I would like to find out if you normally use ev compensation in your day to day shooting? I was listening to "the great courses" lecture by Nat Geo photographer and he referred to having his Nikon on -ev in normal day-day shooting. Reasoning: Its harder to recover highlights than shadows. I am intrigued by this statement.
That would be the exact opposite of the theory about "exposing to the right". Either way, you do not want to be using too much EV comp (either direction) so start clipping the ends.
Personally, I try to get the subject exposed correctly. If that means clipping the shadows or the highlights, I will try to minimize the clipping by EV comp or ND/GND filters; but the subject is the important part.
---------+---------+---------+---------+---------+ Joseph K Seattle, WA, USA
No, I don't normally dial in "permanent" exposure compensation. For a specific shot, I'll adjust it either way if in Aperture Priority mode or just off-set the exposure appropriately if in Manual mode. It's very rare for a D800 shot to be so far off that you can't recover highlights when shooting raw files, especially with modern raw converters. Years back, things were a bit different.
> "It's very rare for a D800 shot to be so far off that you can't recover highlights when shooting raw files, especially with modern raw converters."
Rick, I fully agree with you, in most situations. If the highlight areas are big enough, matrix metering will usually ensure sufficient highlight recovery.
But there's one aspect of the D800E that changes the picture, and that's the amazing cropping ability. It's possible to shoot a small white target that fills less than a percent of the frame, and then crop massively. A swan shot from a distance is a typical example. Without -0.3 or -0.7ev compensation, the matrix metering of my D800E assumes that a distant swan is specular highlight that's permitted to blow.
Blowing out snow or clouds is very rarely a problem because if there is snow or clouds in the picture, there is so much of it that the metering will not dismiss it as specular highlight.
In the "good old days" of digital SLRs, such as the D70, it turned out that it was very easy to overexpose, i.e., the curve crashing and burning off the right end, especially in our harsh sunlit areas here at high elevation and, in my first digital experience, at 8,000 feet in Yellowstone (WOW! That was a lesson quickly learned! Thank God I had Photoshop on my laptop!).
But the dynamic range of those "good old days" cameras was really narrow. And, just maybe, the ISO ratings weren't exactly kosher.
These days, things are far better --- only on occasions will you hear somebody say, "I always dial in 1/4 stop minus," or whatever. And, frankly, the capabilities of Photoshop and Lightroom, etc., make those adjustments moot, IN MY OPINION.
And, since you are in the D800 forum, I'll add that my experience is that the dynamic range of this camera is far beyond any expectations of five years ago, and the metering accuracy is simply stunning, IN MY OPINION.
Hell, I'll put my camera on Matrix, Program, and run all day, except in those obvious situations where the human brain has to step in. And even then, if I select "Spot," it's the camera's brains doing the "Spot" work.
Some will tell you, "I always meter separately, and always use Manual Exposure, because my brain is far superior to the camera's." To those people, I can only say, "Quick, multiply 4960 times 34.8."
> >Some will tell you, "I always meter separately, and >always use Manual Exposure, because my brain is far superior >to the camera's." To those people, I can only say, >"Quick, multiply 4960 times 34.8." >
When the light isn't changing, but your subjects are varying from dark to light, all auto exposure will do is mess up your shot. It's not complex math. There's a reason to know how to use manual exposure and to know when to use it. To add to that, when Program mode is able to read my brain and know when I want limited depth of field vs. deep depth of field or blurred movement vs. a subject that's frozen in place, I'll consider using it more often. Without frequent overrides, it's a good way to end up with average looking shots vs. really good ones.
Like Rick, I don't use any "permanent" exposure compensation. As with any camera feature, it's there to be deployed when the photographer knows it's going to help things.
In the situation where light is constant but subjects vary greatly in tone (in my case, aircraft against a blue sky) I too find manual exposure works well. Take a reference reading with the camera meter from grass in the same light, then use the indicated settings in manual.
Reza, Like the others I don't have anything permanently dialed in, and of course, I do my best to get the exposure right in the first place.
However, I will say that the D800, shooting 14 bit RAW at ISO 100, captures an amazing amount of deep shadow detail. So, if I am shooting a subject with high contrast lighting, I will routinely use a negative ev of some sort to keep from blowing the highlights and rely on post to bring up the shadows. I suspect D800 images are special in this regard with their high dynamic range. Something may look underexposed, but there is a good chance there is lot of usable data in there that just needs some work in post to bring it out.
I can't remember the last time I needed to go the other way with a positive ev value, at least with matrix metering.
FWIW - I keep the center button of the multi-selector set to "histograms" in playback mode, and I use it a lot. Very handy feature for this stuff.
My D300 is just the same, requiring some fine tuning, that is what the function is for. If however you are taking pictures of incoming cars with headlights on you can dial in some compensation or switch to manual. I still check occasionally with an external Lightmeter to see if exposure is much the same as a reflected reading on a grey card. LR5 can fix most issues with over or under exposure but correct capture always helps in creating a great image.