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Cool spot-metering custom function for Nikons

December 28, 2009

Spot metering works great for shooting wildlife

I normally use the Matrix metering mode on my Nikon D700 and D300s cameras. I tend to work in varied lighting conditions, and I find that in most situations Matrix metering does a great job of determining the correct exposure.  I can then make easy adjustments using exposure compensation or manual exposure. There are times that I want the precision of spot metering, especially in high contrast lighting situations (read this post about spot metering at The problem is that I will almost definitely forget to change the metering mode back, and I won’t be able to figure out what the heck is wrong with my camera. Not that I’ve ever done that…

This tip is for Nikon cameras because I don’t know how to implement something like this on a Canon body. I know you can do this on D700, D300(s), D90 and D3(s,x) bodies. I noticed when I was setting up the controls on my D300s that you could assign the ‘Function’ button on the front of the camera to activate any of the three metering modes. I assigned mine to spot metering. Now the metering dial stays set to Matrix metering, but I can activate the spot meter by pressing the button under my middle finger. This is great for me because I don’t have to remember to switch it back. I just release the button and I’m back to normal.

Have a look through your camera’s manual, and don’t be afraid to change the defaults and see what happens. There may be adjustments you can make to your controls to make the camera work better for YOU.

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