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Exposure compensation #photography

Most photographers know the photographer’s triangle is shutter speed, aperture and ISO. Exposure compensation confuses people new to DSLRs but it is simple to understand. It’s cloudy this morning and the light is poor and I intend to photograph an event. I’ll probably shoot with a wide aperture on aperture priority. Aperture priority means, I set the aperture and the camera sets the shutter speed. What if the shutter speed is too slow for a sharp image? I can set the ISO higher and so the sensor is then more sensitive to light and I get a faster shutter speed. When I take the first picture, if it’s a little bit dark then I can adjust the shutter speed slightly using exposure compensation. On my Nikon D3200, the +- button is pressed and then the exposure compensation is adjusted using the thumb wheel. I can adjust it slightly for a slightly slower shutter speed and my picture will be lighter.

exposure compensation

Exposure compensation

You can see the exposure compensation button here near the on/off switch. Notice the mode dial is set to A  for aperture priority. This is on a D3200 which is a solid DSLR for people who are serious about photography but not that serious they want to spend thousands. It is usually bought with a kit lens which is 18 – 55 mm. I replaced my kit lens with an 18 – 105mm for general shooting. Notice the thumb wheel on the back of the camera which can be used to adjust aperture, shutter speed and exposure compensation quickly and easily.

105 mm lens

A DX lens

As you can see, this lens is clearly marked as a DX lens and fits the DX range of half frame cameras. The FX range being the really expensive full frame cameras. The D3200 is basic, no tilting screen or wifi but it is probably the most popular DSLR there is. My photos have been featured in a newspaper but so too were my photos I took with my Fujifilm S5600 which is a 5-megapixel bridge camera. The D3200 is much better and easier to control and goes up to 24 megapixels. Notice that this Nikkor lens is quite versatile going from 18mm to 105mm. The widest aperture range is there too and it goes from 3.5 – 5.6. The aperture goes narrower as you zoom in. I also have a 55-300 mm lens and a 35mm prime lens which give me a much-improved quality and a wider aperture.


Besides the camera and lens, I have a couple of camera bags. A small one that I’ll use today and a backpack that is used when I need a lot of kit. I also have two Speedlights. A little Nikon one which runs on rechargeable AAA batteries and a large professional Speedlight. I also use various filters and I recently bought a few of those circular things for reflecting light.

SUN (30)

One-third rule

I took this shot on Sunday and used the 1/3 rule for composing the picture. The one-third rule basically means putting your subject on the 1/3 line rather than in the centre of the picture so it doesn’t dominate the picture. I think the rule works well here. I took this with my 55 – 300 mm lens. I think it would have been better in a better light. The same picture, later in the afternoon would have been much better.

That’s all for today. If you’re about to buy your first DSLR you can probably get a used D3200 less than £200. In fact, there are some today for less than £100 on eBay. There is a replacement now and that is the D3400 which will set you back around £400 on Amazon with an 18 – 55 lens. That one has Bluetooth, so it will connect to your phone. The more expensive D7200 also has Wi-Fi and even more features.

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