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Old Feb 14, 2005, 3:36 PM   #1
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Just got a 20D with 17-85 USM lens. I have only started using it, but my initial imprssion is that my exposures are all over the place.

Generally, various subjects in bright light (outdoors) are overexposed by 2/3 to 1 stop. Skin tones are very washed out. Interior shots tend to be about 1/3 stop too dark. My other Canons (Rebel and Powershot S400) do a far better job at atuo exposure. In fact all the digital camera's i've owned do a better job of exposure.

Now I realize I need to become more familiar with this camera, but my sense is something is off. I spoke to Canon this morning and the suggested that I just need to take the time to properly set the camera.

Has anyone else had problems of this nature?

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Old Feb 14, 2005, 10:53 PM   #2
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I agree with Canon, give it a little time to get used to the camera. My first shots were underexposed (indoors). Now I rarely get shots that are not really close to the exposure they're supposed to be.

But sometimes the camera will under or over expose a shot, when that happens I can normally figure out what the problem is... me.

Like today I was outside at work taking shots of my friend's Cobra, and they were exposing correctly for the light I was shooting in. Then another person came outside so I took shots of him and my friend, which came out with them being underexposed... cause they were standing infront of a light colored cement wall...

But it could be a problem with the camera. When I first got my C-4000 I would take shots outside and they would be so underexposed the picture was basically black. I thought it was me for some reason but of course the camera is defective. I learned to get around it by using manual mode on the C-4000. I should have gotten it fixed but now that I have a 20D, I really don't care.
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Old Feb 15, 2005, 8:29 AM   #3
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silverphoto wrote:
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Has anyone else had problems of this nature?
Nope. It may be you. Have you done any side by side comparisons, especially on a tripod? Posted any so that folks can have half a chance of helping you?

Does it overexpose outside when used with the f16 rule?

Are exposures at a range of values consistent? Did you think of trying this? Ex. 1/500 f/11 vs 1/1000 f/8 vs 1/2000 f5.6 vs 1/4000 f4.

If there is a problem (unlikely) it could be due to metering, camera meter computation, or shutter / aperture misbehavior. The above tests should start to sort it out.
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Old Feb 16, 2005, 6:34 AM   #4
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Hey Proxes,I have a C4000 now and i think it takes fairly good shots.I have been seriously looking into the Canon 20D to move up.What can i expect as far as ease of use and quality of pictures compared to the C4000?
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Old Feb 16, 2005, 10:43 AM   #5
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Wow, there's a very large difference. The C-4000 wasn't a bad camera, it's very good at taking macro shots, but it doesn't hold a candle to the 20D.

First thing you'll see is a major speed difference, start up time and delay between shots. Compared to the C-4000, delay is non existent on the 20D.

With a D-SLR the quality of pictures is a lot more dependent on the lens than anything else, IMO. So if you're going to get a 20D make sure you save up for good lenses and don't expect a kit lens to suit you. Also think about getting an external flash, I have a 580ex.

The 20D isn't a point and shoot, I'm sure you know that. There's a learning curve, but if you have been playing with the manual modes of the C-4000 you shouldn't have much trouble adjusting.

The 20D is worth the investment.
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Old Feb 17, 2005, 1:53 AM   #6
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The camera sets it's exposure with the assumption that if it averages the intensity of all the pixels, it will come out to an 18% gray (middle gray).

Now, for example, if you take a picture of a darkobjectagainst a very light background, such as the sky,the camera will adjust the overall exposure to render the overall brightness as middle gray. This will reslut in an underexposed image, since in this case the bright sky would dominate the image.

The opposite situation would be taking a picture of a bright object against a dark background. In this case, adjusting the exposure to produce an overall exposure redering as middle gray, would result in an overexposed image. Since the dark background is dominant.

So, what it boils down to is practice, and using the historgram that appears in the LCD after you take the picutre. After a while, you will get used to looking at the scene from the middle gray perspective, and will be able to do a rough adjustment before you take the picture. You can then do a fine adjustment after looking at the histogram.

I always take a couple of test shots in the environment I will be shooting in. I look at the histogram and look for a broad distribution, with pixels close to the far right and far left. If too much of the histogram is to the left (Black), with no pixels on the right, the image is underexposed. If there are too many pixels to the far right (white), expecially if they are all the way to the right, the image is overexposed. Also, if you look at the image in the LCD, if any areas are overexposed, they will blink.

Try taking a bunch of pictures in different situations, then use the EOS Viewer utility to look at the image and the histogram. Now look at overexposed, underexposed, and properly exposed images andnote how the histogram changes.

Hope this helps.

One book I found helpful was Dennis Curtin's "A Short Course In Canon EOS 20D Photography."
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Old Mar 1, 2005, 12:15 PM   #7
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Just got back from my trip a few days ago where I captured aprox. 1,500 images. I am now checking histograms and looking at them on a calibrated system where I can get a better idea what I have.

Though I am far from making a final conclusion, my impression is still that there is a tendency to overexpose images in brightly lit, highkey situations. This really does not make sense since such situations usually render underexposed images.

Since I have been getting results that were not expected, I first need to determine if the camera is functioning properly. I have been taking into consideration all the possible tests I could run, but nothing would be as comprehensive as sending it back to Canon to let them make sure that the camera meets factory specs. If the camera is functioning properly, it is then a matter of me learning exactly how the camera functions in different scenarios and then adapting camera settings to meet my needs.

I realize that no programmed, automated exposure system will render perfectly exposed images in all situations, it is just that I am disappointed that it appears that my Rebel and PowerShot seem to do a better job than the D20.

Perhaps I am being overly critical. Iíve attached a sample of an image that illustrates my issue. This is image was shot in programmed mode with default settings. Though it is not horribly overexposed, I find it to be on the hot side.

Thanks for your suggestions.
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Old Mar 14, 2005, 3:01 AM   #8
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I've exectly the same kind of problem with my 20D : I sent it back to Canon without remarkable enhancement after 3 weeks :P.

see the attached example.
This is a real pity with a camera of that price !
I'm also coming from the Digital Rebel and it was taking much nicer shots...
Any idea is welcome
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