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06-14-2019, 11:33 AM   #1
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backlighting

Dipo 1 here again, in the old days with my Spotmaticl SLR if I wanted to take a picture that was backlit I would turn 180 from the scene, take a reading, then turn back and take the picture. Now I have a Pentax K5 I don't have a clue how to take a backlit picture, anyone out there who can tell me how.

06-14-2019, 11:55 AM   #2
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Well, I guess you could do your old trick - turn 180 and take a picture in the "wrong" direction (or just see what the camera thinks the settings should be) - that gets your your "reading," and then turn around and switch to manual and insert those exposure values.
06-14-2019, 11:57 AM - 1 Like   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by dipo 1 Quote
Dipo 1 here again, in the old days with my Spotmaticl SLR if I wanted to take a picture that was backlit I would turn 180 from the scene, take a reading, then turn back and take the picture. Now I have a Pentax K5 I don't have a clue how to take a backlit picture, anyone out there who can tell me how.
Spot metering, but make sure you know what it's doing, or multi point evaluative will work, though both will need some educated input from the user depending on the scene.
06-14-2019, 12:02 PM - 1 Like   #4
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Spot meter the brightest and darkest areas. If you don't want clipping go for the brightest and pull up the dark in post. If the difference is too many stops figure out your compromise.
Alternative is to take a picture and chimp, adjust and chimp again. Both take about 10 seconds.

06-14-2019, 12:22 PM   #5
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Spot meter on the part of the scene you want exposed correctly, press the AE-L button to lock the exposure settings, Focus and recompose.
06-14-2019, 12:59 PM - 1 Like   #6
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Matrix metering will usually do a pretty good job of detecting and compensating for a back-lit subject. Other alternatives include (easiest to hardest):
  • Chimp the rear LCD followed by adding one or more stops exposure compensation. The histogram is helpful.
  • P-TTL Fill flash...the camera's built-in flash does a reasonable job for this task
  • Spot meter off a gray card using AE lock or M mode with the card receiving the same light as the subject. Use the metered reading directly. Remember to turn spot metering off when done.
  • Spot meter off the subject using AE lock or M mode and add one or more stops exposure compensation depending on subject*
  • Use an external (hand held) meter to measure the incident light to the subject
The first two are simplest and the most intuitive. Spot metering works well except that it is a specialized tool and not suitable for general shooting. The gray card and incident light measurement are the most reliable and are fully equivalent.


Steve

* Exposure compensation is usually required due to the meter being calibrated to a standardized illuminant whose brightness may be different than your subject. Example: Spot meter a white sheet of paper and take the picture of that white sheet. The gray shade captured by the camera is about the same as the calibration standard. That is where the gray card comes in.

Last edited by stevebrot; 06-14-2019 at 01:17 PM.
06-14-2019, 02:07 PM - 1 Like   #7
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Maybe I'm a bit simple, but personally I use the same technique as I would with a spotmatic, only with the green button.

Put the camera into manual with spot metering.
Adjust aperture to where I want it.
Point the camera (spot meter area) at grass or mid grey concrete.
Press the green button to set shutter speed for correct exposure.

Then like, take photos n' stuff.

It might take a few tries before you get the hang of it, but once you do, it's generally faster and more accurate then old film cameras or light meters.
06-14-2019, 02:14 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by sqrrl Quote
Maybe I'm a bit simple, but personally I use the same technique as I would with a spotmatic, only with the green button.

Put the camera into manual with spot metering.
Adjust aperture to where I want it.
Point the camera (spot meter area) at grass or mid grey concrete.
Press the green button to set shutter speed for correct exposure.

Then like, take photos n' stuff.

It might take a few tries before you get the hang of it, but once you do, it's generally faster and more accurate then old film cameras or light meters.


As above ... beat me to it by a few minutes If that's the way the OP wants to work then the "Green Button" in Manual mode is the way to go!

06-14-2019, 03:08 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Use an external (hand held) meter to measure the incident light to the subject

This ^^^quote
06-14-2019, 04:10 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by swanlefitte Quote
Spot meter the brightest and darkest areas. If you don't want clipping go for the brightest and pull up the dark in post. If the difference is too many stops figure out your compromise.
Alternative is to take a picture and chimp, adjust and chimp again. Both take about 10 seconds.
QuoteOriginally posted by Lake Quote
Spot meter on the part of the scene you want exposed correctly, press the AE-L button to lock the exposure settings, Focus and recompose.
Both of these suggestions ignore the fact that the spot meter evaluates everything based on Zone V. Metering the brightest part of the scene will result in some underexposure unless a bias is applied to the reading. Conversely, metering the darkest part of the scene will result in some degree of overexposure.
This is why in my first post in this thread I mentioned to make sure you know what your spot meter is doing. You canít just blindly point it at something in the scene and expect it to give the correct exposure reading. Spot meters donít work that way.
06-15-2019, 09:35 AM   #11
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My rule of thumb from Kodachrome days was to overexpose 1-1/2 stops, from whatever the meter read, in backlight situations. I'm not sure how much highlight clipping that will cause with a digital sensor, but it may get you in the neighborhood of a decent exposure.
06-15-2019, 10:33 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by EarlJam Quote
My rule of thumb from Kodachrome days was to overexpose 1-1/2 stops,
My trusty canon AE-1 had a backlight button that did exactly that. It's my starting point too with digital.
06-15-2019, 01:27 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by rogerstg Quote
My trusty canon AE-1 had a backlight button that did exactly that. It's my starting point too with digital.
As does my Olympus XA.


Steve
06-15-2019, 08:15 PM   #14
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It really depends on what the backlit story is. With many scenes, as others have said, you go to spot metering, take a reading from a mid-tone area in the same lighting (not the brightest nor the darkest) and either use the AE-L to lock exposure or go to Manual mode before you do the meter readings and after deciding on your exposure settings, upon repositioning the camera for your shots, you will then ignore further warnings by the meter, which would be misleading.

Alternatively, you can adjust your exposure for the background, which is backlighting your subject, but might also be important for your composition, and then illuminate your subject with judicious use of flash.
06-18-2019, 02:39 PM   #15
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Depends on how bright it is behind your subject. Sometimes all you can really do is expose for the highlights and recover shadows in post or as the above post mentioned, use a fill flash.
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