Getting frustrated with my D700

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by melissa_van_leeuwen, Apr 12, 2010.

  1. I've recently upgraded from D90 to a D700. I've found quite few posts on where people are finding that their D700's are over exposing by 1 or 2 stops. So for me what is happening is this:
    1) My pictures are under exposed by 1 stop when shooting in "centre weighted" metering mode
    2) Over exposed by 1 to 2 stops in "spot metering" mode
    3) Under exposed by 1 to 2 stops in "3D color matrix" mode
    So for all my test shots the pictures are taken of the same subject under the exact same lighting circumstances. All pictures were taken with the same settings, the only variable was the metering of each picture, in which I changed the shutter speed. I took 3 pictures for each metering mode; the first picture was set to "proper" exposure, second was 1 stop over exposed and third was 2 stops over exposed.
    What I used to gauge proper exposure was my histograms. I hope this isn't too confusing:) I'm definitely not an expert on the D700 and maybe it is just an over site of mine that using a different metering mode will result in different exposures? I would think not.
    I'm just not happy with my D700, and was getting more consistent results with my D90. All of my settings are set to factory default except for my dynamic af area which is set to 51 points. Is there something that I'm missing or do I have a faulty camera? My exposure always seems off . Any insights would be greatly appreciated!
     
  2. Are you certain you do not have bracketing set accidentally? If you do, you'll see a +/- sign in the finder. I've had a D700 since it first came out and have had consistently excellent exposures. I use manual and aperture priority most often. I'd not use the back of the camera histograms, they are jpg renderings even if you shoot RAW, which you should be doing. I'd recommend downloading to Lightroom or Photoshop CSx and look at the histograms there.
    Good luck.
    Eric
     
  3. I think the D90 might expose for a punchier image out of the camera, and the D700 will expose more neutrally do preserve information for post-processing.
    The spot and center metering modes are used to determe the proper exposure on a specific part of the image, your tripod test would not have addressed this.
    I use exposure compensation all the time. The camera can only tell me what it thinks is the right exposure, I have to do the rest.
     
  4. Thanks Eric. I've checked my bracketing again, and it's not on. I shoot in manual mode and shoot Raw as well. I've taken a look at my raw images in LR from a shoot I just did in "centre weighted" mode and they are underexposed.
    So do I just stick with "centre weighted" mode and over expose by 1-2 stops? Or is this a problem because of the variance between modes?
     
  5. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    The easiest thing to do is to test your camera's meter under "sunny 16" conditions and see whether you are getting the right readings.
     
  6. I thought that if you shoot in manual mode, the camera didn't do any metering. It was all up to the operator. I must be missing something. Can I buy a vowel?
    --Wade
     
  7. What lens are you using? Were you shooting, say, something really dark or black near the center?
     
  8. In manual mode the camera certainly meters, it just doesn't set any exposure based on that information, it merely relays it to the user. The user then sets a manual exposure based on the meter reading.
     
  9. Hi Melissa, I got a little confused on the description of your problem.
    Is this a question about the meter's judgment about what is a "good" exposure for a given scene for the different metering modes? It sounds like you are saying the camera is making bad judgments, giving you under and overexposed images. Or are you saying the camera is malfunctioning? I'll assume the former for the moment. Let me know if I got it wrong.
    Spot meter: The camera reads a narrow angle, and uses the reading from that spot as a reference tone at 18% reflectance. The historical use of this is that the photographer carries a Kodak gray card which reflects light at 18%, and is considered a reference level for "middle gray" in a black and white scale. The camera assumes that whatever the spot meter is pointed to is an 18% gray card and reads accordingly. A caucasian face is about one stop or so brighter than this, so using the spot meter on the subject's face can give the wrong exposure.
    Center weighted: This reads the average of the entire scene, weighted 60% towards the center (or the lower center). This is historically a setting from film cameras beginning in the 1970s, and it was a fairly good "start with this" exposure recommendation, and it was used in many early SLR auto-exposure systems. But it is easily fooled. I think it is largely included in modern DSLRs because there are still many people out there who are practiced at using these settings on earlier cameras.
    Matrix meter: Nikon has created a meter with over a thousand segments in color and a large scene database. It keys off your focus points sometimes, be aware. It is often very smart, and yet it is often given to change its judgments quite a lot with a very slight change in the framing of a scene. It tries to not blow your highlights much. But once in a while, it will sacrifice for the sake of what it thinks is your main subject. It is a very useful tool, and it has a way of 'telling you things' about your scene and what would actually be the best exposure sometimes.
    To hone your exposures, use UniWB (neutral picture control, daylight balance) to get a true histogram and to get a more 'accurate' playback on the LCD, learn when to dial in exposure compensation, use the spot meter to read the midtone, and learn how to partner with the matrix meter.
    If we're not seeing your problem, feel free to post some samples and we'll try again.
     
  10. I was using my 50mm 1.4, @ 1.8. I was shooting a container of vinegar. Obviously a white container but the part of the label I was focusing on was black.
    If it's sunny tomorrow I'll be sure to head outside and check my exposure. Stanley I can see what you mean by a punchier image with the D90. That's it, the d90 seemed punchier but like you said if it's preserving information for post processing that would be the reasoning.
    I really thought my transition from d90 to d700 would've been a bit smoother.
     
  11. Ah, I see now. So that's what little bar type thing is at the bottom of the view finder. I've been using one of the other shooting modes to get a base, dial that into manual mode as a start and then just counting stops up and down for shutter speed, aperture and ISO to get the desired effect. Using the bar seems to be quicker. :)
    Thanks!
    --Wade
     
  12. I was using my 50mm 1.4, @ 1.8. I was shooting a container of vinegar. Obviously a white container but the part of the label I was focusing on was black.
    1) My pictures are under exposed by 1 stop when shooting in "centre weighted" metering mode
    2) Over exposed by 1 to 2 stops in "spot metering" mode
    3) Under exposed by 1 to 2 stops in "3D color matrix" mode​
    Shooting a black label on a white bottle could explain why you are over exposing only in spot meter mode while underexposing in the matrix/CE mode but I'm too confused about what you did exactly in your "test shots"
     
  13. Test your meter by shooting a flat surface, like white paper or a painted wall. Do it on a tripod and test it at the various metering modes. Problem with meters is they actually do meter what they see and a white vinegar bottle isn't going to give consistent results in various modes. If the label is dark, then spot will overexpose, in center weighted most likely underexposes and in matrix--will depend also on how tight you are to subject and background.
    The wall thing will give you indications as to if it is the meter modes or the subject. Unfortunately, the cameras can do a great job, but will get fooled and that is why there is the extra mode, you, to determine the correct exposure. If you go out and shoot in various lighting/subject conditions and you find it is always over or under exposing in this mode or that, then you gain some info on your camera and you make adjustments for it--just like people did when they shot film. If it isn't consistent in a single mode, then most likely neither are your subjects.
     
  14. As you said, preserving information for post-processing is part of the workflow of RAW capture. Very often we capture using the neutral or "linear" setting, which produces what looks at first like a relatively flat image. However, this is the cleanest data you can start with. All the things you want to do with rendering (contrast, clarity, vibrancy, etc) can be most easily achieved with a neutral starting point. The D700 gives you very rich image data. You have an endpoint in mind, but typically the endpoint is not something that comes out of camera.
     
  15. Wow Luke very informative! Like I said I am no expert on everything the D700 has to offer but it sounds like you know what you're talking about. Because my camera was underexposing in centre weighted mode I decided to play around and try out the other metering modes. It appears that it is probably not a malfunction issue. It was a bit frustrating though for me as all of my images were underexposed. Luke what would you recommend as a choice for metering? I mainly do shoots with young children, families etc. Then I guess I will have to compensate my exposure accordingly seems, I get such varying results form the metering modes.
    Sorry I have completely forgotten about another annoying issue. I was having MAJOR focusing issues with my D700 on my last shoot. I kept closing down my f stop thinking it was to wide and unable to focus on both of my subjects. My camera would just not focus on my subjects properly. Both subjects were lying on a white blanket in moderate sunlight. I had never had this problem with the D90 and an inability to focus. Sometimes with the D90 if I was shooting wide open I would get one eye in focus and one out of focus. But that was easily fixed. Any suggestions or camera settings to help my D700 focus? It seemed as though the sensor was jumping everywhere and not focusing properly.
     
  16. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Melissa, the D700, similar to the D3 family and D300 family cameras, uses the Multi-CAM 3500 AF module. Among the 51 AF points, only the center 15 are of cross type. The other 36 are off line type. The 15 cross type AF points will give you much better AF accuracy for sports and under dim light. If you can, I would try to stick to 1 of those 15 as much as you can.
    See the following thread where I posted an image on November 17, 2008, highlighting the 15 cross type AF points: http://www.photo.net/nikon-camera-forum/00RWJC
     
  17. Shoot a grey card. It should come out perfectly grey. I had a D700 for nine months, exposures were dead on...
    [​IMG]
    On board Washington State Ferry January, 2009. Nikon D700, 1/60 f5.6 ISO 900, Tamron 17-35mm SP at 17mm
     
  18. Use Manual Exposure!!!
     
  19. Didn't notice Active D-Lighting mentioned, which may also play a role in your exposure issues especially when shooting RAW. Many people have achieved more consistent results with Active D-Lighting turned off. You could try it both ways and see if it makes a difference.
     
  20. I use manual exposure. Under b6 in my menu I can manually fine tune my exposure accordingly. If I'm finding I am getting consistently over/under exposed images (even though the exposure reading is telling me that I'm correctly exposed) I'm going to "tweak" this to my liking.
    Shun, I'm checking out that thread and it's very interesting. So I'm think with 51 points it's a bit excessive. I may try single point AF with either 9 or 21 points and see if that works better for me.
     
  21. Melissa, If you can invest another $198.00 in your photography, consider a 4 week on-line camera course at BetterPhoto.com. "Master the Nikon D3 and Nikon D700" taught by Tony Sweet. I have taken a course at BetterPhoto, and look forward to taking another later. I have no professional connection to BetterPhoto.com. Here is the link if you are interested:
    http://www.betterphoto.com/courseOverview.asp?cspID=196
     
  22. Awe, thanks Robert! You guys are truly awesome on this forum. Yes Active D-Lighting was by default set to auto. I turned this to off and my exposure was perfect in "centre weighted" metering mode. All of my settings were identical in both pictures but my image was properly exposed in the picture with Active D off. That makes me feel better.
    I know I'm just using the histogram on my camera but with Active D on auto, it was obviously underexposed, although camera said it was perfect.
    Thanks
     
  23. I used Active D-Lighting in the above photo (ferry), it just slightly underexposes your shot and evens out your contrast to give you a semi HDR look in certain situations. Not as good as leaving it off and using Capture NX2 and D-Lighting but if you're in a hurry it's a nice feature. I leave it off as a default with my D300.
     
  24. Thanks Chris. I'll bookmark that! I just finished an online course with a fellow from Australia. It was on Raw workflow, and I really like it. Thanks!
     
  25. Hi Melissa,
    So you've got three kinds of tools for metering in your camera. The spot and center-weighted averaging modes are straightforward measuring tools. The matrix meter is intelligent though. I usually start by asking the matrix meter what it wants to tell me. Very often, it is telling me something useful. It tries very hard to solve for a backlighted subject, for example. It knows where your focus point is and uses that information. It is often right, and when it is wrong, you generally still have some kind of shot. Try one shot with the meter's recommendation and evaluate it before going on.
    Let's say you are following around young children when they are active indoors. My choice would be to set the lens close to wide open, and the shutter speed at the minimum in which I could stop the action sufficiently. Let's say that would be f/2 or so at 1/125th sec. I would set the auto-ISO on with a maximum ISO of 6400, and I would let the matrix meter choose the ISO for each picture. You are simply moving too quickly to read the light before every shot, going in and out of window light, going between back lighting and front lighting.
    Let's say you are working in the theater, or outdoors. You have extremely strong sources of light but also much shade. Sunlight pours in on someone's face. Or the subject is standing with the spotlight raking across one side. Again, it is hard to keep up with this if you are working quickly. This is a time when you might try a shot with the matrix meter and see that it is blowing the very strong highlights. here you can use the matrix meter with auto-ISO and use negative exposure compensation to keep from blowing the highlights.
    If you are shooting a studio scene under hot lights, such as a food shot, then the spot meter might come in handy. Investing in a gray card -- or even an Xrite Passport Color Checker -- isn't a bad idea. You can set up the gray card in the scene and use the spot meter to read it. Whatever you point the spot meter to will be computed to come out *middle gray*. So you read off the gray thing itself. Move the gray card around the scene and average out the various readings, or decide what part of the scene you want to favor. This is basically a working-out-the-exposure task.
    Some photographers know how to read light on the fly, and they use the spot meter to help. For example, meter off of a caucasian subject's face and boost one more stop to solve for the right exposure. Caucasian skin is twice as reflective as middle gray on average. The spot meter is just a straightforward measurement device that tells you one thing about whatever you point it to.
    Using something like UniWB, you can read your camera's histogram more accurately and know when you've captured everything in the scene that you needed. Getting the good data is the first thing, and rendering it is the second thing. You will develop a personal look this way that will have an edge over the stock out-of-camera look.
     
  26. I'd definitely stay away from b6 "exposure fine tune" which is more of a global meter recalibration. This shouldn't actually be called "fine tune" but "blunt axe" instead. What you're looking for is something more delicate. Sometimes when you are in a certain lighting situation, as above, you would use "exposure compensation" which is available from the fingertip.
     
  27. Lights and darks fool the camera's meter. I don't know, maybe you realize this already, but..
    If you're spot metering off something white or very light, it will underexpose. If you're spot metering off something dark, it will overexpose.
    If you're taking a center-weighted reading off a portion of the frame that is mostly white, it will underexpose. If you center-weight off a portion of the frame that is mostly dark, it will overexpose.
    And if you matrix meter off a scene that is mostly white, it will underexpose. If you matrix meter off a scene that is mostly dark, it will overexpose.
    Because of this, a better test would be to meter off something gray--and make sure you're metering off gray in all the metering modes, if you want to test each metering mode separately. Otherwise, there are too many variables in your original "test"--we don't know whether the camera was metering off the dark label, or the very light vinegar, or some of both, in your original test.
    Really, spot metering shouldn't give the same exposure as matrix metering when photographing the exact same scene. If they all gave the same exposure reading, what would be the point of having the different metering methods? If I could point my camera towards a person backlit by the sun, with a very light background, and get the same exposure by spot metering off the person's face as I could by matrix metering the whole scene--what would be the point? Matrix metering SHOULD give me a photo with an underexposed person in that situation; spot metering (metering off the person's face) SHOULD give me a photo with a better-exposed person and an over-exposed background. If they were giving me the exact same thing, then there would be something strange.
    So, without seeing pictures of your test... it's hard to know, but your camera may have been doing just fine, depending on what you were actually metering from. It's quite possible that in center-weighted you had much more light than black in the part of the scene that the camera was metering from, resulting in underexposure. In spot you may have had just the black label that the camera was metering from, resulting in overexposure. In matrix you again may have had much more light than dark in the scene, again resulting in underexposure.
    Looks like you already found that Active-D Lighting can play a role too, so that's good. That definitely can lead to underexposure sometimes...
    Anyway. Hopefully this is all irrelevant and you knew all this and I just misunderstood the question!
     
  28. If you spot meter on the black, than you need to underexpose by 1/12 to 2 stops, either manually or -2 ev in exposure compensation. In any event, maybe your particular camera is bad, or you are not using correctly for exposure. I've had decent exposure using mine with no problems I could put on the camera. Don't forget, the meter is going to assume whatever you put it on is medium gray. Center average, and matrix evaluate more of the overall, but it still computing mid tone values. If your scene is predominantly black or white, it will foil the metering.
     
  29. No matter how technologically sophisticated a camera is, you cannot just point it at something and hope for a correct exposure. Cameras just aren't going to magically choose the right exposure value in tricky scenes. I'm sorry, but that's the cold, hard truth.
    If there are a lot of dark objects or shadows in the frame, particularly if one of them is under the active autofocus point, the camera will COMPENSATE for these dark areas by OVEREXPOSING the image. Likewise, a lot of bright, highly reflective objects or surfaces will cause the camera to UNDEREXPOSE the image.
    This is Exposure 101. YOU, the PHOTOGRAPHER have to UNDERSTAND this and TAKE RESPONSIBILITY for it, because tricky exposure problems are beyond the reasoning capacity of software on a microchip.
    Don't assume. Measure and verify.
     
  30. Melissa, the best advice I can give you is this: don't use center-weighted metering. One should think of it as a very crude and primitive way to meter a scene that I think Nikon still makes available on their digital SLRs only to appease "old-foggies" who grew up with center-weighted metering being the ONLY option.
    You will get far better and more reliable exposure results if you stick to the more advanced and state-of-the-art matrix metering -- or -- if you take the time to learn how to use the D700 spot meter properly.
    Used correctly, both Nikon's advanced matrix metering and its highly selective spot meter will enable you to properly expose a shot. And also learn how to use the D700's exposure compensation function, because a meter reading from the camera is just its best "guess" of what the proper exposure should be. It's up to you, the photographer, to determine if the camera's initial guess was on the mark or not.
     
  31. don't use center-weighted metering. One should think of it as a very crude and primitive way to meter a scene​
    There is nothing crude and primitive about center-weighted metering in the D700. You use the metering mode best suited for the individual scene.
    I think Nikon still makes available on their digital SLRs only to appease "old-foggies" who grew up with center-weighted metering being the ONLY option​
    An astute observation. It seems you have managed to be inaccurate, spot metering has been available in cameras since the 1960's, and insulting all in the same sentence. Well done.
     
  32. It seems you have managed to be inaccurate, spot metering has been available in cameras since the 1960's, and insulting all in the same sentence.
    The first Nikon SLRs with spot metering were introduced in the late 1980s, the F-601, F4, and F-801s. Personally I almost never use centerweighted metering myself - I am accustomed to spot metering, incident metering when I want control and matrix when I don't have the time to deal with those. But I understand how some people may prefer centerweighted. It's just that since the pattern of sensitivity in cw depends on specific cameras and it takes time to adopt to how exactly the different areas of the frame are weighted to an "average" reading - I don't like this kind of uncertainties. The spot meter on the other hand requires a bit more time and thought spent on the metering but it gives far more controllable results when used with an appropriate knowledge of the reflectance characteristics of the subject metered. Each should choose the tool that best matches their way of thinking and produces hopefully the best results... :)
    I think the problem with the OP's testing is that metering should be checked on a known subject, such as a large gray card or other kind of homogeneous surface. This would lead to equal results from matrix, centerweighted and spot. If the subject is not homogeneous but has features in it then all three metering patterns will produce different results, as they should.
     
  33. "I think the D90 might expose for a punchier image out of the camera, and the D700 will expose more neutrally do preserve information for post-processing.
    The spot and center metering modes are used to determe the proper exposure on a specific part of the image, your tripod test would not have addressed this.
    I use exposure compensation all the time. The camera can only tell me what it thinks is the right exposure, I have to do the rest."
    "I think Nikon still makes available on their digital SLRs only to appease "old-foggies" who grew up with center-weighted metering being the ONLY option"
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I'm an "old-foggies" and I learned photography first then a get my first camera. A camera with out a light-meter and all those automatization, you have to day, so you can use the 5000 dollar camera like a 200 dollar point and shoot. Don't need brain, the camera has it.
    I learned first what is a composition, light, shutter speed, aperture, film type, etc. and pardon me, learned art too. Unfortunately people to day have money to buy cameras and have no idea about photography, art, composition and so on. They think, more expensive a camera, is going to be a better robot, witch can read our mind and create a beautiful image ready to hang-up in galleries or the living room. People complaining about cameras, lenses, 2-5000 dollar top of the line equipment, "not sharp" - "don't producing proper exposures", etc. etc. Photography is not something you learn right a way when you purchased a top camera or lens. You have to learn and wanted to learn and not blame everything, except yourself. I have the Nikon D40, D300, D700, just to mention the digital bodies, and non of them producing bed exposures or unsharp images or s......t images. The bed ones they produce is all, I meant all my fault, not the cameras or lenses. I have the best lenses, but in the main time I haw the old 15-45 year old lenses as well, as cameras like my first SLR, the Practica Supper TL and the first Nikon F with prism finder, etc. etc, and occasionally loaded with Venvia and they producing beautiful image, as mach as my D700 and 24-70/2.8 monster. Oh. And I hardly using any automatization, most of the time "M" = Manual. Well ! I'm an "old-Foggi" or, you can call me an "old fart", but not a lazy one, whom don't want to learn, and expecting from the machine to do the job for me. The machine whom can't read your mind.
     
  34. Do you have auto ISO selected? If so, turn it off.
     
  35. Old-foggie here too. I use as much spot metering as I use center-weighted metering. Matrix metering is great but some of us like to have choices. And take them.
    And I'm glad Nikon still considers us old-foggies its customers too, otherwise they'd be selling $5k sealed black boxes set to auto-everything with barely a shutter-release button.
     
  36. Peter Lawrence [​IMG], Apr 13, 2010; 05:16 a.m.
    Melissa, the best advice I can give you is this: don't use center-weighted metering. One should think of it as a very crude and primitive way to meter a scene that I think Nikon still makes available on their digital SLRs only to appease "old-foggies" who grew up with center-weighted metering being the ONLY option.​
    I have read some pretty outrageous and ludicrous comments on this site the last almost 8 years, but I think that one takes the blue ribbon. I am one of those "old foggies" who has been using thise crude and primative Nikon F2's since 1972. And although I do not use a camera's built in meter all that often, opting for incident and spot meters, I find centerweighted averaging to be accurate most of the time. Any camera's meter, just like the camera itself, is dumb as a sack of hair. The skilled photographer, knows how to take the camera's meter reading and adjust the output based on the unique lighting characteristics of each shot.
     
  37. Several folks have mentioned the use of the grey card when using the spot meter. I wonder if it might make more sense to say the same thing in a different manner. If you are spot metering anything except a 18% grey card, then you cannot use what the meter tells you directly.
    If your meter's spot is on anything lighter than 18% grey (a paler than normal caucasian face, a white label on a vinegar bottle, as examples), then you have to dial in some positive exposure compensation to compensate for the meter trying to tell you an exposure that makes whatever is in the spot come out as 18% grey (i.e. the meter will underexpose, and you have to "fix" it).
    On the other hand, if the meter is on something darker than 18% grey (a non-caucasian face, the black part of the label on the vinegar bottle, for example), then the meter will suggest an exposure that will overexpose to make the dark part light enough to match 18% grey. In that case, you have to dial in negative exposure compensation.
    To summarize, more often than not, you cannot just put the camera in spot meter mode and use the suggested settings without compensation.
     
  38. I wonder if some of this is a matter or perception. The D700 matrix metering provides almost perfect results for me. Images require very little contrast adjustment in PS. My brief experience with the D90, however, led me to conclude that it overexposed by one to two stops. It would be useful for the OP to post a sample D90 shot or two and a sample D700 shot.
     
  39. First of all, you find out that the three metering methods dont agree; and you feel frustrated about that. Dont. The reason you have different metering modes is that they never agree with each other. You say some of them over, the others are under just because they dont agree with your histogram technique. In fact, we , the people here in photo.net, dont agree with each other about the exposure of a picture either. Some say over, some say under, some say it's right on. The most important opinion about your exposure is YOURS
    Secondly, we all want a perfect metering, but that never exists. There are always cases that our metering fails. It's good to know why, and sometimes we dont even know why. Fortunately, your description explains why
    The spot meter suggested an over exposure because it thought you wanted the black label to be bright and clear. To do that it must overexpose the whole picture
    The other meterings suggested an under exposure because they got a lot of light from the white container. The center-weighted was still better (than the Matrix metering) because it concentrated more on "the center" which had the black label in it. The majority of the picture (the white container) was exposed averagely and a small part (the black label) was dark. That's why the histogram shifted to the left
     
  40. Scott, I use Auto-ISO for most of my photos, only to keep the minumum shutter speed something I can rely on. For the D700 I had the luxury of setting the minimum shutter speed at 1/60, for the D300 I set it to a still manageable 1/30.
     
  41. According to Nikon's website info:
    "Matrix metering evaluates multiple segments of a scene to determine the best exposure by essentially splitting the scene into sections, evaluating either 420-segments or 1,005 segments, depending on the Nikon D-SLR in use.
    The 3D Color Matrix Meter II takes into account the scene's contrast and brightness, the subject's distance (via a D- or G-type NIKKOR lens), the color of the subject within the scene and RGB color values in every section of the scene. 3D Color Matrix Metering II also uses special exposure-evaluation algorithms, optimized for digital imaging, that detect highlight areas. The meter then accesses a database of over 30,000 actual images to determine the best exposure for the scene. Once the camera receives the scene data, its powerful microcomputer and the database work together to provide the finest automatic exposure control available."
    What this means is that the camera is trying an educated guess as to what you are photographing, but in the end it really doesn't know for sure, so it can make mistakes. Another way to break it down is the "Zone System, by Ansel Adams. In brief, you decide which areas of your image, from the darkest to the lightest are supposed to have detail, and not be totally black or pure white and blown out. Most camera meters will guess at what the average exposure is to do that and typically makes the average of the scene as 18 percent gray, but in reality sometimes you have to override the camera's guess work. One way to do this is by experimentally bracketing exposures until you get the highlight detail or shadow detail you desire. Sometimes the dynamic range of the scene is greater than what your camera's sensor can handle. You then have to decide how to work around that, by using maybe the Active D lighting option, or you can make two or three exposures and combine them in your post processing, or sometimes just shooting carefully in raw allows you to get the detail during your raw conversion. I would recommend reading up on exposure so you have an understanding of what the camera is doing and how to control it for your purposes.
     
  42. I second to Scott
    " I have read some pretty outrageous and ludicrous comments on this site the last almost 8 years, but I think . . . . THAT ONE TAKES THE BLUE RIBBON. . . . . I am one of those "old foggies" who has been using thise crude and primative Nikon F2's since 1972. And although I do not use a camera's built in meter all that often, opting for incident and spot meters, I find centerweighted averaging to be accurate most of the time. Any camera's meter, just like the camera itself, is dumb as a sack of hair. THE SKILLED PHOTOGRAPHER, KNOWS HOW TO TAKE THE CAMERA'S METER READING AND ADJUST THE OUTPUT BASED ON THE UNIQUE LIGHTING CHARACTERISTICS OF EACH SHOT."
    I'm glad too, . . . " Nikon still considers us ""old-foggies"" its customers too, otherwise they'd be selling $5k sealed black boxes set to auto-everything with barely a shutter-release button."
     
  43. Any camera meter can be fooled by certain lighting conditions coming off certain subjects, producing different outcomes. With more overall experience, you will learn to look at a scene, subject and lighting conditions, and immediately anticipate if and how the meter will be fooled, then how to compensate.
    You simply need to gain experience using the cameras metering systems, learning how a camera's meter works and how lighting affects it.
    I'd suggest you shoot a variety of scenes to get a better idea of how your camera is handling different conditions and subjects. At first, just use matrix metering. Merely judging by shooting the type of subject you are using for your test without having the above knowledge, amounts to an inadequate test. You can see in Dave Lee's example above, that there are fairly equal amounts of light, dark, and midtone areas across the frame. The matrix metering would evaluate this, then should and did set exposure quite well. But accurate exposure could also be achieved by spot metering off a mid-tone.
    After gaining experience using the matrix metering, then go to spot metering, carefully study your camera manual, which may have a good outline of how to use the spot metering mode, and learn how to be proficient in its use, especially using the manual exposure mode. This will be more specific in terms of how light at any given point in your frame affects the meter and exposure seetings. Center-weighted is also more specific to an area of the frame than matrix metering, but over a broader area than spot metering. Matrix metering is of course more complex in its response to lighting, as has already been well-explained.
    In a relatively short period of time, your efforts should give you a good feel for how light affects meters, and how to make good use of this knowledge.
     
  44. Dan, if you have are metered on a pure black, your meter will make that black mid gray, ie normal metering will OVER expose the black. Therefore you have to, when metering on the black, underexpose to have the black be black. That's exposure 101. Likewise, for white you have to compensate by + EV or over expose. Are you saying something different than that?
     
  45. In Peter's defense.
    There are many tools, methods and camera modes available for evaluating the light in a scene. Center weighted metering was a 60's attempt at matrix metering, and is now the least predictable metering method available.
    It's reasonable to assume that the people still using it have used it for a long time, and are not interested in learning anything new.
    fogey, fogy [ˈfəʊgɪ]
    n pl -geys, -gies
    an extremely fussy, old-fashioned, or conservative person (esp in the phrase old fogey) [of unknown origin] fogeyish , fogyish adj

    (borrowed from an online dictionary)
     
  46. By the way, why did you not like the D90?
     
  47. Interesting. I'm so happy with the D700 (i bought it to carry with my F6) that I will be selling all my Sony gear. It captures images that I never thought I would be able to capture in low light and I find the metering to be exceptional.
     
  48. I was taking point and shoot snapshots in London on Thursday with a D3 and pc 35 F2.8 lens. The trip was a spur of the moment thing. I didn't even check that I had transferred the lens data to the camera properly. I thought I had, and only realised afterwoods that I had specified the wrong designation number. But I did remember that matrix metering doesn't work too well with the non cpu lens and so I set centre weighted. My excuse is that photography wasn't the principal purpose of the excursion. I wasn't paying too much attention either to technique or to the results that I was getting. However after a while I did notice that the majority of my shots were under exposed. It wasn't critical because these were snapshots and I was shooting raw anyway. However I switched from single shot to continuous and introduced some bracketing. It's interesting that most of my pictures were about a stop under-exposed. (urban landscapes: mainly buildings but some shots of people in Hyde park and longer vistas looking across the river from Chelsea embankment). I'll have to try to work out why.
     
  49. Whenever I use a digital camera I don't use the meter. Just make a guess, check the result, adjust, then shoot again. More than 90% of the time I don't need to adjust, the first guess is just fine.
    I do have all kind of meters but when I meter I don't take pictures.
     
  50. Center weighted is the recommended exposure mode when measuring through a circular polarizing filter, not matrix.
     
  51. Peter Lawrence [​IMG], Apr 13, 2010; 05:16 a.m.
    don't use center-weighted metering. One should think of it as a very crude and primitive way to meter a scene that I think Nikon still makes available on their digital SLRs only to appease "old-foggies" who grew up with center-weighted metering being the ONLY option.​
    This is the biggest load of misinformation and absolute thoughtless rubbish I have read on these forums. Im sure there are hundreds of "old fogies" on this forum at any given time. Centre weighted was originally designed for the human face as this is usually the most important part of an image featuring a person as the subject. The CW area still approximates the human face in area but is also very useful for images that have darker or lighter peripheries or you want to create one. BTW I am an older photographer and use all metering modes probably spot the most.
    Stanley Spedowski [​IMG], Apr 13, 2010; 09:36 p.m.
    It's reasonable to assume that the people still using it have used it for a long time, and are not interested in learning anything new.​
    Mr Spedowski and Mr Lawrence, I would be willing to bet a D700 that the people you are referring too would kick both your butts in a photo comp !
     
  52. I doubt that.
     
  53. Does anyone remember the old Canonets? There was an automatic flash mode where the focus ring was coupled to the aperture. As you focused, the aperture would open and close to let the right amount of flash light hit the film. Rarely did it fail. That was back when taking pictures was fun.
     
  54. It is amassing, how little people know the technical side of photography, the function of they cameras and so on. I never heard so many stupid, or sorry falls statements, comments, like here.
    Knowledge is power.
    Little knowledge is dangerous, and can be a embarrassing fact, to shown the so called clever persons stupidity, or sorry, the lack of they technical knowledge. I can imagine, the many real expert, pros, knowledgeable people laughing they head of. Like one of my friend whom said, he reading this articles to have fun, to have a good laugh.
     
  55. I find it more than a little suspect that Peter Lawrence considers us old fogies to be stuck in the "center weighted" mode, and has no images on his page after 10+ years. I suspect Peter is a "talking" photographer instead of a "walking" photographer, whose work is not up to par with the usual images on this site.
     
  56. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    I am afraid that the useful part of this discussion is way over. Closing the thread.
     

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