Showing results for 
Show  only  | Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

My Rebel T3i overexposes in all automatic settings?


When I shoot in automatic setting on my Rebel T3i it overexposes all my shots? What can I do about that?



Reset the camera to factory.

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!

Thanks, Is that the same as reverting to default settings?

Yes, you have something set wrong.

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!

I'd just try moving the exposure compensation down.  If it's not exposure compensation I'm not sure what it would be...  Picture Style settings don't affect exposure level.  If EC isn't set high, then sure, do a reset...  but you might as well learn what EC is and how to check it and correct it, instead of just doing a factory reset everytime it gets knocked off.


There can be a couple of reasons for this.


1)  In the semi-automatic modes (Program, Tv, and Av) the camera has a feature called "Exposure Compensation".  There's a button on the rear of the camera with [Av +/-] on it.  This allows you to tell the camera that you want it to exposure the shot brighter or darker than the exposure that the camera would otherwise have selected based on metering.


Exposure compensation has no effect when shooting Manual because when doing Manual, the exposure indicator in the viewfinder (or the rear of the camera) will indicate the "0" position (center position) if your exposure matches what the light meter reads.  If you wanted to over-expose or under-expose when shooting manual, you'd just adjust the exposure so the exposure indicator reads higher or lower.


Here's a video demonstrating how to adjust your exposure compensation:


2)  It can also be the result of the selected metering method and the subject.  The camera has three metering methods... "Evaluative" metering is the default and uses the the full 63 zone metering system.  "Center weighted" also uses the entire 63 zone metering system EXCEPT it gives the greatest weight to the meter readings detected in the central area (but not the center point) of the display.  Finally there's "Spot" metering.  This does not use the full 63 zone metering system and instead just meters the shot based on the light detect in in the very center of the display.


The meter is a "reflected" light meter.  It cannot tell how much light is actually falling on a subject... it can only detect the light that reflects off the subject and into the camera.  If a subject is dressed completely in black and there's a black background, then the camera detects very little reflection.  This makes the camera believe there is not enough light so it will increase the exposure.  It "presumes" the image, if thought of as a black and white image, should render as a middle-gray tone.  This causes the camera to over-expose the blacks and anything in the image that was not actually black will be strongly over-exposed.


The reverse is also true... take a photo of a subject wearing white on a white snowy background and the camera, thinking the typical scene rendered in black and white should be a middle-gray will think there's too much light.  It will compensate by decreasing the exposure and that will cause everything that wasn't actually "white" to be extremely dark and under-exposed.


Hand-held light meters (meters not built into cameras) have a sensor that you simply hold in the very light where your subject is located and it measure the light falling on that point.  Those meters detect the true light... not just the light being reflected by the subject.  They are extremely accurate -- just not nearly as convenient as the meter built into your camera.


Usually an external hand-held light meter is not necessary... the reflected meter built into the camera is fine as long as YOU remember that very black scenes and subjects tend to over-expose and very white scenes and subjects tend to under-expose.  And that's one key reason why you'd actually want to use your camera's exposure compenation.


Tim Campbell
5D III, 5D IV, 60Da

Thanks for all this info!


If experiencing overexposure in auto mode (greenbox dial mode), it is likely an issue of metering sensor, which located near the view finder.  I have had such issue and resolved it:



Hope this helps.




03/30/2023: New firmware updates are available.

EOS R3 - Version 1.4.0

EOS R5 - Version 1.8.1

EOS 1DX Mark III- Version 1.7.1

Speedlite EL-1 - Version 1.0.2

03/30/2023: Product Advisory for EF50 F1.2 L USM

03/30/2023: Product Advisory for EOS R10

03/28/2023: New firmware version is available for EOS-R5 C
03/14/2023: New firmware version 1.8.1 is available for EOS R6
02/24/2023: We've updated Share Your Photos

2/07/2023: New product announcements!

EOS R8 EOS R50RF-S55-210mm F5-7.1 IS STMRF24-50mm F4.5-6.3 IS STMRF15-30mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM
01/18/2023: New firmware version 1.1.1 is available for EOS R6 Mark II
01/09/2023: Help ensure your autofocus is properly aligned with a Canon Precision Alignment
01/03/2023: Welcome to CES 2023!
12/08/2022: New firmware version is available for EOS C70
12/07/2022: New firmware version 1.7.0 is available for EOS R5
11/16/2022: We're thrilled to be ranked among the Best Employers for Veterans in 2022 by Forbes.
08/31/2022: New firmware version 1.1.1 is available for RF 70-200mm L IS USM
08/09/2022: New firmware version 1.2.0 is available for CR-N 300
08/09/2022: New firmware version 1.2.0 is available for CR-N 500
07/14/2022: New firmware version 1.0.1 is available for CR-X300
06/10/2022: Service Notice:UPDATE: Canon Inkjet Printer continuous reboot loop or powering down
06/07/2022: New firmware version 1.3.2 is available for PowerShot G7 X Mark III
05/31/2022: Did someone SAY Badges?
05/26/2022: New firmware version is available for EOS-C500 Mark II
05/26/2022: New firmware version is available for EOS-C300 Mark III
05/10/2022: Keep your Canon gear in optimal condition with a Canon Maintenance Service
05/05/2022: We are excited to announce that we have refreshed the ranking scale within the community!
03/23/2022: New firmware version is available for EOS-C70
02/09/2022: Share Your Photos is back!
01/13/2022: Community Update. We will be retiring the legacy profile avatars on 01/20/2022. Click this link to read more.