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D3100 exposure compensation indicator question

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    30 Aug 2012 - 9:29 PM


    Quick question about the D3100.

    In nearly all modes, the indictator will either be full bars to the right (-ve) or full bars right and flashing. However, pictures seem to come out exposed well. The rangefinder mode is off so I know that isn't involved.

    Is there a way to "test" that the indicator is working properly? (The camera is new)


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    30 Aug 2012 - 9:29 PM

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    Graysta  91135 forum posts England
    30 Aug 2012 - 9:45 PM

    I suggest reading the related pages of the manual, and resetting to zero only then will you know if the exposure compensation works correctly.

    30 Aug 2012 - 9:57 PM

    I've just looked at my D3100 in PASM modes and I had just a few bars showing to the right. When I looked, I had -7 dialed in, presumably from where I was shooting in manual mode indoors this afternoon.
    I reset it to zero and the bars disappeared completely in all modes excerpt manual, which makes sense; that's when you need them, or at least, should be guided by them to adjust your exposure.
    It sounds as if you have some -ive exposure dialed in.
    Hope this helps.


    Last Modified By Jestertheclown at 30 Aug 2012 - 9:58 PM
    31 Aug 2012 - 9:29 PM


    If exposure compensation is active, you get the "+/-" in a square box appearing in the viewfinder. I've had this set to 0 all along so I don't see this box.

    When the box is not displayed, i.e. compensation off, I still see the exposure compensation bars appearing over to the right. When I've been outdoors, I've not seen the exposure compensation bar in the viewfinder. If I am indoors at night, with room lights on, the exposure compensation bar is all the way over to the right or flashing.

    If I point the lens at one of the room lights, the exposure indicator goes to "0" (centre of the bar), or disappears.

    Since the camera is new, I know it's at the point where it's most likely to have a fault.

    Does this sound like a fault to anyone? Is there a simple, fool proof way of testing the exposure compensation/metering is working correctly?


    31 Aug 2012 - 9:41 PM

    What you are looking at are not "exposure compensation bars" when you are not using exposure compensation. They are simply over- or under-exposure indicators.

    If you have sufficient light for the exposure mode and settings you are in, then the bars should centralise. If you have less light than the settings you have need, then the bars will indicate that. Conversely, if you have too much light for the settings, the bars should indicate that.

    I think. That's certainly how it works on other Nikon dSLRs.

    Last Modified By User_Removed at 31 Aug 2012 - 9:42 PM
    31 Aug 2012 - 9:54 PM

    You're right - it's not compensation, it's an indicator.

    So, if I set the aperture fully open and then point it at a light source, the exposure indication should really go to the left suggesting overexposed.

    This, it does.

    I don't have to move far from the light source before the exposure indicator goes all the way to the right.

    Presumably, this means it is working OK.

    I'll have to try it out in daylight.

    Also, the exposure indicator looks a little blurred at times when the rest of the display in the viewfinder looks sharp.

    Does this sound unusual?

    31 Aug 2012 - 10:00 PM

    Quote: What you are looking at are not "exposure compensation bars" when you are not using exposure compensation. They are simply over- or under-exposure indicators.

    Beat me to it LF.

    What you're seeing are the indicators that you'd rely on(ish) to set the exposure if you were doing it manually.
    They're telling you that you've moved away from, or closer to, the light source.

    I can't say that the exposure indicator in the viewfinder looks any different to the rest.

    Last Modified By Jestertheclown at 31 Aug 2012 - 10:02 PM
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