Photography: Metering Modes

Posted on: 15th October 2013


Automatic exposure is one standard feature among digital cameras today. The amount of light in a frame can be measured through this feature, which allows you to ensure the best possible exposure for your subject. Different metering modes are used for different subject or sceneries.

Centre-weighted metering

The centre-weighted metering is the most common metering system in compact digital cameras especially if there are no other options available. In the case of general and portrait photography, it is essential to expose the central portion of the scene properly, hence, the use of centre-weighted metering.

Photography Metering ModesMatrix (evaluative) metering

If you want optimum exposure for all your photography subjects, use the matrix metering. As the most complex metering mode, it splits the scene into a matrix of metering zones. Each part would be evaluated individually to determine the level of exposure it needs. Another basis for the overall exposure is by getting the average of the total light readings.

Spot metering

If you only need a small area of the frame to be covered, spot metering is the key. Sometimes, there is a need to emphasize a particular detail so you need to rely on this metering mode to reveal only four per cent or less of the viewfinder area. The centre of the frame receives maximum exposure while the rest is completely ignored. It can be used in a wide variety of photo sessions such as close-up and moon shots as well as in brightly backlit photography and macro photography.

Partial metering

It has similarities with partial metering but it although it reveals about 13.5 per cent of the viewfinder area. Partial metering is employed when there are bright and dark areas within the scene. Avoid underexposure by metering the main subject of the scene, like in portrait photography when the subject is back lit.

Professional photographers who want to have more control over exposure utilize the spot and partial metering.

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