Nikon D300 Camera Out performing the Metering System in both A and S Modes

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by LuvLatins, Dec 25, 2007.

  1. LuvLatins

    LuvLatins Guest

    Well I have had my D300 for a day now and I am really getting the hang
    of it. One question however for the experts. I am using an 18-200 mm
    lens and with the ISO set to 200 and the Camera in "A" (Aperture
    Priority Mode) I pointed the Camera at my leather sofa (away from the
    light source) and with the F stop set at 3.5 (The shutter read "Lo"
    and the analog meter in the view finder was blinking) OK I understand
    not enough light for the meter to give me a reading.

    I took the picture anyway and it looked good and the histogram was a
    little left but acceptable. Next I dialed the ISO to 3200 and then
    again to HI-1 and all three of the pictures look OK. Yes the
    histogram is to the left but actually the shadows dont look clipped.
    Then in Playback I took a look for the shutter speeds and as you would
    expect it read, 2, 1/10, 1/20 respectively. So as the ISO when up,
    the camera did increase the shutter speed as you would expect.

    My conclusion is that the meter could not give me a reading and did
    not like the lighting conditions but the camera did its job and took
    the picture. I tried this in S Shutter Priority mode and the meter
    while still blinking actually showed me how far underexposed I was I
    started to adjust until it hit "0" and took the shot. I tried
    changing the aperture and it took the pictured but it was all out of
    focus since the shutter was open for a very long time.

    Is this why people buy separate and really expensive seperate light
    meters ? Again it appears to me that the Camera and the Lens can
    outperform the meter easily ?

    Am I missing something here, I am new at this ?

    Thanks to all of you masters.
    LuvLatins, Dec 25, 2007
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  2. The meter was having no problems. I think what you're missing is the
    manual that came with the camera. There should be one in the packaging
    Chris Malcolm, Dec 25, 2007
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  3. LuvLatins

    Sosumi Guest

    Nothing wrong with it. All camera's do that to warn you, that you need a
    Many owners agree that the measering of the D300 is the best at this time.
    Sosumi, Dec 25, 2007
  4. LuvLatins

    acl Guest

    You reckon? Does the manual explain what happens if the light levels
    are lower than the meter's specs, in your (considered) opinion? Or
    does it say "If Lo flashes, the limits of the metering system have
    been exceeded; use flash or raise ISO"? If the second, does that
    explain what the OP is seeing (again, in your opinion)?

    Anyway, to the OP, the D200 does that too (and presumably all Nikons).
    Once the light level is below some LV, the meter just says Lo but it
    still meters ok. it meters ok well below its specified sensitivity of
    0EV; I don't know why they specify it to 0 EV only.

    Oh, Merry Christmas :)
    acl, Dec 25, 2007
  5. Actually though, his meter *was* having a problem.
    Comparing the two images he posted URLs for, one of them
    indeed has a lower exposure than the other. It is
    somewhat difficult to see that, with visual inspection
    of the images, but if the histograms are compared there
    is an obvious, though small, difference. The median
    value for one image was 137 and for the other was 147.

    It is out of the range over which the light meter is
    *accurate*. It may work, but as the camera's manual
    specifically states, the image will be underexposed. In
    essence, the meter becomes, not non-functional, but

    You can image the scream that would go up if Nikon were
    to just ignore the fact that the meter is inaccurate...
    as soon as someone discovered that at -1 EV it is 1/3rd
    of an fstop off, there would be no end of whining in
    this newsgroup, for example! ;-)
    Floyd L. Davidson, Dec 25, 2007
  6. Please ignore people who suggest it has something to do
    with tripods. It has *nothing* to do with shutter speed
    or supposed stability of the camera.

    It's simply a case of the Exposure Value being measured
    is beyond the range of the camera's light meter, in
    terms of accurate results.

    The camera does make a measurement, but it is not
    correct and the image will be under exposed. (Which is
    exactly what Nikon's manual describes.) In the case
    cited by the OP the underexposure is only very slight,
    and is difficult to see by eye. But using histograms to
    measure it, it is clearly outside the range of accuracy
    that Nikon very correctly specifies the light metering
    system for.
    Floyd L. Davidson, Dec 25, 2007
  7. LuvLatins

    acl Guest

    Hmm, I can't download them, so I'll take your word for it. I just
    tried it on my d200, and I don't see a consistent trend towards
    underexposure. But maybe it depends on the particular camera, or maybe
    I screwed up (I wasn't being particularly careful).
    acl, Dec 25, 2007
  8. LuvLatins

    LuvLatins Guest

    Look another one for my KILL FILTER

    I cited the page number which is 390
    which says "Subject too dark; photo
    will be underexposed" And the manual recommends the following again
    with page numbers:

    • Use a higher ISO
    sensitivity 96

    • In exposure mode:

    P Use flash 173
    S Lower shutter speed 108
    A Choose a Larger Aperture (smaller f number) 109

    So now that we know it means underexposed how does this resolve my
    question that the camera and lens seem to outperform the meter ?

    And as far as the 18-200 mm lens being a peice of garbage, its only
    the best all around lens in its class.

    Its amazing the amount of trolls on here that try to ruin a very good
    place for information and advise. Thank god for the News Group kill
    filter (grin) This guy qualified for mine. Also notice how he thows
    out stuff to stir up a flame war but offers no constructuve advice,
    opinions etc. Dont they have better things to do with their time ?
    LuvLatins, Dec 25, 2007
  9. LuvLatins

    LuvLatins Guest

    They come out of the wood work at Xmas ACL dont they. I am just going
    to put them all in my kill filter they just waste bandwith. And if
    youu going to try and say im a jerk and did not read the manual then
    at least be right ! I only cite the page numbers (Duh)

    They deliberatly get on here just to be smart asses and add nothing to
    the dialouge. So annoying. KILL FILTER god bless you
    LuvLatins, Dec 25, 2007
  10. LuvLatins

    LuvLatins Guest

    Like your name (grin)

    But that is my point. The meter started blinking and in A or S modes
    no matter what you do (tripod or not) the meter keeps blinking. At
    least in manual A mode the ONLY way to get it to disappear was raise
    the light level in the room.

    That is why I concluded that the meter was just not sensative enough.
    Agian I am new and learning so I may be missing something simple.
    LuvLatins, Dec 25, 2007
  11. LuvLatins

    LuvLatins Guest

    WOW floyd that was so well stated. So my inital assumption that the
    camera was outperforming the meter was incorrect but close. Meaning
    that the meter was unable to give a reading at that level. The camera
    was doing its best to take the shot but it was underexposed. I did
    notice that the histogram was to the left slightly indicating
    underexposure but I guess it was just a tad underexposed. Still I
    think if you added some compensation like EV 1.5 the sutter would slow
    down and the picture would get a bit brighter (Still underexposed)
    according to who ever decides what is Underexposed (I guess the
    camera) in this case.

    Thanks for helping me to learn and understand. So in this kind of
    lighting situation, I would either need a better external meter and a
    tripod (grin) to set it correctly (or take some shots and watch the
    histogram since the meter wont give a reading at that light level
    correct ?
    LuvLatins, Dec 25, 2007
  12. LuvLatins

    LuvLatins Guest

    Here is what Nikon said:


    Without actually seeing the images or the shooting conditions it's
    impossible to say but I'd suspect that the cameras meter saw the scene
    as underexposed but only slightly and the actual exposure was "good
    enough" for you. The meter determines one exposure to be "correct" but
    as you've seen other exposures - slightly more or slightly less - can
    yield acceptable images. Further, since a meter tries to make every
    exposure middle tone it's normal for the meter to be "wrong" if the
    subject isn't a middle tone object. See:

    Answer Title: How does an exposure meter work?
    Answer Link:

    Hope this helps.

    LuvLatins, Dec 25, 2007
  13. LuvLatins

    Sosumi Guest

    Just look at the manual at the Lo warning, page 390:

    Subject too dark; photo will be underexposed.

    So it really *doesn't* say that the meter can't read the light or measering
    will be incorrect.

    .. Use a higher ISO sensitivity
    .. In exposure mode:
    Use flash
    Lower shutter speed
    Choose a larger aperture (smaller
    You can still make a picture, but if it's worth while I doubt it.
    Sosumi, Dec 25, 2007
  14. LuvLatins

    Sosumi Guest

    Read the manual, page 390.
    You have no clue...
    Sosumi, Dec 25, 2007
  15. But that is exactly what it *does* say.
    Why would you doubt it. Did you see his examples?
    Damned difficult to see the difference, and it was only
    by looking at a histogram that I could.
    Floyd L. Davidson, Dec 25, 2007
  16. Yeah, that tripod will just fix those underexposures
    every time! ;-)

    However, seriously... I doubt that you actually need an
    external meter. All you really need to do is configure
    that LCD display to blink the highlights, and just as
    you would with an external meter, use manual mode
    instead of an auto-exposure mode.

    Or leave it in an auto-exposure mode if you like, and
    use the exposure compensation to adjust exposure.

    Crank it up the exposure until you get blinking on
    desirable highlights, and then back it off until you go
    one step lower than an exposure that causes those
    highlights to blink.

    Note that you probably don't care about blinking from
    light sources or reflections, as two examples; so if
    those are blinking you ignore them. And being able to
    know which to ignore and which not ignore is exactly the
    reason that a blinking LCD display is better than a
    histogram or any form of matrix/weighted/spot metering
    Floyd L. Davidson, Dec 25, 2007
  17. An astounding statement. The above is *exactly* what
    page 390 says is happening. You can find the same basic
    statements in the manuals for other Nikon manuals.

    You might also read the response he got from Nikon when
    they were asked!

    Why don't you tell us what you think it does mean?
    Explain how it is that you think the camera is telling
    you to use a tripod, and just how that is determined by
    the camera, or how a tripod will enable to camera to
    meter lower levels of light.

    Inquiring minds do want to know...
    Floyd L. Davidson, Dec 25, 2007
  18. LuvLatins

    Chico Guest

    Hehehe well the hell with the meter, it still took an awsome picture.
    Chico, Dec 25, 2007
  19. Which is not what your manual says it means.
    You didn't mention any of that in the post I'm responding to. I see on
    searching that you did post that page number later in another
    discussion on this topic in another newsgroup. It may come as a
    surprise to you, but not only am I not currently reading all
    newsgroups simultaneously, but neither do I have a copy of the Nikon
    D300 manual.
    "Will be underexposed" doesn't mean the meter can't measure it. If it
    couldn't measure it, it wouldn't be able to say that it would be
    underexposed. It's warning you that with the combination of parameters
    implicitly set in the mode you're using it will be undexposed unless
    you change those parameters somehow. Then, as you point out, it tells
    you various ways in which you could change those parameters. If for
    example the light levels were beyond the scope of the meter then
    changing the ISO would be useless. That it suggests that makes clear
    that you have not necessarily gone beyond the scope of the meter when
    you get that "Lo" warning.
    I replied to a post in which you showed not the slightest evidence of
    having read the manual. My constructive advice was that you needed to
    read your manual. Your reply quoted quotations from your manual which
    you may later have posted to another newsgroup, not this one, and
    which you appear to have difficulty in understanding. Your reply also
    contained inflammatory and accusatory verbiage, which contrary to your
    suggestion, mine didn't. I simply pointed out that you needed to read
    your manual.

    Now that you've quoted what your manual actually said, I've explained
    your misunderstanding of it.

    Of course it's always possible that other people in other newsgroups
    in response to other postings of yours may already have explained all
    of this. My apologies for my lack of telepathy, but the only postings
    of yours that you can be sure that I have read are those which have
    preceded this one in this thread in this newsgroup. That's how
    newsgroups work.

    I'm pleased to see that you know about kill filters even if you can't
    keep track of the sequence and location of your own postings. I'm sure
    that as more people exercise their own kill filters your need for
    filtering will become reduced.
    Chris Malcolm, Dec 26, 2007
  20. LL-

    Chris is one of the saner and more helpful guys here.

    Please trim your posts!
    John McWilliams, Dec 26, 2007
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