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Trying to understand how exposure works on DSLR's
On my Sony H5, advanced point & shoot, I can see what my photo is going to look like while adjusting the shutter speed and aperture obtaining the exposure that I want..

I am planning on adding a DSLR to my current inventory and presently looking at the Canon 30D or the 40D, but I need a little help with understanding how to obtain correcct exposure..

I stopped in Ritz Camera today and picked up a 30D & a 40D and tried to make adjustments with shutter speed in manual mode and I saw no adjustment in light through the viewfinder. I was told that the camera adjusts automatically and I could view the end result after the shot. After the shot would be too late in a lot of circumstances. How does one select the correct exposure when you can not see the results until after the shot? Something doesn't make sense to me..

I have years of experience with 35mm & medium cameras and they had metering systems in place so one would know what the aperture would be for a certain shutter speed resulting in a correct exposure..

What am I missing here?Garold P. Hull - SONY H5http://www.flickr.com/photos/doxydad/..

Comments (17)

And the Canon 30D and 40D also have.

Metering systems in place so one would know what the aperture wouldbe for a certain shutter speed resulting in a correct exposure..

You make photos the same way you did with your 35mm and medium format film cameras; you use the camera's metering system to set the exposure to yield the effect that you want, set the camera manually to that exposure (or use the camera's default exposure, modified if necessary), make the exposure, and then examine the image. With digital you get to see it almost immediately. With film you got to see it in the lab, or, if you didn't do your own processing, when you got your prints back..

Some DSLR cameras have a "live view" mode that will allow you to preview shots. This interface is still generally too clumsy to use in most shooting situations.Regards, John...

Comment #1

Obie1 wrote:.

And the Canon 30D and 40D also have.

Metering systems in place so one would know what the aperture wouldbe for a certain shutter speed resulting in a correct exposure..

You make photos the same way you did with your 35mm and medium formatfilm cameras;.

What the heck is "35mm" .... and "medium format" .....

And especially ... WHAT IS "FILM" ????.

Seriously, we have to keep in mind that fewer and fewer people here, (especially in the beginners forum), have never used a 35mm-film camera, and thus any reference to them is meaningless..

This of course is most relative to focal length comparison, but can apply to other camera functions..

BUT ... the OP had a very interesting point; especially since I am a very strong promoter of the elimination of optical-viewfinders in favor of a (100% optical quality) Electronic Viewfinders. (the EVIL camera).

An EV will not only allow at least rough exposure estimates to be seen in the viewfinder, but it is of course easy to have over/under pixel-exposure warnings highlighted on the image..

Thanks for reading .... JoePhoto.

( Do You Ever STOP to THINK and FORGET to START Again ??? )..

Comment #2

JoePhoto....

While I generally agree with you about the limited use of references to film and film format cameras in a digital forum, my response here was directed to the OP's specific referral to these antiques and his years of experience with them. So, no, in this instance I don't feel that my response was rendered, uhm, "meaningless" by my reference..

Let's all stop talking about "full frame" and "35mm equivalents" when discussing formats and focal lengths, too. Bringing up the past can only be harmful and will confuse anyone under the age of 16..

To what I am hoping was your main point: Yes, an Electronic Viewfinder with 100% optical quality and no lag in image rendition would be sweet. It would be like having a big, always bright ground-glass except better, because it would also....

Ah, crikey, there I go again, talking about new things in terms of the old. Next I'll be on talking about angles of view and using the old Sumerian sexagesimal numbering system to describe them.Regards, John...

Comment #3

Olympus DSLR's have a "preview" button that will stopdown the lens and show the scene that will be photographed..

Maybe some of the others have the same feature..

I'm gonna have to sell some of this stuff so I can buy more stuff! Mummm, more stuff!..

Comment #4

On current digital cameras all the changes in the shutterspeed and fstop are done with wideopen aperture. looking through the viewfinder you would see no difference. what you are refering to is stop down metering or shot preview or dof preview. this is obtained on digital csameras by moving a button or a lever. however this is not done by photogs normally. there are a few cameras, the pentax k20d among them, that allow you to to take the shot and it will appear on the lcd but this shot is not stored on the memory card you would have to take it again in normal mode to actually store the pic on the memory card.



My last film camera was a pentax 5n, it used wideopen metering and unless you used the stopdown lever you did not see the final shot till the film was developed. offhand, I do not know of any slrs that used stopdown metering recently. the last camera that I used was about 30yrs ago that had stopdown metering...

Comment #5

Try buying Bryan Peterson's book "Understanding Exposure" I am really enjoying reading it.Nikon D60 18-55vr & 55-200vrSB400Casio Z750..

Comment #6

A DSLR has an internal metering system and you can use that to set exposure manually or let the camera do it automatically. But ordinarily the camera - like any SLR from the past 40 years - will be used with the lens wide open so you won't see changes in the aperture setting make any visible changes in the finder unless you use depth of field preview (available on some cameras, not on others). And that feature will dim the view considerably and isn't ordinarily used when setting exposure, just in judging depth of field.Bob..

Comment #7

DoxyDad wrote:.

- - - Snip! Snip! - - -.

I have years of experience with 35mm & medium cameras and they hadmetering systems in place so one would know what the aperture wouldbe for a certain shutter speed resulting in a correct exposure..

What am I missing here?.

What you're missing is experience of the dSLR in question, which will come. Treat a dSLR just like any other camera you'll find the same results: only it's nowhere as easy as twisting a knob or dial for the aperture and shutter speed. (And you have to read a 200+ page manual.).

But if you've experience of "A" and "S" (or "Tv") modes on film cameras you'll find the dSLR behaves the same way. You just don't get such a nice picture in the view finder, especially if you've (say) a Pentax K1000, Olympus OM1 or Canon A-1 for sake of argument. And if you've any of those cameras, work out how much film etc you could get for the cost of a new dSLR of the same quality..

Regards, David..

Comment #8

DoxyDad wrote:.

On my Sony H5, advanced point & shoot, I can see what my photo isgoing to look like while adjusting the shutter speed and apertureobtaining the exposure that I want..

Yes, that's a great feature of prosumer P&S and bridge cameras! As Joe said, what you (and Joe and I) want is an EVIL camera...some thing that has an electronic VF (an eVF, instead of an oVF) and interchangeable lenses. We came so close several years ago...but NO! .

I am planning on adding a DSLR to my current inventory and presentlylooking at the Canon 30D or the 40D, but I need a little help withunderstanding how to obtain correcct exposure..

The 40D is an incredible bargain now..

I stopped in Ritz Camera today and picked up a 30D & a 40D and triedto make adjustments with shutter speed in manual mode and I saw noadjustment in light through the viewfinder. I was told that thecamera adjusts automatically and I could view the end result afterthe shot..

I think the salesman was an idiot? I don't have a Canon, but I'll bet my Nikon works much the same way...after all, a Ford and Chevy are mostly the same, from an operational standpoint..

If you select M mode (or whatever stupid name Canon forces on it's owners), you will see a linear "exposure meter" in both the VF and the top display. You can adjust the exposure time, the sensitivty, and/or the aperture and see when the correct exposure is achieved. If you select any other mode (A, S, or P), you are givine the camera your approval to set the exposure...so relax and let it..

After the shot would be too late in a lot ofcircumstances..

Yes, but after you get familiar with the camera and believe that it can, in fact, do something simple like set the exposure (according to the rules you have given it), you only need to "look over it's shoulder" when you sense that the conditions were tricky. BTW, looking at the LCD to check the exposure/composition is called "chimping". .

How does one select the correct exposure when you cannot see the results until after the shot? Something doesn't makesense to me..

Trust the camera? That's why you are buying an expensive tool!.

I have years of experience with 35mm & medium cameras and they hadmetering systems in place so one would know what the aperture wouldbe for a certain shutter speed resulting in a correct exposure..

What am I missing here?.

Mostly just experience with a modern SLR of the digital persuasion... .

Charlie DavisNikon 5700, Sony R1, Nikon D300HomePage: http://www.1derful.infoBridge Blog: http://www.here-ugo.com/BridgeBlog/'Experience: Discovering that a claw hammer will bend nails.Epiphany: Discovering that a claw hammer is two tools...'..

Comment #9

I stopped in Ritz Camera today and picked up a 30D & a 40D and triedto make adjustments with shutter speed in manual mode and I saw noadjustment in light through the viewfinder..

The adjustment you are looking for is a deviation on the light meter in the desired direction (if any). The veiwfinder will not actively show adjustments optically..

I was told that thecamera adjusts automatically and I could view the end result afterthe shot..

True, within limitations of the display..

How does one select the correct exposure when you cannot see the results until after the shot? Something doesn't makesense to me..

Just like you did on film cameras. No difference except the light meter is now has an intelligent mode and adjusts it's 'center point' based on collected data. The camera can be set to automatically adjust exposure to center the needle. Just like with film, you will quickly recognize situations that may require more or less exposure than what the meter thinks you need and you can compensate..

I have years of experience with 35mm & medium cameras and they hadmetering systems in place so one would know what the aperture wouldbe for a certain shutter speed resulting in a correct exposure..

Yup, same thingyou or the camera will center the needle. You can: ask the camera to add or subtract a little exposure and set the shutter/aperature automatically, set shutter and aperature by yourself and meter a little high or low if you want/need, or have the camera set aperature or shutter while you make the complementary input..

What am I missing here?.

Film. Other than that, it's all the same. Especially if you use a basic center-weighted averaging metering mode to direct the light meter..

Also the scaling on the lightmeter may be different. Instead of being notched in f/stops or shutter speeds, the light meter just shows 'stops'. Need an extra stop? you can adjust shutterspeed from 1/1000 to 1/500 or open the aperature from 5.6 to 4 as an example..

Garold P. Hull - SONY H5http://www.flickr.com/photos/doxydad/..

Comment #10

Chuxter wrote:.

DoxyDad wrote:.

On my Sony H5, advanced point & shoot, I can see what my photo isgoing to look like while adjusting the shutter speed and apertureobtaining the exposure that I want..

Yes, that's a great feature of prosumer P&S and bridge cameras! AsJoe said, what you (and Joe and I) want is an EVIL camera...something that has an electronic VF (an eVF, instead of an oVF) andinterchangeable lenses. We came so close several years ago...but NO!.

And boy am I so glad we didn't end up with EVF's on dSLRs!! At least the ones I've used pale in comparison to a REAL viewfinder - maybe you guys are so used to the poky dark finders of current dSLRs that an EVF looks attractive?? In any case, I shuddered when I read your statement there .

I stopped in Ritz Camera today and picked up a 30D & a 40D and triedto make adjustments with shutter speed in manual mode and I saw noadjustment in light through the viewfinder. I was told that thecamera adjusts automatically and I could view the end result afterthe shot..

I think the salesman was an idiot? I don't have a Canon, but I'll betmy Nikon works much the same way...after all, a Ford and Chevy aremostly the same, from an operational standpoint..

If you select M mode (or whatever stupid name Canon forces on it'sowners), you will see a linear "exposure meter" in both the VF andthe top display. You can adjust the exposure time, the sensitivty,and/or the aperture and see when the correct exposure is achieved. Ifyou select any other mode (A, S, or P), you are givine the camerayour approval to set the exposure...so relax and let it..

Most dSLR meters are very good, you can usually trust them to do a good job - on a contrasty day the scene contrast may exceed the dynamic range of the camera and then you need to start using exposure compensation, but the rest of the time just let the camera go to it. The problem IMHO with using the LCD to set manual exposure is that what looks good on a camera LCD is not always going to look good on the computer or print, depending on how bright the day is you're viewing the LCD on. Unless you use the histogram and I don't think the OP was referring to that. Much better to let the camera do the work, and you can tweak the exposure using EV comp to get it right..

How does one select the correct exposure when you cannot see the results until after the shot? Something doesn't makesense to me..

Trust the camera? That's why you are buying an expensive tool!.

Yeah, learn how the camera meters and let it get on with the job!!.

I have years of experience with 35mm & medium cameras and they hadmetering systems in place so one would know what the aperture wouldbe for a certain shutter speed resulting in a correct exposure..

What am I missing here?.

Umm, didn't he just answer his own question?..

Comment #11

I understand now. I was under the assumption that DSLR would show me the same display as my Sony H5. Now that eveyone made this easy all I have to do is make up my mind on which DSLR to buy. Geesh, will this ever end? *LOL* Don't worry, I know better than ask that question.Garold P. Hull - SONY H5http://www.flickr.com/photos/doxydad/..

Comment #12

Which DSLR to buy?? That's a dangerous question around here!!!.

DoxyDad wrote:.

I understand now. I was under the assumption that DSLR would show methe same display as my Sony H5. Now that eveyone made this easy allI have to do is make up my mind on which DSLR to buy. Geesh, willthis ever end? *LOL* Don't worry, I know better than ask thatquestion.Garold P. Hull - SONY H5http://www.flickr.com/photos/doxydad/..

Comment #13

Cjnielsen_nz wrote:.

Chuxter wrote:.

DoxyDad wrote:.

On my Sony H5, advanced point & shoot, I can see what my photo isgoing to look like while adjusting the shutter speed and apertureobtaining the exposure that I want..

Yes, that's a great feature of prosumer P&S and bridge cameras! AsJoe said, what you (and Joe and I) want is an EVIL camera...something that has an electronic VF (an eVF, instead of an oVF) andinterchangeable lenses. We came so close several years ago...but NO!.

And boy am I so glad we didn't end up with EVF's on dSLRs!! At leastthe ones I've used pale in comparison to a REAL viewfinder - maybeyou guys are so used to the poky dark finders of current dSLRs thatan EVF looks attractive?? In any case, I shuddered when I read yourstatement there .

You may not ever grow enough to accept a new fangled EVIL camera. Some people do plateau. .

I don't think either Joe or I are envisioning something bad (like you are). NO! We both think an EVIL camera would be good. I won't tell you why they are better, because you are obviously intent on believing they are bad. There have been hundreds of posts her on dpr that list and explain the benefits, so you could investigate if that was your modus operandi. >.

I stopped in Ritz Camera today and picked up a 30D & a 40D and triedto make adjustments with shutter speed in manual mode and I saw noadjustment in light through the viewfinder. I was told that thecamera adjusts automatically and I could view the end result afterthe shot..

I think the salesman was an idiot? I don't have a Canon, but I'll betmy Nikon works much the same way...after all, a Ford and Chevy aremostly the same, from an operational standpoint..

If you select M mode (or whatever stupid name Canon forces on it'sowners), you will see a linear "exposure meter" in both the VF andthe top display. You can adjust the exposure time, the sensitivty,and/or the aperture and see when the correct exposure is achieved. Ifyou select any other mode (A, S, or P), you are givine the camerayour approval to set the exposure...so relax and let it..

Most dSLR meters are very good, you can usually trust them to do agood job - on a contrasty day the scene contrast may exceed thedynamic range of the camera and then you need to start using exposurecompensation, but the rest of the time just let the camera go to it.The problem IMHO with using the LCD to set manual exposure is thatwhat looks good on a camera LCD is not always going to look good onthe computer or print, depending on how bright the day is you'reviewing the LCD on. Unless you use the histogram and I don't thinkthe OP was referring to that. Much better to let the camera do thework, and you can tweak the exposure using EV comp to get it right..

I think that was kinda what I said? With a high-end P&S/Bridge/EVIL dSLR you can look at the Histogram BEFORE you pull the trigger. This will be the end of "chimping" as we know it... .

Unless you have experienced this, you won't "get" it....

How does one select the correct exposure when you cannot see the results until after the shot? Something doesn't makesense to me..

Trust the camera? That's why you are buying an expensive tool!.

Yeah, learn how the camera meters and let it get on with the job!!.

I hear echos... .

I have years of experience with 35mm & medium cameras and they hadmetering systems in place so one would know what the aperture wouldbe for a certain shutter speed resulting in a correct exposure..

What am I missing here?.

Umm, didn't he just answer his own question?.

Yep....

Charlie DavisNikon 5700, Sony R1, Nikon D300HomePage: http://www.1derful.infoBridge Blog: http://www.here-ugo.com/BridgeBlog/'Experience: Discovering that a claw hammer will bend nails.Epiphany: Discovering that a claw hammer is two tools...'..

Comment #14

Chuxter wrote:.

You may not ever grow enough to accept a new fangled EVIL camera.Some people do plateau. .

I don't think either Joe or I are envisioning something bad (like youare). NO! We both think an EVIL camera would be good. I won't tellyou why they are better, because you are obviously intent onbelieving they are bad. There have been hundreds of posts her on dprthat list and explain the benefits, so you could investigate if thatwas your modus operandi. >.

Right, and there are probably just as many posts here on dpr that list and explain the benefits of ovf over evf. Sheeesh. And let's not overlook the fact that dpr has a higher percentage of engineer/tech heads who are more likely to be fascinated by technological crutches than the average photo forum..

I don't care if you love evf, but why do you presume that everyone should want it?.

Marion..

Comment #15

Mhc_99 wrote:.

Chuxter wrote:.

You may not ever grow enough to accept a new fangled EVIL camera.Some people do plateau. .

I don't think either Joe or I are envisioning something bad (like youare). NO! We both think an EVIL camera would be good. I won't tellyou why they are better, because you are obviously intent onbelieving they are bad. There have been hundreds of posts her on dprthat list and explain the benefits, so you could investigate if thatwas your modus operandi. >.

Right, and there are probably just as many posts here on dpr thatlist and explain the benefits of ovf over evf. Sheeesh. And let's notoverlook the fact that dpr has a higher percentage of engineer/techheads who are more likely to be fascinated by technological crutchesthan the average photo forum..

I don't care if you love evf, but why do you presume that everyoneshould want it?.

I didn't. You, however, presumed that I did. .

Go back, Marion, and read my original comment to the OP....

The OP posted:.

On my Sony H5, advanced point & shoot, I can see what my photo isgoing to look like while adjusting the shutter speed and apertureobtaining the exposure that I want..

And I replied....

Yes, that's a great feature of prosumer P&S and bridge cameras! As Joe said, what you (and Joe and I) want is an EVIL camera...some thing that has an electronic VF (an eVF, instead of an oVF) and interchangeable lenses. We came so close several years ago...but NO! .

I only said that Joe, I, and presumably the OP were fans of the much better information that an eVF provides. I don't even know who YOU are. You were not in my thoughts at all! I was not so presumptious to say that "everyone" would like an EVIL camera! I know better as I have read LOTS of counter opinions. They didn't sway me and I still want a good EVIL camera..

I also expressed my regret that we don't have a good EVIL camera yet..

Nothing that I said "presume(s) that everyone should want it"... Sheesh, learn to read and comprehend. I don't care a whit what YOU don't like..

My point in posting was to second Joe's thoughts that an EVIL camera would please the OP..

Why are you threatened by a measly 3 people who like something you don't?.

Charlie DavisNikon 5700, Sony R1, Nikon D300HomePage: http://www.1derful.infoBridge Blog: http://www.here-ugo.com/BridgeBlog/'Experience: Discovering that a claw hammer will bend nails.Epiphany: Discovering that a claw hammer is two tools...'..

Comment #16

Chuxter wrote:.

Cjnielsen_nz wrote:.

Chuxter wrote:.

DoxyDad wrote:.

On my Sony H5, advanced point & shoot, I can see what my photo isgoing to look like while adjusting the shutter speed and apertureobtaining the exposure that I want..

Yes, that's a great feature of prosumer P&S and bridge cameras! AsJoe said, what you (and Joe and I) want is an EVIL camera...something that has an electronic VF (an eVF, instead of an oVF) andinterchangeable lenses. We came so close several years ago...but NO!.

And boy am I so glad we didn't end up with EVF's on dSLRs!! At leastthe ones I've used pale in comparison to a REAL viewfinder - maybeyou guys are so used to the poky dark finders of current dSLRs thatan EVF looks attractive?? In any case, I shuddered when I read yourstatement there .

You may not ever grow enough to accept a new fangled EVIL camera.Some people do plateau. .

Hahaha.. Nice .

I don't think either Joe or I are envisioning something bad (like youare). NO! We both think an EVIL camera would be good. I won't tellyou why they are better, because you are obviously intent onbelieving they are bad. There have been hundreds of posts her on dprthat list and explain the benefits, so you could investigate if thatwas your modus operandi. >.

Weeeelllll... I used to own a Nikon 8800, which at the time wasn't too bad, and I've used Canon S3IS which I thought was just appalling... Tiny, grainy and low res with a distinct lag and a long blackout. Versus my current machine, a Nikon F5, which has a beautiful big, bright viewfinder, with all the shooting info I need displayed on the bottom LCD, and electronic rangefinder indicator plus direct aperture readout on the top. It's like sex for the eyes .

If an EVF can equal that I'd buy one!!!!.

I think that was kinda what I said? With a high-end P&S/Bridge/EVILdSLR you can look at the Histogram BEFORE you pull the trigger. Thiswill be the end of "chimping" as we know it... .

Unless you have experienced this, you won't "get" it....

Aren't you still chimping?? If you are stuck examining the histogram you might miss the shot... I can see, though, that it could be very handy to have that feature, no argument...

Comment #17

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