Using the Camera to Meter

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by DaveLe, Aug 18, 2009.

  1. DaveLe

    DaveLe TPF Noob!

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    I have been reading a lot about the calculating the differences of light between the shadows and bright areas of an intended picture. Using the camera for metering seems to be a place to start, but how do you perform this? Do you put the camera in automatic mode and see what F-Stop is suggested? I shoot in manual, so how do obtain the meter settings?
     
  2. benlonghair

    benlonghair TPF Noob!

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    I think what you're asking would be solved with spot metering and checking the shadows and highlights to see how far apart they are, then recomposing and shooting.
     
  3. bigtwinky

    bigtwinky No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Put the camera in manual and set either your aperture or shutter to the value you want, depending on intended result.

    Then half press the shutter release button and look at the meter. If its to the left, the photo will be under exposed. The more to the left it is, the more under exposed it is.

    Adjust settings until you are at the right exposure.

    Ex: Camera in manual, you set an aperture of f/8 and ISO of 100 as this is what you want. Half click the shutter and it gives you a shutter speed of 1/100 and a meter reading of -2. You have to slow the shutter or increase the ISO to allow more light on the sensor to move the meter reading more in the middle.

    All this is depending on the metering mode your camera is in. Different metering modes will take different things into consideration in the same scene... from the overall brightness, to a certain diameter in the center, to a specific point of the image. You need to chose which is best
     
  4. DaveLe

    DaveLe TPF Noob!

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    Good morning and a big thank you for your help. I've been using the "bar" to help with my exposure, just didn't know that this was the tool used to "Meter" different portions of a scene. Does each bar on this scale represent 1 full fstop or is it a portion of an f-stop that is based on the 1/2 or 1/3 setting within my camera? I'm using a D5000 by the way.
     
  5. Goontz

    Goontz TPF Noob!

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    Your owner's manual should explain what the light meter [bar] is and how to read it. It should be 1/3's, with a minimum/maximum of 2 full stops. I highly suggest reading your manual cover to cover.
     
  6. Big Mike

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

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  7. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    As suggested, if you read your manual, you'll discover that you can change menu settings to have the meter read in 1/3, 1/2 or full stop increments.
     
  8. DaveLe

    DaveLe TPF Noob!

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    Thanks guys, I've read my manual several times and as expected, many things went right over my head. I've been reading and experimenting for a couple of months now and your are right, time to read it again from cover to cover. After Kevin's comments I started going through the manual again in detail and I am finding tons of stuff that I now understand that a few weeks I could not. This forums is fantastic and I appreciate help. Now that I understand what the meter "bar" is (instead of just knowing how to use it to get a good exposure) I will use it to my advantage.

    Thanks for the insight.
     

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