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Thread: D800E Exposure

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    D800E Exposure

    I have the meter set for matrix and I am finding that I am consistently 1/2-2/3 stop over exposed. Are others finding this?

    I am coming from Canon and Phase DF, so this could just be a Nikon thing, but would like to hear others' experience.

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    Re: D800E Exposure

    The opposite for me. My D800e seems to always be .3 to .5 under. Fortunately the recovery of shadows is great.

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    Re: D800E Exposure

    I don't have a D800 but have come from a D700, so take this with a grain of salt if you will...
    Nikon's out of the box metering has always been a bit strange IMHO. Particularly strange if you are not used to it is the Active D Lighting settings. Out of the box, it is usually set to "automatic", which influences the metering readout less or more dramatically depending on the scene you are photographing and the composition. It is designed to protect overexposure of highlights so the higher it is set, or automatically set, the more underexposed your RAW file with be, with one exception... Namely, unless you are shooting JPG only or using NX2 as your ONLY RAW processor, I'd recommend turning Active D Lighing OFF. That way you will learn exactly how each scene is being metered with the Matrix metering algorithms - NX2 is the only software that knows how to interperet the Active D Lighting settings to give you a "correct" exposure in the RAW converter.
    Hope this helps...

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    Subscriber Member tashley's Avatar
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    Re: D800E Exposure

    That does help, thank you. I turned mine off immediately, since having been burned using the equivalent on a Fuji x100 and finding it was messing with ISO.

    Mine appears to overexpose too, in terms of its highlight clipping warnings, but in fact many shots that are flashing red are in fact fine.

    So what I do is shoot from the hip if I have to but otherwise always consider exposure compensation. Anything with a smallish percentage of bright non-specular areas gets -2/3rds. I could probably flip the master control to that setting in the menu in fact, especially when shooting at low ISO because of the extraordinarily forgiving shadows, but I quite like the way the system forces me to think about exposure all the time!

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    Re: D800E Exposure

    I always found my D700 to be picky on the highlights but very generous on the shadows, so I don't expect the D800 to be much different. The Canon's I've shot have tended to be the other way around, or at least seem to overrate the ISO settings. Either way, as long as you're aware of it you'll have no problem making use of impressive dynamic range.

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    Re: D800E Exposure

    Thanks for all the info guys. I do have Active D off.

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    Re: D800E Exposure

    +1! It's generally advanatagous to shut off active D lighting unless one uses NX2. I also found once you understood how cameras like the D3s/D700 evaluated lighting, it was fairly predictable. The one camera that appeared to change things for many was the D7000. Highlights in bright lighting generally overexposed badly and a menu setting of global compensation worked except most other lighting senarios would then underexpose by a wide margin. What made it worse is bright indirect sunlight would meter one way, but if the light became any more diffuse or slightly change, all bets were off and the exposue could change by more than 1-2 f-stops. This occured on all D7000 bodies I tested, and no such similar metering algorithm seemed to exist for any previous Nikon DSLR body.

    Dave (D&A)
    Last edited by D&A; 27th May 2012 at 07:53.

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: D800E Exposure

    Hmmm. Different philosophies cropping up on use of technologies in this camera for sure. I tend to embrace technology for what it does well -- but only after I've tested it and confirmed it does it well -- though I respect others who choose never to trust it. As such I have my active D-Lighting set to low and it seems to perfectly protect highlights in situations where needed while not being limiting of anything in situations where it isn't. My worst case has been maybe 1/2 stop under in a landscape with sunlit clouds. But the DR on the D800 is so great, bumping up the exposure in C1 when needed is so easy it's trivial to correct it. At the end of the day for ANY exposure, I'd rather be 1/2 under than 1/3rd over. Other option of course is to go old school, leave active D off and dial in -1/3 -- but even then the meter can be confused and generate a wrong exposure. Safest is manual with histo review, but that's S L O W. Personally, I am finding active D low pretty beneficial for my style of shooting.

    YMMV,
    Jack
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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: D800E Exposure

    My D800 tends to underexpose about 1/3 to 1/2 stop which is actually not a bad thing.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: D800E Exposure

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    My D800 tends to underexpose about 1/3 to 1/2 stop which is actually not a bad thing.
    That's because when I walked you through my settings, I told you to turn Active D lighting to Low
    Jack
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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: D800E Exposure

    I think I have it off actually. I'll double check
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: D800E Exposure

    Jack said ..."Other option of course is to go old school, leave active D off and dial in -1/3"<<<

    LOL...old school? now both of you are trying to "date me"! Seriously though, thats precisely what I do (dial in -1/3) but with that, it becomes second nature to change exp. comp on the fly in recognizing when this needs to be done. Of all the Active D lighting settings that did work best, Jack is right....setting it to "low" often seems to be less intrusive. It's not a matter of not trusting technology...it's often when ones style and subject matter determines that auto capability in some camera function becomes more of a disadvanatge than a advantage, then more user control is initiated.

    Dave (D&A)

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    Re: D800E Exposure

    Yup it's been off.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Re: D800E Exposure

    Quote Originally Posted by D&A View Post
    It's not a matter of not trusting technology...it's often when ones style and subject matter determines that auto capability in some camera function becomes more of a disadvanatge than a advantage, then more user control is initiated.

    Dave (D&A)
    Okay, so it's a control issue then?




    Seriously, I hear you, but I'm going to go on record and simply say Active D Low just works on the D800 (not sure about previous gen bodies), and works extremely well for me.
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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: D800E Exposure

    I'll give it a go. Tried auto ISO last night. Crap next I'll trust AF. My world is coming to a end. ROTFLMAO
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: D800E Exposure

    Quote Originally Posted by D&A View Post
    This occured on all D7000 bodies I tested, and no such similar metering algorithm seemed to exist for any previous Nikon DSLR body.
    I haven't noticed this, but then I've only used the D7000 for subjects in pretty flat light.

    Did you try ADL? For JPEG this is intended to reduce exposure to protect the highlights, then apply a slightly higher gamma to lift the midtones. The actual amount applied is dependent on scene. Of course it has no effect on RAW, except for protecting the highlights. The previews do reflect the gamma increase though. There's also a tone curve to keep the shadows from flaring up. But for RAW all that matters is that it protects the highlights and the previews look reasonable (not underexposed).

    Edit: I see Jack already got to ADL...

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    Re: D800E Exposure

    Quote Originally Posted by Jan Brittenson View Post
    I haven't noticed this, but then I've only used the D7000 for subjects in pretty flat light.

    Did you try ADL? For JPEG this is intended to reduce exposure to protect the highlights, then apply a slightly higher gamma to lift the midtones. The actual amount applied is dependent on scene. Of course it has no effect on RAW, except for protecting the highlights. The previews do reflect the gamma increase though. There's also a tone curve to keep the shadows from flaring up. But for RAW all that matters is that it protects the highlights and the previews look reasonable (not underexposed).

    Edit: I see Jack already got to ADL...
    Hi Jan,

    I only shoot Raw. Unless Nikon changed something in later production D7000's or have a firearm update that addresses the severe overexposure issue, it was simply a no go for me and I can confiidently say many others who especially shot quickly in a wide variety of lighting senarios. All would be merrily going fine and all of a sudden with slightly more light entering the frame, resulting image would be up to 1.5 or more stops overexposed. From what I understand from Nikon, they developed new aloriithims that evaluated such lighting and instead of the resulting image underexposing, it tried preserving shadow detail and in the process reduce noise. Unfortunately it overshot it's predictive evaluation by a wide margin and could not be easily defeated except to restrict your shooting in vert modes. It always reared it's ugly head in outdoor bright light. As soon as the light source was reduced, metering was quite accurate. Again, things may be different in later production bodies or with recent firmware upgrades....I honestly can't say.

    Dave (D&A)

    Dave (D&A)

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    Re: D800E Exposure

    Dave, I'm not suggesting you shoot JPEG - I don't either. But you HAVE TO understand how the JPEG engine in the camera works to use the camera effectively.

    The in-camera preview you see is created by the JPEG engine, even if you shoot RAW. (It's debayered, white balanced, given a gamma, etc etc)
    The histogram you see is based on what the JPEG engine creates - a linear histogram would have everything bunched up at the extreme left in a single bar a few pixels wide. It would be worthless.
    The exposure system takes into account what makes a good JPEG.

    All the JPEG settings are stored in tags in the RAW file. If you load it up in NX2 (that's an IF, I don't use NX2 either - I don't even have it installed) it will look just like the preview did in the camera.

    Other raw processors use some tags (like WB) and have no clue about others (like ADL adjustments). Regardless of this, it's still a good idea to use whatever camera JPEG settings produce a ballpark preview, because these settings are consulted by the exposure system. There is no such thing as "RAW only no JPEG" - because you can't preview raw undebayered, native-WB, linear gamma, completely unprocessed image data. It's not an image. It needs to be processed by the JPEG engine to become one. Therefore, set up the JPEG processing parameters to resemble your own intent for the images in post. If it's to protect the highlights and raise the midtones a bit to avoid appearing underexposed, then ADL does exactly this. You just get to raise the midtones yourself because C1 et al have no idea this was the intent you set in the camera.

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    Re: D800E Exposure

    Quote Originally Posted by Jan Brittenson View Post
    Dave, I'm not suggesting you shoot JPEG - I don't either. But you HAVE TO understand how the JPEG engine in the camera works to use the camera effectively.

    The in-camera preview you see is created by the JPEG engine, even if you shoot RAW. (It's debayered, white balanced, given a gamma, etc etc)
    The histogram you see is based on what the JPEG engine creates - a linear histogram would have everything bunched up at the extreme left in a single bar a few pixels wide. It would be worthless.
    The exposure system takes into account what makes a good JPEG.

    All the JPEG settings are stored in tags in the RAW file. If you load it up in NX2 (that's an IF, I don't use NX2 either - I don't even have it installed) it will look just like the preview did in the camera.

    Other raw processors use some tags (like WB) and have no clue about others (like ADL adjustments). Regardless of this, it's still a good idea to use whatever camera JPEG settings produce a ballpark preview, because these settings are consulted by the exposure system. There is no such thing as "RAW only no JPEG" - because you can't preview raw undebayered, native-WB, linear gamma, completely unprocessed image data. It's not an image. It needs to be processed by the JPEG engine to become one. Therefore, set up the JPEG processing parameters to resemble your own intent for the images in post. If it's to protect the highlights and raise the midtones a bit to avoid appearing underexposed, then ADL does exactly this. You just get to raise the midtones yourself because C1 et al have no idea this was the intent you set in the camera.
    Hi Jan,

    Thank your taking the time to respond. I follow exactly what you explained and in part realize the histogram and resulting preview image on the LCD is based on a in-camera jpeg even though the camera is set to shoot only RAW. Like yourself, except in extreme curcumstances, I don't go anywhere near NX2.

    The issue with the D7000's I shot with is in the lighting senario I described, where the cameras metering would severly overexposed in indirect bright sunlight, short of reducing exposure by close to 2 f-stops, the resulting Raw file would be blown out and highlights and many midtowns were not recoverable. So regardless what the camera was or wa not doing to the resulting jpeg or possibly relying on associated parameters in evaluating it, bottom line, this anomaly in metering was a significant issue. I'm not the only one who encountered this...group of pro's here that picked up this camera (different bodies if course), encountered much the same and found it for specific types of shooting, somewhat untenable to work with, without a great deal of frustration. There were also other niggling things about the D7000 functionality, but there were workarounds.

    Dave (D&A)

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    Subscriber Member tashley's Avatar
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    Minority Report on Active D

    I read the thread above and stayed quiet in case my memory was playing tricks but I have done a quick test and it confirms my original reaction: Active D Low, at least in my test, is interested preserving shadow detail not highlight detail: If I tripod frame a view with deep foreground in shade and plenty of very bright sky, then switch from Active D Low to Off and backwards and forwards, in A mode, and Auto ISO, the shutter speed remains fixed and the ISO pops up a third of a stop when Active D goes on. That's why I tried it once when I took delivery of the camera and then turned it off: it does the Fuji trick of increasing ISO without your explicit permission, and overexposing slightly.

    Maybe a wider variety of testing conditions would show it as being more clever but so far, my camera's tendency to overexpose is precisely in situations where it should be metering to protect the (non-specular) highlights.

    I use exposure comp ALL THE TIME to avoid this happening. I'd like to know what 60,000 scenes they programmed into the matrix brain, because my guess is that none of them had sky in them...
    Last edited by tashley; 28th May 2012 at 10:13.

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    Re: Minority Report on Active D

    Quote Originally Posted by tashley View Post

    Maybe a wider variety of testing conditions would show it as being more clever but so far, my camera's tendency to overexpose is precisely in situations where it should be metering to protect the (non-specular) highlights.

    I use exposure comp ALL THE TIME to avoid this happening. I'd like to know what 60,000 scenes they programmed into the matrix brain, because my guess is that none of them had sky in them...
    Tim, I'm still laughing from that last line you wrote cause that's exactly what I was thinking many months ago when shooting with a D7000 in bright lighting where expanse of the sky was a prominent part of the image...and that particular body would severely overexpose.

    Active-D on low does work fairly well in certain situations but not some others and although I tried to nail it down, so that I knew when it had to be turned off, at times it was unpredictable. That's why I tend to keep it off and simply use exposure compensation along with a invention that came long before Nikon started preprograming cameras for evaluating exposure values.....namely my brain ( although some would say mine in particular could use some improvement...LOL).

    Maybe it could be argued, but Nikon's evaluative process for their variety of AF-C modes for predictive autofocusing is to be commended, but I've never been too impressed with their evaluative metering (exposure) system as a whole.

    Dave (D&A)

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    Re: Minority Report on Active D

    Always glad to raise a smile

    I tried it on Active D auto this evening and it's a bit better but the main improvement came from a Doh! moment: I have the camera set to CF: RAW and SD:JPEG and at some point of experimentation I'd switched the JPEG mode to Vivid. Turning it back to Neutral makes the highlight warning a lot more accurate...




    Quote Originally Posted by D&A View Post
    Tim, I'm still laughing from that last line you wrote cause that's exactly what I was thinking many months ago when shooting with a D7000 in bright lighting where expanse of the sky was a prominent part of the image...and that particular body would severely overexpose.

    Active-D on low does work fairly well in certain situations but not some others and although I tried to nail it down, so that I knew when it had to be turned off, at times it was unpredictable. That's why I tend to keep it off and simply use exposure compensation along with a invention that came long before Nikon started preprograming cameras for evaluating exposure values.....namely my brain ( although some would say mine in particular could use some improvement...LOL).

    Maybe it could be argued, but Nikon's evaluative process for their variety of AF-C modes for predictive autofocusing is to be commended, but I've never been too impressed with their evaluative metering (exposure) system as a whole.

    Dave (D&A)

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    Subscriber Member tashley's Avatar
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    Re: D800E Exposure

    On that note: for years, all smart RAW shooters have used the Expose to the Right mantra. With the d800 shadow magic, it's waaaay better to shoot further to the left and save the highlights. I think I'm going to give in and dial a global -1/3rd in, but always remember that it's there.

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: D800E Exposure

    >>at some point of experimentation I'd switched the JPEG mode to Vivid<<

    Now that IS funny! No wonder the D low didn't work for you!

    I always use the standard jpeg AND sRGB for this very reason -- both tend to preserve highlights. Global -1/3 and all the automation turned off is probably as good as anything though. But for now I stand by liking the semi-automatic protection the D low is providing. So until it frogs one of my exposures -- and it hasn't yet -- I will leave it on
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    Re: D800E Exposure

    Quote Originally Posted by tashley View Post
    On that note: for years, all smart RAW shooters have used the Expose to the Right mantra. With the d800 shadow magic, it's waaaay better to shoot further to the left and save the highlights. I think I'm going to give in and dial a global -1/3rd in, but always remember that it's there.
    Couldn't agree more with that senario. Guy and I posted briefly about dialing in the same global -1/3 setting with Active-D off. Of course watch, months from now, Jack will have Guy convinced to turn auto everything on...including the the D800's ability to have the cappuccino ready in the morning....with highlights (creamer) preserved of course.....LOL!

    Dave (D&A)

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