November 2008
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5 photo tips as of 22 November 2008

Tip 96 (Tones and digital cameras): If you feel worried about some of the tones seen from a photo, then you are correct. Digital cameras can’t record an infinite range of tones; what happens if if the darkest areas of a scene fall below the sensor’s detection threshold, they’re going to record as a solid black tone with no discernible image detail. This is what’s called ‘clipped’ shadow detail, and it’s more common – obviously – with underexposed images.

Tip 97 (What is Bokeh): For a detailed look, refer to Wikipedia. Bokeh describes the rendition of out-of-focus points of light. Bokeh is different from sharpness. Sharpness is what happens at the point of best focus. Bokeh is what happens away from the point of best focus. In the world of photography Bokeh has come to be used to refers to the fuzzy or confused nature of out of focus areas in photographs. Are they smooth and uniform or are they some other shape and texture? Smooth, uniform, aesthetically pleasing blur is “good” Bokeh while blur which shows evidence of ugly shape and structure is “bad” Bokeh.

Tip 98 (Spot Metering): The spot meter is used when the photographer wants to get exactly what he or she is looking for. Spot Metering is ideal if the subject has a long tonal range (high Subject Brightness Range or high SBR), if the subject’s background is much brighter than the foreground. With spot metering, the camera will only measure a very small area of the scene (between 1-5% of the viewfinder area). This will typically be the very centre of the scene, but some cameras allow the user to select a different off-center spot, or to recompose by moving the camera after metering. Read more on this link.

Tip 99 (Center-weighted metering): In this system, the meter concentrates between 60 to 80 percent of the sensitivity towards the central part of the viewfinder. The balance is then “feathered” out towards the edges. Some cameras will allow the user to adjust the weight/balance of the central portion to the peripheral one. One advantage of this method is that it is less influenced by small areas that vary greatly in brightness at the edges of the viewfinder; as many subjects are in the central part of the frame, consistent results can be obtained. The metering is simply weighted at the center of the image and then averaged out for the entire scene. It is a kind of cross between evaluative and partial metering.

Tip 100 (Multi Zone Metering): Here the camera measures the light intensity in several points in the scene, and then combines the results to find the settings for the best exposure. How they are combined/calculated deviates from camera to camera. The actual number of zones used varies wildly, from several to over a thousand. Some users have problems in wide-angle shots with high contrast, due to the large area which can vary greatly in brightness. It is important to understand that even in this situation, the focus point can be critical to the overall exposure.

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