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Exposure and exposure modes

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Old Thursday 5th June 2008, 08:51   #1
Tannin
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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.

Quote:
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.
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Old Thursday 5th June 2008, 11:29   #2
Roy C
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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 11:35.
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Old Thursday 5th June 2008, 12:46   #3
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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!
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Old Thursday 5th June 2008, 17:07   #4
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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.
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Old Friday 6th June 2008, 10:02   #5
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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)
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Old Friday 6th June 2008, 10:12   #6
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Evaluative for me...nearly every time. A quick look at the histogram and compensate accordingly.
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Old Friday 6th June 2008, 11:10   #7
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i use partial to get a rough guide then ajust and set manul .
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