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The Nikon F100's Mandatory Exposure Compensations
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Nikon F100

Nikon F100 and Nikon 24mm f/1.4. I'd get it here, and check here, too.


I find that when the flash is the sole source of illumination that my F100 uniformly underexposes with Velvia.

I see this regardless of distance, number of flashes used together, kinds of flashes, trigger mode (SU-4 or hardwired) and whether or not the light is direct or bounced.

This happens even though the camera indicates plenty of flash power (no rapid blink of the ready light after exposure).

Therefore I dial in the following exposure compensation while in traditional TTL flash mode, where the flash is intended to be the only source of light. The only time I shoot by flash alone is macro, which explains why I have no results below for more reasonable apertures. Note again this is on my F100 with Velvia; your results will most likely vary.

f/8: add +0.7 stops
f/16: add +1.0 stops
f/32: add +1.0 stops
f/64: add +1.3 stops

Other films will have different reflectivities and therefore may give different results. Remember that the flash exposure is measured as it reflects off the film in the camera, unlike the ambient light. Therefore if your raw undeveloped film looks lighter you will tend to get flash underexposure, and if the unexposed film looks darker you will tend towards overexposure.


The matrix meter is designed expecting you to use fill flash at night and slow sync. In very dark light it prefers to underexpose the ambient background to 1.) give a more natural look and 2.) prevent 25 second long exposures when you're a photojournalist hand-holding the camera.

This is all fine, except if you're not using fill flash and just shooting creepy landscapes as I love to do.

The F100 should be smart enough to figure out when the flash isn't on and then give the correct ambient exposure, but it isn't.

To get the correct exposure in very dark conditions without flash (LV5 or so and darker) use Center Weighted metering, which reads correctly, not Matrix.

More details here.


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