Custom Curves for the D300

Started Dec 28, 2007 | Discussions thread
olstrup Veteran Member • Posts: 3,678
Ron ....

.... according to Ansel Adams and the Zone System, a "standard" kaucasian skin tone falls on zone 6 - that is one step brighter than neutral gray. That means, if you are measuring a skin tone in spot metering mode, you should dial in +1 step in exposure compensation (or open the aperture one stop). Many years back, when I used a Leica M4 with a Leicameter on top of the camera, I used to meter the palm of my hand and then open up the aperture one stop. That worked well as a "poor mans incident light meter" - even with slide film that didn't allow for metering mistakes.

So far, so good, but .... if you are spot metering a face filling most of the frame, there will be parts of the face that is in the light and parts of the face that are in the shade, and the readings from these various parts of the face can vary as much as 3-4 stops (of course depending on the light). I'm NOT saying, that you should not use spot metering when shooting portraits - I use it a lot myself. I'm just saying that unless your subject sits perfectly still, and you are very precise abot where you meter, you must expect varying exposures dependant on which part of the face you meter from. That's why I, in another post, recommended, that spot metering is used with either the AE lock or manual mode, because otherwise the metering will be somewhat unpredictable. Even then, you should expect to see some shots, that are overexposed and some that are underexposed. It only gets more difficult, if the subject is fast moving. If using flash, I wold use matrix metering - not spot metering - and flash set on TTL, make a few test shots and dial in the exposure compensation according to that.

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