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03-18-2016, 05:34 AM   #1
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Holy Metering Batman! I Wasn't Using the Exposure Meter

Now I feel like a total idiot. I have been composing my photos, hundreds of them through the E Viewfinder. Hate live view. Meanwhile, I had been pretty much ignoring the status screen other than for setting the ISO, Fstop, etc. I totally ignored exposure meter. So this morning I went out in difficult light (low angle sun blocked by buildings), put the K-50 in M mode and setup the camera (couple of seconds) based solely on the exposure meter...perfection! I got so used to allowing the K-50 figure out the exposure, that I just didn't bother with the meter.

To make the test shots this past week I have been standing on my back deck and then take four pictures, rotating approximately 25 degrees for each shot. I just figured out, using the exposure meter that each shot required a different exposure setting. If the shot at 0 degrees was right, the shot at 90 degrees was way off (dark or light). Dang, how did I miss this? Unfortunately, when shooting in Auto or P mode, the camera seems to be making the same mistake.

Anyway I am excited as heck...

Jack


Last edited by photolady95; 03-18-2016 at 07:32 AM.
03-18-2016, 05:39 AM   #2
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LOL Well, at least now you know! Even though it can work wonders, you can save yourself a lot of trouble in post processing if you learn how to use your meter and get things as close as possible in the beginning.
03-18-2016, 05:43 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by jackloganbill Quote
Now I feel like a total idiot. I have been composing my photos, hundreds of them through the E Viewfinder. Hate line view. Meanwhile, I had been pretty much ignoring the status screen other than for setting the ISO, Fstop, etc. I totally ignored exposure meter. So this morning I went out in difficult light (low angle sun blocked by buildings), put the K-50 in M mode and setup the camera (couple of seconds) based solely on the exposure meter...perfection! I got so used to allowing the K-50 figure out the exposure, that I just didn't bother with the meter.

Jack
All part of the learning process, Jack. Glad you are now getting the results you wanted Something to bear in mind is that, depending on the metering mode - spot, weighted or matrix - the camera will prioritise exposure for different areas of the image. It's worth getting to know how the different metering modes work and when to use them - in particular (I find) becoming familiar with spot metering and auto-exposure lock (allowing you to aim the camera at a specific point in your image and expose on that, lock the exposure, then re-compose and take the shot). While auto-exposure works extremely well, it can be fooled by extreme lighting conditions, or large areas of bright or dark features...

Last edited by BigMackCam; 03-18-2016 at 05:50 AM.
03-18-2016, 06:08 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by BigMackCam Quote
All part of the learning process, Jack. Glad you are now getting the results you wanted Something to bear in mind is that, depending on the metering mode - spot, weighted or matrix - the camera will prioritise exposure for different areas of the image. It's worth getting to know how the different metering modes work and when to use them - in particular (I find) becoming familiar with spot metering and auto-exposure lock (allowing you to aim the camera at a specific point in your image and expose on that, lock the exposure, then re-compose and take the shot). While auto-exposure works extremely well, it can be fooled by extreme lighting conditions, or large areas of bright or dark features...
This is huge. I just took a picture (M mode) of my backyard (my wood shop). The top half of the shop was bathed in direct sunlight, the bottom half and driveway in total shade. In the resulting photo, the top half is perfectly exposed, the bottom half and driveway are too dark. So, yes, much more to learn.

03-18-2016, 06:16 AM   #5
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For instance, here are two images one using P Mode and the other M Mode. Exactly the same time (seconds difference)...
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03-18-2016, 06:30 AM   #6
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And this is the auto mode of our Canon SX50...
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03-18-2016, 07:01 AM   #7
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Great example. The sunlight reflecting off the white painted doors is very bright, and the camera has done it's best to expose that area so that highlight detail isn't lost (it is typically more difficult to deal with highlight clipping in post-processing) - but this is at the expense of exposure in the shadow areas (which are more easily recovered). In the second capture, the shadow areas are nicely exposed, but the doors and, to some extent, the sky are over-exposed. There'll be a lot of highlight clipping on the doors, with some of it unrecoverable. The third, taken with your SX-50, is a nice compromise - but I'd guess there is some highlight clipping towards the right side of that large door, and on much of the smaller door.

As one review of the K-50 summarises, "Exposures were generally 1/3rd EV stop under-exposed, perfect for retaining detail in the highlight areas without sacrificing the shadow areas too much"...
03-18-2016, 07:03 AM   #8
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It's good to take more control, although we are ultimately limited by the cameras dynamic range ability..... There's only one possible 'exposure value' - EV' for each single shot, and where we pitch it can affect the range of detail recorded in the shadows and highlights. .... So its a creative choice really, where we want the priorities to be in each image.

I think of the modes as a means to an end .... You can get the same results from each mode, it's just a different mental approach with the automatic modes than with manual. Your meter is still working in the auto modes, same as the manual mode, but it has a few more calculations and settings that influence it in the auto modes. You can override these decisions with the Exposure Compensation control to choose the exact EV needed, even in the automatic modes.

03-18-2016, 07:25 AM - 2 Likes   #9
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Looks like others beat me to what I was trying to say, but I'll go ahead and post anyways

To the OP, a few quick comments based on this limited sample as they appear posted here (e.g. JPEG)… Notice that:
1) P mode protected for highlights to retain detail in the brightest areas. This is a very smart choice if shooting RAW because experience shows that Pentax images retain considerable detail in dark areas that can be recovered in post processing if desired.
2) The particular settings used in M mode in this case (e.g. aperture vs time) resulted in lightening the shadows and overexposing the highlights. This is fine for seeing the details in the shadows, but the details lost by overexposure in the highlights cannot be recovered beyond a certain small limitation- they just do not exist.
3) Within the limitations of the available technology and final output medium- it may often be impossible to have details in both the darkest & lightest areas simultaneously.
4) Based on the limit mentioned in item 3 and exampled in items 1 & 2- it is important for the photographer to determine what they would like to communicate or prioritize for and then apply or adjust the exposure accordingly.
5) Canon did a fabulous job calibrating their metering system in this model to accommodate this particular situation. Honestly this appears to be a near perfect compromise! A loss of detail in just a small area of the very brightest highlights and lowest shadow.
6) A way to approximate this would be to take a spot reading of just the highlight area and another of just the shadow area and then average them to determine the settings to use on the camera.

Foot note to 6)* Unfortunately ever since the OM 3&4 no camera manufacturer has ever had the tenacity to offer such a powerfully effective and efficient creative exposure control tool to the photographer! HINT HINT Ricoh Pentax !!! - 'multiple spot averaging' would be an incredible addition to your repertoire and would fit superbly into the product family feature set.

Last edited by One3rdEV; 03-18-2016 at 07:32 AM.
03-18-2016, 07:34 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by One3rdEV Quote
6) A way to approximate this would be to take a spot reading of just the highlight area and another of just the shadow area and then average them to determine the settings to use on the camera.
If time permits, I think this is a great way of estimating optimum exposure. Good tip
03-18-2016, 07:48 AM   #11
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Or you could use two shots and HDR to get detail in both hilights and shadows.
03-23-2016, 09:28 PM   #12
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In bright daylight, I usually have to use -0.3ev (better highlights, color, and bluer skies), then up the shadow correction as needed in (RAW->JPEG). If too much contrast, HDR-1 or (in rare cases HDR-2). HDR-1 usually works best as HDR-2 often produces a slightly cheezy-looking image.
03-24-2016, 05:23 AM   #13
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Kodai84, thanks for the comment.
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