Exposure Compensation: what is it, really?

Started Aug 20, 2013 | Questions thread
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AlissaJ
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Exposure Compensation: what is it, really?
Aug 20, 2013

I've been using my DLSR (Nikon d5100) for about a year. I'm familiar with the basics but I'm now going through my manual with a fine-tooth comb to really master it.

My first question pertains to Exposure Compensation. What is this actually doing "inside" the camera? I assume its some type of algorithm that digitally adjusts the value of the pixels -- as far as I know, it isn't actually changing the shutter speed or aperture or ISO. I asked one of my professors this question, but she didn't know.

And on a similar note: the same question applies for Active D-Lighting. My manual actually says, "The Active D-Lighting option in the shooting menu adjusts exposure before shooting to optimize the dynamic range." Again -- how is it doing this?

Obviously I would prefer learn to shoot well-exposed images without relying on built-in camera presets, so if the results of EC or D-Lighting can be achieved through less programmed measures, I want to learn to do it manually.

Thanks!

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