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Nikon CoolPix (CP) 8700 spot metering (spot metering) / Exposure / Operational cheat sheet


A reader reviews the spot metering book at amazon.com

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If you do not want to read the book titled "the confused photographer's guide to on-camera spotmetering (spot metering / partial metering)
ISBN: 0966081706" simply read the following:

The on-camera spotmeter (spot meter / partial meter) is the most powerful exposure tool in the world. Read the following page and decide for yourself if you understand the concept. If you do understand everything on the next page, and you can apply the technique described and produce correctly exposed images, then that is all you need! If, however, you even have the slightest doubt about this technique, or if you are still the least bit confused, this book is for you.
Remember: Either you know how to use your on-camera spotmeter (spot meter) effectively or you don’t. There is no in-between! I believe this is the simplest, easiest, best illustrated, and most practical book about on-camera spotmetering (spot metering) in the world.


Cheat sheet: The entire book condensed onto one page (well almost!)
(Based on Farzad's 5-stop Film / Digital Zone System ©1978-2005)

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Set the ISO of your CoolPix 8700 to 100 and choose an outdoor subject. Activate the spotmetering option on your camera and set your camera’s mode to manual and to the shutter speed to 1/500 sec.  Set your CoolPix Image Adjustment to Black and White:
At the bottom of Menu 1 look for a "O" with the heading of "Saturation Control". Choose the option at the bottom of menu titled "Black & White"

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Observe your subject and break it down into its simple subject (single tone) components. Choose a Reference Tone.  A Reference Tone is a simple tone usually chosen from the most important part of the subject. Once you have selected the Reference Tone, point your spotmeter at this tone and find its normal exposure. If your subject does not have a distinct single tone pick out a tone that is medium gray or brighter.

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Let’s assume the "normal exposure" indicated by your camera for this Reference Tone is 500@f-8 (i.e., 1/125 sec. at an aperture setting of 8).
As you may know, the spotmeter’s "normal exposure" from any simple (single toned) surface will always provide the photographer with an 18% gray image tone (or a Grayscale density of 128 (out of 256) in PhotoShop on your home computer).
The image tone that your normal exposure provides is independent of the original tone of your subject. It is imperative that you understand this property.

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In spot metering, converting the "normal exposure" to the "correct exposure" is what a photographer must do. In other words, the "normal exposure" readings of the spot meter must be interpreted by the photographer to determine the subject’s "correct exposure." The principle behind this simplified technique is that if one tone of a complex subject is exposed correctly, the rest of the tones follow and will also be correctly exposed . Now decide which one of the following tones would most closely matches your Reference Tone: Black, Dark Gray, Medium Gray, Light Gray or White. With this simplified technique you must choose one of these five tones. Once you have decided which one of these five tones best matches your Reference Tone, then adjust your camera settings accordingly:

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If you chose Black, you need to decrease the "normal exposure" setting by two stops. Decreasing the exposure time  by two stops converts the 18% gray image tone to Black. The correct exposure is now 1/2000@f-8 or equivalent. On the screen, this tone will have an approximate (simplified) grayscale density of  028 (out of 000-255).

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If you chose Dark Gray, you need to decrease the "normal exposure" setting by one stop.  Decreasing the exposure time by one stop converts the 18% gray image tone to Dark gray. The correct exposure for this is 1/1000@f-8 or equivalent.  On the screen, this tone will have an approximate grayscale density of about 078 (out of 000-255).

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If you chose Medium Gray, leave the aperture and shutter speed as they are since the meter is already creating an 18% gray (Medium Gray) image tone, i.e., the tone of the image matches the approximate tone of the Reference Tone. Also remember that when metering from a medium gray surface, the "normal exposure" and "correct exposure" settings are approximately the same. In this case the correct exposure is 1/500@f-8 or equivalent.  On the screen, this tone will have an approximate grayscale density of about 128 (middle of 256).

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If you chose Light Gray, you need to increase the "normal exposure" setting by one stop. Increasing the exposure time by one stop converts the 18% gray image tone to Light Gray. This results in a correct exposure of 1/250@f-8 or equivalent.  On the screen, this tone will have an approximate grayscale density of about 178 (out of 000-255).

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If you chose White, you need to increase the "normal exposure" setting by two stops. Increasing the exposure time by two stops converts the 18% gray image tone to White. The correct exposure would be 1/125@f-8 or equivalent.  On the screen, this tone will have an approximate grayscale density of about 228 (out of 000-255).

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| Why this book | The Author | Back Cover | Appendix |
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Reader Reviews @ amazon.com

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