Metering Modes....but what to do with them?!

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by achua00, Mar 27, 2011.

  1. achua00
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    achua00 New Member

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    I am totally confused about what to do with these metering modes. I have the basic 4 metering modes in my camera (Canon 60D) (Evaluative, partial, spot, center-weighted) Does this help with properly exposing my photos? If it's supposed to help measure the brightness of the subject, then how do I know which mode I should be picking? Also, I'm reading a book called "Understanding Exposure" by Bryan Peterson, if anyone's read this book can you explain what he means when he often refers to "taking a meter reading, getting a correct exposure at a particular aperture, and then recomposed and took the shot". How do you recompose a shot without totally messing up the exposure triangle?

    Thanks, I hope these questions make sense.
  2. KmH
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    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish

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    RTFM. Your 60D User Manual explains the 4 metering modes and some of their possible uses, on page 119. Beyond that, it takes an understanding of what each metering mode does, and how each mode may apply to each shooting situation you encounter. Keep the manual in your gear bag so it is readily available for reference.

    Bryan is referring to using the spot metering mode to ensure a specific part of the scene is properly exposed, like a persons face, or the shot he made of the tree with a dark storm in the background.

    Most Nikon cameras tie the selected focus point and the spot metering point together so the photographer can meter off center subjects without the need to re-compose. Some of Canon's entry-level cameras don't even have spot metering mode, let alone the ability for the spot metered to be concurrent with the selected focus point. In other words in spot metering mode the spot is always in the center of the viewfinder, regardless which focus point is selected. If I read the 60D manual correctly, that is indeed the situation with the 60D.
  3. jay125
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    jay125 New Member

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    "taking a meter reading, getting a correct exposure at a particular aperture, and then recomposed and took the shot". How do you recompose a shot without totally messing up the exposure triangle?"

    this is easy to do on a 60D. when you press the shutter button half way down, you start the autofocus as well as the metering. if you use backbutton auto-focus, you take the auto-focus off the shutter button and onto the button on the back of your camera. you can use the shutter button half-way down to meter, then adjust the scene in your viewfinder, use backbutton autofocus to focus on your subject and take the shot. that way the shot is metered as you want it. a good example of this would be to meter on something darker in the room, thus making the room correctly lit, then recompose, possibly adding a window into the shot. the window will be washed out, but the room will stay exposed correctly. this also works the other way around, with the auto-focus. back button focus, recompose the shot in your viewfinder, meter it, and your subject which you focused earlier remains focused in the shot even though you've recomposed. in metering then recomposing, the exposure triangle is intact, you've just recomposed the shot.

    Peterson's book is a great read.

    i think the modes and their uses are described on page 119 of your manual. i found this which does a pretty good job of explaining them. Exploring Metering Modes « Picturing Change
  4. achua00
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    achua00 New Member

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    @jay125, thank you, I tried what you said about using that back button. I've had this camera since Nov. and never tried to use that button for any focusing! Thanks for the tips.

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