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Exposure issues on N1



I have just got a demo N1 body from B&H using it with the 70-200, 50 and 17-35mm lens. I am experiencing over exposed images? in all different kinds of light. Only one set of shots taken indoors with window light have turned out well.

Can anyone tell me if this is an issue when shooting in matrix? and should I be using one of the other modes to correct this problem? Any advice would be great.


Well-Known Member

I tend to shoot my N1 at -1 compensation most of the time. I feel it gives me an exposure that works a bit better for me. That is in Matrix mode.

Kent >


Hi Kent,

Thanks for that, when do you not do that as it what type of light or situation? I found even in low contrast it is a problem.



Well-Known Member
I use it whenever I am in Matrix, except in flash situations. In center weighted I go back to "0".

How do you find your autofocus thus far? does it seem to be "on the mark" or do you make manual adjustments after it finishes it's focusing? >


Hi Rodney,

it depends on the film you are using and how you "hold" the camera when using matrix metering.

Every camera model (RX, RTS, N1 etc.) - also with other brands - has a different kind of internal "calculation" when it comes down to Matrix, CWM or spot. So it is advisable to "test" every new camera with a film that you are used to with other cameras and make some test shots.

Secondly the Matrix metering in the N1 is a 5 segment metering. 4 at each corner and one in the middle. Look in the manual for that. The middle one gets obviously the most attention in the computer calculation. Depending on how you hold the camera while metering, it can happen, that you have too dark areas in the middle compared to the 4 outer segments. In that case either a CWM with a correction or a spot metering would be better. Or - if you are lazy like me - you just shift the N1 slightly before metering, so that the center is not that much different from the other 4 segments in terms of light

To give you an indication: I use i.e. the N1 with Velvia 50 at ISO 50, but formerly with my RTSIII at ISO 40. Fuji Provia 100F I use in 95% of the cases at ISO 160. I made one testroll also with the new Velvia 100F at ISO 160. Worked in most cases very well. I shoot 90% of the time in Matrix metering mode. If you set the ISO setting right after you loaded the film, you save time in fast situation and do not need to correct that much anymore on a case by case basis..


New Member
Hi Rodney, Use the Matrix mode specially in fast situations, The spotmetering mode however is an excellent tool, look for a point with a average light reflection, lock the metering with the Powerswitch on AE lock, compose your subject and make after that your picture. Notice that your are metering the reflecting light, for ex&le white reflects a lot of light and black just a little. An other way: use the spotmetering to find the darkest point and the lightest point and choose the metering between. However in difficult light conditions, it is always better to use a lightmeter because you are metering the light that falls on your subject and not the light that your subject reflects. Succes, Mathijs


Well-Known Member
I found the N1 has one of the best metering in any challenging situations. I shot slide most of the time with the N1 and the exposure was right on. When I shoot negative, I usually over-expose for better shadow detail.

As a side note: the 24-85 is one of the best all-around zoom. Check it out if you could.

B&H is selling the N1 + 24/85 zoom for less than $800 (out of stock now.) It is less than a third I paid for mine.

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Two more questions:
1. On film I am now using mainly Fuji Astia 100F so Dirk you would advise that setting 160 ISO and then shooting generally at meter as read should assist in getting better exposure? If I understand this correct this is as shooting -1 stop?

2. If I do not do this but set the top dial to -1 stop can I still then use the ABC auto-bracketing feature and be shooting correctly as in if I use ABC for +1 & -1 then if fact I am shooting -2 from what the normal meter reading was and +1 will be meter as read?

Thansk for your help as really need to get this right going on a internation trip and not sure if to take the N1 or use the G2 as never had an issue with it.


Well-Known Member
1. Generally, when you shoot chrome, you set the ISO to exact value. I have shot tons of Provia 100F at ISO 100. Please keep in mind, you need to know how to use meter. Reflective meter give you 18% grey. So your exposure affected by many factors, lighting condition, contrast, color of your subject, etc. When shooting negative, you can rate your ISO according to the situation, and push and pull the film development base on the contrast. It falls into "expose the detail, develop for the hi-lite" and a little bit of the zone system. In shot, there is no one size fit all type of setting. N1 has great metering system, but can't expect to use it as a point and shoot with one setting, one metering mode. Sometime you need to use AE lock, sometime you need to use spot meter, or to set the compensation. Sorry if I confuse the issue and offer not much of help.

2. For me, I bracket chrome in 1/3 stop. Negative in 1 stop. If not sure, I bracket more. I use a light meter, so I don't really need to bracket when I am comfortable with the lighting situation. For portrait, people usually don't bracket, use snip test instead.

I traveled with my N1 to many countries around the world. I love it. Never use the G2 before, so no opinion on that. Now, I only travel with my dSLRs to aviod any x-ray or film inspection issues.

Boy, I am glad that I can use histogram with my dSLRs. I know, I am getting sloppy.


Well-Known Member
Rodney, your questions are leading me to believe that you have a bit of confusion going on. Please let me help if I can.

To understand metering you need to first grasp how they work.
Fundamentally, there are 2 kinds of light meters. Incident and reflective.

Incident meters are the kind that read the light falling on the subject. They are usually hand held. You've seen them in use I'm sure. With an incident meter, the reading isn't fooled by subjects that are excessively bright, or excessively dark. You just hold them up and point the meter in the direction of the camera and it'll tell you what f stop to use with any given shutter speed. Obviously you use the camera set on Manual Mode so you control the shutter speed and aperture. Incident metering is very accurate.

The other type is reflective metering. It reads the light bouncing off of a subject (reflective), They are the kind found in cameras. Modern cameras take this reading inside the camera through the lens (TTL). These meters are calibrated to correctly read a medium gray. It is the standard all camera meters are set to.

So, if you were shooting a white brick wall, the meter would set the shutter speed and/or aperture to make that white wall a medium gray.... resulting in an underexposed image. If you were photographing a solid black wall, the meter would give you a different reading but result in a medium gray wall also ... in other words, an overexposed image.

Modern meters have different emphasis placed on parts of the overall image in the viewfinder to try and help even things out. But it will never be enough when the scene conditions are biased too far in either the light or dark way. If you tried to photograph a snow scene in bright sunlight without compensating the meter, the snow will be a muddy gray... even with the most advanced in-camera meter.

In the end, you have to learn how to recognize what parts of a scene represent the medium gray that you need to meter. large areas of grass get pretty close. Meter it and lock in the reading.

Now here's the hard one to grasp, but it is true: If a scene is excessively bright and contains dominate whites, you compensate the meter to the PLUS (+) side to add more exposure. Seems counterintuitive, but that's what is necessary.

If a scene is excessively dark or contains dominate blacks, or dark colors like royal blue, deep reds, etc., you compensate the meter to the Minus side (-).

Now, quite often you run across a scene that perfectly balances the darks and lights and needs no compensation at all.

Now, on to film. Unlike digital or slide film, negative film has a wide latitude for incorrect exposures. But that latitude is mostly to the overexposure side and has much less tolerance for underexposure. That is why you often see advice to set the ISO on the camera to a 1/2 or even full stop lower than that marked on the film. I often shoot Tri-X 400 set to ISO 320 for ex&le.

There is a lot more subtile details and exceptions to this information, but that is the basics.

Hope it helps, if even just a little.
Just jumping in late to let Rodney know if he doesn't already by now that, setting a film that's rated at 100 to 160 is not -1 stop, 100 to 160 is minus 2 thirds of a stop exposure. 100 to 200 is a stop. But like everyone else says you should never have to do his with slide film.

Also Mark said: Now here's the hard one to grasp, but it is true: If a scene is excessively bright and contains dominate whites, you compensate the meter to the PLUS (+) side to add more exposure. Seems counterintuitive, but that's what is necessary.

If a scene is excessively dark or contains dominate blacks, or dark colours like royal blue, deep reds, etc., you compensate the meter to the Minus side (-).

That is a little misleading by itself; turning the exp compensation to + in a bright scene, will effectively slow your shutter speed and make the scene even brighter. The only reason you would want to do this is if you had a subject in front of the bright scene that itself wasn't bright. For ex&le a person who's face was in shadow with bright snow in the back ground. You need to + exp because the camera will tone down the white background and make the person go black!

Likewise adding - exp compensation to a dark scene by itself will increase your shutter speed and make the scene even darker! However if your subject is say in a spotlight or a small light area in the scene, you should add - exp. To tell the camera not to lighten the rest of the dark background too much, or you subject will go white.

This is primarily for centre weighted exposures however, Matrix measures the four corners and the centre, so if adding or subtracting exp you have to take a lot into account. But that is why they have complex algorithms built in to do this for you.

I have found with matrix indoors on a bright day it tends to get it wrong. I think because of all the reflected light bouncing off various shiny surfaces, the camera underexposes. For your over exposures the same could be happening in a darker room.

Just my experience...


Well-Known Member
I have two N1s. I bought one used and one new at the recent discout price. The former owner of the first one complained of exposure problems.
I have experienced none.
So why don't all of you just meter off of a gray card, lock the exposure, and shoot
That will answer your question
As for me, I know for sure there is no defect in the basic design


I concur.
None of my NX and N1 has exposure problems. In fact they are doing better than most digital cams I've used (might be as a result of film surface).
I think the possible waek point of N1/NX is actually its focusing. My NX has AF problems and my N1 does well on AF but missed in MF...

Still, great cameras. Don't overlook the small brother NX, which is actually pretty cool and well built.
Indeed metering off a grey card would tell anyone who has consistant problems with exposure if their camera is set up correctly. That said I can't imagine why it wouldn't, it's almost like buying a computer and saying the OS doesn't work, not very likely. It doesn't however mean that your meter is 100% fool proof, the ex&les of using exposure compensation above are things that if go undetected at the time could lead to unwanted results. Don't blame the camera though.