EV (Exposure Value) Compensation Explained

Evbutton

I’ve been using the EV (Exposure Value) button on my camera more than any of the other buttons so I thought I would share with you why and when I use it. Remember that I shoot with a Nikon so shutter speed and aperture are controlled with the front and back wheels not buttons ;). But before I get into that, let me briefly explain to you WHAT the EV button is and what it does.

To put it simply, the EV button allows your to quickly underexpose (darken) or overexpose (brighten) your image. How it works is pretty simple. When you’re taking a photo, the camera’s job is to adjust itself by changing the shutter speed and/or apperture to properly expose your shot so that it’s not too bright or too dark. Some cameras do this better than others but that’s another story. 😉 When you play with the EV button, what you’re doing is telling the camera to either brighten or darken the photo from the optimal exposure it perceives.

You can use the EV button in P (programed auto), S or Tv (shutter priority) or A (aperture priority) modes.

In P mode, the camera will adjust the EV by changing the shutter speed and/or the apperture. In S/Tv mode, since you set the shutter speed manually, it will adjust the aperture to compensate. In A mode, the camera will change the shutter speed since you manually control the apperture.

NB: You cannot use the EV button to under or overexpose your photo in M (manual) mode since you control both the shutter speed and aperture manually.

Let’s look at an example together. The 1st shot is without EV compensation, in other words how the camera sees proper exposure. I shot in Aperture Priority so my aperture stays the same so I’ll only note (for curiosity’s sake) the shutter speed changes that the camera selected. This shot is at 1/640 sec.

Exposure1

Using the EV button I selected +1 EV and got this shot at 1/320 sec.

Exposure2

At +2 EV the shutter speed was at 1/160 sec.

Exposure3

I then underexposed my shot by -1 EV and this is the result. The shutter speed went to 1/1250 sec.

Exposure4

At -2 EV the shutter speed was at 1/2500 sec.

Exposure5

So, as you can see, the camera adjusted the shutter speed to let in more or less light to fulfill my request.

When to Use EV Compensation

You’re probably thinking to yourself: “Great! Now I understand how to use the EV compensation button. Super! OK… when do I need to use this? You say you use it all the time? You don’t think the camera is smart enough for you?” Alright then. Let’s talk about when to use it. I can’t go through all the situations but let me explain a few most common ones.

Your camera has a tendency to over/underexpose:

I had this issue with my Nikon D200. The camera seemed to overexpose by roughly 0.3 EV most of the time. So what I did to fix the problem was to set my EV at -0.3 and the problem was solved for general optimal exposures. Simple as that.

You need more shutter speed:

I often shoot birds and those suckers can move pretty fast sometimes and to freeze their movement I need as high a shutter speed as I can. And if their also far away and I’m at my full 400mm on my Nikkor 80-400mm VR I need speed to reduce or eliminate blur from camera shake. The first thing I do is go into A mode and set my aperture wide open (smallest number) to get the most light. Then I bring my EV down by roughly 0.7. I would rather have a crisp darker shot that I can easily recalibrate in post processing than having a properly exposed blurry shot. 🙂

Your subject is brighter/darker than your background:

When I shot the flower above my subject took most of the frame so the exposure was spot on. But sometimes your subject will be smaller, like a bird in a tree. Let’s say you’re shooting a bright yellow bird perched in a dark green tree and the bird only takes up 1/10th or less of the frame because you’re too cheap to buy that Canon 800mm IS, The Sigma 800mm or that Nikkor 600mm ;), what your camera does is get a general metering of the frame and adjusts the EV accordingly (we could talk about camera metering controls but that’s another article altogether!). What will happen is the your dark green tree will be properly exposed since it takes up most of the frame which means your little bird will be overexposed and therefore lose all it’s detail. You’ll have a little white spot where the bird is. Not exactly what we want. So with the flip of a button you then underexpose your shot by -1 EV and see if you get the details back. If it’s still not enough bring it down lower until your bird is properly exposed. It’s quick and easy. And of course you can apply this to a dark subject on a bright background to get details back by bringing up your EV.

Top photo is normally exposed. Bottom photo is exposed at -1.3 EV

Exposure6

Bright sky:

So you’re shooting this lovely landscape with a beautiful blue sky and poofy white clouds and you forgot your graduated ND filter. Shoot! Ah, but you do have your tripod so you set it up, frame your shot and take the 1st shot at normal exposure. Most of the time (depending on your composition) the land will be properly exposed and the blue sky turns white (overexposed). Darn! What to do? Underexpose your shot (by using the EV button of course) until your sky is nice and blue. Having used a tripod, my composition is the same so I can easily stitch the land and the sky together in Photoshop™ to make the perfectly exposed photo. Or use the HDR technique. Yes you can also do this by setting up your camera to bracket your exposure but that’s way too long to do in the menus compared to just pressing a button and turning a dial. 🙂

So there you go! The mysteries of the EV compensation button are no more. 🙂

If you use the EV button in other situations, please post them here to share them with us.

Advertisements

Shutter Release Technique

Shutter

Situation from: Digital Photography School

“Thanks for your tip on using the Continuous Shooting Darren. I use it on my DSLR regularly but have one problem – I always end up taking more shots than I want to. I put my finger down on the shutter button and before I know it I’ve taken a whole heap of shots. Any suggestions?”

Thanks for the question Harold – unfortunately there’s no easy answer to this problem except to use the old adage – ‘practice makes perfect’.

I know the problem you have because when I first discovered continuous shooting mode on my old film SLR I had the same problem and could quite easily go through a 36 exposure roll very quickly (an expensive problem). The way I got over it was to practice shooting in burst mode without any film in the camera. As I did that I learnt how much pressure it took to take one, two, three or more shots. Of course with a digital camera you can practice as you go without having to pay for unneccessary shots.

The best advice I can give when taking a shot in continuous mode (or in any mode for that matter) is to work hard at gently applying pressure to your shutter button rather than jabbing at it.

Someone once told me that it’s the same principle with shooting a gun (not that I’m too familiar with that). Rather than jabbing at the trigger and pulling yourself off aim you gentle squeeze it to keep the gun steady.

Using this technique with a camera will give you more control in continuous shooting mode to take the amount of shots you want and will also have the added benefit of keeping your camera still and reducing camera shake.

Lastly – don’t press the shutter with the very tip of your finger – rather use the flat part of it so that the end section of your finger is almost horizontal at the time of releasing the shutter (as pictured). This will help you to have as much control as possible and will also reduce camera shake.

DSLRs or Compact Cameras

THE FIRST AND MOST IMPORTANT CHOICE a new photographer makes is which camera to use. But walk into any shop or browse to any online supplier, and the variety of different makes and styles are completely overwhelming.

Luckily, there is an easier way than evaluating every model in every conceivable price class.

Cameras come in two main categories: compact and SLR, and by choosing which of these is right for you, you can significantly narrow the choice, making the selection process a lot simpler.

Let’s look at each of these in turn:

Advantages of using a Digital Single-Lens Reflex camera

Digital Single-Lens Reflex Cameras

A single-lens reflex camera can be identified by the fact that the lens and body come in two separate pieces. The lenses can be bought individually and are interchangeable for specific brands of cameras. This is a tremendous advantage and means that the range of capabilities of the camera can be extended over time, such as with longer telephoto lenses or lenses that allow you to take close-up pictures.

In fact, SLRs are better thought of as the centerpiece of a system, rather than as a complete package in its own right. There is an incredible number of accessories and attachments, such as flashguns and filters, dedicated to expanding the range of capabilities of your SLR.

The advantages of using a DSLR

As mentioned above, an SLR is more extendable than its compact cousins. It allows the photographer greater control over how the final image looks. Quite apart from the fact that there are more accessories available, an SLR will generally allow the photographer more control over basic camera controls, such as shutter speed, aperture and ISO selection. Whereas compacts will normally automatically adjust these settings according to a built in algorithm, SLRs will allow the photographer to set each individually, while still including the option of letting the camera operate in automatic mode. Furthermore, while most compacts will only operate in autofocus mode, an SLR will allow the user to manually focus the lens.

Because SLRs are extendable with a variety of lenses and accessories, they are also more versatile, and can be used in a variety of situations. The larger sensor sizes means that less image noise is generated in low light and that the photographer has better control over depth of field, with larger apertures throwing more of the background out of focus than is possible on the smaller Compacts.

Though this is a gross generalization, the image quality generated by SLR lenses are far superior to that available from Compacts. Of course, some Compacts are better than others and not every lens made for the SLR market is of equally high standard, but dedicated lenses at the middle to top end of the market are vastly more reliable and suffer from far fewer aberrations (or flaws) than those built into compact cameras.

One slightly archaic difference between SLRs and Compacts used to be that in a Compact the user does not actually look through the lens of the camera when taking the picture. Rather, the viewfinder was slightly of center, meaning that there was always the possibility of falling foul of a parallax error when taking the picture. Today, most compacts do allow the user to see exactly what the lens sees, but not through the viewfinder, rather by displaying the image as it will appear on the rear display of the camera. Though this is a vast improvement over the previous situation, it is not without flaws, and the image displayed on the back of the camera can often be quite faint and hard to discern in bright light. The large, clear viewfinders found on DSLRs still have the advantage.

Advantages of using a Digital Single-Lens Reflex camera

The advantages of using a Compact Camera

Firstly and undeniably, Compacts are cheaper. Not only is the amount needed to buy the camera far lower, but there is also much less scope for and need to buy accessories, meaning that you will spend far less over time.

Perhaps the biggest advantage of Compact cameras, price aside, is the fact that they are just that: compact. The small size and light weight mean that you can take it anywhere and that you are much more likely to be able to carry it with you when going on a long trip or in your pocket or purse as you go about your day to day business.

Similarly, Compacts may be a faster option if you need to take a picture in a hurry. With a DSLR and a wide range of lenses, it may take you several minutes to set yourself up. If all you want to do is take a quick snap, or if time is of the essence, you may be much better of reaching for a “point-and-shoot”.

Compacts also attract far less attention than bulky black SLRs. Virtually everyone has a little camera stashed away somewhere, and with one of these you can take pictures without anyone giving you a second glance. With an SLR in your hands, you are making a statement, you are declaring to the world that you are there to take a picture, and you shouldn’t be surprised if people took notice. Often when you visit music concerts or stage productions, the ushers will allow those with compact cameras through, but stop those carrying DSLRs.

The smaller sensor size of Compact cameras also mean it will have much more depth of field in low light and it enables most models to have a built-in close-up facility.

Some may also say that Compacts are easier to use, and as the “point-and-shoot” nickname suggests, in most cases it’s simply a matter of turning it on and pressing the shutter release button. This ease of use does come at the price of limiting the control the user has over the final image, though.

Finally, because the lens is never removed from a Compact camera, there is no opportunity for dust to get in and get stuck to the sensor, this is a common problem with SLRs, and the dust can be notoriusly hard to remove.

Which is right for you? DSLR or Compact

In the great vast world of photography, there is a place for both these formats, all you need to decide is which best suit your needs.

As a general rule, SLRs are used by those who are fairly serious about their photography. Whether as hobbyists or professionals, they are willing to take the time to master the camera and its controls in order to get the best possible images.

Compacts, on the other hand, are used by those who just want a quick snap, who want to get the job done without the hassle of changing lenses or adjusting the shutter speed.

That is not to say that professionals and serious amateurs never use Compact cameras. On the contrary, I know more photographers who have a Compact sitting right alongside their SLR than who don’t, but the fact is that they would use these two cameras in different situations. When they need to get the best picture they possibly can, they will use the SLR, but when on holiday with the family, they might use the happy-snap camera, same as everyone else.

Advantages of using a Digital Single-Lens Reflex camera

Prosumers, Superzooms and Hybrids

This eclectic variety of names all describe the same thing. They all refer to the dirty love-child of the two types of cameras we dealt with above.

What these cameras aim to do is to bring together features of both SLRs and Compacts giving you the best of both worlds. What you end up with, however is a camera that spectacularly combines the worst of all possibilities. It is larger and heavier than a compact, yet have none of the extendibility of an SLR. The lenses offer a huge zoom range, sometimes as much as 20x optical, but the glass is generally of very poor quality and images suffer badly, especially due to chromatic aberration (meaning that different colors come into focus at different places on the image, resulting in the edges of subject detail having a colored fringe, commonly purple).

Furthermore, the degree of control over the final the image is often quite limited compared to an SLR, while the ease of use and speed of the Compact is sacrificed at the same time. The camera is also more expensive than a Compact but of much lower quality than an SLR.

In short, these are not worth the plastic they are made of, and only serve one single purpose: to teach those with more money than sense a lesson.

Buy one at your peril.

Source: Illustrated Photography

Camera Flash: When Not To Use It

Fact: Digital Camera Flash May Not Help Your Photography

//www.illustratedphotography.com/site-images/front/08-02/technique-using-flash.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Your digital camera flash has a limited range and may not be suitable for photography at floodlight events. Explore how to take a better picture on these big occasions.

Do you go to major events at night and watch the grandstands erupt in sea of camera flashes. Ever wonder how they turned out? What many people end up with is a great photo of the head of the person in front of them, set against the background of a dark and grainy suggestion of the event. What went wrong? The digital camera decided there was not enough light, so the camera flash fired automatically.

There are two things wrong here. One is that all flash units have a limited range. A sample of digital camera reviews on steves-digicams reveals that the expected maximum usable distance for inbuilt camera flashes is not much more than ten feet. Therefore, you need to get close to the action to make a digital camera flash effective. They are perfect for snapshots of friends and lovers, but not really designed for capturing the drama of a night football game.

There is a contradiction at work here, as using the flash actually makes your photograph worse. Low light photography requires a slower shutter speed and a wide aperture setting. However, when the digital camera is relying on the camera flash unit it knows there will be plenty of light up to ten feet away, so it selects a smaller aperture, and faster shutter speed. These settings are optimized for the target area of the flash, but are unsuitable for the areas outside the flash’s range.

Turning the flash off allows the digital camera to select more suitable settings for a floodlight arena or stage. This event lighting should be enough to get some sort of image without the assistance of flash. Let the camera’s inbuilt meter automatically select a slow shutter speed and a wide lens aperture, to make the most of the limited light. Because the shutter will be open longer than normal, you need to hold the camera steady. While this may sound obvious, with slow shutter speeds it is not simple, this is why serious photographers commonly use tripods and monopods.

Often it is not practical to use tripods and monopods in a crowded grandstand. There are techniques to help minimize the inevitable digital camera shake when slow shutter speeds are used. First, balance your body and, if possible, brace yourself against something solid, such as a wall or seat. Then bring your elbows in firmly against your chest, and using the viewfinder hold your camera firmly against your head. Finally breathe, not too deep, and then hold it while you squeeze the shutter release.

This approach will produce better images than using the camera flash so next time try a few shots with the flash and a few without and decide for yourself.

Amazing Photography Blogs I

Because I’m kind, I’m going to share to you 10 Amazing Photography blogs that will surely inspire to take more photos.

Here they are:

1. Positive Negative

2. Flak Photo

3. Lanpher Photoblog

4. Verve Photo

5. The Occasional Odd Crop

6. Cazurro dot com

7. Puja Parakh

8. These Fleeting Moments

9. Static

10. Daily Dose of Imagery

Source: 10,000 Words

LCD or Viewfinder on my Digital Camera?

Lcd

One of the things about digital cameras that makes them so appealing is the little LCD screen display on the back of them.

When I used a film SLR I used to take meticulous notes of the settings that I used when taking photos – noting frame number, aperture and shutter speed down after most shots so that a week or two later when I got my photos back from the lab I could compare my notes with the shots and work out how I might improve my photography.

The LCD screen on digital cameras cuts out the need for this process as images can be viewed immediately after they are taken and adjustments can be made to improve your shots straight away.

If you like to record your images settings for future analysis, most digital cameras will do this for you – to be viewed later either on your camera (using the ‘info’ function when in playback on many cameras) or on your computer.

LCD as a Viewfinder?

One question I get asked a lot by readers is whether they should use their digital camera’s LCD screen or viewfinder to frame their shots. I suspect that the majority of camera owners do use the LCD but there are a number of arguments both for and against it. Let me explore a few:

Viewfinder-1

Why to use the LCD to frame shots

  • Convenience – Perhaps the main reason that people use the LCD is convenience. Rather than having to fire up the camera, raise it to your eye, squint through it (on many point and shoot models it’s quite small) etc… using the LCD means you simply switch the camera on and from almost any position you can snap a shot.
  • Size – As I hinted above – many models of digital cameras have very small view finders and when compared with the LCD (usually between 1.5 and 2.5 inches these days) there is really not that much of a comparison.
  • Instant Playback – shooting with the LCD means that after you take your shot you will immediately see the shot you’ve taken flashed onto the screen. You can see this if you use the viewfinder too by lowering the camera but it adds another action to the process.
  • Creativity – using the LCD opens up all kinds of creative opportunities for your photography by meaning that you don’t have to have the camera at eye level to be able to get your framing right. You can instead put it up high or down low and still be able to line things up well.
  • Framing Inaccuracy of Optical Viewfinders on Point and Shoots – one of the most common complaints about using the viewfinder on digital cameras is that what you see through it is slightly different to what the camera is actually seeing as the view finder is generally positioned above and to the left of the lens which means it is slightly different (a problem called parallax). Most viewfinders that have this will give you a guide as to where to frame your shot but it can be a little difficult – especially when taking close up/macro shots. (note that not all point and shoot cameras have optical viewfinders – some have electronic ones (see below).
  • Obstructed View – on some models of point and shoot digital cameras a fully extended zoom can actually obstruct the view from your viewfinder. This can be quite frustrating.
  • Glasses Wearers – if you wear glasses you might find using the viewfinder of your Digital camera more difficult. Many these days do come with a little diopter adjuster to help with this.

Why not to use LCD to frame shots

  • Battery Killer – the LCD on your camera chews up battery power faster than almost any other feature on your camera. Use it not only for viewing shots taken but lining them up and you’ll need to recharge a lot more regularly.
  • Camera Shake – when shooting with the LCD as a viewfinder you need to hold your camera away from your body (often at arms length). This takes the camera away from your solid and still torso and into midair (only supported by your outstretched arms) – this increased the chance that your camera will be moving as you take the shot which will result in blurry shots.
  • Competing Light – one problem that you will often have with framing your shots using the LCD is that for many cameras, shooting in bright light will make it difficult to see the LCD – leaving it looking washed out. Digital camera manufacturers are trying to overcome this with brighter and clearer screens but using the viewfinder instead of the LCD will generally overcome the problem.
  • DSLRs – most DSLRs do not give you the opportunity to use the LCD as a viewfinder at all. I suspect that this feature will become more available however as I hear it being asked for quite a bit. I’m not sure I’d ever use it though as DSLR view finders are generally larger and are a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) meaning you can be sure that what you’re looking at through the view finder is what the image will be when you shoot.
  • Electronic View Finders (EVF) – another type of view finder that is found on some point and shoot digital cameras is the EVF one. This overcomes the problem of your viewfinder and camera seeing slightly different things by giving you an exact picture of the scene you’re photographing in the viewfinder. This happens simply by putting a little LCD in the viewfinder.

Ultimately the choice in using the LCD or viewfinder will come down to personal preference. I have used a variety of digital cameras over the past few years and find myself using both methods depending upon the shooting situation and the camera. Some cameras have large and clear viewfinders (like my DSLR) and so I use them. Others have tiny viewfinders (in fact my latest point and shoot, the Fujifilm Finepix F10, doesn’t have one at all).

Given the choice between a great viewfinder and great LCD I’d probably opt for the viewfinder – call me a traditionalist but it just feels right for me.

Head over to our Flickr group to have your say on what you use – viewfinder or LCD?

Source:  Digital Photography School

5 Easy Photo Tips To Create Amazing Blur Images

In most cases the main purpose in making a good shot is to make the image as sharp as possible. But there are cases, when adding movement to your pictures can result inimpressive and splendid shots. Let’s try it out.

When the object in a frame is moving, the final image is always blurred, unless the optical exposure is short enough to fix the object. The degree of blur depends on two things: how fast the object is moving and how long the exposure is.

Surely, you can’t always control the movement of an object you are shooting; still you can control and adjust your exposure to get the effect you want. That’s what we’re going to do.

That’s the effect from shooting night streets with traffic with long exposure.

traffic

In theory, everything that moves could be the object for your shooting – traffic, people, flowers in wind, animals and lots more. It all depends on your fantasy. The technique is easy, yet the results can be astonishing and amazing.

nullThat’s what happens when you shoot flowers in heavy wind with a 1 second exposure.

1. Always use the tripod. It’s obvious that when you set a long exposure it becomes impossible to shoot with your hands only. You have to show the movement of an object, not the movement of your camera.

2. Shoot on a cloudy day. Sunny days are not very suitable for such techniques for several reasons. First of all, bright lighting often doesn’t allow using long exposures. Second, bright lights make high contrast images and the exposition will be unsatisfying so you’ll lose the details.

3. Use a filter. Shooting in faint lights often can affect the color balance. Many pictures could have blue gradations for example. In this case 81A, 81B and 81C filters will do.

4. The exposure. Any exposure longer than 1\125 sec could provide the blurring effect of moving objects. Still, a small degree of blurring could be regarded as you mistake or incompetence, so pay attention. In order to get the blurring effect that looks intentionally made you can start from 1\2 seconds exposure and go on. Make some shots, experiment and practice.

5. Set your camera to the exposure priority mode (Tv), so that you could always control your exposure.


Moving objects shot using long exposure could result in totally abstract images. These black birds were shot using the 1\2 seconds exposure.