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Technical Solutions | D810 TIPS

Highlight-Weighted Metering

Highlight-weighted metering is the go-to choice when you are photographing a spotlit bride in her wedding dress, a ballerina on the stage, or whenever you are faced with uneven lighting and a background that is much darker than the subject.

Using Highlight-Weighted Metering

To select highlight-weighted metering, keep the button pressed and rotate the main command dial until is displayed.

When to Use Highlight-Weighted Metering

Use highlight-weighted metering to meter highlights when your subject is in motion, and to meter subjects lit by colored lighting.

Moving Subject, Dark Background

Choose highlight-weighted metering to meter highlights.

Although spot metering targets a selected area, targeting can be difficult when your subject is in motion. Matrix metering balances exposure over the entire frame, including the background, and may consequently leave highlights overexposed, or "washed out." In contrast, highlight-weighted metering automatically detects and meters highlights for optimal exposure with less washout (and less fiddling with the camera).

Matrix metering;
exposure mode A; 1/100 s; f/5.6

Highlight-weighted metering;
exposure mode A; 1/320 s; f/5.6

Moving Subjects in the Spotlight

Matrix metering meters exposure over the entire frame, reducing the apparent contrast between the subject and the background. The result is spotlit subjects that blend into the scenery. In addition, shifts in the balance of lighting over the frame may result in changes in exposure that require frequent adjustments to exposure compensation. Compare this to highlight-weighted metering, which, regardless of the balance of lighting in the frame, consistently matches exposure to the highlights so that spotlit subjects stand out.

Solid Colors, Colored Lighting

Highlight-weighted metering takes the color of the light source into account to prevent overexposure.

Matrix and spot metering tend to "wash out" highlights in subjects that are a solid color or lit by colored lighting, the former because it accepts limited washout if it ensures optimal exposure for the entire frame, the latter because it meters only brightness. Highlight-weighted metering takes the color of highlights into account so that they are always correctly exposed.

Exposure mode A; 1/200 s; f/5.6

Compare the effects of matrix and highlight-weighted metering with different light sources.

Matrix metering;
exposure mode A; 1/60 s; f/2.8

Highlight-weighted metering;
exposure mode A; 1/125 s; f/2.8

Highlight-weighted metering's first priority is to reduce washout, which may make pictures seem underexposed. Use exposure compensation to achieve the desired result.

Matrix metering;
exposure mode A; 1/60 s; f/2.8

Highlight-weighted metering;
exposure mode A; 1/200 s; f/2.8

Highlight-weighted metering eliminates overexposure even in highlights with a strong color cast.

Highlight-Weighted Metering: Challenging Scenes

The following are situations in which highlight-weighted metering should be used only with caution:

Dark subject, bright background:

Exposure will be adjusted for the background, throwing the main subject into shadow. Highlight-weighted metering can be used for silhouettes, but matrix metering is a better choice if you want exposure optimized for the main subject.

Highlight-weighted metering;
exposure mode A; 1/6400 s; f/2.8

Bright light in frame:

The camera may treat the light as a highlight, leaving the main subject underexposed. Compose the shot with the light out of frame or use matrix metering.

Highlight-weighted metering;
exposure mode A; 1/200 s; f/2.8

Highlight-Weighted Metering and Active D-Lighting

If desired, Active D-Lighting can be used with highlight-weighted metering to brighten shadows and reduce contrast.