Camera metering modes.

Camera Metering Modes

By using a light meter the camera will be able to determine the appropriate values for the aperture and shutter speed. In order to produce a correctly exposed photo the aperture and shutter speed must be ideally matched. The perfect combination of the two parameters varies greatly depending on the lighting conditions. Most modern cameras have different exposure metering methods that you can select to suit the subject and the light conditions. Common metering methods include multi-segment metering, spot metering, selective metering and centre-weighted integral metering.

Multifield Metering

Depending on the manufacturer, this metering mode is also called zone system metering or matrix metering and is usually preset as the standard mode. Motif programmes are also based on multi-segment metering with regard to exposure metering. The metering mode may vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. However, it is always the same principle instead of assessing the entire picture to see if it has the correct exposure, the subject must be the focus and the most important areas of the picture need to be highlighted. Thanks to technology, face recognition and the like a camera will be able to automatically recognise a subject during multi-segment metering, where the main focus should be put on the exposure. If autofocus is also activated, the focused image area is also used for exposure metering. Only if there is strong backlighting, very bright or very low ambient light does the photographer have to additionally adjust the exposure parameters.

Multi-segment metering is an all-rounder among the exposure metering modes. You can achieve good results with this mode in almost all lighting situations. However, if the metering is incorrect, you can easily adjust the parameters manually. This is often much easier than using a different exposure mode on your camera.

Selective Metering

The exposure of a circular area in the centre of a picture will be measured. This measuring area corresponds to about 10 per cent of the image section. The image areas around the selected area are left out in certain modes. Even though the measuring range is somewhat larger than with spot metering, the selective method is also susceptible to faulty measurements and therefore requires some practice and experience.

Selective metering is often used in portrait photography. The measuring range will be aligned with the face in the centre of the picture. However, selective metering is also a suitable exposure metering mode for taking photos with a backlight. Since the exposure metering concentrates only on the central subject it is much more visible and not too dark.

Sport Metering

To measure the exposure for a very small image area such as two to four percent a spot metering is used. The measuring range here is more selective than the selective metering as described above. Generally, the corresponding measuring field is located in the centre of the image section. Depending on the camera model the data of the activated autofocus are also used for the exposure measurement, which means that the "spot" of the measurement is in the focussed image area and not necessarily in the centre of the image. Spot metering is used, for example, with subjects that are a little further away. You can use spot metering to measure a particular detail of a house and take a great photo with the correct exposure. This spot metering mode requires some experience from the photographer. If the ideal exposure point is not chosen, then the whole picture may be overexposed or underexposed.

Centre-Weighted Integral Metering

As the name suggests, this exposure metering mode focuses mainly on the section in the centre of the image. However, the meter in this case is not point based or selective. Centre-weighted integral metering a bit like multi-segment metering refers to the entire image section, but this mainly focuses on exposing the centre of the image rather than the outer parts.

Centre-weighted metering is particularly suitable for subjects that are surrounded by very bright or dark areas. For example, when taking photos of animals or objects in the countryside the dark peripheral areas are ignored during metering and the subject is correctly exposed in the centre of the picture. Centre-weighted integral metering is also helpful for distant outdoor subjects surrounded by sky or water. The bright light of the surroundings normally carries the risk of underexposure of the main subject. However, centre-weighted metering still enables you to take a successful photo.



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