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Iso Vs Exposure Compensation


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#1 RohitM

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Posted 10 January 2016 - 11:14 AM

Hello, I'm reading Stunning Digital Photography and in a Chapter 4 video [ sdp.io/Metering ] there is a  photo of Chelsea in the snow. At first the photo is underexposed so Tony increases exposure compensation and shifts the histogram to produce a better exposed picture. 

 

If I were in that situation (as a beginner) I would have increased the ISO for higher exposure. Why did he use exposure compensation instead of ISO? When should each one be used and how are they different?

 

Thanks,

Rohit



#2 geedee

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Posted 10 January 2016 - 12:12 PM

I am no expert, though as you know there are many variables available in capturing the same lighting conditions and in general it will be the main subject matter in the scene that may determine much though I think many folk might hope to utilise the minimum ISO in order to avoid grain in that which they hope to capture..?  



#3 Bill Peppas

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Posted 10 January 2016 - 12:41 PM

If you were in A or S or P mode, raising the ISO would NOT raise the exposure.

The camera would change the Shutter or Aperture to keep the exposure as before.

Exposure Compensation works as telling the camera to change the variable YOU DON'T control in the current mode ( in A mode you don't control the shutter speed, in S mode you don't control the aperture ) to raise/decrease the exposure accordingly.

 

Hello, I'm reading Stunning Digital Photography and in a Chapter 4 video [ sdp.io/Metering ] there is a  photo of Chelsea in the snow. At first the photo is underexposed so Tony increases exposure compensation and shifts the histogram to produce a better exposed picture. 

 

If I were in that situation (as a beginner) I would have increased the ISO for higher exposure. Why did he use exposure compensation instead of ISO? When should each one be used and how are they different?

 

Thanks,

Rohit



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#4 elcab18

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Posted 10 January 2016 - 12:45 PM

Increasing ISO won't change the exposure (amount of light), it will increase the shutter speed to compensate.  To increase the amount of light you need to compensate the actual length of the exposure.  On Nikon there is a button on the top of the camera, press and hold and rotate the back dial to the plus side.  Hope this helps :) 

 

Doug 



#5 K_Georgiadis

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Posted 10 January 2016 - 01:55 PM

My cameras' native ISO is 100 which produces the cleanest images. If I have full control of the scene and the subject is not running or flying away, I will try to get a correct exposure by manipulating aperture and/or shutter speed and I will raise the ISO as the last resort.



#6 Armitage

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Posted 10 January 2016 - 03:22 PM

I think simply put, for me anyways, you use Exposure Compensation to make a bright picture stay bright, or a dark picture stay dark.



#7 geedee

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Posted 11 January 2016 - 06:33 AM

Finding this stuff very interesting... I had imagined that the camera`s programming on determining exposure was relative to the sensors ability to capture a correctly exposed image for the light that fell on the sensor and that the photographer could choose the preferred aperture and/or shutter speed to maintain the sensors requirements for a properly exposed image when in manual, and as only the photographer would know that which he sought to prioritise within the scene, he could by selecting to over or under expose the metered aspect within the seen by altering the overall sensitivity of the cameras sensor by pressing  the exposure compensation button.. which would be in effect altering the ISO by a limited degree....?  

 

But what do I know, my cameras manual has 446 pages.. and I have worked with some measure of technology over too many years that is programmed well outside of whatever logic I might think to apply..????

 

Just thinking in type, no expertise whatsoever.. 



#8 RAH1861

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Posted 13 January 2016 - 10:27 AM

As others have said, changing the ISO makes NO difference as far as the exposure is concerned if you are in any type of automatic mode - Auto, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, or Program mode. As most folks know, the 3 aspects of an exposure (aperture, shutter speed, ISO) are all reciprocal - raise one and lower another gets you the same exposure. So changing the ISO will not change the exposure. You'll get a change of aperture or shutter speed, depending on what mode you are in, to compensate for the change in ISO.

Exposure Compensation is used to OVERRIDE the exposure that the camera is giving you in any of the automatic modes that allow EC (Aperture mode, shutter mode, and Program mode). Otherwise, there would be no way to get anything other than what the camera was giving you for an exposure (except going to manual mode).

In the case of snowy scenes, the metering thinks it is REALLY bright. It wants to render the exposure to give medium grey. So depending on the metering mode, it will give you medium grey snow, and anything else darker than the snow will get VERY dark. This is NOT what you want. You want the snow to be WHITE. So you need to increase the exposure to get the white snow, which will have the added benefit of brightening everything else in the scene (people's faces, etc).

So, think MEDIUM GREY. If the scene you are metering is not medium grey, does it need to be brighter (as with snow) or darker (as with spot metering on a black cat)? Use Exposure Compensation to accomplish that.
 


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#9 john whittaker

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Posted 20 January 2016 - 01:54 PM

I recommend that you watch the video over again and again until you under stand what he is telling you. :rolleyes:

we all had to crawl before we learned to walk, photography is the same way.

take your time , slow down , it will come , you need to let it sink in.

watch a chapter then practice what is in the chapter, once you have that figured out , move to the next.


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#10 geedee

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Posted 20 January 2016 - 06:25 PM

I tend to use only MANUAL settings at this stage in my learning process and it would defy my logic to think that if I prioritised  aperture and shutter speed that one or other of these settings would somehow be altered by the camera if I selected a different EV setting....Hmm...?

 

Picked up my camera aimed at a scene and selected a speed and aperture relative to the scene.... then adjusted the EV, while looking through the viewfinder, neither the shutter or aperture settings changed while the EV display altered in the viewfinder... which is that which my logic might suggest would be expected...hmm.

 

John I will watch the vids again....Thanks. 



#11 Armitage

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Posted 20 January 2016 - 06:32 PM

As RA1861 is saying, if you're in any sort of auto mode, when you change the ISO, the camera will adjust something ELSE to make up for that change and the final exposure will be the same

The camera tries to make a judgement call to make a average lit picture... a dark car on a dark street will be made extra light, and a white cat in the snow will be made dark. 

The camera doesn't know WHAT it's looking at.

Exposure Compensation overrides it and tells the camera to make the picture "brighter" or "darker" then it thinks it should.


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#12 geedee

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Posted 21 January 2016 - 04:46 AM

Apologies to Rohit for introducing confusion to the thread he started given my thinking was in relation to MANUAL settings... Ultimately I suspect it is the quality of the image produced that really matters and perhaps less important to many might be  EXACTLY how the camera operates internally to capture it in all circumstances...

 

Armitage, I find it interesting to learn that if I am in one of the semi auto functions of the camera and select a change in ISO to capture the scene before me, that the camera will actually not adjust the ISO but "something else".... Kinda defies my VERY simplistic sense of logic,  but then my logic has failed me before...(-: 



#13 Bill Peppas

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Posted 21 January 2016 - 06:14 AM

If you simply change the ISO manually, the ISO will change accordingly to what you set it to, but the camera will adjust the Shutter Speed ( if you are in Aperture Priority Mode [A] ) or the Aperture ( if you are in Shutter Speed Priority Mode [S] ) to keep the exposure the same ( Exposure = Shutter Speed + Aperture + ISO ) [ if you change the ISO, the Shutter Speed or Aperture will have to change in values to keep the exposure the same ] { to change the exposure in A or S or P mode you need to change the Exposure Compensation value, not the ISO or the aperture or shutter speed }

 



Apologies to Rohit for introducing confusion to the thread he started given my thinking was in relation to MANUAL settings... Ultimately I suspect it is the quality of the image produced that really matters and perhaps less important to many might be  EXACTLY how the camera operates internally to capture it in all circumstances...

 

Armitage, I find it interesting to learn that if I am in one of the semi auto functions of the camera and select a change in ISO to capture the scene before me, that the camera will actually not adjust the ISO but "something else".... Kinda defies my VERY simplistic sense of logic,  but then my logic has failed me before...(-: 



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#14 RAH1861

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Posted 21 January 2016 - 03:45 PM

Geedee, get with the program here. If you are in Aperture mode (WITH WHATEVER ISO SETTING you have chosen), the camera will adjust the shutter speed to give a correct exposure. This is BY DEFINITION - Aperture mode means that the camera will adjust the shutter speed to give you a proper exposure. If you adjust the ISO (not the aperture), the camera will still adjust the shutter speed to give you a correct exposure, because you are no longer at that earlier ISO, and since you are in aperture mode, BY DEFINITION the camera changes the shutter speed as required to give you a proper exposure.

You seem to be ignoring the TRIAD of exposure - aperture, shutter, and ISO. All 3 go up and down (even in manual mode, you have to make these changes - it's all the same stuff) to give a proper exposure, in lock step. If your camera is giving you a proper exposure and you change one of those options (ISO, shutter, or aperture), you will no longer have a proper exposure. Therefore, in an auto mode, the camera will make a change depending on the mode you are in - if you are in aperture mode, the camera changes the shutter speed; if you are in shutter mode, the camera changes the aperture.

A wrinkle here is that you can have Auto ISO set, but then you wouldn't be changing the ISO as we are discussing in this thread. If you have auto ISO set and are in shutter mode, for example, the camera may change the ISO instead of the aperture if the aperture is at maximum or minimum.
 


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#15 geedee

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Posted 22 January 2016 - 10:19 AM

RAH, apologies if I have caused you a measure of frustration, perhaps it is my inability to transfer my thinking to type that causes you to think I have not grasped the basic principals of exposure control.. I am the first to admit I have a great deal to learn and hope to enjoy the process of doing so.

 

I have yet to read anything that alters my thinking posted above on the 11th Jan 11:33 hrs...?

 

For some time I have been using only MANUAL settings on my camera in a bid to expand my photographic understanding,  though wanted to gain more knowledge on  what EV was and how it operated in MANUAL mode.  for with aperture, shutter speed and ISO manually selected what is left to alter given something has to be overridden.. My logic determined it would be the sensitivity of the sensor as in ISO...?

 

To try to confirm my thinking..... While in MANUAL mode I selected Aperture, Speed and ISO on my D800   and while looking through the viewfinder I pressed the EV button at which time confirmation of the setting of 100 ISO  went BLANK  thus it seems "logically" that it would be the ISO which would be the setting that would be altered by the camera`s programming....?

 

Thus it would appear that EV may be nothing more than a bit of programming that will alter aperture OR speed OR ISO dependant on whatever the photographer has prioritised in the way of settings, though even in MANUAL it seems that ISO may be the ONLY  leg of the exposure triangle that is deemed to be of least priority...?

 

But happy to be corrected should my logic have failed me yet again...(-:  



#16 RAH1861

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Posted 22 January 2016 - 10:47 AM

Geedee, I had to look this up - "EV" is Nikon's name for what Canon calls Exposure Compensation. OK, now I have that straight.

Here's the thing - you are correct in wondering what the hell your Nikon camera is doing when you use EV in manual mode, seeing as how there is no other thing to change.

In fact, Canon cameras DO NOT ALLOW YOU TO USE EXPOSURE COMPENSATION IN MANUAL MODE. This is for the very reason you are wondering yourself. There is NO POINT to it, since in manual mode you are free to change any of the 3 factors you want to change. Exposure compensation is only for overriding the settings the camera gives you in an auto mode like Aperture priority, Shutter priority, or Program mode.

Having said that, one of the most common questions you'll see about Canon cameras on the internet is "How come my exposure compensation button doesn't work in Manual mode?" But the reason is pretty apparent when you think about it, and I think I now understand what you were saying. Sorry I sounded frustrated. :)

I cannot even guess which of the 3 exposure factors a Nikon camera would chose to alter with that EV button in manual mode. It IS a real head-scratcher. They should disable the button the way Canon does, IMHO.


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#17 RAH1861

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Posted 22 January 2016 - 12:21 PM


To try to confirm my thinking..... While in MANUAL mode I selected Aperture, Speed and ISO on my D800   and while looking through the viewfinder I pressed the EV button at which time confirmation of the setting of 100 ISO  went BLANK  thus it seems "logically" that it would be the ISO which would be the setting that would be altered by the camera`s programming....?

 

 

I've thought more about Nikon cameras allowing the use of the EV button even in manual mode. I'm guessing that perhaps when you press that button in manual mode it is giving you a choice of changing either aperture or shutter speed (by turning a wheel or whatever), whichever you want, which is kind of in keeping with manual mode, although the whole idea is bizarre.

As far as why it blanks out ISO as though it isn't as important, this sounds like a throw-back to an earlier time with film, when you could NOT change the ISO (called ASA back then) without changing the actual film itself. The ASA was a characteristic of the film.

So, once you had put the roll of film in the camera and changed the dial setting to tell the camera what you had just put in, you were essentially stuck with that sensitivity for the entire roll. So under conditions like that, the only things that were available to the photographer while taking actual shots were the aperture and shutter speed.

The ability to change the sensitivity (now called ISO) on the fly at any time is one of the biggest improvements that came along with digital cameras.

But it does seem if if Nikon wants to keep the EV button active even in Manual mode, it ought to allow you change all 3 of those values. But again, I think they should disable it, as Canon does. Having it stay active when you are not in an auto mode is kind of like having a car with cruise control (which you turn on and off) and having the accelerate and decelerate buttons active even when the cruise control is OFF. Does any car have this?? I doubt it.


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#18 geedee

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Posted 23 January 2016 - 09:52 AM

RAH, I bought my first camera, a Kodak Instamatic when my parents had a Box Brownie, so am kinda reasonably up to speed on ASA having used both 100 and 400ASA and even used slide film in my first SLR, a Cannon AE1...

 

I am at the grumpy old man stage in life having entered the workforce at a time just after steam had been dumped as THE source of power in the railways and much else and electromechanical power and control was all... worked fine with that for a while till basic electronics came into play though still managed up to a point, then the digital age came in to control so very much in my sphere of operation so perhaps for the last ten years or so of my working life fixing things became ever more complex given I started out when it was possible to learn every stage of operation of a bit of kit, and trying to apply the same thought processes as a basic in ones ability to understand operate and repair anything today would require more brain and memory than I ever had.   However it seems I am still trying to understand TOO MUCH on occasion,  and the slow way I go about it is bound to cause frustration in some who may be happy to skip over the basics and just get on... which in truth seems to be THE way to go these days..(-:

 

So back to the subject in question..(-:   As I typed I am using MANUAL settings only at this time and with just a little more fumbling around in a bid to increase my understanding I repeated the process of trying to adjust EV while monitoring what was happening through the viewfinder and also taking a few pics and comparing results.. 

 

It would seem that while I press the EV button and the ISO setting confirmation goes BLANK..... The EV value appears IN PLACE of the number of frames left in the card, and alters the EV value as I turn the thumbwheel from 0EV to a max of 5EV......

 

I had thought that it may have been the ISO that altered in that situation given I would logically hope that the primary function would be to retain both aperture and shutter speed as chosen by the photographer and being the most critical of the three settings.... BUT I WAS WRONG.

 

Looking at the pics I took and seeing no change whatsoever in how they looked from dark to light areas in the frame regardless of the EV changes selected....and that both aperture and speed settings were kept the same across all the pics I then checked the all important EXIF data on each image.

 

Yup aperture and speed were the same in every pic as selected, though it was interesting to find out that the ISO was as I had selected also confirmed as ISO 100 across all the pics taken, so manual is indeed MANUAL and settings are NOT automatically altered in programming...

 

So what alters in such a situation is the next obvious question (?)... No change in the look of the pics and no changes in ANY of the settings other than different numbers in the viewfinder and recorded EXIF DATA, stating the degree of EV selected...hmm...

 

Well the answer is obvious.... Now that I know it... (-:

 

When changing the EV via the thumbwheel the metering alters relative to how ever much EV is dialled in either positive or negative values.... Thus given the camera is in MANUAL it is expected that the photographer will alter whatever setting he/she prioritises in order to arrive at a situation where the metering system thinks may be ideal....

 

So I guess Nikon have a reasonable idea of how to programme their cameras to cover the variables in choices that their cameras present to those who should have stuck with a Kodak Instamatic..... (-:

 

However as for EXIF data.... hmm..? I had created a series of pics that all looked the same in terms of exposure and given I did not change any settings other than EV and to  to either end of the scale across the series of pics taken... it would seem there is room for confusion, given that ONLY the EXIF data is different in each listing, in that it displayed the EV setting selected in each pic, and because I did not respond MANUALLY to alter settings to match that which the meter was reading from the scene, the EXIF data has potential to mislead...? 

 

But then I am still blundering around under another topic trying to understand a bit about the interface of camera to computer when it comes to displaying EXIF

 

Just thinking in type.....



#19 RAH1861

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Posted 23 January 2016 - 04:55 PM

All very confusing, for sure. I would just not use EV in Manual mode. As you say, if all the necessary settings at available in Manual mode, why even think about exposure comp even if the camera allows it?

 

I'm not sure about Canon - I mean I know it disables the Exposure comp button in manual mode, but in auto modes I think that the amount of compensation you used is NOT shown in the EXIF. All that is shown is the resulting settings of shutter speed, aperture, and ISO. I think. I am not seeing any value in exif data that looks like exposure compensation. This would make sense (since the settings are the settings), but sometimes I want to know if I used exposure comp or not.


Rich


#20 geedee

geedee

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Posted 23 January 2016 - 06:34 PM

So I gotta ask myself WHY do Nikon camera designers/programmers allow the use of EV in manual when it only alters the meter advice for the scene..?  

 

I suspect that they think the photographer is skilled enough to have decided that the original scene might require some EV adjustment over that which the meter had initially decided upon    i.e. snow,  and once he has dialled in his chosen amount of EV he has in fact altered the metering sensitivity to match his interpretation of the scene and the meter with a now adjusted level to guide his required alteration of settings to either shutter, aperture or ISO to follow the new guidance the metering is indicating thus his pic should then be exposed as he would wish.... Hmm..?

 

Took another manual pic, altered the EV to MAX  of 5 and then brought up EXIF

 

posting the EXIF data..below, you will note the EV value is included..?

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