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In this course, photographer and author Ben Long details the features, controls, and options in the Nikon D800 digital SLR. The course begins with an overview of what a digital SLR is and a tour of the camera's basic components. Ben then discusses the camera's basic operation: changing lenses, navigating the menus, shooting in automatic mode, reviewing and managing photos on the camera's LCD screen, and transferring photos to a computer.
Next, the course introduces more advanced exposure options: program mode, exposure compensation, ISO adjustments, and more. After Ben briefly defines each option, he shows how to adjust it using the camera's controls.
Ben also discusses white balance options, advanced metering and autofocus controls, flash, live view, and video shooting. The course ends with a chapter on maintenance, including sensor- and camera-cleaning and care tips.
Accurate metering is critical to getting good results from your camera. Fortunately, metering technology is now so good that your camera should yield correct exposure 80-90% of the time. To help ensure that your metering results are good your camera offers several different metering modes. You can see what metering mode you're in by looking at this switch right here. It rotates between these three different icons, and whichever one you're currently set to is also shown inside the viewfinder, on the status display.
By default you are in Matrix Metering mode. That's the middle one. This is the best general-purpose metering mode. It's the one you will probably stay in most of the time because it does such an excellent job of metering in all kinds of situations. For most of the scenes you'll ever shoot, Matrix Metering will work fine. In fact, you may find that you never change metering from Matrix. Center-weighted and Spot Metering give you options for handling higher-dynamic-range situations, such as for shooting someone in front of the window or anyplace where you have got more dynamic range than your camera can handle and you want to be sure that a particular thing in scene is properly exposed.
This is another thing that's covered in detail in my Foundations of Photography: Exposure course. Matrix metering works by dividing your scene into a grid and metering each cell of the grid and then using a lot of complex algorithms to determine the best overall metering for your shot. The D800's Matrix Meter analyzes everything from distribution of tones, color, the composition of your scene. If you're using a type G or D lens, then it even measures distance to different things in your scene and factors those into its metering.
So really, this is probably where you'll stay most of the time. It's the best all-around metering scheme that you can use. That said, there will be times when the other metering modes are useful. If I rotate this to the right-- and it's a really stiff knob-- I get Center-weight metering. This does just what Matrix Metering does, but it assigns more statistical weight to the cells in the center of the image. This is great for backlighting situations. If you have got someone standing in front of a bright window and they are in the center of the frame, then this will be a very good way to go.
If they're not in the center of the frame then you may want to switch all the way over to the left to Spot Metering. This meters only a very small circle in the middle of the frame. It's approximately 1.5% out of the middle of the frame, so it gives you a very precise metering of one particular spot. So if you put the center of your frame on what it is you want to have well exposed and then half press the Shutter button to meter, hold the Shutter button there and then recompose your shot to however you want it, then you can ensure that anything anywhere in the frame is metered properly.
Again, most of the time you'll want to stick to Matrix Metering, particularly if you've been using Spot. You want to be sure to change out of Spot when you're done with it because it could give you wildly different meterings than you're used to. Matrix metering is where you'll say most of the time.
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