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I am new to photography, recently I bought a new camera which is Panasonic Fz35 which has lots of nice features in it. However while browsing through the settings mode, I found an option for Metering mode. There is no help on that in instructions manual nor in the help of camera.

Can anyone tell me what is this used for and how to use this for photo shoots.

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2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

I'm not familiar with Panasonics, but metering modes usually consist of:

  • Evaluative/matrix metering (it takes readings from x spots all over the frame and averages them)
  • Center-weighted average (like the first one, except that reading from the center influences the result more than the rest of the frame)
  • Spot metering (takes reading only from small area of the frame, usually center, but it can also be bound to focus points in some cameras)

Evaluative metering is universally applicable for most situations on digital camera, where you can easily take a picture, check it (maybe even together with histogram) and apply exposure compensation.

You'll only need spot metering in very tricky lightning situations, where the subject and background are so many stops apart, that you need to apply more exposure compensation than supported by camera (usually +-2 stops) or don't even fit in your camera's dynamic range (ie when shooting moon).

When it comes to center-weighted average, I can't find realistic use case for it, as it is somewhere in between evaluative (which you simply have to trust) and spot metering (where you need to think about exposure), but you never know how smart the algorithm actually is and when it will interfere with your intentions.

When you want to delve into exposure and metering, your first step is to switch to spot metering and take the reading from different parts of the frame, think about how many stops is the difference and what you want to do about it.

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There are two manuals to be had on the Panasonic site at http://service.us.panasonic.com/operman/findmanual.aspx?model=DMCFZ35.

Metering mode is in the Advanced manual, page 142. Apparently it has three modes: multiple, centre-weighted and spot. The manual explains a bit more, and you might find the answers to "situations suited to spot metering" useful, too...

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