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08-20-2014, 06:03 PM   #1
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What is spot metering -K5

I am lost. What is spot metering and how do I know when the camera is doing it?

08-20-2014, 08:39 PM   #2
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There's a rotary switch below the mode dial that switches the metering mode. All the way to the right is matrix or multisegment. The camera divides the scene into 77 segments, measures the light at each point, looks at a database of possible scenes and suggests settings to match. One click to the left is center weighted, a method used for a long time with SLRs. The camera sees the whole scene again, measures the light, but the correct exposure for the center of the scene counts more than the corners. All the way to the left is spot metering, which ignores everything in the scene except for the light at the very center, between the brackets marked on the focus screen. Anything outside those brackets doesn't count at all, so it's much more extreme than center weighted.

There is an icon on the rear screen in the upper right that changes as you change metering mode. A similar icon is in the viewfinder, below the minus sign on the exposure compensation bar.

Because spot metering doesn't look at the whole scene, its readings are different than the other two modes. It is telling you what settings you need to expose that one spot as a middle tone. You need to decide whether that spot really should be a middle tone in your shot. Often, you'll look at several different spots in a scene before you can be sure, then set the camera to record the important parts of the scene. It is useful but you want to practice before an important shoot.
08-20-2014, 08:58 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by RachelDutch Quote
...how do I know when the camera is doing it?
You will likely get wrong exposures as it can be tricky to use. I believe if you are experienced enough to use it, you don't need it.
08-20-2014, 09:17 PM   #4
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Here are some diagrams - but they show how the various exposure modes operate. All of this shows you what parts of the frame are sensitive and used to measure the light and thus determine the correct exposure.

For spot metering - let's think of the Moon. The moon is a bright spot in a very dark sky. So if you use any metering mode other than spot, the moon's light will be averaged over the entire frame to some degree and you will get the moon that is blown out (way too bright and just a white spot with no definition).

So if you put the camera in spot mode (which is in the center) of the frame and put the moon in the center of the frame, you will meter the moon's light correctly - and the moon's features will be visible. Move the moon off the center of the frame and you will see the moon become very bright blob and loose definition.





08-20-2014, 09:34 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by RachelDutch Quote
I am lost. What is spot metering and how do I know when the camera is doing it?
I tend to use spot metering, but often found that the spot I wanted to meter, was not where I wanted to focus. In the menu of the camera, I separated the focus setting from the exposure setting to solve this. First I lock in the exposure I want, then move the camera to focus on what I want. This situation can happen with back lighting for example and a small subject. The simplest way is to use the setting that looks at the whole picture (multi-segment), and this works most of the time.
08-20-2014, 11:54 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by SpecialK Quote
... I believe if you are experienced enough to use it, you don't need it.
Why? Spot metering is especially helpful when the subject is much brighter or darker than the background. And also in macro photography, especially when the subject is not filling the entire frame. I am not a pro photographer, but I use very often spot metering.
08-21-2014, 12:02 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by SpecialK Quote
I believe if you are experienced enough to use it, you don't need it.
Not quite true. I use it when shooting macro and birds.
08-21-2014, 12:09 AM   #8
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HiRachel
As an 'beginner' (me) i cannotrecommend spot-metering, by mistake my camera setting for 1/3 of my sister’swedding was set on spot metering, and the pictures turned out very bright orvery dark.
I was lucky that i managedto correct the images in lightroom, very decently, I could have lost some veryimportant pictures :s
Only scene I can think of wherei will use spot metering will be at backlit pictures without flash?


08-21-2014, 02:42 AM - 1 Like   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by RachelDutch Quote
What is spot metering
For me spot metering is an advanced technique primarily for those that shot in RAW and want to expose for highlights and then later bring up the shadows in PP.

Essentially it's a way of getting the optimum DR out of a sensor without having to resort to exposure bracketing.

For you, no doubt, it sounds complicated but it's not;

First (original) frame straight out of the camera - spot metered on the brightest spot in the frame in this case the light coming through the window and let the shadows fall where they may. This ensures that the highlights are not burned out.

Second frame - same file as above but after PP to normalize the shadows so they appear as they would to the naked eye not the way the camera metered it.

Right now it's probably nothing you want to deal with but later on it's a technique that's well worth mastering given the limitations of camera sensors.

Last edited by wildman; 09-07-2014 at 12:09 AM.
08-21-2014, 02:55 AM   #10
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Something I use at times if I know my scene is going to be one extreme to the other as far as lighting goes is spot metering in conjunction with exposure lock. Not sure how its done on the K-5, but it should be in the manual somewhere. On the K-30 you know its working as you'll get an asterisk ( * ) appearing in your readings.

Basically I'll spot-meter a neutral area, lock the exposure, then have some freedom to shoot where I want without having to worry about fiddling with my dials much. Its incredibly handy, albeit a touch tricky to get used to.
08-21-2014, 05:55 AM   #11
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A photographer is mentoring me over the Internet and she is trying to teach me how to take silhouettes. Spot metering is necessary for tha.t. I'll check my manual and see what it has to say.
Thank you, Pentaxians. I appreciate you trying to help me out!
08-21-2014, 06:13 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aksel Quote
Why? Spot metering is especially helpful when the subject is much brighter or darker than the background. And also in macro photography, especially when the subject is not filling the entire frame. I am not a pro photographer, but I use very often spot metering.
QuoteOriginally posted by photolady95 Quote
Not quite true. I use it when shooting macro and birds.
Most experienced shooters know the "sunny 16" and similar ballpark exposure rules. The LCD provides a quick way to review a shot and adjust exposure if needed. If you are shooting in a semi-auto mode you can add EC. In film days when you had no instant review, and had some knowledge of the zone system, it could be helpful.

Last edited by SpecialK; 08-29-2014 at 06:19 AM.
08-26-2014, 12:32 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by wildman Quote
For me spot metering is an advanced technique primarily for those that shot in RAW and want to expose for highlights and then later bring up the shadows in PP.

Essentially it's a way of getting the optimum DR out of a sensor without having to resort to exposure bracketing.

For you, no doubt, it sounds complicated but it's not;

First (original) frame straight out of the camera - spot metered on the brightest spot in the frame in this case the light coming through the window and let the shadows fall where they may. This ensures that the highlights are not burned out.

Second frame - same file as above but after PP to normalize the shadows so they appear as they would to the naked eye not the way the camera metered it.

Right now it's probably nothing you want to deal with but later on it's a technique that's well worth mastering given the limitations of camera sensors.
That is fantastic! Thanks for the tip. I was taking photos of buildings under bright sunlight and had trouble of getting all the details.
08-26-2014, 02:10 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by wildman Quote
For me spot metering is an advanced technique primarily for those that shot in RAW and want to expose for highlights and then later bring up the shadows in PP.

Essentially it's a way of getting the optimum DR out of a sensor without having to resort to exposure bracketing.

For you, no doubt, it sounds complicated but it's not;

First (original) frame straight out of the camera - spot metered on the brightest spot in the frame in this case the light coming through the window and let the shadows fall where they may. This ensures that the highlights are not burned out.

Second frame - same file as above but after PP to normalize the shadows so they appear as they would to the naked eye not the way the camera metered it.

Right now it's probably nothing you want to deal with but later on it's a technique that's well worth mastering given the limitations of camera sensors.
Spot metering is just not for dealing with the example you show, but for lots of different issues. For example, if you put the camera in manual simply by pointing at different parts of the whole scene, you can get an indication of the overall range of exposures across the subject.

There is a danger of pointing to the brightest part of the scene, in global under exposure because the spot metering will, with no other adjustments, put the brightest part of the scene at a middle point in the histogram wasting half of the range of the sensor, resulting in much increased noise in the dark portions when you pull them out of the mud. To use spot metering correctly on the meter for the brightest part of the scene, you really should have exposure compensation set to between +2-+3 so you shift the brightest point from the mid of the histogram ~120 greyscale, up to somewhere between 200-220 greyscale, leaving reduced resolution (depth) but 2 stops minimum of dynamic range for fine highlight detail

This way you get a lot less noise in the shadow detail when you boost it.
08-26-2014, 03:37 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Thor Gunderson Quote
HiRachel
As an 'beginner' (me) i cannotrecommend spot-metering, by mistake my camera setting for 1/3 of my sister’swedding was set on spot metering, and the pictures turned out very bright orvery dark.
I was lucky that i managedto correct the images in lightroom, very decently, I could have lost some veryimportant pictures :s
Only scene I can think of wherei will use spot metering will be at backlit pictures without flash?

To use it in that situation you would have to zoomed in or focused on the spot you wanted metered, taken the exposure, then recomposed to take the shot.. I too wouldn't recommend it for a beginner just starting out. But I wouldn't recommend a beginner being the prime photographer at a wedding either (unless the realized the risk)!
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