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X100 Shore Shots and Exposure Compensation Question

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Took my new X100 out to Maryland's Eastern Shore this weekend. I've noticed that under many outdoor conditions, it tends overexpose. At first I thought that I was accidentally moving the exposure comp dial, but realized that was not the case: One person posted in response to a general tips question:

- -1/3 exposure comp is the often recommended default, outside of "odd" conditions

If that's the case, can anybody please suggest when NOT to use exposure comp?

Of the three shots below, only the van was not underexposed. The Oceanic Motel sign was almost beyond saving with dodging.

Nevertheless, I love my X100. Once I figure out what it wants from me, I'll love it even more!

Flamingo Motel


Motel Sign

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I was the one who wrote that comment, and I definitely stand by it. If you're shooting RAW, you also have a fair bit of room to push your exposure up.

If you want to be "precise" though, you can use the histogram and "expose to the right": that is, do your best to get as much of the histogram stacked on the right (highlights) side without clipping beyond that. Highlights, once blown, are pretty hard to recover (even in RAW files).

It's also worth checking your metering; that Oceanic motel photo might be off because of the glare between those clouds (assuming it was a bright day) and the camera may have over-compensated as a result. I'd still say it's rescuable with a +1.25 exposure push, some dodging on the sign itself (to give it a little more pop) and a slight shadow lift.

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One of the most important, yet overlooked things I find that people who take photographs do is fail to master how their light meter for their camera system works.

We have a hard time comprehending the fact that we spend hundreds to thousands of dollars for a piece of equipment that doesn't "get it right".

Not getting on anyone's case....we all have done it, we all still do it from time to time.

We need to understand that the camera is trying to meter to a specific standard(center weight/spot = 18% grey) or a set of predefined algorithms that should produce roughly 18% grey coverage across the frame(matrix).

When we work with the equipment long enough, we will know when the meter will most likely be off and in which direction.

In the first image, I would guess it would be over exposed because the meter would see a predominant tone being in the building and push the exposure that way.

Second image - the van - exposure spot on because the majority of the tones are already neutral grey. That is an easy one for the meter.

The last image has a lot of darker tones to it, hardly any white at all, so it is going to boost that exposure quite a bit.

I know for a fact that my Nikon gear an the Fuji gear do meter certain scenes differently. I've compensated wrong on quite a few occasions with the Fuji that would have been dead on with my Nikons.

If I'm ever in doubt, I always go back to spot metering and find that point in the scene that I know is where I want the exposure to be and meter off of that.

Just keep practicing with it and examine the EXIF data later to determine how to best adjust you X100

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