How do _you_ meter with 20D?

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by test1, Jan 18, 2005.

  1. Hello All,

    I've been using 20D for several weeks now. Having enough experience
    with EOS 3 and its spot-meter previously I could get slides almost
    always with very good exposure. Now with 20D I find myself almost
    always fiddling with digital exposure compensation in EVU. And almost
    always compensation would be quite significant - sometimes upto +1
    stop and sometimes down to -1 stop (I had even more extreme cases).
    While I could use more often histogram view after taking the shot, I
    find it odd and often there is no possibility to repeat the shot (like
    spontaneous capture of a child expression or gesture).

    I suspect that using evaluative metering could produce more consistant
    results, I'm not very positive about such approach - when it will fail
    I'd have little clue to how to predict such situations and this will
    bring me to the same problem as now.

    How do you go around metering with this camera? I'm thinking about
    getting a spot-meter (especially that I'm planning sooner or later get
    a view camera where external meter would be necessary) but curious if
    some of you have some other solutions.
  2. For most situations, I find evaluative metering sufficient on my 20D. Whenever I'm in doubt though, I almost always switch to partial and meter a mid-tone. I think that's the one MAIN lesson I learned years back from taking a class with Jim Zuckerman, and to this day, I can see why he emphasizes learning to "see" midtones in almost every composition. Once you see midtones in the same light as your subject, you're set. Certainly a light meter is handy, one that can meter both incident and reflective (e.g., Sekonic L508, L558, L608).
  3. I am one of the view who complain about the lack of a true in camera spot meter. For spontaneous situations in changing lighting conditions the ability to pick a tone and spot meter for it (either dial in +1 EC and meter caucasian skin or +2 and meter lightest highlight) is great.

    In all but the worst conditions evaluative ambient metering will work a treat. E-TTL flash seemed a bit temperamental on my film bodies but the newer E-TTL II algorithm is much more consistent.

    For the "tough" situations you describe the same technique for the EOS 3 but with the partial meter should work pretty well.

    A hand spot meter is a high priority for me. I have both a 20D and a 6x6 film camera without a meter. I have used them in the past and my previous film camera had a true spot too. I find them useful for metering landscape where I will determine exposure before getting out the tripod and the camera and will decide whether to bracket based on the range. This is even better than using an spot in-camera. However they are useless for rapidly changing light conditions and/or moving subjects which is where in-camera spots shine.

    I rarely add +ve EC to things in EVU or DPP. I sometimes add -EC when deliberately overexposing. Sometimes I will combine two frames with different ECs to open up shadows. I took a bunch of shots recently in a club and had to underexpose them all (I was shooting with a 50/1.8 wide open at ISO 3200 and ISO 1600) to get a shutter speed fast enough to reliably eliminate camera blur.
  4. jojo your awesome! Although there's a couple more things to consider regarding bright points or personal taste, if you can see the middle zone with your EYE, then adjust the camera to closely match that exposure, everything else fits like lego's.
  5. Before my 20D I had my F1N set up with the spot meter screen, and shot almost always manually. Matched needle rules compared to my A1 or 630's over/under signals.

    With the 20D I shot Av mode and I have it set up to show histograms after each shot. (Is checking the back panel after each shot called "chimping"?) I have it set so the back dial lets me dial in expsosure compensation if needed.

    Definately a differnt way to shoot, but I feel less like a "photo monk". Yeah, it reactive not proactive, but then using spot metering to check a sences range and zone aint quick either.

    Of course, if I want to really feel like a man, I'll shoot my meterless Zorki6 rangefinder and try to figure out the exposure by eye and experience. Ha!

    Needless to say my percent of good shots is 20D>F1N>Zorki6.
  6. With digital, the histogram is my main metering tool.
  7. I always use to shoot with spot, AV, and center focus point in my film cams.....although, I never owned a film cam with 9 point focus before.

    With the 20D I started that way, but like you, the exposures seemed way off. I have since found using AV, Evaluative, and set up focus (in custom functions) to allow multi point selection by pressing the AF button on top right back of cam, and allow the "joystick" to select individual points when needed. When AF is set up this way, the Evaluative metering zones are linked to the focus point that either the cam selects or you select. I have found that using this set up keeps the exposure +/- compensation usage very close to how I use to judge spot/av/center AF point in film cams. Same compensation I used for that set up is very close to the compensation needed for the 20D.

    But, the histogram rules! And you don't have to use the histogram for every shot. Just do a "dummy" shot everytime you walk into new in on that lighting's required exposure via the histogram and just use that set up until you walk into different lighting. Works for me.
  8. Isn't all this a great advert for Canons Evaluative metering. Using Eval as a starting point and the histogram as a check, is a fairly easy and accurate way of working, as others have testified.

    Ilia, if you think that you might miss a shot by trusting the camera first then checking, well I'd pay money to see you catch that shot by using a hand held spot meter first! You must have great dexterity ;-) But seriously I can't understand why you think you wouldn't have a clue when the metering might be tricked.

    When you learn how the eval metering can be tricked (clue - not that often), then you can use partial metering on a mid tone. I find I need to habitually set +1/3 EC for shooting in forests (motorsport) and +2/3 FEC for flash at close quarters. For most other situations I can trust the evaluative (obviously backlit and snow scenes need partial).
  9. Evaluative metering

    Manual mode

    1. Compose scene in VF, dial in SS and F/, guess at exposure compensation amount, if
    any. (this is based on experience).

    2. shoot, check histogram.

    3. repeat if necessary.

    I'd say 99% of the time I get it right in 2 frames or less. After that I'm set for the rest of
    the shoot. If i'm lazy and conditions are highly variable I'll use Av mode, but rarely.

  10. I speculate that Av would be ideal if there are clouds blowing by the sun relatively fast.

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