How The Heck Do You "Meter"?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by stillshooting, Mar 6, 2008.

  1. stillshooting macrumors newbie

    Feb 2, 2008
    I have a pentax k10d DSLR camera, and although I know what metering is, I dont really know how to meter say "off the sky" as some people may call it. I want to get a a gray card in order to meter off it, but I dont know how. Any help will be appreciated
  2. Lovesong macrumors 65816


    Sep 15, 2006
    Stuck beween a rock and a hard place
    Oh man... that's wide open. First off, go dig your camera manual, and find out how to change the metering modes- most cameras these days will have matrix metering, spot metering, and center-weighted metering (some have more, some less). In matrix mode you are essentially letting the camera figure out what the best exposure is (even if you are in full manual mode),and trusting that it gets it right. Center-weighted is more focused- usually about 10-20% of the viewfinder (and obviously in the middle of it), so that you can meter just in that area, and determine what the correct exposure is from that small area. Spot metering is the most precise (~5% of the viewfinder), but you have to be careful where you meter off of.

    The idea is that you can get a good reading of what the exposure should be based on the spot you're metering off of. If you're shooting in full program mode, or aperture- or shutter- priority, then you will need to lock the exposure (or remember it and re-enter it in manual mode), when you meter off an area, be it the sky, green trees, whatever. I usually shoot only in manual mode, so for me it's a matter of deciding what the object I want to meter off is, getting the exposure right for that object, then framing the shot and taking it. Sometimes, when I'm shooting in shutter-priority, I meter off something that is medium gray- be it grass, dirt, or even my hand, and then locking the exposure while I take a series of shots. The k10 should have all these options that I've been talking about. It's a matter of learning how to use them now.
  3. cutsman macrumors regular

    Jun 1, 2006
    "Metering off the sky" means to point your camera at the sky, take an exposure reading, and use that exposure setting for your shot. If you are in aperture priority or shutter speed priority (I believe Av and Tv, respectively in the case of your camera), you point the camera at the sky or whatever else you want to take the reading from, and then lock exposure (read the manual for this, do you have an AE-L button?) and recompose your shot. In manual setting, point at the sky, adjust aperture and shutter for proper exposure and then use those settings for your shot.

    This is done to avoid blown out skies. Often the sky is the brightest subject and as such by properly exposing for it, everything else will be underexposed. You have to decide if this is what you want (maybe silhouette?), or if you want to bring out the shadows in post-processing (I recommend shooting RAW if you do this).

  4. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    The short answer is that you simply flil the frame with either the sky or the grey card. In the case of the cade you'd have to move close to it for the shy you aim up until the sky fills the frame. Then lock the meter or remember the exposure. Some camera have built in spot meters s you don't need to fill the frame with the card or sky

    The harder part is why you would do this. Basically your camera will pick an expose the renders whatever you meter off of as a middle tone.
  5. stillshooting thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 2, 2008
    SO THATS WHAT THE AE-L button is for!

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