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02-15-2008, 07:26 PM   #1
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How do YOU meter?

When I first got my K10D, I was a little put off.. all those buttons were intimidating for someone coming from a K1000.

But now I LOVE those buttons. Particularly the green button and AE-L button.

In most situations nowadays I find myself spot metering my subject in manual mode and pressing the green button to get the exposure accurate. From there if I need to change the aperture or shutter speed I simply press the AE-L button and change them to my heart's content.

This working process has been working great for me but the issue I am having is, is there a way to make the AE-L to STAY on? It goes off after one shot, which is fine most of the time because I have the settings where I want them, but it can still be a pain.

How do you guys approach metering in different situations?

02-15-2008, 07:31 PM   #2
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Have you considered using manual exposure? I use all the exposure modes, depending on what I am trying to do. In winter, I generally use manual exposure because varying amounts of snow in the image change the meter reading. I have found that here, at about 1300 m (4000 ft) in altitude, that Mr. Pentax likes about 2 stops of overexposure from metering bare snow.

The AE-L is handy when using any of the automatic exposure modes, but if you want an exposure to "stick" manual exposure will do the trick for you. Just set your mode dial to "M" and press the green button with any lens from A series on, and the camera will immediately set what it thinks is the correct exposure, based on the program line that you have set. It is then quite simple to twiddle the two edails to get the exposure you want, and it will stay there until you change it, or press the green button again.
02-15-2008, 07:44 PM   #3
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Yeah I am shooting in Manual.

The issue for me is.. say I am shooting a portrait and I do my whole spot metering thing and AE Lock and adjust my depth of field to be what I want it to be and take a few shots. Then I want to move from say.. f/8 to f/2.8

In such a scenario I am going to have to be spinning both dials, trying stop one up and the other down at the same rate to maintain my exposure. Either that or remember what my exposure settings were and do a quick calculation in my head OR do the whole spot metering + Green Button + AE-L + DOF/Shutter speed manipulation again.

This is why I was wondering if it was possible to stop the AE-L from switching off when you take a shot. It is not a HUGE pain in manual mode, but if I dare venture into Av mode it becomes a pain.
02-15-2008, 07:52 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by anomaly Quote
Yeah I am shooting in Manual.

The issue for me is.. say I am shooting a portrait and I do my whole spot metering thing and AE Lock and adjust my depth of field to be what I want it to be and take a few shots. Then I want to move from say.. f/8 to f/2.8

In such a scenario I am going to have to be spinning both dials, trying stop one up and the other down at the same rate to maintain my exposure. Either that or remember what my exposure settings were and do a quick calculation in my head OR do the whole spot metering + Green Button + AE-L + DOF/Shutter speed manipulation again.

This is why I was wondering if it was possible to stop the AE-L from switching off when you take a shot. It is not a HUGE pain in manual mode, but if I dare venture into Av mode it becomes a pain.
You may be shooting in manual focus, but if the AE-L does anything at all, you must be in one of the automatic exposure modes. Set the mode dial to M. The aperture and shutter speed will be changed only by you. When the exposure mode is Manual exposure, the camera has no say whatsoever in your exposure.

02-15-2008, 08:04 PM   #5
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I shoot with my Pentax in full Manual, and deliberately under expose just a little. Then tune it with my software. It works for me, but isn't for everyone.

My Sigma meters closer to my style, so I usually use AV with it. Oddly that's even using Pentax glass
Although I have to use Manual White balance for the best results.
02-16-2008, 05:59 AM   #6
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What he's trying to say is this: In Manual mode, you can press the AE-L button, which will then maintain the exposure as you adjust the Aperture or shutter speed. So, if you adjust Aperture, the camera will adjust the shutter speed to maintain your exposure. Basically you have switched your camera into Hyper-Program mode, except you get to choose the exposure.

Its a feature that I completey forgot about until Anomaly brought it up... its actually HUGELY useful - especially for what he's saying, adjusting the DOF without altering exposure.

I suppose you could try P mode and play with the Aperture there. To adjust your exposure, use exposure comp. That should do what you're looking for.

- Andrew
02-16-2008, 08:25 AM   #7
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Yeah, Andrew is seeing what I mean. I am shooting in manual exposure mode but the AE-L button still works, just press it and adjust the aperature as you see fit and it will automatically adjust the shutter speed to maintain that exposure.

For those of you who spot meter, where do you point it? I tend to aim for a high mid tone or highlight. Depending on how bright the highlights are compared to the shadows. It helps to avoid blown highlights, which is much harder to fix in post than dark shadows.
02-16-2008, 09:13 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by AndrewShirley Quote
What he's trying to say is this: In Manual mode, you can press the AE-L button, which will then maintain the exposure as you adjust the Aperture or shutter speed. So, if you adjust Aperture, the camera will adjust the shutter speed to maintain your exposure. Basically you have switched your camera into Hyper-Program mode, except you get to choose the exposure.

Its a feature that I completey forgot about until Anomaly brought it up... its actually HUGELY useful - especially for what he's saying, adjusting the DOF without altering exposure.

I suppose you could try P mode and play with the Aperture there. To adjust your exposure, use exposure comp. That should do what you're looking for.

- Andrew
Well - I guess I need to go back to the manual. That is a HUGELY useful function. There are, as said, a huge number of buttons on the k10d, and I just missed a really, really useful button. Who would expect an AE-L to have such a handy use in manual exposure. Thanks, gang!

02-16-2008, 12:29 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by anomaly Quote
This working process has been working great for me but the issue I am having is, is there a way to make the AE-L to STAY on? It goes off after one shot, which is fine most of the time because I have the settings where I want them, but it can still be a pain.
I thoght maybe there was something I didn't know about how AE-L operates in M mode, but I just did a test and found the AE-L does stay on across multiple shots in M mode... the issue I think is for how long, which may not be long enought for your need.

There's a time option for the number of seconds under the Advanced Options, as "Meter Operating Time". I can't change mine as my LCD is broken but I'm pretty sure I have mine set to 3 seconds presently (10 seconds is the default), and that's how long the AE-L is staying on too. I know in the past when I had it on 10 or 30 seconds, AE-L stayed on longer too, so I'm assuming it was for that same amount of time. I note as long as you turn a dial within what's set for the meter time , the meter display stays on, and the AE-L stays locked.
02-16-2008, 03:49 PM   #10
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Ah ha! So it doesn't turn off when you take a shot, it just stays on with the meter..

Well with it set for 30 seconds I think I can live with that.
02-16-2008, 06:20 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by anomaly Quote
When I first got my K10D, I was a little put off.. all those buttons were intimidating for someone coming from a K1000.

But now I LOVE those buttons. Particularly the green button and AE-L button.

In most situations nowadays I find myself spot metering my subject in manual mode and pressing the green button to get the exposure accurate. From there if I need to change the aperture or shutter speed I simply press the AE-L button and change them to my heart's content.

This working process has been working great for me but the issue I am having is, is there a way to make the AE-L to STAY on? It goes off after one shot, which is fine most of the time because I have the settings where I want them, but it can still be a pain.

How do you guys approach metering in different situations?
I'm not far away from your situation, I just use manual mode, and spot metering. I then meter off what I want correct in the scene and shoot with that setting.

For simple walking around, I usually meter off the pavement set the exposure as I want it (f stop and shutter speed) and then just walk around with that setting.

This is how I worked with film.
02-17-2008, 10:05 PM   #12
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I have my program mode set so the front dial acts as program shift, and the rear dial is exposure compensation. I have the green button set to "program line"

When I meter, the camera sets A and T to the program line. Then If I don't like what the camera selected, I can AE-L the exposure, and change the A until I get the DOF I want. The camera will automatically adjust the shutter to maintain the exposure. I have my AE-L timer set to 30 seconds. The exposure stays locked through multiple shots.

Eric
03-06-2008, 08:53 PM   #13
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This is a great thread .. seems to be a useful topic to learn. I hope you don't mind if I back it up a bit and ask some basic questions so I can keep up:

First, (somewhat embarrassing) question - What exactly is spot metering?

Also, I've used the AE-L button, but apparently did not understand it. I was told thru the grapevine that the button is to 'override' the camera reading. For example, if in TV mode and the camera thinks it knows the F stop, you can point in another direction..half-press the shutter to read the settings .. press AE-L ... point camera back to original subject and shoot. I was told this was good for when pointing into the sun .. turn away from the sun, lock the exposure, then turn back.

It seems like this button has much more to it than I originally thought! I appreciate your input so I can get up to speed.
03-06-2008, 11:53 PM   #14
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There are three types of metering on most cameras--Matrix, Center weighted, and Spot. Matrix averages information from the entire shot to determine. Center determines by averaging from the general middle of the image. Spot determines from a very small (2% spread?) spot right in the middle--it's more precise if you have the time to make it work right.

AE-L does what you describe in all auto-exposure modes. In manual, it will lock the exposure and let you change either the shutter or aperture, and it will change the other to maintain that same exposure.

I'd love for it to be a "sticky" button, but it isn't the case. Heck, I'd be happier even if it just had a little light for when lock is on, so I don't have to look through the VF every time i fiddle.

When I meter, I use Av most of the time. In trickier indoor or high contrast situations (which are suprisingly common), I'll usually put it in Av and center, wave it around at various targets to get a feel for the general lighting, and then head into M to get the right exposure. Yes, a light meter would probably make this easier, but it's a low priority given the cost.
03-07-2008, 02:43 AM   #15
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I don't much use AE-L, but I do think it will come in handy sooner or later.
Mostly I just spot meter, then compensate if required.

Last edited by ftpaddict; 03-07-2008 at 05:01 AM. Reason: I suck at typing
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