|This shot taken yesterday was "over" by 2 stops.|
First, for those that are not familiar; according to Wikipedia...
"In photography, the metering mode refers to the way in which a camera determines the exposure. Cameras generally allow the user to select between spot, center-weighted average, or multi-zone metering modes.
Various metering modes are provided to allow the user to select the most appropriate one for use in a variety of lighting conditions."
In the OM-D for instance, I can select any one of the FIVE modes for the camera to decide the subject or scene brightness.
I usually set my metering preference to "Center Weighted" average metering, I suppose this is "old school"; from those years of using film and earlier through-the-lens metering that usually only have ONE mode, center weighted ;)
It was Nikon who developed the “Center-weighted Metering” system, concentrating sensitivity in center of the frame, so images would not be overly influenced by the sky's condition.
Most cameras followed in featuring this system, which became a standard among TTL metering systems for a while. Nikon continued to use this system up to the introduction of the F3.
I call this weighted mode the "safe" mode, 90% of the time it will give you a pretty accurate exposure; it only get confused when the center of your image contains different level of brightness.
To correct the rare incident of inaccurate center weighted metering, camera manufacturers device a more advance "multi zones" mode.
This metering mode are known as the "Matrix" in Nikon and Digital ESP in the Olympus OM-D.
Digital ESP-metering mode is used by some Olympus cameras. It measures the brightness of the center of the subject and the surrounding area separately. When activated, the camera meters 324 areas of the frame to arrive at the correct exposure!
To find out how these FIVE metering modes in my OM-D do to the image, I shot my favorite Wellington scene in each mode:
Panasonic Lumix G X Vario PZ 45-175mm f/4-5.6 zoom.
Just for learning sake, what about a scene with mixture of heavy shadow and very bright highlight? Here are the results...
Same outcome!! The "Center Weighted" seems to be the best choice! "Spot Metering" is not bad either. But if we look carefully, the advance super duper "Digital ESP" seems to provide the best balance of highlight and shadow!
Lets look at the histograms of the three metering modes...
Famous Last Word...
More than 30 years after Nikon developed the "Center Weighted Metering", the same configuration still provide accurate exposure!