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Nikon D70 underexposure: my 2 cents' worth

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Anonymous
January 18, 2005 5:57:29 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

I've read lots about the D70's tendency to underexpose, and can verify
that it does tend to do this if left to choose an exposure for itself.
The consensus seems to be that this is not a bug but a feature; a
tendency to underexpose protects image data by reducing the chances of
blowing highlights, and we can tweak the histogram in Photoshop
afterwards.

But, I've also read some detailed discussions about the way in which
digital image information is distributed over the f-stops. An example
of this discussion can be found here:
www.adobe.com/digitalimag/pdfs/transition_from_film.pdf

After explaining how the available digital data is disproportionately
used to record the brightest parts of the image, the author
convincingly argues that we should "bias the exposure towards the
right of the histogram, or in other words, risk overexposure, to the
greatest extent possible without blowing the highlights." I've seen
the same advice elsewhere, but without such a good technical
explanation of why this is good advice.

It seems that letting the camera underexpose is more of a problem than
some people think. Of course, the photographer takes pictures, not the
camera, and the D70 provides a huge range of exposure controls.
Nevertheless, I still think that fully auto-exposed images on the D70
are unnecessarily underexposed. Still a great camera, though.


Gary
Anonymous
January 18, 2005 9:04:36 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

By how much do you think your D70 underexposes? I have an S2 Pro that in
my opinion leans slightly toward underexposure also, but I think it is
less then half a stop. I agree that it is a feature built in with the
DSLRs that I have played around with. Shooting with a friend using a
D100 and using the same lens that I was using he was getting the same
meter readings that I was.

The thing is, unless a person does his own developing, or shoots slides,
with a film SLR you have no idea what the meter in it is doing because
the people in the labs are tweaking them for you.
Anonymous
January 18, 2005 11:13:59 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

"Gary Jones" <nonesuch1960@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:1f986b38.0501180257.39b35bde@posting.google.com...
> I've read lots about the D70's tendency to underexpose

Ah, but does it underexpose enough? :-)

When shooting RAW, you want your pictures a little underexposed in order
avoid blown highlights.

A study of the histograms of my RAW files indicates to me that the D70
underexposes by, at most, 1/6 stop in normal shooting. JPG files are not
underexposed.
Related resources
January 18, 2005 3:18:49 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

"Gary Jones" <nonesuch1960@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:1f986b38.0501180257.39b35bde@posting.google.com...
> I've read lots about the D70's tendency to underexpose, and can verify
> that it does tend to do this if left to choose an exposure for itself.
> The consensus seems to be that this is not a bug but a feature; a
> tendency to underexpose protects image data by reducing the chances of
> blowing highlights, and we can tweak the histogram in Photoshop
> afterwards.
>
> But, I've also read some detailed discussions about the way in which
> digital image information is distributed over the f-stops. An example
> of this discussion can be found here:
> www.adobe.com/digitalimag/pdfs/transition_from_film.pdf
>
> After explaining how the available digital data is disproportionately
> used to record the brightest parts of the image, the author
> convincingly argues that we should "bias the exposure towards the
> right of the histogram, or in other words, risk overexposure, to the
> greatest extent possible without blowing the highlights." I've seen
> the same advice elsewhere, but without such a good technical
> explanation of why this is good advice.
>
> It seems that letting the camera underexpose is more of a problem than
> some people think. Of course, the photographer takes pictures, not the
> camera, and the D70 provides a huge range of exposure controls.
> Nevertheless, I still think that fully auto-exposed images on the D70
> are unnecessarily underexposed. Still a great camera, though.
>
>
> Gary

Still, it is a huge improvement over my N8008 and its tendency to
underexpose.
Originally, it made me hate matrix metering...I got far fewer correct
exposures with
the N8008 than on my old F with Photomic FTn finder. I wouldn't be
surprised if
the N8008 is off by 1-1/2 to 2 stops and it's been that way since the day I
bought
it new. Good thing I use it most often under controlled lighting (studio
flash) with
a flashmeter.

George
Anonymous
January 18, 2005 3:44:19 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

On 18 Jan 2005 02:57:29 -0800, nonesuch1960@hotmail.com (Gary Jones)
wrote:

>I've read lots about the D70's tendency to underexpose, and can verify
>that it does tend to do this if left to choose an exposure for itself.
>The consensus seems to be that this is not a bug but a feature; a
>tendency to underexpose protects image data by reducing the chances of
>blowing highlights, and we can tweak the histogram in Photoshop
>afterwards.
>
>But, I've also read some detailed discussions about the way in which
>digital image information is distributed over the f-stops. An example
>of this discussion can be found here:
>www.adobe.com/digitalimag/pdfs/transition_from_film.pdf
>
>After explaining how the available digital data is disproportionately
>used to record the brightest parts of the image, the author
>convincingly argues that we should "bias the exposure towards the
>right of the histogram, or in other words, risk overexposure, to the
>greatest extent possible without blowing the highlights." I've seen
>the same advice elsewhere, but without such a good technical
>explanation of why this is good advice.
>
>It seems that letting the camera underexpose is more of a problem than
>some people think. Of course, the photographer takes pictures, not the
>camera, and the D70 provides a huge range of exposure controls.
>Nevertheless, I still think that fully auto-exposed images on the D70
>are unnecessarily underexposed. Still a great camera, though.

With the histogram and blown-highlights feature of the D70, and the
ability to take as many test shots as you need without wasting film,
if you still can't take a properly exposed picture then you really
have no excuse. Dump it and buy a cheap P&S.

Personally, I think this tendency (and I agree, the D70 will often
underexpose in program mode) is much more of problem for JPEG users
than the RAW boys.

I also don't fully understand the whole planet's problem with blowing
highlights. That's part of the beauty of photography. One: we freeze
time. Two: we focus on the point of interest, Three: we select a set
range of tonal information to exaggerate into what becomes our
photograph. A small percentage of blown highlight or fully black
shadow is part of that exaggeration. It's *NICE*.

More often than not, I find myself taking 'correctly' exposed RAWs and
with the RAW importer histogram, overexposing them in Photoshop.

--
Owamanga!
Anonymous
January 18, 2005 5:06:20 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

On Tue, 18 Jan 2005 06:04:36 -0600, Don B <buroker@charter.net> wrote:

[snip]
>The thing is, unless a person does his own developing, or shoots slides,
>with a film SLR you have no idea what the meter in it is doing because
>the people in the labs are tweaking them for you.

BTW, if for some reason 2/3rds of your brain stopped working one day
and you wanted to get slides processed that *were* automagically
'corrected' by the lab, Dale Labs now offers that service.

See page 6 of the PDF, printed page 11:
http://www.dalelabs.com/downloads/catalog.pdf

What they offer: You shoot negatives, which they then make a set of
contact slides from, each one exposure 'corrected'. You get back a set
of prints, the original negs and a set of slides.

--
Owamanga!
Anonymous
January 18, 2005 9:35:26 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

In article <1f986b38.0501180257.39b35bde@posting.google.com>, Gary Jones
says...

> After explaining how the available digital data is disproportionately
> used to record the brightest parts of the image, the author
> convincingly argues that we should "bias the exposure towards the
> right of the histogram, or in other words, risk overexposure, to the
> greatest extent possible without blowing the highlights." I've seen
> the same advice elsewhere, but without such a good technical
> explanation of why this is good advice.

If you push the histogram to the right, as much as possible as long as
you avoid burnt highlights, you can still correct the image in post-
processing, but will in the end have less noise.
--

Alfred Molon
------------------------------
Olympus 4040, 5050, 5060, 7070, 8080, E300 forum at
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MyOlympus/
Olympus 8080 resource - http://myolympus.org/8080/
January 19, 2005 1:19:34 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

I don't understand the concern over the D70s alleged underexposure.

Correct exposure is the exposure, you the photographer wants.

The Camera (or handheld) meter is only a guide, and most serious
photographers used to rate Film at a setting other than the one on the
packet, even when they were going to have it processed normally.

There has always been criticism in the photographic press about Nikon
setting their meters to a slightly lower level (giving slightly less
exposure) than other manufacturers. The argument used always to be it
produced slightly more saturated Slides, which was what the Pros wanted. It
saved them the bother of having to apply exposure compensation to get the
effect they wanted.

So why should everyone suddenly become hot and bothered because Nikon are
still doing what they have always done. I have not been reading Camera
reviews for a long time now, and it may be that Nikon gave up on this habit
for a short time. So long as you know how to set your Camera, relative to
what the Meter shows, in order to get the Exposure you want, then it does
not really matter.

Roy


"Gary Jones" <nonesuch1960@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:1f986b38.0501180257.39b35bde@posting.google.com...
> I've read lots about the D70's tendency to underexpose, and can verify
> that it does tend to do this if left to choose an exposure for itself.
> The consensus seems to be that this is not a bug but a feature; a
> tendency to underexpose protects image data by reducing the chances of
> blowing highlights, and we can tweak the histogram in Photoshop
> afterwards.
>
> But, I've also read some detailed discussions about the way in which
> digital image information is distributed over the f-stops. An example
> of this discussion can be found here:
> www.adobe.com/digitalimag/pdfs/transition_from_film.pdf
>
> After explaining how the available digital data is disproportionately
> used to record the brightest parts of the image, the author
> convincingly argues that we should "bias the exposure towards the
> right of the histogram, or in other words, risk overexposure, to the
> greatest extent possible without blowing the highlights." I've seen
> the same advice elsewhere, but without such a good technical
> explanation of why this is good advice.
>
> It seems that letting the camera underexpose is more of a problem than
> some people think. Of course, the photographer takes pictures, not the
> camera, and the D70 provides a huge range of exposure controls.
> Nevertheless, I still think that fully auto-exposed images on the D70
> are unnecessarily underexposed. Still a great camera, though.
>
>
> Gary
Anonymous
January 19, 2005 1:39:45 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

"Gary Jones" <nonesuch1960@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:1f986b38.0501180257.39b35bde@posting.google.com...
> I've read lots about the D70's tendency to underexpose, and can verify
> that it does tend to do this if left to choose an exposure for itself.
> The consensus seems to be that this is not a bug but a feature; a
> tendency to underexpose protects image data by reducing the chances of
> blowing highlights, and we can tweak the histogram in Photoshop
> afterwards.


I think a lot of folks are used to shooting modern print film that tends to
respond well to a little OVERexposure and maybe have become used to allowing
it? I know I didn't worry one bit about overexposing Fuji Superia (my usual
general-purpose print film); it still gave great results. I was a little
concerned about the D70 underexposure issue because I heard so much about
it. After using my new D70 for about a month, I'm not so sure it's an issue
at all, especially shooting RAW. When I start thinking a shot might just be
a little underexposed, I find out how well it will turn out after very
little tweaking in Capture Editor. I'd rather have the camera help me avoid
blowing highlights... I need all the help of any kind I can get! :-)


Good shooting,
Bob Scott
January 20, 2005 11:29:02 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

"Gary Jones" <nonesuch1960@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:1f986b38.0501180257.39b35bde@posting.google.com...
> I've read lots about the D70's tendency to underexpose, and can verify
> that it does tend to do this if left to choose an exposure for itself.
> The consensus seems to be that this is not a bug but a feature; a
> tendency to underexpose protects image data by reducing the chances of
> blowing highlights, and we can tweak the histogram in Photoshop
> afterwards.
>
> But, I've also read some detailed discussions about the way in which
> digital image information is distributed over the f-stops. An example
> of this discussion can be found here:
> www.adobe.com/digitalimag/pdfs/transition_from_film.pdf
>
> After explaining how the available digital data is disproportionately
> used to record the brightest parts of the image, the author
> convincingly argues that we should "bias the exposure towards the
> right of the histogram, or in other words, risk overexposure, to the
> greatest extent possible without blowing the highlights." I've seen
> the same advice elsewhere, but without such a good technical
> explanation of why this is good advice.
>
> It seems that letting the camera underexpose is more of a problem than
> some people think. Of course, the photographer takes pictures, not the
> camera, and the D70 provides a huge range of exposure controls.
> Nevertheless, I still think that fully auto-exposed images on the D70
> are unnecessarily underexposed. Still a great camera, though.
>
>
> Gary
Gary,
The site you recomend is faulty.
As regards over or under exposure if you slightly under expose detail can be
recovers in Photoshop. But over exposure cannot be corrected as the
highlight have been blown which means the highlight is whiter than white if
that is possible but what it does mean a blown out lighlight is not
maniplatable I.E. what ever you do its still there.
MikeS
Anonymous
July 9, 2005 3:42:32 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

"Gary Jones" <nonesuch1960@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:1f986b38.0501180257.39b35bde@posting.google.com...
> I've read lots about the D70's tendency to underexpose, and can verify
> that it does tend to do this if left to choose an exposure for itself.
> The consensus seems to be that this is not a bug but a feature; a
> tendency to underexpose protects image data by reducing the chances of
> blowing highlights, and we can tweak the histogram in Photoshop
> afterwards.
>
> But, I've also read some detailed discussions about the way in which
> digital image information is distributed over the f-stops. An example
> of this discussion can be found here:
> www.adobe.com/digitalimag/pdfs/transition_from_film.pdf
>
> After explaining how the available digital data is disproportionately
> used to record the brightest parts of the image, the author
> convincingly argues that we should "bias the exposure towards the
> right of the histogram, or in other words, risk overexposure, to the
> greatest extent possible without blowing the highlights." I've seen
> the same advice elsewhere, but without such a good technical
> explanation of why this is good advice.
>
> It seems that letting the camera underexpose is more of a problem than
> some people think. Of course, the photographer takes pictures, not the
> camera, and the D70 provides a huge range of exposure controls.
> Nevertheless, I still think that fully auto-exposed images on the D70
> are unnecessarily underexposed. Still a great camera, though.
>
>
> Gary

Remember, you can always upload custom curves into your D70 to compensate
for just about anything.
!