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Old Apr 16, 2012, 6:21 PM   #1
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Default So... here's my problem

Hi all,

Well, I have put my new D7000 through an initial workout at the Cheetah habitat at Busch Gardens, and I seem to be having the same problem fairly consistently.

I set up the shot, the meter seems to be pegged right in the middle, and I still end up with a greatly underexposed image that has to be post processed a lot to look good.

I will post some examples later, but intially I would like to understand why the meter says the light is ok and it isn't. It was a sunny day with the sun to my left. I was shooting with my Tamron 70-300.

Are camera meters just not very reliable? It would seem it should be closer to right than this. Otherwise what's the point of having it?

So.... am I just naive to the ways of digital photography? Are they all dead and dreery out of the camera, to be brought to life in post?

Thoughts please.

Thx,

Dale
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Old Apr 16, 2012, 6:23 PM   #2
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There's not enough info here.

What metering mode? Jpeg or raw? Sample pics?

brad
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Old Apr 17, 2012, 11:53 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by camalot View Post
I
Are camera meters just not very reliable? It would seem it should be closer to right than this. Otherwise what's the point of having it?


Dale
Dale,

Sorry to hear about your troubles.

In my experience, camera meters are very reliable with a couple of exceptions: backgrounds are greatly lit up (shooting into the sun/on a beach or in snow), or very dark (theater settings). If you are consistently getting poor exposures even in auto or program mode, it is likely that the meter is faulty. Do share some examples (with the EXIF data)...

I use a D300s as well as a D90 and the exposures are excellent...much more accurate and consistent than an alternate brand that I was using. You should be getting similar results with the D7000.

Jehan

Last edited by Wingman; Apr 17, 2012 at 11:56 AM.
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Old Apr 17, 2012, 1:14 PM   #4
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Dale - you photos will help - please post photos that are UNCROPPED (resize for posting but don't crop it). It's worth mentioning that cameras have different metering modes which dictate how much of the image frame they consider when determining the "right" exposure. I'm a Canon guy, but I believe the modes in your camera are as follows:
Matrix: considers whole frame
Center Weighted: center circle is weighted 75% (with customization to make the "center" 6, 8, 10 or 13mm)
Spot metering: 3.5mm around the center focus point (I interpret that to mean metering is always done off center point even if you are using an off-center point for focus)

So, using matrix metering with a bright mid-day sky in the background would certainly result in an underexposed foreground subject.

It's also POSSIBLE that you inadvertently have a Exposure Compensation (EC) set which would cause the shot to be underexposed.
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Old Apr 17, 2012, 4:03 PM   #5
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Dear Camalot,

As others have already mentioned, the only way, your question ad concerns can be properly addressed is by posting uncropped, full sized images straight out of the camera without any post processing

One thing, I'm guessing is that you're using a multi point AF setting. Depending the strength and size of the area surrounding the subject of your image, the surrounding area is being metered rather than what it is that you're trying to focus on.

I usually use single point center AF which gives me better control over the results of the images-including exposure.

Zig
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Old Apr 17, 2012, 5:25 PM   #6
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Thanks to all of you for your ideas. Yep, I have done the accidental exposure compensation 'adjustment' in the past, so I checked that first..LOL. But the metering and focus settings and other thoughts all make good sense to consider. I was pretty sure it was operator error but not quite sure where to start. I am going to be very busy for the next few weeks with mom visiting, so no time to post samples right now. But will do so as soon as I can get back to it. I will also be doing a lot of memory creating the next two weeks and will take into consideration everyone's thoughts and see if I can get to an a-hah moment. Thanks again. Stand by!

Dale
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Old Apr 17, 2012, 5:30 PM   #7
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Oh, and one other thing, Zig. My preference is also single point center AF, but I haven't quite figured out the instructions out of the manual for setting that up. Glad to hear you endorse it. I know there are a lot of opinions. But it seems more dependable and straightforward to me.

Dale
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Old Apr 17, 2012, 7:36 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by camalot View Post
Oh, and one other thing, Zig. My preference is also single point center AF, but I haven't quite figured out the instructions out of the manual for setting that up. Glad to hear you endorse it. I know there are a lot of opinions. But it seems more dependable and straightforward to me.

Dale
Dale,

To set the D7000 for single point center AF follow these steps

Press the AF button on the left side of the camera body. While keeping the button pressed, look at the top LCD display, you will see that only the AF setting will be illuminated. Continue holding the AF button then turn the front control wheel found just in front of the top LCD display but just below the shutter release button. When you start turning the wheel, you'll notice the AF points changing. Turn the wheel until you only see the center point illuminated.
When you turn the rear control wheel found behind and to the right, while still holding the AF button, you'll see that you can change from AF-C, AF-A and AF-C.

Hope this helps.
Zig
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Old Apr 18, 2012, 7:04 AM   #9
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Interesting problem Camalot. I do not shoot with a Nikon, but I do shoot extensively at Busch Gardens, including the Cheetah habitat. I will echo the advice given. When shooting the Cheetahs, the center spot metering off the animal usually gives bang-on perfect exposure every time.
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Old Apr 18, 2012, 8:55 PM   #10
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To really fine tune any camera's metering, first understand how metering works. Based on the area being metered, it reads the blacks and whites to reach an average for a "good" exposure. By bringing them together, it is trying to reach the gray midpoint. Most japanese cameras are at the 12-14% ansi standard, not the 18% popularized by Kodak. Ever notice why a predominant black object, like a steam locomotive, comes out with a grayish cast rather than true black. That is why. The camera is trying to average, and pulling the exposure to gray.

With even lighting, such as an overcast day, take a full frame photo of an 18% gray card. Now adjust the histogram to the center point, noting the adjustment level. Now set that level in the camera and should be fully adjusted.
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