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09-03-2008, 08:32 PM   #1
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Camera's Monitor Brightness Level & Exposure

As a result of having trouble viewing images on my K20's screen in sunlight, I had the monitor's brightness level turned all the way up--plus 7 in the menu options. I did this a while ago, and did not think much about it. But, for some time, I notice my images often come out looking underexposed==I shoot almost exclusively in Manual mode and rely on the monitor, to a large degree, for correct exposure. They come out looking underexposed when I put them on the computer. This is because I expose them on the camera’s monitor at plus 7 brightness.
So, what has been happening is with brightness all the way up on the monitor, my shots look to have a proper exposure, but actually do not: they are, in fact, much less exposed than meets my eye. The realization of the cause and effect of turning the monitor brightness up was a revelation to me, a Eureka kind of moment. I never thought turning up the brightness on the monitor could result in me under exposing shots. But it really makes sense now--da, as they say.
I am posting here for two reasons: one, has anyone else fell victim to this? and two, I am hoping to prevent grief to others by relaying this information here.

09-03-2008, 09:36 PM   #2
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I haven't made that mistake yet, but I am sure it was on the horizon. Probably on the day I forgot to bring my hoodman. Thanks for the post.
09-04-2008, 08:27 AM   #3
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I suggest that you turn on the "blinkies". I have mine on all the time. I expose for, ideally, one small blownout highlight. I find that this is a practical way of "Exposing To The Right" without all the metering troubles.

If you have not yet discovered ETTR, I suggest you look it up. It is a way of exposing with digital sensors to keep as much detail as possible and reduce the possibilities/likelihood of digital noise in the shadows. There are a large number of threads on the topic here, and a Google search will turn up detailed articles.
09-04-2008, 08:31 AM   #4
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Hi

Wow!!!!
Thanks for your information. I found it very interesting and useful.
Wish you good luck.

09-04-2008, 10:37 AM   #5
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Everyone--thanks for all the support--it is invaluable. Canada Rockies my first hit on Google for ETTR says the whole concept is a "Myth." LOL The ETTR Myth But I am going to read and learn all I can.

I have questions for you. Why do so many other people here suggest to expose slighty to the left, to retain highlight detail?

Also, for this level of sophistication and expense, can't we come up with a higher tech word than "blinkies"?


The more one dives into the world of DSLR, the more one realizes much of the DSLR world is still undiscovered, hotly debated. theoretical and wide open for interpretation. I have seen more passionate arguments here on cameras, than I have seen in some religious debates--and I have a Masters in Theology. LOL
09-04-2008, 10:53 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Jewelltrail Quote
Everyone--thanks for all the support--it is invaluable. Canada Rockies my first hit on Google for ETTR says the whole concept is a "Myth." LOL The ETTR Myth But I am going to read and learn all I can.

I have questions for you. Why do so many other people here suggest to expose slighty to the left, to retain highlight detail?

Also, for this level of sophistication and expense, can't we come up with a higher tech word than "blinkies"?


The more one dives into the world of DSLR, the more one realizes much of the DSLR world is still undiscovered, hotly debated. theoretical and wide open for interpretation. I have seen more passionate arguments here on cameras, than I have seen in some religious debates--and I have a Masters in Theology. LOL
Whether ETTR is a myth or not, I cannot say. All I can say is that my images do not show excessive digital noise when I keep my exposures generous - which is the opposite of what I did with slide film, where blowing the highlights was fatal. Slight underexposure gave rich, deep colours with slide film. With my k10d, that results in shadows that are too dark, and when I open them in post processing, they display digital noise.

I find the easiest way of monitoring my exposures is to turn on the highlight and shadow warning blinkies, and keep the exposure as generous as possible without blowing out needed highlight detail. For example, taking photos of antique cars, I would expose at the point where the reflection of the sun in a chrome bumper would just barely blink red. There is no detail to be kept in such a specular highlight, so let it go, and expose for the rest of the picture. If the whole bumper is blinking, I have troubles, and must reduce exposure to correct it.

Some images just cannot be handled by the sensor. If the sky is correctly exposed, the shadows are just plain black with no details (yellow blinkies abound), and when the shadow areas are exposed to show detail, even just barely, the whole sky flashes red on my LCD. This is where bracketing for HDR comes into the equation.
09-04-2008, 11:08 AM   #7
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ETTR really works. But watch out for overexposing too large areas.
Also I'd really really like to have 'blinkies' where even one colour channel is overexposed, not just the brightness (so with some scenes (skin tones in warm lighting, very colour saturated flowers in daylight etc.) I always use the separate histograms and watch out for that fatal long pike in the right end of (mostly) red channel)
And using the histogram to evaluate your exposures instead of display gives much more consistent results, as it is not influenced by (often rapidly changing) ambient light.
09-04-2008, 12:38 PM   #8
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Histogram Histogram Histogram




(and blinkies!)

09-05-2008, 10:14 PM   #9
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Yeah - histogram. Turn it on for your review.
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