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Now that we've gone over exposure modes, I would like to return for a moment to the subject of focus points, because there's something you need to know about how exposure behavior changes as you start manually selecting focus points. Consider this scene that I have here. I have this dark film projector over here; these light flowers over here. I have the Mark III set to automatically select a focus point, and I am set for evaluative metering. So I'm going to just take a picture here, and let's take a look at what I got.
It's not any kind of photographic masterpiece, but it is well exposed. Notice that I have not overexposed the flowers, and I have got a little detail here on the projector. I don't know where it chose to focus; I am assuming it chose to focus over here. If it was choosing wrong, then I might want to override that, and manually select a focus point. So I'm going to do that now. I'm just going to get in here, and change my focusing mode to let me pick a single focus point that's parked right there on the projector. I'm still in evaluative focus mode, and now I'm going to take a shot.
Okay, this is very different. Look what's happened here. My flowers are all blown out now, and my projector is much brighter. Even though I'm in evaluative metering, I am no longer getting a true evaluative metering of my scene. Instead, the metering is being weighted to the focus point that I've picked. In other words, I've got something akin to a center-weight focus, but one centered around the focus point that I chose. So it's chosen to meter here, and it's done a good job of bringing out a lot of detail.
In the process, it's overexposed my flowers. Most of the time, this is not going to be a problem. I typically shoot, most of the time, with a single focus point in the center of my frame, and so I'm most of the time shooting with center-weight metering, and it's never really turned out to be a problem. In an instance like this, though, it is a problem, because the meter, in metering properly for this, is overdriving my flowers. So what can I do? Well, there are a couple of things I could do. I could, after putting my focus point on the dark projector, just assume that things are going to be overexposed on the flower, and I could choose to dial in some exposure compensation to try to make up for it, and that has brought back a little bit of detail.
Far easier than that, though, is to just go back to where I was before; put it back on autofocus point selection, which gets me back to a true evaluative metering. The takeaway here is that when you are manually selecting a focus point, no matter what your meter dial says here, you're not actually getting an evaluative metering that is analyzing the entire frame; you are getting a metering that is biased towards the focus point that you're centered on. Now let's look at spot metering. If I switch my meter over to spot metering, which is, of course, going to meter off of one tiny little area. That area is always measured in the very center of the frame; it does not follow focus point. So that effect that I just got by accident before, I cannot intentionally get; I cannot actually move a focus point around to somewhere else, and spot meter off of that point.
Spot metering and center-weight focus metering are always going to happen in the middle of the frame. So, if you're now suddenly worried that you have a lousy autofocus, and a lousy metering system on your camera, don't. As I said, most of the time this is not going to be a problem. It's only in rare instances like this situation that I've got here where you might run into this issue, and in those instances, you can either make up for it with the exposure compensation, or actually just throw the camera into autofocus select, and trust that it's going to do the right thing. I think you'll find that 99% of the time, it will.
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