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Using Camera metering


arhab 2 43 2 Indonesia
4 Oct 2012 5:59AM
On my default camera setting. The metering using multi metering. But some experience here suggest to use centre or spot metering, but with addition to carefully when using spot metering.

By now i change the metering to spot, and always using it to take picture. My question is at what time or scene we use that three metering? Thank you.

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puertouk 3 1.1k 17 United Kingdom
4 Oct 2012 10:05AM
Spot metering should be used for taking portrait type shots. Landscape should be evaluative. What you need to do is take shots using your different metering methods of a subject. Make a note of what settings you have for that shot. Take landscape, seascape, portrait, low light, bright light, indoors etc. You should then have a good idea what settings are best for a given shot. Keep your notes for reference at a later date. Hope this helps you.
Stephen
Sooty_1 4 1.3k 203 United Kingdom
4 Oct 2012 12:07PM
Not true at all.

You can use any type of metering for any situation, you just need to know how the metering works.

Evaluative/multi-segment/matrix/ESP....all terms for the same thing. The camera has a memory of thousands of images in its brain. When confronted with a scene, the whole image is metered and split into small segments of different brightnessess. The camera then compares it to those in its memory and comes up with a best match. This is amazingly accurate considering how fast it processes the information. Modern cameras use a matrix of dozens of small sectors, resulting in very accurate "tonal maps" of the scene in front of you.

Partial/centre weighted.....the whole scene is measured again, but most of the information comes from the middle of the screen. The actual area varies, but somewhere between half and a third isn't unusual. Information from the whole screen is used, but info from the centre part is given more importance, on the theory that the most important part of the picture will be in or near the centre of the shot.

Spot.....this only uses information from the very centre of the metering area, usually only slightly larger than the focussing brackets. It disregards any information from anywhere else. Note that I said metering area rather than frame...the metering area can be changed or moved on some cameras, but it will be the brackets that are active, ie the ones used to focus.
Most cameras use the centre focus/metering zone. You have to be careful that you meter from exactly what you want to..say you are taking a portrait, you want to meter from the face, but if the face is outside the spot area, the camera will meter from the spot area whatever it may be, eg the background. If this is a different brightness, the reading will be wrong. Usually you would meter from the spot area and either use exposure hold or transfer the readings manually.

Any mode can be used any time, you just need to be mindful of what it is you are actual metering.

Nick
puertouk 3 1.1k 17 United Kingdom
4 Oct 2012 12:26PM
Whoopee do, you've copied this from a book maybe? Try using your different metering modes and see what happens. Your camera does get metering wrong, so you cannot go by what sooty (rest removed by epz) says. Why do you think the camera manufacturer gives people the options to change things. They might as well not bother putting other metering modes on cameras! If you want to get a portrait image clear, use spot metering and focus this on the persons eye for best results. DO NOT rely on your camera all of the time to get it right, because it is not infallible. As I said previously, go out and try your metering modes and look at the differences.
JackAllTog e2
5 4.0k 58 United Kingdom
4 Oct 2012 12:42PM
Both Stephen and Nick are right.

I think Arhabs orig question is answered by this part

Quote:Partial/centre weighted.....the whole scene is measured again, but most of the information comes from the middle of the screen. The actual area varies, but somewhere between half and a third isn't unusual. Information from the whole screen is used, but info from the centre part is given more importance, on the theory that the most important part of the picture will be in or near the centre of the shot.


All of these techniques are best guesses to expose the part of the photo with the most interest correctly (and you choose that part so it may not always fit in with the patterns). This is the advantage of Spot metering in that you choose the spot you want to expose for correctly - although this should be set with a grey card where possible as metering on black or white areas will still over/under expose.

Another technique to add to the ones above is to look at the histogram after each shot, you would not ususlly want to see this going off the scale as this means you are clipping highlights and losing detail in bright areas.
So back with Stephen, you need to practice a number of styles and get used to the assistance the metering give you, but not rely on it as its not always right for what you may want.

Good luck
Coleslaw e2
9 13.4k 28 Wales
4 Oct 2012 12:49PM

Quote:You can use any type of metering for any situation, you just need to know how the metering works.

I am sorry, but Nick is absolutely right.
ade_mcfade e2
10 15.1k 216 England
4 Oct 2012 12:51PM
all the metering mode refers to is the portion of the viewfinder used in metering....
mikehit e2
5 7.1k 11 United Kingdom
4 Oct 2012 2:19PM

Quote:Whoopee do, you've copied this from a book maybe? Try using your different metering modes and see what happens. Your camera does get metering wrong, so you cannot go by what sooty [epz edit] says. Why do you think the camera manufacturer gives people the options to change things. They might as well not bother putting other metering modes on cameras! If you want to get a portrait image clear, use spot metering and focus this on the persons eye for best results. DO NOT rely on your camera all of the time to get it right, because it is not infallible. As I said previously, go out and try your metering modes and look at the differences.


I wonder how they coped before meters existed?


And I guess my using evaluvative +exposure compensation is a waste of time as well.
JohnParminter 7 1.3k 14 England
4 Oct 2012 2:29PM

Quote:My question is at what time or scene we use that three metering? Thank you.


arhab, I can't advise when to use Evaluative or Centre-Weighted metering as I never use these modes but I can explain how and why I use spot metering for landscape images.

I set my camera to Manual exposure mode.

I select spot metering mode, my camera has three options for the size of the spot for spot metering, mine is set to the medium size, 5% of the whole metering array if I remember correctly.

I select the centre focusing bracket as the spot meter.

Before I determine exposure I evaluate the scene visually and determine my creative intent and image technical criteria I want to achieve. My main priorities are usually noise-free images and large Depth of Field so I select ISO200 and the aperture, perhaps f/8 to f/16 depending on where I want to focus and the focal length I am using.

Two of my exposure parameters are now set but I may alter them later.

I can now use the spot meter to determine the relative brightness levels throughout the scene. Typically I will spot meter for any foreground object I require to be pleasingly exposed; any reflected water, any midtone grasses that make up large areas and finally the brightest part of the sky but not areas near the Sun. Quite often though I may only need to meter for two areas, the foreground and sky but sometimes I check for 3 or 4 areas to give me a relative mental map of the difference in brightness throughout the scene. I can now determine what filtration I may need and what will be the base shutter speed to make up the third parameter for the exposure. For example I now may have determined that I need ISO200, f/11 and 1/30s shutter speed for an exposure that will be sufficient for the foreground and where 5 stops of graduated filter takes care of the sky. If I want to use a polariser I know that I have to increase the shutter time by 2 stops.

One word of warning though when using spot meter mode, I don't know if it applies to your camera but mine tends to give an overexposure reading when the bar is in the centre of the meter and I find the image is washed out and lacks colour and saturation so I always use - 0.7 EV from the suggested reading preferring a more saturated and contrasty exposure.

I hope you find my explanation of using spot metering useful.

JP
Sooty_1 4 1.3k 203 United Kingdom
4 Oct 2012 2:44PM

Quote:Whoopee do, you've copied this from a book maybe?


Nope, I made it all up by myself because I know what I am talking about and I have a reasonably good grasp of written English.

The camera only gets metering wrong when the operator doesn't know what they are doing. If you actually read my text, I don't advocate using any mode over another, I try to explain how modes differ. You don't have to use any mode for any given situation. What's more important is knowing how your camera behaves in any situation so you can interpret what it's telling you.

And if you always use spot metering as is, if you are shooting someone with very dark skin it will try to overexpose, so it isn't infallible and you have to compensate. That is the point... You have to learn how to interpret the reading.

Nick
thewilliam 6 4.8k
4 Oct 2012 2:51PM
If you shoot RAW, you get a couple of stops of exposure latitude either way. In plain English you can, up to a point, recover from having incorrect exposure.
Sooty_1 4 1.3k 203 United Kingdom
4 Oct 2012 3:00PM
If you meter correctly and know what your camera is telling you, you shouldn't need to.

It's all about you controlling the camera, not the other way round.
alistairfarrugia 2 164 88 Malta
4 Oct 2012 3:41PM
The thing is - if you reason things out, you shouldn't need to correct for mistakes in the RAW file. Sooty is right.
miptog 9 3.5k 61 United Kingdom
4 Oct 2012 4:08PM
puertouk 3 1.1k 17 United Kingdom
4 Oct 2012 4:38PM
Maybe thats why we now bracket shots to get the right exposure (HDR) because the camera cannot read it correctly, no matter if its in manual. You may know your camera inside out, but it cannot see like the human eye, hence HDR.

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