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Photography DiscussionMy new challenge: shooting in manual only.

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Matt Quinn
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Re: My new challenge: shooting in manual only.

Post by Matt Quinn » Sun Apr 15, 2018 8:07 pm

mikec wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 3:58 pm
My camera has what is called Focus Peaking. So when in manual as I adjust the lens, the subject once in focus the object shimmers so I know that is my focus point.
Thanks Mike. I don't have that feature, but, for the most part, especially when I move back, as you suggested, I get decent focus and dof, but no always. I am practicing with landscapes and sometimes it works, sometimes not. I'll keep at it. Thanks again. Matt
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Post by Charles Haacker » Sun Apr 15, 2018 9:37 pm

Duck, I DO NOT mean to step on your toes, but I saw these questions from Matt and decided I'd essay to answer them. Please dispute me where I am wrong!
Duck, What is meant by thirds selection? Matt
I should not meddle at all here but I think that was a typo. I believe it references the third selection, either shutter or aperture depending on which is more important; action stopping or depth of field.
Another question,Duck. I have the camera in manual mode, I use auto focus and move either the aperture or the shutter so that the exposure meter is dead center. I shoot. I chimp; the histogram is nowhere near a full spread. So, I go back and change exposure or aperture shot by shot until I have ETTR-d almost all the way to the right. Is this the way to be shooting in manual? Thanks. Matt

Duck, A question on metering in manual. On my nikon d800e I have three modes: matrix, center-weighted, and spot. I have been using spot on the brightest to get the exposure "correct" by moving either shutter or aperture so that the value is at the 0. Then I frame and focus and shoot. But I find there is still lots of room to the right. What simple suggestions do you have? Thanks. Matt
Those two questions are corollaries, but I'd like to address the second: spot metering on the brightest thing in the scene is very apt to lead to underexposure. Light meters don't actually "see" anything, and they have to be calibrated or benchmarked to something, and that something has always been 18% reflectance or "middle gray" (see attached).
zone-system-middle-gray.jpg
These are the famous steps of the Zone System, from 0 (no exposure) to 9 (maximum exposure). Middle Gray is Zone 5.
The light meters in cameras are all, by necessity, reading reflected light and adjusting exposure to render whatever they read as middle gray. If you point the spot meter at a bright area, it will decrease exposure to render it as middle gray. If you spot meter something darker it will increase the exposure to render middle gray. It will render total black as middle gray, or brightest white. The trick with spot metering is to find something in the scene that is, in fact, middle gray or close to it, or substitute a middle gray (or 18% reflectance) target, called a "gray card." I'm inclined to suggest using matrix metering rather than spot because it averages the brighnesses in the scene and is more apt to get you closer to "correct" exposure, from which you can adjust if you are trying to ETTR. Another way, though, would be to spot meter on something darker in the scene, which would naturally tend to raise the exposure, pushing it to the right. A good way to ETTR (I think) would be to spot meter into the darkest shadow area where you want to retain detail, then watch to make sure your histogram doesn't go so far right that the highlights are probably blocked. Remember that each camera's sensors are different, and some tolerate greater ETTR than others (and always only in raw, never jpeg).
And another question prompted by the Photographylife article on Lightroom:
"Let’s go over data that is actually read by Lightroom / Photoshop Camera RAW:
White Balance, as set by the camera. Instead of your chosen value such as Auto, Incandescent, Fluorescent, etc, only the actual color temperature and tint are read from the RAW file."
Bryan Peterson, in his book, indicates that he uses 'Shade' wb a majority of the time when shooting outdoors. But the quote above seems to indicate that doesn't matter. Which is true? Thanks. Matt
My understanding is that setting white balance is only important when shooting JPEGS in camera, not raw. When shooting raw the white balance setting doesn't affect the image data in the raw file, but the setting is recorded in the metadata in the file so you can still use it to process the RAW image if you like. I shoot 100% raw so I always leave the WB on Auto and only occasionally need to adjust in Lightroom or Camera Raw, but if shooting jpegs in camera auto WB is kind of a crapshoot, so it's better to set a WB or even "shoot" a custom WB since changing WB in processing a JPEG is usually not very successful. It's one of the major arguments for shooting raw in the first place.
Thanks Mike. I don't have that feature [focus peaking], but, for the most part, especially when I move back, as you suggested, I get decent focus and dof, but no always. I am practicing with landscapes and sometimes it works, sometimes not. I'll keep at it. Thanks again. Matt
The D800s do not have focus peaking assist (I looked it up), but I have it in my Sonys and personally find it more annoying than truly useful. I find I get better focus by using autofocus with a tightly selected focus point, then using aperture to get the DOF needed (live view helps a lot here). I looked to see if the D800s have a single point AF like my Sonys do, and I found this advice: Have the multi-selector off of L, check setting a8 (on D810 at least), and make sure you're on AF-S/C with Single-point AF selected. Doing that you can "spot focus" on the most important thing in the scene. Matrix focusing tends to focus sharpest on something nearest to the lens, but if the point where you want critical focus is further away then there will be a focus fault. This is particularly true when close focused, as on your glass sculpture.
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Post by minniev » Sun Apr 15, 2018 9:46 pm

Charles Haacker wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 9:37 pm
...

Great discussion on exposure Chuck, whether the information is new or review, we can all benefit.

I've seen some interesting demonstrations advocating why it's better to choose a WB (even if it isn't technically correct) than allow the camera to choose it, and I follow that to an extent: if the WB is gonna be way crazy, I pick what I think the most prevalent factor is and select it rather than letting the camera do it. That is the only type situation where I set the WB myself since it's readily adjusted in LR. But normally I shoot auto WB,and always I shoot raw only
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Post by Charles Haacker » Sun Apr 15, 2018 9:53 pm

minniev wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 9:46 pm
Great discussion on exposure Chuck, whether the information is new or review, we can all benefit.

I've seen some interesting demonstrations advocating why it's better to choose a WB (even if it isn't technically correct) than allow the camera to choose it, and I follow that to an extent: if the WB is gonna be way crazy, I pick what I think the most prevalent factor is and select it rather than letting the camera do it. That is the only type situation where I set the WB myself since it's readily adjusted in LR. But normally I shoot auto WB,and always I shoot raw only
I agree that (1) raw is the only way to go and just wish I'd started sooner, and (2) it couldn't hurt to at least get some WB data into the metadata. I'm always shooting in the craziest mixed light/dark and much of the time I don't even know where I'd start so I just don't. Sometimes in Lightroom I try to locate something kinda sorta neutral-ish and put the eyedropper on it. Occasionally that nails it but more often it skews off somewhere else. So I note where it started, note where it went, and try splitting the difference, and sometimes that works. I have yet to figure out tint, though; it's on my list. :|
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Post by Matt Quinn » Mon Apr 16, 2018 12:04 am

Another way, though, would be to spot meter on something darker in the scene, which would naturally tend to raise the exposure, pushing it to the right. A good way to ETTR (I think) would be to spot meter into the darkest shadow area where you want to retain detail, then watch to make sure your histogram doesn't go so far right that the highlights are probably blocked. Remember that each camera's sensors are different, and some tolerate greater ETTR than others (and always only in raw, never jpeg).

Chuck, This makes a great deal of sense since I don't know the peculiarities of my Nikon. So I will push as far to the right as I can and learn. I always shoot in raw: the Nikon has two slots; I use #1 for raw and #2 for jpeg but have never used any jpegs. I always import only from card #1. I will also reset to WB Auto. The imports from WB Cloudy looked fake. I have fiddled with WB in Lightroom now and then so I have that as a backup. I have a gray card somewhere in the house and will try to remember it but I don't carry a case, just the camera when I go out for my walks. I have a gray lens cloth so may try that. It may not be 18% but it might bring WB closer than using only these failing eyes.

Great help, Chuck. Many thanks. Matt
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Post by Matt Quinn » Mon Apr 16, 2018 12:09 am

Chuck, My autofocus menu only goes to a7. Not gonna buy a new camera. Will deal with it. Matt
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Post by Duck » Mon Apr 16, 2018 12:57 am

Matt Quinn wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 2:19 am
Duck, What is meant by thirds selection? Matt
Oops, that should have read "third setting" referring to the exposure triangle. In step two you set the first of the three camera settings, ISO. In step four you set one of the second settings, either shutter speed or aperture, depending on the action of the subject. That leaves the last setting, which would be whatever setting remained at this point.

Told you it makes little sense without the lecture. :-)
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Post by Matt Quinn » Wed Apr 18, 2018 5:23 pm

Chuck,
"Doing that you can "spot focus" on the most important thing in the scene. "

Done. Thanks. Now I need to start experimenting.

Many thanks for the very detailed comment. I learn a lot from you. Matt
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Post by St3v3M » Thu Apr 19, 2018 5:04 am

Matt Quinn wrote:
Wed Apr 11, 2018 4:03 pm
A few posts back, Steve mentioned that he shoots only in manual. Today, my copy of "Understanding Exposure" arrived in the mail and I skimmed a few pages, noting Bryan Peterson's suggestion to shoot in manual. So here goes.

These are shots of Maureen's statuette of, obviously, Cinderella.

All suggestions are welcome. My eyes are not as sharp as once they were, so this is really going to be a challenge.

Matt
Hey now, don't blame me for that...I typically shoot in anything but Manual. Program when on the run, Aperture for landscapes, and Shutter when needed. I think an important part of shooting Manual is understanding how it all works, and control when in harsh conditions, but mostly understanding how it all works and using that to make better images.

I'm curious though, I know you're just getting into this, but what do you think of it? S-
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Post by Matt Quinn » Thu Apr 19, 2018 3:12 pm

"I'm curious though, I know you're just getting into this, but what do you think of it? S"

It's a muddle right now. I keep forgetting one of the three legs and just fire away, hoping for salvation in pp. Then I pause, breathe, and try what Duck and Chuck have recommended. I don't keep notes on what I am doing so I can't reflect and learn from what I have done once I see the results on the screen. I blame all this on the seduction of digital--scatter shoot, hope, then choose. No new tricks for this old dog, I am afraid. Maybe today, though. Maybe...

I seem to recall a photo I thought was yours of an aisle on a train, windows to the left, compartments to the right, that you, if it was you, wrote that you took in manual because you always shoot in manual. MATT
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