Whenever i use the exposure compensation feature of the e500, it seems to lock in even when i turn it off (the compensation factor). i end up with underexposed pictures. i have to use the camera reset function to be able to meter correctly. resetting is fine except that it means i lose all my custom settings and have to go thru the whole process again.
The exposure compensation stays where you leave it unless you do a full reset or a custom reset, and except when you're using scene modes. But you don't need to do a reset to cancel out an exposure compensation -- simply use the exposure compensation button to adjust the compensation back to 0.0EV.
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It is mostly due to changing the exposure compensation. You can change it from +2 ....0 ....... -2. +2 Makes it Brighter while -2 makes it darker... On the back of the camera you will see an OK button surrounded by a disk that on the right side shows [+/-]. You use this to change exposure compensation. When you get the camera READY to take a photo you can use that [+/-] button. When you push it you can adjust it to zero (o) normal or to make it lighter or darker.
Check and make sure you don't have the exposure compensation settings set higher than 0. There is a manual override feature that lets you apply over/under exposure compensation to every photo rather than manually setting it for each shot. Sometimes, this feature can get accidentally changed. If that's not the issue try to reset the camera back to its default settings through the menu feature.
Your exposure compensation might not be set correctly. Just behind and to the right of the on/off switch you will see a small button with a "+/-" symbol. That is the exposure compensation switch. When you press it, you will see a number displayed on the LCD. If the number is positive, that is your problem. Positive numbers increase exposure and negative numbers decrease exposure. Set the compensation to 0.0 by turning the rear thumbwheel while depressing the exposure compensation button.
The exposure meter in your camera is underexposing due to the white background. Try adding up to two stops of positive exposure compensation. What you are seeing as blue is in fact grey - it may be an idea to calibrate your monitor as well.
You are exposure compensation in manual mode. If you want the shots lighter, either open up the aperture or slow the shutter. The exposure compensation feature is to override the automatic settings determined by the camera in the auto-exposure modes.
I haven't found any underexposure problems with my DS. The only "underexposure-thing" I found is that when it's sun reflections within the image (from water, cars with metallic paint and other highly reflective surfaces) the camera will underexpose to avoid blowing out the highlights. In complex lighting situations with many dark and bright areas, it will expose to retain texture in the shadows but still without burning out the highlights.
The only image-processingt that I sometimes needs to do, is to lift up the midtones. The darker tones and the bright tones are in most caes exposed just the way I would do it myself if I was a camera, but the midtones can be off. Now, this is not a fault in the camera - it's an effect of the limited dynamic range that digital has in comparision with film. Lighten up the midtones without affecting exposure of dark and bright areas, is image processing and has nothing to do with exposure settings.
I assume your camera is the Olympus D520.
This camera gives you very little control of the flash. The only thing available to you is the ability to change the Exposure compensation.
I would experiment with raising the exposure compensation adjustment a few steps. This may or may not help.
What you describe is quite common. The flash distance on small cameras is usually only about 10 to 12 feet and past that distance, it quickly falls into blackness.
Some cameras have Slow Synchronizing which lets the lens stay open a bit longer past the flash. This adds light to the background. You might check the manual and see if your camera has that feature.