If I set my f-stop to f1.8 and my shutter speed to 1/125th of a second and my ISO is maxed at 6400, yet my image is coming out dark. What is the problem and what can I do? Why?

closed as unclear what you're asking by scottbb, inkista, MikeW Mar 3 '17 at 19:39

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    Did you shoot in an unlit cellar or on a glacier under a blue sky? Those values are quite meaningless without knowing the scene. – ths Feb 22 '17 at 8:38
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    Why are you unwilling to use a shutter speed longer than 1/125 sec? Are you trying to freeze some kind of motion, or just trying to avoid camera shake? Have you considered using a tripod? – osullic Feb 22 '17 at 10:41
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    Post an example, it is impossible to guess what are you doing. – Rafael Feb 22 '17 at 14:38
  • Possible duplicate of What is the "exposure triangle"? – thebtm Feb 22 '17 at 20:06
  • We need more information to pinpoint what your issue could be. Are you sure you took off the lens cap? What camera are you using? Are you using a pinhole lens? What lens are you using? Does your camera have a built-in ND filter that's been activated? What are you shooting? When you say "coming out dark" is it completely black? Or underexposed? etc. etc. An example image would be useful. – inkista Feb 23 '17 at 23:11

If your image is coming out dark you need to increase the exposure. You can do this in 3 ways:

  1. Allow more light to enter the lens - You state that your aperture is set to f1.8, I will assume that this is the maximum aperture, so we will move on.
  2. Record more of the light hitting the sensor - You state that you are already at the highest ISO setting for your camera, again we will move on.
  3. Increase the time the sensor is exposed to light - Increasing the shutter speed will allow for more light to hit the sensor, resulting in a brighter image.

The other option is to add more light to the scene, for example by using flash, but this would be out of the scope of a question about "Exposure triangle".


What is the problem and what can I do?

Whenever you have too dark image:

  • decrease F number
  • increase exposure time
  • increase your ISO number
  • use flash

or use automatic exposure mode (A, P, S or auto) instead.

If you cannot record image of well lit scene in automatic exposure mode or camera sets too unusual settings compared to other cameras you might have a problem with your equipment. Let me know if it is the case.

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