I've been taking pictures for years now, firstly with some old digital Nikons, then Canons, then I moved to mirrorless Fuji XT3 (I love it!).

Unfortunately most of my pictures have been way too dark, and I don't know if I do something wrong or maybe that's because 99% of stuff I see today is heavily edited.

I took the shots below on a sunny summer day within seconds between each other. The mode was automatic (I might have had fixed aperture but I'm not sure), EV was set to +1. XT-3 + kit 18-55mm lens. The difference is crazy. What's happening there? I'll add I always take JPG+RAW so I usually edit my RAWs (bumping brightness) but yet... I'd say 9/10 pictures I take are underexposed. Are there any tricks or anything I could do to fix this? I'm trying to follow histogram (I set my XT-3 to show it live in viewfinder) but almost always there's not enough time to change anything if you're doing city photography (and that's what I mostly do). Also I'm a little bit scared of overexposing as it's much more dangerous than underexposing. I'd say 80% of my pics look like the first one on the left, 15% like the middle and only 5% like the one on the right (which I like best!).

PS. Yes I know about the exposure triangle, I shoot only in manual mode when stationary/on tripod, in this scenario my photos are usually a little underexposed too, but not too bad. Though it's still hard for me to find this perfect spot when it comes to brightness.

Thanks for any hints!

enter image description here

  • 5
    \$\begingroup\$ What is the metering mode dial set to? \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Jun 30, 2019 at 0:02

2 Answers 2


Well, you composed three photographs into a single photograph and kept none of the original EXIF data, so you have all the inside information needed to diagnose this while divulging none. Also the aspect ratio of the individual photographs makes it very likely that you cropped off material significant for the exposure.

That being said, the first photograph has almost overexposed sky, the second photograph has an almost overexposed rear mirror. Depending on your metering options, those may make a serious difference to what your camera dares to expose.

The dynamic range of the camera is pretty good so you'll likely still be able to pull the images you want from your raw files, but you might want to look at what kind of metering you currently use. "Center weighted" tends to work reasonably for most photographic purposes. "Center" can be sort of iffy depending on just what is in the center, and "multi" can be sort of iffy depending on what is in the periphery which you would not mind to get overexposed.

It's not relevant for the photographs here but it's worth remembering that if important image parts are reasonably close in the shadow or you are suffering from significant backlight, you can defuse the situation significantly with a -2EV fill-in flash or similar. Things will still look like being in the shadow but you'll get a lot more information to work with.


One thing I've noticed in Fuji cameras (used X-E2, X-T2 and X100F) is that the EVF is very bright by default. I used Canon DSLRs and Panasonic m4/3 cameras before, and judging from my EVF, my photos very easily come under-exposed.

Apart from the histogram (and getting used to give it a quick glance before every shot) is to reduce the brightness of the EVF. I've set my EVF and LCD brightness to -2, but you'll just have to experiment a bit which brightness gives you the best intuition into the final image brightness.


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