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  1. #1
    Junior Member

    Newb question: D3400 light meter not showing in aperture mode?!

    I was hoping someone could give me some insight into this. When in aperture mode, the light meter doesn't show on the info screen by default. If I go into a severely underexposed composition, it'll pop up flashing; or if I pop up the onboard flash, it'll show as well. But in a moderately exposed no-flash shot, it doesn't show and I have no clue if I'm over/under exposed.
    Is that Nikon 'saying' "you don't need the meter, I'm taking care of the shutter speed so your exposure will be juuuuust fine"? It'd be nice if the meter would show all the time.


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  2. #2
    Happy to be Canadian
    Super Mod
    Marcel's Avatar

    Re: Newb question: D3400 light meter not showing in aperture mode?!

    In aperture mode, what you see is the aperture and the shutter speed determined by the camera meter AND the iso you choose. The meter will always compensate the shutter speed to get proper exposure. If you get underexposure, it's usually because your scene consists of larger bright areas, if you get overexposure, it's because your scene contains more dark than light areas.

    This is why there is "exposure compensation" in the menu (I don't know for the 3400) but on 7xxx and above models, there is a button to depress while you turn the main wheel to tell your meter to change the neutral exposure when the scenes are dark or bright.

    Hope this helps.
    I'm beginning to see the LIGHT!
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  3. #3
    Senior Member

    Re: Newb question: D3400 light meter not showing in aperture mode?!

    Just to add to what Marcel said, Aperture mode is an automatic mode. Not as automatic as AUTO, but still somewhat automatic. It gives you control over the aperture, but it will control the shutter speed. It will always try for a perfect exposure by setting the shutter speed as needed. So you don't need the meter. If you could see the meter, it would be at 0. That is, until you hit a wall with the shutter speed. That would be a speed over 1/4000 if it is very bright or more than 30 seconds if it is very dark. If you are using auto iso, that would factor into the mix too. Depending on metering mode and extremes in the scene, you may not agree that the scene was metered perfectly, but the camera thinks it was metered perfectly. So that's why you don't see the meter, its at 0. If you are not happy with how an exposure turned out in Aperture mode, seeing the meter would not have helped. The camera judged the scene and picked a shutter speed to give you 0. Exposure compensation is used when we are not happy with what the meter thinks is 0 and it raises or lowers what the camera thinks is perfect exposure.
    In manual mode, you will see the meter. You will have control and will be able to adjust shutter or aperture and affect the meter reading, so it is needed. When you first venture into in manual, turn off auto iso or it will get confusing. No rush to shoot in manual though.
    Thanks/Like hark, LouCioccio Thanks/liked this post
    Best Answers Bikerbrent, FredKingston voted best answer for this post
     
    I must have a really good camera.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Bikerbrent's Avatar

    Re: Newb question: D3400 light meter not showing in aperture mode?!

    Welcome aboard. Enjoy the ride.
    We look forward to seeing more posts and samples of your work.

    I can't add anything to nickt's reply.
    Brent: Poway, CA
    D7200, D200, D70, F100
    Tokina 12-24mm
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    Nikon 50 AF f1.8
    Tokina 100mm f2.8 Macro
    Nikon SB800

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Stoshowicz's Avatar

    Re: Newb question: D3400 light meter not showing in aperture mode?!

    Quote Originally Posted by ag90fox View Post
    I was hoping someone could give me some insight into this. When in aperture mode, the light meter doesn't show on the info screen by default. If I go into a severely underexposed composition, it'll pop up flashing; or if I pop up the onboard flash, it'll show as well. But in a moderately exposed no-flash shot, it doesn't show and I have no clue if I'm over/under exposed.
    Is that Nikon 'saying' "you don't need the meter, I'm taking care of the shutter speed so your exposure will be juuuuust fine"? It'd be nice if the meter would show all the time.
    Yes, the thing is saying it can compensate at these light levels , in such a way ,that the meter will be reading middle value, and it feels that this is therefore uninformative. IMO , Learn using manual or Shutter priority , its far less confusing.

    What you need to understand is that there , technically is no "correct" exposure , other than to say that there is enough signal to generate some sort of image. A black cat in a dark room is supposed to be- not at center of the meter, because if the meter reads in center , then the image is that of a gray cat in a gray room. If you take a picture of white snow with a polar bear , and the meter reads at center , then you have a gray bear on gray snow.
    If you take a picture of a small far off backlit bird against the bright blue sky, and the meter reads at center , then the sky is dimmed approaching a gray sky , and the bird is slightly less dark than a totally black dot, because proportionally the dark area it covers is much less of the total metered image, than the bright sky portion.
    To help with this ,you can choose spot metering , which gives more emphasis to the thing you are focused on , in this case the bird , and the total exposure should be dimmed less ( by choosing a higher iso).
    Whatever exposure method you use , you should check to see the result , overall, appears correct. You want to be collecting DATA in the form of a decent signal in an optimal fashion. But that line on the meter being at middle , is rarely ever optimal , because the subject and setting are rarely ever uniformly at 18% gray light level. Auto ISO works OK when the overall differences in Brightness of the scene you are imaging, is fairly uniform and of middling visual brightness.

    After doing a photoshoot at F11 aperture in aperture mode , take a look at the exif data appended to each image , notice , that , while you thought you had selected f11 aperture , that the camera may have superseded your choice of aperture as well as selected a variety of ISOs and shutter speeds. Trying to figure out what choices the camera will make with any given scene is far more confusing than just picking some standard values for aperture and ISO , and adjusting shutter speed to compensate. And even if you do use auto iso , thinking that this crutch is going to make things always look great..you are required to now choose exposure compensation values to counteract the decisions the camera is about to make! Auto controls of exposure , is really for those who already understand what the camera will be doing , it's not really for those who wish to make sense of the input decisions which generate images.
    If YOU choose a value , then at least you know what is being carried out when you push the button , and in short order ,you will get what is going on. If you use auto , or sports mode etc, then you will not be seeing the effects of the decisions you made -clearly.
    Last edited by Stoshowicz; 02-17-2018 at 01:43 PM.


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