This photo was taken Friday of the Marina in Los Angeles from the foot of the runways at LAX airport. To the north lies Santa Monica and the western edge of the SM Mountains, also called the Hollywood Hills.
Lens was a new 80-200 Nikon. Shutter priority mode. Matrix metering. Not only was I disappointed with the exposure setting, but in the sequence of shots I made, there were spurious (random) EC +/- factors showing up in the EXIF data. If you can see the EXIF in the gallery, I believe this particular shot has a -1.0 EC factor.
Where do those exp. factors come from? How can I eliminate them? (sorry, I really fumble when trying to upload images to my gallery. Don't fully understand)
#2. "RE: Randon EC +/- Values Appearing" In response to Reply # 1
Los Angeles, US
No. But I've just lowered the contrast setting on the Shooting Menu. And I'm going to buy an ND filter. The limited Dynamic Range of DSLR really is a coming as a bit of a surprise to me. Film was so much more forgiving.
#6. "RE: Randon EC +/- Values Appearing" In response to Reply # 3
>>Do you have bracketing enabled? The shots would have a >>regular sequence of EC factors, rather than random >values. > >I see the following in the EXIF of the posted image which >could be evidence that bracketing is enabled (just a guess): > >Exposure Bracket Value: -1 EV > >Peter
I saw that too, but maybe it's just evidence of what the bracket setting was, not that it was in use. Anyone care to experiment?
#8. "RE: Randon EC +/- Values Appearing" In response to Reply # 7
Los Angeles, US
Have never used photobracketing. A quick check of the Bracketing readout in the Control Panel shows no correction. And hitting the EC button shows no correction values in any of the shooting modes.
I know that EC doesn't go back to zero when you turn the camera off or when you hit the two Green Reset buttons, so I always check it along with ISO and white balance before I take any images.
Now I have seen this erratic stuff in connection with my SB 800 speedlight. But that was because I didn't really understand CLS lighting or the Speedlight controls. But, hey, I was shooting yesterday in Shutter Priority Mode. What could be more straightforward than that?
I will get an ND filter soon, and I know that I must be careful to use Center or Spot metering so the filter doesn't give any whacko settings to the exposure.
#9. "RE: Randon EC +/- Values Appearing" In response to Reply # 8 Mon 24-Dec-12 06:22 AM by gfinlayson
OK, I'm stumped then. I can't think of anything other than bracketing that would cause apparently 'random' EC values.
When you say you're going to buy a ND filter, I assume you mean a soft or hard grad, so that you can reduce the brightness of the sky?
Digital dynamic range is very close to that of print film these days, and one thing the D7000 does exceptionally well is pushing under exposure to bring out shadow detail. 2 - 3 stops is easily achievable.
Edit: an idea occurred to me - do you have Active D-Lighting switched on? I haven't used it (I shoot RAW and PP in Lightroom), but my understanding is that it changes the exposure and pushes or pulls to capture the widest range of highlight and shadow detail.
#11. "RE: Randon EC +/- Values Appearing" In response to Reply # 10
St Petersburg, RU
Something is turning on the 1 ev bracketing steps, normally it is 0 ev indicated if bracketing is off.
Be sure to shoot at the lowest ISO and use spot or center only if you want the high tones of the sky to blow out. Matrix, ADL on Auto and RAW will pretty much take care of any high tone clipping if shooting into hazy bright scenes like your.
The DR of the D7000 is actually very good and has over 11 stops. Film is non-linear in response so it might appear to have more DR but it does not since it compresses high tones before total saturation onsets, leaving little recoverable tone gradient.
Shooting RAW format and processing the files on your computer will reveal that there is a lot more data recorded and tone range captured than can be seen on your monitor. Boosting the contrast a little in post processing, not in-camera, (unless you are shooting JPG) will reduce highlight clipping as will ADL being turned on.
Default settings come from the factory with lower contrast and sharpening than you would probably want. If shooting JPG, create a Picture Control with sharpening and contrast boosted a little and you will see a big difference seen on a monitor. If shooting in RAW, those controls do not impact the image file and sharpening is done in your computer. Stan St Petersburg Russia
#13. "RE: Randon EC +/- Values Appearing" In response to Reply # 8
Surely the fact that some sort of Exposure Compensation is shown in the viewfinder, when you're expecting none, is a prompt to investigate the cause? The D7000's viewfinder display looks quite comprehensive, including bracketing indicators as well as the meter indicating the amount of compensation. It certainly looks like bracketing was in use for the image above.
#15. "RE: Randon EC +/- Values Appearing" In response to Reply # 0
When exposure bracketing is on, it is obvious in the top LCD display and in the viewfinder. You will see the letters "BKT" on the right side of the top LCD display and on the right side of the viewfinder. It is possible to turn it on unintentionally. I'll also echo the caution above about Easy Exposure Compensation. I tried that feature for a while but turned it off because I was ALWAYS unintentionally adjusting EV with inadvertent movement of the rear command dial.
Also, what is wrong with the exposure? Looks like it was taken at mid-day and -1 EV should not have been a problem if you're shooting in raw. You can adjust a couple of EV either way in post processing. In fact, it might have even been desirable to have -1 to keep from blowing the highlights on the light colored building in the foreground. It looks like there is a lack of contrast and saturation typical of a mid-day shot, but that can be recovered in post processing. Also, with respect to dynamic range, there is generally a lot more available in the image than is typically displayed by the settings on raw conversion software. You can tone down the highlights, lighten up the shadows, adjust mid-tones, etc in post processing.
I'm not sure what a neutral density filter would do for you in a shot like this. A neutral density filter is just negative EV. Unless you're trying to get a really slow shutter speed and you're at the end of your EV range in the camera - just using negative EV adjustments on the camera should work as well. A polarizing filter, on the other hand, may have been beneficial.
I think you may want to explore the post processing tools available to you a little more, before you lament the dynamic range of digital vs film.
#16. "RE: Randon EC +/- Values Appearing" In response to Reply # 11
Los Angeles, US
Earlier, when I checked for bracketing settings I looked at the control panel. I didn't see any. But just now, I looked through the viewfinder, and the symbol for BKT was on. Surprise.
As someone said, perhaps the -1 EV factor really helped the exposure. And thanks for the explanation of DR with digital. I guess I was looking for a boogyman and praising film without reason or justification. While driving in my car a few days ago, I heard "Mama Don't Take My Kodachrome" on the radio and couldn't get it out of my head. Ha.
As to my displeasure with the image I took, it just looked 'muddy", considering it was a bright, clear day and that smog is a thing of the past in Los Angeles. Thank you environmental laws!
The mid-day light was probably the culprit and perhaps the only remedy would have been a CP filter. But, gee, I can't figure out how that BKT factor got set. I've never used it. To those of you who suggested some remedy in PP, I've never used the computer for images. I'm running a 12-year old Mac - without the Intel CPU, so current imaging software won't run on it. I was waiting for the revision of the iMac, and will get a new one next month.
Thanks to you all. 8 months into D7000 ownership and still in Kindergarten.
#17. "RE: Randon EC +/- Values Appearing" In response to Reply # 15 Mon 24-Dec-12 07:10 PM by Bravozulu
Los Angeles, US
I checked everything on my camera, and you guys were right. What I need is that Hoodman eyecup of the Nikon D-19 viewfinder cup. Being 70, I can barely see anything in the viewfinder in bright light.
Though I did look at the Control Panel yesterday for EC correction I didn't see the icon. In a dark room indoors, the Viewfinder clearly showed EC. Gee, 8 months owning the D7000 and I'm still in Kindergarten. Oh, and I never use Easy ISO.
I don't do any PP. My old Mac won't run the software, but next month I'm getting the new iMac and will start out using PhotoMechanic and Capture NX2. I shoot both Raw and Jpeg. So possibly I might gain from having Lightroom.
About the image itself. Yes, it did gain something from having -1 EV cranked in. But my displeasure with it was in knowing it was a sparkling, clear day. So probably the only thing that would have helped is a graduated ND filter (I have one) or a polarizer to darken the sky.
I realize that I have not yet acquired the skillsets to fully manage the D7000. I come from an aviation background. And I retired just as the computerized cockpits were entering our fleet. Older pilots were faced with a big hurdle. In the old 747 cockpit, there were about 200 instruments distributed on about 5 panels, and so your eye would gravitate to a particular location to check a setting.
The new 'glass cockpit" planes compressed all that information onto three flat video screens. You would scroll the screens through various views to give you Navigation, Hydraulics, Engine settings, Electrical. So the information was sequential, and condensed — compressed, really — instead of being fixed in a dedicated location. The D7000 throws a lot of icons/symbols into a tiny area. And so I miss a lot of cues.
This week I'll get that viewfinder hood so I can see what's going on under the hood. I learned a lot from this thread and I thank you for your patience. Here's a few more images from that same sequence. Malibu appears along a 20-mile stretch where the mountains descend into the sea. Buildings are the business district of Santa Monica.
#18. "RE: Randon EC +/- Values Appearing" In response to Reply # 17 Tue 25-Dec-12 06:30 AM by km6xz
St Petersburg, RU
Taking the bottom image as an example, there is a 1ev boost in exposure which is about the the amount the sky is over exposed. The haze seen is not pollution but pretty natural phenomina. The contrast is low due to the haze and also I might guess the lens hood was not in place. Bright out of frame light hitting the front lens element causes contrast loss in the image. If you were shooting in RAW, all this could be repaired but there is less adjustment range in JPG. Even without the lower adjustment flexibility, I downloaded your small JPG and added contrast, sharpening and reduced exposure by 1 ev. There is lost detail in the high tones but the original RAW data had a lot of recoverable data in the high tones which would have recovered the sky detail and color. You were using Standard PC which does not have much sharpening or contrast. Vivid has more sharpening but also more color saturation, so give that a try and see if your images in those conditions, would be more to your liking. This image file is pretty small so any adjustments leave artifacts, like the ghosting on the tops of the mountains. With the original large file or in RAW those artifacts would not be there. The D7000 has many options that are not needed all the time but are needed occasionally so it is not an easy camera to master in a short time. In this case, Bracketing being turned on would have produced one file that was just right in exposure and one under exposed and one overexposed, this one. Just like with your scanning the control panel of the 747, it was really overwhelming when first trying but later the physical scan and distinct spots your scan expected to find them at, is similar to the scan of many parameters that users of the D7000 or any advanced camera learn to do before any shot so there are fewer surprises in the results. With a little more time and some experimenting with the different features, you will be able to notice minor misadjustments or being in undesired modes without even really looking. At first it is work to check everything before triggering the shutter but eventually, you will just "know" if something is amiss. Good luck and have fun! Stan St Petersburg Russia
#22. "RE: Randon EC +/- Values Appearing" In response to Reply # 21
Los Angeles, US
The flash settings are a trickier. There is a bit too much info to condense onto a 4x6 index card. I keep one for camera and one for flash in my camera back.
The data on flash was gleaned primarily from the speedlight tutorials posted by Russ (Ross?) McDonald, a Nikonian who, among other credentials, is a pro wedding photographer whose dissertation on Nikon CLS photography runs to more than 700 pages.
His advice could be summed up by stating two parameters (RE: flash mode), shoot TTl-bl if the background is brighter than foreground. In other words, fill flash. Shoot plain TTl (with spot metering on the camera) if you want to ignore background, and highlight foreground.
In the latter case, 1/3 or 2/3 stop -EC set on the flash.