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Ole Thorsen | all galleries >> Helping others at DPR > The Digital Zone System
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The Digital Zone System
03-MAR-2007

The Digital Zone System

I use this simplified chart as a basis, when I choose to use spot metering on my Nikon DSLR cameras. I have printed and laminated the chart and always have it with me in my camera bags.
You could make your own version and add relevant examples yourself. The build-in reflective Spotmeter is 3mm wide or 2% of the total frame and is related to the active focus sensor.
I normally use Manual mode together with spot metering. Some examples of the use:

- I want to have a deep blue sky in my picture: set the EV compensation to -2EV and point the active
spot towards the blue sky while balancing the exposure (aperture+shutter time) to the middle of the meter.

- I want to preserve a little detail in the snowy landscape lighted by the sun: set the EV compensation
to +2EV and point the active spot towards a highlight in the snow while balancing the exposure.

- I want the right exposure in a portrait: set the EV compensation to +1EV and point the active spot
towards the part of the light skin in the face not in shadow while balancing the exposure.

When the manual exposure is set, it can be reused for similar exposures in the same light.


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