WHAT METERING MODES TO USE ON YOUR OLYMPUS CAMERA
However, there’s also a fourth setting that can make a difference: the metering mode. If this isn’t set correctly, you can end up with an incorrectly exposed image even if the three previous settings are right for the scene.
In this blog we’re going to explain everything you need to know about metering modes, and which ones are best to use in different situations.
Sit back, grab a cup of tea and a biscuit, and enjoy!
Undoubtedly the most popular metering mode used is electro-selective pattern metering, more commonly known as ESP. No, this doesn’t mean that your camera’s deploying psychic abilities to detect the correct exposure: the camera divides the frame into sections and meters an image selectively: mostly from the centre, but also taking readings from the entire scene.
Many people use this as a default setting and use the exposure compensation to correct it if their first exposure isn’t correct. That’s because for the most part, evaluative metering gives a good ball-park for your ideal exposure – which is what it’s designed to do.
ESP metering works by dividing the frame into areas and analysing the different areas of the frame from top to bottom to give a calculation of what exposure will look like overall. It tries to capture an exposure that retains both highlights and shadows.
If your aim is to capture everything inside the frame, as you would commonly see in a landscape scene, then ESP metering is the one you need. Any subject that fills the frame without harsh, high contrast lighting – this is the perfect mode for you.
What’s ESP metering good for?
• Street Photography
Now, ESP metering works by dividing the scene into different areas, using specific sections to meter the image.
Centre-Weighted metering does the same thing, but – as the name suggests – it puts more emphasis on the exposure reading for the centre of the scene.
Using this mode, the camera will still take the background into account but it will not judge the exposure mostly on the middle section of the frame.
This metering mode will get you the best exposure when shooting subjects that have harsh light from in front or behind them, such as a group of people.
What’s centre-weighted metering good for?
• Group Shots
• Backlit subject
• Still life
We’ve all done it. You take a picture of a person against a beautiful, bright sunny sky or maybe even a sunset, and on the back of the LCD you see either a really bright, over-exposed sky or a subject that’s basically a silhouette.
This is because the scene has too much light to be captured by a camera. ESP metering picks a middle ground between the light and dark, remember? Well, with spot metering, you tell the camera to make a choice to expose in a specific spot.
Perhaps we want the sunset to be the most prominent feature of the photo, with a powerful silhouette in front – or maybe we want the person we’re photographing to be perfectly exposured and nicely backlit by the sunset.
This is what spot metering is designed to do. Using this mode you can select exactly what area you want the exposure to meter – and you can lock the exposure in by either half pressing the shutter button or using the AEL button.
In your Olympus’ menus you’ll find two variations for spot metering: Spot Highlight and Spot Shadow metering modes, designed for photographers that want to control the tonality of their image.
For example, if shooting a dramatic black & white scene, the photographer might want deep, intense black areas – so a Spot Shadow metering mode will ensure that happens and that areas of highlight detail are not over exposed. The exact opposite of this applies to the Spot Highlight mode.
What’s spot metering good for?
• Still Life
• Creative images
• Precision exposures
• If your subject fills the frame entirely, then it would be best to shoot with ESP metering. If you want to make more of a foreground or sky, then simply adjust the exposure compensation accordingly.
• If you’re shooting a subject that’s in the middle of the frame – like a flower or a group of people – and you want that to be the main centre of attention, then use centre weighted metering for the best exposure.
• If you’re getting creative and you want to be specific with exactly what you want to capture then try spot metering. This meters the point directly in the centre and it will ignore everything else around it. Aim the centre point at the area you want to be exposed accurately and shoot your image – or lock the exposure using the AEL button, recompose your image and take your shot.