How to run spot metering!

Started Mar 23, 2011 | Discussions
muir318
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How to run spot metering!
Mar 23, 2011

Hello all,
I am a newbie to DSLR and i currently have a canon EOS 550D

Could anyone possibly give me a step by step guide on how to spot meter on my cam.

I am looking to take a some photos of my 4 month old son in the dark with only his face bathed in the warm glow of his nightlight and all round him in darkness,
I have been told i need to use spot metering for this shot.

(point the camera at the nightlight ,lock the shot then take the photo of my sons face)
But as i am new to this i havent got a clue where to start,
All info would be great
Thanks

Olga Johnson
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Re: How to run spot metering!
In reply to muir318, Mar 23, 2011

muir318 wrote:

Hello all,
I am a newbie to DSLR and i currently have a canon EOS 550D

Could anyone possibly give me a step by step guide on how to spot meter on my cam.

Page 86 in your manual explains in detail how to change your meter.

I am looking to take a some photos of my 4 month old son in the dark with only his face bathed in the warm glow of his nightlight and all round him in darkness,
I have been told i need to use spot metering for this shot.

(point the camera at the nightlight ,lock the shot then take the photo of my sons face)

I would spot meter on your son's face and take the shot. Of course, with digital, you can try anything you want since the "film is free."

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Olga

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JohnLindroth
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Re: How to run spot metering!
In reply to muir318, Mar 23, 2011

It's all in the little button labeled with a '*' (top right). You can set the metering to be center metering (somewhere under the 'Q' button), center your item of interest (my guess would be that this is your son's face, not the nightlight) then half press the shutter button to set exposure settings, and hit the * button, then compose the shot and take it - that way the exposure point doesn't have to be in the center of the photo.

Good luck - look forward to seeing a photo...

-John

muir318 wrote:

Hello all,
I am a newbie to DSLR and i currently have a canon EOS 550D

Could anyone possibly give me a step by step guide on how to spot meter on my cam.

I am looking to take a some photos of my 4 month old son in the dark with only his face bathed in the warm glow of his nightlight and all round him in darkness,
I have been told i need to use spot metering for this shot.

(point the camera at the nightlight ,lock the shot then take the photo of my sons face)
But as i am new to this i havent got a clue where to start,
All info would be great
Thanks

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balloonchasers
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Re: How to run spot metering!
In reply to muir318, Mar 23, 2011

Your camera has 4 different metering modes: spot, partial, center-weighted average, and evaluative metering. Your camera has a way of allowing you to change modes depending upon what you are trying to use. See page 86 in your owner's manual for the method and description of the each mode. You can only select the metering mode in Av, Tv, Manual, and maybe A-Dep. Aim your camera at your subject. Half press the shutter button to get a meter reading and then press the * button to lock in that setting.

However... Think of a light meter as being sort of like a rain gauge. There may be tall skinny rain gauges or short wide gauges. Regardless of the type, they each are trying to measure the amount of rainfall. Some may work better in certain conditions and other may work better in different situations. All are not perfect but they do the best they can. A light meter is very similar. Regardless of which type (spot, partial, evaluative, or center-weighted) each mode is trying to give the photographer a "best guess" as to what the lighting condition is. It is still up to you to determine if the final reading is correct for what you are trying to achieve.

I think if you spot meter off of a nightlight and then take a picture of your baby you are going to end up with a complety underexposed image. But it really depends upon how much light you have in the room. That is why I am more concerned with the histogram and LCD then I am with which metering mode I am using. I can tweak any setting until I get the histogram to end up where I think it should. A meter reading is just a best guess...

John

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Lemming51
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slight correction
In reply to balloonchasers, Mar 23, 2011

balloonchasers wrote:

... See page 86 in your owner's manual for the method and description of the each mode. You can only select the metering mode in Av, Tv, Manual, and maybe A-Dep.

Also P mode.

Metering mode (and lots of other functions) is selectable in the "Creative Zone" exposure modes - P, Av, Tv, M, A-DEP.

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SNGX1327
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Re: How to run spot metering!
In reply to muir318, Mar 23, 2011

i would think to try partial metering over spot metering.

the zone used for spot metering is so tiny that it can still lead to poor exposures.

partial metering (it looks like this: (o) ) is the exact same concept as spot metering, but the circle is bigger. it's not "big", but it's just big enough that it will, say, take your entire son's face into account instead of just his forehead.

also don't forget exposure compensation. if you take a shot and it looks dark/bright to your taste, for me it's easier to just adjust exposure compensation and try again. changing your metering mode will change how the camera meters the scene but it doesn't necessarily change it for the better. with EC you can look at a result and just dial it in "brighter" or "darker". you can change from matrix to spot or partial, but you still may have to dial in EC to get the exposure you want.

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balloonchasers
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Re: slight correction
In reply to Lemming51, Mar 23, 2011

No problem... Haven't used P mode in years. Forgot that it was even there. LOL

John
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muir318
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Re: How to run spot metering!
In reply to muir318, Mar 24, 2011

Thanks for all the info and tips guys!
Now i have to try and practice and perfect the shot..

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