Understanding Exposure Compensation

Exposure compensation is a feature of an SLR camera which allows you to adjust the exposure measured by its light meter. Usually this range of adjustment goes from between (plus) + 2 to (minus) — 2 EV in one-third EV (1/3rd) increments. This means that you can adjust the exposure measured by the light meter within the camera by forcing it to allow more light in (plus + exposure compensation) or to allow less light in (minus — exposure compensation). Depending on how your SLR deals with exposure compensation, it may adjust the aperture whilst maintaining the shutter speed or it may adjust the shutter speed whilst maintaining the aperture.

On both Nikon and Canon SLRs, the exposure compensation button looks like a plus and minus sign (+/—). If you own a Nikon, press the exposure compensation button and turn the dial to the left to brighten up the image, whereas turning it to the right will decrease exposure and darken it. If you own a Canon SLR, it is the opposite of Nikon. Turning your main dial to the left will darken it and turning it to the right will lighten the image.

There are a number of things you need to be aware of when you use exposure compensation:

• Exp comp will only affect the exposure of future pictures you take. It will not change a picture you have already taken.

• Exp comp will not reset itself automatically (even when you turn the camera off). After taking a picture using exposure compensation set the dial back to zero. This is a something to remember in order that you don't make your exposures too light or too dark the next time you use it.

• You can use exp comp in P (for program), S (Nikon shutter priority), TV (Canon shutter priority), A or AV (aperture priority) There is no point in using it for M manual mode because you are able to adjust the exposures yourself, using aperture and shutter speed.

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