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Shutter speed is too slow in manual mode

edited February 16 Posted in » Nikon D3300 Forum
I have just started using my D3300 in manual mode for metering light. I am adjusting my aperture and ISO and then metering for shutter speed, but to zero the meter. The shutter speed is always slow ie. 1/20, 1/10 or even 1" and above if I use a higher F value for just an everyday photo.

I am taking photography classes and one other person has a Nixon D3300 and has the same issue which makes us think it is a camera setting issue.

Do we have some sort of compensation setting turned on by mistake?


  • edited February 16
    There is no compensation in manual mode. Instead, the [+/-] button is pressed simultaneously with the rear wheel to adjust aperture.

    It may depend on what aperture you're using, but it sounds as if perhaps you're just not getting enough light.

    Remember the basic "sunny 16" rule for exposure. In open outdoor sun, your exposure should be, approximately, f/16 and a shutter speed that is a reciprocal of your ISO.

    One thing you can try is to set the camera to Aperture priority or P mode. Set your ISO as you prefer (I'm assuming manual ISO not auto), and take a picture. This will give you approximately the correct exposure as the meter thinks it should be. You can transfer those settings to manual, and modify them as needed for finer control, but that will give you a starting point.

    Be aware that any settings the camera makes automatically will not be transferred to M mode. Only those you have made yourself will be. If you shoot in A mode, the manual ISO and Aperture will be carried over, but not the shutter speed.
  • edited February 16
    I had wondered about this myself until Alphonso at IrisMasters posted a very helpful exposure value chart ( His article is quite good at explaining it, which is where a general search for exposure value charts leaves you hanging high and dry. My takeaway is that it isn't just the shutter on my D3300 that "runs slow" to make a correct exposure. Cameras in general either need a good deal of light or stabilization. I was surprised by just how long a shutter speed the chart recommended for various apertures.

    @bruto has a great tip in letting your camera show you the settings it thinks would work and then trying them out in manual. My guess is that you will find the camera chooses along the lines of the EV chart.

    Are your classmates with other brands able to use faster shutter speeds?
  • edited February 16
    The chart referenced above is a good reference. Getting to know the "exposure triangle" helps, and although it can seem as if there's a daunting quantity of information there, one can get used to it.

    Note that the chart varies only two of the three variables in the triangle, as EV is calculated with an ISO of 100, and other ISO values must be calculated in.

    When looking around for resources, it's important to note that there are two intimately related sets of figures you may run into : EV and LV. EV, the exposure value, is identical to the LV at ISO 100. LV of 15 or 16 is approximately the value for a gray card or face in direct sun. LV of 0 is the point at which, at ISO 100, you would need an exposure of 1 second at f/1.

    As you can see, the gradation here is pretty coarse. Basically, 16 LV/EV steps cover pretty much the entire range of available light.

    Back in the old days, a hand held exposure meter would contain a dial equivalent of that chart, in which one would set the ISO, line a pointer up with a meter reading, and be presented with all the allowable shutter/aperture combinations possible for that EV.

    Here's a link to a picture I just took of an old meter. It's set to ASA (ISO) 100, and is reading an EV of ~10, corresponding approximately to gloomy overcast outdoors. On the lower part of the dial you will see a set of f stops from 1 to 32, and below that shutter speeds. Any pairing shown on the dial will give equivalent exposure for that EV.
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