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Old 15-04-2008, 20:31   #1 (permalink)
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Appropriate metering?

Well, i've done a little reading around but come to no definitive answer - as usual just alot of technical blabber that means nothing specific.

I want to know which metering options suit which situations/scenario's best?

I only have three on the D40x - Centre Weighted, Spot and Matrix.

From what i understand (not alot) is that Matrix would better suit landscape and Spot, portrait.

Enlighten me

MiKE
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Old 15-04-2008, 20:44   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Appropriate metering?

It really depends on how the highlights and shadows are distributed in the scene. For example you might be better with spot in a landscape with bright beaches and dark tree shadows.
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Old 15-04-2008, 20:50   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Appropriate metering?

So is a way to ensure you don't blow light area's of th photo?
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Old 15-04-2008, 21:01   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Appropriate metering?

The only way to be sure is to set your camera to display the histogram when you review. If possible, use the RGB histogram rather than the luminance one, as that will show individual blown channels.

Do you know how to interpret the histogram? It's dead easy, and one of the most useful features on your camera (and your image editor!).
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Old 15-04-2008, 21:51   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Appropriate metering?

I guess it depends what camera you have (my experience is based on the Canon EOS) but in the majority of situations you will be fine using matrix metering as the software in the cameras is pretty clever these days. It takes some pretty wacky lighting to throw my EOS.

The point where you start using the spot (I don't tend to use centre weighted at all) is where you know the camera is going to look at the scene and misunderstand it.

For example, let's say you are taking a photo of a person against the evening sky. The background is fairly dark and the subject (person) is in the middle ground. In the foreground is a bright neon sign. Most cameras will spot the bright area against the dark background and decide that is the subject, exposing to get the sign perfect but leaving your intended subject under exposed. To fix that you would spot meter on the person in the middle ground. The sign will come out over exposed but that's what you want because your interest is in the person, the sign is just part of the environment.

There are many other scenarios, that is just one. Personally speaking I would recommend using matrix and only switch to spot when you run into something that the camera can't handle on its own. Then spot meter from the thing that you want to be the subject (or an area that you want to be 'averagely' lit).

Hope that helps.
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Old 15-04-2008, 21:52   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Appropriate metering?

In my limited experience there are no hard and fast rules. Matrix does an amazing job all things considered and is definitely the setting I switch my camera to when I put it away.

There are lots of ways to deal with any of the examples I am giving and none of them are wrong. Centre weighted can be useful for a dominant central subject like a portrait or action. Matrix is useful when you want to get a good balance for the whole scene like a landscapes or street photography. Spot is useful where your subject is in tricky lighting, it doesn't matter too much about the rest of the image and does not fill much of the frame. It's also useful as a base reading for manual shooting or before your apply compensation. Also to take a grey card reading. Useful in backlit or incandescent subjects like birds in flight or candles.
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Old 15-04-2008, 22:27   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Appropriate metering?

While reading books and the above very good advice will give you a feeling for what to use you really just have to take some pictures of different subjects with different metering setting and look at the results.

You will soon get an instinctive feeling of what metering to use in what situation. With digital experimentation costs nothing but time
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Old 15-04-2008, 22:28   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Appropriate metering?

Quote:
Originally Posted by silkstone View Post

Do you know how to interpret the histogram? It's dead easy, and one of the most useful features on your camera (and your image editor!).
It's still in the unknown for me. Could you point in the right direction please? I think all i possibly know is that if the y axis peaks 'off the scale' then a part of the picture i blown but hey, i don't know. lol

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Old 15-04-2008, 23:52   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Appropriate metering?

Take a looksee....

Digital Photography Tutorial: Histogram - Photoxels

Your Friend, the Histogram - Photo Tips @ Earthbound Light

Histograms for Photography

Believe me... the histogram really is your best friend, especially if you have the chance to review on the camera's LCD and take the shot again if necessary. It only takes a couple of seconds to see if it's right.

Bear in mind that cameras without RGB histogram display tend to bias the composite histogram towards the green channel. That's fine for landscapes but no good for bright red or yellow flowers etc where it's very easy to blow the red channel, so use RGB histogram if possible.
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Old 16-04-2008, 15:39   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Appropriate metering?

Thanks silkstone. It's a simple concept ezpecially as i did alot of histogram work for GCSE Stats . On the RGB fornt, when im viewing the image taken on my D40x if i simply press down once i get a histogram however i have no idea what kind of histogram it is. Does anyone know?
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Old 16-04-2008, 15:43   #11 (permalink)
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Re: Appropriate metering?

Hmmmm jsu found out its a Luminance one. Is that bad? Usable? or just not ideal?
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Old 16-04-2008, 15:49   #12 (permalink)
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Re: Appropriate metering?

Im just wasting posts here, i've found out how to display an the RGB
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Old 16-04-2008, 16:08   #13 (permalink)
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Re: Appropriate metering?



If you take something bright red or yellow, it's interesting to compare the luminance and RGB histograms. Even if the luminance one has no spike at the right, the RGB may show that reds are blown.
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