"Just say NO to manual mode!"

Started Feb 2, 2012 | Discussions
Mako2011
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Re: "Just say NO to manual mode!"
In reply to Rdefen, Feb 4, 2012

Rdefen wrote:

I was happy my camera was still functional after that particular night. That was crazy weather but a heck of a concert.

One of the shots caught my eye a exceedingly sharp for the conditions..Cropper-31. What lens and settings if I might ask.

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Rdefen
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Re: "Just say NO to manual mode!"
In reply to Mako2011, Feb 4, 2012

80-200L. f/2.8. 1/320 second. Manual mode.

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Graystar
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Re: "Just say NO to manual mode!"
In reply to Erik Magnuson, Feb 4, 2012

Erik Magnuson wrote:

Graystar wrote:

None of these are stage lighting.

Oh brother! Do you really mean to imply that stage lighting abides by a different set of physical laws?

It's not a constant offset from normal center-weighted metering.

Please explain the physics of how that light is different from other light.

That the stage lighting reflecting off the light-skin face of a performer can't be used to set exposure?

If you have a good spot meter, it can. Then it's back to quibbling over how to use the camera controls to do it.

That's exactly what auto exposure has meant for the past 74 years.

Hmm, so my Kodak Retina that couples the EV so that if you adjust the shutter speed, the aperture changes at the same time is "automatic exposure?"

That's coupling of the EV of the aperture and shutter...not a matching of the aperture/shutter EV to the meter EV. On a IIIc that's done manually. On an auto-exposure camera, the camera performs that step for you. That's is what's being automated...that, and only that.

In fact, that's exactly how early auto-exposure cameras worked...the light meter needle was momentarily locked while the camera moved the second needle until it

Not quite right. Most early auto cameras used a "trapped needle" design that locked the needle and used a cam to sense the needle position with a follower that set the aperture or shutter speed or both; sometimes there were two followers or a special stepping. Many of the earliest ones had a fixed shutter speed or changed the shutter speed with the film speed dial to keep the mechanism simpler.

"In the beginnings of exposure automation (ca. 1960) the instruments were even used for setting exposure settings directly, mainly for automatic aperture setting. A simple method for this was called "trap-needle"; pressing the shutter release mechanically gripped the meter needle, then moved an aperture control up to hit the needle, setting the aperture to a value controlled by the meter."
http://camerapedia.wikia.com/wiki/Electronic_Eye

Only people who haven't taken an interesting in how early auto exposure cameras worked and who don't understand APEX or the meaning of EV think it's odd.

I've disassembled and repaired a few dozen different models of such automatic exposure cameras. I also shoot EV-centric manual cameras quite often. (I.e., the meter - if any - reads EV and that's what you set on the exposure controls.) Obviously you are not familiar with this mechanism or if they called it "auto".

Did you forget what you asked about? You asked about keeping a fixed exposure while you switch batteries or lenses. When done, I'd have to reestablish my exposure, so if the light changed during that process I'm current, while your exposure is off.

If the light changes at any time and you do not notice it, your exposure will be off -- battery change or not. You are forced to re-meter while it's optional for me.

Well if the light is changing, I wouldn't be locking exposure in the first place...so the entire line is moot.

.

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Rdefen
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Re: "Just say NO to manual mode!"
In reply to Mako2011, Feb 4, 2012

ISO 640. Forgot that.

I set the other two and had to live with the ISO.

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Mako2011
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Re: "Just say NO to manual mode!"
In reply to Rdefen, Feb 4, 2012

Rdefen wrote:

80-200L. f/2.8. 1/320 second. Manual mode.
ISO 640. Forgot that.

I set the other two and had to live with the ISO.

I've been learning my new 50mm f1.8......but have a 70-200 f2.8. Based on what I saw, I think I'll take it next. Thanks again for the hints and the inspiration.

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Erik Magnuson
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Re: "Just say NO to manual mode!"
In reply to Graystar, Feb 4, 2012

Graystar wrote:

Please explain the physics of how that light is different from other light.

The physics are the same but the ratio of foreground light to background light (and thus what offset is needed from a center-weighted meter pattern) is different.

On an auto-exposure camera, the camera performs that step for you. That's is what's being automated...that, and only that.

And once locked, it's no longer automatically adjusted. It takes a manual step to change the EV. The camera is still capable of automatic exposure, but that's not what it's doing at the time - just like when the dial is set to M.

"In the beginnings of exposure automation (ca. 1960) the instruments were even used for setting exposure settings directly, mainly for automatic aperture setting. A simple method for this was called "trap-needle";

Which is what I said. Notice how there is no mention of the "second needle" you spoke of. Hence the "not quite right". An interesting exception to the trapped needle mechanism is the Bell & Howell EE 127 from the late 50's. The uniquely designed and balanced aperture blades themselves are directly tied to the "meter" galvonometer. (BTW, I collect cameras from this period. My experience is direct and not from Wikipedia.)

If the light changes at any time and you do not notice it, your exposure will be off -- battery change or not. You are forced to re-meter while it's optional for me.

Well if the light is changing, I wouldn't be locking exposure in the first place...so the entire line is moot.

No, if the light is not changing, then you have an extra step after the battery change. Which is what we were talking about. You are the one who suggested the light might have changed, so you are now mooting your own strawman argument!

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Graystar
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Re: "Just say NO to manual mode!"
In reply to Erik Magnuson, Feb 4, 2012

Erik Magnuson wrote:

Graystar wrote:

Please explain the physics of how that light is different from other light.

The physics are the same but the ratio of foreground light to background light (and thus what offset is needed from a center-weighted meter pattern) is different.

Then use Spot metering. Is there a problem with using Spot metering? I have Spot metering set on my function button. I just press and hold and I can spot meter. Sony cameras even have a "Spot AEL" setting for the AE Lock button where, regardless of the current metering mode, if you press the exposure lock then a spot meter reading is taken for the lock. That's pretty useful.

On an auto-exposure camera, the camera performs that step for you. That's is what's being automated...that, and only that.

And once locked, it's no longer automatically adjusted. It takes a manual step to change the EV. The camera is still capable of automatic exposure, but that's not what it's doing at the time - just like when the dial is set to M.

You're failing to recognize the fact that even though the meter reading is locked, the camera will still change the shooting parameters under its control to match the meter's EV. So if I change the aperture, the camera will change the shutter to match. This function allows me to change aperture or (shutter is S mode) at will, and the camera maintains the exposure. It frees me to concentrate on the effect I'm trying to achieve with my setting without being preoccupied with maintaining the right exposure everytime I change aperture or shutter. You seem unable to appreciate this.

"In the beginnings of exposure automation (ca. 1960) the instruments were even used for setting exposure settings directly, mainly for automatic aperture setting. A simple method for this was called "trap-needle";

Which is what I said. Notice how there is no mention of the "second needle"

The "aperture control" is just a needle.

If the light changes at any time and you do not notice it, your exposure will be off -- battery change or not. You are forced to re-meter while it's optional for me.

Well if the light is changing, I wouldn't be locking exposure in the first place...so the entire line is moot.

No, if the light is not changing, then you have an extra step after the battery change. Which is what we were talking about. You are the one who suggested the light might have changed, so you are now mooting your own strawman argument!

You're confused and seem unable to keep track of the issue raise. Maybe I should keep the quoted text all the way to the beginning.

I made no argument. You asked what happens during a lens or battery changes and I simply said that EC is remembered and that it should only take a few seconds to reset exposure (basically just point the camera at the same reference used previously, and press a button. Done.)

It was after I provided this straight-forward answer to your question that I made a remark implying that people who set exposure by checking the histogram will take longer, and would therefore benefit from having used manual mode...but only if the light doesn't change (because it would again take them forever to chimp their way back to correct exposure.)

You commented that in both cases you are praying that the light doesn't change, extending beyond the context of the question you asked. I tried to focus this offshoot on the limited context of a lens/battery change, but you seemed unable to keep yourself from straying. It's very difficult to discuss technical matters with people that can't stay focused on the context of the discussion.

.

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Sdaniella
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Fatal flaw is to presume 'consistent' exposure as ever being correct to begin wtih
In reply to Graystar, Feb 4, 2012

Fatal flaw is to presume 'consistent' exposure as ever being correct to begin with

worse, reliance on any old film style light meter reading is less precise, and least representative of desired outcome.

all AE modes do is allow one to have a 'neutral' look (average, but NOT correct), and very limited predictive shifts in compensation to that 'neutral' look.

not all Manual modes are created equally with respect to 'digital age' types of light exposure evaluation of any given lit scene.

some cameras rely entirely on the older TTL light meter scale readings for M and AE modes, while others totally get rid of TTL light meter scale readings for M and AE modes entirely, and allow 'exposure simulation live preview/view'. (ES-LPV/LV)

with ES-LPV/LV, Manual mode literally TEACHES YOU BY VISUAL FEEDBACK EXACTLY how speed/ISO/aperture/wb/saturation/contrast LOOK LIKE as you make any adjustments to those parameters LIVE in REAL TIME.

with this, anyone can learn M and all AE modes by sheer direct visual feedback of truly 'digital age' light interrelations of all parameters involved.

in fact, with ES-LPV/LV, MANUAL mode becomes the EASIEST to address all exposures CONSISTENTLY AND ACCURATELY 'first time right' in 'zero time' (an exaggeration; but that's relative to any slower metering via 'compensation'; and the effectiveness of the old methods drastically plummets as one rapidly shifts to new UNKNOWN and UNFAMILIAR lighting scenarios as one moves from scene to new scene.)

IF you are clueless to even knowing what Exposure Simulation LV is, THAT explains why so many are STILL struggling with ANY exposure matters when ES-LV has made 'exposure/sensitivity/etc' SELF-EVIDENT.

one can actually NEVER take a SINGLE PHOTO and LEARN the interrelationship between speed/iso/aperture/wb/contrast/saturation when ES-LV previews ALL those VISUAL attributes that will occur IF a shot was to be taken.

this ES-LPV/LV has been around for at least 12 years now, since at least year 2000, HOWEVER, NOT ALL MFR's EVER offered it in their digicams or dSLRs. Only a select few offer it on some models, while CANON offers it on ALL their prosumer level model digicams and ALL their EOS LV dSLRs.

the same cannot be said of Sony, Olympus, Panasonic, Nikon, Pentax, Fujifilm, Kodak, Samsung. of course ES-LV usually was not included in lower 'auto-everything' sub-compact 'easy' models because those ones lacked M altogether. over the years, any low-end 'easy' Canon sub-compact models that started to include an M mode... started also to include ES-LV.

Canon offers fulltime ES-LV on all prosumer dcams and LV EOS dSLRs from Rebels ALL the way up to Pro 1D/1Ds models.

Sony does offers fulltime ES-LV in their prosumer dcams, and low to mid level LV dSLRs, but NOT their pro level dSLRs

Nikon NEVER offered ES-LV in their coolpix dcams, nor LV dSLRs, except D3/D3x/D3s... and more recently 'part time' on their D5100

Olympus NEVER offered ES-LV in their prosumer dcams, except part time on their later LV 43d/m43 (not earlier LV 43d).

Panasonic NEVER offered ES-LV in their prosumer dcams, except part time on their LX3/5, and part-time on their LV 43d/m43.

PENTAX NEVER offered ES-LV in their prosumer dcams, except part time on the odd Optio model (i had one), and NONE for their LV dSLRs. even their 645D lacks it, being stuck with non-ES-LV.

Samsung DOES offer full-time ES-LV on their dcams and NX series.

Fujifilm NEVER offered ES-LV on any dcam or LV dSLRs, period.

Kodak NEVER offered ES-LV on any dcam or dSLRs, period.

FILM cameras NEVER offered ES-LV on any format... including SLR... (optical preview is NEVER represents 'exposure settings'... just what you see, you NEVER GET, unless you learn the art of 'light meter scale reading interpreting'... which is why you think M mode is more difficult... it is... if you are still using the old methods, and AE is convenient for consistency... but that consistency is fraught with the fatal flaw that it is even a correct exposure to begin with.)

ES-LV... allows you to SEE the EXPOSURE OUTCOME BEFORE a shot is taken (one doesn't even have to touch a shutter button at all)... for a PREVIEW literally of the ENTIRE LIT SCENE IN A SINGLE GLANCE, is all it takes to know whether its 'LOOK' suits what you envision for an outcome by the settings you chose to shoot with.

a LV dcam/dSLR that LACKS ES-LV NEVER shows any representation of your cameras exposure setting, because all it will show you is a 'autogain neutral frame monitoring' preview, and NOTHING exposure related. thus... why you still need a DISPLAY of that analog light meter scale reading to remain displayed the whole time (absent for ES-LV as an option)

take away that old slow style 'low feedback' analog light meter scale reading... and your ENTIRE advocacy goes down the toilet... it is just too NON-REPRESENTATIVE and LOW-PREDICTIVE, and LOW-PRECISION as well as LOW-ACCURACY for what you want to achieve even if you are a MASTER of it... you will fare WORSE than anyone who has MASTERED ES-LV (relatively faster than you took to learn photography altogether).

ES-LV can literally TEACH you photography FASTER in a few seconds in M mode than it takes for YOU to USE the old AE methods (spot/area metering/compensation)... i exaggerate to make the point (even though it could be true).

i mastered the 'old way' long ago for both M and AE, but once ES-LV came along... all that old way was relatively slow.

anytime i come across a novice stuck with either a film camera/SLR or a dcam/dSLR that LACKS ES-LV... i have to teach them how to 'determine exposure' the 'old way' (just as your article details). however, if i pull out any ES-LV capable dcam/dSLR and SHOW them the difference... they go... ah-ha!!!! all of a sudden, photography in any mode becomes 'self-evident'... rather than a mystery.

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ZorSy
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Re: "Just say NO to manual mode!"
In reply to Graystar, Feb 4, 2012

Graystar wrote:

That's probably because you never shot with the lengendary Hasselblad 500c. Introduced in 1957, the lens contained an EV Interlock (as did many cameras.) You'd meter your scene with a hand-held meter, and determine the EV for the scene. Then you'd set the EV scale on the lens to match the EV of the scene. Now, when you moved aperture or shutter, the interlock mechanism would move the other setting to maintain the set EV.

The only difference between the 500c and auto modes is that with auto modes the camera sets itself to the scene EV, saving you the step. After that, operation is the same...change one value, and the camera changes the other to maintain the desired exposure.

.

Well, from here nothing more to add. You read it all, you know it all.

If you had ever used H500, which you did not, you would have known it was a full manual camera (the CM I used did not have metered prism). Despite "coordinated" change of aperture/shutter speed to maintain EV, it did not have any auto modes, the one you advocate (and the rest of us use to take photographs). You would just load few magazines with various films and go shooting. You meter, set parameters to suit and that was it. No P/A/S modes, no scenes, no auto ISO, no AF.

Well, you used it as reference to say "NO to manual"? Grow up and take critics where critics are due - my respond was very civilized and conflict free, but obviously it's not what you wanted.

You may have noticed, Mako is the only one supporting you to the word. Yet, he believes MM is God given and makes no mistakes in determining EV of the whole scene...which again tells the whole story.

The rest of us, well we will use "full M" along other modes available, equally, without dissing any other for no particular reason.

EDIT: I liked Mamiya better, RB67 was my pick. From my past life, I kept my first and second Nikon F, nothing more. And moved on.

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WilbaW
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Re: "Just say NO to manual mode!"
In reply to Graystar, Feb 4, 2012

Graystar wrote to Erik:

you seemed unable to keep yourself from straying.

His MO is to try to tie you in knots. By the time you demolish his nonsense he's forgotten that it's his.

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panos_m
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Re: "Just say NO to manual mode!"
In reply to Graystar, Feb 4, 2012

Different cameras meter differently. And also in the same camera the metered jpeg reflectance is different from metered raw reflectance. For example in my camera the spot metered raw value raised to a simple gamma 2.2 gives in 8bit rgb a value of 90. The OOC jpeg of the same shot gives a value of 135. The difference between the two is 1,3 stops. How can I apply your compensations bellow?

Graystar wrote:

Erik Magnuson wrote:

Graystar wrote:

1. Exposure is locked first.

Based on what? They are not going to let you on stage to use your grey card. That leaves either evaluating by eye on the LCD or using the histogram.

Using basic exposure knowledge...the knowledge on setting exposure that all photographers should have. You should already know that...
clear blue sky 45 degrees up is +0
clear blue sky on the horizon is +1
clear blue sky at zenith is -1
sunny side of grass is +0
dark evergreen trees are -1 (don't meter new growth!)
snow is +2.5
black cat is -1.5
light skin is +1
light skin bearded face is +0 (unless blond...then +1)
dark skin is -1
dark blue jeans are -1
light blue jeans are +0

And you should know the compensations for the typical subjects you shoot. For example photographer Jim Doty Jr. lists some of his on his website...
white sand +2
birch bark +1.5
yellow aspen leaves +1
buffalo mane -1.5

This should already be in your head. You should be able to spot meter a known reference and either under/over expose your manual exposure by the correct amount or lock exposure and set the appropriate EC. Either way gets you the right exposure.

3 is the value of auto modes...it's this functionality that allows me to change aperture, shutter, or ISO without having to "fiddle" with the other settings to maintain my desired exposure.

Since the camera is now no longer "automatically" changing anything, calling it auto mode can be misleading.

I explained that it's still automatically updating the EV of the aperture/shutter combination as you change settings, but you snipped it from the quote. Go back and read my post.

Btw, do your cameras allow you to change lenses and keep the locked ae settings? How about changing batteries? A canon DSLR remembers manual settings across both.

Actually I've suggested to Nikon that such a feature be added. Still...it's no big deal. The camera remembers EC, and exposure is only locked in constant light conditions. It should only take a few seconds to get your camera's exposure where you want it anyways (except for the chimpers...who will now have to take a new series of shots to check the histograms. So in that case I can see where manual mode is helpful for people who don't have basic exposure knowledge...just pray that the light doesn't change.)

.

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Panagiotis

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Erik Magnuson
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Re: "Just say NO to manual mode!"
In reply to Graystar, Feb 4, 2012

Graystar wrote:

Then use Spot metering. Is there a problem with using Spot metering?

It's just another set of offsets to memorize: light complexion, medium complexion, dark complexion, white kabuki makeup with dark accents (what, you've never shot Kiss impersonators?)

Sony cameras even have a "Spot AEL" setting for the AE Lock button where, regardless of the current metering mode, if you press the exposure lock then a spot meter reading is taken for the lock. That's pretty useful.

Yes, it is. And so is M mode if you know how to use it. The ideal is to have both.

You're failing to recognize the fact that even though the meter reading is locked, the camera will still change the shooting parameters under its control to match the meter's EV.

And you are failing to acknowledge that EV locking is independent of automatic mode (e.g. the Kodak Retina's).

You seem unable to appreciate this.

I appreciate it - I just don't call it "auto".

I made no argument. You asked what happens during a lens or battery changes and I simply said that EC is remembered and that it should only take a few seconds to reset exposure (basically just point the camera at the same reference used previously, and press a button. Done.)

The previous reference may no longer be there. It's a minor issue, but it's been amusing to see you work so hard to avoid it.

It was after I provided this straight-forward answer to your question that I made a remark implying that people who set exposure by checking the histogram will take longer,

Since checking the histogram was not part of the proposed scenario for either case, you're just going off on tangents.

You commented that in both cases you are praying that the light doesn't change, extending beyond the context of the question you asked. I tried to focus this offshoot on the limited context of a lens/battery change, but you seemed unable to keep yourself from straying. It's very difficult to discuss technical matters with people that can't stay focused on the context of the discussion.

Yes it is. So stop doing that.
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Erik Magnuson
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Re: "Just say NO to manual mode!"
In reply to WilbaW, Feb 4, 2012

WilbaW wrote:

His MO is to try to tie you in knots. By the time you demolish his nonsense he's forgotten that it's his.

He's perfectly capable of knotting himself up - I just give him the excuse to do so. As you can see with my replies to Mako2011, it's easy to come to a meeting of the minds with reasonable people.

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Erik

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Mako2011
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Re: "Just say NO to manual mode!"
In reply to ZorSy, Feb 4, 2012

ZorSy wrote:

The rest of us, well we will use "full M" along other modes available, equally, without dissing any other for no particular reason.

That actually was the point he was making....the controversial title was added for effect I think

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Mako2011
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Re: Fatal flaw is to presume 'consistent' exposure as ever being correct to begin wti
In reply to Sdaniella, Feb 4, 2012

sdyue wrote:

IF you are clueless to even knowing what Exposure Simulation LV is, THAT explains why so many are STILL struggling with ANY exposure matters when ES-LV has made 'exposure/sensitivity/etc' SELF-EVIDENT.

I don't think he's clueless to ES-LPV/LV but simply limited the scope of the article to OVF. That said, ES-LPV/LV is indeed anther wrinkle to the exposure game. Thanks for bringing it to the discussion. The question of LV vs VF exposure often comes up.

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noirdesir
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Re: What point?
In reply to LightRoom, Feb 4, 2012

LightRoom wrote:

-"Nobody starts shooting in manual" - What? I did. And so have most photographers that have ever existed.

Basically nobody starts shooting in manual today . Before people get their first camera today, they often might have had a phone that can take pictures. I don't think any camera phones allow you to shoot in manual.

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Graystar
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Re: "Just say NO to manual mode!"
In reply to panos_m, Feb 4, 2012

panos_m wrote:

Different cameras meter differently. And also in the same camera the metered jpeg reflectance is different from metered raw reflectance. For example in my camera the spot metered raw value raised to a simple gamma 2.2 gives in 8bit rgb a value of 90. The OOC jpeg of the same shot gives a value of 135. The difference between the two is 1,3 stops. How can I apply your compensations bellow?

Well, this is a completely different subject from the context of the thread, but I'll answer anyways.

I understand what you're saying. Nikons are the same...a spot metered reference gives a RAW value of 100 (which equals about 12.7% reflectance...and it can vary by +/-5 or a touch more.) However, the OOC will read RGB 140. I do not think that different cameras meter differently...it has more to do with the processing of the JPEG (obviously, since the OOC had different values than the RAW it was created from.) And in the case of "intelligent" metering mode, how that particular manufacture decides to bias any given meter reading.

I shoot everything in RAW so I don't have any process for OOC JPEGs. Apparently, the intent of the default processing that was devised by the manufacturer is to make a brighter image. I'd imagine that the process is also centered around the use of the "intelligent" metering mode (Matrix in Nikon, Evaluative in Canon,) which actually uses an 18% gray (RGB 119) as its starting point before biasing the exposure who-knows-how. So...dunno what to tell you except to shoot RAW and apply your own processing to the images, rather than relying on the manufacturers best guess.

.

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Graystar
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Re: Fatal flaw is to presume 'consistent' exposure as ever being correct to begin wti
In reply to Sdaniella, Feb 4, 2012

sdyue wrote:

Fatal flaw is to presume 'consistent' exposure as ever being correct to begin with

Thank you...I'll give your response the appropriate consideration.

.

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Graystar
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Re: "Just say NO to manual mode!"
In reply to WilbaW, Feb 4, 2012

WilbaW wrote:
Graystar wrote to Erik:

you seemed unable to keep yourself from straying.

His MO is to try to tie you in knots. By the time you demolish his nonsense he's forgotten that it's his.

Yeah, I think you're right...seems like a waste of time.

.

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rhlpetrus
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Re: Not enough in many situations
In reply to Graystar, Feb 4, 2012

Sorry, but situations change fast when shooting, many times. That means a single setting won't work. Having a good undersatanding of exposure, as needed for what you propose below means it's easier then to use it in manual. You just have to place the meter where you want to meter and set one dial, either SS or f/number. Unless your camera doesn't allow for that, but that's another chapter.

Graystar wrote:

rhlpetrus wrote:

It depends on scene and what people want form their image.

One may actually want to expose some area properly (a face, for example), in spite of some other going beyond limits of camera and showing heavy clipping.

How do you do that with comp...

Exactly the same way you do with manual mode.

..., if you catually don't know where the face is re exposure? With spotmetering you know it exactly and you send it to midtone, 1 stop over midtone, wherever it fits your desires.

You can use spot metering with auto modes. You set EC to +1. Done.

So, for many situations, using help from the camera auto exposure system may be enough, in others, it's not. Leraning to expose manually with the help of the built-in lightmeter is just what an enthusiast should learn for proper use of camera.

This is the problem I'm trying to address. People have absolutely no idea how to utilize the auto modes to accomplish tasks, yet somehow they "know" that there are things you can't do with auto modes. But the fact of the matter is, as long as the meter is working, auto modes can do everything manual mode can do...and more.

.

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