Metering question


No longer a newbie, moving up!
Oct 21, 2004
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Southwest Virginia
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My Pentax DS has 3 different metering options, and I think so far, it's life has consisted of just the multi-segment metering in which it measures each of the 16 sections of the frame and determines the appropriate exposure. Can someone give me an example as to when I should use it's other options optimally? The other options are center weighted and spot metering.

It depends on your subject - spot metering uses about 5% of the frame (the middle bit). This is the next best thing for getting an exposure reading off an item to using a dedicated light meter. An example of where you might use this could be a white stone statue with details - a general exposure might over blow it and lose the detail.

Centre weighted average metering is the same, but it includes a circle representing the middle 20% of the frame. This is then balanced for exposure about 50/50 with the other 80% of the frame. Therefore, if you're taking a picture of a person against a background, this might be the best option.

All cameras vary slightly in their calculation formulae and exact numbering, but the examples I've given should be vaguely accurate!

The spot meter might come in handy if you were photographing a brightly back lit subject such as someone in front of a window in a dark room, or outside with their back to the sun. Set on a mode that measures the entire frame, the meter will recommend an exposure that will underexpose because of the bright background. Using the spot to meter only the person would result in a better exposed subject.

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