Join for FREE
It only takes a minute!
Zeiss - Always on the lookout for something special – Shop now

Welcome to BirdForum.
BirdForum is the net's largest birding community, dedicated to wild birds and birding, and is absolutely FREE! You are most welcome to register for an account, which allows you to take part in lively discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.

Exposure and exposure modes

Thread Tools Rate Thread
Old Thursday 5th June 2008, 09:51   #1
Common; sedentary.
Tannin's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Ballarat, Australia
Posts: 1,559
Exposure and exposure modes

We were talking about exposure and variations between cameras, and related matters. Interesting discussion, but getting way off-topic in the 40D v 1D III thread, so I thought I'd start a new one.

Originally Posted by Adey Baker in another thread
I do the same with my 20D as Max (use 1/3rd of a stop -ive EC as routine) and I used to dial-in -0.5 on my old EOS50E 35mm camera as well. Canon's evaluative metering isn't as spot-on as they'd like to think! If there's some sky in the shot, then it's fine, but with the kind of subjects that we're dealing with here on BF, then it tends to over-expose unless there's a good area of light tone somewhere else in the shot to compensate for the lack of sky. It's a simple matter to flick the compensation dial round a bit when you've got a bird against the sky but I always re-set to -0.3 as a 'default' setting.

I'm hoping to add a 40D to my set-up soon, so it'll be interesting to see how that performs.
Well, that opens a whole different can of worms, Adey! To tell the truth, I've never really got the hang of evaluative metering on any camera, be it Canon or Nikon. The trouble I have with evaluative/matrix metering is that (a) like any automatic system it can't be expected to get everything right all of the time, but (b) I don't really know how it works, so I never know what to do by way of manual override!

I used to use evaluative/matrix for landscapes and general scenes, but these days I just use one metering system for everything - partial. I'm not claiming partial is "the best" or anything like that, merely that it's pretty simple and predictable, and because of that I've got a fair chance of knowing what it's going to do, and thus guessing the correct amount of EC (if any) to add.

Why not spot? I used to use spot metering back in Coolpix 4500 days and really missed it when I switched to a 20D. I complained about the lack of a spot meter for ages. Then, when I got the 1D III which does have spot metering, the first thing I did was go back to spot ..... and mess up a whole lot of pictures!

The point I'm trying to get at is that, at least for me, it seems to be best to have one simple metering method and use under all circumstances. So these days all my cameras are set to partial and stay that way. (Oh, I might add that metering is perhaps more than ordinarily important to me, as (for reasons I've written about at length elsewhere) I primarily shoot JPG, so I need to get it fairly right first go.)

I'd be interested to hear what methods others use. What's your metering system? Spot, evaluative, average, or partial? Do you mix and match, or stick to a single system? Do you routinely use a little EC, or shoot flat? And so on.
Tannin is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Thursday 5th June 2008, 12:29   #2
Roy C
Occasional bird snapper
Roy C's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Barnstaple,North Devon,UK
Posts: 16,254
I use Partial for birding/Macro/Plants ... and evaluative for landscapes. But just lately I have gotten into manual metering by taking a reading of some grass or the likes in ambient light (using Partial) and dialing in the setting - had some very good success's with birds but have yet to try it on landscapes.

EDIT: to overcome the problem of Sky v Foreground in landscapes I take three shots at different exposures ( evaluative ) and blend them using Photmatix.

Last edited by Roy C : Thursday 5th June 2008 at 12:35.
Roy C is offline  
Reply With Quote

BF Supporter 2007 Support BirdForum With A Donation

Old Thursday 5th June 2008, 13:46   #3
Registered User
gymell's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Minnesota, USA
Posts: 262
I always use spot metering and shoot in manual mode, and RAW. Mainly because I'm too lazy to learn what the other modes are doing!
Check out my online bird gallery
See what's at the feeders right now on my live feedercam
Help native birds - discourage house sparrows!
gymell is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Thursday 5th June 2008, 18:07   #4
Hello folks
Cashie's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Poulton le fylde, Lancashire
Posts: 8,806
For birds I always use partial, I get my best results with it and for landscapes I use my old hand held western master 5 meter & shoot in manual, the results seem better to my eye than evaluate can achieve.
Cashie is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Friday 6th June 2008, 11:02   #5
Sontium Dweller
gmax's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Gorizia (Friuli Venezia Giulia) NE Italy
Posts: 11,527
No spot for me (20D - 350D), sigh ... I've moved some time back from centre-weighted to partial for all kind of shots, finding it more predictable and consistent - the only thing I tend to care for is quickly "measuring" the relative size of the subject in the frame and if it's rather small I compensate for the background (for example, usually +1, 2 stops for the sky, or shoot flat if it's a bird on the water, just checking not to burn whites)
- Max -
gmax is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Friday 6th June 2008, 11:12   #6
Registered User

Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Salford England
Posts: 41,346
Evaluative for me...nearly every time. A quick look at the histogram and compensate accordingly.
a.dancy is offline  
Reply With Quote

BF Supporter 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 Support BirdForum With A Donation

Old Friday 6th June 2008, 12:10   #7
Registered User
GYRob's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Lincolnshire
Posts: 2,743
i use partial to get a rough guide then ajust and set manul .
GYRob is offline  
Reply With Quote

BF Supporter 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 Support BirdForum With A Donation


Thread Tools
Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Exposure Compensation geordie graham Technique 4 Friday 15th February 2008 17:40
Exposure challenges Astrokev Nikon 10 Monday 7th May 2007 13:38
Exposure Settings erniehatt Technique 4 Thursday 23rd February 2006 07:51
Exposure 101! mjmw Cameras And Photography 32 Friday 4th November 2005 19:46
exposure paul_j_c2000 Technique 6 Monday 5th January 2004 17:33


Fatbirder's Top 1000 Birding Websites

Help support BirdForum

Page generated in 0.13914299 seconds with 17 queries
All times are GMT. The time now is 04:13.