A.F & Metering Mode-TZ3
Im having trouble grasping how to use A.F & Metering Mode on my TZ3 ,at the moment I am stumbling around trying different settings and getting mixed results,i want to understand the different settings on both of these modes..

Please can someone give me a laymans term explanation what is metering mode,how do I determine what setting in metering mode to use,for what situation ...also the same for Auto Focus as a lot of the shots I take are out of focus.....thanks so much.If you have a look at my album you will see some nice pics that I have taken,but I'm getting a ratio of about 50/50 of good and OOF shots. TZ3..

Comments (9)


I've a feeling I'm biting off more than we can chew here but we'll bash regardless..

There's three metering modes but to make life easy ignore spot metering and look at either centre weighted or else the matrix or whatever they call it. Centre weighted is for what it says, that is to say correct exposure when most of the subject interest is in the centre of the picture, like your dog, your girl etc. It concentrates on the middle and makes some allowance for the rest but it isn't as important as the centre. It doesn't always work, imo, but it's pretty good..

The all over average, matrix or intelligent mode is usually for average sort of pictures with nothing too complicated in them (that means the light coming from roughly behind you - in simple terms). It's probably good for 90% of most people's pictures, btw. This is an area where the camera can be pretty smart..

If you want to play with spot metering then think of it as getting the exposure right for a tiny litte part of the picture and ignoring the rest. You have to have experience to know when to use it and it can screw things up spectacularly when you're unlucky. Master the other two first. A good example of spot metering being right would be a bird in flight and very small in the centre of the picture..

AF is easy if you've set it to focus on the centre of the picture and leave it there. But when that would be wrong - the traditional shot is two people side by side and the focus on a point on the horizon in the dead centre, then jump in and move it right or left or up or down - or a bit of both. BTW, a lot of people seldom use manual focusing. They swear by AF - properly used - and swear at MF..

The most important thing to remember about changing from centre AF and centre weighted exposure to spot exposure is to go back to the "normal" settings afterwards. I'll put my money on forgetting to go back to normal as the cause of most grief with too clever by half cameras..

Now, you say you've a collection of pictures with duds in them: download a bit of brilliant and free software called "EXIF Image Viewer" from and use it to open up the folder with all your photo's in it..

EXIF IV can sort the pictures by metering mode, shutter speed and so on and you'll be able to see what happened and why things went wrong. And knowing why things went wrong is an important first step..

Hope this is some help..

Regards, David..

Comment #1


Been thinking about it, try a week or a day taking a lot of pictures of whatever you normally photograph but with it switched on to the average or intelligent metering mode, central AF, 100 ISO and more than anything else in "P" mode. Then look and see just how many are good shots..

Also, it's a little camera and hasn't got an optical view-finder, so you're waving it about in the air. So try holding it with two hands - just in case the problem is camera shake..

Hope this helps..

Regards, David..

Comment #2

Hi,thanks for the help,excuse my ignorance but what is "P" mode ??...thanks TZ3..

Comment #3


"P" mode is usually "Program(me) AE" depending on which version of "program" or "programme" they use. Probably the American one, if I know anything. Usually marked with a "P" on the control dial..

Regards, David..

Comment #4

Bolinao wrote:.

Hi,thanks for the help,excuse my ignorance but what is "P" mode??...thanks.

"P" mode, or program mode, is usually differentiated from aperture-preferred automatic (where you choose the aperture and the camera comes up with a suitable shutter speed) or shutter-preferred automatic (where you choose the shutter speed and let the camera choose the aperture needed for correct exposure). In P-mode, the camera chooses both shutter speed and aperture..

With the TZ3, the camera is always in P-mode because there is no provision for your choosing a specific aperture or shutter speed. The TZ3 uses a two-step aperture control rather than a continuous range. The actual f-ratios available to the camera change with focal lengthat wide angle, the camera can choose between f/3.3 and f/8; at full telephoto zoom, it can choose f/4.9 or f/11. The shutter speeds are quite wide-ranging (up to 1/2000 second) and the camera can select in 1/3-stop increments for very precise exposure control despite the two-step aperture scheme...

Comment #5


Sorry about the confusion: I did a quick look at the review and it said "Program AE" but now I see it's mostly scene modes. Probably "P" but with the strange mod's they add for each type. Perhaps a quick re-read of the manual is in order..

The main point thought, would be to get back to basics for a while and build up a base on them, then experiment once the foundations are in place (and, of course, once you've more confidence in the camera)..

Regards, David..

Comment #6

David Hughes wrote:.

The main point though, would be to get back to basics for a whileand build up a base on them, then experiment once the foundations arein place (and, of course, once you've more confidence in the camera)..

Regards, David.

This, along with your earlier post, is great advice. With any camera, it's important to learn how it's going to react for you under varying conditions, and taking a lot of pictures with the same settings is the best way to do that..

I have the very similar TZ1, but unlike the OP, I've never experimented with the different AF and metering modes. The default settings, multiple-area metering and 1-area-focusing (central, but wider than "spot focusing") have proven very reliable for me using the standard practice of locking focus on your subject, recomposing if necessary, then taking the shot. Even auto ISO on the TZ1 and TZ3 models in "normal picture" mode limits the speed to a reasonable ISO 200..

The TZ models are seemingly designed for easy-to-use, automated shooting; having all those options in the menus seems almost counter to the purpose. The default settings are well-chosen, and I've never found a reason to change them...

Comment #7

David Hughes wrote:.

Also, it's a little camera and hasn't got an optical view-finder, soyou're waving it about in the air. So try holding it with two hands -just in case the problem is camera shake..

I've used the "Sint Squint" method (pictured in link below) of holding small cameras for many years. Seems to work well whether you're looking through a viewfinder or holding the camera out to compose on an LCD.

Comment #8


Thanks for the flattery. It will get you anywhere!.

As for optical view-finders; I had the chance recently (when a repair was just too expensive) to take an optical view-finder to bits and they are very simple mechanisms. Looking at them I find it hard to believe that the makers can justify leaving out a few penny-worth of plastic bits just to boost their profits....

The sooner we refuse to buy them without OVF's the better. A boycott might do it..

Regards, David.

PS Interesting article on the little Olympus. I must look for one (off-ebay, of course)...

Comment #9

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This question was taken from a support group/message board and re-posted here so others can learn from it.


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