Ready to really use your DSLR in full manual mode? I am going to show you how to use your camera’s meter. Does just reading those words make you anxious? Well, relax already!! This is about having fun and no one will be getting graded! Like I’ve been telling you, I am not a professional but I did have to learn how to use my camera so that I could take pictures for my blog posts. The part of my camera that finally made it easy is the meter!
So, how does the meter work? The meter has lines on it that span from + (plus) to – (minus) with a 0 (zero) in the middle. When the lines are to the + (plus) side, the picture has more light and when the lines are to the – (minus) side the picture has less light. By changing the aperture or shutter speed, these lines will move more toward the + or -.
The meter is also visible through the viewfinder (at the bottom) so I can make adjustments while the camera is up to my eye.
3} Now, looking at the lines on the meter, I move the Rear Dial to the right —-> to make the lines move away from the + (plus) and toward the – (minus) making the picture darker. In the picture above, you can see 1 line to the left of the 0 (zero) toward the + (plus). Quite often you want the lines to be at 0 (zero) meaning no lines to the left or right and that is what aperture priority does for you. You choose the aperture and the camera will set the meter to that 0 (zero) for you BUT this isn’t always the best choice!Clear as a Minnesota lake in August? I can hear you going SAY WHAT?? So, I will give you some examples because a picture is worth about a million of my words.
In the picture above, I am still at an aperture setting of 4.5/f but there are lots of lines going toward the + (plus) on the meter and the picture is overexposed (too much light). To get back toward the zero, I would turn the Rear Dial to the right. My thumb can turn that dial when I am looking through the viewfinder.
This picture has too many lines toward the – (minus) and the picture is underexposed (too dark). To get back toward the zero, I would turn the Rear Dial to the left.
This picture is has no lines or the meter is at the 0 (zero). This is where aperture priority would put you but to me the picture is still too dark.
So, I turned the Rear Dial a bit to the left making the lines go toward the + (plus) making the picture a bit brighter. That is exactly why I don’t use the aperture priority setting but control it myself. The reason this happens is that, depending on where I set the focal point, the camera will do the settings there. Look at how bright the yellow tulip is and how dark the purple tulip is. The inside of the purple tulip is black and if I wanted it to show, I would have to move way toward the + (plus). The inside would show up and the rest of the tulips (especially the yellow one) would become overexposed but it would probably look neat. It was starting to rain when I took these so I didn’t mess around anymore. 🙂
To sum it up:
Please let me know if you have any questions! You can check out my other photography posts here.