D80 Overexposure

Started Dec 5, 2007 | Discussions
Arrowman Senior Member • Posts: 1,727
Matrix vs Centre Weighted

rafzyh wrote:

Change Martix metering to Central weighted.
I don't use Matrix on D80 at all.

I agree that Centre Weighted is usually / often a more appropriate metering method - and it ssems a lot of people don't realise is, this was the "original and best" method used in film cameras, before the days of sensors and onboard computers and image databases.

Matrix is still better for some scenes, in fact I used Matrix almost exclusively for the first couple of months of owning my D80, with few problems, before I "remembered my roots"

You need to be cautious about "Use Centre Weighted" as universal advice just as for "dial in -0.7" but it does make more sense.

Another thing to remember - We all take (as a preference / style) different photos, of different subjects, under different conditions. Who knows, maybe "dial in -0.7" actually does work for some people - depending on what they shoot. The danger lies in selling this as some sort of universal solution.

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Arrowman Senior Member • Posts: 1,727
Compensation, Bracketing and Flicking

DezM wrote:

.....or you can use the compensation button and take several photos
to match what you're looking at in the scene. As Arrowman said, there
is no universal number of -0.07 to fix exposure.

I suppose it's a matter of personal style and preference. Since we're on the subject, I'll throw in my 2 cents.

I don't use the compensation button a lot. Probably this is partly because I don't often shoot lots of photos of similar (similarly lit etc) scenes in a session, which is (IMHO) what compensation is largely aimed at.

Where I have used it most, somewhat to my surprise, is with indoors/flash, like at an event (shooting people/groups/tables etc). Because I'm no expert with flash, I tend to take a few test shots to suss out how the flash/lighting is working (ceiling height, ambient light distance from subject to background, etc).

If it all adds up to overexposed faces, I dial in some negative EV. Etc. I did this in a serious way for the first time a couple of weeks back and the results were great. Next time I used the flash, in different conditions, there was no EV needed.

I know there are better ways of managing flash, but this works for me.

But back to "normal" use: as I said, I tend not to use EV comp a lot. Neither do I bracket. I find bracketing to be a bit "hit and hope" but more importantly, it's limiting.

I KNOW the scene is likely to need a little under (or over) exposure, I don't need to shoot "either side" to work this out.

My preference, when there's a need to "bracket", is to use Manual mode and fire off several shots with a flick of the command dial(s) between shots. That way I can select exactly which "brackets" I wish to use.

As I said, it's a matter of personal preference and also your subject matter / nature of the session. The only general advice I would offer to people is - don't just assume that bracketing, or EV comp, or any single method, is the "right" way to go. Learn to use them all, and pull them out of your toolkit as required. And you may find that you use one of them more than others.

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apod Junior Member • Posts: 40
Re: D80 Overexposure

If you have a concern with overexposure, I suggest you shoot RAW. You can recover an incredible amount of detail in subjects that appear completely blown out. I also have the D80 and it meters pretty similar to my old D50. I usually have the D80 set to -0.3 or -0.5 compensation if the scene is heavily backlit. I find -0.7 makes the images too underexposed in a lot of situations. Most of the time, the matrix metering does a good job of exposing for the subject that I am actually shooting. With RAW, it is actually more beneficial to overexpose an image a little bit and recover the highlights in post processing.

With ACR 4.2, there is a new recover tool which helps to recover any blown highlights. Setting down the exposure will also help to recapture blown highlights. The most effective method is playing with the sliders in the parametric tone curve to pull down the highlights and mid-range. It works extremely well. It seems like the sensor is still able to capture the details in the blown highlights that you can pull out in PP. If you constantly underexpose your pics by way of in camera compensation, what you risk is underexposed pics. If you PP these pics and turn up the exposure, you are gonna bring up a lot of noise and grain. So the so-called rule that underexposing your shots is better than overexposing is not true if you shoot RAW and do any PP.

AlvinL Senior Member • Posts: 1,231
Re: D80 Overexposure

All this talk doesnt change the fact that the D80's matrix meter sucks compared to the older Nikons like my older D50. They should have just kept the same metering algorithm from the D50. But cant do anything about it now. I'll post some shots tomorrow night with the same scene with different metering modes and various EV compensations. Wish me luck
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darock Regular Member • Posts: 227
Re: Learn how it works for different scenes....

I checked your EXIF in Capture NX, and it says you were in Manual Mode, so I kind of think it was Human error more than Camera Error.

I have a D80 and I'm a lil annoyed that everyone keeps saying that the D80 overexposes, it doesn't. It just Exposes greatly for whatever is under the focus point. If you just run a test between Spot, Center and Matrix you will realise that it exposes just about 0.3 to 0.5 more or less than Spot. You will notice it too..try it and see, for yourself. Once you understand this. You will stop whining about it overexposing, or if you want to continue whining, find another forum to do it in.

Jeeesh...

AlvinL Senior Member • Posts: 1,231
Re: Learn how it works for different scenes....

darock wrote:

I checked your EXIF in Capture NX, and it says you were in Manual
Mode, so I kind of think it was Human error more than Camera Error.

you overlooked the fact that I was going with the camera's meter in the viewfinder telling me that it is perfectly exposed.

I have a D80 and I'm a lil annoyed that everyone keeps saying that
the D80 overexposes, it doesn't.

Yes it does

It just Exposes greatly for
whatever is under the focus point. If you just run a test between
Spot, Center and Matrix you will realise that it exposes just about
0.3 to 0.5 more or less than Spot.

You just contradicted yourself

You will notice it too..try it
and see, for yourself. Once you understand this. You will stop
whining about it overexposing, or if you want to continue whining,
find another forum to do it in.

just because some people criticize your "perfect" camera doesnt mean that they should just leave and cry somewhere else. Stop being a nazi

Jeeesh...

some people huh

Arrowman Senior Member • Posts: 1,727
Re: Learn how it works for different scenes....

Standard Arrowman disclaimer when he posts on one of his "hot button" subjects: This is a bit sharp, but I feel strongly about this subject. Please don't take it personally

AlvinL wrote:

you overlooked the fact that I was going with the camera's meter in
the viewfinder telling me that it is perfectly exposed.

And I ask again - what is wrong with the exposure?

Why use Manual mode at all, if all you're going to do is centre the needle?

I have a D80 and I'm a lil annoyed that everyone keeps saying that
the D80 overexposes, it doesn't.

Yes it does

Rubbish. I'm sorry, absolute rubbish.

I've taken close to 10,000 shots with a D80 and I've produced

  • Perfectly exposed skies with dark foreground subjects

  • Blown highlights on a brightly lit subject

  • Perfect exposures using Matrix metering on a bright, evenly lit day

  • Perfect exposures using Centre Weight on a flower against a black background

  • etc, you name it, I've shot it. There is in my experience absolutely no consistent "under" or "over" or whatever about the D80 meter. it is entirely down to my ability to judge the lighting and use the camera accordingly.

As I have said before, I had used the D80 for something like 6 months and 5,000 shots before I came to this forum and discovered there was a problem with the meter in my camera.

It just Exposes greatly for
whatever is under the focus point. If you just run a test between
Spot, Center and Matrix you will realise that it exposes just about
0.3 to 0.5 more or less than Spot.

You just contradicted yourself

No he didn't. It wasn't the clearest sentence in the world and I'm not exactly sure what he meant to say - but if he meant to say what I think he did, there's no contradiction at all.

just because some people criticize your "perfect" camera doesnt mean
that they should just leave and cry somewhere else. Stop being a nazi

Well I can't speak for the other poster, but for me this has nothing to do with trying to defend the D80 as being perfect. As I said in my other post, in response to the OP, this is about trying to protect beginners from misleading information.

There's probably a whole generation of beginner photographers out there with their D80 EV comp buttons superglued to -0.7 and wondering why half their shots are underexposed. We can only save some of them

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Duncan Glendinning Regular Member • Posts: 274
Re: D80 Overexposure

I agree. I found that based on whether a soccer team wears white jerseys versus dark jerseys, my D80 would constantly overexpose the white jersey highlights. I tried the -0.7 trick and matrix metering, but didn't really like the results. As you know, players roam all over the soccer field, so I really don't have the time to continually check for over exposed highlights. For the last two games, I've used center-weighted metering, and the results worked out quite well.
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ttorda Regular Member • Posts: 125
Re: the issue is well understood ... read this ...

I am one of the many not-so-experienced who have followed this discussion. My D80 was set to -0.7 and some pictures were underexposed - surprise - surprise. I have now re-set this to 0 and theexposure meter to "spot". I lock the exposure on the point of main interest and then compose. Mostly, works for me.
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darock Regular Member • Posts: 227
Re: Learn how it works for different scenes....

The whole point of the rant was plain and simple....

Learn how to use the "TOOL" properly before you whine. Everyone of the Meaningful Reviews, "You" and "I" have read have said the same thing.

It does not overexpose, you just have to learn how to use it. The same way how the early D70 owners had to learn that it did not underexpose pictures.

Nikon got tired of hearing that their cameras underexposed pictures and they gave people what they ask for, and now people are whining in reverse. Sometimes I wonder how they feel at times, if they will ever please the public.

But if people will take the time to understand the basics of photography, maybe nikon could work on more meaningful things for our cameras, instead of trying to please the numskulls who don't take the time to learn their craft.

Chris Elliott Veteran Member • Posts: 3,979
D80 Overexposure

Steven Crow wrote:

After searching for this subject, I have not found a solution for D80
overexposure. Has Nikon dealt with this, or does anyone have a
solution?

Retailer in Dallas said he's never heard of this problem.

I had no similar problems with D70.

Not again. It must be all of two days since this subject was last beaten to death! I get tired of typing the same thing over and over again. The only overexposure is the subject.

I cannot believe that the search engine on this site would not unearth many many threads saying exactly what you are reading here.

There is nothing wrong with the D80 matrix metering . Like all DSLR cameras it takes time to learn how to use the tool. Anyone that does not want to be bothered should buy a P & S.

Ken Rockwell has done massive damage with his advice on D80 shooting (-0.7 EV). Remember he lives in SUNNY California. His advice shows the shallowness of his "expertise". (I cannot believe that he has not revisited and amended that advice. Too busy churning out other superficial observations presumably) Indoors and in average light the D80 exposes perfectly provided you keep a mind to what is under your active focus sensor. Watch the light under your active focus sensor. That is the key. Deep black or bright white under your active focus sensor will strongly influence the exposure setting. Maybe that is what you would want (Which is why the cam is set up that way).

I repeat in case anyone has not got it yet - with matrix metering watch the light under your active focus sensor. That is the key.

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kuma37 Regular Member • Posts: 130
Re: D80 Overexposure

Nikon has changed the algorithm of matrix metering from D80.
It became too too sensitive to the AF area.

Many people says one has to adjust the exposure based on the
brightness of the AF area. But if you are shooting dance with
continous mode, there is no chance to adjust exposure.

I usually shoot with center wighted, because matrix metering
is too sensitive to AF area.
Howver, even with the center weight mode, the metering is
still quite unstable, and I get extreme over exposure and underexposure
within a series of continous shooting, if the cloth of the dancer
has black and white part (this is usual case).

Remaiining solution is to use manual exposure.
Yes, this does work quite well, if the lighting of the scene is very
stable. But, in fact, I have to very carefull if lighting condition has
changed or not, unless I will get completely black or white images.

Chris Elliott Veteran Member • Posts: 3,979
Re: D80 Overexposure

kuma37 wrote:

Howver, even with the center weight mode, the metering is
still quite unstable, and I get extreme over exposure and underexposure
within a series of continous shooting, if the cloth of the dancer
has black and white part (this is usual case).

You will get that with any camera and any meter. If say 80% of your scene is black the camera will expose to turn that 18% grey and thus overexpose. Equally if 80% is white the camera will underexpose to turn that 80% to 18% grey.

All of this is elementary photography and not peculiar to the D80. Sound like you need to spot meter on faces or use Manual as you say.

The D80 does expose for the shadows (as does the D50 and D40). The D70 underexposed. Within a range of half a stop all cams should spot meter the same reading comparing like for like (The size of the spot can vary and often can be changed in camera and, of course, the area being metered will differ with the focal length used).

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kuma37 Regular Member • Posts: 130
Re: D80 Overexposure

You will get that with any camera and any meter. If say 80% of your scene is black > the camera will expose to turn that 18% grey and thus overexpose. Equally if 80% > is white the camera will underexpose to turn that 80% to 18% grey.

If the camera is metering 80% of the camera, then I do not have any complain.

The problem is, D80 will extremely overexpose if the AF area is black,
even if more than 50% of the scene is white (bright).
We cannot tell if is extremely overexposed untill we see the result.

http://upload.jpn.ph/upload.php?id=04529
http://upload.jpn.ph/upload.php?id=04530

In this example, black uniform occupices quite big area.
But, same thing happens even if the black area is much much smaller.

This kind of unstable exposure, I did not experinced on D50 or D200.

At least, Nikon should add new option to reflain from changing the
exposure so much while continous shooting.

Chris Elliott Veteran Member • Posts: 3,979
Re: D80 Overexposure

kuma37 wrote:

If the camera is metering 80% of the camera, then I do not have any
complain.
The problem is, D80 will extremely overexpose if the AF area is black,
even if more than 50% of the scene is white (bright).
We cannot tell if is extremely overexposed untill we see the result.

1. You complained even about Center-Weighted in your first post I specifically answered that compliant about CW based upon the content of your first post.

2. You now complain about Matrix Metering. Your two photos aptly illustrate my point about watching what is under your active focus sensor:

a) there is a wide dynamic range in these photos given strong sunlight and shadows which is a problem for any camera

b) I assume you used the centre focus point? The 2nd photo has the black of the uniform in bright light under the active focus sensor. The first one has the black of the uniform in deep shadow across the chest and left arm.

There is a difference of just over one stop in the EXIF from the two photos. The difference in light at the active focus point more than explains that. The two photos are not identical (I can see you have taken two others in between and the parade has moved on a few yards down the street changing the lighting a little).

I would have set the active focus sensor on the chin of the leading soldier and used MM for these shots

This kind of unstable exposure, I did not experinced on D50 or D200.

The D50 and D200 (in particular) are less sensitive to the light under the active focus sensor. The D80 also shoots with more contrast than the D50. The D80 is NOT unstable it is just different and you are refusing to acknowledge or use those differences to your advantage.

At least, Nikon should add new option to reflain from changing the
exposure so much while continous shooting.

What would be useful is two MM modes (1) giving priority to light under the active focus sensor (2) ignoring it and metering the whole scene. Olympus provide exactly those two options

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Kim Letkeman
Kim Letkeman Forum Pro • Posts: 33,435
Re: the issue is well understood ... read this ...

ttorda wrote:

I am one of the many not-so-experienced who have followed this
discussion. My D80 was set to -0.7 and some pictures were
underexposed - surprise - surprise. I have now re-set this to 0 and
theexposure meter to "spot". I lock the exposure on the point of main
interest and then compose. Mostly, works for me.

Have a look at John Shaw's Field Guide to Nature Photography. He has an excellent chapter or two on metering. He presents it very simply, perfect for spot metering. Kind of a digital zone system so you know how to compensate.

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GregInMD Forum Member • Posts: 57
Just wondering - a poll, per se...

IF Nikon could "adjust" the way the matrix meter behaves through a firmware update, would you want them to?

Greg

tbcass
tbcass Forum Pro • Posts: 43,577
Re: Learn how it works for different scenes....

You can't expect the camera to do all the work for you. That's where practice and knowledge come in.
--
Tom

The camera doesn't make a bit of difference. All of them can record what you are seeing. But you have to see.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/25301400@N00/

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hea
hea Regular Member • Posts: 354
Re: D80 Overexposure

Scanning Flickr on D40 pictures, outdoors, most are taken with exposure at -2/3, and they look good.
Would be shoot in AUTO and they are overexpose, 90% of time

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mydiggie Regular Member • Posts: 117
About 18% grey card...

"Solid state sensors in digital cameras behave very differently. As light falls on a sensor, a charge either accumulates or dissipates (depending on the sensor technology). Its response is well behaved right up until the point of saturation, at which time it abruptly stops. There is no forgiveness by gradually backing off, as was the case with film.

Because of this difference, setting up the exposure using an 18% gray card (as is typically done with film) does not work so well with a digital camera. You will get better results if you set your exposure such that the whitest white in the scene comes close to, but not quite reaching, the full digital scale (255 for 8-bit capture, 65535 for 16-bit capture). Base the exposure on the highlight for a digital camera, and a mid-tone (e.g. 18% gray card) for a film camera."

Read http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tutorials/expose-right.shtml and expose to the right.

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