How to do correct metering?


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sin77

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Nov 28, 2004
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#1
As my subject is in the shadow with bright light nearby or behind, i aim at a dark spot then recompose at the subject, end up stilll too dark or too bright.
I change my metering mode also the same, change the spot where i aim also the same.
I almost always cannot get the correct metering.

I wonder how ppl can meter so fast and so accurately?
Wat should be the correct steps or methods?

Thank you in advance.
 

kcuf2

Senior Member
Dec 29, 2005
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#2
In very basic terms:
Metering means to ensure that u properly expose ur scene. There are 3 kinds of mode (a) matrix metering (b) centre weighted (c) spot metering
(a) matrix metering - normally used in landscape photography to properly expose the whole scene, the camera will determine the light across the whole picture and try to find the best setting to properly expose everything.

(b) centre weighted - normally used in portrait setting or other scenes where there is a main object that occupies abt 70% of the picture center. The camera will try to properly expose the 70% of that picture and "ignore" the background. So for example, if ur object is black and ur background is white, the camera will meter the black object, and will try to adjust itself to bring out the black object's details. In order to do so, it got to expose more. So wat u get is a properly exposed black object against a over exposed background. Remember the background is already white, and because of the need to expose more to bring out the black details, the white background will be overexposed.
So i think u get wat i mean, the camera will only care abt the center 70%.

(c) spot metering - similar to the centre weighted metering, but just that in spot metering, we meter only a small spot eg. a 6mm diameter circle in the picture. This is used for example, when there is a small frog in a bright picture. if u use matrix metering, the camera will evaluate the whole scene and think that the whole picture is too bright, and hence under expose the picture to generate a proper exposure for the whole scene. But in doing so, the small frog may be further underexposed and become dark frog.
in addition, if u use centre weighted metering, remember it assigns abt 70% to the center of the picture, but the frog is only very very small in the picture! hence the end result will also be the camera feels that the scene is too bright and underexpose.
Thus in spot metering, u aim the center crosshair on the frog to meter the frog. This will ensure that the frog is properly exposed and be seen! but of course the background may not be properly exposed.

In apeture priority, shutter priority and program mode, u need to select ur desired metering style: (a) matrix metering (b) centre weighted (c) spot metering and then the camera will take care of the metering, thus u just concentrate on selecting the correct apeture, shutter speed or iso value/white balance to shoot ur photo.

But for manual mode:
1) Switch ur camera to manual mode
2) Select ur desired metering style: (a) matrix metering (b) centre weighted (c) spot metering
3) if using spot metering or centre weighted metering, remember to point ur centre crosshair onto ur desired object.
4) look into ur viewfinder and u will see a horizontal bar something like this + lllllll|llllll -
5) what u got to do now, is to turn ur apeture dial or ur shutter dial to make sure that the horizontal bar is centered
6) half press ur shutter release so that the exposure is locked i.e. even if u point at other places in ur scene, the metering wont change due to metering other objects.
7) frame ur photo nicely and shoot.

Hope u understand all that i just typed..have fun
 

night86mare

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Aug 25, 2006
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#3
to add on, stick to a metering mode most of the time unless the situation really calls for it - as to what you choose would depend on your shooting preferences. i personally find center-weighted the most useful.

after a while you will get used to how your camera "reads and measures light" and soon exposure compensation in av or tv mode, or how to "overexpose" according to your camera meter (to get the correct exposure) or underexpose accordingly will be as easy as pie.

note that when you switch lenses the metering might vary. so you also have to remember the lens-camera combination "habit".
 

Azure

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Mar 16, 2003
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#5
to add on, stick to a metering mode most of the time unless the situation really calls for it - as to what you choose would depend on your shooting preferences. ......

after a while you will get used to how your camera "reads and measures light" .....
Actually, this is what I'd recommend newbies as well.

Get comfy with one of the modes you'd chosen first. Get your basics right, then move on... GRADUALLY, to play around with the rest of the modes/functions/technicals.
 

lsisaxon

Senior Member
Nov 29, 2004
11,941
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#6
As my subject is in the shadow with bright light nearby or behind, i aim at a dark spot then recompose at the subject, end up stilll too dark or too bright.
I change my metering mode also the same, change the spot where i aim also the same.
I almost always cannot get the correct metering.

I wonder how ppl can meter so fast and so accurately?
Wat should be the correct steps or methods?

Thank you in advance.
That's why sometimes people use manual mode for shots under the same lighting condition, otherwise, lock your exposure.
 

Gizmore

New Member
Jul 11, 2006
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#7
But for manual mode:
1) Switch ur camera to manual mode
2) Select ur desired metering style: (a) matrix metering (b) centre weighted (c) spot metering
3) if using spot metering or centre weighted metering, remember to point ur centre crosshair onto ur desired object.
4) look into ur viewfinder and u will see a horizontal bar something like this + lllllll|llllll -
5) what u got to do now, is to turn ur apeture dial or ur shutter dial to make sure that the horizontal bar is centered
6) half press ur shutter release so that the exposure is locked i.e. even if u point at other places in ur scene, the metering wont change due to metering other objects.
7) frame ur photo nicely and shoot.

Hope u understand all that i just typed..have fun
This I don't quite understand.

Since the camera is in manual mode, the shutter speed and aperture will not change by itself (as in automatically by the camera) unless by the user explicitly.

So is there a need to half press the shutter release to get a exposure lock? Once the shutter speed and aperture has been set accordingly (based on meter gauge in viewfinder) it would have effectively locked the exposure.

No doubt that the meter gauge in the viewfinder will be off if there is a need to recompose, but hack, since prior to that, the proper exposure settings have already been set, the exposure will be correct.

Am I right to say that the half-press is only meant for shutter/aperture-priority ?
 

lsisaxon

Senior Member
Nov 29, 2004
11,941
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#8
This I don't quite understand.

Since the camera is in manual mode, the shutter speed and aperture will not change by itself (as in automatically by the camera) unless by the user explicitly.

So is there a need to half press the shutter release to get a exposure lock? Once the shutter speed and aperture has been set accordingly (based on meter gauge in viewfinder) it would have effectively locked the exposure.

No doubt that the meter gauge in the viewfinder will be off if there is a need to recompose, but hack, since prior to that, the proper exposure settings have already been set, the exposure will be correct.

Am I right to say that the half-press is only meant for shutter/aperture-priority ?
No.. Half press only to turn on the meter. Depending on setting, half press will not lock exposure. In certain default settings (Nikon), even when you half press, the metering will change when the scene is being recomposed.
 

Gizmore

New Member
Jul 11, 2006
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#9
No.. Half press only to turn on the meter. Depending on setting, half press will not lock exposure. In certain default settings (Nikon), even when you half press, the metering will change when the scene is being recomposed.


I find your reply strange because you answer a no.

maybe i fall short on explaining myself clearly and therefore i shall amend my question.

Am I right to say that the half-press is only meant for shutter/aperture-priority in order to lock the exposure and prevent the cam from adjusting the exposure setting based on the meter reading?
 

lsisaxon

Senior Member
Nov 29, 2004
11,941
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#10
I find your reply strange because you answer a no.

maybe i fall short on explaining myself clearly and therefore i shall amend my question.

Am I right to say that the half-press is only meant for shutter/aperture-priority in order to lock the exposure and prevent the cam from adjusting the exposure setting based on the meter reading?
Sorry, I can't quite remember what's the 'no' for but probably it is meant to answer the earlier question "So is there a need to half press the shutter release to get a exposure lock?"

Or in fact, rather, it's addressing the entire half-press thing. In certain cameras, the default setting is that half-pressing does not lock the exposure whether in M, A, S or P. Usually, it only locks focus in single servo AF mode (AF-S), and AE-L button is used to lock exposure in A, S and P mode. In M mode, half-pressing only serve to activate the metering and you can set the exposure manually based on the meter reading.
 

Octarine

Moderator
Staff member
Jan 3, 2008
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Pasir Ris
#11
This I don't quite understand.

Since the camera is in manual mode, the shutter speed and aperture will not change by itself (as in automatically by the camera) unless by the user explicitly.

So is there a need to half press the shutter release to get a exposure lock? Once the shutter speed and aperture has been set accordingly (based on meter gauge in viewfinder) it would have effectively locked the exposure.

No doubt that the meter gauge in the viewfinder will be off if there is a need to recompose, but hack, since prior to that, the proper exposure settings have already been set, the exposure will be correct.

Am I right to say that the half-press is only meant for shutter/aperture-priority ?
The manual of your camera will answer these questions. Check there about what is done / locked when you press the shutter halfway and in which modes it is done. Depending on what your camera does and how certain functions are implemented you need to process.
 

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