D300 - Program Mode

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by derek_boocock, Jan 2, 2008.

  1. While playing around with my Nikon D300 I stuck it in Program mode at the
    weekend to see how it performed (and also so I can throw it at my other half to
    use as a point and shoot occasionally) and was quite surprised by the results.
    No EV was used, lighting was overcast and images were taken in the open and
    under cover. ISO was set to 200, white balance to auto.

    I took 150+ images and every single image was overexposed by 1 stop. Had I been
    shooting jpeg then then this would have been a problem, as it was the RAW files
    were easily sorted out.

    Has anyone else tried Program mode? if so what were your findings?

    I have to say everything else is spot on, but I'm unsure if I should contact
    Nikon about the above.
  2. That's pretty weird. I would think that program mode would be the same as choosing aperture or shutter priority, except it's choosing both rather than just one in response to the other. And I shoot in aperture all the time, no compensation, and I'm not seeing any consistent overexposure issues, much less by 1 full stop. I'm quite happy with the metering on the D300, in fact. Did you drop into spot metering by accident by any chance?

  3. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Moderator

    I have been using mostly the program mode ever since flex program was available on the N8008 I bought back in 1989 (boy, that was almost 19 years ago). I consider program an improved version of aperture priority. Whatever exposure mode you use should not affect metering. Yes, I have used P on the D300 without any problems.
  4. Don't you have a display with histogram on 'your' D300? I guess you have so use it and make your corrections during the photo making.
  5. lwg


    Can you post a sample image so we can get a feel for the lighting? I have had no issues with exposure in P or A mode. Is it possible your lens aperture is sticking? Have you tried another lens? Also, what metering mode were you using? Did you dial in some EV with option B6?
  6. I stopped using flexible program a few years ago and switched to Aperture priority. I like to shoot at f8 if I can. I set the camera to f8 and go from there. If I need to switch apertures up or down, I do. When I used Program, the camera always wants to use f5.6, so every time I would stop shooting and then start again, I had to spin the command dial to set it back to f8, an annoyance. If you're shooting in a situation where you need utmost speed, use Program. I usually don't shoot in those circumstances.

    As for your overexposure problem, is your monitor calibrated? How do you know they are overexposed by one stop? I usually leave the LCD preview on so I can glance at the photo I just took to check it quickly for general exposure. Did the photos you took all look overexposed on the camera LCD?
  7. You don't use the display for checking the exposure, you have to use the display with histograms to check the exposure. The display only is for checking your composition.
  8. If an image is overexposed by a full stop, you can see that on the LCD display, so yes, the LCD display would have been able to confirm this for him if he'd checked it.
  9. There should not be any difference in exposure from one mode to another. Set your camera's exposure compensation to -.7 or -1 Ev and the problem will be resolved.
  10. I would go further and suggest the OP send his D300 back to Nikon for a repair if it persists this activity. The camera should not overexpose by one stop no matter what mode it's in. I'm happy my D300 makes excellent exposures though I've never used it in Program mode for the reasons I wrote above.
  11. <P>Hi Derek.<br>I don't have a D300 I still use the D70. A friend of mine had a similar problem with his D80 straight out of the box and his problem was remedied with a slight adjustment to the default in-camera settings.<br>I'm not sure why Nikon would set a default which gave slight overexposure, but before sending it back I would have a play.<P>Paul
  12. What Picture Control setting were you using. If it was the "standard" picture control, which is the default setting, that is probably part of your issue. I think the "standard" picture control basically mimics the tonal balance of the D40 and has the mid tones about 1/2 stop brighter than I would prefer. So, try this, set your picture control to the "neutral" setting and see how that looks. If you see an improvement, then go to Nikon's tech support site and dwonload the picture controls for the D2x. I did that with my D300 and now think that the tonal balance is near perfect. Following is the link.


    BTW, if you have Capture NX, you can test the various Picture Controls on the NEF files that you've already shot. Load an NEF file in NX and go to the right panel and double click on Base Adjustments, then double click on Camera Adjustments, then double click on Picture Control and a dialog box will appear. Up toward the top you'll see a line that say's Picture Control with the control used for the image in caps to the right. Under that you'll see an options box with the word Unchanged with a down arrow at the right. Hit the down arrow and select a different Picture Control and see how it effects your image (wait for the change, on a slower computer it will take a few moments). Now you know how to test to see how a particular picture control can effect your images. Just make sure to load a RAW file because this feature in NX is non existant if a TIF or JPG file is loaded.

    PS, I find that "neutral is pretty good but the contrast seems just a touch flat. Which is why I moved to the D2x mode 1 picture control.
  13. It is always interesting to note that there are never any example images provided with these
    type of questions.
  14. A couple of things - I'm not a numpty Nikon user, I do know how to use the camera (as I sell my images) and the exposures are fine when used in other modes.

    I am however a numpty when it comes to posting images on this forum. If someone can be bothered to help me out, I'll see what I can do. Ideally I'd like to post a full NEF file.

    The tweaked (adjusted) images can be seen here:

  15. Scott, when you download D2x Mode 1 Picture Control, do you turn that on in a menu and keep the Neutral picture control setting on?

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