Do you use Metering modes on the E-m5?

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by FMJunkie, Jun 6, 2014.

  1. FMJunkie

    FMJunkie Mu-43 Regular

    May 29, 2014
    Hi guys,
    Just wondering if anyone uses the other light metering modes other than ESP and if so why?

    Some samples images of when and why you used another mode would be most welcome :)
  2. dav1dz

    dav1dz Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 6, 2012
    I use mostly matrix metering and spot metering. Almost never touch centre weighted metering.

    Matrix (sorry for this Nikon jargon, same as ESP) works pretty much 99% of the time without fail. When it does get fooled by white scenes or black scenes, I just use exposure compensation to work it out.

    Spot metering is used when I want to get a light reading on a specific spot. I use this when I'm doing portraits. Some people still preferring using a lightmeter for this since it measures incident light and is thus more accurate but I've found the Olympus spot metering is quite good so I got lazy and stopped packing the lightmeter.

    When I use spot metering, I'm also shooting manual. I basically use the meter to give me a light reading then dial those settings in as a starting point.
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  3. letsgofishing

    letsgofishing Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 21, 2012
    South Africa
    Real Name:
    Mike Kaplan
    I use centre weighted all the time for my seascapes - never had any issues. When I'm shooting sunsets, I shoot 2 frames using exp. comp and combiine in PS.
  4. janneman

    janneman Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 6, 2012
    Real Name:
    Jan (John) Kusters
    I grew up on centre weighted metering and still set every camera to it when available. It does need exposure compensation more often, but to me it is more predictable when I need it.
    With ESP I don't understand when it will be right or wrong; I don't know the algorithms used for ESP.

    Back in my film days I used spot metering for studio work, and incident light meter (measuring how much light falls on a subject in stead of metering how much light is reflected) when outside with complicated scenes. Incident metering is a lot like using a grey card for light metering, it gives very good averages. I sold off my hand held meters, and regret that. I am thinking about getting an old Seconic again, but I would not be surprised it it turned out to be a bit of a disappointment. With the possibility to take more pictures, a histogram, blinkies and chimping, I end up with very few wrong exposed pictures.
  5. MajorMagee

    MajorMagee Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 24, 2011
    Dayton, OH
    I switched every camera body I have to Spot metering several years ago.

    I use back button focusing to lock in the focus.
    Then spot metering to set the exposure by pointing the camera at something representing the zone I want to optimize, check the histogram, and lock that with a shutter half press.
    Then I recompose and take the shot.

    It sounds like a lot of steps, but all takes just a second, and produces a very high keeper rate.
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  6. fransglans

    fransglans Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 12, 2012
    Real Name:
    Thats sounds advanced:) is it possible to set back button to one of the fn buttons on em5 or how do I manage this?
  7. Wisertime

    Wisertime Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 6, 2013
    Real Name:
    I mostly use ESP, but sometimes use the other modes (EM5, EPM2). When I handled the EM1 for the first time, one of the things I really liked was how they implemented the metering modes on the dial. Quick and easy to switch modes and see live results on the LCD. Honestly, I overlook the metering too often, when I could take a little more time and consider using the other options. I will have to give MajorMagee's method a try and see if it works for me too. Thanks for sharing.
  8. Dramaturg

    Dramaturg Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 7, 2013
    Real Name:
    I guess that should depend on what you shoot. ESP seems to work best for landscape, street or any other environmental photography, while spot and centre weighted is good for people and portraiture. I stick with centre weighted but do a lot of exposure compensation depending on the scene (simply because live view let's me see what I get).
  9. usayit

    usayit Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    When things are dynamic or for general use, I use ESP. When I'm more focused, I generally go to spot or center weight which is what I am accustomed to.
  10. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    I use ESP most of the time and then dial in some compensation depending on what the shadow/highlight indicators tell me.
  11. sammykhalifa

    sammykhalifa Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 22, 2012
    Pittsburgh PA
    Real Name:
    Certainly no expert here, I've found that spot metering is pretty essential for me when I'm trying to take a shot of a white bird in a tree, for example.
  12. Fmrvette

    Fmrvette This Space For Rent

    May 26, 2012
    Detroit, Michigan
    Real Name:
    Yep, me too, Jan. :thumbup:

    I know there are occasions when other modes would work better but I've shot so long with center weight as my 'default' that it has become second nature.


  13. spdavies

    spdavies Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Apr 9, 2013
    Real Name:
    I do exactly the opposite of Major Magee but I guess it all comes out the same.

    I have the Fn2 button (on the top plate) set to AEL (exposure lock hold).
    I move the spot meter point around the scene until the exposure looks right to me, then lock it.
    Then I point the camera (center point autofocus) at what I want in focus -
    press the shutter halfway and lock focus.
    Then recompose and press shutter to take picture.

    Like his description, it takes way longer to explain it than to do it.

    The reason I have them switched is that, for any one scene,
    my focus point is more likely to change than my exposure.
    Once I have the exposure set and locked,
    I can then focus, recompose, shoot, all with my finger on the shutter button,
    without having to reset the exposure every time -
    unless the light changes, of course.

    The beauty of the complex Olympus menu system
    is it allows you to customize these various options.
    It just takes a month or two to figure it all out . . .
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  14. fin azvandi

    fin azvandi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 12, 2011
    South Bend, IN
    I guess it depends what I'm shooting - most of the time it's ESP with exposure compensation, but sometimes I use spot/center-weighted metering with back-button AEL like spdavies described in the previous post.
  15. Klorenzo

    Klorenzo Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 10, 2014
    I used ESP with compensation and live blinkies. I switched to manual with spot metering and back button focus but I still have to get used to it.

    I often use the palm of my hand at 1+1/3 as reference, the blue sky at 0, the green grass and -2/3 and I'm still looking for other good references.

    One thing that I recently discovered is that inside the histogram there is a smaller green histogram that describes the part of the image that is inside the auto focus box. So you can point the focus box around to do a "spot histogram" check.
    • Like Like x 3
  16. SkiHound

    SkiHound Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 28, 2012
    I use ESP by default and in my primary set up I have fn1 set to lock exposure using spot metering.
  17. David A

    David A Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 30, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    For scenic/landscape type of work I like to use the spot highlight mode. Spot meter the brightest area you want detail in, lock the exposure, recompose the image and shoot. Shooting RAW I find that this gives me good highlights and in many ways it's getting close to an automated version of the principle of exposing to the right while avoiding blowing highlights. I'm not certain how good this approach would be to preserving highlights if you're shooting JPEG.

    The original post asked for examples and this is a shot using the spot highlight mode:


    If you use this with a scene with wide dynamic range your initial reaction may be that the mid tones are too dark and there's no detail in the shadows. You need to be prepared to do a bit of processing if the mid tones are considerably darker than the highlight area you're metering, but then you're going to have to do a bit of processing in any shot of a wide range scene.
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  18. Klorenzo

    Klorenzo Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 10, 2014
    When you do this, where do you place the metering indicator? Exactly on the zero? Or do you choose where you want to place that "shade", like +2?
  19. FMJunkie

    FMJunkie Mu-43 Regular

    May 29, 2014
    Thanks for the picture this is most informative,.

    Sent from my Nexus 7 using Mu-43 mobile app
  20. fransglans

    fransglans Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 12, 2012
    Real Name:
    Thank you for this! Tried it out seriously yesterday and it worked out great!! Great tip and actually saved me alot of time cos it gets the job/exposure done more accurate faster...
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