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doubt about exposure compensation
Ok...this may seem to be very stupid but I need to ask it once and for all. I want to understand exposure compensation and I ve been studying the zone system but there are some basic issues I still dont get...

According to theory 1 EV equals to one full stop either up or down. so my big doubt is:.

Let's say I m exposing at f8 1/500 and I want to either under or over expose, what would be the difference between compensating dialing down to -1 EV and just setting the exporsure to either f11 1/500 or f8 1/1000 or dialing up to +2EV and set f6.3 1/500 or f8 1/250.

I still dont get why would anyone choose compensating for the exporsure 1 or 2 full steps up or down instead of modifying the exposure itself?.

Know what I mean? ......

Comments (8)

If you're in any of the automatic modes you can't modify the exposure manually. Exposure Compensation on the camera does it for you at whatever exposure level the camera decides on..

If you are photographing snow, the camera will under-expose. The only way to get proper exposure in any auto mode is to use exposure compensation. If you are photographing a black cat, the camera will over-expose. Again, EC is the only way to get proper exposure in any auto mode..

So if you're on the slopes and taking pics outside, you can set EC to +1 and not have to worry about manually settings for each shot..

It's a tool...just like all the other functions on the camera. Use it when appropriate...

Comment #1

But I try to shoot manual at least 85% of the time.....it's very good practice for me and a lot more entertaining.

What about EC in that case.

Thanks for you answer:) very useful..

Comment #2

Nico3d wrote:.

But I try to shoot manual at least 85% of the time.....it's very goodpractice for me and a lot more entertaining.

What about EC in that case.

Thanks for you answer:) very useful.

I am not sure what camera you are using, but on my Canon exposure compensation doesn't operate in Manual mode.Chris R..

Comment #3

Chris R-UK wrote:.

I am not sure what camera you are using, but on my Canon exposurecompensation doesn't operate in Manual mode..

That's exactly what I was thinking. There's no EC functionality in manual mode. It doesn't make sense...why wouldn't you modify the exposure yourself? ..

Comment #4

Chris R-UK wrote:.

I am not sure what camera you are using, but on my Canon exposurecompensation doesn't operate in Manual mode..

It is the same with my Pentax. In "auto" or "P" you can only change the EV. In Av you can change the aperture and EV. In Tv you can change the exposure time and EV. In "M" you can change the exposure time and the aperture, but you can't change the EV. The metered EV deviation is displayed in the viewfinder for guidance..

David..

Comment #5

Nikon allows exposure compensation in manual for the D80 at least, but all it does is offset the indication in the viewfinder. The only advantage is that there is no numerical scale on the viewfinder indication, so you have to remember what you set it to (it can be 0.5 or 0.3 EV per mark)...

Comment #6

As graystar said, it's a tool to be used when appropriate..

Generally speaking you would use Exposure Compensation where the lighting is such that you know (possibly through some test shots and of course from your own experience) that the camera's meter is going to give more or less consistently "wrong" results, and you need to compensate for that for the whole shoot, rather than having to remember to compensate on each individual shot..

The snow scene example is one. Another is stage shots, where you have a brightly lit subject against a very dark background. (OK, you might use spot metering there, but EV comp may still be useful).

Nico3d wrote:.

But I try to shoot manual at least 85% of the time.....it's very goodpractice for me and a lot more entertaining.

What about EC in that case.

As others have said, not every camera offers EV compensation. What is your camera? I know for example on the Nikon D80 EV comp works in Manual mode..

But it is not true, as others seem to be implying, that EV comp is of no use in Manual mode. It certainly can be. Two examples come to mind:.

1. You are using manual mode because you want to be able to easily vary shutter speed and/or aperture on the fly, without having to change modes (to Shutter or Aperture mode, for example). But you still want to be able to rely on the meter, that is, you still want to be centering the needle..

2. You want to be able to "ovverride" the EV comp from time to time. So for example, you know you have EV comp of +1 stop dialled in, but on a particular shot you want the exposure to be "normal". So, using manual mode, you set an underexposure of one stop. Effectively this cancels out the EV comp for that shot, without having to remove the EV comp altogether (and then restore it for the next shot)..

Now, how does EV comp work in manual mode? This seems to cause confusion for some, but it's actually simple when you think about it..

EV comp introduces a bias to the camera's meter. It tells the camera to adjust every exposure from what the "standard" exposure is according to the meter..

So, in manual mode, EV comp resets the zero point of the meter. When you centre the needle, what appears to be a "correct" exposure is in fact over or under exposed according to the EV comp setting..

If your camera supports EV comp in manual mode, you can demonstrate this for yourself. Find a scene that is consistently lit (that is, you can expect no variation in lighting over time as you make the test). Then meter it in manual, centre the needle, with the EV comp set to zero. Note the exposure..

Let's say for example that the exposure is 1/125 sec at f/8..

Now, dial in EV Comp of -1 stop. Meter the scene again. Centre the needle, remember - don't leave it offset..

In our example you should see that the exposure is now (say) 1/250 sec at f/8. One stop under what it was previously..

In both cases, the needle was centred. But the actual exposure changed, because you used EV comp..

Sometimes people get confused by this, and they dial in EV comp AND then using Manual mode they leave the needle offset by the same amount. The result will be a DOUBLING of the EV comp effect - once, because you had EV comp set, and once because you used Manual mode to vary the expsoure from the "centre"..

It's like calibrating a kitchen scale: you reset the scale to zero after you've placed the pan or what or whatever on the scale, and then you add the ingredient. You can read the weight of the added ingredient wihtout having to mentally subtract the weight of the pan..

I hope that helps...

Comment #7

Thanks for the input. Arrowman, great tips I will def run tests today to understand it all the way..

I owned a nikon D50 for 2 years and with your post I now understand a lot of things..

I have a nikon D300 now and I can compensate in Manual mode, that's why I was so confused..

I ll run tests and let you know.

Thanks a lot..

Comment #8

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This question was taken from a support group/message board and re-posted here so others can learn from it.

 

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