Manual metering

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Ant, Feb 11, 2005.

  1. Ant

    Ant TPF Noob!

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    How many of you meter manually and why? Particularly when we live in a time when cameras can all do their own metering automatically in a variety of different ways.

    I've been doing photography for less than a year, so very much still a newbie, and I considered manual metering something I would never use...why would I when the camera can do it for me and, anyway, that was something only real photographers do :)

    But a couple of days ago it was really sunny so I decided to go to my local airport to do some shooting practice. I used matrix metering, spot metering and centre weighted at various times for different circumstances, yet the histogram always seemed to be shifted a little too much to the left or the right. Not really a problem as post editing could adjust it and the exposure wasn't too much out anyway; but as I was just messing about trying a few things I decided to go wild and try a bit of on-the-fly manual metering :)

    I'm already familiar with the sunny 16 rule and had translated it to work on my D70, so I switched my camera to M mode...feeling a little guilty for trying to pretend I was a proper photographer :D....and set the shutter and aperture accordingly. Took a pic and checked the histogram....WOW the histogram peaked bang in the centre. I took quite a few more and when I later downloaded and checked them at home they were among the best exposed shots I'd done.

    I think I'll be using M mode a lot more often from now on. :)
     
  2. Big Mike

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

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    I don't know if it's an issue of using the different metering modes vs. "manual metering" as you call it.

    I think it's a matter of trusting you meter or not. How many of us just use auto mode or one of the priority modes without any compensation? The sunny 16 rule is great because it relates to your actual exposure...while the camera's meter is trying to change what it sees to a mid toned scene. You should get the same proper exposure with the sunny 16 rule as you would from starting with the camera's meter reading and adjusting accordingly. Neither way is right or wrong IMO.
     
  3. Ant

    Ant TPF Noob!

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    No, I'm not arguing about right or wrong. I was just surprised to find that I could use manual metering and get good results.

    It's not something I thought I'd be able to do before and it just gives me an extra option.
     
  4. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental TPF Noob!

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    I always use a hand-held meter unless things are happening fast. Hand-held metering gives you time to think and work out what the light is doing and how you want it to record on the print.
    I think accurate metering is more important for film. You can tweak a digital image in ways that are impossible with film.
    I also understand that manufacturers set camera meters for the average snapshot so they don't always work how you want them to. I guess I'm just an old fashioned control freak when it come to taking pictures.
     

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