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Thread: Exposure Compensation Dilemma

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    Exposure Compensation Dilemma

    Hi all

    Hoping I may be able to find an answer here in regards to Exposure Compensation as am a complete Beginner.
    I tried taking some Sunset shots over the city this afternoon. I have been having trouble with the the Exposure Compensation meter (-2.1.0.1.+2), in my Canon EOS 1000D Handbook, they call it the Exposure level Indicator. Anyway, the needle is sitting on the (-2) and will no move no matter what I do, even changing the Shutter Speed and Aperture, it will not move which is very frustrating as a beginner! I have the ISO set to 100.
    We were told that the when the needle sits in the middle on the (0) you will get a sharp picture. Up until now, the Exposure level mark would centre in the middle on the (0) if this makes sense.

    Not sure if I have changed some settings without realising, I have checked the Metering mode is still set to Evaluative Metering, the Auto Exoposure Bracketing is off.
    In the Introductory Photography course I have just completed, we were advised to only use Manual, not TV or AV. I have been reading some of the threads regarding AV and am going to try the AV setting for a while and see how I go with it.
    Thank you in advance
    Mary

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    Can I assume you are in Tv or Av mode?

    Not M?
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    If you are, the the indicator will not move.

    What it does that (For eg if you are in Tv mode) when you set the desired shutter speed, the camera will use the light meter to then set the appropriate aperture. But, the -2 setting you have means that the camera will deliberately set the aperture to expose 2 stops under correct exposure.

    (same applies to Av setting - but it will adjust the Shutter)

    What you are trying to do will work in M mode.

    That is, you pick either the aperture you want (or the shutter speed), then you adjust the shutter (or aperture) until that needle gets to the correct exposure.

    Get me?

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    So, if you are using Av mode, you need to find out how to adjust the 'exposure compensation' on your camera. Once you do, increase the compensation (that needle) until it reaches 0 (or whatever you want).

    OK?

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    OK firstly who ever told you that if it is set to 0 it gets you a sharp picture was wrong!

    The exposure indication is for that, the exposure, not sharpness. Your camera meters the scene and from that determines what it thinks is the correct exposure to get a good range of brightness from the dark black shadows to the bright highlights, from this reading your camera tries to ensure that you are not over-exposing (blowing out highlights to pure white) or under-exposing (to much pure black) in the result. It has nothing to do with image sharpness.

    Exposure compensation and Exposure level indicator are also two different things. Exposure compensation allows YOU to adjust the exposure metering from what the camera 'thinks' it should be. So say you set the Exposure compensation to -2, then your camera will take an exposure meter reading and then under expose the resultant photo by 2 stops from what it determined was correct, cause by setting Exp Comp to -2, that is what you are telling the camera to do. I suggest you adjust exposure compensation back to ZERO and leave it there, whilst you are learning how to take better photos. Work on your shutter speed, ISO and aperture for now, and leave exposure compensation alone till you have a better understanding of the inter-relationship of the 3 main elements.

    By having exposure in the middle at zero, you will get a well exposed photo, based on light levels the metering system detected, and the limitations of the dynamic range your sensor can capture in one shot. Sharpness is a result of the quality of the lens used, focus point and shutter speed, more than anything else. Exposure compensation doesnt play a part in image sharpness.
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    Try not to think of it as an 'exposure compensation meter'. It is an 'exposure compensation indicator'.

    ie. It is not showing you what it is metering, it is showing you what you have set (in this case, you have set it to -2).

    Only, when you are in M, does it actually show you what it is seeing (and not what you set).

    Confused yet?
    Last edited by Scotty72; 21-06-2011 at 8:42pm.

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    Great, another course that teaches manual and f all else of use
    Darren
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    Hi Scotty and Ricktas
    Thank you for taking the time to reply, I am really confused now!!
    Scotty, I have been in Manual mode and the needle will not move at all. Could you please explain what you mean by: ie. It is not showing you what it is metering, it is showing you what you have set (in this case, you have set it to -2).
    Do I need to worry about the Exposure Compensation Indicator in Manual mode???
    Ricktas, I have the Exposure Compensation set to zero and am leaving it there for now until I get the hang of it all.
    I cannot get the needle to move at all from the -2, it is like it is stuck there, prior to this I could get the needle to move to the middle when changing the Shutter Speed and Aperture.
    Hope this makes sense in Beginners language.

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    I think you have inadvertently changed something in your camera menu that is causing the -2 then. If you cannot find what you did. Do a reset. This will restore your camera to factory defaults.

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    regards, Kym Gallery Honest & Direct Constructive Critique Appreciated! ©
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    Ausphotography Regular agb's Avatar
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    If you are using M mode then the needle should move if you are changing shutter speed and or aperture. That is the way it works in M for you to get the correct exposure.
    Forgive me for asking, but I have done it myself, you have got the lens cap off.
    Try changing the ISO,making it much faster, ISO 400 or 800, perhaps if you are doing this right now then it is simply too dark and you are either not gettiing the shutter speed low enough or your lens aperture cannot go down far enough.

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    BTW Start with ISO 400 and use Av mode - shutter speed should be ok at ISO 400 and reasonable open apertures.

    On Pentax (I assume Canon is similar) you push the Ev button and dial in +/- Ev, There should be a way to do that on the Canon and set it to Zero. Lookup Ev in the manual

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    ahhh locked the exposure... Good thinking 99...

    But, taking a photo should clear that? Doesn't it?

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    Ricktas, can you advise how to do a reset, I have a Canon. I will try finding it in the Handbook as well.
    Scotty, excuse my ignorance! What is Locked Exposure??
    Kym, I am going to try using AV mode for a while and see how I go although my thinking is to Manual at the moment, I will try increasing the ISO as well.
    agb, I did check I had the Lens cap off as I have made that mistake before, haha!

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    I'm not sure if it is the case (I rarely use it and can't remember its behaviour) but, most DSLR have an exposure lock feature (usually a button). Once pressed, it will lock the exposure - so, if you move the camera (and the light changes) the camera wont change its settings.

    What I am not sure of (on your camera - and mine is upstairs) is, will it also lock the needle on the indicator. Sorry, too tired to go upstairs to check it on mine.

    But, once you take a picture (by default) it should clear that setting.

    Scotty

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    Mary,

    Fret not - We will get this sorted. It happened to me awhile ago (only in the other direction) and it was posted by me in the help section under "Over-Exposure". As for the locking of the exposure and all of the other features - maybe it's best to leave those for now, and just focus on the absolute basics, otherwise you will go out of your mind trying to learn everything all at once. In my Nikon, I go through the menus until I find the "Reset to Factory Default" or something similar to that and I press okay.

    On my Nikon, I accidentally adjusted my Exposure Compensation (which is what Nikon call the Ev setting that you have described above) when learning to use Av setting (As you know from another one of my posts, Kiwi, I also did a "Manual Only" course). I clicked it over to Av and tried to change the aperture the way I would if I were in Manual. This, of course, had no bearing on the aperture, it changed the Ev setting instead. What I didn't understand at the time is that in Av mode, you use the wheel to set the aperture and the camera does the rest for you (hence being a semi-automatic mode) - I was so used to setting everything. Then I clicked over to Manual again and everything I took for a month was over-exposed or I would just assume that the camera was doing strange things and guess what the shutter speed should have been, not what the camera was telling me it should have been. It was a complete accident in changing this and I didn't know what I was doing wrong until Ricktas and Kiwi pointed this out to me in the above-mentioned post.

    Let me see if I can explain this visually...

    Imagine you are taking three pictures of the same scene and you are using your light meter to get the correct exposure
    ------------------0
    ''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''' - This is where your normal setting would be - It is taking a true reading of the light that is around. Your Ev would be set to 0. (Please excuse the "---" before the 0 - when I posted it, it took out the spaces and defeated the point of what I was trying to explain. They are only there to keep the 0 where I want it to be. This is the same for the following two sections).

    When you set your Ev to a negative, this happens...
    ------0
    ''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''' - When you change the Ev setting to -1, for example, the camera moves the point where the "0" is. So the light meter will tell you that it is in the middle, but in actual fact, the light meter is not giving you a "true" reading, it is assuming that there is more light around than what it detects and is compensating for it. It would tell you to have a shorter shutter speed than what it would if the Ev were set to 0 and if you were to take a picture, using the light meter as your guide, it would appear under-exposed.

    If you were to set your Ev to a postive value...
    --------------------------0
    ''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''' - When you change the setting to +1, for example, the camera has moved the point where the light meter would read as "0". Because the Ev has been set to a positive value, the camera assumes that there is actually less light than what it detects and compensates accordingly. The camera would tell you that you need a longer shutter speed than what it would if your Ev were set to 0 and if you were to take a picture, it would appear over-exposed.

    I know this is all very confusing, Mary, but it is a marvellous learning curve. Once you make a mistake such as this as a beginner, you learn about what that function does. You learn how to avoid it as a beginner and then, later on, how to use it to your advantage (Although, I am still not at that point when it comes to Ev. I always have it set to 0 for now). You are doing really well and it is great to see that you are embracing your photography in such a way!!

    Chin up and keep at it!!

    Erin.
    Last edited by Maezyra; 22-06-2011 at 1:19am.
    Better known as Erin.


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    Hi Mary, it can get confusing can't it? It might be that the values you currently have will require that you make quite a large adjustment in shutter speed or aperture until the needle starts to move. I would recommend setting your camera to auto mode and take a photo. Have a look at the settings the camera decides are best for the scene you are shooting, ISO, shutter speed and aperture. Then switch your camera back to manual and use those settings as a starting point take a photo of the same scene again. As long as the lighting has not changed too much you should see your setting near 0.

    Hope this helps and good luck
    Andrew

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    Quote Originally Posted by mary13 View Post
    Ricktas, can you advise how to do a reset, I have a Canon. I will try finding it in the Handbook as well.
    Not sure for Canon Mary, It's just a menu item in Nikon camera's and it lets your reset and remove all the settings you have made and returns the camera to how it was when it first came out of the box when bought.

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    I hesitate to weigh in here, because poor Mary's head must be spinning with all the advice she has received, but if you want to reset your 1000D you'll need to do thgat in the menu. You can either look through your menu system to find it, or you can remove BOTH batteries from the camera. When you put them both back in though, you'll need to enter the date and time again and reset everything you've customised. I gather that you probably haven't intentionally customised anything anyway.

    I'd then visit Canon's website and download and install any firmware updates available for your camera model.

    If the problem persists, consult a camera doctor.

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    Has this been solved?

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