Idiot question alert - 52 focus points

Started Jan 2, 2014 | Questions thread
olyflyer Forum Pro • Posts: 25,613
Re: Idiot question alert - 52 focus points

Truman Prevatt wrote:

Rservello wrote:

SergioSpain wrote:

I couldn't have said it better myself. A lot of people like to shoot in manual because it makes them feel more in control of the shot, when in reality, if they're using the camera's meter, all they're doing is making more work for themselves by fiddling with the dials. And there's nothing wrong with that as long as they don't preach to everyone about how manual is the only way to go. Let's face it, the exposure triangle is just not that hard to learn. We may like to think it is to feel smarter, but it's not rocket science.

If you dial in to the internal spot meter...ok. Does anyone that shoots manual actually do that tho?? I occasionally glance at the spot meter to see how far off it's saying I am. I'm usually under or over exposed by 3 or 4 stops. Why...because it's measuring direct reflected light. If I point it at someones eye and follow the meter the shot will be horribly over exposed...if I'm metering off a bright spot it will be horribly under exposed. Use an incident meter to get in the proper ball park...then do what you know.

Here is the problem - you don't use what is spot meter telling you. Masters from Minor White to Ansel Adams to Fred Pickert used the spot meter. In fact the use of a spot meter was essential to the Zone System developed by White and Adams. The use of the spot meter is to first pre visualize the image you want to result. A meter will give you an exposure that is 18% gray which is Zone V in the Zone system. If you meter a spot that you want as a highlight the exposure will put that spot at middle gray - hence you are under exposed if you use it. If you measure a spot that you want in the shadows say Zone III or Zone VI - and use the exposure the meter gives you, you will be overexposed.

However, if you meter a spot of say a waterfall in the sun and have pre-visulized it to be at Zone 7 maybe up to 8 then you take the exposure it gives you and either increase the shutter speed of close the aperture so that the spot lies at that exposure is -2.5 EV the exposure the meter gives you, you will be correct and depending on the reliably of the spot meter the area will be at the desired exposure.

I'm not sure how good the spot meters are that come in the DSLR's. I have a calibrated digital Pentax 1 degree spot meter. I've had it since 1988. It has gone though many years of service and I last had it calibrated by Pentax a year ago. It gives me much more consistent results than the spot meter in my D800. I expect there is a lot of out of spot light that impacts the spot meter in the DSLR's. If I am going to use a spot meter - I use my Pentax. I have it calibrated (using a constant target) to my D800 so know the conversion from the exposure the Pentax gives me to the D800. When I use it - it is 100% reliable.

Understand the principles - devise your own methods and style.

Exactly. I can't say much about your Pentax, but when I used the D800 spot meter it is accurate, but like you say, one must know how to use it.

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