Exposure Compensation confusion??

Started 3 months ago | Discussions
Joe94
Joe94 Regular Member • Posts: 467
Exposure Compensation confusion??

Evening all,

I’m after a bit of clarification, because I’m a bit confused aha.

Essentially I know what Exposure Compensation is, how & when to use it in different ways, but what I’m confused about is what modes it can be used in...

I know you can use it in A & S mode, but I’m confused about using it in Manual mode, it seem to be that some things you read it says you can & some you read, it says you can’t? Is this to do with type of camera DSLR/mirrorless? Age of camera? Or something else?

For ref I’m using an Olympus OMD EM1 Mark3.

Thanks all

Olympus E-M1
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Barry Twycross Veteran Member • Posts: 3,443
Re: Exposure Compensation confusion??
3

Joe94 wrote:

Evening all,

I’m after a bit of clarification, because I’m a bit confused aha.

Essentially I know what Exposure Compensation is, how & when to use it in different ways, but what I’m confused about is what modes it can be used in...

I know you can use it in A & S mode, but I’m confused about using it in Manual mode, it seem to be that some things you read it says you can & some you read, it says you can’t? Is this to do with type of camera DSLR/mirrorless? Age of camera? Or something else?

For ref I’m using an Olympus OMD EM1 Mark3.

Thanks all

Some do some don't. See what your camera does. Point your camera at a blank surface, and see if changing the compensation changes the meter offset (or ISO for auto ISO).

Exposure compensation can't have any effect on your exposure, as you're using manual, you set the exposure. It can affect the meter, which includes what auto-ISO does if you're using that.

I'm not entirely sure I want exposure compensation to work with manual, and I'm not sure if it does on one of my cameras. I adjust the manual exposure by how far off the meter offset is. If I wanted a +1ev compensation, I'll twiddle the shutter speed or aperture so the offset is +1ev. I don't use auto-ISO.

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Joe94
OP Joe94 Regular Member • Posts: 467
Re: Exposure Compensation confusion??

Barry Twycross wrote:

Joe94 wrote:

Evening all,

I’m after a bit of clarification, because I’m a bit confused aha.

Essentially I know what Exposure Compensation is, how & when to use it in different ways, but what I’m confused about is what modes it can be used in...

I know you can use it in A & S mode, but I’m confused about using it in Manual mode, it seem to be that some things you read it says you can & some you read, it says you can’t? Is this to do with type of camera DSLR/mirrorless? Age of camera? Or something else?

For ref I’m using an Olympus OMD EM1 Mark3.

Thanks all

Some do some don't. See what your camera does. Point your camera at a blank surface, and see if changing the compensation changes the meter offset (or ISO for auto ISO).

Exposure compensation can't have any effect on your exposure, as you're using manual, you set the exposure. It can affect the meter, which includes what auto-ISO does if you're using that.

I'm not entirely sure I want exposure compensation to work with manual, and I'm not sure if it does on one of my cameras. I adjust the manual exposure by how far off the meter offset is. If I wanted a +1ev compensation, I'll twiddle the shutter speed or aperture so the offset is +1ev. I don't use auto-ISO.

Hi Barry, thank you for this. I must admit after I wrote this I thought why didn’t I just try mine for the case of seeing if mine does it aha... but aside from that I also wanted to know the reason, but as you say it seems to just be a case of some do some don’t.

However thinking about what you say about whether you would actually use it in manual mode, I hadn’t thought of it like that & your right, I suppose the whole point of using manual mode is you in full control of the exposure so as you say if you want +/- EV then yeah you would change ISO/shutter/AP to suite.

And so if I’m right that links to where EV compensation came about in the first place for the same auto modes, because when using them your only change one thing where as the camera still sets the overall exposure so manual compensation can be applied to override the camera, but of corse back to manual you are overriding everything anyways?

Hope I have understood correctly from that & thanks you very much appreciated

BBbuilder467 Veteran Member • Posts: 4,879
Re: Exposure Compensation confusion??
2

Joe94 wrote:

Evening all,

I’m after a bit of clarification, because I’m a bit confused aha.

Essentially I know what Exposure Compensation is, how & when to use it in different ways, but what I’m confused about is what modes it can be used in...

I know you can use it in A & S mode, but I’m confused about using it in Manual mode, it seem to be that some things you read it says you can & some you read, it says you can’t? Is this to do with type of camera DSLR/mirrorless? Age of camera? Or something else?

For ref I’m using an Olympus OMD EM1 Mark3.

Thanks all

If the camera has auto ISO available in Manual mode, then you can probably use it with exposure compensation.

I think most current m4/3 bodies have that feature. My old bodies don't.

Check on the Micro Four Thirds Forum.

Joe94
OP Joe94 Regular Member • Posts: 467
Re: Exposure Compensation confusion??

BBbuilder467 wrote:

Joe94 wrote:

Evening all,

I’m after a bit of clarification, because I’m a bit confused aha.

Essentially I know what Exposure Compensation is, how & when to use it in different ways, but what I’m confused about is what modes it can be used in...

I know you can use it in A & S mode, but I’m confused about using it in Manual mode, it seem to be that some things you read it says you can & some you read, it says you can’t? Is this to do with type of camera DSLR/mirrorless? Age of camera? Or something else?

For ref I’m using an Olympus OMD EM1 Mark3.

Thanks all

If the camera has auto ISO available in Manual mode, then you can probably use it with exposure compensation.

I think most current m4/3 bodies have that feature. My old bodies don't.

Check on the Micro Four Thirds Forum.

Thank you for this

& yeah will do

Mark_A
Mark_A Forum Pro • Posts: 16,124
Re: Exposure Compensation confusion??
1

Joe94 wrote:

Evening all,

I’m after a bit of clarification, because I’m a bit confused aha.

Essentially I know what Exposure Compensation is, how & when to use it in different ways, but what I’m confused about is what modes it can be used in...

I know you can use it in A & S mode, but I’m confused about using it in Manual mode, it seem to be that some things you read it says you can & some you read, it says you can’t? Is this to do with type of camera DSLR/mirrorless? Age of camera? Or something else?

For ref I’m using an Olympus OMD EM1 Mark3.

Thanks all

You can also use it in P mode in which it operates like it does in A or S modes.

In M mode my understanding from a Nikon perspective is that it just moves the meter to an offset according to how much EC you have dialled in.

I don't attempt to use EC in M mode, I just set all parameters according to how I want the image to look. Usually using M & spot mode.

Mark_A

Joe94
OP Joe94 Regular Member • Posts: 467
Re: Exposure Compensation confusion??

Mark_A wrote:

Joe94 wrote:

Evening all,

I’m after a bit of clarification, because I’m a bit confused aha.

Essentially I know what Exposure Compensation is, how & when to use it in different ways, but what I’m confused about is what modes it can be used in...

I know you can use it in A & S mode, but I’m confused about using it in Manual mode, it seem to be that some things you read it says you can & some you read, it says you can’t? Is this to do with type of camera DSLR/mirrorless? Age of camera? Or something else?

For ref I’m using an Olympus OMD EM1 Mark3.

Thanks all

You can also use it in P mode in which it operates like it does in A or S modes.

In M mode my understanding from a Nikon perspective is that it just moves the meter to an offset according to how much EC you have dialled in.

I don't attempt to use EC in M mode, I just set all parameters according to how I want the image to look. Usually using M & spot mode.

Mark_A

Thank you, it really does seem that some brands/models offer it and some done... However another common thing seems to be; which is something I didn’t really thing about, but does make sense.. is that yeah if using manual then really why would you use EC, as you can just manual control all three areas to give the correct exposure, which when I think about it give the true reason meaning behind why EC works well in the semi auto modes

Doug Haag Senior Member • Posts: 2,342
Re: Exposure Compensation confusion??
3

Mark_A wrote:

Joe94 wrote:

Evening all,

I’m after a bit of clarification, because I’m a bit confused aha.

Essentially I know what Exposure Compensation is, how & when to use it in different ways, but what I’m confused about is what modes it can be used in...

I know you can use it in A & S mode, but I’m confused about using it in Manual mode, it seem to be that some things you read it says you can & some you read, it says you can’t? Is this to do with type of camera DSLR/mirrorless? Age of camera? Or something else?

For ref I’m using an Olympus OMD EM1 Mark3.

Thanks all

You can also use it in P mode in which it operates like it does in A or S modes.

In M mode my understanding from a Nikon perspective is that it just moves the meter to an offset according to how much EC you have dialled in.

I don't attempt to use EC in M mode, I just set all parameters according to how I want the image to look. Usually using M & spot mode.

Mark_A

I shoot Nikon and agree fully with your explanation.  However, if you are in manual mode with auto-iso invoked, the camera will automatically adjust iso to reflect the meter scale offset that you described.  However, this cannot be accurately classified as manual mode because a camera-controlled adjustment feature has been introduced.

alcelc
alcelc Forum Pro • Posts: 14,398
Re: Exposure Compensation confusion??
2

Joe94 wrote:

Mark_A wrote:

Joe94 wrote:

Evening all,

I’m after a bit of clarification, because I’m a bit confused aha.

Essentially I know what Exposure Compensation is, how & when to use it in different ways, but what I’m confused about is what modes it can be used in...

I know you can use it in A & S mode, but I’m confused about using it in Manual mode, it seem to be that some things you read it says you can & some you read, it says you can’t? Is this to do with type of camera DSLR/mirrorless? Age of camera? Or something else?

For ref I’m using an Olympus OMD EM1 Mark3.

Thanks all

You can also use it in P mode in which it operates like it does in A or S modes.

In M mode my understanding from a Nikon perspective is that it just moves the meter to an offset according to how much EC you have dialled in.

I don't attempt to use EC in M mode, I just set all parameters according to how I want the image to look. Usually using M & spot mode.

Mark_A

Thank you, it really does seem that some brands/models offer it and some done... However another common thing seems to be; which is something I didn’t really thing about, but does make sense.. is that yeah if using manual then really why would you use EC, as you can just manual control all three areas to give the correct exposure, which when I think about it give the true reason meaning behind why EC works well in the semi auto modes

As said by member before me, some brands offer Auto ISO in M.

In P, EC will let the camera to adjust on f/stop, shutter speed or ISO (if under auto ISO) at the discretion of the camera ( firmware).

In A or S, EC will act like P but on the parameters which can be decided by the camera.

In M, if auto ISO is not supported, EC is not available.

If auto ISO is allowed in M, EC will adjust ISO. It is useful when shooter wish to control f/stop (sweetest spot of the lens or DoF) and shutter speed (stability or to catch action) and so will let camera to adjust ISO for the lightness of the shot.

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Albert
** Please feel free to download the original image I posted here and edit it as you like **

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David1961
David1961 Senior Member • Posts: 3,498
Re: Exposure Compensation confusion??
1

I can only speak based on my 90D.

I use Manual mode + Auto ISO by default.

In this configuration EC adjusts the ISO the camera selected. Shutter speed and aperture and consequently exposure remain unchanged. In this case the adjustment is actually a lightness compensation and so exposure compensation is a misnomer, but that is a whole different argument.

I typically use EC in Manual + Auto ISO when I feel the image is still too dark according to  my camera's LCD and histogram.

I prefer to raise ISO in camera rather than use the "exposure" slider (another misnomer) in ACR because of the less visible noise it might create.

In manual mode + fixed ISO, EC is disabled as I would expect.

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Canon EOS 90D
Autonerd Senior Member • Posts: 1,267
Re: Exposure Compensation confusion??
1

Joe94 wrote:

when I think about it give the true reason meaning behind why EC works well in the semi auto modes

Exactly. EC, AFAIK, started with early semi-automatic cameras. The meters used a center-weight pattern and it was known that there were some scenes that were going to throw them off -- like snow or a sandy beach. The photographer was supposed to know what types of scenes would meter incorrectly and with a manual camera could adjust accordingly. But in automatic mode (and auto-only cameras) there was no way to do that -- hence an EC dial.

I own several film cameras with EC dials and I believe the older ones actually changes the meter output, not the actual exposure. Most of these cams have only an aperture-priority mode and they would choose a slower shutter speed based on the output from the meter. Alternatively, if you didn't have EC, you could just change the ISO setting.

Compact point-and-shoots often had a backlight button for EC -- on my Pentax I think it added a stop and a half.

Matrix metering (late 1980s) did a better job with some tricky lighting situations. Now I believe cameras compare the scene you are framing to a database of scenes and can often figure out when you're shooting snow, backlit windows, etc. Amazing.

Aaron

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bclaff Forum Pro • Posts: 10,879
Re: Exposure Compensation confusion??
2

With most cameras the easiest way to think of exposure compensation is that it biases the meter reading. Everything else follows from that regardless of mode.

For example +1EV exposure compensation biases the meter reading by -1EV.

In manual mode, if you camera shows a meter to "zero", you should be able to verify this yourself.

In manual mode, if your camera allows it (many/most do), you can use exposure compensation with ISO Auto to handle rapidly changing light situations. I do this a lot.

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Bill ( Your trusted source for independent sensor data at PhotonsToPhotos )

Tom_N Forum Pro • Posts: 18,443
Re: Exposure Compensation confusion??
1

It has to do with the particular camera.

If the designers of the camera choose to do so, they can make the viewfinder show you the "raw" meter reading.  If they choose to do so, they can make the viewfinder show you an "adjusted" meter reading that takes the exposure compensation setting into account.

Either way, if you are in M mode, and working with a fixed ISO, the EC control would have no direct effect upon exposure/lightness.

It might have an indirect effect, if you were working to the meter reading.

bclaff Forum Pro • Posts: 10,879
Re: Exposure Compensation confusion??

Tom_N wrote:

It has to do with the particular camera.

If the designers of the camera choose to do so, they can make the viewfinder show you the "raw" meter reading.

Can you provide an example? I don't think I've ever seen this.

If they choose to do so, they can make the viewfinder show you an "adjusted" meter reading that takes the exposure compensation setting into account.

...

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Bill ( Your trusted source for independent sensor data at PhotonsToPhotos )

Barry Twycross Veteran Member • Posts: 3,443
Re: Exposure Compensation confusion??

Autonerd wrote:

I own several film cameras with EC dials and I believe the older ones actually changes the meter output, not the actual exposure.

If I understand what you're getting at, is there a difference? If the meter reads different, it'll cause a different exposure.

I just tried one of my film cameras, a Minolta XD11. The exposure compensation (lever, not dial) affects the meter reading in manual mode, so I'm assuming that's how it changes the A or S mode as well.

Most of these cams have only an aperture-priority mode and they would choose a slower shutter speed based on the output from the meter.

In S mode, it opens or closes the selected aperture to change the exposure, as you'd expect.

Alternatively, if you didn't have EC, you could just change the ISO setting.

I just put a roll of ISO 200 negative film through it, I set the ASA dial to 100 because I wanted denser negs. I've never actually used the EC lever on that camera.

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Barry Twycross Veteran Member • Posts: 3,443
Re: Exposure Compensation confusion??
1

Joe94 wrote:

Barry Twycross wrote:

Joe94 wrote:

Evening all,

I’m after a bit of clarification, because I’m a bit confused aha.

Essentially I know what Exposure Compensation is, how & when to use it in different ways, but what I’m confused about is what modes it can be used in...

I know you can use it in A & S mode, but I’m confused about using it in Manual mode, it seem to be that some things you read it says you can & some you read, it says you can’t? Is this to do with type of camera DSLR/mirrorless? Age of camera? Or something else?

For ref I’m using an Olympus OMD EM1 Mark3.

Thanks all

Some do some don't. See what your camera does. Point your camera at a blank surface, and see if changing the compensation changes the meter offset (or ISO for auto ISO).

Exposure compensation can't have any effect on your exposure, as you're using manual, you set the exposure. It can affect the meter, which includes what auto-ISO does if you're using that.

I'm not entirely sure I want exposure compensation to work with manual, and I'm not sure if it does on one of my cameras. I adjust the manual exposure by how far off the meter offset is. If I wanted a +1ev compensation, I'll twiddle the shutter speed or aperture so the offset is +1ev. I don't use auto-ISO.

Hi Barry, thank you for this. I must admit after I wrote this I thought why didn’t I just try mine for the case of seeing if mine does it aha... but aside from that I also wanted to know the reason, but as you say it seems to just be a case of some do some don’t.

However thinking about what you say about whether you would actually use it in manual mode, I hadn’t thought of it like that & your right, I suppose the whole point of using manual mode is you in full control of the exposure so as you say if you want +/- EV then yeah you would change ISO/shutter/AP to suite.

And so if I’m right that links to where EV compensation came about in the first place for the same auto modes, because when using them your only change one thing where as the camera still sets the overall exposure so manual compensation can be applied to override the camera, but of corse back to manual you are overriding everything anyways?

Hope I have understood correctly from that & thanks you very much appreciated

One use for the EC dial in manual would be to offset the meter. With the cameras I have, I find the fancy metering mode works works best when offset to -2/3ev (at least with ISO L.100 it does). I have the EC dial set to that permanently if I ever want to use an automode, but in manual I usually just set the exposure so the meter shows 2 ticks under 0. If the EC dial worked how I wanted to, it'd bias the meter so I got an exposure of -2/3EV when the meter was zeroed.

Auto-ISO is the complication here, when you're using M and Auto-ISO, you really are no longer in a manual mode, but a different semi-auto mode. So then you need EC to be able to use the semi-auto mode convincingly.

Personally, when I say manual, I mean manual, and use a set ISO (usually L.100). I very rarely use auto-ISO, it doesn't work how I want it to work.

As soon as I find I'm fighting the camera to do what I want, the easiest solution is to use manual, rather than go through gyrations trying to tame a semi-auto mode.

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Autonerd Senior Member • Posts: 1,267
Re: Exposure Compensation confusion??

Barry Twycross wrote:

Autonerd wrote:

I own several film cameras with EC dials and I believe the older ones actually changes the meter output, not the actual exposure.

If I understand what you're getting at, is there a difference? If the meter reads different, it'll cause a different exposure.

Effectively, no. But I don't know if there is a difference at the nuts-and-bolts level.

My guess -- *guess* -- is that on my Pentax ME Super, setting some EC is the same (mechanically) as setting the ISO dial differently. So ISO 400 and EC +2 sends the same signal from meter to shutter computer thingie as ISO 100 EC 0. Whereas in my more computerized Minolta Maxxum 5, maybe more is going on -- EC takes the meter reading for what it is and calculates the shutter speed differently.

But this is all guess and speculation. Dunno if it matters.

I just put a roll of ISO 200 negative film through it, I set the ASA dial to 100 because I wanted denser negs. I've never actually used the EC lever on that camera.

Heh. I have a Minolta 400si which has no manual ISO setting, and I bulk-roll a lot of my film. If I have bulk-rolled HP5, there's no DX code so it defaults to 100 ASA -- so I have to set EC to -2. Works perfectly but if I actually need -EC I'm stuck.

EDIT: Well, not stuck, I can use manual mode. But you know what I meant.

Aaron

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David1961
David1961 Senior Member • Posts: 3,498
Re: Exposure Compensation confusion??
2

Barry Twycross wrote:

Auto-ISO is the complication here, when you're using M and Auto-ISO, you really are no longer in a manual mode, but a different semi-auto mode. So then you need EC to be able to use the semi-auto mode convincingly.

For me Auto ISO is not a complication at all but actually simplifies things.

I set the smallest f-number that will give me the DOF I want and the slowest shutter speed that meets my motion blur requirements without clipping important highlights.

I then let the camera set ISO where it thinks is appropriate.  In 99% of cases it sets an appropriate value.

If the image is still a little too dark for my liking I simply use EC to bump up the ISO.

For me, this is very simple and straight forward and not complicated at all.

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Joe94
OP Joe94 Regular Member • Posts: 467
Re: Exposure Compensation confusion??
1

Thank you everyone for you added hint & tips, all very much appreciated

Bob
Bob Senior Member • Posts: 2,478
Why would you?
1

The purpose of the Exposure Comp is to override the meter.

If you shooting manual, then you're overriding the meter anyway.

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