d60 underexposing PS plugin fix?

Started Aug 1, 2002 | Discussions thread
Dan Phillips Forum Member • Posts: 91
D60 does not underexpose, unless it's out of spec

If you have problems with underexposure, make sure that you understand:

1. The zone system
2. D60 metering modes

To confirm that your camera is working properly, try this test, which has been posted several times by Canon's Chuck Westfall:

Q-14 exposure test

Chuck Westfall
June 01, 2001

1. Obtain a Kodak Q-14 Color Separation Guide and Gray Scale (CAT 152 7662) from your photo dealer.

2. Set up the Gray Scale indoors in typical overhead room lighting and mount your D60 on a tripod. Position the camera roughly 5 feet from the target and parallel to it. Zoom the lens to fill the frame from left to right. Aim the central focusing point at zone M on the Gray Scale. Make sure the subject is focused, then shut off the AF.

3. Make the following settings in the camera:

  • Manual mode (DO NOT use an automatic exposure mode)

  • Partial metering

  • Manually selected center focusing point

  • Auto white balance

  • Single frame advance or self-timer

  • IS0 100

  • Any JPEG setting you like

4. Set an aperture of f/8 and, while looking through the viewfinder, adjust the shutter speed until the exposure level indicator lines up in the middle of the exposure level scale.

5. Take a series of non-flash exposures at, over and under the D60's recommended exposure level, using shutter speed as your adjustment. (Note: the camera defaults to 1/2 stop settings, but you can change this to 1/3 stops if you like by means of C.Fn. 4.

6. Examine the resulting images in Photoshop. Set up the Info palette (using 'Palette options...') to display Grayscale (K) values as either the first color readout or second color readout.

Then, position the cursor over the gray card in the image. The K reading for Zone M should be at about 55%, + - 5%. Check your images and see which image matches this figure most closely.

Gray card for exposure test

The Q-14 grayscale makes it easy to see how far off your exposure is and in what direction. However, you can use a photo quality gray card instead, with the following precautions:

1. Use the D30's partial metering pattern. This will yield an unbiased meter reading, with no possibility of automatic exposure compensation that can sometimes take place whe the camera is set for evaluative metering.

2. Make sure that the predominant light source is either above or behind the camera position. DO NOT shoot towards the light.

3. Angle the gray card such that it is getting even lighting, but avoid the possibility of bright reflections. These might occur if you angled the card directly towards the sun.

4. Make sure that the gray card fills the partial metering circle shown in the viewfinder, but do not fill the entire picture area with it. This will give you the chance to see how the exposure is affecting other elements in the scene.

5. For testing purposes, shoot at, under and over the camera's recommended exposure level. The D30's AEB function is very useful for this purpose.

6. To minimize lens variables such as evenness of illumination from the center to the corners of the image, shoot at a mid-range aperture like f/8 and vary your exposure with shutter speeds.

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