Perhaps naive question, but who needs such fancy metering?


J2R

Link Posted 11/10/2013 - 10:49
I know the title sounds like a bit of trolling, but I assure you it isn't! I think I must be misunderstanding something fundamental, because every time a new SLR comes out, they've further enhanced the sophistication of the metering, and I see the K3 is no exception. It now employs a mega-gazoodle of metering points or whatever.

But what does this buy you? The problem is capturing the entire dynamic range of light contained in the image, and that is equally problematic whatever metering you have. Ultimately you have to choose some compromise between blowing out the highlights and losing the details in the shadows. Personally, I tend to centre in the frame the area I'm most concerned about, press AE-L, recompose and shoot (with maybe a little Ev now and then), and that normally gets me close enough to a correct exposure, . Certainly close enough that, if I'm shooting RAW, given the exposure latitude of my DSLR a little nudge of the Exposure slider in Camera Raw is all that it takes to get the exposure spot on.

Is the main benefit of this ultra-sophisticated metering only really felt when shooting JPEGs, then? Or am I missing something big (which I kind of assume I am)?

johnriley

Link Posted 11/10/2013 - 11:00
I use centre weighted metering with a little EV compensation when required. It works fine.

Complex metering systems have evolved and for those who want them, why not. I do wonder though whether they add anything to our photo skills, or simply make us more dependent on the technology.
Best regards, John

walkeja

Link Posted 11/10/2013 - 11:34
I think it is a case of "We have a computer, let's see what it can do."

Having said that I won't say no to a camera that has it.
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Last Edited by walkeja on 11/10/2013 - 11:35

wvbarnes

Link Posted 11/10/2013 - 11:37
Hi, I too mostly use centre weighted metering. Pattern metering is useful for landscapes BUT there is still a need to be aware of how many stops between bright skies and darker foreground. For all the overall range of digital sensors they still struggle with large (five stops changes)If its metering more than 4 to five stops I use a hard two stop ND grad and sometimes a polariser to pull clouds or correct reflections if over water.

If taking wildlife pics I sometimes use spot as the subject detail is more critical than the background.

I'm an amateur who has never got to grips with RAW processing so I do use jpeg and do try to get it right in camera.I find the histograms very useful in spotting unwanted burnout peaks or bad underexposure of shadows. When my very limited finances and the K3 price meet in the middle I might be ready for the 'assistance' the technology claims to bring. For now I enjoy trying to use my brain in TAV mode with centre weighted and paying attention to what's in the frame. My present K5 is thankfully very forgiving.

Mongoose

Link Posted 11/10/2013 - 11:43
in the case of the K-3, the metering sensor is also used to track the subject as it moves across the field of view, feeding into the focusing system.

Not metering as such, but it is using the advanced metering doohickymabob to do it.
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wvbarnes

Link Posted 11/10/2013 - 11:48
Mongoose wrote:
in the case of the K-3, the metering sensor is also used to track the subject as it moves across the field of view, feeding into the focusing system.

Not metering as such, but it is using the advanced metering doohickymabob to do it.

Ahh, that sounds good for birds against bright skies for example. I've missed many a buzzard due to this.

Do we think my 55 - 300 DA (or the new WR version) will stop hunting around then and missing the shot with this? You need a lock to start of course.
Last Edited by wvbarnes on 11/10/2013 - 11:53

Mongoose

Link Posted 11/10/2013 - 11:52
fingers crossed, of course none of us has yet had the chance to see how well it works in practice with real tracking subjects.
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malcolmk

Link Posted 11/10/2013 - 12:04
johnriley wrote:
I use centre weighted metering with a little EV compensation when required. It works fine.

Complex metering systems have evolved and for those who want them, why not. I do wonder though whether they add anything to our photo skills, or simply make us more dependent on the technology.

My first 'light meter' was a glass strip of progressively darkened numbers. You looked through it at the scene to see which number was just visible and then looked up a table to see what shutter speed and aperture was appropriate. The table was for only one film speed, for anything else mental arithmetic was required. You learned to allow for the state of your own iris!

Now I too am dependent on the technology but hope I still remember enough to know when it is likely to be letting me down.

My K5 metering is hugely better than my *istD was and I look forward to anything extra that the K3 can provide.

J2R

Link Posted 11/10/2013 - 12:15
I now realise that my original post may have come across as a kind of 'real photographers don't need light meters' kind of thing, which is emphatically not what I meant. It was more that it seems to me that already a few years back, light metering became sophisticated enough to put your exposure roughly in the middle of the range which a little exposure tweaking of the RAW file can sort out, given the dynamic range of modern sensors.

Mongoose

Link Posted 11/10/2013 - 13:06
I use patern metering most of the time, but drop into centre weighted when I think problems will arise, because I find it easier to predict how CW will react in difficult situations.

That's on a K10D though.
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Pentaxophile

Link Posted 11/10/2013 - 13:54
I've tended to avoid pattern metering, because of the aforementioned problems that arise. I've noticed it's much better on the K30 than, for example, the K10 though.

If they have been able to come up with a metering system that works better and is more reliable, though, I'm all for it; and if it works, I will use it!

As Bill said, if you suddenly spot (for example) a bird flying against a bright sky, it's a good thing if the camera can quickly work out how best to meter for that scenario, because there often isn't time to apply the right compensation or metering mode yourself before the bird has vanished forever.
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Last Edited by Pentaxophile on 11/10/2013 - 13:56

RussV

Link Posted 11/10/2013 - 14:06
I use centre weighted. I don't trust a camera to know what part of the picture I want exposed best.
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Smeggypants

Link Posted 11/10/2013 - 17:19
Just use centre weighted here
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McGregNi

Link Posted 11/10/2013 - 21:09
But the point has not been made that Centre-weighted is only going to be effective as a means of 'getting it right in the middle', if it is actually mid-tones that are in the centre.

Any metering mode that restricts and limits the area being metered risks introducing increasingly inaccurate readings (spot being the extreme of this), unless you are certain that the metered zone represents a true mid tone under the specific lighting.

Multi-pattern is able to take a range of readings, along with analysis of the scene, and come up with a better and more accurately balanced exposure - this is what will help more to get the full DR recorded, and the histogram will show it.

For most images, for most users, multi-pattern will give better and more consistent results.

If you're shooting JPEGs, you're often never aware of the full DR that was recorded, as the image DR is compressed, and you do not see the extent of the whites and blacks recorded, as they have been processed and squeezed in so to speak, and the histogram will not show the full DR.This can mislead you to think that the actual DR in the scene was less than it actually was.
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Last Edited by McGregNi on 11/10/2013 - 21:26

johnriley

Link Posted 11/10/2013 - 21:48
It's really much simpler than you think Nigel, but it needs a whisker of experience and practice to become reliable.

However, there are whole books on the subject of exposure and it's possible to analyse it in very great detail. Way beyond a forum discussion really.

The spot meter is the most accurate way to determine exposure using reflected light (as opposed to incident light readings) but it does need a level of understanding to use it properly.

In practice, centre weighted plus EV compensation does the job perfectly well. Matrix metering systems are fine and require less input from the photographer, but I don't find them predictable enough. I don't want to be second-guessing how the camera is compensating. Only I know what effect I'm after and this might mean technical over or under exposure.

The correct exposure is the one that yields the desired end result.
Best regards, John
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