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  1. #1

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    How to use camera's spot meter?

    If I wanted to do a multi-spot metering of a scene with a large contrast of 2 to 3 different lighting, how do I use the spot meter in my camera? Do I just average out the scene, and hope for the best? What about bracketing the shot?

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by film_guy View Post
    If I wanted to do a multi-spot metering of a scene with a large contrast of 2 to 3 different lighting, how do I use the spot meter in my camera? Do I just average out the scene, and hope for the best? What about bracketing the shot?
    For negatives (colour or mono) read the darkest area in which you want detail and give 3 stops less exposure. If 3 doesn't give you the detail you want, try 2-2/3, 2-1/3, 2...

    For trannies, read the lightest area in which you want to retain detail and texture and give about 2-1/3 stops more (again, if it doesn't work, go up or down 1/3 stop).

    You might find some of the stuff in the Photo School at www.rogerandfrances.com useful, such as the free modules on ISO speed and subject brightness range.

    Cheers,

    R.
    Last edited by Roger Hicks; 03-09-2007 at 09:43 AM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: grammar

  3. #3
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    I use spot metering almost exclusively with my 35mm camera (the exception being when I use a handheld meter), and do more or less what Roger suggests, but I wouldn't place the highlight so high for color slide film--more like 1.5 stops for Provia 100F in full sun.

    Experiment to see what works for the film you use. For a very contrasty film like Velvia, you might even place the highlight at 1-1/3 stops over middle grey, or with a more muted film like Astia you might place it closer to 2 stops over middle grey.

    Also pay attention to lighting conditions. In hard light, you've got less room for error with color slide film.

    You may consider bracketing with color transparencies, since there can be a range of exposures that are "correct," but differences of 1/3 stop can change the tone or emphasis significantly, and it's not entirely predictable.
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
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    A lot depends on the camera, the spot size, the meter calibration, etc. -- David is quite right, I was thinking of a separate hand-held spot meter when I said 2-1/3.

    There's also a free module on bracketing (with examples) in the Photo School at www.rogerandfrances.com.

    Cheers,

    R.

  5. #5

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    What camera/handheld meter do you have? I have Canon EOS3 which can measure spot (if 3 degrees of Canon "spot" can be called real spot metering)on 8 different points of scene. I tried to fool it several times, but failed, camera had virtually allways "perfect" exposure.

    I would do as Roger said. Have in mind that negative film can "capture" about 5 stops contrast range, so if your darkest and lightest parts are in 5 stops, you should have fine negative using yours standard developing. If contrast range is more than 5 stops, then you should think about zone system...
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  6. #6
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    Also just to clarify, I use a Canon New F-1 with 3% spot metering screen, when I shoot 35mm.
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
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  7. #7

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    Thanks, this is exactly the information I'm looking for. I use an EOS 3 too, and I'm trying to learn how to use its spot meter capabilities.

    Quote Originally Posted by haris View Post
    What camera/handheld meter do you have? I have Canon EOS3 which can measure spot (if 3 degrees of Canon "spot" can be called real spot metering)on 8 different points of scene. I tried to fool it several times, but failed, camera had virtually allways "perfect" exposure.

    I would do as Roger said. Have in mind that negative film can "capture" about 5 stops contrast range, so if your darkest and lightest parts are in 5 stops, you should have fine negative using yours standard developing. If contrast range is more than 5 stops, then you should think about zone system...

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    Quote Originally Posted by film_guy View Post
    Thanks, this is exactly the information I'm looking for. I use an EOS 3 too, and I'm trying to learn how to use its spot meter capabilities.

    I hope you have camera manual... If not, here is one:

    http://www3.canon.de/images/pro/fot/..._3_eng_toc.pdf

    pages 57-59
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  9. #9

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    Thanks, Haris. I have my manual but didn't quite understand how to fully use or for what situations when I should use the multi-spot metering option.

  10. #10

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    Using multi spot metering of EOS3 is very easy. You set camera to spot metering mode. Next, you aim lens toward scene you want to measure its light and press FEL button, release button, aim lens toward next scene press FEL again, and like that up to 8 times. Camera make all calculations and you have 16 seconds after last pressing of FEL button to make your photograph. If you not make your photograph in 16 seconds, measuring is canceled and you have to repeat it again. Please, have in mind you don't have to make all 8measurings, 8 is maximum, you can measure 2 or 5...

    When to use multispot metering? Well, let say you want to make portrait of person under umbrella in summer. So, you have bright light of Sun, and you have face of person in shade. And let say you are not sure how much exposure compensation to give to average metering, because if you make error, either persons face will be too dark or too bright, or scene surrouning that person would be too bright, that is washed out and you really want to have well exposed face with details and well exposed scene with details.

    So, you will use multi spot metring to measure face (its brightest and darkest parts), brightest and darkest part od the scene, and/or other important parts of the whole scene. Please, have in mind that, as with other meters, you have to have basic metering knowledge, and to implement it. For example you can not use automatically spot metering of white and black person. White will be too dark and black will be too light if you use automatically what meter show. So, you have to know basics of metering. Altought, atleast for EOS3 and its spot metering, when I used it exposure was allways "perfect" so no need to lots of thinking there

    Have in mind that film can handle around 5 stops contrast range. So, if you darkest and lightest parts of scene are into 5 stops, you can develop your film "normally" and you will have good exposed photo.

    If contrast range is more than 5 stops, you probably will lose details either in brightest or darkest parts of the scene. If that is case, you probably would need to use zone system of exposure/developing.

    Hope this helps. Good luck.
    Bosnia... You don't have to be crazy to live here, but it helps...
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