Exposure Compensation in DSLR Explained for Beginners
Exposure Compensation is the most underrated feature in most of the camera, even with point n shoot. Most people hardly understands this feature or even if they know they don’t use it much. Exposure compensation allows us to increase or decrease the exposure of a picture. Literally, you are telling the camera, “I see what you’re doing here with your ‘balanced and correct’ exposure, but I want my picture to be a little brighter/darker than what you are thinking” as the case may be. Here in this blog Exposure Compensation in DSLR Explained for Beginners.
How camera uses its brain to calculate exposure :
First we need to understand here is how camera evaluates the lighting based on the lighter and darker spot or part of your scene that we see through viewfinder. There are different ways to evaluate it which depends which metering mode is ON (What is Metering Modes) And if its auto, camera evaluates itself.
In one of the blog earlier, I clearly mentioned how to control the exposure of any picture with 3 basic elements : Aperture, ISO and Shutter. Now, you must be thinking why there is an added functionality if we can control exposure with three basic elements. This is why :
Exposure Compensation is something through which you are telling your camera that yes I can understand what’s your calculation of exposure but still I want this image to be little darker or brighter. This functionality doesn’t completely overrides the exposure algorithm of camera but its just used in case where you are not happy with the final result and you want one stop brighter or darker image.
How It Works :
For example, if your camera thinks a given picture should be exposed (i.e., the camera meters the scene) at f/5.2 and 1/220s, then an adjustment of +1 EV on the exposure compensation setting may result in a setting of f/5.2 and 1/110s OR f/4.0 and 1/220s. If you are confused here how all this numbers are related .. Click here to understand
Do you see what happened with +1EV adjustments to camera here ?
By dropping the shutter speed to 1/110s, the camera doubled the amount of light reaching the sensor (because the exposure lasts for twice as long). Likewise, by opening the aperture to f/4.0, the camera doubled the amount of light reaching the sensor (because the aperture was opened a full stop).
How to change Exposure Compensation :
Most cameras will have a dedicated button on either top or the back of the camera, some cameras might have this feature available only through a dial. In Nikon use (+/-), hold this and rotate dial right or left accordingly to either increase or decrease the exposure :
You can see bar here -0.7 adjustment in lcd, means image would be 0.7 stop less brighter than what camera calculates.
“Exposure compensation is generally adjustable in 1/3 or 1/2 EV or “stops.” Each full “stop” adjustment either doubles or halves the amount of light reaching the image sensor depending on whether it is a +1 or -1 adjustment. On (+) side image will be brighter and on (-) side it would be darker “
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