Westminster fountain at sunset

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My 300s appears to be overexposing - especially in the image playback - is there a way to calibrate or check the exposure measurement? Have been compensating exposure with some success.

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Can you clarify what "especially in the image playback" means? How much do you feel exposure is off? Is it on specific metering types? More information is essential to adequately answer your question. –  Dan Wolfgang Feb 20 '12 at 23:14
    
Need more information to be really helpful. What sort of scenes are underexposed? Are you using matrix metering? P, A or S, or one of the scene modes? What do you mean by image playback - are you looking at the histogram or the image just looks too bright on the LCD? –  MikeW Feb 20 '12 at 23:17
    
Thanks. Shooting almost exclusively in aperture priority with center weighted metering. Exposure seems off by about one stop. By playback I am referring to the LCD image - too bright or lack of color/contrast. Have not considered the histogram which I don't understand very well. –  Tony Evans Feb 21 '12 at 0:00
    
It might be worth watching this video on YouTube (from SnapFactory/Adorama TV) that graphically demonstrates just how subtle differences in a scene (as small as whether a model has her hair up or down) can affect metering: youtube.com/watch?v=-SjTTQ0UTyI . If you're new(ish) to photography, the whole "Digital Photography One On One" series is worth a watch. –  user2719 Feb 21 '12 at 2:45
    
If you think your image is too bright, check the histogram. If the right most column contains a spike, you have indeed too many saturated pixels. You can also turn on "show highlights" in the camera - this makes the blown-out areas flash on the review screen. –  James Youngman Feb 21 '12 at 14:42

2 Answers 2

Automatic Exposure is never perfect, even if such thing exists.

What cameras do it attempt to keep most tonalities within the dynamic range of the camera. It does so by measuring the scene in different spots, between 1 and 91,000 depending on the camera and metering mode and then computing exposure from there.

If you see over-exposure, meaning the image is clipped at the highlights which shows as the histogram right against the right edge while there is room on the other side of the histogram, then that would considered actual over-exposure. If the histogram is also right against the left side, then the scene is beyond the dynamic-range of your camera and no perfect exposure is possible.

If you consistently get over-exposed results, check if you did not leave positive EC on. Do not rely on the LCD brightness alone since that can be off and is adjustable too. Only the histogram can easily tell you if there is over-exposure. You may also have adjusted exposure in the setup menu under exposure adjustments (or something like that, I do not remember the exact name).

The more sophisticated metering modes will statistically give you better results (Matrix on Nikon or Evaluative or Multi-Segment for other brands)because the consider more of the scene. On your Nikon, you can also change the Center-Weighed metering mode to perfrom Average metering which considers the entire scene but much more simply.

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I don't believe even Nikon's metering system actually uses all 91,000 pixels on the RGB metering sensor to "meter". That sensor is still divided up into zones, and metering is performed on each zone (adding in distance information if its available from the lens...hence the "3D" aspect). The full RGB sensor is used to do face detection and whole scene analysis, which is factored into the final exposure value, but thats based on an image captured with that sensor, not as 91k separate metering points. Canon's new 100k pixel RGB metering sensor in the 1D X is the same way. –  jrista Feb 21 '12 at 2:12

Known issue on D300 and D300s when using matrix metering. Change the metering type or refer to Nikon regarding the issue.

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Welcome to Stack Exchange - would it be possible for you add some references to support your assertions? –  Philip Kendall Feb 19 at 9:21

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