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05-09-2008, 06:44 PM   #1
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MultiSeg vs. Ctr-Wtd vs. Spot

I've been reading a lot of posts, and viewing posted pics, and there seems to be a trend toward center-weighted metering with the DSLRs. This seems odd as I found the metering on the PZ & ZX (Z & MZ) to be more accurate in Spot or multi-segment modes than in CW. So, I have a couple of questions:

1. Which type of metering to be most accurate as a default setting for times when you don't want to think about your metering mode?

2. When working slow, which metering mode to you use most?

One more question comes to mind, if you use Spot mode, do you expose for the highlights or shadows?

Thanks.

05-10-2008, 03:06 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by WJW Quote
I've been reading a lot of posts, and viewing posted pics, and there seems to be a trend toward center-weighted metering with the DSLRs. This seems odd as I found the metering on the PZ & ZX (Z & MZ) to be more accurate in Spot or multi-segment modes than in CW. So, I have a couple of questions:

1. Which type of metering to be most accurate as a default setting for times when you don't want to think about your metering mode?
I use multi segment when using my short zoom lenses. I find it works reasonably well for me. On my Flickr site, the Elk River shots are what Mr. Pentax opted for in multi segment metering. I took most of them with a 5x1 stop bracket with a view to using HDR if needed, but not a one needed it. I'm glad it doesn't cost any more to bracket with the digital.

QuoteQuote:
2. When working slow, which metering mode to you use most?
When working really slowly, when I want perfect exposure, I use the spot meter on a known value, and the expose manually at that value. I still use "sunny 16" with my older lenses when I can.
QuoteQuote:

One more question comes to mind, if you use Spot mode, do you expose for the highlights or shadows?
The exposure I prefer with my K10D is the exposure that gives me one or two (only) tiny highlight blinkies where no detail is to be expected. If I want detail in everything, I will keep increasing the exposure until I see the first blinks on the highlight warning, and back off until it doesn't blink any more. This is a close approximation of ETTR (Expose To The Right of the histogram), and results in almost no unusable exposures.
QuoteQuote:

Thanks.
You are welcome. This is one great forum, is it not?
05-10-2008, 03:23 PM   #3
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1) I think they are all accurate if tested on grey card. But in practice they have different purposes and none is 100% foolproof. When I was shooting print films, I just use multi +1EV and forget it, or I would just use a handheld meter if needed. For digital, I still use multi the most and let it be as long as the exposure was not too far off. I just fix them in PS later since I shoot RAW. As long as the final results look good after PP, I am not picky on the initial exposure.

2) Probably spot or handheld meter for landscape which I haven't done for years. But I haven't been shooting slowly for quite some time because I am often too busy trying to capture the expressions rather then fine tuning the exposure.

>One more question comes to mind, if you use Spot mode, do you expose for the highlights or shadows?

For print films, always expose for the shadow. For slides, there is no clear cut. For digital, I tend to allow the highlight being blown slighty and bring back in ACR. But depends on the shots, sometimes a large chunk of area being blown are okay.
05-10-2008, 09:22 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by wlachan Quote
For print films, always expose for the shadow. For slides, there is no clear cut. For digital, I tend to allow the highlight being blown slighty and bring back in ACR. But depends on the shots, sometimes a large chunk of area being blown are okay.
I think that if I ever get the time to review all my exposures, that I will find that when the LCD shows the first blinkies on overexposure, the detail is still in the RAW files, and I am actually short of the ETTR best exposure. I suspect that for very large dynamic range, that I should balance the blinkies between the over and under exposed areas as best I can.

For the time being, as I do have a life other than as a Pentaxian, I bracket whenever I have the slightest doubt. With film, it was an expensive proposition, but so far, I have not (quite) filled a 4 Gb card with my PEF files.

I shoot only RAW, by the way. If I need a jpeg or twenty, it's quite easy to create them out of Lightroom. I can even batch export while renaming. Works for me.

05-10-2008, 09:38 PM   #5
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I use the mode that fits the overall image.

Multisegment when the scene appears to be uniformly lit.

Center Weighted when the point of interest is near the center of the frame and the scene inquestion is evenly lit. Sometimes I will split the highlights and shadows using CW to generalize the exposure. This is the mode that my 35mm SLR's came with, no selection between metering modes until the SF-1 came along. I use this a lot.

I use spot when there are definite areas that I want to meter off of. I point the center spot at what I want to be mid tone and press AE-L, then recompose and shoot the image.

I do not use blinking anything, I use the histogram to just peak out on the right. (No I am not going to link to "shoot to the right" again) Once you blow the highlights you can not recover them. It is similar to slide film, clear slide film substrate is clear, you can not put anything back in. If you notice when you "back off" in PS you get a vertical peak --- that is the clear stuff, in digital you can make pure white a little 'off white' but there is no deal - just uniformity.

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05-11-2008, 09:45 AM   #6
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Original Poster
Thanks to everyone for the responses. The last few years I've either been shooting medium format B&W and using a spot meter or using a digital P&S and letting it do the metering (family snaps). I'm just getting started with an *ist DS2 so I'm a bit out of practice with MS/CW metering.
05-14-2008, 06:53 AM   #7
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Where to Spotmeter

Perhaps I am being too simplistic but almost all of my exposures are spotmetered.
That includes thousands of film exposures. Most were taken with a Canon T90.
Now I have the Pentax K100D.

I always spotmeter on the center of interest and occasionally adjust + or - when the
I feel the picture calls for it.

I have recently acquired the SMC Pentax DA 12-24mm lens and have been experimenting with multi-segment metering as spotmetering at such wide angles is difficult. It is too soon for me to pass judgement but so far it seems to work very well.

Last edited by mickeyobe; 05-19-2008 at 06:33 AM.
05-14-2008, 04:48 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by mickeyobe Quote
Perhaps I am being too simplistic but almost all of my exposures are spotmetered.
That includes thousands of film exposures. Most were taken with a Canon T90.
Now I have the Penrax K100D.

I always spotmeter on the center of interest and occasionally adjust + or - when the
I feel the picture calls for it.

I have recently acquired the SMC Pentax DA 12-24mm lens and have been experimenting with multi-segment metering as spotmetering at such wide angles is difficult. It is too soon for me to pass judgement but so far it seems to work very well.
Check out the "Elk River" series on my Flickr site. These were all taken with my DA 12-24, using Multi Segment metering. I did a 5x1 stop bracket, since I was shooting into the West in the afternoon, but Mr. Pentax did a pretty good job of the exposures, and I just picked the middle one. That would have been an expensive choice with film.

05-14-2008, 04:57 PM   #9
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Thread Bookmarked - one of the most informative I have read here yet!!

Thanks

Last edited by monochrome; 05-14-2008 at 05:59 PM. Reason: spelling
05-14-2008, 06:00 PM   #10
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I've found that with multi-segment metering i often need to leave it set with a +1 - +1.3 ev comp or else everything is quite dull. there are exceptions though.

Spot metering is slower, but i think i like it better because you know what's going on with the camera. the technique described here is really effective i think (and he's a pentaxian, too!). i was surprised though that my "x" value is only 1-1/3 ev.

I only shoot RAW, btw.
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