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Old June 3rd, 2011, 12:07 PM   #1
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Does D7000 ramp exposure *smoothly* like 550D and 60D?

Hi All

Am current Nikon D90 owner, and am considering either a D7000 or a 60D as next purchase.
Obviously as current Nikon owner, the D7000 would make more sense (for stills and video), BUT what i would really like to know from owners of the D7000 and/or 60D is this :
1) Does the D7000 ramp exposure smoothly in any mode during changing lighting conditions?

- My D90 does NOT change exposure smoothly, it does it in small discrete visible steps, even in 'M' mode. It's either changing ISO or aperture i think. Now, i can and do use 'AE-L lock (hold)' to force it to keep exposure constant but if i am moving with the camera into different lighting conditions i want it to change expsosure in a smooht way and it just won't (but T2i DOES), and i am wondering if this behavior is the same in the D7000.

i have borrowed a friends T2i / 550D and it does ramp exposure up and down smoothly. What i want to do is house video walk-thrus (stuff like that) and the T2i makes this possible as its exposure mode mimics a real camcorder, whereas the D90 makes visible sudden increases/decreases which is not great.

Any comments gratefully received (best would be someone who has owned both nikon and canon DSLRs and has used them both for video). If the D7000 does not do what i want, i may get 60D instead and use a lens adaptor like Fotodiox Pro to use my Nikkor lenses on the Canon for video purposes.
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Old June 3rd, 2011, 09:05 PM   #2
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Re: Does D7000 ramp exposure *smoothly* like 550D and 60D?

In my experience, no, the D7000 does *not* do this smoothly. I may be doing something wrong, but the videos done with my D7000 with auto exposure mode on look awful -- jerky large-scale changes in exposure as you move around (I'd post an example if I hadn't deleted them all...). I only use manual exposure as a result, which can be a bit limiting...
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Old June 4th, 2011, 03:37 PM   #3
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Re: Does D7000 ramp exposure *smoothly* like 550D and 60D?

Useful input Hamish - thank you.

I am a bit perplexed as to why Nikon has not implemented in it's D-SLRs (with video functionality) an algorithm that mimics the smooth exposure change (in auto) of a proper camcorder as Canon seems to have successfully done. This limits the video functionality when the lighting in the scene in changing, such as moving around indoors to rooms with different light levels.
-- This type of shooting only seems to work on a video-capable Nikon D-SLR if you are prepared to accept this fairly ugly 'stepping' of expsosure level up and down. I do find it odd that even in Nikon's later models video-capable models like the D7000 (D90 was the world's first video-capable DSLR) that they haven't done as good a job as Canon has as regards auto-exposure changes being made smoothly.
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Old June 5th, 2011, 12:31 PM   #4
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Re: Does D7000 ramp exposure *smoothly* like 550D and 60D?

Yes, it's rather limiting -- I wanted to use the D7000 on a Steadicam Merlin with auto exposure for moving through interiors and exteriors with very variable light, but it's proved nearly useless for that. Which is quite a shame, really -- the image I get from the D7000 when things are suitable for manual exposure is really nice. Oh well -- I'd have gone Canon if I hadn't already had an awful lot of Nikon gear from the still photography side of my life...
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Old June 20th, 2011, 12:29 PM   #5
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Re: Does D7000 ramp exposure *smoothly* like 550D and 60D?

I've read that one way to control this is to use "D" lenses and manually control the F stop. Best done if you have removed the click stops on the F stops. D7000 requires a lot of user control but the results are pretty good.
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Old June 20th, 2011, 04:39 PM   #6
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Re: Does D7000 ramp exposure *smoothly* like 550D and 60D?

The 550D/5DmkII/7D do not ramp exposure smoothly. Whether you are adjusting shutterspeed, aperture or ISO there is a noticable jump in the exposure.

I believe the D7000 would be much the same in this regard. The reason people prefer to have an aperture ring on the lens (like most of the D Lenses) is because you can only set the aperture through the body before you enter video mode. To change aperture while recording - or even between clips without leaving video mode - you need a lens with an aperture ring.

I wouldn't try surgery on any lens that I couldn't afford to lose. Removing the click stops is not quite as simple as flicking the AF on/off switch.
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Old June 20th, 2011, 04:51 PM   #7
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Re: Does D7000 ramp exposure *smoothly* like 550D and 60D?

John - you are right, perhaps a 50 1.8 D might be a good lens to start with because they are less than a $100 used. I've also read that some folks will do this conversion for people at a reasonable rate - I'd post who they are but I can't remember where I read about them.
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Old June 22nd, 2011, 09:46 AM   #8
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Re: Does D7000 ramp exposure *smoothly* like 550D and 60D?

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Wiley View Post
The 550D/5DmkII/7D do not ramp exposure smoothly. Whether you are adjusting shutterspeed, aperture or ISO there is a noticable jump in the exposure.
This is what i mean. -- This video was shot with the 7D :

YouTube - ‪House For Sale | Safety Bay | Ernest Street | Realestate‬‏

Obviously each interior room had quite different light levels, and the operator used 'Auto ISO' to let the 7D change exposure throughout this video. By memory, aperture around f8 or so, shutter 1/50th, 25fps. (i asked him, Tokina 11-16mm used BTW). This looks pretty smooth exposure changing to me, done automatically by the Canon 7D. I too have tried similar shoot with a 550D and it behaves in the same way.
With the D90, (and it seems the D7000) it expressly does not do this in any mode - I know, i have tried. Yes you can lock exposure using the 'AE lock (Hold)' function which is fine for scenes when the light isn't changing much, but on house walk-thru's the light levels change dramatically from room to room and thats when you need Auto exposure control that ramps smoothly. (unless you video each room separately and set exposure for each room which is a pain and cannot generate a one-take walk-thru.)

Thanks John for you comment - perhaps you are referring to another exposure mode?

Last edited by Stu Holmes; June 22nd, 2011 at 10:22 AM.
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Old September 5th, 2011, 10:15 AM   #9
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Re: Does D7000 ramp exposure *smoothly* like 550D and 60D?

Just wanted to mention here that my Nikon D5100 changes exposure in jumps (like the 7000) as well.
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Old September 6th, 2011, 07:20 AM   #10
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Re: Does D7000 ramp exposure *smoothly* like 550D and 60D?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stu Holmes View Post
This is what i mean. -- This video was shot with the 7D :

YouTube - ‪House For Sale | Safety Bay | Ernest Street | Realestate‬‏

Obviously each interior room had quite different light levels, and the operator used 'Auto ISO' to let the 7D change exposure throughout this video. By memory, aperture around f8 or so, shutter 1/50th, 25fps. (i asked him, Tokina 11-16mm used BTW). This looks pretty smooth exposure changing to me, done automatically by the Canon 7D. I too have tried similar shoot with a 550D and it behaves in the same way.
Hi Stu - while it has the same effect clearly changing ISO automatically is completely different from changing exposure. You would get unwanted noise in your image if the light goes too low (which it can easily do indoors). Having said that if the destination is YouTube that particular setup seem to work pretty well for the clip you linked to so who cares? And at least keeping it at F8 on such a wide angle lens meant negated any focus issues. In a darker house like a semi it might struggle a bit more but would still get the job done.

I did read somewhere that someone was awaiting a patch for the D7000 to allow it to change exposure on the body while shooting however i don't know if this is true or just wishful thinking.

Nikon indeed have "dropped" the ball a bit on video, lets hope they get it right with the upcoming generation of cams.
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