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06-15-2020, 04:13 PM - 1 Like   #1
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Multi Spot Metering

Back in the days of film, certain cameras like the Olympus OM4 and the Canon EOS-3 had something called Multi-Spot Metering. This meant that the camera would let you take multiple readings of a scene then average those readings to give you proper exposure, if not pretty close. With the advent of Digital, Histograms, LCD, HDR, RAW and Photoshop made that feature obsolete. However I think it would be helpful even with digital cameras.

The other day I was out taking pictures outside and the difference between the sky and the foreground was so great that if I exposed for the sky the foreground would come out really dark and if I exposed for the foreground then the sky would be completely blown out. Sure If I exposed for the sky I could always bring up the shadows in Post, but who wants sit behind a computer and go through 50 or more images to perform this task. Trying to bring back detail in blown out areas of an image is a complete waste of time, because once those details are gone they are gone, goodbye.


There are various techniques to use as a work-around in high contrast situations. Of course there is HDR which is the most popular, but sometimes the images don't quite look natural. Another is taking a spot meter reading of the sky(highlight) then add +1 or +2 compensation so that the foreground is not too dark then take the picture. Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn't .

Another technique which I learned in school is the Averaging Method in which you take a reading of the Highlights in a scene, then a reading of the shadows and average both readings together. This is OK, but if you are using Auto ISO then you also have to take that into consideration. If the camera could do it for you though you would not have to deal with complicated calculations. I'm not sure if there are any cameras that still have this feature, but with the Canon EOS-3 you were able to take 8 Spot Meter readings and the camera would average it for you. This use to work pretty well with film.

06-15-2020, 05:26 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by hjoseph7 Quote
the camera would average it for you. This use to work pretty well with film.
All of the digital cameras I've had (K1000D, K10D, K20D, and K-5IIs) have average metering. Spot, Center Weighted Average, and Average.
What camera are you using that doesn't have an average metering function?
06-15-2020, 06:31 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Parallax Quote
All of the digital cameras I've had (K1000D, K10D, K20D, and K-5IIs) have average metering. Spot, Center Weighted Average, and Average.
What camera are you using that doesn't have an average metering function?
Unless I'm missing something the Pentax K5 II does not have average metering. Average Metering is not the same as Multi-spot metering.
06-15-2020, 06:44 PM - 1 Like   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by hjoseph7 Quote
Unless I'm missing something the Pentax K5 II does not have average metering
Multi segment metering measures 77 different zones and averages them.

06-15-2020, 07:09 PM - 1 Like   #5
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Also make sure you're using lenses with the aperture ring set to the 'A' position. Multi-segment metering on the K-5II will automatically revert to Centre-weighted metering if the aperture ring is not set to 'A', even if set to Multi-segment.
06-15-2020, 07:26 PM   #6
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Canon EOS-3 Specs

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06-16-2020, 03:24 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by hjoseph7 Quote
Back in the days of film, certain cameras like the Olympus OM4 and the Canon EOS-3 had something called Multi-Spot Metering.
The system adopted by Pentax is similar to Nikon's Matrix system, now I don't remember precisely if Pentax's system detects both Luminance & Chrominance values,
but it is certain that it maps the various areas of the scene and then detects or interprets the time/diaphragm/ISO values, through (proprietary) algorithms
that are inserted in the memory of the system in use at the moment.

In other words, the sensor connects the scene detection mode to a ''database'' that scans tens or hundreds of situations with skies, trees, lawns,
rocks and the like with the most varied light situations,
and then processes them by obtaining values that are the times and diaphragms in conjunction with the set ISO and/or vice versa. In short, the multi-metering system does this in classic mode.

Olympus/Canon's very ingenious systems are now outdated, so you can't find them in the current systems, which have been replaced and improved by what I just said above,
but now you can preview after a click the burnt and underexposed areas through the screen.

Also in K1 and maybe also in K3, in the menu ''brightness correction'' on page 68 of the K1 manual you can set the correct function. Already in the K20d
you could slightly expand the dynamic range from 100 to 200 ISO to recover the lights ( in part), but we're talking about 2008.....

Last edited by maw; 06-16-2020 at 05:16 PM.
06-18-2020, 06:44 AM   #8
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I strongly second this recommendation!!!!!!

Multi-spot is nothing like matrix or multi-segment because in multi-spot, the photographer picks exactly which spots to average.

Not only did the OM-4 system let you average selected spots together (up to 8 measurements just like the EOS), it showed the individual measurements as pips on a spectrum so it was easy to see the number of zones between parts of the scene.

The OM-4 multi-spot system was extremely powerful both for getting the right exposure and for understanding the dynamic range / zones of the scene.


Last edited by photoptimist; 06-18-2020 at 11:08 AM. Reason: added detail
06-18-2020, 06:48 AM - 1 Like   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by hjoseph7 Quote
There are various techniques to use as a work-around in high contrast situations
In very high contrast scenes the averaging method is still not going to give you a decent exposure. You can still end up with a blown sky and little detail in the shadows. In those circumstances using a graduated ND filter will give you a better result. As will bracketing your shots and combine in HDR software such as Lightroom's merge feature.

I was shooting this week in a shady wood with bright sunshine coming through the trees. Most of my shots were taken at 0/-1/-2 brackets and combined later in LR.
06-22-2020, 04:27 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by pschlute Quote
In very high contrast scenes the averaging method is still not going to give you a decent exposure.
This ^ ^ ^

I don't know how Olympus intended their feature to be used, but averaging multiple spots is not going to overcome range of light in the frame that exceeds the capture ability of the medium. In some ways, doing so may actually make it more difficult to gauge and execute appropriate action.


Steve
06-25-2020, 10:16 AM - 1 Like   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by photoptimist Quote
Multi-spot is nothing like matrix or multi-segment because in multi-spot, the photographer picks exactly which spots to average.
I just compared the Pentax system to the Nikon system, which is a far cry from the Olympus system.
Why wasn't this system adopted by any brand?
Maybe it's because it's not convient! I think it doesn't make sense in digital because the measurement systems allow for greater diversification.

Olympus (Canon) was good with film and I agree that it was a very precise system.
How many today would have the patience to make such an accurate measurement? Maybe only the Pentaxians!

Here I found a good review on Olympus OM-3Ti.
06-25-2020, 11:18 AM - 1 Like   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by maw Quote
I just compared the Pentax system to the Nikon system, which is a far cry from the Olympus system.
Why wasn't this system adopted by any brand?
Maybe it's because it's not convient! I think it doesn't make sense in digital because the measurement systems allow for greater diversification.

Olympus (Canon) was good with film and I agree that it was a very precise system.
How many today would have the patience to make such an accurate measurement? Maybe only the Pentaxians!

Here I found a good review on Olympus OM-3Ti.
Thanks for the article on the Olympus OM-3 Ti which really makes me want to get one if I can, especially with Olympus going out of business. I only heard about the OM-4 Ti and was not aware of the OM-3. I hesitated on the OM-4 due to negative reviews about the metering system .

Actually when it came to features, a lot of manufactures dropped some of the most advanced features which they incorporated into their 'higher-end' film cameras due to the cost of the Digital Sensor. It didn't have much to do with modernity and obsolete functions, but COST. A lot of the features you see in Digital cameras today were already being used in Camcorders such as AWB, ISO, JPEG. So that saved some time and research . Unfortunately, some of the most advanced SLR(film) functions which were not deemed essential, were dropped so they could mass market digital cameras to the public. Otherwise, it would have been too expensive. Remember that cropped cameras were the only cameras available initially. Why, due to the costs of the digital sensor...

I remember when I got my first Full Frame digital camera a Canon 5D back in 2007. It was a "featureless" camera, but it took great pictures. The lack of features is one of the reasons why I switched to Pentax, but by that time(2012 ) the features started making a strong come back.
06-25-2020, 12:27 PM   #13
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If the metering system of the OM-4 got bad reviews it was probably from people who wanted the camera to choose the exposure for them rather than having the photographer choose the exposure. At the time, camera makers were coming out with increasingly sophisticated multi-segment or matrix metering systems that did a better job of picking a middle-gray-objects-are-middle-gray-on-film exposures. These metering systems were less likely to be fooled by strange scenes dominated by large bright areas (e.g., lots of bright sky) or by large dark areas (e.g., theatre spotlighting).

Spot metering has always created problems for novices who don't understand the discrepancy between what the photographer is seeing (e.g., a brightly-lit black cat on a black sofa) and what the camera's meter is seeing (e.g. a very dimly-lit gray cat on a gray sofa). (Even the best matrix/AI automagical exposure system gets fooled by that). The OM-3 and OM-4 were wonderful, convenient metering solutions that let the photographer measure the tones and control exposure relative to those measurements. In many ways multi-spot is superior the today's histogram-based methods because it provides direct control and knowledge over exactly which spot in the image has which brightness in the final image.

TL;DNR: multi-spot metering was for photographers who want control, not automation.
06-25-2020, 05:58 PM - 1 Like   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by hjoseph7 Quote
I remember when I got my first Full Frame digital camera a Canon 5D back in 2007. It was a "featureless" camera, but it took great pictures. The lack of features is one of the reasons why I switched to Pentax, but by that time(2012 ) the features started making a strong come back.
I can tell you with absolute frankness that currently the return or integration of digital with film is more felt than you think.
It has often happened to me in various areas to hear about film, negatives, chemical developments.
I wonder why in the digital age ''we don't know what will happen in five, ten and... years'', many people still love film.
Twenty years ago I had a darkroom at home where I developed/printed both b/w and colour with the Philips PCS-130/150 tri-one-colour system.
There was and there is a subtle magic, in that world, very different from today's but one way or another you get used to it.
If you want to buy an Olympus, I think it's a great choice and you will experience the difference in accuracy between an ''old'' reflex and a current digital reflex or mirrorless one.
Otherwise you can always use Ansel Adams' rule of 16.

I found a good review on the Olympus T4 'in Italian' but of course you can translate it.

---------- Post added 26-06-20 at 03:38 ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by photoptimist Quote
If the metering system of the OM-4 got bad reviews it was probably from people who wanted the camera to choose the exposure for them rather than having the photographer choose the exposure. At the time, camera makers were coming out with increasingly sophisticated multi-segment or matrix metering systems that did a better job of picking a middle-gray-objects-are-middle-gray-on-film exposures. These metering systems were less likely to be fooled by strange scenes dominated by large bright areas (e.g., lots of bright sky) or by large dark areas (e.g., theatre spotlighting).

Spot metering has always created problems for novices who don't understand the discrepancy between what the photographer is seeing (e.g., a brightly-lit black cat on a black sofa) and what the camera's meter is seeing (e.g. a very dimly-lit gray cat on a gray sofa). (Even the best matrix/AI automagical exposure system gets fooled by that). The OM-3 and OM-4 were wonderful, convenient metering solutions that let the photographer measure the tones and control exposure relative to those measurements. In many ways multi-spot is superior the today's histogram-based methods because it provides direct control and knowledge over exactly which spot in the image has which brightness in the final image.
I agree with what you say, but sometimes it is almost impossible to escape the will of manufacturers of any equipment,
unfortunately they are the ones who instigated by the public who buy their products "us", must follow preferential ways ''money and visibility in general''.

Going back to real photography, a good approach besides the rule of 16 is to confront the real values of the scene.
When I have time and I don't have to do anything important, I do a useful exercise, I take the reflex camera that inspires me most at that moment
and I try with my perception to guess which would be the most correct exposure ''Iso, exposure time, and aperture in those circumstances. (if you are not bored ... I go on ah, ah ...),
in the end depending on the weather conditions I evaluate or try to evaluate the best exposure ratio, it is not easy, but in this we are very helped by the fact that digital allows us to immediately
assess if the exposure is correct and / or how much we need to change the parameters. I work mainly in 'M' and measurement 'Spot'

The Rule of 16 - how to photograph without using the meter
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