Nikon skill s

Surf­ing, spot mode and fo­cus stack­ing

NPhoto - - Front Page -

Much of the time your Nikon’s auto-ex­po­sure sys­tem will do a per­fectly good job. Nikon’s Ma­trix me­ter­ing sys­tem breaks the scene down into dif­fer­ent zones, analy­ses the light in each and tries to make a pre­dic­tion about the sub­ject and the light­ing con­di­tions.

How­ever, it can get it wrong. This can hap­pen where the cam­era doesn’t quite in­ter­pret the scene cor­rectly or you’re pho­tograph­ing an in­trin­si­cally dark or light-toned sub­ject. You can fix this by ap­ply­ing a lit­tle EV (ex­po­sure) com­pen­sa­tion and re­tak­ing the shot.

There are other sit­u­a­tions, though, where there’s more than one ‘cor­rect’ ex­po­sure, de­pend­ing on how you, the pho­tog­ra­pher, want the shot to look.

Here’s the per­fect ex­am­ple. We’re shoot­ing a por­trait in a dark tun­nel with a bright back­ground, and we’re go­ing for two com­pletely dif­fer­ent ef­fects: a light and airy high-key por­trait where the back­ground is blown out, and a dark and moody

Left to its own de­vices, our Nikon will try to work out some kind of com­pro­mise ex­po­sure, but here the dif­fer­ence in light lev­els is so great that it’s never go­ing to work very well

low-key shot where we only see our sub­ject as a pro­file in sil­hou­ette.

The cam­era can’t pos­si­bly know what style of shot we want. Left to its own de­vices, our Nikon will try to work out some kind of com­pro­mise ex­po­sure where there’s a bit of de­tail in both the sub­ject and the back­ground, but the dif­fer­ence in light lev­els is so great that it’s never go­ing to work very well.

Let’s see what hap­pens if we use spot me­ter­ing in­stead. In this mode, you can take a me­ter read­ing from any area of the scene and use this as the ba­sis of the ex­po­sure. By choos­ing two dif­fer­ent ar­eas of the pic­ture we can pro­duce two very dif­fer­ent ef­fects.

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