DSLR Metering Modes Inforgraphic

The metering mode on a DSLR is defined as the method the camera uses to expose the photo.  Each mode will produce a certain style of image and as a result, care should be taken when choosing modes. The default mode is the evaluative metering or matrix metering mode. Generally, this is a good place to leave your camera until you are ready to experiment with the other metering options. Here are the metering modes explained:

Evaluative Metering (Canon)/Matrix Metering (Nikon)

This metering is the default metering mode when taking your camera out of the box.  This type of metering takes into account all the light across the whole frame of the image and exposes the photo based on all that data.  This is the most complex metering mode in the camera.

Partial Metering

In this metering mode, the camera only meters on what’s located in the circle you see in the viewfinder.  This is generally less than 20% of the whole image frame.  This is useful when you want the photo to emphasize only part of the photo. The part of the image that is used is determined by the focal point. This mode is only available on Canon DSLR cameras.

Partial Metering

Center-Weighted Metering

This is similar to partial metering except that the percentage of the frame that is exposed is larger and it will only use the center of the frame.  This mode assumes that your subject is in the center.  This mode is generally the least used because it tends to overexpose bright areas in the center when the background is much darker.  

Center Weighted Metering

Spot Metering

This mode operates to only expose for the dot or focus point you have chosen,  This is well less than 10% of the frame.  This mode is used most often by photographers who are using the Zone system to determine the lighting of the frame.  Using this mode will ensure that your subject is properly exposed, but the background will not be exposed at all.  This produces a certain style of image so be sure that it is the style you want before using this metering method.

Spot Metering

DSLR metering can be complicated at first. I encourage to to experiment with different modes to see what style you like best.

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