What is the difference between camera metering modes? The camera has different ways to measure light. Spot, evaluative and matrix metering are all camera metering modes. But what’s the difference between them? Which one should you use when in certain situations? This article will answer these questions and more!
What is a camera metering mode and how does it work?
A camera metering mode is a setting in which the camera determines how to use available light for a given image. There are three different metering modes on a camera: spot, evaluative and matrix. Spot meters light at one point while evaluative measures light across an entire scene. Matrix simply averages out all of the data it collects.
Why you would use one over another?
They have their own benefits and you can even switch out different metering options for various creative efforts. Here’s what each one does differently than the other, and why you’d use one over another.
Spot metering will take the exposure reading only from a very small area in your camera’s viewfinder and ignore other areas of brightness or darkness that may be present in your scene.
This is most effective when you have an important subject with either high contrast or low contrast. Like a beautiful sunrise or sunset. Spot metering is also used when you know the exact area in which to meter, such as a person’s face in portrait work or family photos.
Evaluative meters an entire scene evenly without making adjustments for individual values like spot does so it might work well for a landscape or a night scene. This camera metering mode is good for scenes where you want the camera to make all adjustments and there are no important subjects.
Matrix metering is the camera’s default setting. It gets its name for averaging out all of the data it collects to determine exposure. This means that if your camera has a tendency to underexpose, matrix will do better than either spot or evaluative in yielding an evenly-lit image. This makes matrix metering great for unevenly lit scenes where you don’t want to adjust the camera manually.
How to change the metering mode on your camera
This varies camera model to camera model, but you can usually access the camera’s metering mode by going into its menu and navigating to the setting. Or maybe your camera has a toggle or dial to change it.
My Fujifilm XT3, for example, allows your change the metering mode via a physical dial underneath the shutter speed dial. It’s pretty handy. But for my Nikon D750 is under the navigational menu.
The camera metering mode you choose to use for a shot can have an impact on how light is recorded, and it’s important to know the differences between them.
I hope this guide has helped you understand the differences between them, and how to change the modes. The next time you’re taking photos in a tricky lighting situation, use these tips to help get better exposure! Happy shooting!