Rule of thumb for digital??

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by leopardforest, Sep 7, 2007.

  1. leopardforest

    leopardforest TPF Noob!

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    What is the rule of thumb for exposing for digital? Should you shoot for the highlights or for the shadows?
     
  2. elsaspet

    elsaspet TPF Noob!

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    I was taught to expose for hightlights.
     
  3. leopardforest

    leopardforest TPF Noob!

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    Now do you always expose for highlights or only when you have ideal lighting? Also what kind of metering do you use?
     
  4. Don Simon

    Don Simon TPF Noob!

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    For me the type of metering depends on the scene. Sometimes I use a dedicated meter for incident metering. More often (for convenience) I use the meter in my camera, but then sometimes centre-weighted, sometimes spot, and sometimes trusting the matrix metering while using past experience to judge its accuracy and adjust if necessary.

    As for exposing for the highlights, I worry about it when I expect there is a danger of them being 'blown out', because IMO this is worse than underexposing (since you can pull details out of the shadows better than from overexposed highlights). But again it depends on the scene, since not every scene is going to present such problems with highlights.

    In other words, I'd err on the side of underexposure rather than overexposure when there's a danger of highlights being blown. Otherwise I don't really think there's a general rule of thumb for digital that always applies.
     
  5. leopardforest

    leopardforest TPF Noob!

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    What is center weighted, spot, and evaluative or matrix? What are the pros and cons of each?
     
  6. Alex_B

    Alex_B No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    spot metering meters more or less on the central spot you point at, ideally less than 5 % of the whole area of the image.

    the advantage of this is that you meter rather exactly on parts of your image and decide which part you want exposed best.

    I usually expose for the main subject and take a control meter reading of the highlights (and sometimes the shades, depending on the scene) to see if I will lose them. If so, I correct a bit and chose a compromise exposure.

    In some scenes the highlights do not matter though, then I just ignore them ;)
     
  7. fightheheathens

    fightheheathens TPF Noob!

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    i always thought you exposed for the shaddows and developed for highlights....but then again i use film...
     
  8. jstuedle

    jstuedle No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    For digital expose for the highlights, except in very low light. Exposing for the highs in dim lighting will exaggerate the noise. In very low light overexpose about 1/2 a stop to help cancel out excessive noise.
     
  9. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Which film? Slide and Negatives are opposites. I think you're talking about negatives. The issue becomes clear when you think of it in terms of a) light not being linear from dark to light, and b) where each clips. Slide clips when something is white, negatives when it's black.

    Digital cameras also clip at white but because of the way data is stored there's more information in the highlights. Expose for the highlights and post process (develop) for the shadows for best quality images, just like on slide film.

    Read up the camera manual on the different metring modes. Some cameras act differently and the manual will give you a good indication about the weighting and area for the centre weighted image, or the size for spot, or how evaluative (matrix on nikons) works. I leave mine in Matrix and if it doesn't do what I want I throw it into manual.
     

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