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Exposure problem E-PL1

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by neoen, Dec 25, 2010.

  1. neoen

    neoen New to Mu-43

    Dec 25, 2010
    I bought Olympus E-PL1 two days ago and when I shoot in Manual, photos goes black.

    In all the other methods, photos are ok, but when I try on the M mode, exposure settings it's at -3 so photos were darkened and I can't figure it out how to change that value.

    On Manual says that in M mode you can't change the exposure compensation so I don't understand why my camera have that value on -3 instead of 0:confused: 

    In all the other modes I know how to change that value, going up and then left or right, but when it becomes on M mode, when you do that, you modify velocity instead of exposure, I tried with all the menus, I prove to return to factory settings and I formatted the SD card and nothing happens, I can't change it to 0.

    So, anybody knows anything? My camera is bad? Because I don't understand why it happends only on M mode.

    Thanks in advance, and sorry for my english.
  2. pancake

    pancake Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 10, 2010
    UK south East
    My E-p1 starts at -3 I dont usually go fully Manual (M mode) so it doesnt bother me.
    Perhaps someone knows for sure if you can or cant change the exposure comp in manual.
  3. navyasw02

    navyasw02 New to Mu-43

    Dec 2, 2010
    Your photos are black because your exposure is -3, hence underexposed. You want to adjust so it's around 0 depending on what you're shooting. Hit the up arrow to adjust settings then all the arrow buttons will function to change both shutter speed and aperture.
  4. Grant

    Grant Mu-43 Veteran

    Exposure compensation has little meaning in manual mode. As pointed out earlier you image is under exposed. It could be way over 3 stops under exposes because -3 is usually the maximum under exposure that can be shown. You have to open the aperture or increase the shutter time. Usually you will find that you may have to do a bit of both.
  5. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    Not 100% sure on the Olys, but on myGF1, the screen will lie to you, and you can pretty easily dial in settings that will result in a seriously under (or over) exposed image.

    Personally, with all the exposure compensation means built into these cameras, I'm not sure why you would want to not take advantage of the built in metering by using M mode. Just increases the risk way more than the reward compared to using P mode (with program shift) or A (when DOF control is important) or S (when motion blur is important) modes.
  6. Grant

    Grant Mu-43 Veteran


    I use manual mode often and here are only three reasons I use it.

    I often zone focus and set exposure manually if I'm working fast and in constant light conditions this gives me absolute speed of my equipment.

    I always use manual at night.

    In studio I often control force my background to black using manual and expose the subject using strobes. Like this!
  7. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    Right, but I'm assuming you make a test shot in one of the automated modes (and check it first). I do the same thing when stitching panoramas to ensure the photos match up as well as possible, but in all truth, the exposure is set in A mode on this case.

    Why? As someone who "grew up" using digital, I fully admit to taking advantage of all the shortcuts possible with no knowledge of "it's always been this way". My post was certainly not meant to imply the recommendation was the only way, and those from back in the film days definitely will have some other methods that may work much better in some situations.

    yes, with external flash, manual mode can be a bit more vital, but of you're talking a studio setup with stones, we're probably a bit beyond the skill level of someone having to ask why the image was underexposed.
  8. Grant

    Grant Mu-43 Veteran


    You just stated you didn't know why anyone would use manual and I was just pointing out three reasons. Fact is I shoot in aperture 75% of the time, manual about 20% of the time, and shutter only about 5%

    Oh and don't assume, as I also use a Sekonic L-358, but I can get the same settings with manual mode and a grey card, or even the sunny 16 rule. :smile:
  9. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    So what advantage have you found to using manual at night? In conjunction with the Sekonic?
  10. Grant

    Grant Mu-43 Veteran

    If I am shooting where there are street lights I simply take a light meter reading under one of the lights at the height and distance I choose. In a given area all the street lights are relatively the same intensity my metering is set for the night.

    For what it is worth I tend to start out at ISO 400 and 1/30 of a second and shoot wide open and that works for most scenes.
  11. neoen

    neoen New to Mu-43

    Dec 25, 2010
    Thanks, I saw it now as you said, that's and aperture and shutter meaning and it depends on light conditions, as I proved it every time on the same room with the same light, it always shown -3.

    And as I said, I wanted to know, just to saw if my camera was bad or something. Because it's my first camera that have something more than point and shoot, and if I don't know how it really works I have to ask to know more than yesterday and less than tomorrow. :smile:
  12. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    If this is your first time with using full camera controls, I HIGHLY recommend the book "Understanding Exposure" by Bryan Petersen.
  13. carpandean

    carpandean Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 29, 2010
    Western NY
    Does the E-PL1 have a way to preview shutter/aperture effects? With the GF1, if you press the lower right button (has a picture of the aperture with blades and also a garbage can), the image in the lcd/viewfinder previews the effects of the current aperture setting. Then, by pressing the display button, it adds in the effects of the current shutter speed setting. Once both are on, you get a very good idea of how dark the actual image will be. My Canon G12 does this by default, which can make focusing/composing in low light difficult, but you always know roughly what the image will look like.

    Basically, as Grant said, if you want a brighter image you can do one or more of three things:

    1) open the aperture wider (lower f number) - this creates a larger opening in the lens through which light can pass. However, when you open it wider, the amount of the image depth-wise (how far from the camera things are) that appears in focus is reduced. So, wide open (smallest f number), you get the most light, but only one particular distance will appear in focus, with everything else (even slightly closer or slightly further away) out of focus (blurry). With it small (bigger f number), you get less light, but more depth (a particular depth +/- a larger distance) will appear in focus.

    2) decrease the shutter speed - keeps the shutter open longer, collecting more light. Doing so, however, means that any movement of the camera will result in a blurred image. For stationary subjects with a tripod, a long shutter is no problem; for a hand-held shot of a moving subject, anything but a very short shutter will be blurred.

    3) increase ISO - digital equivalent to using faster film. It records a brighter image without increasing the aperture or keeping the shutter open longer, but in doing so, creates noise in the image.

    Again, I don't know about the E-PL1, but with the GF1, you can adjust these three things and watch the exposure meter change until it is close to 0. The camera is not a mind reader, so it tells you where you should be to get the image that it thinks you want. It's rarely perfect, but also rarely too far off.
  14. BAKatz

    BAKatz Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 9, 2010
    Riverdale, NY
    one book....EPL1 for Dummies....covers everything....for what its worth, these books do a fine job explaining things...i sometimes think they're written for me...
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