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My new Nikon D3200 has the rather annoying feature of automatically adjusting my Exposure Compensation whenever I adjust the Flash Compensation (in Aperture Priority mode).

I use Exposure comp as a way to control shutter speed, and don't expect/want it to change drastically when I bump flash intensity minimally.

It doesn't always change, and usually it moves minimally and I don't notice, but sometimes it jumps ridiculously — like an exposure comp jump from -2.0 (set by me manually) to +5.0 (magically) after I adjust flash comp by only one notch (~0.3).

Feels like a bug to me, but maybe it's a feature and the D3200 is just metering terribly. Since I'm new to DSLRs, I'm not sure if this is a typical camera feature to try to adjust target exposure with different flash settings or something. Is it?

  • Adding as a comment, as I do not have a d3200, nor am I a Nikon guy, but it sounds to me like you really should be using the manual exposure mode with a TTL flash to get the behavior you desire (predictable aperture/shutter speed with exposure controlled by the flash). – Patrick Hurley Jan 13 '14 at 11:43
  • Do I get your setup right? 1. You use AP instead of M so that you could use built-in metering and automatic shutter control. In that sense you do not have control over shutter. 2. Does your exposure compensation really control your shutter? I am surprised about that. This should be a post-processing adjustment after your picture having been taken. 3. What is the distance from the object receiving the flash? 4. When does the exposure comp. jump happen? Just after flash comp change or while taking a picture? 5. Is this reproducible? 6. If you do AE locking, then change flash comp, same happens? – TFuto Jan 13 '14 at 12:39
  • @TFuto: 1: Yes, but 2: Yes it does control shutter, but somewhat indirectly. I have iso fixed (adjust it manually), and in AP so is aperture, so camera has to adjust shutter to get the right exposure -- Maybe there could also be a post processing effect, but I'm shooting RAW so I do not think so. 3: Varied, but usually around 1-2meters. 4: Just after adjusting shutter comp (from what I've noticed). 5: Yes, I've reproduced repeatedly but its not every time. If it happens once it will happen a bunch in a row. 6: I haven't tried AE lock, but I don't really want to lock (hence AP mode). – mmocny Jan 13 '14 at 13:40
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    For 1 & 2, that's what's supposed to happen. (No, exposure compensation has nothing to do with post-processing; it aactually affects the exposure.) Exposure compensation should not be self-adjusting. It's global (affects both the flash and ambient) on a Nikon, but the flash exposure comp does not affect exposure compensation, just the flash. Unless, that is, there's something wrong with the camera. – user2719 Mar 1 '14 at 16:48
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No. Exposure compensation (on a Nikon) affects both flash and ambient exposures. Flash exposure compensation affects the flash only (with the current exposure compensation value as a baseline for metering).

Your problem description indicates that the actual exposure compensation value is jumping, and not just that the exposure itself is off. (There can be a number of reasons why that might happen, the most likely of which is recomposing after metering.) The two controls are independent as far as setting the value goes, even if there is some interconnectedness as concerns the overall effect. If the EC number is changing, there's a problem.

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