The pros and cons of each mode, and the subjects they suit
1 This is just a representation of the zones in pattern mode. In reality, the scene may be split into hundreds or even thousands of zones.
2 The central area will not necessarily get priority over other areas – it depends on the light distribution across the rest of the scene.
3 It can tend to give priority to dark areas to prevent underexposure, although it’s still a good choice for quickfire, everyday photography.
1 This can be a good choice for portraits – particularly backlit ones – and photos where the subject is towards the middle of the picture.
2 The outer areas play a smaller part in the exposure measurement, but they are still taken into account.
3 Centre-weighted doesn’t apply its own compensation before giving you an exposure, so you may need to apply more substantial exposure adjustments to get the desired result.
1 Switching to the spot metering option means that you can avoid large areas of bright or dark tones affecting the meter reading.
2 On beginner-friendly cameras, the spot zone is slightly larger to allow more leeway for errors.
3 The spot is not always in the centre of the frame and may be linked to your manually selected AF point, making it possible to meter off-centre subjects. Keep this in mind when metering.
1 The light across the whole frame is averaged into a reading, making it a good option when the scenes contain a balanced blend of tones.
2 A word of caution: average meter readings are very susceptible to small bright areas in the scene.
3 The advantage to averaging is that it doesn’t take long to become familiar with how it will react in different situations, making exposure adjustment straightforward.