Nikon D80 exposure issue by Ken Rockwell

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by bochen, Nov 9, 2006.

  1. Just read Ken's article here. What do you think? Does any one using D80 experience it?
  2. yup, it tends to overexpose. but not hard to compensate he also points out.
  3. But as Ken said, it does not overexpose consistently. You need to dial in compensation value by trial and error. It's a big issue though it could be solved by firmware upgrade (possible?).
  4. my D70s underexposed a tiny bit, I just dialed in a little compensation and it's fine. Wonder if that will work for the D80?
  5. Ken Rockwell insists that shooting RAW is a waste of time and only shoots JPEG. I've found that with the D80, shooting RAW generally means that I can recover highlights if the camera overexposes by a stop. He's relying on JPEGs and I think it's easier to get burned by the tendency to expose for shadows in backlit scenes. There's no problem with setting the camera to underexpose by a third or two thirds of a stop to help prevent this.
  6. I noticed that my D80 is overexposing, but in a consistent way. I usually dial 0.7 to 1 stop of compensation, which works good. My D70 usually underexposes by 0.7 stop. I prefer underexposure, because its easy to recover dark highlights. When its overblown, its not easy to recover details. See this example, which is taken with D80/ 18-200mm @ 60mm f/11 in aperture priority mode as NEF, converted to JPEG, ISO 100.
  7. Correct size
  8. This is nothing new as the D50 was the first nikon I noticed that did the very exact same thing. Nikon has probably assumed (correctly) that the majority of users are only interested in the main subject being exposed so they can see it nice and bright.
  9. In my experience the overexposure is not consistent, depends on the contrast and the element you focus on.<br>
    I have since switched to center weighted metering, with very good results. It's more predictable when you're used to it and know how to compensate or lock your exposure on a different part of the scene.
  10. "Ken Rockwell insists that shooting RAW is a waste of time and only shoots JPEG."

    No, he doesn't. He states that his preference (and that of many pros) is usually JPEG and gives valid supporting reasons for that position. He may seem a little harsh in some of his points, but really he was probably on the debate team in high school, and that's how you're supposed to state your position, with conviction and no apologies.

    I happen to agree with him, for my style of photography, but I appreciate the reasons others may have for shooting RAW. Whatever works for you is good.

    See? I'm a little more diplomatic than Ken, but my position is very similar.

    I think Ken is thinking about the newbies when he makes points like this. How many times on this forum has someone asked a question that is answered in the dang camera manual and some bonehead suggests shooting RAW? So now the newbie spends $2000 on Photoshop and a new computer and spends hours learning PS and tweaking one picture to come up with a photo that doesn't look as good as the JPEG the camera would have given him in milliseconds.
  11. Andrew,

    Good defense of Ken. I like his site myself, although I understand that he has definite
    opinions and a peculier perspective.

    My D50 also over-exposes. I've found dialing in .3 or .7 stop underexposure fills the bill...
  12. Thom Hogan has echoed the idea that the D80 Matrix system weights exposure toward what the active autofocus sensor is seeing. Focus on a dark object and it overexposes, focus on a light object and it underexposes.
  13. Funny, I've read about the D80 overexposing and I seem to have the opposite issue with underexposing. I usually have to up my exposure by .7-1

    My D50 did tend to overexpose and I had to compensate about .3 on average.

  14. "Thom Hogan has echoed the idea that the D80 Matrix system weights exposure toward what the active autofocus sensor is seeing. Focus on a dark object and it overexposes, focus on a light object and it underexposes."
    So if you choose focus manually, there wouldn't be overexposure problem? I am debating between D200 and D80 and it's one of the problems pushing me to D200.
  15. On the D200 - there is a convenient switch to allow the photographer to choose between matrix, center-weighted and spot meter instantly.

    On the D80 - can the user program the function button to perform this feature?

    By using the spot meter mode, on can meter the highlights and then the shadows. After which point, adjusting the exposure compensation just before shooting in the center-weighted mode should be an accurate fix.

    I know this takes one away from a pure auto-exposure mode and the extra button pushing can be an annoyance, but this is how it was back in the day with a film SLR and color positive film. When using slide film, - you definitely had to think about the proper exposure before you shot in a scene with wide latitude of lighting.

    Back then if your camera was meter less or it lacked spot meter, the obligatory hand-held meter was almost half the size of today's compact DSLR's.
  16. By the way, I found Ken Rockwell's comments in red to be a good read. If the meter behaves as it is supposed to in the center-weighted and spot modes, the program settings of the firmware should not be a factor as is the case in the matrix mode.

    Provided that the range of lighting doesn't vary beyond the sensor's exposure latitude, then what I wrote should be doable.

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