1. Reminder: Please use our affiliate links for holiday shopping!

Underexposed images with G3

Discussion in 'Panasonic Cameras' started by Mellow, Sep 16, 2011.

  1. Mellow

    Mellow Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 27, 2010
    Florida or Idaho
    Tom
    I hope someone can help me out here.

    I have a new G3 I've been shooting with for the past couple of days. Overall I'm pleased with the IQ, except for one thing: every single picture is underexposed, and sometimes by a lot--up to 1.3 EV.

    Here's an example, straight from camera RAW file (converted in LR3):
    marina-1-1000117.

    Here's what it looks like after I added +1.0 EV in LR, adjusted contrast, and clarity:
    marina-2-1000117.

    I'm not really looking for processing tips here; I figure I'm pretty good at that. But why are all of my images so badly underexposed?

    Is there a setting I can change that will fix this? Is there a way to dial in a permanent adjustment to the exposure, like there is with Olympus cameras? Forgive me if these questions seem really basic, but I'm not very familiar with the camera yet.
     
  2. crsnydertx

    crsnydertx Mu-43 Top Veteran

    995
    Dec 31, 2010
    Houston, TX
    Chuck
    You're using the "release candidate" version of Lightroom for conversion? Could be an anomaly in that RC that will be corrected in final version.

    What happens when you shoot RAW + JPEG? Are the JPEGs also underexposed?
     
  3. stratokaster

    stratokaster Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 4, 2011
    Kyiv, Ukraine
    Pavel
    No, this is not an anomaly in the latest Lightroom RC. I always try to "expose to the right" to minimize image noise and as such use histogram extensively. I have found that in most situations (except backlighting) I need to dial in 1-1.5 EV positive compensation to achieve proper exposures.
     
  4. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    The G3 tends to underexpose. You really need to be aware of which meter you use and/or adjust exposure comp. I hope Panasonic will fix this in firmware down the road.
     
  5. crsnydertx

    crsnydertx Mu-43 Top Veteran

    995
    Dec 31, 2010
    Houston, TX
    Chuck
    I stand corrected! I've never had that issue with my Canon compacts, which tend to need negative compensation to prevent blown out skies.
     
  6. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    Mine seems to do OK with JPG, haven't shot RAW with it yet. I agree when it misses, it tends to miss on the underexposure side. It seems to be better at higher ISO.

    The exposure compensation is "memorized" when you create a custom setting, that would be the easy way to dial in "permanent" exposure compensation.
     
  7. scotth

    scotth Mu-43 Regular

    95
    Feb 3, 2011
    Michigan
    You need to understand the way the light meter on your camera works. Basically it tries to get an average reading of the scene and chooses an exposure that will result in an average exposure for the final photograph. Most cameras have look up tables and algorithms to adjust based on the what the camera percieves you are shooting, and some bias exposures one way or the other to preserve highlights or shadow detail.

    If a scene is very bright, most cameras will underexpose, which probably is part of what you are seeing here. If a scene is very dark most cameras will overexpose.

    Depending on if you are shooting RAW or JPEG, and how much work you want to do on your files, you will have to learn how to optimise exposure. I am not that familiar with the G3, but I am sure it is able to adjust exposure compensation somewhow.

    Any camera is only so smart, and will need some operator intervention.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  8. Mellow

    Mellow Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 27, 2010
    Florida or Idaho
    Tom
    Thanks for all the replies. This forum is great.

    Just some clarification, though:

    My G3 is underexposing both in bright light (the example I gave) and dim light. It's not really dependent on the subject lighting at all; it's ALWAYS underexposed.

    I sometimes expose to the right too, but there are a couple of problems here: (a) I've got less room to do that when the camera is so badly underexposing; it takes +1EV to just bring it to 'normal' exposure; (b) I like the JPEGs a lot from this camera, and exposing to the right all the time would require me to use RAW exclusively.

    I've had a G1, E-PL1, GF2, and now this one, and the G3 is the only one that systematically underexposes. I'm wondering if there's something wrong with the camera?

    EDIT: it even underexposes when I use the flash--I have to dial up about +1EV to make those right too. I have to believe there's some kind of setting I've inadvertently selected that's giving me this problem . . . argh!!!
     
  9. phrenic

    phrenic Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 13, 2010
    Funny..I hadn't heard of that in any of the reviews.. I wonder if it's a widespread issue?
     
  10. scotth

    scotth Mu-43 Regular

    95
    Feb 3, 2011
    Michigan
    I don't know enough about the G3 to know if all of them deliberately underexpose, or if it would be something specific to your camera. Some cameras do underexpose deliberately to preserve high lights.
     
  11. Djarum

    Djarum Super Moderator

    Dec 15, 2009
    Huntsville, AL, USA
    Jason
    The second image looks like it gained a contrast boost as well. The first image actually maintains shadow detail better. Just a pure EV push doesn't make the shadows darker.
     
  12. stratokaster

    stratokaster Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 4, 2011
    Kyiv, Ukraine
    Pavel
    I believe Imaging-Resource mentioned it in their review.
     
  13. Kiwi Paul

    Kiwi Paul Mu-43 Top Veteran

    729
    Aug 15, 2011
    Aberdeen Scotland
    Have you checked to see you haven't turned the exposure compensation down by mistake. If you press the thumbwheel and rotate it it alters the exposure, press it again to adjust aperture or shutter speed.
    If it has been adjusted, on the EVF or screen at the bottom centre there is a bar showing -5 and 0 with dotted lines showing how much under exposure has been selected.

    Paul
     
  14. scotth

    scotth Mu-43 Regular

    95
    Feb 3, 2011
    Michigan
    If the camera was set for negative exposure compensation it would be recorded in the exif information, which can be accessed pretty easily in Lightroom ( I think ). Probably worth checking just to make sure.
     
  15. Mellow

    Mellow Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 27, 2010
    Florida or Idaho
    Tom
    A quick update:

    I finally decided drastic measures were in order, and reset everything except the picture count. I had to re-tweak the camera, but lo-and-behold, the problem seems to be MUCH better. Even had some pictures with clipped highlights today!

    So . . . maybe it was just a funny setting, but the problem is at least manageable now. Thanks to everyone who offered suggestions.
     
  16. digitalandfilm

    digitalandfilm Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jul 18, 2011
    My G3 is usually .7 under exposed, fixed in LR3.
     
  17. Wasabi Bob

    Wasabi Bob Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Two points to consider.

    Two things to consider.
    1. Your metering is designed and calibrated to an 18% gray scale. That is not necessarily how each scene may be.

    2. To be sure, check the EXIF data in one of your photos. Look at Exposure bias and make sure it's at "0" and not at some "-" negative number. You can also check the exposure bias setting and make sure it's at "0" zero.

    A few times I accidentally adjusted it off zero.