400D and light metering

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by libeco, Mar 29, 2007.

  1. libeco

    libeco TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2006
    Messages:
    101
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Netherlands
    When I tried taking pictures of moving object (birds that happened to fly by) I had the feeling the subject was underexposed, while the sky was properly exposed. I know the 400D lacks spot metering but has;
    - Evaluative
    - Partial
    - Centre-weighted average

    But my question is, what situations should I think of for these metering methods (although when taking a picture probably one should think the other way around)?

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2003
    Messages:
    33,822
    Likes Received:
    1,811
    Location:
    Edmonton
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    A bird in an open sky...is a tricky metering situation. You don't have spot metering on that camera and even if you did, it would be hard or impossible to get a reading while it's flying around.

    One way of determining your exposure, is to think about what is influencing the meter, what you are shooting and how much exposure compensation to use. For example, if you are shooting a bird that has a bright sky behind it...the bright sky will cause the meter to use less exposure...so you need to add exposure. In your image, the sky may be over exposes but the bird would then be correctly exposed.
     
  3. EOS_JD

    EOS_JD TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2007
    Messages:
    1,698
    Likes Received:
    0
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Most of us have the same problem :)

    As Mike says you need to provide more exposure for your subject. Would be the same with a backlit person (say a portrait of a person in front of a window). Use your meter and it will most likely expose the bright area correctly and underexpose your subject.

    You have 2 choices.

    1. Use a burst of flash to expose the subject correctly (not useful in shooting a bird though as the distance to the subject will be too great probably)

    2. Add some exposure compensation.

    Your camera actually tries to make the overall exposure of an image 18% grey. Try shooting snow - Camera will try to make it look grey unless you add a stop or two of exposure compensation - making it white and if you shoot a dark scene, the camera is likely to overexpose the brightert parts of an image. You need to ad some -ive EC.

    Read Understanding Exposure by Bryan Petersen. A great book that will teach you a lot.
     
  4. libeco

    libeco TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2006
    Messages:
    101
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Just ordered the book plus some other ones I was going to buy anyway. One quick thing when talking 18% grey; tThe other day I was trying to focus on my greycard but my camera wouldn't focus while when focusing on the grass next to the card there was no problem, is this due to the cards 18% grey?
     
  5. JFJohnny5

    JFJohnny5 TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2007
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Chicago area
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    You shouldn't need to "focus" on the grey card to set white balance or for metering...but...

    But if you are having problems with autofocus with the 18% grey card, it is because the card is too smooth (no contrast) for autofocus to pick it up. Autofocus is fine with the grass because there is much more contrast, more edges, etc.

    To set your autofocus at the same distance as the grey card, try focusing on the "edge" of the card. Then either continue holding the shutter release while you reframe, or set the focus to "manual" on the lens so it won't adjust from that distance when you press the shutter release to snap the photo.
     
  6. Aquarium Dreams

    Aquarium Dreams TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2007
    Messages:
    731
    Likes Received:
    0
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    I don't know how long you've been shooting, but after awhile, you get a feel for when to + or - exposure compensation. Reading books and practicing helps. Just as a thought, I also use the 400d and always have it set on "center-weighted" average, which I figure is the closest thing to a spot meter on that camera.
     
  7. libeco

    libeco TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2006
    Messages:
    101
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Started witha Fuji S9500 last October (had a compact about five years before that) so I'm not really experienced yet. So I have a lot of practicing ahead, I like it!

    I was just wondering if it was of any use to know if specific situations require specific light metering settings.

    Thanks for the replies!

    Oh and the grey card question was not really a problem, more of a mystery, thanks for explaining!
     
  8. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2003
    Messages:
    9,713
    Likes Received:
    203
    Location:
    Brisbane, Australia
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    It's just a matter of getting to know your metre. For instance I know someone who always uses evaluative metring and has got his exposure compensation down pat. I am more inclined to use centre weighted average as my previous camera had that as it's only option. Somethings i have found though:

    Night photography is more accurate in centreweighted average.
    When photographing a subject in snow, either spot metre of an 18% grey card or spot metre a person's skin an open up one stop.
    Hen photographing at night a subject against blackness spot metre them when you metre the flash, as TTL often over-exposes the subject.
     
  9. libeco

    libeco TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2006
    Messages:
    101
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Thanks for your reply!
     
  10. libeco

    libeco TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2006
    Messages:
    101
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Netherlands
    I finished reading 'Understanding exposures (revised edition)' and have the feeling I've learned a few tricks I'll try to use while experimenting. I do have a question though.

    When talking about storytelling apertures he mentions the distance settings on zoom lenses and using it instead of the depth-of-field scale. But I don't understand how this should be used. Could someone explain?

    PS. for the people who do not own the book, he tells how to take pictures with every part of the image in detail by using an aperture of for instance f/22. here's what he writes;

     
  11. EOS_JD

    EOS_JD TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2007
    Messages:
    1,698
    Likes Received:
    0
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Many lenses nowadays don't have aperture and distance settings on your lens.

    Read up on depth of field and check out the depth of field calculators on-line.
     
  12. libeco

    libeco TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2006
    Messages:
    101
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Netherlands
    My 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM has a distance marker showing, would that do?

    Where would I find such a calculator?

    THNX!
     

Share This Page

Search tags for this page

400d light metering problem

,

hen to use center weighted exposure

,

hot to use light meter on canon 400d

,

how to meter light 400d

,

light meter canon 400d