I have a D300s. If I’m in any mode other than manual I can get some pretty good shots of whatever my subject is. When I am in Manual mode, however, I can’t seem to set it where I want without the meter saying it’s horribly under exposed. Right now I have been needing to set the ISO to 800 or higher; and I can only go between F5.6-8. What am I missing? I should be able to get the ISO down to 200 and shutter to F22 depending on the shot I’m trying to take without it saying way underexposed.

-All, I understand the exposure pyramid and how it works. There was apparently a mechanical issue with the camera and I reset everything back to factory settings and that fixed the issue. I can take pictures again without getting that black photo.

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    “ I can’t seem to set it where I want “ it’s not a question of setting it where you want it’s a question of setting it where the light meter tells you that it needs to be to achieve the correct exposure. We do not know how much Light is in the scene that you are speaking about so we cannot function as a light meter for you – Alaska Man Aug 13 '18 at 6:03
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    Please take a photo in program mode, note the settings, replicate those settings in manual mode then upload them both here (with details of the settings used). – Philip Kendall Aug 13 '18 at 6:09
  • hidden negative exposure balance? – Horitsu Aug 13 '18 at 9:24
  • @Horitsu Probably not. Just a lack of understanding that ISO 200 and f/22 requires a lot more light than is in the scene for any reasonable shutter time. – Michael C Aug 13 '18 at 10:29
  • "depending on the shot I’m trying to take" - that's prettty much the answer to your question. – null Aug 13 '18 at 16:58

What am I missing?

Probably that the scene you are shooting doesn't have enough light to shoot at ISO 100, f/22, and any shutter speed faster than about 1/50 second if your subject is in direct sunlight. Indoors at night with ISO 100 and f/22 you'll need an exposure time of several seconds!

Even with ISO 100 and f/5.6, indoors will usually require a shutter time of about 1/15 second. At ISO 800 and f/5.6 you may get away with 1/125 if the interior is lit fairly well. If you want 1/1000 second in such conditions, you're going to need to raise the ISO to about 3200 and open up the aperture to f/4, or use ISO 1600 with f/2.8, or ISO 800 with f/2.

When shooting in manual mode the camera will allow you to use whatever combinations of ISO, aperture (Av), and shutter time (Tv) you so desire. But the vast majority of the available combinations of ISO, Av, and Tv will be either too dark or too bright for any given scene. You still must use a combination of ISO, Av, and Tv that has an exposure value that matches the lighting of the scene you are shooting. That's what the meter is trying to tell you.

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You are missing the exposure time. There are really three parameters: ISO, aperture, and exposure duration. In Manual mode, depending on the camera, you have a secondary dial (if the primary is for aperture), or some kind of "shift" key that makes the main dial act on the exposure.

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    Or the main dial controls exposure time and you use a shift button (or switch to A mode and back) to change aperture. – Peter Taylor Aug 13 '18 at 6:58
  • @PeterTaylor - that's the Nikon method, the single wheel is exposure, with 2 'cmd' keys for aperture & ISO. – Tetsujin Aug 13 '18 at 7:03
  • @Tetsujin In M exposure mode? – Michael C Aug 13 '18 at 10:14
  • @MichaelClark - yes, on my D5500 with a single wheel. In M all 3 are accessed from the same wheel, with 'override' keys. In A it controls aperture of course, with the 'aperture key' then becoming exposure compensation; & same override for ISO. [I've never used any other mode than M or A, so the others may get more complicated] – Tetsujin Aug 13 '18 at 10:32
  • @Tetsujin My point is I don't think the single wheel controls EC in M mode when another button is not pressed, which is the impression I got from your earlier comment. I think it controls shutter time. – Michael C Aug 13 '18 at 11:36

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