Using the centre focus point, and how that effects metering.

This is a discussion on Using the centre focus point, and how that effects metering. within the Exposure (ISO, Shutter Speed, Aperture) forums, part of the Photography Tips category; Hi, I'm hoping that someone can help with an issue that has been puzzling me, and causing unexpected exposures. I use an EOS 7D (and ...

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  1. #1
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    Oct 2012

    Question Using the centre focus point, and how that effects metering.


    I'm hoping that someone can help with an issue that has been puzzling me, and causing unexpected exposures.

    I use an EOS 7D (and a 550/T2i) as a second shooter at weddings. I used Canon 24-70 and 70-200, as well as some Sigma primes. I don't think the lenses are relevent, but that is my kit anyway (with a 580EX flash - but forget about that for the moment).

    I shoot most of the day, if the light is consistent, in manual. Allowing for a minimal amount of clipping of the bride's dress if bright white. That generally works well from the back of the church, or for group shots (where I will take a couple of practice shots to get the exposure correct while every one is getting into place).

    For quick changes of location and light, I shoot on Av, using the centre focus point, and evaluative metering; and generally an ISO that gives me a shutter speed that I am confident hand holding.

    Without any exposure compensation, I can sometimes blow out the dress completely, even when it is filling a significant part of the frame. Or, it can go the complete opposite way - which I can understand more.

    I generally focus on the eyes on the bride with the central focus point, and then recompose, unless she is static and I have time - where I will change the auto focus point.

    I don't understand why the exposure in some shots are so far out. I guess that using the centre focus point dictates that the camera will bias the exposure to the content of that focus point. It isn't all of the time, just every now and then. The only possible thing I can think of is if I have accidentally put the focus point on something dark, before recomposing, or made the same mistake focussing on a white dress. Or... thinking as I write, as the exposure isn't linked to a half press of the shutter, it changes when I recompose.

    I would be grateful if anyone else that shoots weddings/outdoor photography could let me know what they do in rapidly changing lighting conditions. The pro that I shoot for (who I believe does some outstanding work), points the camera to something close to 18% grey (e.g. a patch of grass in front of the subject, or someone with a light grey suit on), uses the exposure lock button, and then recomposes.

    I know some examples would be useful, but I get paid as a second shooter, so I would imagine the copyright belongs to the chap I work for; and I don't want to get into trouble for posting images of people without their permission - plus I don't have any photos on this PC.

    I would love to upgrade to a 5D mark ii or iii because we have shot in churches and reception venues with very low light. At the wedding last weekend, we'd set up for the bride and groom's entrance into the reception hall, but just as they walked through the door, the lights were unexpectedly dimmed down low, so I was using ISO 3200, and getting shutter speeds of 1/40th-1/60th of a second - which even with a monopod and IS, was a little nervy at 200mm. My feeling with getting a 5D iii is that if I can't get to grips with a 7D, then it would be like having an expensive car before passing a driving test.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated - especially as I have another wedding this weekend coming!

    Many thanks,



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