Bob Nuttmann

Camera Simplicity Follow Up

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After writing the last blog post about simplicity and that I was going to go out and shoot on auto and jpeg I found out quite quickly that Nikon Z50 jpegs are very good but that auto exposure even with the newest cameras many times needs some intervention to get close to right. This points out one of the most important benefits of modern mirrorless cameras, you see the photo before you take it and can make adjustments before hitting the shutter button. The other point would be that Nikon has done a lot of work to get jpegs to come out right with little editing, assuming the exposure is close to right.

This shot was taken on a Nikon Z50 mirrorless in A mode with exposure compensation turned down a stop.

This rose (Double Delight) I know from experience is very bright. To have any hope of keeping the highlights from overexposure you have to turn down exposure from what the camera wants to do on it’s own. So I pointed the Nikon Z50 at it and could see easily in the viewfinder that the white part of the flower was going to blow out the highlights if I just used auto recommendations. I did not, and turned the camera to A mode. Then I turned down the compensation till it seemed like 1 stop to 1 1/2 stops – was about right. I used -1. Back when I used the Nikon D5500 I would use live view on the back screen to get the exposure correct. And using my iPhone 11Pro I found out there is a new exposure adjustment setting in IOS 14. Now you can go into settings-camera-preserve settings-exposure adjustment and set the exposure adjustment to on. That way a little setting window for exposure compensation comes up on the screen and you can set exposure compensation how you want it and not depending on where the focus is.

This is the exposure the Z50 camera used when the setting mode was auto
With the camera set on A and 1 stop of negative exposure compensation the colors turned out better.

What did I learn. Even though I had learned to cope with bright flowers in my DSLRs by adding some negative exposure comp the mirrorless camera made it easy to get it right before shooting. I would also add that film has more ability to preserve highlights from over exposure than digital. This is one of films great strengths vs digital. On a good negative film like Kodak Portra you can be 3 stops over and the photo should be fine. Digital starts to degrade in my experience past 1 stop over, at most 1 1/2 stops.

I also found out that the easy to use and free Apple Photos app works well with Nikon jpegs but not very good on Nikon raw. And if you have a newer Nikon that the camera tends to get jpegs very close to perfect.

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