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 effectively or you
dont. There is no in-between! I believe this is the simplest, easiest, best
illustrated, and most practical book about on-camera spotmetering in the world. To see
more of the book please browse:
or send an e-mail to
Cheat sheet: The entire book condensed onto
one page (well almost!)
Put a roll of 100 ISO slide film in your Nikon N50 camera
and choose an outdoor subject. Activate the spotmetering option on your camera and set
your cameras mode to manual and to the shutter sped to 1/125 sec. To avoid
confusion, in this book we will increase and decrease the exposure by opening-up and
closing-down the aperture. The shutter speed will remain fixed.
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 and you are
using slide film, pick out a tone that is medium gray or brighter. If you are using a
negative film, pick out a tone that is medium gray or darker.
Lets assume the
"normal exposure" indicated by your camera for this Reference Tone is 125@f-8
(i.e., 1/125 sec. at an aperture setting of 8).
As you may know, the spotmeters "normal
exposure" from any simple (single toned) surface will always provide the photographer
with an 18% gray image tone.
The image tone that your normal exposure provides is
independent of the original tone of your subject. Please note that you MUST
understand this point. The following is an illustration: