Experiments with Nikon D600 exposure - seems too aggressive

Started Sep 21, 2012 | Discussions thread
OP creaDVty Senior Member • Posts: 1,333
Re: Experiments with Nikon D600 exposure - seems too aggressive

Focus is one thing but even matrix meter sees your placement of the focus point (focus bias) as an instruction to meter that point as the mid-tone....to some degree.

I agree that placing the focus on a particular point in the scene biases the camera to meter for that point. However, I don't think it necessarily meters that point as a midtone. For example I believe it can guess when you're shooting a beach scene or snow scene, and if you had the AF point on a snow man, there's a reasonable chance it will be metered correctly as white or light gray, not middle gray. Is that what you meant by 'to some degree'?

As for the car, we know it's black but the camera doesn't so yes it has to guess whether it's black, white, or gray. If the entire scene had the same tone (all black or all white or all gray) then yes it's impossible for the camera to guess the actual tone. But I would have thought that given that there was a large white object nearby, that the meter would not be fooled. I'm supposing the camera had two options:

1) The car is gray. The nearby pickup truck is a white object that is intensely lit by the sun.
2) The car is black. The nearby pickup truck is white.

I would have thought the camera could correctly guess it was the 2nd scenario. Besides, it couldn't hurt in terms of preserving detail because option 1 would mean that the white object would be blown whereas option 2 would retain most of the information. What if this were a wedding? What's it gonna do with a bride and groom? Blowout the expensive wedding gown and have a dark gray tux? I hope it's smarter than that. Maybe not?

Well, I hope no one shoots me for saying this, but my approach would have been to underexpose the scene sufficiently to not blow the sky, then bring up the exposure for the midtones in post. It appeared from the histogram that there was still a lot of room left in the shadow side.

Not a bad strategy....meter for the mid-tones then check the highlights

I don't interpret my strategy the same way you do. To me, I would summarize it more like: protect the relevant highlights, and let the rest of the tones fall where they may. I don't look for a midtone value then meter it. Maybe I ought to, but I'm just saying that's not something I do right now.

Depends...metering to not blow highlights that have no detail worth saving may unnecessarily bring noise to the shadows later.

True, sometimes some highlights are not worth saving. That's my view of specular highlights - I don't mind much if specular highlights are blown because to my eyes they have no detail anyway.

You're not surrendering control...you're taking more of it.

Well, the way I see it, if you bias the meter permanently, then you are in a sense always applying that exposure compensation to all scenes. There may be circumstances when such an exp comp is not needed. For example even a camera with a tendency to overexpose may occasionally expose correctly. So I'd rather make that decision than automatically dial in a minimum exp comp adjustment.


Very helpful and relevant, just like the rest of your advice. Thanks again!

Best regards,

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