D300 BUG in Aperture Priority & Shutter Priority Mode

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Chico, Jan 12, 2008.

  1. Chico

    Chico Guest

    I posted something similar recently and have now asked Nikon but
    figured I would post here also in case someone may have a solution.

    This is bugging me bad so I edited the orignal post which was written
    well and submitted it directly to Nikon Technical Support lets see
    what they say about it. Message posted read:
    My meter display reads LO or HI erroneously or way to soon in my
    opinion. LO and HI pop up in the display when proper exposures can
    still be made.

    My understanding is that LO means that the "picture will be
    underexposed" if the user intends to stick with his selected F-Stop
    (in A-mode) or Shutter Speed (in S-mode). The reason for underexposure
    is because in A-mode, the camera has run out of shutter speeds (a
    shutter speed greater than 30 seconds is required at the given
    aperture). In S-mode, LO is displayed when the camera runs out of
    F-Stops (the maximum aperture for that lens has been reached and you
    still need to open up more to get the proper exposure). For HI, it
    works the other way and overexposure results.

    Okay, so I performed the following test that you may want to try:
    I set my camera on a tripod and aimed it at a fairly dark wall. I set
    the camera in Manual Mode at ISO 200 and balanced the exposure. It
    read 1/4 second @ f/2.8. You can use any metering method for this.

    Then, I switched the camera over to Aperture Priority (A mode) and
    dialed the aperture dial to smaller and smaller apertures (higher
    f-numbers) until "LO" was displayed. It didn't take long. This
    occurred when it hit f/4. Yes, f/4 at what should be 1/2 second. The
    same test with my N90s and F5 go all the way to f22 (at over 15
    seconds) until finally displaying LO at f/32. At f/32, a shutter speed
    greater than the camera's maximum of 30 seconds was required to make
    the proper exposure.

    Moreover, increasing the ISO doesn't improve things either. And that
    shouldn't matter anyway. But, when I cranked up the ISO to 3200 on the
    D300, LO was still displayed at f/4. But, the exposure is a very
    respectable 1/30 second @ f/4. Whoa!

    Pictures taken at LO and HI seem to give good results. The display is
    screwed up. However, it is very important to have these numbers
    properly displayed so that the user can make decisions. For instance,
    with landscape photography, most of my images are really slow and the
    wind is always a factor. So, I really need to see the shutter speed
    that's being chosen. And if A & S modes don't work properly, then it's
    $1,800 for a camera that can only be used in Manual Exposure Mode.

    I purchased a Sekonic light meter yesterday but hope that I am just
    doing something wrong and that the camera meter is not really this
    inaccurate or unable to produce readings at what should be a very
    respectful settings range.
    Chico, Jan 12, 2008
    1. Advertisements

  2. Chico

    Chico Guest

    Nikon Responded and said basically the following

    Nikon responded and said they are looking into it but that they
    beleive this is normal for the D300, D2X, D3, D70 and other DSLR
    cameras. They stated that their belief is that the LO in this case is
    evaluating the scenes overall exposure value such as -2EV. See page

    This is why we are getting LO. I think LO comes on in two
    circumstances when underexposure occurs and when the meter is
    returning a negative value (so it does not matter what ISO you choose)

    I am new so can someone translate this into english. I looked at page
    404 and it was not helpful I dont understand what I am looking at.

    Chico, Jan 12, 2008
    1. Advertisements

  3. Chico

    acl Guest

    Well, -2 EV is 30s at f/4 ISO 200 (if I didn't miss any multiplication
    in my head). Or 15s at f/2.8 at ISO 200. So it's not what they say.
    And in fact I have observed the same thing, it blinks Lo before it
    goes to -1EV or -2EV or whatever is specified in the manual, but
    exposes ok (I tried again after the last discussion here, and, while
    there were slight between exposures, they were of the same magnitude
    as those that occur in manual mode-so probably aperture setting
    inaccuracies etc).
    acl, Jan 12, 2008
  4. Chico

    Neil Ellwood Guest

    Please don't tell Rita.:)
    Neil Ellwood, Jan 12, 2008
  5. In your previous thread I explained this more than once;
    but I can see that you would not necessarily have
    understood the technical discussion.

    An exposure reading of -2 EV is outside the range of the
    camera's light meter. It isn't the fact that it is a
    negative number, as that is just part of the scale, much
    the way -1 F is a temperature that just happens to be
    lower than 0 F.

    The light meter on your D300 is specified as from 0 to
    20 EV, except with spot metering it is from 2 to 20 EV
    (or, I assume that it is the same as the D3, which I
    have a manual for).

    The point is that a light level of -2 EV is lower than
    the light meter can *accurately* read. It might in fact
    give you a reading, but it will almost certainly
    indicate more light than there actually is (because it
    will also see a noise signal and add that to the light
    that it reads).

    For that reason the descriptions given in the Nikon
    manuals, which all say that "Lo" means the picture will
    be underexposed, is correct whether it is too little
    light to read correctly or not enough range for ISO,
    shutter speed or aperture.

    I believe that if you redo your experiment with taking
    readings from a dark area you can demonstrate that the
    above is in fact true by actually taking a picture when
    you are not at the maximum aperture but are getting
    "Lo". If you then look at the Exif data it will
    probably indicate 0 EV or lower.
    Floyd L. Davidson, Jan 12, 2008
  6. That is 4 EV.
    I performed the same test with my D80. When stopping down, it
    gave set the right shutter speed until hitting 30 seconds.
    Then it displayed LO. I belive that the D80's maximum is
    also 30 seconds (beyond that, you need to use "bulb").
    Decorum prohibits saying what I think about that respons. If you told
    them how their camera metered the scene in manual mode, they should be
    able to compute the EV of the scene - which is 4 EV, not -2 EV

    The Exposure Metering Range of the D300 in 3D Matrix is supposed to
    to operate 0-20 EV. Your scene is clearly within this limit.

    See: http://nikonusa.com/template.php?cat=1&grp=2&productNr=25432
    (Click "Tech Specs").
    This is correct, but this does not explain why you are getting LO i
    A mode. At f/4, 1/2 second should not cause underexposure. And since
    the scene is 4 EV, the meter is not returning a negative value.
    (Btw - there is nothing special about negative EV values, but the
    lower limit of the D300 happens to be 0 EV.)
    If you told them your exposure data in manual (ISO 200, 1/4s, f/2.8),
    they didn't listing. They are given you a some "standard" answer
    that says that if your scene is darker than 0 EV, the meter will
    say "LO". It will, but your scene is brighter (4 EV).

    P. 404 of the D300 manual shows a graph of how "Programmed Auto" (P
    mode) is set up. Since you are asking about A mode, it has nothing to
    do with your question.

    I haven't got a D300 :-(, so I can't test this myself. Following your
    test procedure on my D80 did not reproduce the problem.

    If your observations are correct, there is a problem with the D300
    exposure display. The good news is that the problem seems to be with
    the display, and not with the metering. Nikon should be able to
    resolve this with a firmware update,
    Gisle Hannemyr, Jan 12, 2008
  7. Did you read the Chico's message?

    He says that he is conducting the test on a scene where
    the following texposure triangle yields the right exposure:
    ISO 200, 1/4 second f/2.8.

    That is 4 EV, not -2 EV (or any other value outside the range
    that the D300/D3 exposure meter is supposed to handle.
    Yes. So why is the display saying "LO" in aperture priority mode?
    It is not out of range, and a shutter speed that will give the
    right exposure will be in range up to f/22.

    The OP claims that even f/4.0 make the camera display "LO".
    Gisle Hannemyr, Jan 12, 2008
  8. Chico

    Sosumi Guest

    Since I have the D300 also, I was interested in this "bug". So I pointed the
    camera to a wall in night time with low light, until it had 1.8 at 1/4 sec.
    Then shifted down all the way to f22. No problem. ISO 200. The same at 1 sec
    at f1.8 ISO 200. I could go all the way down to f10 when it hit 30 secs.
    AFTER that it even keeps going one under exposure stripe at a time until
    these are full.
    In other words: perfect, at least I think so.

    I don't know if it makes sense, but could it be the lens? Since they have a
    CPU (at least they should) maybe there is the problem? I have a Nikon 1.8 50
    mm AF D lens. I could see some problem with a defective or incompatible

    If not, I think you just have a Monday morning model ;-)
    In general the exposure of the D300 is fantastic. If something is wrong,
    it's my mistake, I'm sure.

    If you have any other questions or want me to do some tests, let me know,
    I'll be glad to help.

    Good luck!
    Sosumi, Jan 13, 2008
  9. Chico

    Rob-L Guest

    It was written so well, that you used the word "to" instead of "too" in
    the very first sentence.


    : the next generation of web-newsreaders : http://www.recgroups.com
    Rob-L, Jan 13, 2008
  10. Chico

    C J Campbell Guest

    Well, I tried your experiment on my D300 and it gives me a much wider
    range of apertures. I think Nikon misunderstood your question -- page
    404 of the manual has to do with P mode.

    I think your camera is malfunctioning. I cannot duplicate your test
    results with either the D300 or D200. It is almost as if your camera
    believes that the built-in flash is on (see p. 405 of the manual).

    I think you need to have a technician look at your camera.
    C J Campbell, Jan 13, 2008
  11. Chico

    Don Wiss Guest

    What firmware version do you have? "A" should be 1.01 and "B" is 1.00.

    Don <www.donwiss.com/pictures/> (e-mail link at page bottoms).
    Don Wiss, Jan 13, 2008
  12. Chico

    Sosumi Guest

    Exactly the same: there is no other.
    Sosumi, Jan 13, 2008
  13. Chico

    ASAAR Guest

    Just a wild guess, but is there any chance that the D3 is
    considering the focal length of the lens? If it is too great, a
    very "smart" camera might want to make sure that the shutter speed
    is sufficiently high, to avoid excessive blur. It might think that
    1/4s is too slow, but can't get a faster shutter speed if it can't
    open the lens up beyond f/2.8. Again, I'm not saying that this is
    the problem, but if it is, a higher ISO (or some Auto-ISO mode), or
    a reduced focal length might eliminate the "LO" warning.
    ASAAR, Jan 13, 2008
  14. There might be a camera option set which prohibits the use of longer
    exposures. A fast break or exposure ranging sequence does that in my
    camera at something not far from 1/4 sec, and I think there's at least
    one other option which forbids long exposures that I've forgotten :)
    So I'd run through all the current camera settings and look them up in
    the manual before deciding the camera was bugged.
    Chris Malcolm, Jan 14, 2008
  15. Chico

    Pete D Guest

    And it can read your mind to know exactly what you are shooting?
    Pete D, Jan 14, 2008
  16. Chico

    ASAAR Guest

    Sure thing, Pete. My cameras are *really* talented. But they
    wouldn't need to know what I'm shooting. Focal length information
    is already known by cameras, as you can see by checking EXIF data.
    Most (or all) cameras would know nothing about the movement of
    objects in the frame, but I didn't assume that. What's already
    known to a degree (for typical shooters) is the shutter speed
    necessary to reduce the effect of camera movement to a level that
    also reduces blur to a level that produces acceptable sharpness,
    depending on the finickyness(sp?) of the photographer. The greater
    the focal length, the faster the required shutter speed. When
    shooting handheld, of course. The use of a tripod changes
    everything. Or almost, as some cameras can even use IS or VR while
    on a tripod these days. :)
    ASAAR, Jan 14, 2008
  17. Chico

    Roger Moss Guest

    This thread has a familar ring to it - I use aperture priority for around
    90% of what I shoot and I've been in situations where my D70 (shortly to be
    replaced by a D300, in fact) has unexpectedly given a Lo read-out, and I've
    been unable to shoot an image.

    Changing to manual or program modes has overcome the problem.

    Bottom Line: I'm surprised to hear of this with the D300 as I expected that
    with all the major sensitivity improvements, this kind of scenario would
    have become a thing of the past.

    Roger Moss, Jan 14, 2008
  18. Chico

    Sosumi Guest

    And it is. I agree with Mr. Campbell; I think there's something wrong with
    *this* specific camera. Or lens...
    I have used my D300 in most possible and impossible lighting and never had
    this problem. And I practically always use A to shoot with.
    Sosumi, Jan 14, 2008
  19. Chico

    Pete D Guest

    Sorry, should I have included the smiley. :)
    Pete D, Jan 14, 2008
  20. 4 LV. Not 4 EV.
    EV is after the light has passed the lens.[1]
    LV is what a hand held meter can measure --- the general light
    independent of any lens and f/stop.

    4 LV after f/2.8 is 1 EV (assuming the open lens is f/2.8).

    Of course, the light reaching the metering sensors is less than
    that, they only get a part of the light, the rest going to AF
    sensors and the "matte" screen --- but for "the metering sensors
    need EV -2 or more light" this is completely unimportant --- you
    are not expected to know how many percent of the light actually
    goes to metering, you just need to know how much light arrives
    past the lens.

    If it was stop down metering with f/4 (and hence EV 0), the
    camera _might_ have reason to warn that the meter returns the
    lowest possible value --- and hence would be unreliable.

    I had that kind of "fun" with my 20D, an f/4 lens and much darkness
    --- the metering was out of bounds, the shot well underexposed
    (IIRC the metering did think it was EV 1, it's low end).
    Unfortunately Canon does not do any "LO" when the meter hits
    rock bottom. Fortunately, histograms were already invented.


    [1] Think it through. If you put on a f/10 mirror lens with
    a 3 stop ND filter at the very same amount of light light
    on the wall, you get much less light for metering into
    the camera. Thus LV is constant, but EV lens dependent,
    and thus TTL-metering depends on the lens.
    Wolfgang Weisselberg, Jan 15, 2008
    1. Advertisements

Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments (here). After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.