Experiments with Nikon D600 exposure - seems too aggressive

Started Sep 21, 2012 | Discussions
eNo
eNo Forum Pro • Posts: 11,744
Some metering articles I wrote

fromero wrote:

Sorry, but I don't understand why spot metering on the white is necessary following your rules. I am interested, this is why I ask.

Spot metering takes an extra couple of seconds over the auto-magic metering modes, but learning to do it is a snap and quite satisfying once you start nailing every exposure! A couple of articles I wrote on the subject:

Metering on white:
http://imagesbyeduardo.com/main/technique/metering-the-white-detail-brothers/

Metering on middle-tones (aka middle-gray):
http://imagesbyeduardo.com/main/technique/spot-metering-the-usual-suspects/

Remember that the key concept here is "what you want to be white" or "what you want to be be middle-tone/gray" -- there's no right answer, just your choice.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Home page: http://imagesbyeduardo.com

Story-telling: http://imagesbyeduardo.com/main/wedding-photography-los-angeles-story-telling/

eNo
eNo Forum Pro • Posts: 11,744
Re: I think

Mako2011 wrote:

fromero wrote:

Sorry, but I don't understand why spot metering on the white is necessary following your rules. I am interested, this is why I ask.

eNo wrote:

  • Spot meter on what you want to be middle gray and center-meter, or

  • Spot meter on what you want to be white and open up 2 stops from center-meter

White is Zone 7. Meter on it to protect the details there so they are not blown by telling the camera that is zone 5. Then open up 2 stops which puts the metered white exactly at zone 7. The detail is protected and everything in the scene is put in it's proper place as white is indeed always exactly zone 7, and two stops open from zone 5 is exactly zone 7 also. Meter white to be zone 5...open up two stops insures it's put where it belongs....I think that's how it works.

That's it! Good explanation.

eNo
eNo Forum Pro • Posts: 11,744
Re: The secret is...

creaDVty wrote:

Hi eNo. I know how to spot meter and I understand its reliability. However, it is usually not feasible for my kind of subjects (moving around a lot, rapidly changing light conditions from outdoor sunlight to outdoor shadow to indoor, etc. etc.).

BTW thanks for your D7000 post (which Mako2011 showed me). Very informative. But don't you think it's funny that the D700's exposure seems more consistent and predictable?

Consistent? Predictable? No such thing unless you take full control. I shoot weddings with 2 D700 bodies, and yes, while they tend to give me results that generally please me more than the D7000 with regards to metering, I would never dream of shooting the entire wedding in an automated exposure mode like Aperture Priority. D700 metering has "let me down" enough. I understand what you're saying about moving in and out of light, but there are ways to do that quickly in fully manual mode. A practiced pro will have no issues. And the metering on white trick? Very handy for preserving detail on white wedding dresses, my friend.

Oh, and if you think automated metering gives you fits now, try it with a couple of off-camera flashes and one on-camera flash in TTL mode. Bring out the light meter (the handheld one) and set at least those off-camera flashes at constant power if you want to get anything that resembles consistent and predictable.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Home page: http://imagesbyeduardo.com

Story-telling: http://imagesbyeduardo.com/main/wedding-photography-los-angeles-story-telling/

eNo
eNo Forum Pro • Posts: 11,744
Sometimes we get lax (lazy?)

I just came back from a vacation where I forced myself to spot-meter everything. In past vacations, I've gotten lax (lazy?) and drifted to aperture priority mode for the very reason the OP mentions: lots of moving in and out of bright light vs. shade, didn't want to bother. Well, this time around I bothered, and in a quick review through my shots last night, wouldn't you know it? Not much for me to do in LR except delete the shots I don't like -- for reasons other than blown exposure.

I was shooting in dark cathedral interiors, outdoors in overcast weather with the sun peaking through occassionally to brighten things up. All I did was to spot-meter on middle tones, and all my exposures fell into place. With practice and quick setup on your camera (the Fn button on mine switches to spot), it takes very little time. If you're afraid about not reacting quickly enough, consider that once your exposure is set, for those lighting conditions, you don't have to change it again, whereas your auto-magic meter will likely change exposure the second you modify composition and your focus point(s) fall somewhere else.

I know all this can come across as haughty and lording it over other folks that "I know more," but I'm really enthusiastic about getting folks to take charge of their exposures. When they do and start getting exposures that make sense, then they can concentrate on what truly makes a great photo. If you get stuck in the "my exposure is messed up half the time" trap, you'll never get to enjoy making nice to great photographs.
--
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Home page: http://imagesbyeduardo.com

Story-telling: http://imagesbyeduardo.com/main/wedding-photography-los-angeles-story-telling/

Mako2011
Mako2011 Forum Pro • Posts: 23,531
please continue

eNo wrote:

I just came back from a vacation where I forced myself to spot-meter everything. In past vacations, I've gotten lax (lazy?) and drifted to aperture priority mode for the very reason the OP mentions: lots of moving in and out of bright light vs. shade, didn't want to bother. Well, this time around I bothered, and in a quick review through my shots last night, wouldn't you know it? Not much for me to do in LR except delete the shots I don't like -- for reasons other than blown exposure.

I was shooting in dark cathedral interiors, outdoors in overcast weather with the sun peaking through occassionally to brighten things up. All I did was to spot-meter on middle tones, and all my exposures fell into place. With practice and quick setup on your camera (the Fn button on mine switches to spot), it takes very little time. If you're afraid about not reacting quickly enough, consider that once your exposure is set, for those lighting conditions, you don't have to change it again, whereas your auto-magic meter will likely change exposure the second you modify composition and your focus point(s) fall somewhere else.

I know all this can come across as haughty and lording it over other folks that "I know more," but I'm really enthusiastic about getting folks to take charge of their exposures. When they do and start getting exposures that make sense, then they can concentrate on what truly makes a great photo. If you get stuck in the "my exposure is messed up half the time" trap, you'll never get to enjoy making nice to great photographs.

What I have learned has come from posts like this, articles like yours, and advice from those more experienced than me here on the forums. Thanks and please continue.

Harry Lime Regular Member • Posts: 264
Re: please continue

If you are using manual focus lenses, is the "focus point" (the center?) taken in to account when calculating the exposure in matrix metering or other modes?

Mako2011
Mako2011 Forum Pro • Posts: 23,531
Good question

Harry Lime wrote:

If you are using manual focus lenses, is the "focus point" (the center?) taken in to account when calculating the exposure in matrix metering or other modes?

Good question

I had no ideal so I picked up my camera to try and see. For a fact I can demonstrate AF point bias in matrix metering with a Nikon lens in AF but do not have a manual only lens. Took my 24-120mm and checked to make sure there was AF bias with lens set to AF. There was. Then I set the lens switch from M/A to M and the bias went away. Didn't matter where I put the body focus box...no exposure bias. So with that said, my thinking is that there is no focus point bias with a manual lens in matrix metering but you can still spot and center meter as normal. Really wish someone else would test to confirm.

Harry Lime Regular Member • Posts: 264
Re: Good question

Thanks for trying that.

I'm in the opposite camp, only having manual focus lenses on hand. But I have an AF lens arriving tomorrow, so I'll give it a try and will report back.

The manual says:

A Manual Focus
Single-point AF is automatically selected when manual focus is used.

But I do not see a mention if it works in conjunction with the exposure system.

Interestingly, with a manual focus lens mounted (in this case ZF 1.4/50) the option to switch to a different AF area is disabled. Unless I am doing something wrong.

Mako2011
Mako2011 Forum Pro • Posts: 23,531
Re: Good question

Harry Lime wrote:

Thanks for trying that.

I'm in the opposite camp, only having manual focus lenses on hand. But I have an AF lens arriving tomorrow, so I'll give it a try and will report back.

The manual says:

A Manual Focus
Single-point AF is automatically selected when manual focus is used.

But I do not see a mention if it works in conjunction with the exposure system.

Interestingly, with a manual focus lens mounted (in this case ZF 1.4/50) the option to switch to a different AF area is disabled. Unless I am doing something wrong.

Yes...with a manual lens or whit a AF lens set to manual...AF-Area mode "single"
only.

According to the hogan guide...spot metering with a manual NON-CPU lens occurs at the center point only and a manual-CPU lens at the selected AF point.

For matrix metering of non-CPU lens...you have to set the lens data per page 105 and 159 in manual.

Harry Lime Regular Member • Posts: 264
Re: Good question

Yes, I should add that I have the non-CPU lens data set.

theNeverKings Regular Member • Posts: 184
Re: 2nd set of experiments with D600 exposure

Hi.

creaDVty wrote:

Hi Peter. Congrats on your baby. Is s/he walking now? The fun starts there... hehehe

Thank you. Yes, she started walking about a week ago...so many photo ops;) She's child number four for me.

As for your suggestions on finding a zone v subject, they are helpful, and yes I get how a camera can't really know whether a subject is white or black or gray. I'm not saying that the D600 can't get an exposure right. Of course, with spot metering, any camera with a functional light meter should get the job done. All I'm hoping is that with the D600's technology, it's a little better about making an educated guess based on the relationship of tones in the scene. And I guess it does a fine job for the subject but to my dismay doesn't seem to try to fit the scene on the sensor's range.

As for center-weighted metering, I had no problem about the subject being correctly exposed - the D600's matrix exposure does a fine job there. My problem was that the rest of the scene - background, etc. included many blown highlights. If I used center-weighted metering I would think that the problem would be aggravated. (In fact, my s5 has the opposite tendency from the D600 - its meter is extremely conservative and when there's a highlight anywhere in the scene it will underexpose a lot which is not good for the S5 because its range is in the highlights. So what I do to overcome that is use center-weighted metering.)

Nonetheless, I'll give center-weighted a shot with the D600. Haven't tried it on the D600.

I view the varied exposure methods present in modern cameras as a "tool box". Different tools for different jobs, and I have a suspicion that camera manufacturers gives us these options knowing that no single metering method is going to be ideal for every application. The trick for me was to identify, as early as possible, which metering method worked best for a given situation. The only time I came to rely on Matrix Metering was when photographing bride/groom exiting gloomy church interiors into brighter outdoor conditions. I would usually be using fill flash as well as some negative exposure compensation to protect the detail in the Bride's dress.

As mentioned previously, Matrix Metering is generally effective, however, I noticed as camera models progressed, the decision to "weight" the metering in favour of focus point had a detrimental effect on the metering. It was then that I made a decision to use a different "tool" i.e. Center Weighted Averaging. Some rudimentary appreciation of the Zone system is beneficial (which you obviously have!). I believe the most useful concept of the Zone system is being able to previsualise the tones in a scene and thus place them where I want them to go, and not the camera:).

At the risk of labouring a point, CWA metering is a kind of primitive Matrix in that it does take into account other areas of the frame other than the central area.

As I mentioned, I currently have the X Pro 1, but I am keeping a close eye on the D600 since I sold my D700 a while ago due to it being too large, heavy and, in particular, loud!

Cheers.

Peter.

P.S. you would be forgiven for thinking I am a bit of a CWA "fanboi";)

theNeverKings Regular Member • Posts: 184
Re: Sometimes we get lax (lazy?)

Hi.

eNo wrote:

I just came back from a vacation where I forced myself to spot-meter everything. In past vacations, I've gotten lax (lazy?) and drifted to aperture priority mode for the very reason the OP mentions: lots of moving in and out of bright light vs. shade, didn't want to bother. Well, this time around I bothered, and in a quick review through my shots last night, wouldn't you know it? Not much for me to do in LR except delete the shots I don't like -- for reasons other than blown exposure.

I was shooting in dark cathedral interiors, outdoors in overcast weather with the sun peaking through occassionally to brighten things up. All I did was to spot-meter on middle tones, and all my exposures fell into place. With practice and quick setup on your camera (the Fn button on mine switches to spot), it takes very little time. If you're afraid about not reacting quickly enough, consider that once your exposure is set, for those lighting conditions, you don't have to change it again, whereas your auto-magic meter will likely change exposure the second you modify composition and your focus point(s) fall somewhere else.

I know all this can come across as haughty and lording it over other folks that "I know more," but I'm really enthusiastic about getting folks to take charge of their exposures. When they do and start getting exposures that make sense, then they can concentrate on what truly makes a great photo. If you get stuck in the "my exposure is messed up half the time" trap, you'll never get to enjoy making nice to great photographs.

Spot on! (pardon the pun!)

The other useful behaviour is to be aware of the lighting conditions around you AND useful objects to meter from, white walls, blue sky, deep shadows etc. Since digital is "free", it doesn't cost anything to experiment.

Cheers.

Peter.

fromero Contributing Member • Posts: 913
Thanks very much. I appreciate it (n/t)
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Francisco Romero

fromero Contributing Member • Posts: 913
Thanks very much (n/t)
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Francisco Romero

Raul Veteran Member • Posts: 7,960
Mic, PC or Mac?
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creaDVty
OP creaDVty Senior Member • Posts: 1,271
PC... (n/t)
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creaDVty
OP creaDVty Senior Member • Posts: 1,271
Re: Good question

Really wish someone else would test to confirm.

I did show test shots of this. I placed the AF point over a black card and a white card used MF to focus, and there was no change in exposure in either case.

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creaDVty
OP creaDVty Senior Member • Posts: 1,271
multiple off-camera flash exposure

Oh, and if you think automated metering gives you fits now, try it with a couple of off-camera flashes and one on-camera flash in TTL mode. Bring out the light meter (the handheld one) and set at least those off-camera flashes at constant power if you want to get anything that resembles consistent and predictable.

I have tried multiple off camera flash in TTL and I agree it's usually inaccurate and unpredictable. I just adjust after the first shot. As for setting the off-camera flash in manual mode, again that would work in a studio setting or setup shot and I indeed do that, but in a run and gun kind of situation, impossible for me.

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RomanJohnston
RomanJohnston Forum Pro • Posts: 18,806
Cameras dont over or under expose....

Operators do.

Understand your gear. Each camera is different. Its why pros don't just go out and try the gear on an important shoot.

They test...learn...understand the gear.

Then go use it based on its own baselines, weaknesses and strengths.

Roman

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creaDVty
OP creaDVty Senior Member • Posts: 1,271
Re: Cameras dont over or under expose....

Hi Roman. I am aware that ultimately it is up to the photographer to control the exposure. I was just trying to test the 'tendency' of the automatic exposure, which of course still has to be controlled. So, yes a driver needs to be the one to steer the car but it is helpful to know if it steers quickly or slowly.

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