D5100 - images underexposed?

Started Mar 30, 2012 | Discussions thread
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Juggernaut122 Contributing Member • Posts: 660
D5100 - images underexposed?

Hi all.

I just got back from a trip to Hawaii

Took my D5100 - first time on a vacation - with 3 lenses (f/1.8 50 mm, kit 18-55, kit 55-200mm).
I also bought along my P&S Canon SX130.

In Hawaii there is tons of light - very sunny place.

I noticed that the D5100 would tend to underexpose most of the images in bright light. The meter would read right at 0 but when the picture was taken and the histiogram came out, the shots in bright light were almost always underexposed.

I kept having to put the meter at the slightly "overexposed" range to get the exposure to be correct.

This meant that I had no choice but to use manual mode to get the right exposure (please correct me if there was another way).

Is this a camera problem or a problem all cameras would have with sunny days?
It did not seem to have the problem when things were not so bright.

I felt the D5100 shots were not as sharp as I was expecting - perhaps this was user error but I am not sure. I mostly used F/8 on the 18-55 lens which I expected would give me nice crisp shots but most are a bit soft - Is this due to the bright light around? Was a filter required?

As an aside, I will say that except in low light situations, I kept asking myself what I needed to lug around all the equipment for and work on changing lenses etc, when the shots from the point and shoot came out looking pretty much the same (or sometimes more crisp) and was much easier to zoom around, carry and use (the P&S has manual mode).

I like the D5100 alot - especially with the prime lens in dark places but I get the feeling that the point and shoot will just be easier with similar results when going on my next vacation.

Any thoughts on what I was doing wrong (most likely), or if this is a camera issue (less likely)?

If needed I will try to find the time to post some examples.


 Juggernaut122's gear list:Juggernaut122's gear list
Olympus Tough TG-4 Canon G7 X II Nikon D7200 Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D Sigma 17-50mm F2.8 EX DC OS HSM +1 more
Nikon D5100
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