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Exposure compensation is probably the single exposure control that you'll use the most. As you have seen, with it you can correct back-lighting problems, you can restore proper tone to light or dark object, and you can help ensure that your subject is neither over- nor underexposed. Exposure compensation is great for anytime you need to over- or underexpose but you don't care about how depth of field or motion stopping might change. In general, since exposure compensation can only go up to two stops in either direction, you won't see a huge change in either depth of field or motion stopping anyway.
In other words, if you simply need to make an image brighter or darker, exposure compensation is the way to go. So take some time to practice with your exposure compensation control, make sure you can access it quickly without even taking your eye from the viewfinder, find some back-lighting situations or other high-dynamic-range situations and see what happens to the darker and lighter parts of your images as you dial in more or less exposure compensation.
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