievable levels of image quality and tone reproduction." D-SLR Series EXPEED from Nikon

    The culprit here is the Nikon EXPEED image processor that couldn't even get a simple Levels adjustment correct.

    Take Care,
    Joe
     
  12. Amocholes

    Amocholes No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Thanks for the comments. I realize that some PP is almost always needed. I was curious as to why the majority of the 200+ pictures I had taken seemed over exposed when pictures I had taken in Hawaii seemed fine with similar lighting conditions. You've given me some things to think about.

    Here are the same pics with some minimal adjustment to brightness and contrast. (I should say these are off of the pictures on flickr and are not from the originals since I am at work.)

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     

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