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03-11-2012, 12:43 PM   #1
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Exposure metering modes

Hi. I'm a little confused. There are quite a few websites trying to explain exposure metering modes for example Exposure metering modes but explanation isn't very detail.
Well I've tried what it says last day, got some weird results.
First I tried using Matrix mode, but my model was too dark, because sun was shining, background was light, everything behind her was light.
Then I tried Spot mode, that was fun, my model was good lit, but background was all burnt out, seemed almost like we're in a study, using flashes.
Finally I tried Center mode, it was the most accurate one, my model was lit well, background was still there, all was good.
I think I'll be using Center mode most of the time from now on.
So my question is: what mode do you use under what circumstances and why?
Also if I want to take a picture of a person standing not in the center of my viewfinder, I'm forced to use Matrix mode?
I also have "Link AE to AF point" turned on - not 100% sure what that is.

03-11-2012, 12:52 PM - 1 Like   #2
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Actually, I found a nice video that explains it quite well.
Guess all I need now is more practice, to really know when to use Center, when Spot and when Matrix modes.
But I'm still totally confused towards "Link AF point and AE".

Last edited by Taviali; 03-11-2012 at 01:03 PM.
03-11-2012, 01:18 PM   #3
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Dont forget about AE-L (Auto-Exposure Lock) which is for getting the exposure correct on that model in the doorway when you recompose after focusing and metering. It holds the exposure on the original composition (model centered if thats how you are focusing and metering.
03-11-2012, 02:36 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Taviali Quote
Hi. I'm a little confused. There are quite a few websites trying to explain exposure metering modes for example Exposure metering modes but explanation isn't very detail.
Well I've tried what it says last day, got some weird results.
First I tried using Matrix mode, but my model was too dark, because sun was shining, background was light, everything behind her was light.
Then I tried Spot mode, that was fun, my model was good lit, but background was all burnt out, seemed almost like we're in a study, using flashes.
Finally I tried Center mode, it was the most accurate one, my model was lit well, background was still there, all was good.
I think I'll be using Center mode most of the time from now on.
So my question is: what mode do you use under what circumstances and why?
Also if I want to take a picture of a person standing not in the center of my viewfinder, I'm forced to use Matrix mode?
I also have "Link AE to AF point" turned on - not 100% sure what that is.
Yikes ! seriously to answer that lot in a way you would understand would take at least 10 pages !
All three modes have there uses. Matrix metering would be the most reliable for you until you learn.
It seems you have learnt a little already lol. I would go to a bookshop and buy a book or just google !

03-11-2012, 02:52 PM   #5
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Understanding Camera Metering and Exposure
03-11-2012, 02:55 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Taviali Quote
I also have "Link AE to AF point" turned on - not 100% sure what that is.
From what i understand that places the spot of the spotmetering mode on the AF point.

Centreweighted is always a fixed patern
Matrix mode always take into account the focus point.
03-11-2012, 06:19 PM - 1 Like   #7
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Matrix metering is useful when the lighting isn't too complex, with too much dynamic range. Matrix often delivers acceptable exposure, depending on the lens, like my Tamron 10-24. But when lighting is problematic it's always good to take a test shot, then chimp|review and adjust the EV as needed.

Spot metering can be crucial when lighting is really tricky, when you have a subject that *must* be exposed correctly even in very contrasty situations. Or spot metering can be used for a simplified Zone System: meter the brightest and darkest points in a scene; expose around midway between.

Center-weighted metering is often generally good; it's served me well for a few decades. Some tricks include: If you can't adequately meter a subject, meter something else of similar brightness. Many is the time I've metered off my hand or sleeve or nearby ground, when the subject is similar.
_________________________________

Sometimes metering off the subject(s) doesn't work well, especially when shooting varied subjects in consistent light. So instead of a reflected-light reading, I'll read the incident|ambient light, the light that falls on subjects. Then, exposures remain consistent no matter where I point the lens.

An example of the last: Say I'm in the Red Rock country around Sedona Arizona on a partly cloudy day. Red rocks, gray mountains, vegetation from light to dark green, blue skies, puffy white clouds, various structures. With any auto metering, slight shifts of camera angle give wildly changing exposures, depending on the frame contents' brightness. So instead I read off what looks like a mid-tone, maybe a rock, or even off a mid-gray card; then take a test shot, chimp and adjust, and leave the exposure there for all shooting until the light changes -- sun setting, etc.

I could have used the Sunny 16 rule to similar effect. Remember, photography captures light, not subjects. Judging light is more important than metering subjects. The best metering available is useless if the light sucks. Intelligent judgement of light beats any brainless auto-exposure system.
03-14-2012, 04:00 PM - 1 Like   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Taviali Quote
Actually, I found a nice video that explains it quite well. Understanding camera metering modes (Matrix, Centre-weighted & Spot metering) - YouTube
Guess all I need now is more practice, to really know when to use Center, when Spot and when Matrix modes.
But I'm still totally confused towards "Link AF point and AE".
Useful clip for understanding the basics. The one thing is doesn't mention is what the "weighting" in center weighted means. Here's a diagram, it's not Pentax specific (think this one is Nikon) but it illustrates how the three modes work.


Top to bottom: Matrix, Center Weighted Average, Spot Metering.

So, with center weighted average, the center of the shot is "worth more" than the area around it, or near the edge of that circle. It follows that if the very center is very dark or bright, that will affect the exposure more than the same brightness (or lack of) if it's off center somewhere. Matrix metering involves weighting, too, but it's more subtle.

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