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Digital Light Metering Modes Explained

Light Metering Modes Quick Explanation

The metering modes in your digital camera measures the amount of light seen through the camera’s lens. This measurement is used used to calculate the correct exposure value for the photo you’re taking. If your camera is set to “auto” you don’t need to worry about setting a metering mode. It’s done for you by the camera. If you are using any other setting include Time Value, Aperture Value, Manual, or Program, setting the correct metering mode for the scene you are capturing will improve the picture and result in less post processing work.

Light Metering Modes Detailed Explanation

Depending on the sophistication of your camera, you have between one and four metering modes. Most simple point and shot cameras use Center-weighted Average Metering. Medium tier digital SLRs often add Evaluative Metering and Partial Metering.

Center-weighted Average Metering

The light in the center of the image is weighted and averaged across the entire scene. This works well for most types of pictures here the light is fairly even throughout the majority of the scene. If the scene is back lit or you need to capture an image in a shadow other metering modes would be a better choice.

Evaluative Metering

Evaluative Metering has replace Center-weighted Metering as the default mode for many modern camera. It’s useful for general scenes and even does a good job during difficult back lit conditions. Similar to center-weighted, this mode looks at the main subject of the photo and adjusts the exposure accordingly.

Partial Metering

Partial Metering is used when a scene is heavily back lit. Approximately 8% of the view finders area is evaluated. The center or the focus points are used to determine the amount of light to correctly expose the picture.

Spot Metering

Spot metering mode is used to narrowly measure the light in a scene. The light is measure in 3.5% of the view finder area. The area is often the center of the image or one of the selected focus points. This mode works will when you need the camera to ignore strong lighting outside of the focus area.