Eye of the eclipse...

by darkhausen

submit your photo

Hall of Fame
View past winners from this year

Please participate in Meta
and help us grow.

Sign up ×
Photography Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for professional, enthusiast and amateur photographers. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I recently bought a Lensbaby lens and I played with it a lot. Then lens is awesome but I have one big and annoying problem and is that TTL metering fails miserably when using P, TV and M modes.

I mean, the picture that the live view shows you is completely different that the one that gets recorded in the SD card.

The only mode where the camera meters correctly is in AV, but due to is a semi-automatic mode I have a lot of trouble trying to get the correct shutter speed (I deal with the AE-Lock button but it's very hard to get the number that I specifically want)

So, my question is why TTL metering is lost (or gets inaccurate) when using analog lenses (or the ones that don't have any electronic connection with the camera)? What extra information an electronic lens gives to the camera to meter correctly? Why the light coming through the lens isn't enough information in order to meter correctly?

Why my camera (Canon 550D) meters correctly in AV mode but not in M mode? How do you deal with it?

I tried using different metering modes, but still no luck. For example, I had to spend 5 to 10 minutes locking the exposure pointing to different light sources in order to get a 1/15 shutter speed and take this picture:

enter image description here

Setting the camera with that value in TV or M modes showed me a very underexposed image in LV mode. (Which made composition almost impossible)

share|improve this question
For the record, I even tried disabling ExpSim (Search for EXPSIM in the guide) with Magic Lantern and still no luck. – Andres Jul 31 '11 at 15:12
That's the punishment on using Lensbaby. ;-) – ysap Jul 31 '11 at 15:34
Since the aperture is effectively fixed, how would Tv differ from manual? – mattdm Jul 31 '11 at 16:55
TV and M behaves the same way. Only AV seems to simulate correctly the exposure... – Andres Jul 31 '11 at 17:02

1 Answer 1

up vote 11 down vote accepted

The way TTL works is to measure the exposure of the scene when the aperture of the lens is wide open, and then when the picture is taken, it stops down to the correct aperture.

With a manual lens, oftentimes you have manually stopped the lens down already to the aperture you want, or because that is where the exposure reading is telling you it is correct. The camera however, because it has no data for the lens, is thinking that this is the reading of the aperture at it's widest setting (which it can only guess the value of unless you have a chip on your adaptor lens to tell it the aperture). So when you take the picture, the TTL and camera are confused because they don't know what the widest aperture represents, or even if the widest is being used for the photo.

I think the reason Av works is because with no other lens details available, the camera assumes that the aperture you are metering at is the same one you are taking the picture at, so makes no complicated compensations and the picture is taken as is.

share|improve this answer
So there's any workaround to make the camera use an exact F number instead of let it guess? When attaching a analog lens, the camera F number says "F00". – Andres Jul 31 '11 at 15:53
Camera makers could make it so you could input the actual aperture manually, but none of them seem really interested in doing so. – mattdm Jul 31 '11 at 16:54
I have an m42 to EF fit adaptor that comes with an electronic chip on it. That allows you to tell the camera which aperture to use. You have to remember to change the lens to the same value though, which can be a tedious process if you need to keep changing, but it lets the TTL work better. As for something that can do that for an already EF fit lensbaby, I don't know :/ – Dreamager Jul 31 '11 at 17:14
@mattdm the D7000 lets you enter non-CPU lens data, and will even read the current aperture from AI lenses. – Evan Krall Jul 31 '11 at 22:55
@Evan: I don't think the aperture coupling will work with a Lensbaby, though, will it? – mattdm Jul 31 '11 at 23:12

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.