It really started to bother me, I don't know what it is, is it difficult lighting conditions for the camera is it my settings, but I very often get incorrectly exposed pictures with my 70D. Here are couple of examples:

enter image description here P mode (1/200 F7.1 ISO 100)

enter image description here P mode (1/500 F11 ISO 100)

enter image description here P mode (1/125 F5.6 ISO 200)

These pictures were shot in P mode, RAW, Evaluative metering, auto ISO, Min. shutter speed 1/125. The pictures you are looking at are jpegs, I opened the RAW files in Digital Photo Professional and converted them, so there are some in camera processing, but there are barely any difference in exposure from the RAW file.

If lens matters I'm using Tamron 24-70mm F2.8 G2 and I was using lens hood.

Any suggestions?

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ This is the reason why you shoot in RAW the camera can not expose this correctly, when you see it you see simply see the physics of your eye plus processing by the brain. It's the same, take the picture then process the RAW file. \$\endgroup\$
    – Naz
    May 26, 2019 at 23:17

3 Answers 3


All of these scenes have something in common: they’re high contrast with many, many stops between the shadows and the highlights.

If you were to meter for the shadows, then you’d blow the highlights (image 3). Meter for the highlights, and drown the shadows (images 1 and 2).

Because you set evaluative metering, the whole frame is being taken into account for the metering. I’m sure it’s more technical, but it appears the camera is simply favoring the side (highlight or shadow) that simply exists more in the frame in order to maximize the amount of decent exposure area.

Obviously, this leaves much to be desired. But, high contrast scenes are where auto modes go to die. This is where you should be the one making the exposure decisions.

Use spot metering on the shadows and highlights to get an idea how far apart they are. Use this knowledge to pick the exposure you want that will sacrifice the detail you’re willing to give up. Want all of the detail? Shoot an HDR shot.

My camera has a partial metering setting, which is something in between of evaluative and spot, I think I might try using it for a bit and see the results

While switching to partial may improve results on a subject - it won’t really help in these scenes. You have such a drastic difference in light and dark that you’ve gone outside of the camera’s dynamic range.

Image 2’s best bet to get the scene in camera would be to use a grad. ND filter. Images 1 and 3 would need multiple exposures combined in post to capture the whole range. (Upon looking at them further, a grad. ND would have been of use in all of the images., though image 2 is the most stereotypical use case)

This is why your camera fails to produce results you like in these scenes: it doesn’t know what you want. YOU need to tell it the exact exposure and KNOW your gear well enough to know that you’re going to sacrifice some shadow detail and/or blow some highlights based on your chosen exposure.

I highly recommend getting very familiar with the histogram and how to use it along with the Zone System. It’s a concept from way back in the day but in a nutshell: shoot the exposure that gets the details that you want. It may not be print worthy straight from the camera, but if it’s got everything you need, you can finish perfecting in post. (Film guys, I know that that is a gross simplification. Not trying to explain it here, simply wet OP’s appetite to learn).

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for the answer. Generally is it better to overexpose the shot? \$\endgroup\$
    – Giancarlo
    May 26, 2019 at 9:03
  • 6
    \$\begingroup\$ @Giancarlo no. Generally, never blow your highlights. You can recover shadows and deal with the noise. Once the highlight is blown, there’s nothing left to recover. \$\endgroup\$
    – OnBreak.
    May 26, 2019 at 9:09
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ The 70D, like many cameras can show you the histogram of your shot. Lean to use it. \$\endgroup\$
    – xenoid
    May 26, 2019 at 11:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ I actually think it is easier to make spot metering, then aim the camera at whatever I want to have details of or a "grey" spot. There is also some help in setting a white balance to match the conditions, for the top and bottom one setting direct sunlight and aiming at a darker spot (like the road up front) will probably produce better results. \$\endgroup\$
    – Stian
    May 27, 2019 at 9:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ My camera has a partial metering setting, which is something in between of evaluative and spot, I think I might try using it for a bit and see the results. \$\endgroup\$
    – Giancarlo
    May 27, 2019 at 9:37

More an addendum to Hueco's answer than a stand-alone...

In very high contrast scenes, unless you're going to bracket your shots for HDR, then it's better to err on the dark side. Shadows can be recovered to some extent in post, but blown highlights are forever gone.

This is what Photoshop made of your shots, simply by hitting 'Auto' in Camera RAW.

enter image description here

enter image description here

enter image description here

You could obviously do better from the originals, with a bit more care & attention, but note that the only truly irrecoverable area is in the 3rd shot - that road is gone. Nothing you can do about it.
The sky too, but sometimes that's 'forgivable'. Only HDR could have got any detail into that.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ You can't 'get this right in the first place' really, you can only err on the side of caution. The sensor doesn't have anything like the dynamic range of the human eye. As Hueco says 'high contrast scenes are where auto modes go to die'. [He ought to put that in bold, it's a good epithet.] If you meter for the sky, the land will be dark, but possibly recoverable. If you meter for the shadows, the sky is gone forever. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tetsujin
    May 26, 2019 at 9:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ Your Galaxy, same as most phones, assumes the user is dumb & so does a lot of the work for you. Cameras require a smarter user. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tetsujin
    May 26, 2019 at 10:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ Not really. if you want all the work done for you, use a phone, or drop your photos into one of the myriad 'auto-fix-it-for-you-with-filters' apps now available. You wouldn't take a moped to a motorcycle race; but if all you want to do is commute, then one would be just fine. Fine cameras produce fine results - but they need experienced hands & a more detailed approach. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tetsujin
    May 26, 2019 at 10:16
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Giancarlo It is a common misunderstanding that professional/advanced gear is better on all metrics. They frequently have a very steep learning curve for beginners and require more work to get things done. This is ok, they have the operator there to do the things a operator does better. \$\endgroup\$
    – joojaa
    May 27, 2019 at 6:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ Advanced gear does not advance the user. Advanced gear is needed when the user wants to do more advanced things, but is limited by the equipment. If a user takes a crappy picture with their phone and have no idea why, then getting advanced gear does not solve that problem. \$\endgroup\$
    – Nelson
    May 27, 2019 at 8:58

When you use an automatic exposure mode you should always at least consider using exposure compensation. An automatic mode can't always know how bright a scene should look, or how bright you want it to look. Automatic modes can perform very bad in scenes with a lot of contrast or scenes with highlights, like the sun tinkering on water.


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