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Subject: "Example of "over exposure"" Previous topic | Next topic
wwt67 Silver Member Nikonian since 07th Apr 2010Mon 30-May-11 01:57 AM
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"Example of "over exposure""


Warsaw, US
          

After commenting on Elly's post about over exposure, someone asked me to post an example. Here are two photos my wife and I took only a few minutes apart. She was shooting a D5000 16-85mm lens, I had the D7000 with the Sigma 17-50mm. Both cameras set to A priority, matrix metering. D5k set to auto ADL. D7k set to Low ADL. Both set to Standard picture control. Both shot in NEF and converted to jpeg in CNX2.
This is a good example of why I think the D7k exposes for dark areas more than bright areas. We did use different focal lengths and we were not in the exact same place when we took the photos but it does show how the two cameras handle high contrast situations IMO. I don't experience this all the time, I have gotten some great exposures of the sky in landscape shots with the D7k but I think because we were in a shaded area and the inside of the bridge was dark the D7k blew out the sky. Am I wrong? What should I have done to prevent this?

BTW, both focus points were on the word "bridge" above the arch.

D5000, iso 250, f6.3, 1/320, @16mm



D7000, iso 200, f8, 1/80, @26mm


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agitater Gold Member Nikonian since 18th Jan 2007Mon 30-May-11 02:05 AM
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#1. "RE: Example of "over exposure""
In response to Reply # 0


Toronto, CA
          

The eV control is your friend. Try knocking the same shot back about -0.7 eV.

A Circular Polarizer is also your friend. In this type of shot - lots of glare and a bit of haze - a circ pol will knock back some of the hot areas by getting rid of the glare.

You might try picking a different - brighter - focus point. If your camera is set to Matrix metering, give it a bit of help by choosing something in the middle of the dynamic range to meter as your subject.

Or . . . the bright sky just cries out for a soft transition, grad filter to knock it back a couple of stops.

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Howard Carson, Managing Editor
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wwt67 Silver Member Nikonian since 07th Apr 2010Mon 30-May-11 02:26 AM
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#2. "RE: Example of "over exposure""
In response to Reply # 1


Warsaw, US
          

Yes, EV control and I are good friends, when I think about it before taking a shot. I find it to be more of a guessing game with the D7k.

I like your suggestion on picking a brighter focus point. I read somewhere about tilting the camera up slightly towards the sky and then lock exposure and recompose. I just need to remember these things when I'm shooting.

Thanks for the suggestions.

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JosephK Silver Member Fellow Ribbon awarded for his excellent and frequent contributions and sharing his in-depth knowledge and experience with the community in the Nikonians spirit. Nikonian since 17th Apr 2006Mon 30-May-11 04:39 AM
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#3. "RE: Example of "over exposure""
In response to Reply # 0


Seattle, WA, US
          

Given the two different compositions, the two different exposures are what I would expect. In the second shot, the dim interior of the bridge is much larger and more centralized, I would expect the second shot to be more biased to that larger darker area.

---------+---------+---------+---------+
Joseph K
Seattle, WA, USA

D200, 17-55mm f/2.8 DX, VR 70-200mm f/2.8 II, 50mm f/1.4 D,
18-70mm f/3.5-4.5 DX, 70-300mm f/4-5.6 ED, D70S

  

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ShrimpBoy Silver Member Nikonian since 08th Jan 2006Mon 30-May-11 04:46 AM
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#4. "RE: Example of "over exposure""
In response to Reply # 0
Mon 30-May-11 04:59 AM by ShrimpBoy

Brighton and Hove, GB
          

If the sky is a good deep blue you can spot meter off it. Otherwise you could spot meter or center-weight meter the greenery. Years ago when I was shooting film at airshows I used to get good results metering off the grass (the sky was usually too cloudy).

I must admit I'm a bit surprised that the D7000's matrix meter was fooled by the difference in composition. There seems to be enough sky still in that frame to force it to reduce the exposure a bit. But it would have been much fairer to shoot as close to the same focal length and composition as you could to see how the two cameras process the same scene. Mind you, the D5000 has only a 420-pixel matrix versus the D7000's 2000-pixels, so I guess the D7000 is resolving a good number more dark pixels and it didn't help that you zoomed in and gave it even more. It's possible too that the metering sensor doesn't cover the entire frame, in which case the change in composition would really push the D7000 to expose for the dark area.

Gary
"Yea, Sussex by the sea!" - Rudyard Kipling

  

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km6xz Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in various areas, including Portraits and Urban Photography Nikonian since 22nd Jan 2009Mon 30-May-11 06:08 AM
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#5. "RE: Example of "over exposure""
In response to Reply # 4
Mon 30-May-11 06:19 AM by km6xz

St Petersburg, RU
          

Another factor that is not considered is the Sigma at the same aperture is letting in more light due to less T-loss
Try the same experiment with the same lens with ADL off, at the same FL and distance.

These images have very different tone, a great deal more of the frame is the dark interior of the bridge so the camera assumed that was your interest. When viewing a scene, with practice, the shift of the window of the sensor's 13-14 stop DR range(still too small for such real life scenes...dark shadows next to bright skies) is up to the photographer to adjust. If you want the interior detail, you can't get away from blown skies. If you want pretty blue skies you can't get details in dark shadows.....but the D7000 can get more of that very wide range than almost anything else on the planet, so the compromise is not quite as great as with mere mortal cameras like the d5000 and everything built before it.

Stan
St Petersburg Russia

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briantilley Moderator Deep knowledge of bodies and lens; high level photography skills Nikonian since 26th Jan 2003Mon 30-May-11 08:23 AM
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#6. "RE: Example of "over exposure""
In response to Reply # 0


Paignton, GB
          

The dark interior of the tunnel covers a much greater area of the frame in the D7000 shot; one would expect this to influence the meter to give a longer exposure.

It's still quite possible that the D7000 and D5000 metering systems are set up differently, but this particular shot doesn't really demonstrate it.

Brian
Welsh Nikonian

  

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JPJ Silver Member Nikonian since 20th Aug 2009Tue 31-May-11 12:14 AM
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#7. "RE: Example of "over exposure""
In response to Reply # 3


Toronto, CA
          

>Given the two different compositions, the two different
>exposures are what I would expect. In the second shot, the
>dim interior of the bridge is much larger and more
>centralized, I would expect the second shot to be more biased
>to that larger darker area.
>
>---------+---------+---------+---------+
>Joseph K
>Seattle, WA, USA
>
>D200, 17-55mm f/2.8 DX, VR 70-200mm f/2.8 II, 50mm f/1.4 D,
>18-70mm f/3.5-4.5 DX, 70-300mm f/4-5.6 ED, D70S
>


+1. This is your explanation, at least for these two photos.

Jason

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jmiguez Silver Member Nikonian since 17th Oct 2010Fri 03-Jun-11 11:45 AM
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#8. "RE: Example of "over exposure""
In response to Reply # 7


Lafayette, US
          

Come on guys, let's just tell him the cold hard truth. His wife is a better photographer than he is.


This thread is a perfect example of why I consider this site as one of the best learning centers of photography in the world. I know I have had similar results in the past and wondered why, but didn't have enough knowledge and experience to determine the root cause of the problem. With those two photos and you guys, I have learned a valuable lesson today.

I will remember this the next time I am in a similar situation. Maybe now I can stop shooting five shots of the same subject as different E.V.settings.

John

My Pictures may be seen here: http://jmiguez.smugmug.com/

  

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JohnE Nikon Silver Member Nikonian since 15th Jun 2010Fri 03-Jun-11 01:15 PM
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#9. "RE: Example of "over exposure""
In response to Reply # 5


New HArtford, US
          

Stan,
Can you explain T-loss? I'm not familiar with this.

JohnE Nikon
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elec164 Silver Member Nikonian since 15th Jan 2009Fri 03-Jun-11 01:55 PM
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#10. "RE: Example of "over exposure""
In response to Reply # 9


US
          

John, not all lenses are created equal or perfect. As such the lens will absorb a certain amount of light that passes through them (especially zooms with multiple elements). As such one lens may have higher transmission efficiency then another, so f/2.8 on one lens might let in more light then f/2.8 on another. To compensate the actual transmission factor is measured and the lens is assigned a T-stop which will generally be a higher number than the f-stop. I believe it was more important when using hand held metering and was used in cinematography to insure constant exposures when using turret-mounted lenses.

With todayís built in meters I believe it is less important, but it would explain why a camera with a consumer zoom with a particular EV setting (certain aperture, shutter speed and ISO) could give a different appearance than another camera with a Pro lens.

Pete

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JohnE Nikon Silver Member Nikonian since 15th Jun 2010Fri 03-Jun-11 03:20 PM
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#11. "RE: Example of "over exposure""
In response to Reply # 10
Fri 03-Jun-11 07:50 PM by briantilley

New HArtford, US
          

Pete,

Thanks. I never stop learning something new.

JohnE Nikon
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"Cameras and lenses are simply tools to place our unique vision on film. Concentrate on equipment and you'll take technically good photographs. Concentrate on seeing the light's magic colors and your images will stir the soul." Jack Dykinga

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Len Shepherd Gold Member Nikonian since 09th Mar 2003Fri 03-Jun-11 07:11 PM
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#12. "RE: Example of "over exposure""
In response to Reply # 6


Yorkshire, GB
          

>The dark interior of the tunnel covers a much greater area of
>the frame in the D7000 shot;
Adding to this the D7000 is a much better exposure of the tunnel interior - which is what occupies the greatest part of the metered area shooting matrix.

Photography is a bit like archery. A technically better camera, lens or arrow may not hit the target as often as it could if the photographer or archer does not practice enough.

Len Shepherd

  

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micaelak Registered since 08th Aug 2009Fri 03-Jun-11 07:40 PM
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#13. "RE: Example of "over exposure""
In response to Reply # 12


Ravenna, US
          

Couldn't be more true

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wwt67 Silver Member Nikonian since 07th Apr 2010Fri 03-Jun-11 11:05 PM
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#14. "RE: Example of "over exposure""
In response to Reply # 8


Warsaw, US
          

>Come on guys, let's just tell him the cold hard truth. His
>wife is a better photographer than he is.

Dang! Kicking me while I'm down. Just kidding...

>
>
>This thread is a perfect example of why I consider this site
>as one of the best learning centers of photography in the
>world. I know I have had similar results in the past and
>wondered why, but didn't have enough knowledge and experience
>to determine the root cause of the problem. With those two
>photos and you guys, I have learned a valuable lesson today.
>
>I will remember this the next time I am in a similar
>situation. Maybe now I can stop shooting five shots of the
>same subject as different E.V.settings.

Yes, the above explanations make sense to me now. Glad I'm not the only one that experiences this.

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wwt67 Silver Member Nikonian since 07th Apr 2010Fri 03-Jun-11 11:24 PM
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#15. "RE: Example of "over exposure""
In response to Reply # 0
Fri 03-Jun-11 11:29 PM by wwt67

Warsaw, US
          

Ok, I agree that the D7k photo has a larger dark area so the camera would increase exposure. The D5k would do the same, but not as much as the D7k IMO.
What I don't understand is, in this type of scene, why would the D7k (or any camera) try to bring out the shadow detail so much? My thinking is if matrix metering meters the entire scene it should keep the dark areas dark to accurately capture what the human eye sees. The inside of the bridge was much darker to my eyes than in either of these photos. I guess this is what Stan was refering to. Limited dynamic range of cameras?

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nrothschild Silver Member Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Nikonian since 25th Jul 2004Fri 03-Jun-11 11:59 PM
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#16. "RE: Example of "over exposure""
In response to Reply # 0


US
          

I'm not familiar with either of your bodies but I know that my D300 and D700 have a somewhat new tweak to the matrix metering logic. The area around the focus sensor is given added weight. After some testing I concluded that this weight, in my cameras, could be as much as one stop.

Considering the above, there are at least two possibilities....

1. You say focus was on the word "bridge" but that part of the scene is perilously close to the very dark interior and if you shot the scene independently it is likely the dark area could have intruded on one camera's focus sensor area more than the other. It may not have affected focus but it could have affected the matrix metering weight given to the interior bleeding into the sensor area.

2. You have very different cameras with a different number of focus sensors and a different metering engine. It is not clear to me how big that "weighting spot" is on my own cameras and I suspect it is different in different bodies.

I got this tip from Thom Hogan's eBooks. He went into great detail as to how this weighting is affected by things such as the AF mode - Single point, Dynamic or Auto-Area on my bodies. Your D7000 is probably at least roughly similar to mine but the D5000 may be very different. If you are interested in this subject and other truly arcane operating trivia about your cameras I would highly recommend you pick up his eBooks. It's not clear to me where he even comes up with this stuff since it is not in the manual.

In addition to my idea, there surely may be other differences in the two images, as already expressed. The ultimate truth may be a combination of many factors, all likely leaning toward one image being darker than the other. In other words, this is not a good comparative test scene; you have too many variables here to come to any firm conclusions

If you want to pursue this, I think you should put together a well thought out test, starting with shooting a simple gray card in spot, center weight and matrix modes to check basic meter calibration. And I would use a gray card or something very close to true gray because Matrix Metering is color aware. These cameras meter a gray card different than a blue sky, for example (at least my experience trying to calibrate my two cameras for consistent exposure). I'd also use the same lens and then cross check the two lenses on each body to make sure they fundamentally meter the same on each body.

_________________________________
Neil


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beemerman2k Silver Member Nikonian since 27th Mar 2006Sat 04-Jun-11 12:09 AM
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#17. "RE: Example of "over exposure""
In response to Reply # 15
Sat 04-Jun-11 12:18 AM by beemerman2k

Ellington, US
          

For the record, I feel that my D7000 tends to over expose pictures in broad daylight as well. Frankly, I have just learned to expect it and not use matrix metering in certain cases. I often resort to Center Weighted metering when I want a meter reading that is more to my liking.

For instance, this is a shot taken, using Matrix metering, of a front line of trees being lit by tonights setting sun:

Matrix Meter, ISO 320 F/10 1/40 sec


Here's a second picture taken immediately after the previous and processed in Lightroom (exposure reduced by 2 stops)



Tomorrow, I'll do a more thorough experiment by taking a series of shots in Maxtrix and Center Weighted metering.

By the way, you can see the vignetting from the 2 filters that I had on my Tamron 17-50 F2.8 non-VC lens, a UV filter and a Circular Polarizer.

GROSS! Look at that banding! OMG, 14 bit raw files ain't what they used to be (Just kidding, I had to shrink the jpgs greatly to upload them to this site).

Oh, these pictures above are front lit by the setting sun. This picture, taken right after the above shots, is side lit and exposes more closely to my liking:

ISO 250, F/8, 1/50 sec


These are quick shots I took tonight as I walked from the car to the house when I arrived home from work. As you can clearly see, this is pretty much the jpg as it was captured by the camera, shrunk down for this web site.

Beemerman2k
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Attachment #3, (jpg file)

  

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billD80 Silver Member Nikonian since 22nd Jan 2007Sat 04-Jun-11 01:32 AM
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#18. "RE: Example of "over exposure""
In response to Reply # 16
Sat 04-Jun-11 01:33 AM by billD80

US
          

Here's a grab shot from a D7000, zero exposure compensation, converted directly from RAW via View NX2. The Highlights and Shadows are totally preserved, with a tonal range completely beyond my D200 and D80...


www.billkeane.zenfolio.com

Attachment #1, (jpg file)

  

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wwt67 Silver Member Nikonian since 07th Apr 2010Sat 04-Jun-11 01:59 AM
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#19. "RE: Example of "over exposure""
In response to Reply # 18


Warsaw, US
          

That's a great shot with lots of DR. I think the D7k handles snow very well, I have had great results last winter.
I don't see anything in this photo that would cause the issue I struggle with. If there was a fairly large area in a dark shaded area, then I bet the snow would be blown out.

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elec164 Silver Member Nikonian since 15th Jan 2009Sat 04-Jun-11 02:00 AM
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#20. "RE: Example of "over exposure""
In response to Reply # 17


US
          

>For the record, I feel that my D7000 tends to over expose
>pictures in broad daylight as well. As you can
>clearly see, this is pretty much the jpg as it was captured by
>the camera, shrunk down for this web site.

Beemerman, are you aware that you have a +.33 EC dialed in?

Not that it would account for a gross overexposure, but it would make things brighter then the would have been.

Pete

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beemerman2k Silver Member Nikonian since 27th Mar 2006Sat 04-Jun-11 02:35 AM
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#21. "RE: Example of "over exposure""
In response to Reply # 20


Ellington, US
          

>
>Beemerman, are you aware that you have a +.33 EC dialed in?
>

OF COURSE I KNOW THAT! What do you think I am, a beginner?

(Oh dang, I running a +.33 EC? Well, what do you know, he's right! OK Beemerman, stay cool, just deny everything and maybe no one will notice.. )

A +.33 EC? Me? That's a good one....

Beemerman2k
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billD80 Silver Member Nikonian since 22nd Jan 2007Sat 04-Jun-11 02:55 AM
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#22. "RE: Example of "over exposure""
In response to Reply # 19


US
          

>That's a great shot with lots of DR. I think the D7k handles
>snow very well. If there was a fairly large area in a dark
>shaded area, then I bet the snow would be blown out.

Well perhaps, but if the D7000, with it's comparably great DR can't handle it, what camera can? At some point the user has to step in and start to make EV adjustments. The Matrix metering can't really know what the intent of the photographer is (although my Olympus OM-4T, with multi-spot metering, enabled a photographer to say, "I want this, this and this...")

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Kidkett Silver Member Nikonian since 09th Apr 2010Sat 04-Jun-11 07:41 AM
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#23. "RE: Example of "over exposure""
In response to Reply # 19


Campo, US
          

Ok Wayne I looked at both of the camera setting and there is a lot more differences than you are telling us about. Look at both of them again and you will see that you canít compare the two cameras for this picture with the difference in settings. I think John is right about your wife being a better photographer! (Just Kidding)

But what I want to know is if you ever look at the histogram after you take a picture to see if it is all slammed against the right or left side of it. If you would have with this picture you would have known you would have to take it again with different settings. If you donít look at it, then you need to take the time and learn how to read it and apply it to your pictures youíre taking. Cameras can only do so much and will have to adjust for different lighting situations. You say that it overexposes, so that would be the first thing I would look at and see if the histogram is in the ballpark and if I could make it any better. When you have bright and dark areas you need to be ready to makes some changes of 1/3 to 2/3 of a stop or more sometimes.

Also if you looked at the picture after it was taken, was it not flashing with the ďBlinkiesĒ, the highlight warning that would have been your first clue? I guess you canít turn off the highlights warning on the D7000 and hope you have it on. I hope this help you out on this picture and with settings so different you canít compare cameras here.

Good Luck
Bill






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beemerman2k Silver Member Nikonian since 27th Mar 2006Sat 04-Jun-11 01:49 PM
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#24. "RE: Example of "over exposure""
In response to Reply # 21
Sat 04-Jun-11 02:23 PM by beemerman2k

Ellington, US
          

OK, this picture of the Hartford, CT skyline was just taken a few minutes ago. Again, the scene is front lit as the sun is rising on to the left side of this camera angle, and therefore shining directly onto these buildings. Also, I still have the UV filter and the polarizing filter on my Tamron 17-50mm lens. Oh, and this time, I made sure my EC value was reset to 0

Here's the first, shot hand held, using Maxtrix metering:

ISO 250, F/11, 1/50 sec


OK, now here's another shot, from the same angle, using Center Weighted metering:

ISO 250, F/11, 1/200 sec


These were taken in Aperture priority mode, with ISO set to 250 to give me enough shutter speed to compensate for the fact that I am holding the camera and I have a non-VR lens. But it's interesting that the meter in the second photo prompted the shutter speed to be increased from 1/50 sec to 1/200 sec.

OK, what say ye all to these highly scientific, indisputable test results?

Oh yeah, something to note, these pictures are the unmodified jpgs (except for being shrunk down for upload to this site) as taken by the camera. That means the camera did the post processing on the image, and therefore ADL and other settings have a say here. How that all plays into this is a question, but I am aware that the raw file would reveal more truth with respect to what the camera saw when it captured the image.

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beemerman2k Silver Member Nikonian since 27th Mar 2006Sat 04-Jun-11 02:40 PM
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#25. "RE: Example of "over exposure""
In response to Reply # 23


Ellington, US
          

>I think John is right about your wife being a better
>photographer! (Just Kidding)
>

Strange how in our culture (though I am NOT suggesting this is what John is implying by his comment, I am only saying this is how people like me will tend to read it), the suggestion that ones wife is a "better photographer" is not so much a compliment to the wife, but a put down of the husband. If you are a "man", then you should be a better anything than your wife, or so our cultural reasoning goes.

Yet, what is it about gender that should have any bearing whatsoever on the caliber of ones photography? I cannot think of a single advantage one gender gives you over another. Furthermore, I know plenty of women who are incredible photographers! All you have to do is to survey their work and it become real clear real fast that gender ain't got nothin' to do with it. Or if it does, then they are the ones with the advantage, not us men.

Wayne, I hope your wife really is a better photographer! Given that the two of you are one, the more talent in the family the better, right? The two of you can push each other to become better than you'd ever be as individuals. Congrats!

Beemerman2k
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agitater Gold Member Nikonian since 18th Jan 2007Sat 04-Jun-11 02:58 PM
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#26. "RE: Example of "over exposure""
In response to Reply # 0
Sat 04-Jun-11 03:23 PM by agitater

Toronto, CA
          

I am not sure what the OP is comparing either. The problem is that neither the D5000 or D7000 are fully automated thinking machines, so basic photography exposure technique is the only requirement here:

1. Compose, frame, focus, shoot.

2. Examine histogram and image.

3. Adjust eV to -0.33 or -0.7, and adjust aperture to increase DoF if necessary.

4. Shoot again, change positions, shoot again, try a different angle, shoot again. Personally, I would move over - well off the right side of the path leading up to the covered bridge entrance. Either that or move back and to the left and get down on one knee to capture a longer view of the split rail fence leading into the covered bridge and frame tightly enough to eliminate all the useless foliage to the right of the bridge (all that junk to the right of the bridge is featureless anyway - uninteresting, um, IMO).

5. Have fun.

There is nothing wrong with either camera. A local camera club SIG or a local photography class or (preferably) continued Q&A here on Nikonians will shore up the basic exposure knowledge quickly for the OP.

. . . or maybe I am just being to critical. Sorry - but I hit these forums regularly too for advice when I get into some sort of odd groove.

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wwt67 Silver Member Nikonian since 07th Apr 2010Sat 04-Jun-11 04:05 PM
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#27. "RE: Example of "over exposure""
In response to Reply # 23


Warsaw, US
          

Looking at this data, I don't see anything that I didn't already say in my first post. Well, I guess I didn't specify AF mode.

I do look at the histogram sometimes and yes I know what it's showing me.

When these shots were taken, I had no intentions of doing a comparison between cameras or try to prove who is the better photographer. Actually that's me at the other end of the bridge in my wife's photo.
As I said, in a previous post about exposure, someone (I think BillD80) asked me to post an example of over exposure with the D7k. I found these to photos as an example, even if it is a poor example.

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wwt67 Silver Member Nikonian since 07th Apr 2010Sat 04-Jun-11 04:22 PM
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#28. "RE: Example of "over exposure""
In response to Reply # 24


Warsaw, US
          

Now that is quite a difference. Was the focus point on the Travelers building?

BTW, are you married? If so, maybe your wife should take your photos.

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Len Shepherd Gold Member Nikonian since 09th Mar 2003Sat 04-Jun-11 04:34 PM
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#29. "RE: Example of "over exposure""
In response to Reply # 24


Yorkshire, GB
          

>OK, what say ye all to these highly scientific, indisputable test results?
The "easy" bit is the recorded exposure of 1/50 in matrix is much to too long for the aperture, ISO and light level - which is why you got an over exposed image.
The centre weighted shutter time is 2 speeds faster and "about right" for the settings and lighting - which is why you got a decent exposure.
If the camera does this regular in matrix with more than 1 lens (to eliminate variables) it has a fault. Depending on how long you have had it you may get a replacement from the retailer. The camera is less than 12 months old and under Nikon's warranty.

Photography is a bit like archery. A technically better camera, lens or arrow may not hit the target as often as it could if the photographer or archer does not practice enough.

Len Shepherd

  

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jmiguez Silver Member Nikonian since 17th Oct 2010Sat 04-Jun-11 04:48 PM
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#30. "RE: Example of "over exposure""
In response to Reply # 25


Lafayette, US
          

>>I think John is right about your wife being a better
>>photographer! (Just Kidding)
>>
>
>Strange how in our culture (though I am NOT suggesting this is
>what John is implying by his comment, I am only saying this is
>how people like me will tend to read it), the suggestion that
>ones wife is a "better photographer" is not so much
>a compliment to the wife, but a put down of the husband. If
>you are a "man", then you should be a better
>anything than your wife, or so our cultural reasoning goes.
>
...
>Wayne, I hope your wife really is a better photographer!
>Given that the two of you are one, the more talent in the
>family the better, right? The two of you can push each other
>to become better than you'd ever be as individuals.
>Congrats!

While this may not be the place for a philosophical discussion on the nuances of forum posting, James' comments are very similar to comments I have made to my wife concerning the roles of men and woman in our present day western society. Since, I was the one who made the comment, perhaps you will allow me a few sentences of bandwidth to explore James' and my comments.

Forum posting is a horrible medium in which to express any sort of implied meaning, shades of meaning, or nuances of meaning. The fact of the matter is that I was indeed implying that Waynes' wife was a better photographer and I was not implying that Waynes' wife was a better photographer, all at the same time. What my comment was meant to do was to inject a bit of levity into the discussion. In essence, I was teasing Wayne. Since I know neither of them personally I am in no way able to judge either his or her skills.

Our western society has made it difficult for men to express admiration, love, or strong friendship to other men. We are not allowed the latitude of physical sincerity in these things the way women are. So we developed an unwritten code that allows us to express affection in a sexually safe way. This code requires us to show affection by rough physical contact, .i.e, chest bumping, backslapping, even high fiveing. Another way is in insulting and cutting down friends and comrades in conversations.

We men quickly learn the subtleties between a real insult and an insult that implies, "You are OK. I like/admire you." No man ever teases an enemy. He insults the enemy.

Since women do not grow up understanding the secret code of men, they cannot be included in our friendly insulting banner. James pointed this out when he said that I could say Wayne's wife was a better photographer but not the other way around. If I were to tell one of our female members that her husband was a better photographer in that manner and context, I would really risk her perceiving the comment as an insult.

I second James' view that he hopes Wayne and his wife help each other to become better photographers. I will add " and people" to the end of that last sentence.

Back to learning to be a better photographer.




John

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billD80 Silver Member Nikonian since 22nd Jan 2007Sat 04-Jun-11 04:52 PM
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#31. "RE: Example of "over exposure""
In response to Reply # 24
Sat 04-Jun-11 05:01 PM by billD80

US
          

>OK, what say ye all to these highly scientific, indisputable
>test results?
>



I'm not sure I'd be happy to leave either one as-is, but if I couldn't do any PP and had to use either image as-is, then, assuming the buildings were the key element, I'd go with the second image.

My monitor is calibrated, but one person's eyes and sensibilities aren't another's.

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nrothschild Silver Member Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Nikonian since 25th Jul 2004Sat 04-Jun-11 06:58 PM
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#32. "RE: Example of "over exposure""
In response to Reply # 21


US
          

Very interesting comment that cuts to the core of this thread:

This picture, taken right after the above shots, is side lit and exposes more closely to my liking:

I attached a slice (below) from image 1 (on the left) and image 3 (on the right), including CNX2 histograms of the slices. The left image is the front lit shot you don't like. The right image is the side lit image you like much better.

Your images, according to the exif, where shot 20 seconds apart (same light but different angle). The exposures are identical EV level although the actual shutter speed, aperture and ISO varies a bit.

The histograms verify that both images have essentially the same exposure applied to the significant tree and field portions of the scenes. They are remarkably close considering the light was 90 degrees or so apart and the illumination and color is very different.

Similar to the urban landscape scene you posted elsewhere in this thread, only the blue channel in the sky is blown. None of the main detail was blown. The blue channel is very sensitive to overexposure and it can be difficult or impossible to fully preserve the blue channel while retaining reasonable shadow detail, especially with a bright blue sky.

What is different about the 3rd image (on the right here) is not the exposure, but your interpretation of the exposure in the context of the different lighting and maybe the different colored field.

This says volumes about expectations for matrix metering, which takes a very coldly objective view toward things although it is probably tweaked to identify scene components such as sky and your images illustrate that in a high dynamic range situation it will blow the sky, and it knows it's the sky because it's blue, it's at the top of the scene and the metering is color aware.

It is also very interesting that scenes like this are posted with each new camera model, asking about over exposure issues. Sometimes the overexposure involves very small components of the scene that are probably beyond the resolution of the 1005 segment meter (that number may be increased with later bodies). In most cases, the images are taken in very harsh light, as these were.

This is all just to say that there is a huge human element in the interpretation of these exposures. It could be argued that both images are equally overexposed. However, the reason you were able to easily retain shadow detail even though you knocked the exposure down -2EV in post is that the image was "overexposed". It could be argued that the exposure was brilliantly conceived by the meter to allow a shooter to render multiple images from the raw and recombine in an HDR. If you were to do such a thing, this is how you want to expose the image. If you reprocessed these images as HDR you would surely bring back much of the shadow detail.

In simpler terms, it could be argued that the camera did an Exposure To The Right exposure (commonly discussed here), but choosing to let the sky go a bit, but not badly. Or maybe it's just a coincidence .

And now I'll speculate further. I have often seen comments suggesting that entry level cameras exposure differently than "Pro" or "Prosumer" cameras because the cameras are intended for a different audience. If that is correct then the exposure you got is the exposure that an experienced shooter might want, in order to better post process the image. An entry level shooter, though, would want something nice straight out of the camera with stock settings and everything on autopilot. If that is all correct, then it is possible that the D5000 image from the opening post is a bit less richly exposed because that is what an inexperienced shooter would want to see- straight out of the camera.

I don't know if any of that is true, but the exposure does tend to fit that theory of Nikon's exposure tweaking, assuming the first post's images are truly representative (which is in strong doubt for all the reasons mentioned so far).


_________________________________
Neil


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beemerman2k Silver Member Nikonian since 27th Mar 2006Sat 04-Jun-11 08:49 PM
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#33. "RE: Example of "over exposure""
In response to Reply # 30
Sat 04-Jun-11 08:50 PM by beemerman2k

Ellington, US
          

Yes, John, absolutely.

I posted my comments not to pick on you or on anyone in particular, but on our culture. As the father of 3 daughters who wants them to grow up believing themselves capable of accomplishing anything they put their minds to, I am a bit sensitive to our cultural biases about gender.

I have them big time in fact, more than most here I would bet. The kind of male bonding you describe, John, is how I generally communicate as well. Being around my daughters has caused me to be ultra-careful with my jokes, however, as I have put my foot in my mouth on more than a few occasions, especially during football season (I love talkin' trash about my New England Patriots). In fact, if you ask my girls, they'll probably tell you, "my dad's a caveman trying to be Mr. Modern, but we can see right through him".

Well, regardless of my cultural upbringing, I know in my head that we have short changed women hugely in our society -- to our cultures own detriment! So my archaic views must change. Unfortunately, they'll probably be with me until they toss the dirt on my casket.

In the mean time, however, I don't want to see myself or any other guy get himself into a gender based shooting contest. That's just too much humble pie for a guy to have to eat in one day!

Beemerman2k
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nrothschild Silver Member Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Nikonian since 25th Jul 2004Sat 04-Jun-11 09:13 PM
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#34. "RE: Example of "over exposure""
In response to Reply # 33


US
          

Actually, based on cultural biases, women should be far better photographers. They dominated the art classes, right? A guy who excelled at art was... a little ... weird. Right?

On the other hand, the guys dominated the sciences, the math and mechanical areas. You show me a woman that wanted to be an engineer and I'll show you a woman that was thought of as... a little... weird . Right?

That based on my '60s and '70s school experiences. Could be (and should be) different now.

Now where does that leave us as photographers?

A man should know everything there is to know about his camera but has no concept of composition. He flunked art. But he got A's in math and sciences.

A woman should know nothing about her camera except how to press the shutter button and turn the aperture dial but her images are truly "art". I'll go with that woman's image every time, especially with the camera automation we have now. And truth be told, even in the 70's women could be trained to operate cameras

That analysis strictly based on cultural sterotypes. No offence intended for anyone since sterotypes are just that .

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billD80 Silver Member Nikonian since 22nd Jan 2007Sat 04-Jun-11 09:14 PM
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#35. "RE: Example of "over exposure""
In response to Reply # 33
Sat 04-Jun-11 09:16 PM by billD80

US
          

As the father of 3 daughters
>who wants them to grow up believing themselves capable of
>accomplishing anything they put their minds to, I am a bit
>sensitive to our cultural biases about gender.

As the father of 27 year old and 11 year old daughters, along with a 24 year old son, I've found that the programs and opportunities available for the daughters exceed the ones for the sons. The assumption that girls are disadvantaged still prevails, and you can use this to your advantage, especially when college admission and financial aid come into play.

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beemerman2k Silver Member Nikonian since 27th Mar 2006Sat 04-Jun-11 10:57 PM
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#36. "RE: Example of "over exposure""
In response to Reply # 34


Ellington, US
          

Yes, what you point out fits within my view of the world as well. In fact, my oldest daughter is a excellent artist. She and I go out with our Nikons and do some shooting together on occasion, but so far the camera bug hasn't really bitten her. She prefers painting instead.

Nonetheless, we do engage in high level conversations about composition and color and so on. So yes, within this cultural viewpoint I have, what you point out is spot on! I think we just get in trouble when we specifically *assign* or *assume* without finding things out first.

I am as much submerged into this culture as anyone. I do try to identify mindsets and assumptions that I have, and then hold them to the light of scrutiny.

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beemerman2k Silver Member Nikonian since 27th Mar 2006Sat 04-Jun-11 11:00 PM
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#37. "RE: Example of "over exposure""
In response to Reply # 27


Ellington, US
          

I think the social data would support your observations. In all this change and upheaval to our traditional way of doing things, we have lost our way in some respects. While I have no intention of encouraging my girls to take advantage of their gender or their race in the pursuit of opportunities as I have taught them since birth that in America, those attributes do not amount to much, as things currently stand, they do have a much easier road than their mother ever did.

But we also have to fix this social problem. Both genders are necessary for a strong country, strong families, and strong individuals. Balance is the key.

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Len Shepherd Gold Member Nikonian since 09th Mar 2003Sun 05-Jun-11 12:03 PM
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#38. "RE: Why are "we" ignoring the obvious?"
In response to Reply # 26


Yorkshire, GB
          

Why are "we" ignoring the obvious?
The OP has posted several comparative images where matrix has applied 2 shutter speeds to fast for the lighting conditions, and center weighted has applied a correct shutter speed.
It should be obvious that when a camera is giving 2 stops too much exposure in an exposure mode the pictures will be burned out
Whilst matrix can occasionally be fooled none of the comparative images are likely to have caused matrix to be out by more than a third of a stop - yet matrix is out by 2 full stops.
I agree cameras cannot think - but a correctly working D7000 should not be out by 2 stops with matrix and right with center weighted for the images posted.

Photography is a bit like archery. A technically better camera, lens or arrow may not hit the target as often as it could if the photographer or archer does not practice enough.

Len Shepherd

  

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km6xz Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in various areas, including Portraits and Urban Photography Nikonian since 22nd Jan 2009Sun 05-Jun-11 01:27 PM
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#39. "RE: Example of "over exposure""
In response to Reply # 30


St Petersburg, RU
          

John, you make an excellent point about the cultural basis for humor or acceptance between males. The cutting remarks an outsider might overhear would be interpreted very differently than inside that group. I learned quickly moving to Russia that self deprecating humor or the put-downs that are so common in the US and are a main style of humor for males, is not seen as humor at all here. There is a decided gentleness and humaneness to the humor....if it involves family or people one knows. Some, however, some are exempt from that restraint, celebrities, politicians and oligarchs. When I visit the US or back to the US I have to relearn another form of accepted humor or sign of group membership.
The western style can be misinterpreter easily however, which might explain why fights in social venues such as bars are so common. Here, that just about does not exist.
Stan
St Petersburg Russia

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nrothschild Silver Member Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Nikonian since 25th Jul 2004Sun 05-Jun-11 01:44 PM
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#40. "RE: Why are "we" ignoring the obvious?"
In response to Reply # 38


US
          

Len, I did not see any images shot by "the OP" with center weighted metering for comparison. I believe I did suggest earlier he check his basic metering against a grey card in all 3 metering modes.

But you said "the OP" and it was beemerman2k (James) that posted a set of Matrix vs Center Weighted shots.

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beemerman2k Silver Member Nikonian since 27th Mar 2006Sun 05-Jun-11 01:49 PM
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#41. "RE: Example of "over exposure""
In response to Reply # 32


Ellington, US
          

Wow, that's quite a thorough analysis.

Well, I figured I'd post my own experiences here, but please don't take them as complaints. I love my D7000, it far exceeds my every expectation, and I shoot only raw (except for cases like this where I am doing an experiment) so I simply adjust exposure in Lightroom.

What's important to me is that the camera captures all the data I need in the raw file to create a beautiful picture with post processing. That's what's important to me, not that it's logic render the picture accurately via jpg. If it does the latter, too, great, but the former is what's critical to me.

So my goal is simply to learn all the characteristics of the camera I am using, so that I can then adjust and compensate when necessary to get the look I want. So long as I have consistency, I'm good

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wwt67 Silver Member Nikonian since 07th Apr 2010Sun 05-Jun-11 02:05 PM
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#42. "RE: Why are "we" ignoring the obvious?"
In response to Reply # 38
Sun 05-Jun-11 02:15 PM by wwt67

Warsaw, US
          

Len, Thanks for trying to get this train wreck back on track.
I think the photos your refering to by Beemerman2k (not the OP) are good examples of the issue I have experienced. Most everyone stated that because of the large dark area of the bridge (in my photos) the camera exposed for that and blew out the sky, using matrix metering.
With Beemerman2k's examples he is using a polarizing filter. Could it be that because of the filter, matrix metering saw the trees as very dark and bumped exposure too high?

So, I refer back to post number 15.....

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nrothschild Silver Member Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Nikonian since 25th Jul 2004Sun 05-Jun-11 02:23 PM
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#43. "RE: Example of "over exposure""
In response to Reply # 41


US
          

I understand where you were coming from. It was the same type of scene and the same exposure, more or less, that got me looking very closely at my D300 metering. The purpose of the forum is to ask questions when things don't make sense. A question should not be interpreted as a "complaint" unless it is obviously phrased that way and I saw a question in your post, not a complaint

I ended up reducing my D300 metering by 1/3 stop based on some grey card tests on all 3 metering modes. But that did not fully explain what I see in bright sunlit landscapes.

You really should check your meter against a grey card, all 3 meter modes, and in indoor light and sunlight. If you don't have a grey card than anything close to a neutral grey is fine but a grey card just eliminates some variables related to matrix 3D rendering and how the non-color aware meter modes may react to colors. Some people say a white sheet of paper is just as good but I have found that not to be quite the case.

As Len pointed out today, you are two full stops overexposed, based on the sunny 16 rule, and that is unusual and far beyond anything I saw in my D300, for example, when I looked at this issue.

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agitater Gold Member Nikonian since 18th Jan 2007Sun 05-Jun-11 03:55 PM
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#44. "RE: Why are "we" ignoring the obvious?"
In response to Reply # 38


Toronto, CA
          

Len, you may be assuming too much. We do not know if the OP and/or Beemerman locked focus/exposure then recomposed, or any of several other actions which might similarly lock in a less than optimal metering.

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beemerman2k Silver Member Nikonian since 27th Mar 2006Sun 05-Jun-11 05:06 PM
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#45. "RE: Why are "we" ignoring the obvious?"
In response to Reply # 44


Ellington, US
          

I always focus and recompose. I'm on my iPhone now but I'll provide details later (I hate these mini keyboards).

Beemerman2k
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wwt67 Silver Member Nikonian since 07th Apr 2010Sun 05-Jun-11 05:15 PM
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#46. "RE: Why are "we" ignoring the obvious?"
In response to Reply # 44


Warsaw, US
          

In my example it was point and shoot.

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nrothschild Silver Member Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Nikonian since 25th Jul 2004Sun 05-Jun-11 05:53 PM
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#47. "RE: Why are "we" ignoring the obvious?"
In response to Reply # 45
Sun 05-Jun-11 11:22 PM by nrothschild

US
          

Locking focus and recomposing does not have to include an exposure lock. If you locked focus exposure and recomposed then you and we have to consider where you focused metered and that is problematic because part of the scene you focused metered on is not visible to us and only retained in your memory, not the image.

In an ideal image to post here for an exposure problem example, we need to know where you focused and what focus mode, ideally with the focus indicator in the jpg's exif, and the image should not be recomposed after locking exposure because then we are all confused!

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jgould2 Gold Member Fellow Ribbon awarded for his excellent and frequent contributions and sharing his in-depth knowledge and experience with the community in the Nikonians spirit. Nikonian since 13th Oct 2007Sun 05-Jun-11 08:05 PM
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#48. "RE: Example of "over exposure""
In response to Reply # 34


El Segundo (Los Angeles), US
          

Hi Neil.

"even in the 70's women could be trained to operate cameras "

Hilarious male bonding type put down. Taken out of context that could certainly cause an uproar.

I don't know about men in general but for me astistic ability is sadlly lacking while technical skills are very good. I am very much in awe of anyone (male or female) with lots of artistic ability.

I have both my D700 and my D300 set to -.5 ev permanently. I shoot landscapes in manual exposure mode, many times starting with the sunny 16 rule.

JIM

  

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billD80 Silver Member Nikonian since 22nd Jan 2007Sun 05-Jun-11 08:36 PM
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#49. "RE: Why are "we" ignoring the obvious?"
In response to Reply # 42


US
          

>With Beemerman2k's examples he is using a polarizing filter.
>Could it be that because of the filter, matrix metering saw
>the trees as very dark and bumped exposure too high?
>

Is a Circular Polarizer being used? Just happened on your post and thought I'd ask...

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wwt67 Silver Member Nikonian since 07th Apr 2010Sun 05-Jun-11 09:23 PM
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#50. "RE: Why are "we" ignoring the obvious?"
In response to Reply # 49


Warsaw, US
          

Beemerman's...yes
Mine, the bridge, no.

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beemerman2k Silver Member Nikonian since 27th Mar 2006Sun 05-Jun-11 10:19 PM
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#51. "RE: Why are "we" ignoring the obvious?"
In response to Reply # 47


Ellington, US
          

I was in focus priority mode, aperture priority mode, and therefore where I focus should have no bearing on the exposure. I probably focused on the foreground trees in the skyline shot, but when I recomposed the meter took a fresh reading of the scene as the lighting changed. I did not hold down the focus/exposure lock button.

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billD80 Silver Member Nikonian since 22nd Jan 2007Sun 05-Jun-11 11:09 PM
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#52. "RE: Why are "we" ignoring the obvious?"
In response to Reply # 50


US
          

>Beemerman's...yes
>Mine, the bridge, no.

Will the camera meter properly with a linear polarizer?

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nrothschild Silver Member Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Nikonian since 25th Jul 2004Sun 05-Jun-11 11:24 PM
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#53. "RE: Why are "we" ignoring the obvious?"
In response to Reply # 51


US
          

Sorry, I was on the way out the door and late when I posted the above. See my corrections. At least we have nailed down "the locks" (trying to salvage something from that last post ).

Time to meter a gray card or some surrogate.

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nrothschild Silver Member Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Nikonian since 25th Jul 2004Sun 05-Jun-11 11:41 PM
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#54. "RE: Example of "over exposure""
In response to Reply # 48


US
          

Hopefully my dead pan humor there got through. What I was trying to say is that I think it would be far easier to teach the most mechanically inept person (being gender neutral here) basic camera exposure skills than to teach an artistically inept person great composition and the "eye" for composition that goes past a few wrote rules like the rule of thirds.

That was the crux of my thinking that, when applying cultural stereotypes, the woman should win the photography battle, not the man. That is the opposite of conventional wisdom I think because too much emphasis is placed on the technical side. It's not that hard

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jgould2 Gold Member Fellow Ribbon awarded for his excellent and frequent contributions and sharing his in-depth knowledge and experience with the community in the Nikonians spirit. Nikonian since 13th Oct 2007Mon 06-Jun-11 12:53 AM
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#55. "RE: Example of "over exposure""
In response to Reply # 54


El Segundo (Los Angeles), US
          

Hi Neil.

Your humor got through just fine.

As an artistically inept person, I have been slowly making progress with a lot of study and practice. I sure get a lot out of the Nikonians site.

JIM

  

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Len Shepherd Gold Member Nikonian since 09th Mar 2003Mon 06-Jun-11 08:59 AM
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#56. "RE: On focus and recompose"
In response to Reply # 0
Mon 06-Jun-11 09:08 AM by Len Shepherd

Yorkshire, GB
          

On focus and recompose it should not have anything like the effect in the images in post 17 with a moderate reframing in matrix metering, even if the exposure was locked.
The EXIF shows a 2 speed shutter difference between matrix and center weighted - there is nothing in the picture area likely to cause a 2 speed exposure shift even with exposure locked.
Either reframing with focus locked from an entirely different subject was used - or the camera has a fault.

Photography is a bit like archery. A technically better camera, lens or arrow may not hit the target as often as it could if the photographer or archer does not practice enough.

Len Shepherd

  

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nrothschild Silver Member Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Nikonian since 25th Jul 2004Mon 06-Jun-11 11:04 AM
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#57. "RE: On focus and recompose"
In response to Reply # 56


US
          

Len,

If that was directed at my comments, I made the point about focus/recompose because I *know* that whatever is directly behind the selected focus sensor can change the exposure by up to one stop, which is half the difference between the exposure and sunny 16. For example, the covered bridge is a classic example where that could occur.

I made the point about exposure locking and recomposing (not focus/recompose except in error in one reply that was corrected) because that *could* account for half the two stops. And although there does not appear to be anything in the scene that would cause a huge exposure variance we do not know what we cannot see in the posted image. Thus, I think exposure lock/recompose adds uncertainty to an already difficult task when we try to analyze an image.

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jadiniz Registered since 25th Dec 2010Mon 06-Jun-11 01:51 PM
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#58. "RE: On focus and recompose"
In response to Reply # 57


Estoril, PT
          

This is yet another shadow of doubt cast on which focusing/composing method is best for static subjects:

1. composing and then selecting the appropriate focus point;
2. focus and recompose (shutter half press);
3. focus and recompose (AE/AF-lock);
4. focus and recompose (AF-on).

Do people hold to one method over the others out of merit, habit, or do you select the best method for the circumstances?

(Yes, a bit off-topic, but quite interesting anyway.)

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nrothschild Silver Member Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Nikonian since 25th Jul 2004Mon 06-Jun-11 02:20 PM
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#59. "RE: On focus and recompose"
In response to Reply # 58


US
          

For normal shooting I can only suggest do what works best for you. Your main decision is how to handle focus lock and exposure lock, independently or simultaneously depending on your needs. All 4 of your options each have many variations depending on those two lock options available in the custom menus.

If you are shooting very wide apertures there is an interesting issue of focus plane shift when you focus and recompose so when shooting at f/1.4 for an extreme example, it is best to minimize recomposing.

My comments here were strictly related to the idea of posting a representative problematic image for analysis by others with the intent of removing as many unknown variables as possible (to us in the outside world as well as the shooter too).

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beemerman2k Silver Member Nikonian since 27th Mar 2006Mon 06-Jun-11 02:25 PM
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#60. "RE: On focus and recompose"
In response to Reply # 58


Ellington, US
          

I rely on method #2 for static subjects. I survey the scene to find my subject and composition, think about the depth of field I will want, select a focus point that I think will yield that DOF, recompose and let the meter do its thing, then snap! Focus and metering are **two distinctly separate aspects, one having nothing whatsoever to do with the other** in the exercise of composition and the capturing of the scene.

Is this method the "best"? It works for me, and I have yet to discover a good reason to change it. Why? You got one? (A good reason to change this methodology, that is.)

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briantilley Moderator Deep knowledge of bodies and lens; high level photography skills Nikonian since 26th Jan 2003Mon 06-Jun-11 02:33 PM
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#61. "RE: On focus and recompose"
In response to Reply # 60


Paignton, GB
          

>Focus and metering are **two distinctly separate
>aspects, one having nothing whatsoever to do with the other**
>in the exercise of composition and the capturing of the

Except that (as Neil points out above), Matrix Metering gives more weight to whatever is underneath the selected AF point - and this is at the moment when you half-press the shutter release to meter. If you previously focused and then re-composed, the meter will be giving more weight to something that isn't your main subject, which can result in a less-than-optimal exposure.

Brian
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beemerman2k Silver Member Nikonian since 27th Mar 2006Mon 06-Jun-11 03:16 PM
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#62. "RE: On focus and recompose"
In response to Reply # 61


Ellington, US
          

This is something I'll keep in mind, but I'm not sure I either agree with it, or understand it, and here's why.

Isn't there a technique out there that when attempting to capture fast moving objects (athletes, birds in flight, etc) a common technique is to "pre-focus" -- that is to find a stationary object that is the same approximate distance from where you anticipate the subject to be -- lock in that focus, and then recompose while you await the subject to arrive at the anticipated location? The assumption here, unless you rely on Manual metering, is that the meter will read from the point of capture and not the point of focus, is that not correct?

We can agree, however, that in Manual exposure mode, ***focus has no voice in exposure***, right?

This subject, the effect the focus point has in the meter reading, might be worthy of another thread to more thoroughly examine the veracity of the view, and its implications on the techniques that should be employed by photographers.

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nrothschild Silver Member Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Nikonian since 25th Jul 2004Mon 06-Jun-11 03:24 PM
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#63. "RE: On focus and recompose"
In response to Reply # 61
Mon 06-Jun-11 03:26 PM by nrothschild

US
          

Brian,


>> Matrix Metering gives more weight to whatever is underneath the selected AF point - and this is at the moment when you half-press the shutter release to meter.

I thought about what you just said before I made a previous reply here yesterday. I tested this idea and discovered that, as best I can tell, if you half press the shutter to lock focus and then recompose, the meter still continues to meter the current scene as it is recomposed and I have to assume that when the image is taken the weight is given to whatever is currently under the active focus sensor.

So short story, I think that with matrix metering, as long as exposure lock and focus lock are divorced from whatever button you focus with, I think the exposure is exactly per the scene as shot, and the weight is applied to whatever happens to be under the focus point when the shutter opens

Now, that leads to a new problem. If you focus and recompose then your active focus sensor is pointed at some random place in the scene. That random place in the scene now is weighting the exposure. That random place could be some unimportant but overly dark or overly bright object and that would result in an improper exposure, or certainly an exposure that Nikon's logic did not intend.

With that in mind, I could make a very good case for reversing what I previously suggested here about locking exposure when using matrix metering. It is a case of choosing the lesser evil....

1. If you lock exposure when you focus, then the weight is applied to the correct subject of interest, according to Nikon's intent, but other elements in the scene could have a strong impact on exposure anyway and not even be in the final image.

2. If you do not lock exposure then the overall scene will be properly interpreted but extra weight will be given to some random area in the image

All this argues for putting the AF sensor in the proper place such that no focus recompose is necessary, or if it is, to choose the sensor that is as close as possible to the focus subject in the final scene, locking focus, and then doing a minimal recomposition shift.

I thought about all this yesterday and decided to let it rest for now but you had to bring this up so another overly long and complicated tome from me

Just kidding! This really needed to be addressed to make this discussion complete, and my oversight resulted in a bad response this morning in reply #59 where I said "do whatever feels best". The right answer is "do what results int eh least recomposing". I had forgotten about this issue before my 3rd cup of coffee.

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JohnE Nikon Silver Member Nikonian since 15th Jun 2010Mon 06-Jun-11 03:53 PM
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#64. "RE: On focus and recompose"
In response to Reply # 63
Mon 06-Jun-11 03:57 PM by JohnE Nikon

New HArtford, US
          

One caution about locking exposure with shutter half pressed. In AF-C mode when I was tracking wildlife I forgot I had my exposure locked with half shutter press. While tracking animal it went into shade and my images were underexposed. This is not generally what is being discussed here, but just wanted to mention it in case some are doing a wide variety of shooting and are considering defaulting camera to this method.
Just as a note I no longer use AF-ON for focusing due to DOF errors with focus and recompose, as mentioned and exposure's do seem to be pretty good with moving focus bracket around. When pressed for time and if DOF allows I still focus and recompose about 50% of the time.

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nrothschild Silver Member Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Nikonian since 25th Jul 2004Mon 06-Jun-11 04:03 PM
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#65. "RE: On focus and recompose"
In response to Reply # 61
Mon 06-Jun-11 04:44 PM by nrothschild

US
          

I had a chance just now to shoot the sample images I wanted to shoot yesterday during this discussion except the light was all wrong.

The two images below were shot with AF associated with the shutter button (not my normal setting). The scene was focused and composed exactly as you see here, using Matrix Metering. The focus point is indicated, via a screen shot from CNX2.

There is a 1 1/3 stop difference between these two exposures (more than the 1 stop I suggested previously from memory). This illustrates the weighting effect of the active sensor using Matrix Metering.

This is why I was so obsessed over all the focus/recomposing, and also commented about some uncertainties I had in the covered bridge images given the proximity of the focus point to the dark interior.

While I shot the image I verified what I said above- if you focus, half press the shutter and then recompose, then the weighted area of the scene will follow the focus sensor such that the area weighted will be the area behind the focus sensor when the shutter is fired. That is not illustrated here because I wanted the focus sensor outline in CNX2 to sit exactly where it read exposure, without any recomposing issues.

I thought this would be helpful to this discussion

D700 24-70 f/2.8 AFS @48mm
ISO 400 F/8 1/100s


D700 24-70 f/2.8 AFS @48mm
ISO 400 f/8 1/250s

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Attachment #1, (jpg file)
Attachment #2, ( file)
Attachment #3, (jpg file)

  

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JohnE Nikon Silver Member Nikonian since 15th Jun 2010Mon 06-Jun-11 04:26 PM
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#66. "RE: On focus and recompose"
In response to Reply # 65


New HArtford, US
          

Nicely done. Your point is well taken.

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beemerman2k Silver Member Nikonian since 27th Mar 2006Mon 06-Jun-11 05:13 PM
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#67. "RE: On focus and recompose"
In response to Reply # 65


Ellington, US
          

Wow, that is nicely done. OK, I get it. Wow, I would have bet the farm that this wasn't the case. Now I am beginning to understand the explanations I have read by Thom Hogan and others, but didn't quite get at the time. Point being that the D7k does NOT overexpose IF you know what it's doing and how it works (which clearly, I did not).

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nrothschild Silver Member Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Nikonian since 25th Jul 2004Mon 06-Jun-11 05:45 PM
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#68. "RE: On focus and recompose"
In response to Reply # 67


US
          

Ah... the light bulb goes off

They say a picture is worth a thousands words and I may well have put a thousand words into this over the course of the thread, and I suspect I was generally met with disbelief .

I fault Nikon for this. I searched my D700 manual for every occurrence of "Matrix" and found not even a hint of this focus sensor weighting issue. It is actually a very powerful tool if you understand it and play with it, wandering over a high dynamic scene and watching the computed exposure values.

As I said previously, it adds tremendous complexity to focus recompose, which we previously decided "can't effect metering" but in fact it can, to the tune of up to at least 1.3 stops or maybe even more

It can also cause chaos, and combined with the tendency to focus/recompose and lock exposure too, it makes it very difficult to assess sample images. It can also cause dramatic underexposure depending on the initial and final focus sensor location, and the importance of the object you focus on. Sometimes you may focus on something unimportant just to split the depth of field (something either not considered by Nikon or more likely to be insolvable).

If you go back and re-read what I was struggling to say in this thread, in the context of the discussion, you may better understand this.

Now, with all that said, I still think anyone with any questions about metering accuracy should check their metering against a gray card, as a first step, not the last. Then you will have the confidence to start weeding through all the complexities of the metering system, documented or not. And I am certainly not convinced it was a major contributor to the issues with at least some of the images posted here.

My own D300 meter is fined tuned to -5/6 stop now, based on a recalibration I did yesterday (it was previously -2/3 stop). I did that after removing a Katz Eye screen I no longer wanted to use and wanted to verify the Katz Eye really did not effect the metering (it didn't, except for the spot metering issue at small apertures). Combined with this focus sensor weighting issue, had I not calibrated my meter I could easily shoot an image +2 EV, just like your images, and if I did a focus/recompose without understanding the issues I could never figure out why after the fact.

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briantilley Moderator Deep knowledge of bodies and lens; high level photography skills Nikonian since 26th Jan 2003Mon 06-Jun-11 06:10 PM
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#69. "RE: On focus and recompose"
In response to Reply # 63
Mon 06-Jun-11 06:13 PM by briantilley

Paignton, GB
          

>I thought about what you just said before I made a previous
>reply here yesterday. I tested this idea and discovered that,
>as best I can tell, if you half press the shutter to lock
>focus and then recompose, the meter still continues to meter
>the current scene as it is recomposed and I have to assume
>that when the image is taken the weight is given to whatever
>is currently under the active focus sensor.

Good point!

My scenario - which I probably didn't explain very well - is slightly different. If you focus with AF-ON (or AE-L/AF-L, depending on the camera), re-compose and then half-press the shutter release to meter, the meter will give more weight to what is under the AF point when you metered, not what was under it when you focused.

Brian
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nrothschild Silver Member Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Nikonian since 25th Jul 2004Mon 06-Jun-11 06:54 PM
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#70. "RE: On focus and recompose"
In response to Reply # 69


US
          

Hi Brian,

Ah....

It is difficult to think through and discuss these things in both AF-ON and shutter button centric focusing modes. I shoot AF-ON also, but generally try to articulate things based on the default camera settings. It's tough.

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beemerman2k Silver Member Nikonian since 27th Mar 2006Mon 06-Jun-11 07:15 PM
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#71. "RE: On focus and recompose"
In response to Reply # 68


Ellington, US
          

I certainly will re-read your posts in this thread. Now, I also want answers to the items John listed earlier:

>This is yet another shadow of doubt cast on which
>focusing/composing method is best for static subjects:
>
>1. composing and then selecting the appropriate focus point;
>2. focus and recompose (shutter half press);
>3. focus and recompose (AE/AF-lock);
>4. focus and recompose (AF-on).
>
>Do people hold to one method over the others out of merit,
>habit, or do you select the best method for the
>circumstances?
>
>(Yes, a bit off-topic, but quite interesting anyway.)

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nrothschild Silver Member Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Nikonian since 25th Jul 2004Mon 06-Jun-11 07:51 PM
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#72. "RE: On focus and recompose"
In response to Reply # 71


US
          

I mentioned earlier today in reply #63 that his #1 is the best approach- do not focus/recompose. That avoids the issue entirely.

Compose the scene and then move the focus point if possible to the correct position, leaving the scene as is. And I know that is not always easy and cannot always be done but I did not invent this metering logic.

I picked my targets in my test images because I wanted to illustrate that even very minor shifts can cause the problem if you are not paying attention to the dynamic range in the area of preliminary focus and the final resting spot of the focus sensor. With an even smaller shift I could have forced a half stop or better of exposure change.

Focus recompose does directly affect Matrix metering. I'll repeat and slightly modify what I said in #63 for clarity:

If you focus and recompose you have a choice of two evils, and there is no obvious generic lesser evil. It depends on the scene...

1. If you lock exposure when you focus, then the weight of the focus sensor area is (presumably) applied to the correct subject of interest, according to Nikon's intent, but other elements in that scene could have a strong impact on exposure and not even be in the final image.

2. If you do not lock exposure then the overall scene will be properly interpreted but extra weight will be given to some random area in the image, potentially causing random results.

All this argues for putting the AF sensor in the proper place such that no focus recompose is necessary, or if it is, to choose the sensor that is as close as possible to the focus subject in the final scene, locking focus, and then doing a minimal recomposition shift.

A minimal shift should change the overall scene the least unless something unusually bright or dark is at the very edge and then leaves the scene when you recompose.

Now, to put this in context. If you do not have any abnormally bright or dark areas in the scene then this is not a problem. It is a problem when there is high dynamic range in the affected areas.

When I took my sample shots I looked around the scene and immediately identified my targets because I've played with this and I know what to look for. Because of that I generally know when I have a problem during a focus/recompose. I do try to avoid recomposing though, for this and other reasons involving the geometry of the focus plane.

Where you must recompose in a high dynamic range scene the least evil could easily be to switch to center weighted metering mode because that also eliminates the problem and previous to this new focus sensor weighting I found there was not usually much difference between center weighted and matrix metering. The main practical difference is that matrix may attempt to eliminate badly blown areas as long as it is not forced to deal with an unusual luminosity at the focus sensor.

But for a simple one sentence general rule, it has to be #1 - don't focus/recompose when using matrix metering.

If this is still not clear, please let me know. I want to make sure I am articulating this properly.

_________________________________
Neil


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wwt67 Silver Member Nikonian since 07th Apr 2010Mon 06-Jun-11 10:19 PM
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#73. "RE: On focus and recompose"
In response to Reply # 72


Warsaw, US
          

Neil, your test shots are an eye opener. It actually changes everything I thought I knew about matrix metering. Nikon states that matrix metering meters a wide area of the frame and sets exposure according to tone distribution (key words there), color and composition etc... Nikon says nothing that so much emphasis is put on the focus point. I would expect that behavior from spot metering.


>Focus recompose does directly affect Matrix metering.

Yes, the D7k manual states matrix metering will not give the desired results. You should use center weighted or spot metering (as you also stated).

So, back to my bridge photos, I can see why the sky is blown out. Although I did not recompose or use AE-L/AF-L, the focus point is close enough to the dark shadow that exposure was chosen for that.

Thanks for doing that test!

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beemerman2k Silver Member Nikonian since 27th Mar 2006Tue 07-Jun-11 12:06 AM
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#74. "RE: On focus and recompose"
In response to Reply # 73


Ellington, US
          

I agree with you, it's almost acting like a spot meter.

What is the justification for this behavior? Seems to me that Nikon is trying to hand hold the beginners who may not really understand the different metering modes. Therefore, they give them some help in Matrix metering to ensure their pictures come out the way they expect them to. Anyone who knows what they're doing would simply select a different metering mode for emphasis to be on a particular point or area of the frame.

Well, again, that explains the mysterious "overexposing" issue. It's nice to know it's not a bug, but a feature

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agitater Gold Member Nikonian since 18th Jan 2007Tue 07-Jun-11 12:46 AM
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#75. "RE: On focus and recompose"
In response to Reply # 74
Tue 07-Jun-11 12:48 AM by agitater

Toronto, CA
          

>I agree with you, it's almost acting like a spot meter.
>
>What is the justification for this behavior? Seems to me that
>Nikon is trying to hand hold the beginners who may not really
>understand the different metering modes.

Matrix Metering pulls an average out of a scene. What Neil stated accurately was that if you focus on one part of a scene, then recompose, matrix metering seems to give some additional weight/importance to the part of the scene on which the activated focus reticle ends up being repositioned. That's not spot metering because the whole composition is still taken into account. But when you change the formula by focusing & recomposing, you're still thinking about the scene you originally focused on (darker, lighter, whatever) while the camera is seeing something different at the moment it actually meters the shot.

Focus and recompose works beautifully for shots which contain a more limited dynamic range. For somewhat wide dynamic range shots like the one originally posted by the OP, composing, framing and then moving the focus point in the viewfinder should give any Nikon body the best chance of accurately metering the scene.

Avoid many such problems . . . shoot tighter.

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nrothschild Silver Member Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Nikonian since 25th Jul 2004Tue 07-Jun-11 01:01 AM
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#76. "RE: On focus and recompose"
In response to Reply # 73


US
          

I think this focus weighting was introduced with the D300/D700 or thereabouts. The D200 may have been slightly biased this way, as I recall. I'll have to check my ByThom eBook when I get a chance. The D7000 may have evolved even more- you have to tell me what it does by testing it!

It does make sense. At least I think it does. It just doesn't work with focus recompose. That's the trade-off. I don't consider it a "beginner thing". If you want "expert mode", do manual exposure. The idea of matrix metering was always to try to make the camera more intelligent, to make it think like we do. If you don't want the meter to think, then you want center weighted.

Let's say you are doing an outdoor portrait but the face you focus on is a bit hot in the light. This feature should help tone it down a bit. If the face is dark, it should brighten things up. It's thinking like you do.

If it points at a black hole in the scene, well, you put it there . You are in control.

Before you diss it, go outside and do some shooting, with this feature in mind. Watch the meter and take some shots and review the results with the focus sensor on your subject, off your subject, and with center weighting. Put your subject in a shadow and see if it helps. Put you subject in direct sunlight and see if it helps a bit.

It will not perform miracles. It will only move the exposure a stop or so. But within that stop it does almost act like a spot meter- on your subject, assuming you work with the metering and not against it.

You should also test your meters with a grey card and reshoot those scenes posted here, or something similar that's convenient, and see if things change with your awareness of this feature.

Landscapes may simply be better exposed with center weighted because there is often no particular subject of interest (although a good landscape usually has one). In that case you are really trying to expose to the right because the dynamic range will usually be higher than the sensor latitude.

_________________________________
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elec164 Silver Member Nikonian since 15th Jan 2009Tue 07-Jun-11 01:35 AM
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#77. "RE: Example of "over exposure""
In response to Reply # 0


US
          

Iíve been following a lot of these complaint threads with great interest. But my experience with my D7000 seems to be quite different then some others. Iím not trying to dismiss anyone elseís experience. Nor am I saying I was getting better images out of the box then I did with my D80. But I did see the improvements that were possible over the D80, although it took some time familiarizing myself with the D7000 and learning it to finally accomplish that improvement.

Personally, I think everyone needs to stop comparing the D7000 to the D-whatever. If another camera seems to handle and perform better in your opinion, then buy that one. After all isnít that the main criticism that everyone had with the Dpreview author. In assessing the D7000 he unfairly gave the D7000 a lower ranking then he should have because he was basing his opinion on the fact that it did not handle and perform like his beloved Canon cameras did. Well isnít that what is taking place here and therefore no different?

And a lot of the information implied here would be cleared up in my opinion by reading Thom Hoganís D7000 review (and maybe re-reading it). Scroll down about half way and read the Performance section pertaining to Metering and Color (mainly the Metering). He states that unlike previous Matrix implementations, the D7000 does not place as much emphasis upon the focus point. But does place emphasis on what it believes the subject is and also tonal values. He also states that unlike earlier versions the D7000ís Matrix will not protect the highlights at the expense of what it determines to be the subject.

And I believe that is what happened with the OPís comparison of the D5000 to the D7000. The D5000 traditional Matrix took in the whole scene placing emphasis on the focus point, but noticed the highlights blowing out. It then decided to reduce exposure to protect them. The D7000 did not concentrate on the focus point but instead recognized the bridge as the subject and set the exposure on that basis while ignoring that the highlights were washing out.

Normally I donít run into situations as the examples provide here, but my wife asked me to come to her work to take some images for their upcoming newsletter. And I know there is a vista that would be good for this testing.

These are grab shot JPEGís straight out of the camera other then being reduced for posting.

This is with Matrix metering with a single focus point on the middle of the bridge span using AF-S.
ISO 200, f/16 and 1/125th shutter speed



And here is Matrix metering with the focus point at the top of the wall.
ISO 200, f/16 and 1/100th shutter speed




And this is spot metering with focus point at the top of the wall.
ISO 200, f/16 and 1/80th shutter speed




This is with spot metering on the bridge span.
ISO 200, f/16 and 1/320th shutter speed




From that experience and provided examples it appears that Thomís assessment is spot on. The D7000 in Matrix metering analyzes the scene for tonality and regardless of the focus point, determines what it considers the main subject based on tonality (in my examples the foreground). Reason for my conclusion (and agreement with Thomís assessment) is that the spot metering of the wall gives about the same reading as Matrix metering with the focus point on the bridge span or wall. And spot metering the bridge span caused about a 2-stop difference in exposure, which seems to coincide with the other examples provide in this thread.

To sum up, it appears that there is no defect. The Matrix metering to me appears to be working precisely as Nikon intended it to work. And the way it works is different then any previous implementations of Matrix metering in other models. So I believe it would be more productive to stop trying to compare it to prior models, and start learning the nuances of the D7000 implementation.

Just my thoughts, will be interested in what others think.

Pete


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wwt67 Silver Member Nikonian since 07th Apr 2010Tue 07-Jun-11 03:27 AM
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#78. "RE: Example of "over exposure""
In response to Reply # 77


Warsaw, US
          

Pete. I agree with your test results.
All I was trying to show is that the D7k metering is different than the D5k, which is what I was use to shooting. In the end I think I've figured it out, thanks to Neil. I wish Nikon would give a better explanation of matrix metering and how it works.
But because the only other DSLR I have used is the D5k, and the user manuals for both cameras give the same description for MM, I was really stumped by this.
Sorry for trying to learn the D7k based on my experience with the D5k.

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elec164 Silver Member Nikonian since 15th Jan 2009Tue 07-Jun-11 03:51 AM
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#79. "RE: Example of "over exposure""
In response to Reply # 78
Tue 07-Jun-11 03:52 AM by elec164

US
          

>Sorry for trying to learn the D7k based on my experience with
>the D5k.


No need to be sorry or apologetic. I hope you donít feel that my post was an attack upon you nor anyone else. It was not intended to be and we are all here to learn.

And my only other DSLR was a D80, and that was reported to overexpose as well so perhaps that helped me be more tolerant of the D7000.

More seriously, the D7000 is quite a piece of equipment. There has been comments made here by members that believe the D7000 was marketed improperly. Nikon markets it as a bridge between entry level and Pro bodies, but in fact it is more Pro then entry level which may frustrate those coming up from a Compact Camera and prove to be quite a challenge for those moving from an entry level DSLR (been there, experienced that but forget to get the t-shirt for proof!!!LOL).

And I agree that the Nikon manual is adequate, but leaves a lot to be desired. Actually I was thinking of not getting a guide for the D7000 (I had the Magic Lantern Guide for my D80). But after this thread and seeing how technically accurate Thom Hogan can be, I think Iím going to buy his e-book (and maybe even spring for the printed version because I prefer a book in hand as opposed to words on a screen).

Glad you were able to sort this out, and thanks for the post, for it has been quite an educational experience.

Pete

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beemerman2k Silver Member Nikonian since 27th Mar 2006Tue 07-Jun-11 11:02 AM
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#80. "RE: Example of "over exposure""
In response to Reply # 79


Ellington, US
          

>But after this thread and seeing how technically
>accurate Thom Hogan can be, I think Iím going to buy his
>e-book (and maybe even spring for the printed version because
>I prefer a book in hand as opposed to words on a screen).
>

Yeah, this is my resolve, too. Time to order up Thom's book!

I will get Darrell Young's book when it comes out as well.

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ellykc Registered since 28th May 2011Thu 09-Jun-11 08:38 PM
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#81. "RE: Example of "over exposure""
In response to Reply # 80


GB
          

What a wonderful thread!!

I think the overall lesson for me is to practice, practice, practice!!

When I subscribe properly, I'll post an image that went wrong that I can't understand! Would be grateful for some input!

  

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JohnE Nikon Silver Member Nikonian since 15th Jun 2010Thu 09-Jun-11 08:55 PM
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#82. "RE: On focus and recompose"
In response to Reply # 76


New HArtford, US
          


>You should also test your meters with a grey card and reshoot
>those scenes posted here, or something similar that's
>convenient, and see if things change with your awareness of
>this feature.
>
Neil,
Can you explain how you do this? I am not sure how to test my meters with a grey card.

JohnE Nikon
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agitater Gold Member Nikonian since 18th Jan 2007Thu 09-Jun-11 09:22 PM
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#83. "RE: On focus and recompose"
In response to Reply # 82


Toronto, CA
          


>Can you explain how you do this? I am not sure how to test my
>meters with a grey card.

Use a handheld light meter to get an incident reading of a gray card. Then immediately use your camera to get a reading of the same gray card. Compare the readings. If they're essentially the same, no worries.

Keep in mind that all light meters - including the one built into your camera body - vary from unit to unit (camera to camera, handhled meter to handheld meter) and from batch to batch. The variance is narrower than it was, say, 10 years ago, but there's still a variance.

A lot of digital SLR owners seem to expect these light meters to be dead-on accurate and identical from camera to camera. However, the basic design and engineering of camera light meters, and the materials used to manufacture the metering systems, contain inherent 'flaws' which are not easy to eliminate and which result in the variances.

One of the things we have to get to know about any camera we're regularly using is the particular response characteristic of its meter. Once we identify whether the meter in our D700 (or whatever body we've got) is generally slightly over or slightly under (or whatever, again), it's a simple matter to adjust eV and shoot with the adjustment as a standard setting.

We want cameras to be precisely accurate in all circumstances, but the nature of the things precludes that. I think Nikon comes very close to that precision expectation, but it has not yet reached that level - nor have any of the other camera makers.

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JohnE Nikon Silver Member Nikonian since 15th Jun 2010Thu 09-Jun-11 09:32 PM
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#84. "RE: On focus and recompose"
In response to Reply # 83


New HArtford, US
          

Howard,
Thanks. In a few days I will be at either Adorama or B & H, maybe they wil let me try out a hand held meter as I do not own one. But now I understand how to do this.

JohnE Nikon
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nrothschild Silver Member Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Nikonian since 25th Jul 2004Thu 09-Jun-11 11:35 PM
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#85. "RE: On focus and recompose"
In response to Reply # 82
Thu 09-Jun-11 11:40 PM by nrothschild

US
          

You don't need a light meter. If you go out and buy a light meter, you need another known calibrated light meter to vet the calibration of the light meter you just bought... otherwise how do you know for a fact you got a "good" properly calibrated meter?

Edit: I would also argue very strenuously that "light meters" are almost always incident light meters, whereas our cameras use reflectance light meters. There is a huge difference that is way beyond the scope of this discussion and use of even a known calibrated incident meter just confuses the issue unnecessarily and could lead to bad results depending on how you set it up and what light you use.

Just shoot an image of the gray card in center, spot and matrix meter modes. Make sure the grey card fills the frame and try to get the gray card as evenly lit as possible, with no shadows or gradients across the card. The thinner the spike on the histogram the more evenly lit the card.

I would suggest, to make the analysis easier, that you set WB to PRE and set up a preset. If you do that then all your color channels should be lined up, making for a thinner and less ambiguous spike. If you shoot some other WB mode and check the separate RGB histograms in the camera preview, the 3 channels should be at least close to identical in luminosity. If not then do it my way with the WB PRE .

Focus does not matter and in fact an out of focus image will arguably give a more monotone image with less micro shadows and "detail". But it doesn't really matter.

Obviously make sure exposure comp is zeroed and you are using an autoexposure mode.

Here is an example, displayed in CNX2 with the Quick Fix histogram. Any histogram should do as long as it has quadrant markers similar to the one illustrated here and in your camera histograms.

Ideally the image should be dead center on the histogram right on the relevant quadrant marker, indicated by a red arrow in my example. My D700 is adjusted -2/6 stop and as you can see it is still running a bit hot and probably -3/6 would be better. I don't recall now why I left a bit hot.

Some, such as Thom Hogan, argue that Nikon meters are not calibrated to 18% grey. I certainly don't claim to know more than Thom. For simplicity I just calibrate my own cameras to the center line and it seems to work fine.



_________________________________
Neil


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agitater Gold Member Nikonian since 18th Jan 2007Thu 09-Jun-11 11:53 PM
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#86. "RE: On focus and recompose"
In response to Reply # 84
Thu 09-Jun-11 11:55 PM by agitater

Toronto, CA
          

>Howard,
>Thanks. In a few days I will be at either Adorama or B &
>H, maybe they wil let me try out a hand held meter as I do not
>own one. But now I understand how to do this.

Forget it IMO - if you don't own a light meter now, it's not worth the expense. The other way to calibrate your meter is to zero your camera settings (0.0eV, P mode), shoot a custom WB off either an Expodisc (or some other similar WB calibrator) or an 18% gray card. Load the reference shot into your preferred image editing software (Photoshop, Capture NX2, ACDSee Pro 3 or 4, etc.) and adjust the RGB histogram to center. The amount of adjustment required (+ or -) is the setting you'll use for your camera's eV setting.

I disagree with Neil's assessment of light meters. The differential measurement between the two devices is important to note IMO (again, if you've already got a handheld light meter), if in fact there's a difference between the camera's meter and the handheld one. IMO as well, a known-good white card (such as an Expodisc) is a better reference for a custom WB setting or a meter reading comparison than a gray card of any kind.

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nrothschild Silver Member Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Nikonian since 25th Jul 2004Fri 10-Jun-11 12:13 AM
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#87. "RE: On focus and recompose"
In response to Reply # 86


US
          

Howard,

You are the first person I've ever heard suggest that a standard Kodak grey card is inaccurate.

Cheaper grey cards may; you might get what you pay for. Although I did not mention it previously I would recommend spending $19 on a Kodak grey card.

Even if the grey card is a bit off, setting a WB preset on it will nullify that error. It would have to be way off to change the outcome of this test enough to matter.

_________________________________
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nrothschild Silver Member Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Nikonian since 25th Jul 2004Fri 10-Jun-11 12:20 AM
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#88. "RE: On focus and recompose"
In response to Reply # 86


US
          

>> The differential measurement between the two devices is important to note IMO

My point was that if it is done perfectly, the reflectance meter and the incidence meter should agree if they are equally well calibrated (or put another way, calibrated the same). My point also suggests there are lots of ways to do that test incorrectly, where the incident meter is not quite measuring the same light the camera meter reads. And there is no reason for the complexity.

If you take a picture of a grey card with a well calibrated meter it should result in a luminosity 128 histogram. Regardless of the light, as long as the light is even. Even if the light is uneven it will still take a luminosity 128 image- it just might be very difficult or impossible to interpret, which is why I stressed even light.

It is that simple. If the 18% grey card isn't exactly 18% is does not matter one whit. If the color is off enough to matter it isn't a Kodak card.

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nrothschild Silver Member Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Nikonian since 25th Jul 2004Fri 10-Jun-11 01:10 AM
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#89. "RE: On focus and recompose"
In response to Reply # 86
Fri 10-Jun-11 01:12 AM by nrothschild

US
          

>> IMO as well, a known-good white card (such as an Expodisc) is a better reference for a custom WB setting or a meter reading comparison than a gray card of any kind.

I think I have to address this.

If, hypothetically, an Exposdisc WB preset resulted in a "better more accurate" white balance than setting the preset directly against the grey card, it would result in a recorded image that is not perfectly neutral grey. The luminosity of the color channels would vary.

That would raise the question as to which histogram to use for the calibration- one of color channels or the composite luminosity histogram, and if the luminosity histogram is used, that raises the issue of how it was constructed and if that construction is relevant to the task at hand- calibrating the meter.

Setting the WB preset directly against the grey card is the simplest, most likely and most straightforward way to get a histogram with equal luminosity color channels in the resulting test image. And that, I will argue as strenuously as possible, is the primary objective here.

Even if the grey card is somehow slightly inaccurate we want the preset to force it perfectly grey in the recorded image, and it will if we use the grey card for the preset and maintain the same light for the exposure. And honestly you are splitting hairs here because Kodak cards have long been considered a reference standard in accuracy.

If I were to buy a new expo disk the first thing I would do is check it's accuracy. Against a Kodak grey card. If you want to argue that that is wrong you have to suggest a more accurate reference standard of color measurement available at reasonable cost to a typical end user.

Now, if you are arguing that an Expodisk has more utility out in the field for general real world use, that is a separate and highly off topic issue.

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agitater Gold Member Nikonian since 18th Jan 2007Fri 10-Jun-11 01:14 AM
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#90. "RE: On focus and recompose"
In response to Reply # 87


Toronto, CA
          


>You are the first person I've ever heard suggest that a
>standard Kodak grey card is inaccurate.

I didn't suggest anything of the kind. What I wrote was, "IMO as well, a known-good white card (such as an Expodisc) is a better reference for a custom WB setting or a meter reading comparison than a gray card of any kind." My opinion based on my experience. In my first post in this part of the thread, I actually suggested using a gray card. Never mentioned the Kodak gray card though. Never mentioned Kodak at all.

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agitater Gold Member Nikonian since 18th Jan 2007Fri 10-Jun-11 01:27 AM
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#91. "RE: On focus and recompose"
In response to Reply # 89


Toronto, CA
          

>>> IMO as well, a known-good white card (such as an
>Expodisc) is a better reference for a custom WB setting or a
>meter reading comparison than a gray card of any kind.

>Even if the grey card is somehow slightly inaccurate we want
>the preset to force it perfectly grey in the recorded image,
>and it will if we use the grey card for the preset and
>maintain the same light for the exposure. And honestly you
>are splitting hairs here because Kodak cards have long been
>considered a reference standard in accuracy.

Splitting hairs? I never mentioned Kodak cards in any way. I just expressed a personal preference for the Expodisc in this situation. If you and John prefer your gray card recommendation, more power to you both.

>Now, if you are arguing that an Expodisk has more utility out
>in the field for general real world use, that is a separate
>and highly off topic issue.

I never mentioned or suggested or even hinted at this at all.

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JohnE Nikon Silver Member Nikonian since 15th Jun 2010Fri 10-Jun-11 02:51 PM
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#92. "RE: On focus and recompose"
In response to Reply # 91


New HArtford, US
          

Thanks to both of you for the detailed response. I have no arguments regarding cards as I do not own one.

Coincidentally I put a gray card on my to buy list for my upcoming visit to Adorama or B & H.
In the past I used a friends white T-shirt in a low light situation for a custom white balance and was happy with my result. Lately I just keep it on auto WB and adjust in post, which is rarely necessary in my subjective opinion. I now shoot RAW.

I assume both of you shoot RAW and was curious how often you use a custom white balance? I would imagine it is important for certain commercial work, catalogs and food.

JohnE Nikon
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"Cameras and lenses are simply tools to place our unique vision on film. Concentrate on equipment and you'll take technically good photographs. Concentrate on seeing the light's magic colors and your images will stir the soul." Jack Dykinga

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elec164 Silver Member Nikonian since 15th Jan 2009Fri 10-Jun-11 03:06 PM
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#93. "RE: On focus and recompose"
In response to Reply # 92


US
          

>Coincidentally I put a gray card on my to buy list for my
>upcoming visit to Adorama or B & H.
>In the past I used a friends white T-shirt in a low light
>situation for a custom white balance and was happy with my
>result.

The main consideration with a target for custom WB is that it be spectrally neutral. The potential problem with using material (your buddies t-shirt) or plain white paper for a target is if the soap the material was washed in, or the paper manufacture in its process use optical brighteners. Optical brighteners work via fluorescence which will give a flawed WB setting.

There is an interesting article that compared different products with varying prices. The surprise of the bunch was that a cheap Melitta white coffee filter performed about as well as some, and better than other more costly specialized products.

Pete

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nrothschild Silver Member Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Nikonian since 25th Jul 2004Fri 10-Jun-11 04:10 PM
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#94. "RE: On focus and recompose"
In response to Reply # 93


US
          

I've found that plain white copy paper is a tad bit blue- I use it for background material for macro work.

The coffee filters I've used for white balance presets in a pinch tend to result in a slight blue cast. Not terrible and in a pinch it can result in a far better white balance than Auto or trying to divine a preset. That in cases where a grey card won't work (the subject is very distant or inaccessible and in different light).

Kodak grey cards have a grey side and a pure white side (which is true white). I've tested my meters against both to see if they indicate the same histogram. Interestingly, they usually do, especially in shade but not always. It's unclear to me why white is not quite fully consistent but it may have something to do with specular highlights on most "white" paper and copy paper and such is more problematic than the white side of a grey card.

Because of that I usually suggest using a real grey card but a camera meter can be calibrated against white paper, but very preferably in shade.

A couple things I did not mention in my short "how to calibrate with a grey card" post is that the calibration should be done in shade and full sunlight (and results compared and should agree). I don't think it should be done with indoor incandescent lighting because I know I get very different results (tendency to underexposure).

Indoor lighting is very whacked, with a strong red channel and very weak blue. I suspect the contortions the camera needs to do to try to get the blue back in balance is part of that problem. Sunlight is a "natural" color balance that the camera is most comfortable with, and shade maybe the next most.

The other issue is that the test should be done with the lens wide open. Otherwise you are introducing possible aperture stop down errors.

Many of my lenses are off by up to 1/3 stop or so from stop to stop and it can drive you crazy if you are trying to calibrate it down to a 1/3 stop or less and checking consistency of your adjustment. With the lens wide open the lens diaphragm is fully opened so what the camera meters is exactly what it shoots.

I use grey cards indoors because incandescent lighting can vary quite a bit. I also use it sometimes in the shade but there the standard shade preset (or Auto) is usually too cold for my tastes but if I do a WB Preset it is usually too warm . I find shade often hard to get "right", especially with natural vegetation, grass and dirt. If I really care I'll take a shot with a grey card in the scene for future post processing reference and then take it from there.

I always shoot raw so whatever I set in camera is just something to minimize the post processing effort.

_________________________________
Neil


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JohnE Nikon Silver Member Nikonian since 15th Jun 2010Fri 10-Jun-11 06:08 PM
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#95. "RE: On focus and recompose"
In response to Reply # 94


New HArtford, US
          

Thanks again and for the detail regarding camera exposure calibration.

JohnE Nikon
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"Cameras and lenses are simply tools to place our unique vision on film. Concentrate on equipment and you'll take technically good photographs. Concentrate on seeing the light's magic colors and your images will stir the soul." Jack Dykinga

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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