Exposure compensation explanation/help

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by PropilotBW, Nov 17, 2015.

  1. PropilotBW

    PropilotBW Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I guess I have a novice question. I have rarely used exposure compensation in my photography thus far. It's probably due to a lack of understanding. I understand the concept of E.C. tricking the camera into creating brighter or darker exposures for a specific scene.
    What I don't understand is how this technique differs from just increasing or decreasing exposure in post processing? I started to believe they create the same results. If I'm wrong, please let me know so I can improve!
    I have been taking portraits more frequently and I am just trying to understand the tools available to me.
    Thanks!


     
  2. jl1975

    jl1975 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    While you can adjust your exposure in post, getting it correct in camera is usually better. If you have a shot that is under/over exposed, you may be able to adjust it. However, if you get it correct in the first place you won't run the risk of losing details in the shadows or blowing out the highlights. Once you get too dark or too bright, you may not be able to recover those details.
     
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  3. The_Traveler

    The_Traveler Completely Counter-dependent Supporting Member

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    'Fixing' the exposure in PPing is possible but not always acceptable.
    And inevitably what you are ECing for is in the shadows and try to correct that in post means increasing noise.
    Example: shooting a street scene with brilliant overhead sun.
    The desired correctly exposed area is the face under the brim.
    Because of the general brightness the face will be well under-exposed and more noisy than optimal.
    EC+ or ++ so that you lighten the shadows under the brim and give yourself the exposure and detail you need without excessive noise.

    Example: note the bright overhead sun yet the faces under brims of hat are exposed enough to get decent detail.
    Shot at +stop overexposure with Oly 5 and Panasonic 12-35

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2015
  4. Ysarex

    Ysarex Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Because EC effects the camera exposure which determines what you record with the sensor. Post processing can't alter what the sensor captures -- it can only work with what you've got.

    Joe
     
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  5. DB_Cro

    DB_Cro No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I wouldn't worry about exp. comp., I never used it, I shoot full manual.
     
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  6. JoeW

    JoeW Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Depending upon what you shoot, you may find very few times you need it. Or it may come essential.

    For instance, if you shoot in situations with high dynamic range (some is backlit, lots of high contrast, heavy shadow), it's invaluable. If you shoot in situations where it's very easy for there to be "hot spots" or blownout parts of the photo if over-exposed, it's invaluable. If you're trying to do more than just record a setting but instead make a picture, then the ability to manipulate the light exposure will be invaluable. If you shoot at extremes (say...indoor athletics where there is poor light and fast movement), it can be useful.

    And no, you can't always fix it in post. For instance, if you shoot a picture of a young child holding a puppy and you spot meter on the puppy, the "correct exposure" by the camera results in a blownout face with the child. Trying to fix that in post is impossible. Or another simpler example is this: you take a picture and look at the back of your camera to see if you "got it." If you're relying on post, what you see on your display screen will be, inevitably, an incomplete picture--you won't be able to tell if it's good enough or if you need to reshoot. Last of all, getting this element right in-camera is substantially faster than fixing it in post-production.
     
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  7. jaomul

    jaomul Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    EC is a great fast way of brightening or darkening a scene without having to adjust your primary settings.

    In aperture priority for example you may not care what ss as long as it's fast enough to handhold but you may want a specific iso but don't want the hassle of full manual.

    You take your shot but the camera meters dark or light for your taste and ec compensates quickly and easily, over riding the camera meters setting to what you want. It does this by altering the ss, if you are in speed priority it does so by altering the aperture.

    Altering in pp is changing what the camera records, so there may be a little degrading of image quality, ec can allow changes of a few stops quickly and effective
     
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  8. PropilotBW

    PropilotBW Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I rarely use manual mode. Just trying to understand A and S priority to its fullest
     
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  9. jaomul

    jaomul Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    When you understand A and S mode manual will be self explanatory. Shooting manual mode is a choice, but not a cut and dry necessity. I understand manual shooting but don't use it much, but I'm just a hobbyist, however a lot of pros if you read up about them also don't shoot manual, so it's whatever suits the individual
     
  10. DB_Cro

    DB_Cro No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Try shooting a concert in A or S :)

    IMHO, learning what exposure comp does will be more confusing then going over
    to full manual and learning that. When you understand the exposure triangle you'll
    learn to get better shots in either mode. When the need for exposure comp presents
    itself, it's easier (IMO) to switch over to manual and set the exposure properly.

    Do that more then a few times and you'll never end up going out of manual again.
     
  11. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    This, exactly! EC is simply another tool in the box. It's not particularily useful in full manual (and depending on your brand of camera may not even do anything in manual), but it can be as Joe mentions very useful in other modes. For instance, the running shots I was doing for a local theatre production recently. The LD is using two white follow-spots and a lot of blue, red, and yellow/orange overheads. Because the main character is dressed all in white, and the background (and many of the supporting cast) are dressed in blacks/darks, and because due to the lighting I chose to shoot in shutter priority, using 1/3 - 1/2 stop of EC was necessary, or I would have hundreds of images of a blown out Tommy.

    EC is nothing more than a way of telling the camera (when in auto or semi-auto modes) that you want things a little brighter or darker than it thinks they should be. That's all.
     
  12. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Really? Sorry. Not buying it. To use the example of the play once again.... Yes, I could have shot it in manual and not bothered with EC, HOWEVER... metering every single shot is not reasonable given the fast pace of the script, and the even faster changing of the stage lighting. I knew that I wanted at least 1/160 to freeze all but the fastest character movement, as well as to compensate for any camera movement when shooting at 200mm. I also knew that the lighting could change by as much as 9 stops almost instantly. Therefore, shutter priority seemed like the only sensible option, and because I needed to account for a bright, white costume, -1/3 -1/2 of EC was critical to the final exposure.

    Shooting landscapes, or in the studio? Yep, 100% manual all day, every day. Going walkabout in a strange city and shooting for my own amusement? Auto every time. That way I know I'm sure to get at least an okay image; if there's time, I'll take charge and modify settings as necessary. For other things, AP or SP. Saying that one should use one exposure mode all the time is like a carpenter saying, "Always use a cross-cut saw. Don't worry about the other types. A cross-cut saw will always do the job." Yes, it will, but will it always do the best job? I would respectfully submit that it would not.
     
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