exposure compensation

Exposure compensation is a technique for adjusting the exposure indicated by a photographic exposure meter, in consideration of factors that may cause the indicated exposure to result in a less-than-optimal image. Factors considered may include unusual lighting distribution, variations within a camera system, filters, non-standard processing, or intended underexposure or overexposure. Cinematographers may also apply exposure compensation for changes in shutter angle or film speed (as exposure index), among other factors.
Many digital cameras have a display setting and possibly a physical dial whereby the photographer can set the camera to either over or under expose the subject by up to three f-stops (f-numbers) in 1/3rd stop intervals. Each number on the scale (1,2,3) represents one f-stop, decreasing the exposure by one f-stop will halve the amount of light reaching the sensor. The dots in between the numbers represent 1/3rd of an f-stop.

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