How do you know whether a photo is correctly exposed or not?


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freebsdntu

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#1
Maybe this is quite a dumb question,but i would still ask since I have no idea of it.

I know that exposure is key to a good photograph,and i also know that the metering of camera lies to us very often,especially in situations like very contrasty colors,so can anybody tell me how to make sure BY OUR EYES that the view in the viewfinder is correctly exposed before I press down the shutter?

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.Thx!
 

freebsdntu

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#4
use histogram to check your exposure.
Yes,i have heard about this method,but just don't know how to use the histogram.

I think that it is not the camera meter lying but the user not knowing how to use it. (I'm not commenting on your abilities, so don't be offended :))

Yes,a good point there. ;)

If you don't want to trust the light meter, use this
http://www.fredparker.com/ultexp1.htm

I hope that helps :)
I will check that webpage out.Thank you,adam.
 

ipin

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Nov 21, 2005
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#5
Yes,i have heard about this method,but just don't know how to use the histogram.
how to read the histogram

Another way is, if your cam has a DOF button, use it to see the exposure through the viewfinder.

All said, it depends on what you're trying to achieve. If the pic looks ok to you, as in what you are trying to and the way you are trying to capture (What you are aiming to achieve and the story of your picture), the exposure is correct. ;)
 

skopio

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#7
correctly exposed is self defined. whether you want as much detail as possible from all parts of the scene or blow some highlights or have more shadows. it all depends on YOU.

to achieve "correct exposure", view the LCD/check the histogram.
 

#8
you could blow the highlights straight out of the water and still have a 'correct' exposure if that's the effect you were looking for.

as with all the advice above, check your histogram if you have one
 

benedium

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#9
how to read the histogram

Another way is, if your cam has a DOF button, use it to see the exposure through the viewfinder.

All said, it depends on what you're trying to achieve. If the pic looks ok to you, as in what you are trying to and the way you are trying to capture (What you are aiming to achieve and the story of your picture), the exposure is correct. ;)
I thought DOF button is to see how much of a picture is in focus cos it will stop down to the aperture that the camera will shoot with. Normally it is very dark looking as you cant see the effect of film speed/ISO as well as shutter speed. I hardly use it, so not sure.
 

ipin

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Nov 21, 2005
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#10
I thought DOF button is to see how much of a picture is in focus cos it will stop down to the aperture that the camera will shoot with. Normally it is very dark looking as you cant see the effect of film speed/ISO as well as shutter speed. I hardly use it, so not sure.
TS wanted to 'see' from the viewfinder if he could get a correct exposure.
And since the opening of the apeture as an impact on the exposure, I thought it was worth mentioning the DOF button. ;)
 

Halfmoon

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Feb 26, 2005
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#11
For me I think what exposure is correct for you to use depend on what you wanna achieve....

Sometimes, for the effect, you have a different exposure for different reason.....
 

ipin

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#12
Also, with respect to the histogram, if you are shooting a night scene, the histogram would be skewed to the left. This doesn't mean that it's under exposed, it just means that the exposure/picture has more dark pixles. And vice versa. :D

You'll have to know what you are shooting and want to achieve. ;)
 

Michael

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#13
how to read the histogram
Another way is, if your cam has a DOF button, use it to see the exposure through the viewfinder.
ipin, the DOF button does not help a bit to gauge exposure. It does what it says, it shows how much depth of field you have.
To illustrate my point and how wrong you are take the following: lets say you use a lens with max aperture f2.8, lets say we also use f2.8 and 1/1000s for the shutter speed. pressing the DOF will not change anything in your viewfinder. now we change to f11, that is four stops down (f4, f5.6, f8, f11), hence we need shutter speed 1/60 (1/500, 1/250, 1/125, 1/60). now you press the DOF button and the viewfinder becomes depressingly dark.
exposure is for both the same, impression in viewfinder is definitively the different.

Conclusion: DOF does not help.

how to check exposure? with a digital its really only the histogram, make sure things are spread from one end to other, unless of course you are taking a high or low key shot for which most of the data will be all the way to the left or right.
in any case you want to avoid that you burn highligths (vertical line visible at the right end of histogram) or that you drown the shadows (vertical line at left end).

if you shoot film, you got to wait for the negative to come back and check it for blank spots or completely black... a bit more difficult
 

cantaresg

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#14
Get a S3 IS. It has a live histogram and live preview. You can see the exposure before you press the shutter. Otherwise, know your camera. Try and see how each exposure works.
 

ipin

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Nov 21, 2005
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#15
ipin, the DOF button does not help a bit to gauge exposure. It does what it says, it shows how much depth of field you have.
To illustrate my point and how wrong you are take the following: lets say you use a lens with max aperture f2.8, lets say we also use f2.8 and 1/1000s for the shutter speed. pressing the DOF will not change anything in your viewfinder. now we change to f11, that is four stops down (f4, f5.6, f8, f11), hence we need shutter speed 1/60 (1/500, 1/250, 1/125, 1/60). now you press the DOF button and the viewfinder becomes depressingly dark.
exposure is for both the same, impression in viewfinder is definitively the different.

Conclusion: DOF does not help.
Apart from the histogram, the exposure could not be accurately judged via the viewfinder.
Thanks for the refresher Michael! :thumbsup:
 

Deadpoet

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Oct 18, 2004
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#17
hmmm .... why no one recommends the TS to shoot more, learn to read lights and lightings, and then evaluate the final output either in prints or a calibrated monitor.

The is a side benefit, hopefully, that the TS will be a much better photographer after shooting more. Afterall, photography is not jsut exposure, but shooting more always help.
 

Michael

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#18
hmmm .... why no one recommends the TS to shoot more, learn to read lights and lightings, and then evaluate the final output either in prints or a calibrated monitor.

The is a side benefit, hopefully, that the TS will be a much better photographer after shooting more. Afterall, photography is not jsut exposure, but shooting more always help.
its good to be brought back to reality... the LCDs should be banned....
 

cantaresg

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#19
I had turned off the LCD in both my dslr and s3is so that i won't be tempted to do previews unnecessarily. there's no need to ban it. Just exert self control.
 

Michael

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#20
I had turned off the LCD in both my dslr and s3is so that i won't be tempted to do previews unnecessarily. there's no need to ban it. Just exert self control.
was joking... of course its great to have an review option once in a while (i need it when shooting with AIS lens on my D70) but we tend to over-rely on it....
 

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