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Old Mar 9, 2007, 12:53 PM   #1
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Im curious to learn more about metering modes. How to vary them effectively to get the best exposure. Anyone that wants to put in their 2-sense, and give me a quick synopsis,would be much appreciate. Thanks
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Old Mar 9, 2007, 1:14 PM   #2
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My opinion:

Matrix for most scenes.

Center weight and spot for extreme lighting conditions such as theatrical lighting or similar where you want to meter the subject and ignore the balance of the scene.
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Old Mar 9, 2007, 2:06 PM   #3
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It depends what you'll be shooting. I use center weighted because the subject will be in the center of the frame, and the background might be brighter or darker than the subject.

I find that spot works ok for that too, but sometimes the subject might have a lot of contrast and the spot might not be in the rignt place.

Matrix works well, however, if the subject doesn't happen to be in the center of the frame, or if there are two subjects with background between them.

My $1/50
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Old Mar 9, 2007, 2:20 PM   #4
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Matrix is probably the best for general purpose photography, as it works very well in most circumstances. For those other situations, I use spot.

But you really need to learn to look at a scene and the lighting in the scene and then determine what metering would be best.
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Old Mar 9, 2007, 5:54 PM   #5
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Like others said, you need to understand the scene you are shooting and use the proper metering for them.

I shoot mostly landscape, and use matrix for that.

For candid shots of people on events, where I tend to put people on the middle, I use center. Though you have to watch what they're wearing relative to their faces and compensate for it.

For artsy stuff, where the main subject (even if it's a person) is not in the middle, I use matrix, unless it's bad lighting, then I use spot.

For harsh lighting condition, like a sunny beach, I use spot. When I use Matrix for that, I find myself using at least +2 EV, so using spot makes it simple. I also just lock the metering, and vary exposure from that depending on which angle I face relative to the sun. Another technique I use is metering off something I know is "pure white", like bubbles that hit the beach and then add +2 EV. This also works for pure white snow as well.

Also, as mentioned above, spot works well when the subject's face is lighted differently (either too light or too dark), compared to the surroundings. You just spot on the face to make sure it'll be properly exposed.

In the end, it's worth understand each one, and use what works for you depending on what you're trying to capture.

In addition, I've seen manufacturers (like Nikon) suggest against using Matrix with EV compensation because people tend to move the camera away from the original composition (therefore scene), when they adjust the compensation. When this happen, they're not really compensating for the previous scene. I still use EV with Matrix, I just keep this in mind.

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Old Mar 15, 2007, 5:06 PM   #6
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What about in low light shooting indoors, what meter is best. All my lenes are 2.8.
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Old Mar 15, 2007, 8:34 PM   #7
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Again it depends on the lighting. Even lighting, such as an office might have, anything works although matrix is probably the "official" suggestion.Uneven lighting, such as might be delivered by table lamps, spot.
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Old Mar 15, 2007, 9:47 PM   #8
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I think center weighted is better for indoors. With spot, if the subject's clothes are high in contrast(say, a white shirt and dark suit and tie) the spot could be on something that could throw off the exposure, so the face won't be exposed correctly. And Matrix might use too much of the background (perhaps even bokeh) to set the exposure.
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Old Mar 16, 2007, 11:02 AM   #9
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My logic on spot is I'm going to try to meter just the face and then open one stop assuming Calcasion skin tones which are about 30% reflectance. For other races meter the palm of the hand in the face position and then do the same adjustment. All races have about a 30% reflectance on the palm of the hand.
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