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Old May 9, 2006, 7:04 PM   #1
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Hello again, you know by now that I'm working very hard to understand all the basic principles of photography. So on metering, where can I find good information. I stumbled on a site (http://spotmetering.com/)*where it is said that a good phtographer will only use Spot metering and learn to know how to compensate. Since I don't really understand the differences between the three modes, where do I go from here? D50 manual is a bit shy (p.96) about explanation. In a nutshell, can someone give me some hints on these three modes and when they are best used. For now, I rely on Matrix but I feel so inadequate to not explore the two other ones. Thanks again a million times for all the good input. Bonne journée! Germain*
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Old May 9, 2006, 11:19 PM   #2
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There are other people here that can explain this better, but I'll try.

When you use Spot Metering, you're basically telling the camera to expose that very small spot (about 2% of the frame in D50) as 18% gray. The camera then uses this as a reference and exposes the other tones in the frame accordingly. This is very useful when you have something that you know has an 18% gray, like an "18% gray card".

Assuming your gray card is under the same light as your main subject, you can meter off of the gray card, focus on your subject, re-compose, and shoot.

If you spot meter on something that isn't 18% gray, say darker, your camera will expose that object as gray and therefore overexposing everything else. Using the same logic, if you spot meter on something that's true white, your camera will expose that as 18% gray and therefore underexposing everything else. Try these with your camera and you'll understand it more.

Do a search for "Zone System", as it is related to Spot Metering.

Spot Metering is the main reason I prefered the D50 over Canon's RebXT. I've played with it some, but it wasn't until last weekend that it came in very handy. It was a sunny day outside and using Matrix metering underexposes the faces of people that I took. I then switch to Spot Metering, and then metered off of people's face, since most people's face has a 18% gray tone. Actually what I did was Locked metering after I found an 18% gray to meter from, so I didn't have to meter on each shot.

Here are the pics I got:

I initially used Matrix Metering and saw that the camera was underexposing the people's faces. This is because the bright surrounding fooled the camera. I then switched to spot metering, lock-metered on someone's face and noticed a big difference.

Go to your local bookstore or library and find books on Zone System and Exposure. They helped me a lot

Good Luck!

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Old May 10, 2006, 5:37 AM   #3
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The matrix metering is very good. I use it most of the time and only shift to another mode when the matrix metering is fooled by the lighting.

Rey has explained the spot metering well and also given some idea of when you might use it.

Matrix metering looks at the whole scene and tries to determine an exposure that will suit the whole of the picture. Sometimes this is just not possible if the picture has very dark and very light areas it will be outside the dynamic range of the camera. This is thevariation in light between the lightest and darkest areas that the sensor can handle. When you have this situtation some part of the picture will be over or under exposed maybe even both. This is a limit in the sensor and the same thing applies with film. The problem comes only when your main subject is one ofthe areas that is incorrectly exposed. That's when you need to use exposure compensation with the matrix meter or switch to one of the other modes.

Spot metering has been explained. Centre weightedlooks at the whole picture but gives more weight to the lighting of the centre part of the image. As long as your main subject is in that centre portion of the image centre weighted metering will probably give you a good exposure.
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Old May 10, 2006, 10:30 AM   #4
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Iusually taking pictures of wildbirds. Birds are small andhaving bright sky as background. I use spot meter to measure the light thatreflect fromthe bird which is usually far less than from the sky in the back ground.

For general purpose matrix metering should give better results as it average reading from many spots in the picture. With birds against bright sky matrix will not do.
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