Nikon D80 Dark or Underexposed Photos

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by mr_aloof1@hotmail.com, Jan 2, 2008.

  1. Guest

    I just bought a Nikon D80 DSLR. I have taken 35mm photos for years using my
    1979 vintage Nikon FE. I decided it was time to go digital so I bought the
    D80. I've mainly been taking photos for right now with the camera making
    most of the settings. I hate to say it, but I am not at all pleased with
    the flash photos this camera is taking. Every flash photo I've taken, and
    I've played around with different metering settings, different white balance
    settings, etc., has been dark and appears to be underexposed. This is the
    case even in the fully green auto mode when the camera makes all the
    settings. The photos actually look good in the camera display, but when
    they are uploaded to a computer, they really look dark. Is this the best I
    can expect from this $1200 camera, or what? Has anyone else had this
    problem?

    Thanks for any help.
     
    , Jan 2, 2008
    #1
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  2. Jim Guest

    <> wrote in message
    news:...
    >I just bought a Nikon D80 DSLR. I have taken 35mm photos for years using
    >my
    > 1979 vintage Nikon FE. I decided it was time to go digital so I bought
    > the
    > D80. I've mainly been taking photos for right now with the camera making
    > most of the settings. I hate to say it, but I am not at all pleased with
    > the flash photos this camera is taking. Every flash photo I've taken, and
    > I've played around with different metering settings, different white
    > balance
    > settings, etc., has been dark and appears to be underexposed. This is the
    > case even in the fully green auto mode when the camera makes all the
    > settings. The photos actually look good in the camera display, but when
    > they are uploaded to a computer, they really look dark. Is this the best
    > I
    > can expect from this $1200 camera, or what? Has anyone else had this
    > problem?
    >
    > Thanks for any help.

    Which flash are you using? Which lens are you using?

    If you are using the built in flash, it is very easy to get dark pictures.
    If you are using the SB600 with a dome diffuser, then all should be well
    even with a slow lens like the 18-70 zoom.

    I have found that my D70 does tend to under expose by about a stop. You
    should avoid judging exposure with the LCD. Instead look at the histogram.
    If the histogram shows underexposure, then you as the photographer have to
    do something.

    Jim
     
    Jim, Jan 2, 2008
    #2
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  3. flambe Guest

    High end digital is a different animal than film.
    For best results you should be willing to learn to make tweaks to the image,
    preferably using raw.
    If you prefer P&S ("you press the shutter, we do the rest" paradigm) there
    is no reason to lug around a chunky dSLR and lens.
    In general, with digital, slight underexposure is preferable as digital
    capture has essentially zero overexposure latitude but can preserve detail
    with reasonable noise for about 1.5 stops underexposure.
    I assure you the D80 is a magnificent camera once you learn how to use it
    with basic image processing.
    If your jpegs, and you should learn to use this camera with raw capture if
    you want to see what it really can do, are coming off the camera
    underexposed then there is something amiss in your work flow. While I do not
    use jpeg one of the D80's selling points is the strength and variability of
    its jpeg options. With NX you can incorporate some of these options into
    your raw work flow.
    If you are shooting raw and your image look a bit dark on first opening in
    the raw converter that may simply be a matter of creating your own basic
    profile.
     
    flambe, Jan 2, 2008
    #3
  4. Robert Coe Guest

    On Wed, 2 Jan 2008 02:29:02 GMT, wrote:
    : I just bought a Nikon D80 DSLR. I have taken 35mm photos for years using my
    : 1979 vintage Nikon FE. I decided it was time to go digital so I bought the
    : D80. I've mainly been taking photos for right now with the camera making
    : most of the settings. I hate to say it, but I am not at all pleased with
    : the flash photos this camera is taking. Every flash photo I've taken, and
    : I've played around with different metering settings, different white balance
    : settings, etc., has been dark and appears to be underexposed. This is the
    : case even in the fully green auto mode when the camera makes all the
    : settings. The photos actually look good in the camera display, but when
    : they are uploaded to a computer, they really look dark. Is this the best I
    : can expect from this $1200 camera, or what? Has anyone else had this
    : problem?

    Any expensive DSLR has a flash exposure correction menu item that can be set
    to make the camera call for more flash, and that may give you better results.
    But the underlying problem is that nowadays camera default settings seem to
    favor uising flash for fill-in only. There are several reasons why this is or
    isn't a good idea, but it seems to be the current fad. Gisle Hannemyr, a
    Norwegian writer/photographer, has written a fairly exhaustive treatise on
    Canon's implementation of this phenomenon and how to adjust your settings to
    make it work in your favor (or at least not get in your way). The last time I
    looked, it was posted on his Web site. I don't remember the URL, but you can
    find him with Google.

    Bob
     
    Robert Coe, Jan 2, 2008
    #4
  5. Guest

    On Jan 1, 9:29 pm, wrote:
    > I just bought a Nikon D80 DSLR. I have taken 35mm photos for years using my
    > 1979 vintage Nikon FE. I decided it was time to go digital so I bought the
    > D80. I've mainly been taking photos for right now with the camera making
    > most of the settings. I hate to say it, but I am not at all pleased with
    > the flash photos this camera is taking. Every flash photo I've taken, and
    > I've played around with different metering settings, different white balance
    > settings, etc., has been dark and appears to be underexposed. This is the
    > case even in the fully green auto mode when the camera makes all the
    > settings. The photos actually look good in the camera display, but when
    > they are uploaded to a computer, they really look dark. Is this the best I
    > can expect from this $1200 camera, or what? Has anyone else had this
    > problem?
    >
    > Thanks for any help.


    I have a Nikon 8400 I bought several years ago. I adjust the settings
    so the picture looks good or bright on the LCD on the camera. After
    the I take a picture I will zoom in 10x on the LCD to review the
    picture and every detail including eyes look stunning. But on the
    computer it looks and prints way too dark, even the computer at the
    camera store shows dark pictures. Especially with the external flash
    SB600 or with both the SB 600 & Metz 45 both in TTL or any mode the
    pictures are too dark. I had at least 3 years to try every setting
    including slow shutter, every megapixel, raw, every saturation, film
    speed, exposure compensation and metering mode. I thought since it was
    a Nikon it had to be a good camera. A bright vivid accurate picture
    with detail cannot be made. With software the pictures can be made
    printable, but nothing to be proud of, more like ashamed of. I
    recently bought Panasonic Lumix 10x pocket camera, to take far away
    shots without flash and unexpected shots that come up. The Panasonic
    prints straight out of the camera bright, vivid and accurate even at
    280 mm, no software touch ups at all. I still need a camera to take
    great flash photos, but 3 years of my life has passed with so, so
    photos. My recommendation is to take the "Nikon" camera back to the
    store or send it in for warranty as fast as you can, don't get stuck
    with it.
     
    , Jan 2, 2008
    #5
  6. wrote:
    > I just bought a Nikon D80 DSLR. I have taken 35mm photos for years
    > using my 1979 vintage Nikon FE. I decided it was time to go digital
    > so I bought the D80. I've mainly been taking photos for right now
    > with the camera making most of the settings. I hate to say it, but I
    > am not at all pleased with the flash photos this camera is taking.
    > Every flash photo I've taken, and I've played around with different
    > metering settings, different white balance settings, etc., has been
    > dark and appears to be underexposed. This is the case even in the
    > fully green auto mode when the camera makes all the settings. The
    > photos actually look good in the camera display, but when they are
    > uploaded to a computer, they really look dark. Is this the best I
    > can expect from this $1200 camera, or what? Has anyone else had this
    > problem?
    >
    > Thanks for any help.


    I set my D80 for plus one half-stop exposure compensation (read the manual)
    for daylight shots and one full stop for flash shots. It works great. Always
    check the exposure compensation icon on the screen before shooting, as it is
    easy to reset this accidentally.

    Dennis.
     
    Dennis Pogson, Jan 2, 2008
    #6
  7. tomm42 Guest

    On Jan 1, 9:29 pm, wrote:
    > I just bought a Nikon D80 DSLR. I have taken 35mm photos for years using my
    > 1979 vintage Nikon FE. I decided it was time to go digital so I bought the
    > D80. I've mainly been taking photos for right now with the camera making
    > most of the settings. I hate to say it, but I am not at all pleased with
    > the flash photos this camera is taking. Every flash photo I've taken, and
    > I've played around with different metering settings, different white balance
    > settings, etc., has been dark and appears to be underexposed. This is the
    > case even in the fully green auto mode when the camera makes all the
    > settings. The photos actually look good in the camera display, but when
    > they are uploaded to a computer, they really look dark. Is this the best I
    > can expect from this $1200 camera, or what? Has anyone else had this
    > problem?
    >
    > Thanks for any help.



    Two things, as one other poster said if you are going to use the D80
    on full auto, why did you buy it? But use what you have learned about
    photography to master the camera. With my D200 the most auto I get is
    auto aperture, I mostly use it on manual, shooting RAW. Digital is
    just another film with its own characteristics, under exposure saves
    you from blowing highlights, but can bite you with excess noise, so
    there is a spot where you can save highlights and have good noise
    characteristics, you just have to find it. Then when shooting higher
    ISO (above 800) you want to loose some hightlights to surpress the
    noise. expose to the right on the histogram. Learning to use a
    histogram can be a big thing in digital photography, your camera can
    display one with every shot.
    About flash, most on camera flashes are fairly low powered, not
    suitable for subjects over 12 ft away, sometimes not even that. Have a
    big room and you loose more light. If you need more punch you have to
    go to one of the external flash units. I still use my old Metz 45CT1
    with my D200, works quite well. The Nikon SB 800 or 600 seem to be
    good units, I still have a preference for Metz, but mine has worked so
    well for so long that I'm not familiar with current models.

    Tom
     
    tomm42, Jan 2, 2008
    #7
  8. John D. Guest

    The first thing that you need to do is calibrate your monitor so you can
    be sure that what you're seeing on it is accurate. If your monitor is
    way out of calibration, that may be why your photos are looking too dark
    when viewed on your computer but look OK on the camera's LCD screen.

    Until you calibrate your monitor, you can't really make an accurate
    assessment of your camera's exposure, IMO.

    John
     
    John D., Jan 2, 2008
    #8
  9. John D. wrote:
    > The first thing that you need to do is calibrate your monitor so you
    > can be sure that what you're seeing on it is accurate. If your
    > monitor is way out of calibration, that may be why your photos are
    > looking too dark when viewed on your computer but look OK on the
    > camera's LCD screen.
    >
    > Until you calibrate your monitor, you can't really make an accurate
    > assessment of your camera's exposure, IMO.
    >
    > John


    Agreed.

    I find this page helpful:

    http://www.jasc.com/support/kb/articles/monitor.asp

    I use as a quick check it for setting the gain and offset (or contrast and
    "brightness" in monitor-speak), and wrote my own program for display
    testing:

    http://www.david-taylor.myby.co.uk/software/imaging.html#GreyScale

    which shows how near the full-black and full-white you can see small
    brightness differences.

    Cheers,
    David
     
    David J Taylor, Jan 2, 2008
    #9
  10. gpaleo Guest

    For indoor social flash photography (gatherings, partys, ....) I set the
    camera to "P", ISO 400 and the SB600 to +0.7 stops output.
    The results are bright, fairly wide dynamic range shots straight out the
    camera.
    Happy New Year
     
    gpaleo, Jan 2, 2008
    #10
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