Part 2 How to use metering
When to use partial or spot metering to get more precise readings
Your camera’s metering system will offer a choice of modes for use when taking exposure readings. Although the names vary slightly from manufacturer to manufacturer (Pattern metering is also known as Evaluative or Matrix), the modes are designed to offer varying amounts of precision.
Pattern metering is often the default mode for many photographers, and gets it right most of the time. It meters the whole scene in the viewfinder, but adds weighting to what is being focused on. The camera takes a wide range of readings across the scene, compares them to images in its memory then effectively applies its own exposure compensation.
Centre-Weighted takes a reading across the whole scene, but places more emphasis on subjects situated in the middle of the frame. Use it for scenarios when the subject you’re photographing is backlit (assuming it’s in the centre of the frame, of course).
If you need pin-point precision, Spot metering is the one to go for – if you’re photographing a light subject against a dark background, for example. The spot meter will typically be fixed at the centre AF point, but some camera metering systems can spot-meter from off-centre AF points.
Type of shot Camera will underexpose bright scenes like this Settings Manual Dial in some overexposure instead