This is driving me crazy. First there are focus issues. It just seems awfully difficult to consistently get good focus; but I’m working on that. I’m trying different modes and I seem to be getting more keepers as time goes on. Of course nowhere near as many as my tiny point and shoot. (it really angers me when my wife asks me to take an extra shot w/ the P&S just in case… Unfortunately tho’ she’s right.)
My problem now is exposure. The camera seems to overexpose between 1 – 2 stops. When I shoot inside (available light) it seems to work reasonably well. Although the photos often appear much brighter than the scene appears to my eyes. There are rarely any blown highlights tho’. When I go outside on a sunny day and shoot, very often the whole scene is washed out; nothing is exposed properly, the histogram is largely within the first and maybe second bars on the right side of the histogram (pure highlights).
To further examine the issue I reset both the shooting and custom menus and took a series of shots in auto everything; the problem persists. It doesn’t matter if I shot RAW or JPEG. I now routinely dial in 1 – 1.5 stop of under exposure to get decent shots. This does not always work because the problem is “sometimey”. Most exposures are made using multi-segment metering. I will try using spot metering as I continue to probe this issue. Also I will compare what my incident meter reads as compared with the D200.
Where could I be going wrong? What should I do next?
For the record I have over 15yrs of photography experience with a wide assort of film cameras from 4”x5” to 35mm. I am new to digital and am perhaps guilty of assuming that the rules for exposing digital are the same as film.
I'm assuming non of these are cropped and the metering is on the middle sensor so that center weighted metering isn't metering on something other than the subject. The -1.5 EC looks about the proper exposure. Therefore, since this isn't an isolated problem and since the D200 is well known to underexpose more than any other DSLR, I think it is time to give Nikon service a call. But, have you tried spot metering on the subject? That would be the best test for these scenes?
It is a great camera that exposes extremely well, and mine does slightly underexpose in accord with the design and I use matrix metering about 99% of the time and spot less than 1%. I just compensate when it is off which is the exception, not the rule. You need to be taking great pictures not compensating for exposures. Call Nikon service and have it checked out.
Edited: By the way, Nikon may pay for shipping for service. Mine has been in the shop twice and the secodn time they emailed me a UPS slip to pay for shipping and they paid to ship back both times.
Albert J Valentino Nikonian Moderator Emeritus Vantage Point Images Mastery of Composition is the Key to Great Photography
I cant say for sure but I routinely select the Af senor that is on the eyes in an attempt to get good focus. But I do not think this impacts the metering in any setting except spot. I suspect multi segment looks at the whole scene and weights it according to its program and center weighted is well... center weighted.
Tomorrow, I will try spot metering which I believe works in conjunction with the selected Af sensor. Hopefully the kids are up to it. I usually have to bride them with staying up a couple of extra minutes!
I understand you can very the size of the centre weighting. What I need to confirm is that it is always the center of the frame as opposed to centered around what ever AF sensor you select. Because my camera does not focus very accurately, consistently, I ALWAYS select an AF sensor that is over the eyes/face in hope that this will produce better focus. If the area of centre weigthing changes according to the sensor selected, for me that should give the best possible exposure because it is over the area that I am most concerned about; the eyes and face.
since the D200 is well known to underexpose more than any other DSLR
Not in my experience. In fact I just did a quick check of over 1000 "keepers" on my system. Exposure Compensation (EC) was -1 for 4, -2/3 for 25, and -1/3 for 14. I had no images requiring postive exposure compensation.
Since you're clipping the EXIF data on your photos, please post the lens your using, shutter, F-Stop, and ISO. Make an effort to remember which focus spot you're using, or better yet, lock it to the middle sensor. Assuming we're not missing something, I agree with Valentino, Nikon needs to see your camera. Try it with another lens, if you have one. Using multi-segment my D200 is almost fool proof. It needs to be!
Edit: Never mind the shooting info, found it on your flickr page when I looked at the large images. Duh!
Have you tried a lens other than the 28-70 f/2.8? One common cause of over exposure is the aperture blades sticking. If you don't have another lens to test with set aperture at maximum (f/2.8 in your case) and see if it still over exposes.
Also, have you manually set ISO at 280, or are you using auto ISO? Unless you need more light I'd recommend ISO 100.
He has to be in auto Steve. You can't set the D200 to ISO 280 manually. I think Darrin indicated he set the camera to everything auto after resetting the camera. I hope he has another lens, the aperture thing is a real possibility. But...... I doubt he bought that lens with the D200. As he already was a film photog, unless he hasn't used the lens in a while, he'd have noticed the problem. But it could have just happened.
>If custom setting B2 is set to 1/2 step, ISO may be manually >set to 280 (pg 34 in the manual). > >It was the fact that it only sometimes happens that leads me >to believe it's mechanical. If there was a metering problem >with his D200 it seems like it would be very consistent. > >Steve
Ahhh, I never use half step. Learned something again. I have enough trouble keeping up with steps! And I didn't see where it only sometimes happens. That would kinda indict the aperture blades. He might take the lens off and manually activate the aperture and see if it feels sticky.
I bought both together. But I can say that the bulk of my shooting thus far has been in the f2.8 - 4 range because I tend towards portraits. If it is in fact stuck blades I may not have taken sufficient photos at higher aperatures to notice. Also because I have problems with focus also, I have really tried to operate from a perspective that says 'its probably operator error' and look to find a solution as opposed to immediately assuming it is a problem with the camera. If this was my F1 and I got back a roll of overexposed shots you can bet I would have assumed it was the camera! No question about!
Sticking aperture blades. Hmmm.... I look into to that. I am new to nikon, from canon, and this is my first lens/camera. Unfortunately there seems to be few nikon shooters in BDA. I'm sure I can find one in the next couple of weeks tho.
i will see if the problem is there when I shoot wide open. I have to say that I generally shoot around f2.8 - 4 to blur the background. Also when I did a couple of quick comparisons w/ my light meter they were not as far out as I expected. usually around .5-.75 of a stop.
Darrin, I recently moved from the D70 to the D200 and it drove me crazy for a while. Don't fret, It just took me a while to get used to the focus and exposure modes.
One thing that I would suggest is that you go to Manual mode for a little while. Set the ISO to 100 or 200 with no Auto Adjustment. Then, for every photo you take, you will know the exact shutter speed, aperature and ISO settings. If you take multiple photos with similar shutter/aperature settings and the exposure is all over the map, then you probably have some sort of a lens/aperature problem. While you are doing this, pay attention to the meter in the lens and see if it is jumping all over (could indicate a meter problem).
If this fixes the problem, switch to Aperature priority with a fixed f-stop (like 5.6) and pay careful attention to how the shutter speed changes as you recompose your pictures. Again, wild fluctuations could indicate a bad meter.
The more troubleshooting that you can do before just shipping it off to Nikon, the better. Good Luck!!
- Scott D2Hs/D80/D70(IR)/2 Models who won't pose for me
I reset everything prior to posting the images. the problem continues. The camera/lens is about two months old. I don't think it came like this. It is way too obvious for mw not to have noticed. I started noticing it last week. I didn't pay too much attention to it because I just thought I was doing something wrong or that camera was pointed at something that threw off the meter.
I stopped dead in my tracks when I saw two photos that I took on Sunday. I was out with my son (3yrs) and we were walking on along a dock. I saw a picture I wanted to take and beacuase he was with me and I was concerned about him falling in the water. I took a quick metering made sure all was ok. Made him sit down and fired off two frames. The sun was behind me. Up until sunday I had review mode off to conserve batteries. When I got home to ollk at the shots they were totally washed out, I mean maybe two stops over exposed. I knew something was up. It was then I really began looking into it. One of the 1st things I did was reset the shooting and custom banks.
Sorry for the long reply it is somewhat cathartic to write!
I dread sending the camera back it will cost approx $80.00 each way and about an hour at the post office/customs department to avoid paying duty when it comes back. Having shot more photos tonite I don't think I have a choice.
Well the jury has returned and there definitely seems to be a problem with the aperture. Whether it is the camera or the lens I don't know.
To confirm this I set the camera to aperture priority and took a series of indoor shoots starting at f2.8 - f22. I confirmed that the meter adjusted the shutter speed for each shot. Each shot got prgressively over exposed until at f22 it was totaly white. And for giggles I check to see if the depth of field preview worked and it does not. I rotated the aperture ring a couple of times to see if it would fix it; to no avail.
I will have to return the camera.
Should I contact B&H or go straight to Nikon? If you go straight to nikon what is the procedure?
The camera is 2 months old with about 4000 clicks.
Take the lens off the camera, look through it with your eyes while turning the aperture ring and at each value, check the little lever on the rim of the back of the lens...
The little lever allows the diaphragm to close at the selected aperture. The central hole should be small at 22 and full open at 2.8 and vary in size in between...
All what you describe looks like a sticky aperture blades (often oil from the grease that was melted after a too long exposure to heat). Testing with the camera would not be conclusive as the camera would compensate up to reaching it's limits in speed and ISO... After it would be progressive in over exposure!
My two cents...
"Architecture and Photography are following the same goal ... To sculpt with light !" My Gallery...
Is there any way you can try another lens? It may sound like the D200 is at fault, but there's still a chance it's the lens. Do you have another Nikon camera (film or digital) to test the lens on? Is there a camera shop on the island that would let you test another lens?
I think this is where you are going wrong. On the D200 you DO NOT move the aperture ring to change Fstop. Leave it locked at F22 and use the command dial either front or rear depending on your settings to change the Fstop.
Hedley Originally from Merthyr Tydfil, Wales -- now in Arkansas
You are correct. I have removed the lens and looked at the connections. The little lever that actuates the aperture to stop it down seems fairly tight to me considering it has to move in fractions of a second. When moving the aperture itself it seems fairly tight also even for a new lens. The little lever on the camera that pushes down the little lever on the lens moves when the shutter is activated.
I will clean the contacts with alcohol although I must say that because I only have one lens it has NEVER come off the body since the first day I put it on (I am paranoid about dust!), until yesterday. If the contacts were dirty that would signal disaster for the life of the body. (IMO)
Either the camera or lens (or both)is defective. Without any other equipment it will be difficut to determine which. I found a store that sells the D200 and will see if they let me try another lens. I think they have the basic kit lens there.
From everyone's comments and posts above, I could see this being a camera issue, but I am leaning towards a lens blades/contacts issue. Make sure that bracketing is OFF if/when you test the new lens... acutally I would 'reset' the camera. I would be hesitant to send this to Nikon without testing a new lens first as the $80 each way might be a waste of time when Nikon tells you there is nothing wrong with the camera. If you can't find a lens to test, be sure to send in the lens as well... that way they can test both individually and/or the combination of the two.
About the 'mythical water' cure for NAS, when he goes to try the new lens (the dealer will probably push a 70-200 VR at him), he will be driven to the deepest depths of addiction
Certainly shooting wide open will produce narrow depth of field with a greater risk of OOFocus shots. But I don't think that is my problem. I believe there are issues with the focus performance of this camera that require the user to pay a bit more attention to their shooting and have a greater understanding of how each focus setting relates to the type of shooting they are doing.
In my case I generally do portrait type shooting. I thought that using AF-S, selecting a single AF sensor that was on the eyes would produce the sharpest, quickest focus. I am learning that it doesn't for the way I shoot. I am experimenting more with AF-C and seem to be getting better results. I suspect that at F2.8 the slighest movement of either photographer or subject once the camera has locked focus will produce slightly OOFocus results.
I am still learning how the camera works best and adapting. I shot 500 frames today, all at f2.8! (its the only f-stop that works!) My faith is certainly restored in the camera's ability to generally get exposures using multi-segement metering. Ironically, I would say the camera has a tendency to underexpose a little bit, which I found quite pleasing. Also the higher percentage of well focussed shots was obtained using AF-C. I still used a single AF sensor over the eyes/face though.
You are correct about 'S' and 'C' focusing modes. In 'S' the focus locks when the shutter is half pressed and the slightest forward or backward movement by you or your subject could result in OOF. In 'C' it doesn't lock until the shutter fires and this compensates for the forward or backward movement.
Hedley Originally from Merthyr Tydfil, Wales -- now in Arkansas
>I believe there are issues with >the focus performance of this camera that require the user >to pay a bit more attention to their shooting and have a >greater understanding of how each focus setting relates to >the type of shooting they are doing.
I think that is absolutely correct, except that I wouldn't call them "issues"... The more complex a camera's AF system gets, the more effort it takes to understand its nuances and to learn how to use it to best effect.
Point taken. I used the word 'issue' because IMO the best designs have all their complexity available to the informed user who because of their experience may wish to make decisions that may go against norms. However these 'better' designs also perform optimally and above average in the hands of an initiate because they are really good.
An example of this would be the the D200 exposure system. Left to program, auto-iso it well produce excellent results over a wide range of situations. The system also allows all its complexity to be accessed by the informed user who may wish to alter the default exposure. The D200 does this very well. I can not say the same for the focusing system. I long for a point and focus system on the D200 similar to the point and expose system.
Hence the word 'issue'.
Clearly a conscious decision was made (price point perhaps or just marketing) not to equip the D200 with the same focus system as on the D2X. I wonder if the D2X focus system addresses what I perceive are the issues?
Please accept my comments in the spirit of inquiry as I recognize that we probably approach the topic from different perspectives.
>>Clearly a conscious decision was made (price point perhaps >or just marketing) not to equip the D200 with the same focus >system as on the D2X. I wonder if the D2X focus system >addresses what I perceive are the issues?
Perhaps not. The D2X has more cross-type AF sensors, but the basic layout is pretty similar between CAM1000 (D200) and CAM2000 (D2X). Both are pretty complex, so if you're looking for a setting that you can use without thinking about it neither may satisfy.
>Please accept my comments in the spirit of inquiry as I >recognize that we probably approach the topic from different >perspectives.
>In my case I generally do portrait type shooting. I thought >that using AF-S, selecting a single AF sensor that was on >the eyes would produce the sharpest, quickest focus. I am >learning that it doesn't for the way I shoot. I am >experimenting more with AF-C and seem to be getting better >results. I suspect that at F2.8 the slighest movement of >either photographer or subject once the camera has locked >focus will produce slightly OOFocus results.
You're dead right; at a shoot on Saturday I was critically analysing the DOF with my Sigme 70-200 f2.8 (set to f2.8) and from a distance of maybe 30 feet you could miss the target by 2-3 inches either way - eyes soft, ears sharp. Damn annoying and I haven't solved the problem yet. Sometimes of course they move a little afer the focus locks - fair enough - but it gets it wrong even when they're still. I didn't notice this problem with the D70.
Since nobody has mentioned it, I will There's a simple test to see if your lens has stuck apperture blades: just set it to F22 or somthing similar, look through the viewfinder and press the DOF preview button. Your view should darken. If it doesn't, you have stuck blades.
Even if there was a 'good', 'quick' fix, I would be concerned that some damage may have been done already to the blades/actuator. I would send the lens back to Nikon... that way you will know that it is in perfect condition when it returns.
For me, I wouldn't send the camera, Nikon has plenty of spare cameras. I have heard of instances where they ask you to, but that is usually in situations where someone can't identify the cause of the issue. You have clearly singled out the lens.
You might want to 'rent' the 70-200 while your lens is in the shop.
As a new D200 owner - today in fact (just migrating from D70) - I was browsing these forums and read this thread. It was very, very impressive to find a collection of intelligent helpful responders. Now I will pay some dues.
To further complicate matters, the D200 DOES allow you to set the aperture using the aperture ring, but you have to activate custom setting f5.
However, given the fact that you performed a reset, the aperture should be choosen using the command dials. And ofcourse if the camera itself says you're at, say, f/8 and the depth of field preview has no effect, the lens is definetely the one to blame.
Please don't pitch your D200 into the sea. All those electrical components and the lithium battery breaking down in the sea water could cause a problem for the local fish. Instead, box the camera up and ship it to me; I'll make sure it is properly disposed of.
There's no need to thank me, I'm just trying to do my part for the community.