The camera, like so many others, has 4 main modes:
I nearly always stay in A mode, which means that I control the aperture and the camera will automatically adjust the shutter speed in order to maintain a correct exposure. When that exposure isn't correct I can under or over expose the picture by holding down the exposure compensation button (right next to the 'ON' text in the picture of the front) and spinning the thumb dial. This takes coordination, often requires looking at the body (instead of continuing to look through the viewfinder), and if I forget I've changed it, will adversely affect future shots. But it works. (The other method of adjusting the exposure is to use the AE-lock button on a darker part of the frame, then adjust the composition, but I find that's less predictable.)
Enter the Custom Settings Menu item b4: "Easy Exposure Compensation".
This control has three settings:
- On (Auto Reset)
- Off (default)
Even though you are in S or A mode, you are always able to control both the shutter speed and the aperture! If you adjust the 'right' one (shutter speed in S, aperture in A) it will keep the exposure level correct. If you adjust the other one (aperture in S, shutter in A), it will adjust the exposure under or over.
Setting b4 to On has exactly the same effect as using the exposure compensation button. Using the On (Auto Reset) has one additional benefit - when you turn off the camera the exposure adjustment resets to normal. I have my camera set to On (Auto Reset).
I am in love with how this makes the process of getting your exposure just right that much easier.
- Frame the picture, choose the right aperture for the desired depth of field
- Take the picture, see that part of the subject is slightly over exposed
- Increase the shutter speed two notches and take the same picture (yay! perfect!)
- Turn off the camera and everything resets so your next picture isn't under exposed.