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Teach an old dog new tricks: Exposure Compensation

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vandyll.net says:

So, I think I have down the basics of metering, and a lot of time I find myself shooting in spot metering.

One thing that I can not get my head around is +/- EV compensation. I have read the manual, and looked at the EXIF data on some photos where it was used but for some reason, the concept eludes me.

So, if I meter the background and then meter the subject, how do you determine what (if any) EV compensation to use?

Explain it to me like I am all stupid and stuff. (I basically am) maybe draw something with stick figures. =)
7:15PM, 9 July 2008 PDT (permalink)

gigantic rock [deleted] says:

I think I understand. Sort of.

I'd say it's just like film shooting yeah? You meter the background, meter the foreground and then use the EV comp accordingly. + if you want a lighter image but want to keep the same aperture/shutter speed, and - if you want a darker on with the same settings.

For example, you're taking a shot of something at f2.8 because you want an almost shallow DoF but still want a bit of focal detail. There is not much light in the scene, and you're at the limit of the speed you personally can handhold.

Opening the aperture more to get more light in is an option, but at the expense of losing what limited depth of focus you already have. This is where I understand EV comes in. You could + two EV stops to allow more light into the scene without having to drop the shutter speed or open the aperture.

You can also use EV compensation to brighten otherwise dark foregrounds with bright backgrounds, which is what I think you're referring to.

I normally use it the same way I would adjust the aperture or shutter speed to compensate. That is, if there is a difference of two stops, then I'd +2 EV to gain more detail in the foreground. I *think* that this brightness is gained at the expense of the background (I'm not big in the technical of this, I just know it works!). But if you're shooting Raw (which I'm pretty sure ^^ you are, then as long as this brightness doesn't clip the highlights in the histogram you could tone this down in post, while still having that detail to play with in the foreground that might otherwise have been clipped shadows.

I held off answering this as I'm using EV compensation mainly on film , and I thought someone more knowledgeable would have jumped in by now, but after I got home from work just now and it was still unanswered I figured I'd have a stab at it!.

It's harder to pinpoint what works and what doesn't on film, because despite my notes I don't have any record of the actual scene other than the negative.

I'd suggest trying the theory I've presented out, while in the meantime someone else can jump in and clarify if what I've said is correct!
Originally posted ages ago. (permalink)
gigantic rock edited this topic ages ago.

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vandyll.net says:

That kinda makes sense. It also makes sense that I should be trying it in full manual instead of aperture priority since it seems to make adjustments to shutter speed (I think) when I use +/- EV.

Maybe I can play around with it some this weekend while I am out of town and see if I can get the hang of it without blowing out the background.

Thanks for the response. =)
ages ago (permalink)

gigantic rock [deleted] says:

Shutter speed should still make the difference though. It;s just if you wanted a fast or a slow shutter speed for a specific reason you can "override" the recording of the light to a certain extent while maintaining the result that that aperture/shutter speed combo will give you.
ages ago (permalink)

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vandyll.net says:

Yeah, I read (and have noticed) that shutter speed can be used to change how ambient light is used (or completely not used in some cases). I like faster shutter speeds to help darken the background when it isn't important part of the photo.
ages ago (permalink)

waiting invention [deleted] says:

I find that when shooting an Aperture or Shutter Priority that playing with the +/- EV changes how the sensor meters the scene. So if for example, you are shooting a snowy scene - you know that the metering is going to cause the shot to be underexposed because it reads the snow as very bright, even if this is not the case. Have a negative EV calculates the shutter speed (if you have set an aperture) or vice versa in order to expose the scene a little more.
I'm not entirely sure what effect it has when shooting in full manual though.
ages ago (permalink)

waiting invention [deleted] says:

take a look at this article...
He's got EV compensation mapped out perfectly. Its a really good explanation.

Article Here
ages ago (permalink)

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vandyll.net says:

Thanks for the link, that is exactly what I was looking for!
ages ago (permalink)

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