Spotlight on Metering
Why does it matter what metering pattern your camera uses? Limiting the metering area (Center-Weighted or Spot) helps to ensure your most important subject matter is properly exposed. Expanding the metering area (ESP/Digital ESP) ensures that the entire image area will be properly exposed.

Depending on your camera model, you may see the following metering modes located in the camera menu or accessed through a direct button:

ESP/Digital ESP ESP/Digital ESP icon
This is your cameraís default metering mode. Exposure is based on light levels at the center of the image and also the surrounding areas. Some areas are more weighted than others. Digital ESP works well for almost all shooting situations except when there are larger, very bright or dark areas in the image area such as when a building is half in shadow and half in sun.

ESP\Digital ESP works well for this situation which has a good balance of light to dark.
ESP/Digital ESP example photo
Spot example photo Spot Spot icon
This metering mode is for situations when you want to precisely control what your camera bases exposure on, i.e., a flower in a field. The camera will only base exposure on what it sees at the very center of the image, therefore the surrounding area wonít affect the resulting exposure.

Spot metering works well for this situation, correctly exposing the small area occupied by the flower and not the dark background.
Center-weighted example photo Center-Weighted Center-weighted icon
This metering mode is best when your subject takes up most of the center of the viewfinder with a bright or dark background. Therefore, a subject such as a smiling couple will be properly exposed regardless of the bright sky behind them. If you donít have Center-Weighted metering use Spot metering.

Center-weighted metering works well for this situation, exposing only the larger center area and not the brighter outer area.
Multi-Spot Multi-spot icon
This mode permits you to select several important areas of your subject and average up to 8 readings together. While this can be done to mimic the results of Digital ESP, this metering mode can also be useful to a more advanced user looking to set the tonality of the image to either darker or lighter than an average tone, similar to the result of applying exposure compensation.
Multi-spot example photo 01

Taking multiple spot readings from dark to light results in an exposure averaged out for the entire scene. This is similar to ESP/Digital ESP.

Multi-spot example photo 02

Basing exposure on a few spot readings from the brighter tones allows the darker tone of the black cat to fall into place. This is similar to applying -1 exposure compensation.

Tip: If your camera has an AEL Lock button, this is a useful method to lock in an exposure reading when using ESP/Digital, Center-Weighted, or Spot metering. Locking in the reading permits you to meter an area and then recompose the shot, if necessary.

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