View Full Version : Important Exposure How-to Info...

Arthur Morris
03-21-2008, 02:38 PM
My article Exposure Simplified is in the current e-Zine here: http://www.birdphotographers.net/ezine/mar08_01.aspx things have changed substantially since that was written.

Before the release of the Nikon D-3 and D-300, the meters in most digitals cameras were very similar, but those two cameras are considerably different fromt the rest of the crowd. Not better necessarily better, but different. In short, these two Nikon bodies need much less plus compensation when the light is soft (predawn, just after dawn, cloudy, foggy, etc.), but need more underexposure when the sun is at full strenght, especially with bright or white subjects.

The fact today is that each of the many good digital cameras today meters differently, and sometimes, even individual cameras that are the same model (for example, two Canon EOS 1-D MIII camera bodies) will meter the exact scene differently. Your job as a digital photographer is to learn not only the basics of exposure but the characteristics of your camera's meter. Your goal is to have some data in the right-most histogram box without having any flashing (pegged or over-exposed) highlights).

It is no longer possible for me to give accurate generic advice on exposure compensations for a given situation because the cameras and the meters are so different. The photographer needs to learn exposure theory and then learn how to come up with a perfect exposure and a perfect histogram with the camera that they have in their hands at a given moment.

later and love, artie

Ian McHenry
03-21-2008, 04:31 PM
Great stuff Artie.
A splendid learning tool.
Thanks for sharing.
Ian Mc

Jared Gricoskie
03-21-2008, 06:43 PM

Great article and very true on Nikons, my D300, D200, and even the D100 are always set at -0.3 or -0.7 and its a rare event that I dial in a positive compensation.

The defocus technique to help explain tonality is fantastic. I will be sure to use that during my photo tours.

Robert O'Toole
03-23-2008, 11:16 AM
Nikon meters systems since the F5 have used a 1005 RGB meter for AE (also uniquely for AF and WB). This is a Nikon SLR system advantage. It sees a morning scene and sees the warm light and adds more exposure as Canon and the other meters will look at the same warm light and see it as EV and not color and stop down. To compensate you have to add 1-1.5 stops early on with non-Nikon SLRs. With an RGB meter this is much less the case.

In strong light my Nikon meter is on minus -.3 EV as Jared mentioned also.


Larry Brown
03-31-2008, 06:55 PM
Just to be sure I understand what you are saying here. The information in your pocket field guide can no longer be used to determine exposure? Instead, rely on the histogram by including pixels in right box . Do you still recommend evaluative metering?
Larry Brown

Arthur Morris
04-01-2008, 06:13 PM
Hi Larry, The (long out of print) Pocket Guide to Evaluative Metering can still help you to understand exposure theory, and if you are using a bunch of different Canon bodies or some of the older Nikon bodies, much of the advice will be right-on. With my Mark III bodies I actually need to make images well lighter than as described on the guide, and if you are using a D-3 or a D-300 you will need to make images well darker. The concepts are still valid, the amounts will differ with the camera body that you are using, and flashing hightlights and the histogram are used to confirm your judgement and ensure good exposures. later and love, artie