Thursday, May 8, 2008

Manual vs. Automatic Mode Exposure (

I just finished reading a long article in Nature Photographer Magazine (just found the web site, I read the print version) on Manual Exposure vs. Automatic Exposure for digital photography by John and Barbara Gerlach (editors).

The bulk of what I took away from the article was:

  • Light can bleed in from the view finder, and wreck your metering, with the sun behind you. This happens more often when shooting something from a tripod, macro for example, shooting down towards the subject. The telltale sign of this problem is under-exposed images, due to the metering system seeing light from the viewfinder, which is not present when the mirror flips up and the exposure takes place.

  • Metering for something, and then changing your zoom amount can drastically change how matrix metering evaluates a scene and the EV compensation you've set is no longer meaningful. Metering for highlights at any zoom range, and setting manual exposure for that, will overcome the zoom/matrix metering problems.

  • Anyway, I enjoy the magazine, they've got some very nice images and the articles are insightful.

    My only real problem with the print version is that the fonts are small and hard to read.

    The magazine has an interesting format, subscribers can contribute images and articles, and it appears they use quite a lot of that content. One day I might give it a shot. But then again I wonder what their circulation is, and what my odds of being published would be, vs and all the exposure I already get there. However they do pay you if they use your work. So, I can't argue with getting paid!

    (This was supposed to be a post about manual flash, and camera settings, but the magazine thing took over.)