For dummies - question 1

May 2, 2005

Here's my first question... I recently went to Costa Rica and took some terrific shots (most of them on automatic because of lack of confidence).
Quite some pictures are under(over)exposed, for instance a bird in a tree.
My question: when there is a huge difference between shadow/light how do you expose? Is it best to use spot metering, ...?
Thanks for your help!
Feb 22, 2005
Athens Greece
Rudy, first a big welcome to the cafe. :-D
Now, about metering, ...I guess this is the one million dollars/euros question. The parameters for defining the "perfect" metering are far too many to list here, and they differ in every cm of your frame.
Since I have the same camera with you, I can only tell you that spot metering will not always give you perfect results, exept from very unique cases where your subject really occupies less than 8-10% of your frame. I tend to use the center weighted metering if I want to "isolate" my metering.
The big issue here, I guess, is backlight. Post some of your photos and you could all contribute with our "expertise"...


I am no expert so take this with a grain of salt.

If there is dramatic difference in light (Very bright and very dark) spot or centre will give you the best exposure for the metered area only and will possibley be under or overexposed in the non-metered areas. I love using Spot but only if I want a correct exposure specifically on one subject (eg. a bird or animal). The camera disregards the other areas in view so the rest of the image may not be well metered. Usually multi is the most accurate outside of bracketing, double-exposure (high-end cams only) or graduated filters.

I hope this is right,



Spot or center

Spot or center meter (depending on size of subject) and then bracket. Hopefully the critter won't move.

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