Metering Modes Explained
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Introduction To Metering Modes - Find out what metering modes are and how to use them.
Generally, there are three metering modes to select from: spot, centre-weighted or multi-pattern.
Spot MeteringAs spot suggests, this is where the camera will only use a small area of the scene to help determine how much light is needed for the photograph. This is usually the centre of the image but some cameras let you use a spot off-centre. This mode is good for portraits where the sun is facing the camera. Usually, the subject will appear darker/silhouetted against the bright background but if you line the spot so the camera meters off their face it should stop this from happening. Depending on the camera, spot metering uses between 2-4% of the centre of the frame.
It's also useful for shooting portraits as you always want the eyes to be sharp and this metering mode will give you the precise control you need to ensure this happens.
Sometimes the spot area your camera uses will be shown in more detail in the camera manual.