Help with exposure on D80
This isn't a D80 overexposure bashing. I really want to learn whether I am exposing properly of if there's a problem with my camera.
I was testing exposure with my D80 and the problem that I keep having is that the sky is always blown out whenever there are any clouds. I am not sure if I am doing something wrong or if my camera is defective or if this is the famous overexposure problem.
The first picture is as shot
I wanted to get the sky to not overexpose so I added -0.3 exposure compensation for the second shot.
still, no sky. I even tried it at -1.0 and still no detail.
Just for kicks, I took out my old (4 years) Pentax Optio 750Z. A 7 MP P&S and that's the last shot which, in my eyes, is better than any of the 2 taken with the Nikon at balancing the cloudy sky and the house.
When I metered the sky with the Nikon, it comes out beautifully, but the rest of the image was completely dark.
Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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#1. "RE: Help with exposure on D80" | In response to Reply # 0
longroad Registered since 27th Mar 2007Sat 07-Apr-07 10:58 PM
Im having exactly the same problem. I've only had the camera for a week so figured its just me not knowing how to use it well yet.
I've tried tweaking exposure settings with no real impact.
I'll be interested to read what some of the more experienced have to say here.
#2. "RE: Help with exposure on D80" | In response to Reply # 1
Joves Registered since 28th Jan 2006Sat 07-Apr-07 11:05 PM
You didnt say are you using the manual mode or the Auto mode. If it is Auto then, that is why you are getting blow outs like that. Matrix metering is no good in Auto. You might also try using Apature priority. You can also say do a set focus on the house which is dark and, meter off the sky. But the house is rather dark and, I would have used a flash myself. I never use any of the preset modes either. It is usually Manual or, Apature Priority for the most part. I use shutter priority if I need to shoot some moving shots.
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#3. "RE: Help with exposure on D80" | In response to Reply # 2
fgottlieb Registered since 01st Jun 2006Sat 07-Apr-07 11:11 PM
I used P mode. The house isn't dark at all, it's a medium yellow. Nevertheless, a $1000 camera with a $900 lens should be able to capture this without a problem. If my $200 pentax can do a better job, then why can't the nikon?
#4. "RE: Help with exposure on D80" | In response to Reply # 3
JHJ Registered since 24th Mar 2006Sat 07-Apr-07 11:18 PM
That isn't a camera problem. The difference between the proper exposure for the house and the sky is too great to have both exposed properly for the D80 and the Pentax.
The first shot is exposed properly for the house but the sky is too bright to be exposed properly.
The last shot is underexposed for the house. If the house was properly exposed the sky would be over exposed.
#5. "RE: Help with exposure on D80" | In response to Reply # 4
mikefromwv Registered since 18th Feb 2003Sun 08-Apr-07 02:17 AM
I really don't see where your Pentax has done a "better job", but everything is in the eye of the beholder I guess. That third photo looks very underexposed to me, assuming the house is supposed to be the main subject.
#6. "RE: Help with exposure on D80" | In response to Reply # 5
sewwhatsports Registered since 03rd May 2007Sun 08-Apr-07 03:43 AM
If you get the chance, d/l the latest podcast from The Image Doctors. They talked about shooting skys and blown highlights. They said that the problem you are having is inherent as there is too much dynamic range for the camera between the sky and the subject. It is their 'prescription' part at the end of the show that they talk about this. If you do not have an Ipod, you can listen to the podcasts right on your computer. There is a podcast gallery. Look there and you will be able to find the shows. You are looking for podcast #37. I just listenend to it today so that is why I remember the topic so clearly. HTH
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#8. "RE: Help with exposure on D80" | In response to Reply # 2
>You didnt say are you using the manual mode or the Auto
>mode. If it is Auto then, that is why you are getting blow
>outs like that. Matrix metering is no good in Auto.
I'm not sure about that - to me, Matrix works just the same whichever mode you choose.
I think the explanation lies elsewhere; as others have pointed out in the Pentax shot the house itself looks significantly underexposed. The Pentax has just chosen a different compromise exposure for a scene which has too much dynamic range to for any camera to record completely.
It is acknowledged that the D80's matrix metering does behave differently from other Nikons in these circumstances, but that doesn't make it faulty. Once you know what to expect it is easy to compensate
#7. "RE: Help with exposure on D80" | In response to Reply # 0
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#11. "RE: Help with exposure on D80" | In response to Reply # 7
James23p Nikonian since 25th Apr 2004Wed 16-Jan-08 01:12 PM
One and two the house is properly exposed number three the house is atleast one stop under exposed. Plus the sky on all three looks extremly similar not alot of difference for me the Nikon looks head and shoulders above the last one.
Remember to the point and shoot is doing a ton of in camera post processing the D80 is not. Plus not to get to technical but in your D80 shots you have a ton of dark green grass so the meter is reading that, on the Point and Shoot you have almost no dark green but alot of lighter colors thus the dynamic range is less. Plus you appear to be at a slightly differnt angle the way the sun is orientated to your subject matters. I can see sun reflection in the windows of the D80(great detail there) and no reflection in the point and shoot so you are standing different or the sun has moved some either or they are not identical tests.
Remember Matrix metering is not only accounting for the house but the darker grass and deck and the sky.
Heres something I do my function button is set to spot metering. If you really need the sky I just point at the sky and press the function button then I pick a dark area and spot meter there then I average the two I usually can do this is a second or two in my head. But again I usually find Matrix meteriong to work well 99% of the time.
Here are two shots I took to try and blow out the clouds this is Matrix Meter using aperture prority. All I did was resize and crop a tad and sharpen. Now these are far from works of art but they do show alot of dynamic range dark clouds, white clouds, dark trees and tree lines etc.
Try using aperture priority so you have more control and see what shakes out. Jim
Attachment #1, (jpg file)
Attachment #2, (jpg file)
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#10. "RE: Help with exposure on D80" | In response to Reply # 11
sahunt Registered since 03rd Jan 2007Tue 10-Apr-07 12:11 PM
According to Thom Hogan's book, the matrix mode deliberately discounts the sky when computing the exposure for some types of composition. To paraphrase what Thom says, if the matrix meter sees brightness in the upper half of the picture, it thinks this is sky, and therefore unimportant. Hence it exposes for the lower part of the scene and blows the sky. He then goes on to say that with a wideangle lens focused at infinity, the metering system deduces you are taking a landscape shot and doesn't discount the sky exposure as much.
If this information is correct it explains to me a great deal as to why the matrix meter is so variable in its results, and why some people swear by it and others at it.
#9. "RE: Help with exposure on D80" | In response to Reply # 0
The default Tone compensation setting of the camera increases the contrast and makes it difficult to capture the full dynamic range of this shot. Go into Optimize image and set Tone compensation to -1. The other thing that you can do is set the exposure to retain some more detail in the sky and to use the in camera "D lighting" in the Re-touch menu to lighten the house.