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07-22-2009, 03:35 PM   #1
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Help with spot metering

I just got my new K20d from QVC last week I am very green I had a pentax zx-30 but only shot in green mode then.
I took some pictures the other day trying to use M on the dial and just playing with settings. The camera kept focusing on my daughters hair and someone on another forum posted I should do spot metering...I don't know how to do it
Here is an example of one of the pictures I took:[IMG][/IMG]
[IMG][/IMG]

07-22-2009, 03:39 PM   #2
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why are you in M mode?

anyway, to spot meter, just press the green button

it will step down the lens to your selecter aperture, and meter

it will use whatever is in the center to meter (center metering)

alternativly, if you use the camera in any other mode, you will have a tab under the mode selector, it can be moved to 3 seperate positions, spot, center, and matrix "metering"
07-22-2009, 03:42 PM   #3
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I didn't want to start out on green and auto focus...I know I have a lot of reading to do but sometimes having someone else explain it works better than reading the manual...any suggestions how a beginner should start?
07-22-2009, 03:53 PM   #4
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esorbo5: I would start out with Program mode or aperture priority especially if you want to control DOF for portraits. Did you mean that your camera kept exposing on your childs hair? Of course, you choose the focus point. Looking at the image (nice btw) I think your real problem is not so much metering as the lighting. It looks like harsh mid day light creating too much contrast. Spot metering won't help. You need to move into more even light or shade, or put a fill card or flash to brighten the face and decrease your overall exposure so the hair won't be blown out. Hope this helps.

07-22-2009, 03:58 PM   #5
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It definitely was the wrong time of day...for photos's they were taken between 2 and 3:30 PM can't remember the exact time.
So I put it in P mode then do I go for AF or M on the front of the camera? Sorry for the many questions...Thanks for the complement on the photo by the way it is my middle daughter, Ella. She is photogenic but hates to have her picture taken LOL!
07-22-2009, 04:00 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by MSM Quote
esorbo5: Did you mean that your camera kept exposing on your childs hair?
Yep it seems either it caught her hair or shoulder perfectly but her face was slightly out of focus.
07-22-2009, 04:02 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Gooshin Quote
why are you in M mode?

anyway, to spot meter, just press the green button

it will step down the lens to your selecter aperture, and meter

it will use whatever is in the center to meter (center metering)

alternativly, if you use the camera in any other mode, you will have a tab under the mode selector, it can be moved to 3 seperate positions, spot, center, and matrix "metering"
Thanks...I will try this...do you suggest using P too?
07-22-2009, 04:07 PM   #8
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Spot metering should be available in all exposure modes with any lens. It has nothing to do with the green button (sorry Gooshin). To use spot metering, move the meter mode control (lever under the exposure mode dial) to the spot setting (rectangle with a dot).

Steve

07-22-2009, 04:34 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by esorbo5 Quote
Yep it seems either it caught her hair or shoulder perfectly but her face was slightly out of focus.
I think you missed the point of the question. There is exposure and there is focus, and the two have *nothing* to do with each other. The problem you seem to be describing here is *focus* being somewhere other than where you wanted, but your question was about metering. That's like saying, my car is having a problem with its brakes, what brand of antifreeze would help with that?

If your problem is with the camera focusing somewhere other than where you want, then forget you ever the word "meter", and focus (sorry) on addressing your problems with focus. Most basic - don't let the camera choose which focus point to use. there are a bunch of them (as shown in the manual) scattered across the viewfinder. The camera has a mode where *you* select the focus point by using the 4-way controller as a crude joystick to move the little red square around the viewfinder to show where you want it to focus. It's not precise - the camera might actually focus anywhere "near" that square, not necessarily right on it - but it beats letting the camera choose which square to use, too. Or you could use the camera mode where it only uses the center focus point - point where you want focus to be, half-press, then recompose. This works well also, although some people do nitpick the fact that in certain rare cases, focus can end up being off a little.

As for metering, don't mess with that until you start having problems with exposure. Spot metering is indeed a method, but it require *MUCH* greater knowledge of how the exposure system works than the default multi-segment metering, or the second option - center-weighted metering - do. So I wouldn't even think about using it until you've read a few books and photographic technique and are confident you could wield spot metering more effectively than the camera does the other two modes.
07-22-2009, 04:56 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by esorbo5 Quote
Thanks...I will try this...do you suggest using P too?
i suggest using Av, or "aperture priority" mode

you set the ISO, and you select the aperture, then you allow the camera to decide on its own what the shutter speed will be

if the camera gives you a shutter speed that is too low for your liking, you have to change one of the other two parameters.

also i suggest using matrix metering, ie, the camera does a weighted average of the entire scene to come up with exposure, this isnt fool proof however, and depending on the situation would have to be adjusted (EV comp dial)
07-22-2009, 05:13 PM   #11
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While i don't really think your problem here is a metering issue I really don't think spot metering is something to do if you "don't know how to do it". There is far more to it than pointing the camera at a subject and taking a reading.
The readings have to be interpreted correctly by the photographer as well.
Before you get all gung ho about setting your camera to spot and then wondering what the hell went wrong, it would be a good idea to research spot metering and how to interpret the readings from a spot meter.
Google is your friend.

As an aside, I've never felt the need to use a spot meter with a DSLR, and in fact i think it is just about the most useless feature that can be loaded onto a DSLR camera.
I do, however, use spot metering all the time with my view camera, and have a very accurate Zone VI modified Pentax spot meter for the job.
07-22-2009, 05:49 PM   #12
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I definitely think that using Av mode is the way to go when beginning. Depending on what you are shooting, you will tend to use different apertures. For a portrait, I would use f4, while for landscape photos, stop down a little. I use matrix metering and find it very accurate, although your photo may look a little dark if there are any really bright areas in it.

The other thing I would mention is that I really like using either center point focus or focus point select. Otherwise, your camera will tend to focus on whatever is the area of highest contrast close to it. Often that is clothing, or hair, rather than what you want, which is usually the eyes or face.
07-22-2009, 10:45 PM   #13
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So I will be trying AV mode when I get a chance to have the camera out at a good time during the day...tomorrow going to a splash park with the kids...point and shoot will have to do the job!
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