Shooting theater with Nikon D750 or D810 just got easier

Nikon D750, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, ISO 1600, ƒ/4, 1/80, 0 EV
If you read the manual you might get more out of your camera. I didn’t ready everything in the manual about my Nikon D750 and only stumbled across the tip about the Highlight-Weighted Metering Mode.

Highlight-weighted metering is a new metering mode that is offered in select Nikon DSLR cameras including the D810 and D750, in which the camera meters the highlights to ensure that they are properly exposed and not blown out or overexposed. Use highlight-weighted metering to meter highlights when your subject is in motion, and to meter subjects lit by spotlights or colored lighting.

Highlight-weighted metering is the go-to choice when you’re photographing a spot lit bride in her wedding dress, a dancer or singer on stage, or whenever you’re faced with uneven lighting and a background that is much darker than the subject.

To select highlight-weighted metering, press the metering button on the far left dial on the camera body, and while holding it down, rotate the main command dial until the highlight weighted metering icon is displayed.

Now before I used this mode often I would either use spot metering which required me to use single square that I move around until it is on the actor’s face. Very hard to do when they are moving around the scene.

The other way I compensated using the EV in the matrix metering mode.

Nikon D750, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, ISO 11400, ƒ/4, 1/250, -2.7 EV

So this same play similar lighting I compensated by -2.7 EV to do what is automatically done with the Highlight-Weighted Metering Mode.

Nikon D750, Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 EX DG APO OS HSM,  ISO 1600, ƒ/2.8, 1/80, -0.7 EV

I noticed the face a little white on the LCD for this scene that I shot using the Highlight-Weighted Metering Mode and dialed a -0.7 EV, which I probably didn’t need to do. There was enough detail without having to underexpose it more.

Nikon D750, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 DG OS HSM | S, Sigma TC-2001 2x, ISO 9000, ƒ/5.6, 1/250, -3.0 EV

Earlier performance I shot it with -3.0 EV.

The key to shooting theater and having great technical images is Custom White Balance and proper exposure. Getting the exposure in the highlights proper is extremely difficult when often majority of the frame is often black in theater productions.

You wan the exposure to have some details in the highlights. If you underexpose just a little too much then the image becomes very flat and even in post production you will struggle to match the dynamic range had you exposed it just perfectly.

If you slightly overexpose you cannot put detail back into the image. With theater this means often that the people’s faces will be washed out.

I think Nikon is the way to go when shooting these tricky situations like theater. The camera does all the thinking that I used to have to do to get technically good images.

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