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Metering mode

Discussion in 'Sony Alpha E-Mount Cameras' started by justa, Mar 11, 2019.

  1. justa

    justa TalkEmount Regular

    Jul 4, 2013

    Could someone who is more intelligent than me please help me with the following ?

    Just say someone (obviously not me!!) went out to take pictures in London for a weekend and took every single photo in center spot metering mode...

    What would the effect be on the images taken ?

    thanks !
  2. mikew

    mikew New to TalkEmount

    Mar 8, 2019
    Guess they could vary from correct to under and over exposed,depending on the size of the spot meter point and what part of the image it read from.
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  3. justa

    justa TalkEmount Regular

    Jul 4, 2013
    Thanks that’s what I thought.

    Could it also effect ISO and the amount of noise in an image ?
  4. WNG

    WNG TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 12, 2014
    Arrid Zone-A, USA
    If in Auto ISO and the upper limit is not capped, ISO will be increased above acceptable noise level if aperture or shutter speed requires it.

    Spot metering will attempt to return proper exposure of the subject within the spot area. So, you can end up with under-exposed backgrounds, or blown out highlights if subject is in dark shadows. There is no one simple answer since its situation dependent.
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  5. bdbits

    bdbits TalkEmount All-Pro

    Sep 10, 2015
    It is worth noting that if said person shot RAWs, and the ISO was not really high, and exposure was not extremely far off, you might be surprised at how much you can recover in an image, especially shadows (underexposure).

    That's a lot of IFs but all may not be lost.
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  6. christilou

    christilou TalkEmount All-Pro

    Nov 26, 2012
    Surrey, UK
    I'm just experimenting with spot metering myself. I'm trying large spot metering to see how that goes. In spain I set it for metering high lights and I had capped iso at 1000. I found that it did hold the highlights really well, even though for pictures that weren't so extreme I had to go up sometimes almost 3 stops when post processing. Luckily the sensor can handle this really well but I was worried at how dark the original RAWs turned out.
  7. pellicle

    pellicle TalkEmount Veteran

    I've looked at the answers and thought I'd offer something. I can't vouch for my intelligence.

    Firstly this is a simplification, which means in absolute terms its not right, but its near enough. I strongly suggest you try this yourself.

    A meter just doesn't know what its looking at. You know what you're looking at but the meter just sees intensity. You know that its white, black or grey. The meter doesn't.

    So where to meter? The whole scene? Just a bit? Some balance? Well it all depends.

    If you put a white piece of paper on a black wall and meter off the white paper, will it be white? Nope, the camera will turn it grey (try it with your spot).

    This is why in some ways we tend towards giving students grey cards.

    Now, if you want the wall black or the paper white you can do one of two things:
    1. meter off the wall and adjust exposure (compensation) down to make it blacker
    2. meter off the paper and adjust exposure up to make it whiter (without blowing the sheet, put some light HB pencil marks on the paper and look for them)
    So if you were taking a stage shot with the stage in darkness (mostly) and an actor in the spotlight, then "spot metering" would make sense, mostly because the actor and costume will not be "white black or grey" but a balance.

    So thinking about this walking around London with yoru meter set on spot will achieve what? On an overcast day the spot you select will be no different to the rest of the scene, or if it is (say a black london cab) then it will result in making that black thing grey over exposing the rest of the scene.

    So in my view, when you don't have anything specific to meter off and any specific reasons. In the image below would I have got this result with spot metering where the red square is?

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    Probably not

    I tend to work in this sort of situation in Manual and put metering on average (just for some sort of base line) and then once I've evaluated a few test shots tend to leave it just like that (unless what I see in the EVF in the post capture makes me change my mind.

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    sorry that these are all m43 ... but I haven't seen "That 1 Guy" for a while now...

    walking around London I'd just use matrix metering and trust it ...
  8. chalkdust

    chalkdust TalkEmount Top Veteran

    Sep 25, 2015
    Bert Cheney
    There is a metering mode? Huh. ...learn something every day... :)  Thanks for asking, so I can learn.

    How do I set it for highlights (like Christina did) ?
  9. bdbits

    bdbits TalkEmount All-Pro

    Sep 10, 2015
    Here's a random short video I dug up on metering modes (including highlight).

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  10. bdbits

    bdbits TalkEmount All-Pro

    Sep 10, 2015
    For what it's worth, personally I shoot full manual most of the time. Old guy with old habits. I still check the meter to see that I'm in the ballpark, but use what I see in the EVF and adjust accordingly. Yes, I realize it is not perfect WYSIWYG and I think is JPEG-based. I set everything I can to something neutral and it usually works out, perhaps requiring a little post-processing.

    Same with focusing - mostly manual lenses. I should probably be on a Leica or something else I cannot afford. (I actually started with Sony cameras to adapt really inexpensive legacy lenses.)

    Weird I know - all that auto technology, even in an A7ii, and I seldom use it. :redface:
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  11. Ziggy99

    Ziggy99 TalkEmount Regular Subscribing Member

    Jan 25, 2019
    Tsk. You probably walk down the street looking at the sidewalk rather than your mobile phone too.

    One of the neat things about the A9 is the option to link metering with AF points.
    From Gary Friedman's book:
    Select Spot metering.
    Set Spot Metering Point to Focus Point Link.
    Set focus area to to Flexible Spot or Expand Flexible Spot.
    • Informative Informative x 1
  12. addieleman

    addieleman Passionate amateur Subscribing Member

    Nov 13, 2012
    Ad Dieleman
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