Camera Metering Made Easy

What you need to know about digital exposure settings

by Linda Eodice

All digital cameras have built-in light meters, in which the light is metered through the lens (or what’s known as TTL metering). Basically, there are three types of TTL metering available in digital SLRs and many compact digital cameras. Primarily, the difference between the three types of meters is the amount of subject area they look at to get their readings.

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A number of students have asked questions about their camera’s internal metering systems and when to use the various metering modes. Your camera’s manual may not make it entirely clear, so I will attempt to simplify it:

Depending on the maker of the camera, the basic metering mode might be called Evaluative, Segmented, Pattern or Matrix. This meter reads different parts of the scene from the entire viewfinder, measures each one, and computes the exposure of the scene. This is the default metering mode for most cameras.

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The Center-Weighted mode measures the light from a specific central portion of the viewfinder. While the meter looks at the entire area you’re photographing, it gives extra emphasis to that central area, which gives you control over what part of the scene is important to you. This mode is very helpful when your subject is surrounded by very light or dark surroundings.

The Spot metering mode has an even more focused measurement than the Center-Weighted mode – usually about 3.5 to 5% of the viewfinder. The spot mode is designed to allow you to take an accurate reading from a very tiny portion of the scene.



More on Lynne Eodice:
Check out Lynne's BetterPhoto instructor bio and her digital online courses on the fundamentals of photography and basics of exposure.



About Author Linda Eodice


Author: Linda  Eodice

To learn more about photography, explore the photography classes offered here at BetterPhoto.