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A newbie with newbie questions!
My first post! I am new to the DSLR world but am anxious to join. My friends have been letting me play with their cameras, and I am almost ready to make a purchase. Before I do so, I was hoping you guys can help me with some quick answers to a few simple questions..

1. Spot metering, do I really need it? I've been debating starting off with an entry level DSLR like the Canon XTi (400D) vs starting off with a more robust body like the Canon 40D. I keep hearing that the XTi does not do spot metering like the 40D, but it does "partial" spot metering. Is that good enough for a beginner? I'm hoping that Canon announces an updated XTi at PMA that includes a spot meter but if they don't what do you think I should do?.

2. What is a good book to read that goes over all the basics? My friend let me borrow Photograph Australia by Steve Parish, and while he does talk about some basic stuff, I think I could benefit from a book targeted specifically at beginners that covers the not only camera basics like aperture, iso, metering, etc but things like the rule of thirds, etc..

Thanks in advance to all! (BTW I did try to search for the answers but search seems to be disabled)..

Comments (46)

On the left side is a list of links in this site (latest news, reviews, ect.) look at the 'Learn/Glossary' link. there is lots of information and definitions of terms there..

Spot metering is going to give the image an exposure of 18% grey at whatever the camera is focused on the dot generally in the center of the frame. Matrex metering takes an assessment of several points in the image frame and averages them to give the best exposure of the whole image and not just the spot focused at so no areas in the image are overexposed - blownout. An example of a good subject to use spot metering on is where you are photographing a black dog as the main subject. While there may be areas in the photo that are overexposed, the dog will be given shades of darkness and not just a glob of black with no shades or texture. I would recommend asking the question in the Canon40D forum as that is the camera your using.Will..

Comment #1

With todays ability to use a histogram and determine the optimum exposure, spot metering is of little value for most photographers..

Dunno about a good current book...

Comment #2

Vikingshelmut wrote:.

My first post! I am new to the DSLR world but am anxious to join.My friends have been letting me play with their cameras, and I amalmost ready to make a purchase. Before I do so, I was hoping youguys can help me with some quick answers to a few simple questions..

1. Spot metering, do I really need it? I've been debating startingoff with an entry level DSLR like the Canon XTi (400D) vs startingoff with a more robust body like the Canon 40D. I keep hearing thatthe XTi does not do spot metering like the 40D, but it does "partial"spot metering. Is that good enough for a beginner? I'm hoping thatCanon announces an updated XTi at PMA that includes a spot meter butif they don't what do you think I should do?.

2. What is a good book to read that goes over all the basics? Myfriend let me borrow Photograph Australia by Steve Parish, and whilehe does talk about some basic stuff, I think I could benefit from abook targeted specifically at beginners that covers the not onlycamera basics like aperture, iso, metering, etc but things like therule of thirds, etc..

Thanks in advance to all! (BTW I did try to search for the answersbut search seems to be disabled).

SPOT metering is a VERY important feature, (I would not have a camera without it)..

BUT ... it takes a great deal of skill to use. It can ruin a photo faster than it can help you..

Spot metering is a TOOL to use in either manual mode or with Exposure-Compensation. (I can give you a hammer, but it does not mean you can build-a-house.).

I am not trying to scare you away from it, and the fact that you "want" it leads me to believe that you will take the camera seriously enough to learn to use it..

I just wanted to point out that it is not the automatic-solution to better photos. And that is the reason it not included in all cameras..

If you get it ... be prepared to study "exposure" because all cameras are only designed to produce a GRAY image from a GRAY subject. I submit that you won't take many photos of "gray-cards"; but that is what the camera thinks you are doing..

(The exception to that is so-called "matrix" metering ... they claim a little 'intelligence" in the algorathims ... but the "gray-card" analogy is still accurate.).

Thanks for reading .... JoePhoto.

( Do You Ever STOP to THINK and FORGET to START Again ??? )..

Comment #3

Santa wrote:.

With todays ability to use a histogram and determine the optimumexposure, spot metering is of little value for most photographers..

I disagree. The whole point to AE is to capture a scene without having to manually set everything. Some scenes don't lend themselves to avg. metering. For instance, a brightly illuminated performer on a stage. Spot metering is the only AE method to get that shot, unless you are so close that the target fills the frame..

Http://www.pbase.com/digirob..

Comment #4

Then I guess I'm not "most photographers". I think it is very important.Nothing is enough for the man to whom nothing is enough...

Comment #5

Vikingshelmut wrote:.

1. Spot metering, do I really need it? I keep hearing that.

The XTi does not do spot metering like the 40D, but it does "partial"spot metering. Is that good enough for a beginner?.

2. What is a good book to read that goes over all the basics?.

IMO, partial spot may be adequate for your present needs..

Books:.

1) Avoid anything by Bryan Peterson..

2) Have a look at :.

"Photo.pedia", by Michael Miller, Que press., Indianapolis, 2008..

"Exposure", by Chris Weston.

And "Creative exposure control" by Les Meehan...

Comment #6

While it's true that spot metering will help you nail it first time, most folks, pros included will chimp the first few frames to check on their exposure and adjust as needed from that point. I understand that spot metering has it's place, but still contend it is not as critical an option as it once was when you never had -any- feedback until the slides or negs came back...

Comment #7

Vikingshelmut wrote:.

1. Spot metering, do I really need it? I've been debating startingoff with an entry level DSLR like the Canon XTi (400D) vs startingoff with a more robust body like the Canon 40D. I keep hearing thatthe XTi does not do spot metering like the 40D, but it does "partial"spot metering. Is that good enough for a beginner? I'm hoping thatCanon announces an updated XTi at PMA that includes a spot meter butif they don't what do you think I should do?.

I don't know Canon cameras and their terminology, but - it seems to me that "partial spot" metering is what is called "centre weighted" in the Nikon world. So (and please remember I am talking about a different brand of camera here but the principle may apply):.

There are, basically, 3 different modes of metering on offer in the DSLR world:.

1. Matrix, or Pattern. or Average.

- the exposure reading is talen over the average of the whole scene..

- there is some variation between camera makes and models, for example, some cameras emphasise the area under the focus point mroe than others..

- It is basically "Auto" mode and while it works well, the more advanced photographer will not rely on it entirely..

2. Centre Weight or (apparently) Partial Spot.

The meter is biased towards the centre of the frame. Gives a more accurate reading when the light is uneven, and you can point the camera at the main subject, lock exposure at that point, and recompose..

Very much, IMHO, the general preference of the more advanced photographer..

3. Spot.

The meter reading is taken entirely off an area in the centre of the frame. Very useful with macro and closeup photography, and also in more general scenes, in some situations. Useful, but not essential..

Short answer: IF "partial spot" is in fact centre weighted, then the camera should be perfectly good for you. But I would still think about going the extra mile for a spot meter. May not use it straight away, but ... I don't know, I've been using SLRs for decades and I rarely use a spot meter, then again I don't do a lot of macro and closeup, and when I do I've found that the centre weight plus a bit of manual adjustment does the trick for me ... others will tell you they use it all the time... all I can do is offer food for thought...

Comment #8

William Carson wrote:.

On the left side is a list of links in this site (latest news,reviews, ect.) look at the 'Learn/Glossary' link. there is lots ofinformation and definitions of terms there.Spot metering is going to give the image an exposure of 18% grey atwhatever the camera is focused on the dot generally in the center ofthe frame. Matrex metering takes an assessment of several points inthe image frame and averages them to give the best exposure of thewhole image and not just the spot focused at so no areas in the imageare overexposed - blownout. An example of a good subject to use spotmetering on is where you are photographing a black dog as the mainsubject. While there may be areas in the photo that are overexposed,the dog will be given shades of darkness and not just a glob of blackwith no shades or texture. I would recommend asking the question inthe Canon40D forum as that is the camera your using..

Spot metering can get you in trouble, if you don't understand how it works. The following link is to a gallery that GaryK1 posted over on the Nikon D300 forum. He wondered what he did wrong..

Http://garykaye.smugmug.com/gallery/4195418#245173907.

The answer is that he used spot metering and put the spot on the black fur. The black fur turned grey and everything else was totally blown out!.

SO, I differ with Will...I don't think his example of the black dog will necessarily be a good application for spot metering!.

Charlie DavisNikon 5700, Sony R1, Nikon D300HomePage: http://www.1derful.infoBridge Blog: http://www.here-ugo.com/BridgeBlog/..

Comment #9

Arrowman, I also am new and trying to figure out this metering stuff. Would you not be getting almost the best exposure the highest percentage of times by using center weighted metering and simply checking your histogram after the shot?..

Comment #10

Bumperkleebaum wrote:.

Arrowman, I also am new and trying to figure out this metering stuff.Would you not be getting almost the best exposure the highestpercentage of times by using center weighted metering and simplychecking your histogram after the shot?.

I would not argue with that..

I would also not argue that "matrix" metering may work an equal amount to times..

Either would be more successful, more often, than Spot used by a person that does not know how to use it..

You mentioned checking with a histogram after each shot, I suggest Spot will indeed reduce the times histogram finds a problem ... but ONLY if it is used correctly in the first place..

Thanks for reading .... JoePhoto.

( Do You Ever STOP to THINK and FORGET to START Again ??? )..

Comment #11

Heh, heh, I do a fair amount of chimping myself, checking the histogram. My Sekonic meter hardly ever comes out of the bag anymore, unless I want a certain balance between multiple strobes.http://www.pbase.com/digirob..

Comment #12

Two excellent books are The digital photography book volume 1,2.by Scott Kelby$15.00 each at Amazon.Take a look at this site easy to follow..

Http://philipdunn.blogspot.com/.../2008/01/how-to-use-manual-mode-part-1.html..

Comment #13

Vikingshelmut wrote:.

1. Spot metering, do I really need it? I've been debating startingoff with an entry level DSLR like the Canon XTi (400D) vs startingoff with a more robust body like the Canon 40D. I keep hearing thatthe XTi does not do spot metering like the 40D, but it does "partial"spot metering. Is that good enough for a beginner? I'm hoping thatCanon announces an updated XTi at PMA that includes a spot meter butif they don't what do you think I should do?.

I have not used spot metering in 6 weeks and over 2000 shots with my new DSLR... that being said, it's one of the things I've been meaning to practice with, to fine-tune exposure in backlit situations..

If you want the 40D capabilities, at the 400D price, check out the Pentax K10D. I got mine with the kit leens for $586 and have been extremely happy with it. Pentax will be coming out with the K20D and K200D at PMA, so prices on the current model may drop further if they extend production a little bit..

My DSLR-owning friends have Canons, but I did a *lot* of research on my own, and decided that the Pentax K10D was the camera I was most comfortable with (very rugged and ergonomic design!), and the best bang-for-my-buck..

Dan..

Comment #14

Vikingshelmut wrote:.

My first post! I am new to the DSLR world but am anxious to join.My friends have been letting me play with their cameras, and I amalmost ready to make a purchase. Before I do so, I was hoping youguys can help me with some quick answers to a few simple questions..

1. Spot metering, do I really need it? I've been debating startingoff with an entry level DSLR like the Canon XTi (400D) vs startingoff with a more robust body like the Canon 40D. I keep hearing thatthe XTi does not do spot metering like the 40D, but it does "partial"spot metering. Is that good enough for a beginner? I'm hoping thatCanon announces an updated XTi at PMA that includes a spot meter butif they don't what do you think I should do?.

2. What is a good book to read that goes over all the basics? Myfriend let me borrow Photograph Australia by Steve Parish, and whilehe does talk about some basic stuff, I think I could benefit from abook targeted specifically at beginners that covers the not onlycamera basics like aperture, iso, metering, etc but things like therule of thirds, etc..

Thanks in advance to all! (BTW I did try to search for the answersbut search seems to be disabled).

Using a spot meter properly is not exactly something a beginner is likely to do properly. You may want one as you expand but it's not necessary. Experience with a lightmeter pattern and feedback from the histogram can help you overcome the need for a spot meter. For my use a spot meter is very handy. For others, no. I'd live without a spot meter and produce just as good results.



I believe the spot meter became popular for using the zone system technique and equipment became more available as a result of Pentax making one degree analog spot meters for use in television coverage of the 1964 Olympics..

This may be a bit much to throw at you all at once but here's the wikipedia reference for the zone system. You may find other references more to your liking using Google. The best reference is probably Ansel Adam's books, "The Camera", "The Negative", and "The Print"..

Http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zone_system..

Comment #15

Arrowman wrote:.

Vikingshelmut wrote:.

1. Spot metering, do I really need it? I've been debating startingoff with an entry level DSLR like the Canon XTi (400D) vs startingoff with a more robust body like the Canon 40D. I keep hearing thatthe XTi does not do spot metering like the 40D, but it does "partial"spot metering. Is that good enough for a beginner? I'm hoping thatCanon announces an updated XTi at PMA that includes a spot meter butif they don't what do you think I should do?.

I don't know Canon cameras and their terminology, but - it seems tome that "partial spot" metering is what is called "centre weighted"in the Nikon world. So (and please remember I am talking about adifferent brand of camera here but the principle may apply):.

There are, basically, 3 different modes of metering on offer in theDSLR world:.

1. Matrix, or Pattern. or Average.

- the exposure reading is talen over the average of the whole scene.- there is some variation between camera makes and models, forexample, some cameras emphasise the area under the focus point mroethan others.- It is basically "Auto" mode and while it works well, the moreadvanced photographer will not rely on it entirely..

2. Centre Weight or (apparently) Partial Spot.

The meter is biased towards the centre of the frame. Gives a moreaccurate reading when the light is uneven, and you can point thecamera at the main subject, lock exposure at that point, andrecompose..

Very much, IMHO, the general preference of the more advancedphotographer..

3. Spot.

The meter reading is taken entirely off an area in the centre of theframe. Very useful with macro and closeup photography, and also inmore general scenes, in some situations. Useful, but not essential..

Short answer: IF "partial spot" is in fact centre weighted, then thecamera should be perfectly good for you. But I would still thinkabout going the extra mile for a spot meter. May not use it straightaway, but ... I don't know, I've been using SLRs for decades and Irarely use a spot meter, then again I don't do a lot of macro andcloseup, and when I do I've found that the centre weight plus a bitof manual adjustment does the trick for me ... others will tell youthey use it all the time... all I can do is offer food for thought..

How do I select "center weight" or "partial spot" mode? I only see three AF modes and they are one-shot AF, AI Focus AF, and AI Servo AF. Which of these AF modes should be used for general photography and which one for fast moving objects?..

Comment #16

Sgt_Strider wrote:.

How do I select "center weight" or "partial spot" mode? I only seethree AF modes and they are one-shot AF, AI Focus AF, and AI ServoAF. Which of these AF modes should be used for general photographyand which one for fast moving objects?.

Those are autofocus modes!.

*Metering* mode is something different, having to do with judging the intensity of light on various parts of the scene, in order to determine correct aperture and shutter speed..

Dan..

Comment #17

Moxfyre wrote:.

Sgt_Strider wrote:.

How do I select "center weight" or "partial spot" mode? I only seethree AF modes and they are one-shot AF, AI Focus AF, and AI ServoAF. Which of these AF modes should be used for general photographyand which one for fast moving objects?.

Those are autofocus modes!.

*Metering* mode is something different, having to do with judging theintensity of light on various parts of the scene, in order todetermine correct aperture and shutter speed..

Dan.

Oh sorry! However, since I asked, can you or anyone else answer them for me?.

Looking at the manual now, I see evaluative metering, partial metering, and center-weighted average metering. I'm guessing I should use center-weighted average metering?..

Comment #18

Sgt_Strider wrote:.

Oh sorry! However, since I asked, can you or anyone else answer themfor me?.

Looking at the manual now, I see evaluative metering, partialmetering, and center-weighted average metering. I'm guessing I shoulduse center-weighted average metering?.

What model of DSLR are you using?.

They don't all use the same terminology, but evaluative metering probably means multi-zone metering... which is sort of an "intelligent" but vaguely defined mode. Probably that's the default, but it's behavior may not be entirely predictable in some situations..

Wikipedia has a good article on metering modes: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metering_mode.

Dan..

Comment #19

Moxfyre wrote:.

Sgt_Strider wrote:.

Oh sorry! However, since I asked, can you or anyone else answer themfor me?.

Looking at the manual now, I see evaluative metering, partialmetering, and center-weighted average metering. I'm guessing I shoulduse center-weighted average metering?.

What model of DSLR are you using?.

They don't all use the same terminology, but evaluative meteringprobably means multi-zone metering... which is sort of an"intelligent" but vaguely defined mode. Probably that's the default,but it's behavior may not be entirely predictable in some situations..

Wikipedia has a good article on metering modes:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metering_mode.

Dan.

Sorry, I forgot to mention that I am using a Canon XTI...

Comment #20

Sgt_Strider wrote:.

What model of DSLR are you using?.

They don't all use the same terminology, but evaluative meteringprobably means multi-zone metering... which is sort of an"intelligent" but vaguely defined mode. Probably that's the default,but it's behavior may not be entirely predictable in some situations..

Wikipedia has a good article on metering modes:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metering_mode.

Dan.

Sorry, I forgot to mention that I am using a Canon XTI..

Well, evaluative metering is probably the most intelligent, default mode, as I said. So it will work in a lot of situations, though learning to use the others is a good idea..

Dan..

Comment #21

Charlie, you are right about a black dog example, and metering is a bit more complicated than just choosing spot or matrex for all situations. However, using an FujiS3 with greater dynamic range, many photos can be saved and even as in the example of my fix of the gorilla image a non- S3-5 can be brought back with the shadow highlight adjustment tool in photoshop. - Will.

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window..

Comment #22

Mikelis wrote:.

Vikingshelmut wrote:.

1. Spot metering, do I really need it? I keep hearing that.

The XTi does not do spot metering like the 40D, but it does "partial"spot metering. Is that good enough for a beginner?.

2. What is a good book to read that goes over all the basics?.

IMO, partial spot may be adequate for your present needs..

Books:.

1) Avoid anything by Bryan Peterson..

Could you explain why?.

As a beginner I found Understand Exposure very useful to understanding where to point the camera to get a correct exposure in most situations. I'm not sure about his "brother blue sky" etc but the principle works. I'm happier being able to read a situation and dial the (almost) correct exposure, rather than take picture after picture correcting as I go. I mean, you have to don't you? I thought the whole point was to work towards understanding how to do this?.

2) Have a look at :.

"Photo.pedia", by Michael Miller, Que press., Indianapolis, 2008..

"Exposure", by Chris Weston.

And "Creative exposure control" by Les Meehan...

Comment #23

RichGK wrote:.

Could you explain why?.

As a beginner I found Understand Exposure very useful tounderstanding where to point the camera to get a correct exposure inmost situations. I'm not sure about his "brother blue sky" etc butthe principle works. I'm happier being able to read a situation anddial the (almost) correct exposure, rather than take picture afterpicture correcting as I go. I mean, you have to don't you? I thoughtthe whole point was to work towards understanding how to do this?.

OK.

Mr Peterson seems to me to be confused about "exposure" himself..

As I read it, his notion of "manual exposure" appears to be to put the camera into "manual" mode and then adjust the exposure values in accord with the camera's internal exposure meter's recommendations..

Well, if your'e going to do no more than that, you may as well save yourself some trouble and simply go with one of the "Auto" modes: e.g., evaluative/matrix or centre-weighted, or one of the "semi-auto" e.g. Av or Tv, and save yourself a lot of trouble in transferring readings manually which the camera is designed to do for you automatically anyway. In fact, he ends his book pretty well saying as much..

So, to put it at it's simplest: his book-essentially- recommends trusting the camera's built in exposure system. You don't need his book to do that!.

In addition, there is some weird thing about getting exposure off the sky in order to use the sky setting on earthbound subjects! What the hell is that?.

By contrast, a "real" book on exposure would give you a "standard" way of visualizing your scene in terms of "a set of brightness values" and then how to set your exposure (manually) so that these values come out appropriately in your "capture" of that scene. No hit and miss: just a "correct" exposure every time..

Check out the following link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zone_system..

Comment #24

Moxfyre wrote:.

Sgt_Strider wrote:.

Oh sorry! However, since I asked, can you or anyone else answer themfor me?.

Looking at the manual now, I see evaluative metering, partialmetering, and center-weighted average metering. I'm guessing I shoulduse center-weighted average metering?.

As I understand it:.

Canon "Evaluative" = Nikon "Matrix".

Canon does not have "Spot Metering" as such. It does have a 'fat spot' (about 6% of the viewfinder, placed centrally) which they call "Partial" metering. In practice, this is quite adequate for most purposes, including manual mode using the "Zone System"..

Canon "Centre Weighted" = ditto for Nikon..

"Averaged" metering is found only on "ancient" cameras, which do not have Center-Weighted, Matrix, or spot...

Comment #25

Mikelis wrote:.

Mr Peterson seems to me to be confused about "exposure" himself..

As I read it, his notion of "manual exposure" appears to be to putthe camera into "manual" mode and then adjust the exposure values inaccord with the camera's internal exposure meter's recommendations..

Well, if your'e going to do no more than that, you may as well saveyourself some trouble and simply go with one of the "Auto" modes:e.g., evaluative/matrix or centre-weighted, or one of the "semi-auto"e.g. Av or Tv, and save yourself a lot of trouble in transferringreadings manually which the camera is designed to do for youautomatically anyway. In fact, he ends his book pretty well sayingas much..

So, to put it at it's simplest: his book-essentially- recommendstrusting the camera's built in exposure system. You don't need hisbook to do that!.

In addition, there is some weird thing about getting exposure off thesky in order to use the sky setting on earthbound subjects! What thehell is that?.

By contrast, a "real" book on exposure would give you a "standard"way of visualizing your scene in terms of "a set of brightnessvalues" and then how to set your exposure (manually) so that thesevalues come out appropriately in your "capture" of that scene. Nohit and miss: just a "correct" exposure every time..

Check out the following link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zone_system.

Thanks for the suggestions in your previous post and this one. I know something about exposure and what works for me, although there's still plenty of trial and error in what I do and you can never know too much, right?.

I'm currently reading BP's 'Understanding Exposure' and I agree with you. He takes some good photos, but I was amazed that he says to do what the camera's metering system tells you to do. What?!?! The camera doesn't know what you're shooting and where the exposure balance should lie. Auto metering with no compensation is not how to expose properly in all situations..

Oh, and he wants us to stop down as much as possible for high DOF, even f/32 if the situation allows (shutter speed). There's no consideration of what DOF is really needed, or diffraction effects..

I can't wait to see what else he has to say in the rest of the book! LOL If I hadn't bought it, I probably wouldn't bother to finish reading it..

Cheers from John from Adelaide, South AustraliaJohn Harvey Photography http://johnharvey.com.auCanon 40D, Canon 20D & Fuji F10..

Comment #26

John down under wrote:.

Thanks for the suggestions in your previous post and this one. Iknow something about exposure and what works for me, although there'sstill plenty of trial and error in what I do and you can never knowtoo much, right?.

Totally agree!.

I'm currently reading BP's 'Understanding Exposure' and I agree withyou. He takes some good photos, but I was amazed that he says to dowhat the camera's metering system tells you to do. What?!?! Thecamera doesn't know what you're shooting and where the exposurebalance should lie. Auto metering with no compensation is not how toexpose properly in all situations..

Oh, and he wants us to stop down as much as possible for high DOF,even f/32 if the situation allows (shutter speed). There's noconsideration of what DOF is really needed, or diffraction effects..

I can't wait to see what else he has to say in the rest of the book!LOL If I hadn't bought it, I probably wouldn't bother to finishreading it..

Same here: unfortunately, I ordered it on the basis of some rather glowing, but misleading, web-site reviews..

I was particularly struck by one suggestion where (in the case of back-lighted subjects) he rules out the use of fill-flash but recommends -instead- taking a close reading of the (dark side) of the subject and exposing at that setting. (No mention that this would result in blowing out the background totally!) From memory, there appears to be an even more strange recommendation: to take a reading from the "bright" side of a back-lit subject and then using that setting -but from the dark side..

Then there's the suggestion of simply over-riding the metering and exposing at +4ev, "for an interesting result"..

In addition, the book is full of minor "school-boy howlers" and malapropisms. These may not bother some people, but they suggest "sloppiness" to me...

Comment #27

Mikelis wrote:.

John down under wrote:.

I can't wait to see what else he has to say in the rest of the book!LOL If I hadn't bought it, I probably wouldn't bother to finishreading it..

Same here: unfortunately, I ordered it on the basis of some ratherglowing, but misleading, web-site reviews..

Same here. Got a pretty consistently good rating on amazon and I figured it would be worthwhile. Maybe I need to write a review..

I was particularly struck by one suggestion where (in the case ofback-lighted subjects) he rules out the use of fill-flash butrecommends -instead- taking a close reading of the (dark side) of thesubject and exposing at that setting. (No mention that this wouldresult in blowing out the background totally!) From memory, thereappears to be an even more strange recommendation: to take a readingfrom the "bright" side of a back-lit subject and then using thatsetting -but from the dark side..

You're spoiling the plot! LOL.

Then there's the suggestion of simply over-riding the metering andexposing at +4ev, "for an interesting result"..

Isn't +4EC the secret of high key? ;^).

In addition, the book is full of minor "school-boy howlers" andmalapropisms. These may not bother some people, but they suggest"sloppiness" to me..

I can 'compensate' for that by ignoring it, as long as the rest is ok. Maybe I won't read as thoroughly from this point on..

In fairness, I expect I'll pick up some useful ideas, just not as many as I might have hoped for..

Cheers from John from Adelaide, South AustraliaJohn Harvey Photography http://johnharvey.com.auCanon 40D, Canon 20D & Fuji F10..

Comment #28

Mikelis wrote:.

John down under wrote:.

I'm currently reading BP's 'Understanding Exposure' and I agree withyou. He takes some good photos, but I was amazed that he says to dowhat the camera's metering system tells you to do. What?!?! Thecamera doesn't know what you're shooting and where the exposurebalance should lie. Auto metering with no compensation is not how toexpose properly in all situations..

Oh, and he wants us to stop down as much as possible for high DOF,even f/32 if the situation allows (shutter speed). There's noconsideration of what DOF is really needed, or diffraction effects..

I can't wait to see what else he has to say in the rest of the book!LOL If I hadn't bought it, I probably wouldn't bother to finishreading it..

Same here: unfortunately, I ordered it on the basis of some ratherglowing, but misleading, web-site reviews..

I was particularly struck by one suggestion where (in the case ofback-lighted subjects) he rules out the use of fill-flash butrecommends -instead- taking a close reading of the (dark side) of thesubject and exposing at that setting. (No mention that this wouldresult in blowing out the background totally!) From memory, thereappears to be an even more strange recommendation: to take a readingfrom the "bright" side of a back-lit subject and then using thatsetting -but from the dark side..

Then there's the suggestion of simply over-riding the metering andexposing at +4ev, "for an interesting result"..

In addition, the book is full of minor "school-boy howlers" andmalapropisms. These may not bother some people, but they suggest"sloppiness" to me..

Uggh.. I just ordered Peterson's "Learning to See Creatively: Design, Color & Composition in Photography"..

I think I understand the technical stuff just fine (I'm a computer programmer/amateur mechanic/physicist), but the artistic part is harder for me..

Do you guys think that Peterson is better when writing about creative subjects, rather than technical ones? Maybe I should cancel this book... can anyone suggest something similar?.

Dan..

Comment #29

John down under wrote:.

Mikelis wrote:.

John down under wrote:.

I can't wait to see what else he has to say in the rest of the book!LOL If I hadn't bought it, I probably wouldn't bother to finishreading it..

Same here: unfortunately, I ordered it on the basis of some ratherglowing, but misleading, web-site reviews..

Same here. Got a pretty consistently good rating on amazon and Ifigured it would be worthwhile. Maybe I need to write a review..

I was particularly struck by one suggestion where (in the case ofback-lighted subjects) he rules out the use of fill-flash butrecommends -instead- taking a close reading of the (dark side) of thesubject and exposing at that setting. (No mention that this wouldresult in blowing out the background totally!) From memory, thereappears to be an even more strange recommendation: to take a readingfrom the "bright" side of a back-lit subject and then using thatsetting -but from the dark side..

You're spoiling the plot! LOL.

Then there's the suggestion of simply over-riding the metering andexposing at +4ev, "for an interesting result"..

Isn't +4EC the secret of high key? ;^).

Maybe yes ... and maybe NO !!!.

Only if the background is extremely white/bright and "over"-lit. (and you are metering off the background, and not the "subject").

I don't see that as the context of when he advised using it..

In addition, the book is full of minor "school-boy howlers" andmalapropisms. These may not bother some people, but they suggest"sloppiness" to me..

I can 'compensate' for that by ignoring it, as long as the rest isok. Maybe I won't read as thoroughly from this point on..

In fairness, I expect I'll pick up some useful ideas, just not asmany as I might have hoped for..

Cheers from John from Adelaide, South AustraliaJohn Harvey Photography http://johnharvey.com.auCanon 40D, Canon 20D & Fuji F10.

Thanks for reading .... JoePhoto.

( Do You Ever STOP to THINK and FORGET to START Again ??? )..

Comment #30

JoePhoto wrote:.

John down under wrote:.

Mikelis wrote:.

Then there's the suggestion of simply over-riding the metering andexposing at +4ev, "for an interesting result"..

Isn't +4EC the secret of high key? ;^).

Maybe yes ... and maybe NO !!!.

Only if the background is extremely white/bright and "over"-lit.(and you are metering off the background, and not the "subject").

I don't see that as the context of when he advised using it..

Joe, you must have stopped to think and failed to start thinking again. Mike and I have been making exchanges shaking our heads at the ludicrous advice Bryan Petersen gives in his book 'Understanding Exposure'. The context of my statement about +4EC for high key makes it pretty obvious that I was being sarcastic. Maybe you didn't read what we were saying, or maybe you're the kind of person who ignores the clues and chooses to interpret everything literally. I even put a 'wink' symbol - ;^) - after the statement just to make doubly sure it was obvious what I was saying was tongue in cheek..

Cheers from John from Adelaide, South AustraliaJohn Harvey Photography http://johnharvey.com.auCanon 40D, Canon 20D & Fuji F10..

Comment #31

Moxfyre wrote:.

Uggh.. I just ordered Peterson's "Learning to See Creatively: Design,Color & Composition in Photography"..

I think I understand the technical stuff just fine (I'm a computerprogrammer/amateur mechanic/physicist), but the artistic part isharder for me..

Do you guys think that Peterson is better when writing about creativesubjects, rather than technical ones? Maybe I should cancel thisbook... can anyone suggest something similar?.

Dan.

Hi Dan. I can't give you a good answer about the book in question as I'm not familiar with that one. To be fair, Bryan Petersen's 'Understanding Exposure' book is full of great photos and he talks a fair bit about the creative side in there rather than just talking about exposure. I suspect that the book you've ordered won't be so bad, unless he keeps charging off in random directions rather than sticking to the task at hand of explaining creative concepts in a logical way that you can grasp. Sorry I can't be of more help with that book..

The best book I've seen on composition is 'Image' by Morgan Freeman. It's been out of print for a while, but you can find it used, although the price is usually quite high because of how good it is and the fact that you can't buy it new any more. It's not the simplest book I've read, but it's full of ideas that I hope to be able to use at some time..

A simpler book I have that I haven't yet read, but also got good reviews on amzon.com, is 'Photographic Composition' by Tom Grill & Mark Scanlon. I loaned it to a photo buddy who liked it enough that he went ahead and ordered it. Actually, I loaned him 'Image' at the same time and I think he ordered that one too (used of course). However, be aware that 'Photographic Composition' doesn't even include the colour wheel to explore the idea of colour balance in an image, so I wonder what other key concepts are missing from that book..

Cheers from John from Adelaide, South AustraliaJohn Harvey Photography http://johnharvey.com.auCanon 40D, Canon 20D & Fuji F10..

Comment #32

Moxfyre wrote:.

Uggh.. I just ordered Peterson's "Learning to See Creatively: Design,.

Color & Composition in Photography"..

Do you guys think that Peterson is better when writing about creativesubjects, rather than technical ones? Maybe I should cancel thisbook... can anyone suggest something similar?.

Dan.

Dear Dan,.

This book I have seen in the bookshop (Dymock's) only recently and have leafed through it. Unfortunately, I have not examined it thoroughly, so it may be unfair of me to say much about it one way or the other. It is similar in appearance and format to "Understanding Exposure"..

From my browsing through it, I did gain the "impression" that he may be better at giving general inspirational exhortation than at providing specifics of technique. For example, I would have preferred to see a variety of "before and after" shots illustrating the concepts. As it was, I decided to postpone committing myself to a purchase until I had had time to peruse it more thoroughly -during a future visit to the bookshop..

My guess is that "try before you buy" may be best..

One disappointing feature in his other book -"understanding Exposure"- was that he would mention a technique, very briefly, then say "see pages xx to yy." You would turn to pages xx-yy hoping for more detail, but there woulldn't be any: a bit like one of those cheap dictionaries where on looking up e.g. "gasp" they say "see 'pant'". You look up "pant" and it refers you back to "gasp.".

(BTW, regarding "creativity", for example in regard to "composition", those who set themselves up as "experts" find themselves very much in the same position as those who try to point out grammatical and spelling errors in letters to the editor (or threads in the forums): in the very process of preaching to others they frequently seem to commit equally gross errors themselves. Thus, I'm frequently surprised to see illustrations in texts on composition which go against the very rules they attempt to instill)..

Comment #33

Mikelis wrote:.

Dear Dan,.

This book I have seen in the bookshop (Dymock's) only recently andhave leafed through it. Unfortunately, I have not examined itthoroughly, so it may be unfair of me to say much about it one way orthe other. It is similar in appearance and format to "UnderstandingExposure"..

From my browsing through it, I did gain the "impression" that he maybe better at giving general inspirational exhortation than atproviding specifics of technique. For example, I would havepreferred to see a variety of "before and after" shots illustratingthe concepts. As it was, I decided to postpone committing myself toa purchase until I had had time to peruse it more thoroughly -duringa future visit to the bookshop..

My guess is that "try before you buy" may be best..

One disappointing feature in his other book -"understandingExposure"- was that he would mention a technique, very briefly, thensay "see pages xx to yy." You would turn to pages xx-yy hoping formore detail, but there woulldn't be any: a bit like one of thosecheap dictionaries where on looking up e.g. "gasp" they say "see'pant'". You look up "pant" and it refers you back to "gasp.".

(BTW, regarding "creativity", for example in regard to "composition",those who set themselves up as "experts" find themselves very muchin the same position as those who try to point out grammatical andspelling errors in letters to the editor (or threads in the forums):in the very process of preaching to others they frequently seem tocommit equally gross errors themselves. Thus, I'm frequentlysurprised to see illustrations in texts on composition which goagainst the very rules they attempt to instill).

Thanks for the suggestions, guys! I guess I'll get this book and see what it's like, since it's returnable apparently. I'll let you know what I think of it..

And I am a bit worried about contradictory advice on something so subjective and creative. Good thing I have the forums to bounce questions off of .

Dan..

Comment #34

Moxfyre wrote:.

Mikelis wrote:.

John down under wrote:.

I'm currently reading BP's 'Understanding Exposure' and I agree withyou. He takes some good photos, but I was amazed that he says to dowhat the camera's metering system tells you to do. What?!?! Thecamera doesn't know what you're shooting and where the exposurebalance should lie. Auto metering with no compensation is not how toexpose properly in all situations..

Oh, and he wants us to stop down as much as possible for high DOF,even f/32 if the situation allows (shutter speed). There's noconsideration of what DOF is really needed, or diffraction effects..

I can't wait to see what else he has to say in the rest of the book!LOL If I hadn't bought it, I probably wouldn't bother to finishreading it..

Same here: unfortunately, I ordered it on the basis of some ratherglowing, but misleading, web-site reviews..

I was particularly struck by one suggestion where (in the case ofback-lighted subjects) he rules out the use of fill-flash butrecommends -instead- taking a close reading of the (dark side) of thesubject and exposing at that setting. (No mention that this wouldresult in blowing out the background totally!) From memory, thereappears to be an even more strange recommendation: to take a readingfrom the "bright" side of a back-lit subject and then using thatsetting -but from the dark side..

Then there's the suggestion of simply over-riding the metering andexposing at +4ev, "for an interesting result"..

In addition, the book is full of minor "school-boy howlers" andmalapropisms. These may not bother some people, but they suggest"sloppiness" to me..

Uggh.. I just ordered Peterson's "Learning to See Creatively: Design,Color & Composition in Photography"..

I think I understand the technical stuff just fine (I'm a computerprogrammer/amateur mechanic/physicist), but the artistic part isharder for me..

Just remember that while it is important to be fully competent in the "technical" .....

A PHOTO BEGINS WITH YOUR EYE ... and YOUR MIND !!!.

There are a lot of people that know how to use their cameras, but still produce lousy photos..

Many people walk right by a photo and never see it..

I realized this once when I took a photo "workshop/tour" about 35 years ago..

I was with a group of about 40 people for a week. It was a very "tight" group in that we all stayed very "close" together. In many cases we walked on a trail, right behind each other .... in other words we walked in each others footsteps. (I mention that cause some workshops are much more lose, with everyone going in different directions.).

About 2 weeks after the workshop, we all met again for a party and to bring photos we all had done. Of the 40 people there .... there was not even one "dupiicate" photo..

I repeat ... Not One Duplicate (or even similar) Photo..

Keep in mind that we all waked beside the same trees, the same rocks, etc .... yet everyone SAW SOMETHING DIFFERENT. We all saw the same things differently..

That single realization was probably the most important thing I learned..

You know it is sometimes funny to see the directors in the old films walking around with there hands in "boxes" to visualize a scene .... but that is actually a very good practice. (You can actually "see" a photo without your camera.).

Do you guys think that Peterson is better when writing about creativesubjects, rather than technical ones? Maybe I should cancel thisbook... can anyone suggest something similar?.

Dan.

Thanks for reading .... JoePhoto.

( Do You Ever STOP to THINK and FORGET to START Again ??? )..

Comment #35

JoePhoto wrote:.

A PHOTO BEGINS WITH YOUR EYE ... and YOUR MIND !!!.

There are a lot of people that know how to use their cameras, butstill produce lousy photos..

Many people walk right by a photo and never see it..

I realized this once when I took a photo "workshop/tour" about 35years ago..

Keep in mind that we all waked beside the same trees, the same rocks,.

Etc .... yet everyone SAW SOMETHING DIFFERENT. We all saw the samethings differently..

That single realization was probably the most important thing I learned..

Thanks for reading .... JoePhoto.

Thanks for sharing your insight, Joe...

Comment #36

JoePhoto wrote:.

Just remember that while it is important to be fully competent in the"technical" .....

A PHOTO BEGINS WITH YOUR EYE ... and YOUR MIND !!!.

There are a lot of people that know how to use their cameras, butstill produce lousy photos..

Many people walk right by a photo and never see it..

I realized this once when I took a photo "workshop/tour" about 35years ago..

I was with a group of about 40 people for a week. It was a very"tight" group in that we all stayed very "close" together. In manycases we walked on a trail, right behind each other .... in otherwords we walked in each others footsteps. (I mention that cause someworkshops are much more lose, with everyone going in differentdirections.).

About 2 weeks after the workshop, we all met again for a party and tobring photos we all had done. Of the 40 people there .... there wasnot even one "dupiicate" photo..

I repeat ... Not One Duplicate (or even similar) Photo..

Keep in mind that we all waked beside the same trees, the same rocks,etc .... yet everyone SAW SOMETHING DIFFERENT. We all saw the samethings differently..

That single realization was probably the most important thing I learned..

Thank you, Joe! I definitely need that advice. I get wrapped up in the technical stuff too easily..

Dan..

Comment #37

You probably won't see this now but anyway. What I got from the book (from a amateur point of view) was where to meter from in a given situation. I suppose then that the book is a guide for utter beginners to understanding what to meter off rather than just point it anywhere and trust the meter. In this respect I didn't really earn anything different from what anyone else was saying however..

But.... the book did propel me from the green box side of the settings to the manual side fairly painlessly. Plus it has some nice (if fairly typical) pictures to look at .

Plus it's damn cheap, I paid 4 pounds for it new..

However all said and done I've probably learnt more by clicking with lots of different settings and then examining the results. Which is the first thing anyone here tells you ..

Comment #38

RichGK wrote:.

You probably won't see this now but anyway. What I got from the book(from a amateur point of view) was where to meter from in a givensituation. I suppose then that the book is a guide for utterbeginners to understanding what to meter off rather than just pointit anywhere and trust the meter. In this respect I didn't really earnanything different from what anyone else was saying however..

But.... the book did propel me from the green box side of thesettings to the manual side fairly painlessly. Plus it has some nice(if fairly typical) pictures to look at .

Plus it's damn cheap, I paid 4 pounds for it new..

However all said and done I've probably learnt more by clicking withlots of different settings and then examining the results. Which isthe first thing anyone here tells you .

I've read a bit more of BP's Understanding Exposure and I'm finding some useful advice in there after all, including where Bryan says he's metering. I agree that there are plenty of good images to enjoy and it's interesting to see how Bryan says he figures out the exposures. I still don't get metering off the sky as the sky isn't a constant colour, but I guess trial and error with spot metering now that I have a Canon 40D with a spot metering capability will help me to figure out what works and what doesn't..

Cheers from John from Adelaide, South AustraliaJohn Harvey Photography http://johnharvey.com.auCanon 40D, Canon 20D & Fuji F10..

Comment #39

RichGK wrote:.

You probably won't see this now but anyway. What I got from the book(from a amateur point of view) was where to meter from in a givensituation. I suppose then that the book is a guide for utterbeginners to understanding what to meter off rather than just pointit anywhere and trust the meter. In this respect I didn't really earnanything different from what anyone else was saying however..

But.... the book did propel me from the green box side of thesettings to the manual side fairly painlessly. Plus it has some nice(if fairly typical) pictures to look at .

Plus it's damn cheap, I paid 4 pounds for it new..

However all said and done I've probably learnt more by clicking withlots of different settings and then examining the results. Which isthe first thing anyone here tells you .

Yes ... and remember back in those long-ago "film" days ... you didn't have that luxury..

I mean .... there was actually a time (hundreds of years ago) when we didn't even have "One-Hour" film labs .... we used to have to wait "days" for our results..

And often by then it was more difficult to remember what the specific metering of that image was..

Thanks for reading .... JoePhoto.

( Do You Ever STOP to THINK and FORGET to START Again ??? )..

Comment #40

JoePhoto wrote:.

Yes ... and remember back in those long-ago "film" days ... youdidn't have that luxury..

I mean .... there was actually a time (hundreds of years ago) when wedidn't even have "One-Hour" film labs .... we used to have to wait"days" for our results..

And often by then it was more difficult to remember what the specificmetering of that image was..

Now *that* is the craziest part... I don't know how people survived without EXIF to go back and figure out what their exact camera settings were when they took a picture!!.

I didn't really get into photography until the digital age, so I can't imagine it..

Dan..

Comment #41

Moxfyre wrote:.

JoePhoto wrote:.

Yes ... and remember back in those long-ago "film" days ... youdidn't have that luxury..

I mean .... there was actually a time (hundreds of years ago) when wedidn't even have "One-Hour" film labs .... we used to have to wait"days" for our results..

And often by then it was more difficult to remember what the specificmetering of that image was..

Now *that* is the craziest part... I don't know how people survivedwithout EXIF to go back and figure out what their exact camerasettings were when they took a picture!!.

I didn't really get into photography until the digital age, so Ican't imagine it..

Yeah ... it was tough ... so very tough..

But we had plenty of time to think about our past exposures while we walked 10 miles to school, uphill, through 6ft of snow. (and I lived in the southern Arizona desert).

Dan.

Thanks for reading .... JoePhoto.

( Do You Ever STOP to THINK and FORGET to START Again ??? )..

Comment #42

JoePhoto wrote:.

Moxfyre wrote:.

And often by then it was more difficult to remember what the specificmetering of that image was..

Now *that* is the craziest part... I don't know how people survivedwithout EXIF to go back and figure out what their exact camerasettings were when they took a picture!!.

I didn't really get into photography until the digital age, so Ican't imagine it..

Yeah ... it was tough ... so very tough..

But we had plenty of time to think about our past exposures while wewalked 10 miles to school, uphill, through 6ft of snow. (and Ilived in the southern Arizona desert).

He#...where I lived, it was up-hill both ways!.

Charlie DavisNikon 5700, Sony R1, Nikon D300HomePage: http://www.1derful.infoBridge Blog: http://www.here-ugo.com/BridgeBlog/..

Comment #43

Chuxter wrote:.

JoePhoto wrote:.

Moxfyre wrote:.

And often by then it was more difficult to remember what the specificmetering of that image was..

Now *that* is the craziest part... I don't know how people survivedwithout EXIF to go back and figure out what their exact camerasettings were when they took a picture!!.

I didn't really get into photography until the digital age, so Ican't imagine it..

Yeah ... it was tough ... so very tough..

But we had plenty of time to think about our past exposures while wewalked 10 miles to school, uphill, through 6ft of snow. (and Ilived in the southern Arizona desert).

He#...where I lived, it was up-hill both ways!.

I'll take away 2 miles if you will take away the hills ???.

Charlie DavisNikon 5700, Sony R1, Nikon D300HomePage: http://www.1derful.infoBridge Blog: http://www.here-ugo.com/BridgeBlog/.

Thanks for reading .... JoePhoto.

( Do You Ever STOP to THINK and FORGET to START Again ??? )..

Comment #44

Hi! Should you purchase the Canon Rebel XTi I would HIGHLY recommend the Magic Lantern Guides...There are in-depth descriptions of features. Wouldn't have learned as much about the camera without it!!..

Comment #45

Mikelis wrote:.

Moxfyre wrote:.

Sgt_Strider wrote:.

Oh sorry! However, since I asked, can you or anyone else answer themfor me?.

Looking at the manual now, I see evaluative metering, partialmetering, and center-weighted average metering. I'm guessing I shoulduse center-weighted average metering?.

As I understand it:.

Canon "Evaluative" = Nikon "Matrix".

Canon does not have "Spot Metering" as such. It does have a 'fatspot' (about 6% of the viewfinder, placed centrally) which they call"Partial" metering. In practice, this is quite adequate for mostpurposes, including manual mode using the "Zone System"..

Hi Mikelis. I don't know about other lines, but starting with the 30D, Canon included spot metering. I just checked my 40D Pocket Guide and the 4 metering modes are:- evaluative- partial - 9% centre- spot - 3.8% centre- centre-weighted average.

Canon "Centre Weighted" = ditto for Nikon..

"Averaged" metering is found only on "ancient" cameras, which do nothave Center-Weighted, Matrix, or spot..

Cheers from John from Adelaide, South AustraliaJohn Harvey Photography http://johnharvey.com.auCanon 40D, Canon 20D & Fuji F10..

Comment #46

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